07 December 2010

A Day That Will Live In Infamy

69 years ago today, the Japanese fleet attacked Pearl Harbor and thrust the United States into full-scale war. More than 2,400 Americans were killed on this day as Japanese planes dropped bombs and torpedoes into Pearl Harbor, destroying the Pacific Fleet Battleships. As a Navy Veteran, this date is sacred to me; it's sacred to every sailor I have ever known.

The destruction wrought by the Japanese Navy was unprecedented. It also showed the world the superiority of air power over battleships.

As horrific as the attack on Pearl Harbor was, the US Navy carrier fleet, thankfully, was underway that morning and subsequently was not attacked. This little gem of fortune helped the US to quickly counter and eventually prevail over the Japanese.

So do me and every one of the more than 2,400 Americans killed on this day long ago a favor, include them in your prayers tonight. I don't care what your politics are, nor do I care what your religion is, we, as the United States of America, owe those men, all of their brothers-in-arms that fought, and every other servicemember past and present, a debt that can never be fully repaid.

Remember and honor these gallant men; say thank-you to a veteran and shake their hand. Visit any of the National Cemetaries across this country and pay tribute to the brave souls who gave everything they had in service to us. We must always remember this day and what it means, or else we will be doomed.

Take care of yourselves and each other...and never forget...ever.

11 November 2010

Veterans Day: More Than a Day Off

Today is Veterans Day. Across this great nation, on this day, there will be parades, breakfasts, and tributes for veterans. Still, there are others who will look at this day and treat it as just another day; a day off from work, a day to catch all the sales, and generally a day to relax. Many of those people will not even think about the veterans and the sacrifices they made to protect this nation. I bear them no ill-will; if that is how they want to spend veterans day, more power to them.

I cannot say that I am not disappointed, though. Too many people in this great nation have lost sight of our history; they forget to stop and think that if it were not for veterans, we could well have been defeated by the Huns, the Nazis, the Japanese, or the Communists of the Soviet Union and the world today would be much, much different from how it is now. If not for the men and women of yesteryear and today, you would not be able to go to the Public Library and check out a book, you would not be able to walk into a grocery store and buy everything you need to eat for a week or two, you would not be able to express your opinions about the government without fear of retaliation; you get the point.

Our children must be taught that there are people who willingly and routinely give of themselves to protect our country and preserve the freedoms many of us take for granted. Here are some great ideas on how to show your thanks and respect for our veterans:

1) Make it a point to go to a VA medical facility if there's one close-by and say thank-you to the veterans inside. Many of those veterans have no family and their closest friends are likely ones who were killed in combat; you will never know how much a hospitalized veteran appreciates that until you see the joy on his/her face.

2) Donate to the VFW, DAV, American Legion or any other patriotic organization that assists veterans. They rely on members' dues and donations, so a few bucks their way would really help.

3) When you meet a veteran, shake his/her hand, look him/her in the eye and say with all sincerity, "Thank You".

4) Teach your children about the sacrifices veterans made for them.

That's it; I know it doesn't sound like much but these little things mean a whole lot to veterans.

Before I end this post, I want to say Thank You to every single veteran in this country and to all the active duty and reserve that are in harm's way protecting and defending us...and to every man and woman I ever had the privilege to serve with, Thank You, my brothers and sisters, you are what makes this country great and I am honored to know you and call you friend.

That's it, folks, nothing left to say; so I'll close this out with a few of my favorite quotes:

It is the Soldier, not the minister who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, and who allows the protester to burn the flag.

A veteran - whether active duty, national guard, or reserve - is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America', for an amount of 'up to and including my life.' That is honor, and there are far too many people in this country who no longer understand it.

If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read it in English, thank a veteran.

For those who fought for it, freedom has a flavor that the protected will never know.

Peace, out.

05 November 2010

Wake Up Sunshine! Welcome to Reality!

You know, I served 20 years in the US Navy. Over that time I have seen some outstanding sailors and some real dirtbags. The thing about it is, though, that it wasn't until I was on the other side of my career (that means once I passed the 10 year mark) before I noticed the scales tipping. I don't know, maybe I chose not to see it but when I look back it is there plain as day.

I hit the mid-point of my career in 1997. Back then I was stationed in San Diego where I was volunteering and coaching Little League baseball. The kids were all good kids, to be sure, but there was something happening...it seemed like the kids and their parents were changing. So, here I was, working with these kids, teaching them the basics of baseball and how to play; more importantly, they were learning about teamwork and motivation while having fun. Well, our season didn't go as well as we had hoped; our team was eliminated from the championship. I started to tell the kids it was ok, the world wasn't going to end. I told them the old adage my grandpa told me when I was their age: "If at first you don't succeed, try try again." Then one of the kids tells me that's ok, coach, we all get trophies for playing. HUH??!!?? Somehow, somewhere, somebody changed the rules because they felt telling kids they lost hurt their self-esteem; the remedy was to give everybody a trophy.

You see, back in the dark ages, when I played Little League, we had tournaments and championships. The First Place team got a TEAM trophy, individual trophies weren't given. Second place teams got nothing...you got that...NOTHING. Back then it was understood that if you wanted to be recognized and rewarded you had to be the best, nothing less was good enough. Sometimes you won and sometimes you lost and when you lost, you didn't piss and moan about how bad you felt about yourself; what you did was PRACTICE. You practiced as often as you could so that next summer YOUR team would be the champion.

I didn't come back for the next season; I couldn't stomach the fact that these wonderful, bright kids were being set up to fail.

Special Note: If you are under the age of 35, you may not understand what I just said; that's ok, I will explain it to you.

The kids were set up to fail in the future because they were being taught that you don't have to practice and win; everybody gets a trophy! Then I read in the newspaper how schools in San Diego were not putting F's on report cards anymore. Failing grades being harmful to self-esteem and all.

Then, I started noticing the change in the Navy. I had junior sailors who rarely did more than the minimum required and then became quite upset when they didn't get advanced or they didn't get their Navy Achievement Medal. By the time I retired in 2007, I am sorry to say that I left a Navy with more of this attitude than anyone cared to mention. Now, I am NOT putting down sailors. NOT AT ALL. Any person who chooses to serve their country deserves respect and there are thousands of sailors who give more and do more than what is required on a daily basis. They do it all the time. Yet, there isn't an outstanding sailor out there who would disagree with me about the dirtbags.

So, what caused this change in thinking? Well, let's see, a good many years ago, there was a man named Dr. Spock (NO, NOT Leonard Nimoy from Star Trek!). This man, at one point, put a book out that told parents not to spank their children. Disciplining your child this way is wrong became the mantra across the land. Then, we were told that we needed to "positively reinforce" our children; in other words, we were supposed to lavish praise on our children and discipline became "time out". I don't know about you, maybe I'm crazy, but it sure looks to me like we've gone a bit overboard. Now we have a new term for parents; "helicopter parents" are parents who constantly hover over their children, lavishing them with praise, making them feel like they are truly special and better than everyone else.

The result? Well, look around you today. Today's young adults are going out into the world thinking the world owes them. They expect the $50,000 a year job fresh out of college; they think everyone around them should drop to their knees and kiss their feet. When I was on active duty, I watched sailors get Navy Achievement Medals for the damnedest things; the kicker was the baker who received a medal AND a meritorious advancement (read: un-earned) for...get this...BAKING CAKES! These kids today are spoiled rotten because their parents have raised them to think the world should be grateful for their presence!

So what do we do about this? Hell, I don't know. Maybe I should go back to the title of this post; hey kids, WAKE UP to what the rest of us call REALITY!!! Nobody owes you ANYTHING! You deserve NOTHING! You have to WORK to EARN praise and recognition, not sit on your duff waiting for the goodies to come to you! The REAL WORLD doesn't give a damn about your self-esteem!

Parents! WAKE UP! You are setting your kids up to FAIL!!! You want to know why our country is falling behind in math and science? HELLO!!! We are raising a nation of IGNORANT KIDS!!! Oh well, at least they will feel good about themselves.

Disclaimer Alert: If you are not doing this with your kids, you don't have to yell at me because this post isn't aimed at you.

26 October 2010

Life: That thing which happens when making plans

Well, I thought I was finished with this blog. I grew weary of the outright hatred some idiots spewed in the comments section; deleting the comments was doing nothing for me. I was still angry at these morons, especially the "Christian" moron who said I needed to die and burn in hell because I am pro-choice and I support the rights of homosexuals to get married. The result of those comments was me vowing to stop writing this blog and I'm sure there are many other bloggers out there who have felt the same way from time to time. I love the internet, folks, I truly do. The net is a wonderful tool for doing research to get past the talking heads in the media. The caveat I see, though, is that the anonymity of the internet has emboldened some who would otherwise be called cowards. You know these people, they are the ones who would never confront someone in real-life because they are afraid, but give them a keyboard and an internet connection and PRESTO, they become the big badass!

But I digress. So, as I was saying, I had vowed to not write this blog ever again. Then I tried to enroll at Hinds County Comm College and grew so frustrated with their lunacy that I walked away. Then Tulane University opened a campus in Madison, Mississippi, about 30 minutes from my home. So, I wrote about it but then again vowed to not write anymore. Then, yesterday, my writing professor mentioned she had read my blog and thought it was very good. She also told me after class that I should not let the idiots get to me; if I stop writing, they win. That was a complete kick in the head because it made perfect sense! I have never backed down from a challenge and this challenge has galvanized me. I am going to start writing regularly again.

That said, I am going to share a couple of my writing assignments with you. When class first began, we were instructed to write an essay on something we felt strongly about. Mine was a testimonial to military service. Those friends who have served will understand the essay and no explanation will be necessary, some of you may not understand and I welcome your questions about the subject. So, without further ado, here is one of my better essays for your reading pleasure.

The Sheepdog
A long time ago, when I was little more than a cocky 19 year old sailor, I heard an analogy from a crusty, combat-hardened Chief Petty Officer; that analogy would stay with me for my entire military career and the rest of my life. In 1987, when I joined the Navy, the overall attitude toward military personnel seemed to be one of disgust, distrust, and disrespect. In 1988, in Norfolk, Virginia, I could not help but see signs that read, “Dogs and Sailors Keep Off the Grass”. Back then, it was hard to keep a positive attitude about being in the military, especially when every business in the area seemed to be on the look-out for young military men they could rip-off.
It was on my first ship, USS Newport (LST-1179), that I heard this analogy during a mid-night watch. “Son”, he said to me, “the majority of civilians in this country are like sheep.” I asked him what he meant; he replied, “Civilians are like sheep; easily led and easily fooled.” I stifled a laugh as the Chief continued, “We, active-duty military, police, and fire-fighters, are the protectors of the civilian populace; much like the sheepdog that guards and protects the sheep.” He continued this analogy, “The sheepdog keeps the peace and protects the sheep and the sheep fear the sheepdog; they look at the sheepdog and see that he is not far removed from the wolves, weasels, and poachers that threaten them. They fear the sheepdog because they do not want to see the real threats to their lives. They do not want to see the wolves, weasels, and poachers stalking them, ready to pounce on an unsuspecting sheep.”
Initially, I scoffed at this analogy. I told the Chief I thought he was nuts and there was no way civilians could be that dumb. Unphased, he continued his story, “You see, after a while, the sheep become complacent and comfortable; sure in their security and, like a spoiled child, they challenge the authority of the sheepdog. They start to question the need for the sheepdog; they reason the sheepdog is no longer needed because their world is safe. The sheep want the sheepdog to go away so they do not have to be afraid of him anymore.” Slowly, I started to understand what he was talking about. The message hit home when he finished his analogy. He said, “And so it goes that the sheep start chipping away at the sheepdog’s resources and authority until he can do almost nothing to protect the sheep. It is at this moment of weakness when the wolves, weasels and poachers attack; they see the newly vulnerable sheep and the toothless sheepdog and pounce, secure in the knowledge the sheepdog is sufficiently weakened and unable to fight back decisively. The sheepdog still fights gallantly and mightily to turn the predators back. Unfortunately, the sheepdog cannot prevent the loss of sheep to the predators. Ultimately, after a long and arduous fight, the sheepdog turns the tide. It is at this moment the sheep will start asking the sheepdog ‘Why oh why did you not protect us?’ They turn on the sheepdog and blame him for the lax security that left them vulnerable.”
“So,” I asked, “the sheep then vote to what, rearm the sheepdog with the necessary resources to defeat the predators?” “Yep, you got it.” was the Chief’s reply, “do you know what comes next?” I told him I did not know, so he continued with the story, “The sheep vote to rearm the sheepdog. They send the sheepdog off to foreign lands to defeat the predators. Unfortunately, after a while, some sheep will start questioning the need to fight the predators. These sheep will start raising protests against the sheepdog’s fight and blame the sheepdog for starting the fight. These sheep will continue to protest until action is taken to once again cut-off the sheepdog’s resources. The result of this action causes the sheepdog to withdraw in disgrace because the sheep he has fought so hard to protect and defend are now more worried about what the predators will think of them rather than the sheepdog eliminating the predators.”
That analogy amazed and dismayed me. I could not understand why the protected sheep would turn on their protector. I also had no idea that I would be at front-row center to witness this analogy in action. Prior to July 1990, I had seen scorn and hostility toward me and my fellow sailors from the civilian populace. Then, Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait and started the occupation of Kuwait. Stories came across the airwaves of Iraqi soldiers raiding Kuwaiti hospitals, ripping premature Kuwaiti infants from their incubators and bringing the incubators to Iraq for Iraqi premature infants. Reports flew from Kuwait that Iraqi soldiers were raping Kuwaiti girls as young as 6, making their parents watch until they would beat the family to death to save ammunition.
Predictably, the American military was kicked into high gear to liberate Kuwait; the sheer number of troops, planes and ships that deployed was staggering. In March of 1991, after successfully defeating the Iraqis and driving them out of Kuwait, we returned home. We returned home to heroes’ welcomes; yellow ribbons and American flags were flying everywhere and scores of banners around town exclaimed, “Thank You! We Love Our Troops!” The patriotic fervor was intoxicating! Almost instantly, we were celebrities! We were greeted with keys to the city and kisses from beauty pageant queens! I myself felt the pang of embarrassment; sure in the knowledge that I did not deserve such fan-fare. Still, I was amazed at the outpouring of gratitude from the civilian community.
Had I known ahead of time what really caused this change in attitude, I probably would have looked at it with a jaundiced eye. What happened was, after the mass deployment, all these “Military Towns” became ghost towns. Area businesses saw their income drop like a stone. With their husbands/wives/sons/daughters halfway around the world in harm’s way, the military dependents stayed home to watch the news and checked their mailboxes sometimes two and three times a day. E-mail wasn’t around yet, so our only communication was through the Post Office; and it really sucked on the ship when the helo would drop the mail bags on the flight deck and one would fall over the side. So, basically, nobody went out to town; spouses and children went to the family support group on base. Cell phones were not around yet, so families stayed by the phone, hoping upon hope they would get a call and at the same time praying they wouldn’t. The long and short of it was revenue streams dried up and a lot of businesses almost folded. THIS was the phenomenon that shook the area and made them realize the economic impact the military had on the area. The good-will that was in the air lasted for a while but, predictably, the sheep began to talk about how the sheepdog needed to be disarmed. Military bases were put on chopping blocks, force draw-downs were the order of the day. The defense budget was slashed and, again, predictably, the sheepdog was being disarmed and castrated by the sheep. There was a new wind blowing across the country; we needed to be friends with everyone in the world. We needed to apologize to the world for our callous behavior in driving the Iraqis out of Kuwait; we needed to beat our guns into plowshares and bring peace to the world!
The blood-letting of draw-downs and base closures continued unabated for what seemed like forever.
Then, on September 11, 2001, the most devastating attack ever on American soil happened. Two jet-liners flew into the World Trade Center and killed close to 3,000 innocent civilians. Once again, the sheep bleated and moaned about how the sheepdog didn’t protect them. The re-arming again ramped up as troops deployed to Afghanistan and the pro-sheepdog attitude was back.
Now, however, even though the sheepdog is still fighting valiantly on behalf of the sheep, the sheep are starting to turn on the sheepdog again. Attention whores like Cindy Sheehan get more airtime than the troops in the fight. On June 25, 2009, Michael Jackson died; and so did 13 troops in Afghanistan. These brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country barely got a mention in the press; the press fawned over the Jackson family for weeks. These troops came home in flag-draped coffins; their shattered families mourned and, in some cases, the Westboro Baptist Church from Kansas protested the funerals, yelling slogans like, “Hooray for dead soldiers!” and “God hates fags!” So, not only did some of these families not get any attention from the media, they were also subject to ridicule by the whacko crazies from Kansas.
As those families heard “Taps” played and their tears fell like a summer thunderstorm, the rest of the country was wailing about poor Michael Jackson’s death. Those families went home after the funerals to grieve and try to rebuild their shattered lives; the media was announcing over and over how Jackson’s death had such an impact on the country. For weeks the media cried and moaned about the Jacksons; the city of Los Angeles put on a memorial service (that they later had to pay for out of their already strapped coffers because the Jackson family certainly wasn’t going to foot that bill) and the entire nation grieved over the death of the “King of Pop”. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, 13 families were still grieving and dealing with the slap in the face the media dealt them by not saying a word.
Troops are coming home, their bodies mutilated by road-side bombs and suicide bombers. They are coming home to a country that cares more about an entertainer that had been suspected of molesting children than the wounded sheepdog coming home because his body is too damaged to allow him to fight on. Wounded military men and women languish in hospitals that are rife with moldy walls, rats, and God knows what; Lindsey Lohan is in the news for weeks concerning her continued alcohol and drug abuse, rehab, and jail time. A soldier wounded in action comes home to an Army that denies he is wounded and withholds desperately needed care. The Veterans Administration withholds a disability rating, so that soldier quietly dies, waiting for a “grateful nation” to show their gratitude; Washington crows about increasing welfare and food stamps for a section of the population whose majority has never contributed anything productive to society.
The sheepdog is tired and wounded but the sheep don’t care. They will just continue kicking him until he can’t fight anymore; the “grateful nation” is in the middle of a countdown to self-destruction.
Maybe once the sheepdog is dead, the celebrities and professional athletes will rise to the occasion and take up the fight. No they won’t.

Let me know what you think.

19 August 2010

School Days, School Days...

Greetings everybody! Yes, I have been away for a long time and I don't blame you if you don't read my rantings anymore. Thing is, there has been so much going on that it has been very difficult to to write without turning into a raving lunatic...please forgive me. As I am sure a lot of you know, I have decided to go back to college and make good use of my remaining GI Bill eligibility. My decision was not arrived at easily, nor was my choice of schools (I will tell you which school in a bit); and that is why I am writing this tonight. This is a very interesting, albeit a long,story.

You see, back when I retired from active duty (US Navy) in 2007, I applied to University of Phoenix for a 2-year degree in Information Technology. My experiences were, well, a little less than ideal. Apparently, University of Phoenix does not mind having students who cannot put together a coherent thought, much less a sentence, on paper, as long as they can pay the tuition. I received my Associate's Degree in Information Technology in October 2008; I felt an enormous sense of accomplishment! At least, until, companies started laughing at my "degree".

So, I did nothing in 2009 and for most of 2010, until I thought that maybe I would go to the local Community College here in Brandon, MS. I picked up a catalog from Hinds County Community College and found quite a few certificate courses that interested me. I thought it couldn't hurt if I brushed up my welding skills and electrical skills. Uhhh....yeah....about that...my experience with enrolling at HCC was not good, it was not ok, in fact it was possibly the worst experience of my life. I arrived at the Admittance Office to fill out the application and order my official transcripts and was met with stone-cold silence. Nothing. Nada. I'm still not sure if the ladies in there just didn't want to help me or they didn't know how but either way, I was stone-walled mercilessly. When I had trouble getting my unofficial transcripts to print, the antiquated system just did not want to comply and imploded. When I asked for help to use another terminal, again, I was met with nothing, nada. Once my official transcripts arrived, I received a letter from HCC telling me I was accepted on a conditional basis; evidently, my Navy transcript and my transcript from University of Phoenix (3.91 GPA, thank you very much) were not enough for me to enroll in the welding CERTIFICATE program. When I asked about this, I was told there was no proof I had taken English.

YES, you heard me correctly! According to the admittance office at Hinds County Community College, I could not attend their WELDING CERTIFICATE program because I could not prove I took ENGLISH! The fight over this was exhausting and, even though I prevailed, I still had to go toe-to-toe with the counselor because, evidently I was going to be expected to attend one class on Monday and Wednesday, then another class on Tuesday and Thursday, each class from 5pm to 11pm...this while working 8am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday (a 40 hour week)! Now, I don't know about you but, to me, that seems a bit excessive. I was still in the middle of this battle when the battle over the Montgomery GI Bill began brewing. I bet you're sitting there asking, "What the hell is he talking about?". Well, it goes like this; I called and emailed the Hinds County VA rep several times, but, my calls and emails were never returned. I went to the campus to speak with the VA rep, but the VA rep wasn't there (on TWO visits!) and it wasn't known when he or she would be back. So, eventually I said forget it and stopped altogether. In retrospect, I'm not surprised by this, although I cannot figure out why a state that has an astronomical high school dropout rate would make it so difficult to get into school.

Things looked bleak for a long time after this. I live near Jackson, MS, which we all know is Mississippi's Capitol City. The only other colleges in the area were three "Christian" (no, thank-you) colleges and Jackson State (another no, thank-you); Mississippi State is in Starkville and Ole Miss is in Oxford and living in Brandon makes it untenable, to say the least, to attend these schools. Enter Tulane University! (Yes, THAT Tulane, from New Orleans! Taa-Daa sound right here!) An announcement had been made earlier this year that Tulane University was opening a School of Continuing Studies in Madison, which is only about 30 minutes from my home! Browsing their site, I saw quite a few degree opportunities that interested me, so I applied online and sent my $25 application fee. Guess what happened? I was called that same day!!! Holy Crap, you mean they actually CALLED ME?!? YES, they DID!!!

On the phone with an advisor, I was given the address where my official transcripts could be sent and I was given an email address and phone numbers of all people I would speak with in the process of registering...imagine that! The very next day, I received an e-mail telling me an account was set up for me as I was now a student of Tulane University! I called the Madison office several times with many questions and each time I was met with a warm greeting and enthusiastic help! I called the VA rep in Biloxi and was told I should fax my DD-214 (this is a document that verifies military service) and he would take care of the rest! I did this, and two days later, I received an e-mail from the VA telling me an application for benefits had been filed by Tulane University! I attended the Student Orientation this past Tuesday and went back to the office Wednesday to sign the forms that tell the VA what degree I am pursuing. I initially wanted to pursue a Bachelor's in Journalism but was disappointed when I was informed that particular degree would not be possible in Madison. Before the disappointment showed on my face, the nice lady at the counter told me I could pursue a Bachelor's in Media Arts. Basically, Media Arts is Journalism but with a few other areas include, such as Graphic Design, etc.

So, dear friends, come this Monday, August 23, 2010, I will be a student at Tulane University studying Media Arts. The excitement I feel right now is almost impossible to contain! The way Tulane welcomed me and assisted me in all facets of enrollment, registration, Montgomery GI Bill benefits, and confirmation of courses registration, I cannot believe I ever thought about going to Hinds. It's amazing what can happen when you apply to a REAL university, rather than a Community College...especially here in Mississippi

02 May 2010


Ok, I know I haven't been here in over a month. Fact is, I and the men I work with had been furloughed over the month of April due to circumstances beyond our control. During this furlough, I accomplished several projects that were overdue here around my house like sanding and painting my back porch and other areas desperately in need of paint. A result of all this work was I spent a lot of time at various hardware and paint stores; this post will be a summary of my observations and experiences during the month of April.

As you know, the first weekend of April was Easter weekend; my wife and I made the trek to New Orleans, like we do every Easter, to be with her family. Well, she (my wife) has a friend down there who is not very smart when it comes to money. For example; on Easter Sunday, we announced that I was going to be unemployed for April but I would be receiving half-pay and keeping my benefits. The first thing my wife's friend did was ask her if she wanted to go to to Florida for a weekend. Huh??? What??? We took a serious hit to our finances so why would we want to spend money on a weekend trip...especially when we know our income is about to be seriously cut. This little event triggered something in me; I started observing different behaviors when money is involved, like watching the "Can I Afford It?" portion of the Suze Orman Show. Hello? A person who is over $85K in debt asks Ms. Orman if he can afford to buy a $100K boat? Seriously, can you not figure out that you can't afford to spend $100K when you already owe $85K?!?!?

With all the talk of the recession, bank bailouts, tight credit, and job losses, one may think it is the greedy rich people who are to blame for the whole thing. Well that is true...to a point. You see, a lot of people around this country are losing their homes and possessions because of THEIR OWN dumbness! Now, before you take out your poison pens, you need to hear me out, ok?

When I was preparing to retire from the Navy, we made a decision to pay off all of our debts. When I received an employment offer from a company here in Mississippi, we came down to look at houses. We wanted to buy a house we could afford even if I lost my job. This is exactly what we did; we found and bought a house with a mortgage payment we could pay with my military pension so that, if I lost my job, we wouldn't have to worry. Well, right about that time-frame the housing market was red-hot; properties were being snapped up without so much as a credit or income check. The result of that was we were approached several times with statements like, "With your credit, you could get approved for a $750,000 home!" Our response was always, "We don't WANT a $750,000 home! We WANT a home we can AFFORD!"

So, when the economy started to tank and the housing bubble burst like a bubblegum bubble poked with a finger, we didn't worry one bit. While the news ran on and on about people losing their homes, jobs, and cars, we lived frugally and comfortably. The result of that was we didn't feel the bite of the recession. Well, evidently, this was not the case for a lot of people. When I would watch CNBC, MSNBC or FOX, all I would hear was how bad it was for these poor, poor people who had thousands of dollars in credit card debt and foreclosed homes.

Well let's look at things another way, ok? I temporarily lost my job and took a hit to my income so, I cut back on my spending in order to manage our money better. Even now, when I am getting ready to go back to work, I am still living under the premise of, if we can't pay cash we don't buy. Want to know something? We are living comfortably and have very few worries about the future. I'm not here to toot my own horn nor do we think like we're better than anyone else BUT what I AM here to do is to vent my frustrations with people who are in the "poor me" pity party about the recession.

A major part of why so many people are in so much financial trouble is simply because they confuse the word "right" with the word "privilege". For example, nobody has the "right" to a big house, expensive car and other various toys. Those things must be EARNED and the ONLY WAY to EARN them is to WORK and SAVE the money in order to purchase these things. Nobody has the "right" to drive a vehicle or own a cellphone or big flat screen TV. If one wishes to have these things one must WORK to get the money to purchase them! Too many people in this country think they are entitled to everything they want; the result of which is sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt!

I keep hearing rhetoric like, "We need to spend our way out of this recession." WHAT??? Did the idiots in our government not take simple math in school? Pundits out there are saying our government is spending money like drunk sailors! That statement bothers me because, unlike our elected morons, when we "drunk sailors" ran out of money we simply stopped spending! Notice, people, that I have no singled out either political party because THEY ARE BOTH TO BLAME!!! Also, MOST of the people here who are in financial trouble are there because of THEIR OWN IDIOCY! It's NOT HARD people!! If you don't have the MONEY you don't BUY whatever you want! The priorities and thought-processes in this country are so out of whack, I worry we are digging our own graves! PLEASE, SOMEBODY, bring COMMON SENSE back to our mindset!

25 March 2010

Stupidity - It's What's in Washington!

Well now, let's see...what were we talking about the other day? Hmmmmm...oh yeah, I know! We were talking about the idiocy in this country! Ok, so maybe the country is not being run by idiots...or is it?

I am in a stupor over this supposed healthcare reform. The whole time the debate has been raging over this thing, I have voiced my opinion time and time again about how bad an idea this is. So far, I have been called a racist and a gun-nut by, get this, CANADIANS! Yes kids, it's true, somewhere along the way the world decided it needed to voice its opinion of our government. Well, the only thing I can really say about that is this, HEY! WORLD! MIND YOUR OWN FREAKIN BUSINESS!!! I mean, it never stops! Any time ANYBODY publicly disagrees with the Joker-In-Chief they are branded a hateful racist! Why? That's what I want to know...why? When I talked about the rampant fraud that permeates our healthcare system now, I was called a racist...even though nothing racial ever came out of my keyboard. So, to back up my claims of fraudulent behavior, let me show you a case or two of this fraud.

A 20-something woman, who still lives with her parents and has a child, whose father she has nothing to do with, plans to move out of her parents' home because she can afford it since she has no bills. Wait, did you hear that? She has a CHILD but thinks she has no bills! When it is pointed out to her that her child will need shots, food, clothes, etc. her reply was, "Well my child is on Medicaid so all the medical stuff is free...and I got WIC to get food." Okay, so there's nothing wrong with a single mom getting a helping hand, right? Sure, until you find out this girl has a job that offers medical benefits but she wants to stay on Medicaid so she can use her money to do important things like party. Uh-huh...so we pay taxes to provide Medicaid and WIC for this?

Here is another one for you. This is the case of a married couple that defrauds the system and thinks nothing of it. The husband has a decent job that pays modestly but his wife does not work. The reasoning is the husband believes a woman's place is in the home; this is Mississippi, after all, and this kind of thinking is still popular here (remind me to tell you the one where my wife overheard a man on a cell-phone outside Wal-Mart one day). The wife starts going through the "change of life" and seeks medical care...but they don't use his insurance; nope, Medicaid picks up the tab for the whole thing and they pay nothing. So, again, we pay taxes to provide Medicaid for this?

Now, before all you good little Obamabots (yeah, I know, the bloom has fallen off the rose for me and it is only now, when it is too late, that I realize the folly of my thinking, but you can be sure I will not be repeating this mistake in 2012) get out your poison pens, let me clue you in on something; there are ABSOLUTELY NO RACIAL TONES IN THESE TWO CASES I HAVE DESCRIBED!!! No, all I am pointing out is that the system we have NOW is so expensive because there are more people like the ones I described here that are draining the government tit dry than there are like us that WORK and PAY TAXES and OBEY THE LAW.

So here's an idea; instead of passing a thousand-page bill that is going to cost nearly a TRILLION DOLLARS, why don't we take a long, hard look at the fraud happening now? Why don't we channel resources into rooting out these fraudsters and PUT THEM IN JAIL? Why can't we imprison the doctors that double-bill or bill for tests and procedures that were never performed? Why can't we take the insurance companies out of the stock-market, force them to be non-profit so they can do better things like FOCUSING on the people they insure rather than their shareholders and their own corporate pockets? Why can't we do these things? Tell me why, I really want to know, because I am willing to bet if we did these things, there would be more than enough money in the Treasury to truly offer universal healthcare to everybody...and that's really not a bad idea, is it?

20 March 2010

What Happened To My Country???

I have been getting more and more aggravated lately. I sat here for days trying to figure out what was aggravating me so much and I think I finally hit it. Our country is endangered...no, I am not ranting against immigration, Democrats, Republicans or anything like that. No, what I AM ranting about is the weakening of American society. Essentially, what I am saying is, we are turning into a nation of pantie-wastes! Thanks to the misguided, inane notion that society needs to make life as fair as possible, we are creating a generation of ignorant, weak, entitlement-minded idiots!

When I was a kid, I played Little League Baseball. We had to tryout for a position on the team and if you weren't good enough, you did not make the cut, period; there was no thought that every kid should get to play. No, if you couldn't hit, catch or throw you didn't make the team. The reasoning was like this; we are competing against other teams for a Championship! Yes, people, we had a Championship where the two BEST teams competed for a TROPHY! The losing team did NOT get a trophy nor did every kid on the winning team get an individual trophy! Do you want to know why? Really, do you want to know? Simply put, the trophy was a TEAM TROPHY! Every kid on the winning team worked together to win; simple and fair. What I think happened, though, was some of the kids who were not good enough grew up and became parents. Once their kids were old enough to tryout, they remembered the "pain" of not being picked. So, they took over youth sports and changed the rules so that every kid who tried out made the team and every kid on every team got a trophy just for being there because this would help their "self-esteem". Gone is the idea of TEAMWORK and PRACTICE. Why bother coaching and practicing when everybody is going to get a trophy anyway?

That's not the only thing that bothers me today about society; no, there is so much more but the baseball analogy is the broadest description for the problems we have today. Check this out; it used to be that in school, if you failed you got an "F" on your report card and could be held back if necessary. Nowadays there are no "F"'s anymore; they've been replaced with kinder, gentler marks like "I" for Incomplete...and nowadays it seems like kids today are not TAUGHT. They are not taught to think critically and study; they are taught instead on how to pass a standardized test and they are asked how do they feel about a certain subject. HUH??? To quote George Carlin, "We have no more stupid people, we now have "challenged" or "learning disabled"; nobody is crippled or retarded anymore, we now have "handicapable" or "differently abled"; people don't die anymore, they "pass on" or "expire". This is where liberal thought and political correctness came from. Essentially, the people who couldn't cut it on the playing field as kids grew up and changed the rules to what THEY thought was fair.

It's not just the liberals and political correctness that are ruining us. Nope, the conservative, Bible-thumping crowd is just as bad. These are the ones who try to protect their kids from EVERYTHING. They ranted about parental advisories on video games, the v-chip in televisions, and the television and movie rating systems. These are the ones who, in the insane thought that teaching kids sex-education will cause them to have sex. These are the morons who want this country to go back to 1950. They are so stuck in their mindset that they oppose growth and learning, spurn science and Darwinism, and literally want to go back to Ward and June Cleaver or Andy Griffith. This notion is just as dangerous as the misguided liberal notion that we can make the world absolutely fair for everybody.

I knew we were in trouble when, before a show on Discovery Channel, I read a disclosure that roughly read as, "Some material may be inappropriate for some audiences", I wondered what kind of show it was...are you ready for this? The show was called "Two Weeks in Hell" and covered the two week testing period to be eligible for Green Beret training in the Army. HUH??? I watched the show and for the life of me I could not find ANYTHING that could POSSIBLY be inappropriate or graphic. A bunch of soldiers being grilled and examined to see if they have the basic skills and mindset needed to endure Green Beret training and eventually BE a part of the elite unit. I can only think that they had to put the disclaimer up because somewhere in America some IDIOT was offended that the Army would not accept everybody who applied.

Today, it seems like the majority of Americans think they are "owed" something; they are "entitled" to have everything they want. No personal responsibility, no rules, no guidelines, no kind of regulation at all because they are ENTITLED to live however they want. Normally, I would not have a problem with that; the Declaration of Independence says it perfectly when it says we all have a right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". The PROBLEM lies with the last of that trilogy; PURSUIT of happiness. It doesn't say everybody is entitled to a trophy just for being on a team nor does it say everybody is entitled to a 2,200 square foot home with a 2 1/2 car garage. All it says is everybody has the right to PURSUE those things. Everybody has the right to educate themselves and work hard to acquire the things that would make them happy. Life is not fair, people, DEAL WITH IT! You are trying so hard to preserve your kids' self-esteem that you are crippling them! You are preventing them from ever experiencing the satisfaction of having built something or earned something! STOP!!!

Remember this, without the bad there can be no good! Without death there is no life! Without grief there can be no joy! Without effort there can be no appreciation! If you give your kids everything they never learn how to EARN! If you protect your kids from everything bad, they will not know what to avoid when they are grown! When you give welfare to the poor, you take away their dignity and motivation! Changing education to focus more on how the child feels will severely affect the child's ability to THINK! So make your kids play outside! Let them play cowboys and indians without worrying about offending the indians! Let them climb trees and ride their bicycles without knee, ankle and shoulder pads! Let them fall down and skin their knees! Let them settle their playground differences themselves...even if it means a fistfight! In other words, people, let your kids GROW and LEARN!

This isn't the end, people, stay tuned for more ranting...

02 March 2010

Stupidity and Ignorance: The Latest Fad

I have been shaking my head at recent news reports on television, internet and in print. It seems that there has been a rise in auto accidents lately due to, get this, WINTER WEATHER! Oh my goodness, imagine that, people do not know how to drive in snow and ice! That's not all, folks, the Supreme Court is now hearing a case from Chicago arguing that Chicago's 28 year old ban on handguns is unconstitutional. Can anyone tell me what these two stories have in common and how do they apply to the title of this post? Simply put, it seems to me that ignorance, stupidity and/or apathy are what reigns supreme in the United States today.

So, let's see if I can make my point to you clear. Let's start with cars. Nowadays it seems, at first glance, that automotive technology such as anti-lock brakes, front and side airbags, and now auto-braking systems are wonderful advances that would cut down the number of accidents and related fatalities on our roads and highways. You'd think they would...but they won't. Nope, the smarter they make our cars, the dumber we get. It's not too hard to see this principle in action. Back in the 60's and early 70's, cars had steel dashboards and lap seatbelts if they had seatbelts at all. Every bump and pothole was felt inside the car because the stiff suspensions transferred the motion from the shocks and struts through the frame to the driver. I'm not saying there weren't distracted drivers back then, I'm just saying that back then most people were careful when they drove because there were no safety systems then.

Now look at today; suspension systems are so sophisticated now that road feel is almost non-existent. Cruise control, anti-lock brakes and airbags lull drivers into a false sense of security. People think that modern technology has made their cars idiot-proof. Again, this is not hard to see; take a recent snowstorm we had here in Mississippi. Six inches of snow fell that Friday. I know of at least one person who professed to running off the road several times that day...his full-size pickup with mudder tires couldn't handle the slippery conditions (I think it may also have been his speed, but, hey, that's just me). Automakers boast about traction control, all-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes, and now, auto-braking systems (Volvo). Should be real safe yet the number and severity of auto accidents is on the rise. It's not the car's fault, people; it's the IDIOT BEHIND THE WHEEL! This is a PRIME example of stupidity and ignorance.

Now let's look at the Second Amendment (again). Chicago has had a handgun ban in effect for 28 years, yet the South Side has become increasingly violent over this time. Some Chicago residents have challenged the ban and this case is now in front of the Supreme Court (McDonald v. Chicago, 08-1521). Mayor Richard Daley has even come out and stated that government has, "...for health and safety to pass reasonable laws dealing with the protection and health of the people of the city of Chicago." What the good mayor leaves out is the rising violent crime rate in his fair city. These are not "gun nuts" that are suing the city. Nope these Chicago residents are, specifically, ordinary citizens. The following quote from the AP article says, "A couple worries that burglars who tried to break in when the wife was home alone will return. A retiree fears the drug dealers and junkies just outside his window will attempt — again — to steal what he spent a lifetime earning. And a businessman wants to protect himself as he could when he was a police officer." Wow, what a nutty bunch, huh? The gun-grabbers are, once again, predicting dire straits and a return to "The Wild West" if citizens are allowed to own and carry guns; despite mounting evidence that proves the opposite is true. It's not hard to see; if a criminal thinks you are waiting inside your house with a 12 gauge, said criminal is going to think twice about breaking into your home.

So here we sit, fighting the ignorance and stupidity of the Brady bunch and the majority of Democrat politicians who think they have to control how we live. Now we are also fighting the same ignorant and stupid Dems who want to control how we drive. Common sense is dead in this country, folks. We have become a nation of lazy idiots that no longer possess the ability to think critically about situations without relying on idiot talking heads in the media and in Washington. Heaven help us.

25 February 2010

Real Biker Or Not?

Okay folks, I am going to be incognito for a while after tomorrow. I am going in to have my right hand operated on to repair the carpal tunnel syndrome that has plagued me for more than 10 years now. I am finally tired of living with the pain, phantom itching, numbness and all the other good good feelings that come with CTS. That's not what I am writing about in this post though, friends. Nope, I want to go back to an earlier posting of mine concerning "poser" bikers. Why do I want to re-hash this, you ask? Well, it's not because I want to beat a dead horse; no, I want to talk about an experience I had tonight.

Okay, it starts like this; this week I have had to stay away from certain painkillers and anti-inflammatories for seven days because of the procedure I am undergoing tomorrow. Those of you who know me personally know that I am rated at 70% disabled by the VA; a direct result of that is I take a mini-pharmacy of pills twice daily to keep the pain at bay. So, I have not been in the best of moods this week and neither has my wife because on top of my sunny disposition, she has been dealing with a cold this week. Yeah, it has not been pleasant in our household this past week. One thing we have not done a lot of this week is cook dinner, mainly because we have been both feeling so bad that cooking was out of the question and tonight was no exception.

Down here in the bucolic town that is Brandon, Mississippi, restaurants are not something we have a lot of. There is one little place here that makes pretty good sandwiches and things so we called them and ordered our dinner. I drove to this little place and, being a biker myself, was kind of surprised to see two brand stinkin-new Harleys parked in front...especially when the low tonight is supposed to go down to the 20's. I walked into the place and saw about two dozen people sitting around, swilling beer and eating crawfish in biker leathers. Now...wait a minute...there were only two bikes out front so how do we have 20 or more in here dressed like they've been riding in cold weather? Well, remember what we talked about the other day about the difference between a poser and a biker? Yeah, most of these "bikers" had driven their cages (cars, to the non-biker) for their "bike night". I noticed on the back of a couple of vests a patch that said "Spirit Riders" and an indian dream-catcher. Shaking my head to myself, I chuckled a bit at just how pathetic this scene actually was.

So, I walked up to the counter and it was easy to see they were slammed, so I did a "Helllooooo?" a couple of times to try and get someone's attention. It was at this point that one of these "bikers" must have decided I needed a talking-to and suggested to me that I try a little patience. I am pretty sure you guys out there know the look I gave this person...you know it; I gave him the "what business is it of yours?" looks. I finally got one of the girls' attention and asked about the order we had phoned in. Just a couple of minutes and it'll be ready, we promise. No problem, I said...hell as long as they know I'm here and they're doing their best, I have nothing to complain about, right? So I stood there at the counter, quietly waiting for my order and being alone inside myself.

Then I heard something...I wasn't sure I heard correctly but now my ears were perked up and it came again. Mister "bad-ass biker" who drove his pickup truck to "bike night" was speaking loud enough about the "asshole at the counter". Seeing as I was the only one actually AT the counter, it wasn't hard to deduce he was talking about me. Maybe, I thought, he doesn't realize that I am a biker too. I mean, I drove my truck and I was wearing my gray fleece and was totally devoid of any type of clothing or accessory that would have advertised me as a biker. I tuned my ears to the loudmouth and, sure as hell, he was talking about me and singling me out, trying to bait me into a fight.

Well, you know, I am just old enough to know that the worst thing I could do would be to acknowledge this guy and then have to take on him and 15 of his poser buddies, so, I stood quietly at the counter and decided on my plan of action. See, I am not normally the one who starts the fight now; rather, I am the one who usually ends the fight. So, I listened to him talking a little bit louder each time he said something and mentally prepared myself to knock this idiot out of his boots if he so much as touches me. Finally, my order came, I paid for it, and turned to leave. I did shake my head and smile a little smile as I walked past...I couldn't help it, I tried to resist but I couldn't help it; right when he was looking directly at me, I very clearly mouthed, "ignorant f***s". Then I walked outside to my truck.

I didn't sit and actually wait for anybody to come out but I did move just a wee bit slower than normal, just to see. Nobody came out, I got in my truck and left. Driving home, I laughed out loud as I thought about the absurdity of the situation. A bunch of guys, dressed out in leathers, chaps and bandannas, acting like bad-asses and only TWO actually rode their bikes out...and ONE of them that rode was a woman. You know, I think Trey Parker and Matt Stone got it right on their SouthPark episode. "Bikers" like those guys...yep, they're fags...or posers...or ignorant redneck hillbilly pretenders...take your pick...they're pathetic little posers.

19 February 2010

Get A Grip And Go Away Sarah Palin!!!!!

Okay, look; I don't know about anybody else but Sarah Palin is proving over and over again that she is nothing but a self-serving, two-faced idiot bitch who has absolutely no business receiving the publicity she has. I'm sure you all know by now about how Sarah and her daughter Bristol excoriated the creators of "Family Guy" over their Valentine's Day episode. In the episode Chris meets a girl with Down Syndrome; she tells him she is the daughter of “the former governor of Alaska.”

Well now, that was just completely unacceptable to Ms. Palin and her daughter; their righteous anger was flowing like lava from Kilauea. I think they were a little over the top but I will let you decide for yourself; Sarah's vitriolic statement included lines such as the “Family Guy...really isn’t funny” and that this was the work of “cruel, cold-hearted people.” Bristol, the daughter, wrote that the “Family Guy” writers were making fun of her brother and family and they were "heartless jerks.” WHOA!!! HOLD ON!! Now wait just a minute!! This is the same idiot that vehemently attacked Rahm Emanuel for saying an act was retarded, that that was hate speech and then gave Rush Limbaugh a pass when he called liberals retards!!! For Pete's sake; are you telling me that Sarah Palin, during her campaign for Vice President, denounced political correctness but now has TWICE come out and demanded political correctness? Why, because PC is bad unless it concerns her family and then PC must be observed?!? Guess what sweetheart, YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS!!!

Now look, people, personally I can't stand political correctness in any form. I think one of the biggest tragedies in this country is that people have forgotten how to be self-deprecating. I'm also not a fan of Family Guy; not for any kind of pc reason, I just don't think the show is that good. I may have just become a fan of the show, though, thanks to Andrea Friedman. She wrote a letter to the New York Times saying Sarah Palin doesn't have a sense of humor. Ms. Friedman is a 39 year old woman with Down Syndrome who did the voice-over for the Family Guy character.

This is the letter she wrote, in full, for some reason the "liberal" New York Times didn't print the whole thing:

"My name is Andrea Fay Friedman. I was born with Down syndrome. I played the role of Ellen on the "Extra Large Medium" episode of Family Guy that was broadcast on Valentine's day. Although they gave me red hair on the show, I am really a blonde. I also wore a red wig for my role in " Smudge" but I was a blonde in "Life Goes On". I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor. I thought the line "I am the daughter of the former governor of Alaska" was very funny. I think the word is "sarcasm".

In my family we think laughing is good. My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life. My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes."

Got that, people? This lady thinks Sarah Palin is grubbing for sympathy and votes in the worst way possible; Palin is prostituting her son to garner the votes she needs in order to make a run for the Oval Office in 2012. Andrea Friedman knows what Sarah Palin is all about!! I loved her letter but I particularly loved the last sentence of her letter; she knows EXACTLY what type of person Sarah Palin is.

The biggest problem I have with this is, THERE ARE STILL PEOPLE WHO LOVE HER! WHY?!? How can ANYONE still support this pathetic waste of space? MY GOD, what does she have to do to finally convince the citizens of this country that she is an ignorant buffoon? I mean, COME ON, how in the world can ANYBODY support this moron after this!?!?

17 February 2010

Biker or Poser?

Tell me, dear readers...what, exactly is your idea of a biker? If you don't own a motorcycle or have never even ridden a motorcycle, don't fret; I still want to know your thoughts as well. Why am I asking this question? I'm sure you all would like to know, so...here goes.

It seems there is an awful lot of debate, lately, in the "biker world" about the differences between a "biker" and a "poser". It seems there are many people out there who ride motorcycles consider themselves "bikers" and anyone who is different from them is a "poser". Now, I'm pretty sure some of you out there are thinking, "What's the damned difference?" or "Who cares?" and, normally would agree with you because, to tell the truth, I don't give a damn, but the whole thing is bothersome to me; kind of like the chicken or the egg debate.

See, I ride a 2004 Harley Electra-Glide Standard (FLHT to those "in the know"); I bought it used after my 2003 DynaWideGlide (FXDWG) was run over in 2006 in our apartment parking lot (we lived in Virginia Beach at the time) by a sweet little 60-something lady who SWORE it wasn't her fault...even though her car was basically PARKED on top of my bike. My wife rode a Honda Shadow Spirit 750; hers was totalled by the same sweet little old lady. My wife thought, at first, she wanted a Harley, so we went hunting. After sitting on several different makes and styles of Harleys, she looked at me and, almost in tears asked if I would be upset that she wanted another Honda. My answer to her was, "You can have whatever bike you want. Why would I be upset?" We ended up buying a 2004 Honda VTX 1300 for my wife; she loved it and loves riding it whenever we get the chance to ride together.

That's part of what got me started wondering about the whole biker/poser thing. When we lived in Virginia Beach, we had a lot of friends we rode with all the time; most of them rode Harleys but there also were Hondas, Triumphs and various other street machines. Sometimes when we were getting ready to ride, one of our friends would playfully ask my wife if her bike was running; that, to me, is fun humor shared by a group of people who just want to ride. They didn't care what you rode, as long as you rode. Well, every once in a while we would be at a local watering hole and some jagoff would mouth off about the Honda not belonging amongst the Harleys; most of the time, said jagoff was laughed at and told to shut up but...sometimes...there was that one a-hole who wouldn't let it go...and that's when I would have a problem.

There are some out there who think that unless you turn your own wrenches on your own bike, you are a poser; others think if you wear a Harley t-shirt, jacket, gloves and boots, you are a poser; and still others think that if you only ride on the weekends or you don't ride a Harley, you are a poser. THIS is where I have the heartburn with these idiots and this posting, my friends, is my way of telling those idiots to shut up and ride.

I wear Harley t-shirts...I have a Harley leather jacket and gloves I wear sometimes when it is cold out; I have also ridden from Virginia to upstate New York and back, and to New Orleans, then Texas, and back to Virginia. I've ridden in searing heat, bitter cold, thunderstorms, rain showers, and snow storms. Living in Mississippi, I ride to South Carolina in May for Spring Bike Week and then back to Mississippi. Yet, because I wear a Harley t-shirt and wear a Harley jacket and Harley gloves, some think I am a poser; the funny thing is the only time it comes up is when I'm online in a biker forum...for some reason these "men" don't say it to my face.

My brutha from anutha mutha, Iron Horse Cowboy (who writes the blog "The View From Downrange") is another guy who is called a poser alot, although not to his face either. My friend rides a really nice Harley Nightster, which is a variant of the original Sportster; he wears Harley clothing and Harley boots...and he also rides his Nightster from his place in South Carolina to his dad's in North Carolina regularly. If you think that's not such a long trip, you try it on a motorcycle and then tell me it's not that far. He rides to work every chance he gets and when Spring Bike Week comes around, I ride to his place and then we ride to Myrtle Beach together.

I think you can get what my definition of a biker and a poser is...can't you? Simply put, if you own a motorcycle and you ride it, you are a biker...no matter what you wear or ride, no matter how often or how far you ride, you are still a biker. A poser, in my book, is one who wears the clothing and hangs out in the bars but doesn't ride a bike or even own a bike. Personally, I don't understand people like that; why would you want to dress and act like a biker if you don't have a bike? My friend IHC and I have the same opinions on this subject; I want to know what you think.

10 February 2010

You Are So..."R" Word!

I am tired of being subjected to protestations when some group announces it is offended by....a WORD!!! Gosh, heavens no, it's not PC to use that word! Today, the word is "retarded". You know this word, it was uttered by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, IN A PRIVATE MEETING, when he called liberal activists who wanted to run ads against conservative Democrats "f'ing retarded". This was in a PRIVATE MEETING, people. Do you understand the word PRIVATE and what it means? Well, somehow his speech leaked out to the media and an outrage ensued.

Guess who excoriated Mr. Emanuel over his used of the word "retarded"? Why none other than Sarah Palin, of course! Ms. Palin loudly declared the "R" word was little more than "...a slur on all God's children with cognitive and developmental disabilities...". Ms. Palin, not satisfied with her initial response also likened the word "retarded" to the dreaded "N" word and demanded President Obama fire Mr. Emanuel on the spot! Predictably, all the little Palin automatons (translation, her adoring public) joined in and a nationwide protest erupted.

So egregious was this protest that the one Conservative every Liberal loves to hate, Rush Limbaugh, on his radio show, "...lamented that "our political correct society is acting like some giant insult's taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards, retards."" WHOA!!! Hold on a minute, Palin is supposedly upset at the use of that word, right? Surely, she would chastise Limbaugh as well as Rah Emanuel, right?

Not so fast, campers! Not a public scold is in sight and will likely never come from Ms. Palin against Mr. Limbaugh. Why would she do this, you may ask. Hasn't she said before that the use of the word retarded is"...a slur on all God's children with cognitive and developmental disabilities..."? So, why would she not scold Limbaugh in public but pounced on Emanuel? WHY?!?

It's simple, really; I can tell you why right now. Follow me closely; Sarah Palin has not publicly scolded Rush for his use of the word because HE REPRESENTS THE WHACKO UBER-CONSERVATIVE MORONS IN THIS COUNTRY WHO ADORE HER!!! So, not only is Sarah Palin an IDIOT MORON, it seems she is now a TWO-FACED LYING BITCH!!! Come on, people, can't you see this?!? She comes out when a liberal Democrat utters the dreaded word and loudly excoriates him, screaming for his dismissal but when a conservative Republican utters the word, it's okay. So, I guess she can call her son a retard but nobody else can...unless they are conservative MORONS who desperately want to put her in the White House in 2012.

What is it going to take to make you idiots open your eyes and see Palin for what she really is? Sarah Palin is EXACTLY like the religious whackos who thump their Bibles and proclaim abortion is the murder of a child and then turn around and ignore the children that are already here and desperately need their help! You know, I hear all over this country there are people out there who think Obama is selling our country down the river...but ignore the fact that we were sold out by Dubya when he declared war on Iraq. The Republicans are just as guilty as the Democrats of trying to destroy this country...you CAN'T pick a side and cherry-pick your cause. If Sarah Palin really was so upset about Emanuel, she should be out there now, declaring her disappointment in and outrage over her old friend Limbaugh.

So...why would anyone vote for her in 2012???

02 February 2010

Can A Man Be A Vegetarian?

What is it about a vegetarian that annoys me? I have never really thought of asking this question because, frankly, I don’t know any vegetarians. I guess I should be even more specific; what is it about a MALE vegetarian that annoys me to no end? Don’t get me wrong here, I am not anti-vegetable; in fact I will eat practically any vegetable presented to me, except for brussels sprouts which are inedible and evil. I am not anti-vegetarian, either; live and let live, in my opinion.

Every now and then though, I come across one who is smugly self-righteous and obnoxiously whiny. Especially the ones who declare they are vegetarian for “ethical” reasons. You know the ones I’m talking about; they think it’s cruel to raise animals for food and we are evil because we enjoy eating these animals. I don’t know how many of you out there read Men’s Health…I personally don’t subscribe to this rag, but I do read it on occasion when there is one among the stacks of magazines in my doctor’s waiting room or dentist’s office, etc. (You get the idea)

So it is that I came across the February 2010 issue of Men’s Health and the cover asks the question, if a man is a vegetarian, does he remain a man. Curiously, I flipped to the article, written by Jonathan Safran Foer. In this article Mr. Foer whines and cries; carrying on like a 6 year old in the grocery store who can’t have the candy he wants. He laments a situation he created by not telling his host he is a vegetarian and that would be forgivable, except that he doesn’t stop. In his writing, it seems he is indignant that his host didn’t provide vegetarian alternatives. Then he goes on to label meat-eaters (aka, the rest of us) as cruel, crude beings who take pleasure in knowing the poor animals are made to suffer greatly in order to provide sustenance for mankind.

That is what irritates me; nimrods like Mr. Foer who believe their way is the only way to be. He crows proudly what matters to him matters and he will not “sacrifice his values” no matter whose house he finds himself in. He claims he does not want to be a proselytizer but that is exactly what he does in this article. This is exactly what I don’t understand. Why is it that vegetarians feel they must publicly proclaim their diet of choice and become offended when those around them do not agree? Why do they feel the need to preach to us? Why is it that, in the course of my life, the vegetarians I have met are almost militant; protesting in front of Burger King or Mc Donald’s (at least in California, they do)? Whatever happened to live and let live? I eat meat, you don’t, so what?

Look, I like veggies; my wife and I eat veggies every day at dinner and, yes, sometimes we have vegetarian meals. That, however, does not give us license to force anybody else to eat vegetarian meals. I have no problem cooking vegetarian alternatives if I know in advance who’s coming to my house to eat. I am just irritated with guys like Mr. Foer. Do you want to know my opinion, Mr. Foer? My opinion is NO; you are NOT a man, not in even the slightest splinter of the meaning of what it is to be a man. You don’t have to eat meat to be a man but you certainly must NOT whine when you feel you are offended because the world will not re-create itself to fit your ideal.

20 January 2010

The UN Wants Your Guns!!!

Dear Readers,

As you all know, I supported President Obama when he was Candidate Obama and voted for him in 2008. You all know that, at that time, I was completely disgusted with the Conservative Right and the Bible Thumper Whacko Uber-Right. Their rhetoric, hypocrisy and basic repugnance so disgusted me I ran to the left and consistently attacked the right. My disgust with the Conservative Right is still palpable but I am also thoroughly disgusted with the Liberal Left.

Back in May of 2009, I had been afforded the privilege of riding my Harley to South Carolina to see a very good, very close friend. The purpose of the ride was to attend the Spring Bike Week in Myrtle Beach. I rode to my friend's house in SC and on the very next day we left together for Myrtle Beach. I think you may know which friend I am talking about; for those of you who don't, the man I am talking about is the closest thing I have ever had to a brother, Traveller, also known as Iron Horse Cowboy. You can read his thoughts at his blog, The View From Downrange. My brother, IHC, and I are, at first glance, on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Where he is a conservative, I am a libertarian. I hold some decidedly liberal views on some topics while he holds very conservative views on the same topics. One would think we should be enemies but that belief is as far from the truth as one can get.

So it came to be that, in May 2009, we could be found sitting in front of a favored biker watering hole enjoying a frosty adult beverage discussing, of all things, politics. During this conversation, the topic of the Second Amendment inevitably arose. One thing he and I have in common is a profound belief the Second Amendment is one of the most important amendments in the Constitution. The guaranteed, God-given right to keep and bear arms is a major part of why this country is as great as it is. I do remember that, in the face of mounting evidence of President Obama's quest to repeal the Second Amendment, I told my friend and brother the only thing that would make me leave the Democratic Party would be an attack on the Second Amendment.

At that point in time, I was convinced Obama was in support of the Second Amendment. I mean, look, he lifted the carry restrictions in National Parks! It's no surprise that the dire consequences of wild west style gunfights predicted by the gun-control crowd never materialized...but that's another post another time. I firmly believed that Obama would stand by his promise to honor and protect the Second Amendment...oh how wrong I was. Now, I know that I have always argued to let facts speak for themselves, especially when wild claims of Obama being a muslim or not being a true American citizen were rampant. I did this because I believe in researching and finding the truth rather than blindly believing what the idiot talking heads on tv are shilling.

It was that day in May when I told my friend he was wrong about Obama. I used a paper I read some years ago as my proof that there was no intent to repeal the Second Amendment as we know it. My proof was a brief dated April 2005, written by Marjorie Brown for Congressional Review. Granted, this brief was written before Obama took office, but it was the last paragraph that told me the US would not be bound by this treaty unless the President sent it to the US Senate and the Senate agreed to it. I even looked up the 2006 “Myths and Facts” press statement called “Setting The Record Straight” about the UN and small arms. This piece read, roughly, that the "myth" was a conference is being convened to draft a global treaty to ban ownership of firearms, but the "fact" was the review conference is not about banning small arms or prohibiting people from owning legal weapons.

Granted, this hype started around 2005 when W was the President. I know he instructed John Bolton to vote against this treaty because the United States was never going to flirt with the possibility of a worldwide ban on private gun ownership. But it is 2010 now. We have a new President now who, it seems, sent the Secretary of State to the UN to express support the treaty and subsequent ban. On the surface, this looks horrible! There will be a BAN on my guns and I will never be allowed to own one again! In fact, there is no shortage of people who believe this!

The only issue I have with this argument is that the 10th Amendment automatically reserves government power to relegate such issues to the states, not the Oval Office and Congress. So regardless of Obama's power to negotiate treaties, he cannot use that power as a back door to force US citizens to comply with global gun laws. One of the greatest figures in American history, Thomas Jefferson, eloquently expressed this fact; here are some quotes from the man himself:

"...for surely the President and Senate cannot do by treaty what the whole government is interdicted from doing in any way." --Thomas Jefferson, Parliamentary Manual, 1812.

"Where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy." --Thomas Jefferson: Draft Kentucky Resolutions, 1798. ME 17:386

The Constitution stands in the way of any pro-gun control movement and the recent election results in Massachusetts have effectively ended the filibuster-proof majority the Democrats held in the Senate.

Now I know when you read this, some of you might think I am still clinging to the hope that Obama will actually DO something positive while he is in office and I still support the Democrats. Well you are wrong if that is what you believe. My political affiliation has changed to Independent. Simply put, even though the Constitution ensures nothing like this supposed proposed ban will happen, the Left's assault on the Second Amendment will never end...ever...and THAT is why I am turning away from Obama and the Democratic Party.

12 January 2010

Game Change, Regime Change, and Spare Change!!

I have been trying to come up with a decent posting here for you to read but it seemed like nothing interested me. Sure, I could have put up some sappy year-end recap and make a Happy New Year wish to all of you, but I just couldn't bring myself to actually do that. So, dear readers, I give you a three part blog post that will surely entertain you!

The CIA Is At It Again!

This just in from Iran; professor Massoud Ali-Mohammadi , a particle physicist who supported moderate candidate Mirhossein Mousavi in the country’s disputed elections, was killed by a remote-detonated bomb wired to a motorcycle. Iran’s government is blaming “agents of the US and Israel” of the bombing. Of course, I mean Iran blames the US and Israel for all of its ills anyway, so why should this incident be any different? It makes me wonder about the intelligence of Iran’s leadership. Their national elections showed more votes for Imadingyjihad than voters; in effect, the hardliners stole the election to retain their stranglehold on the country. The massive protests that erupted and the well-documented government crackdown should prove beyond a doubt who really killed the good professor. I guess Iran’s rulers must be the reincarnations of the Three Stooges.

Oh No, Hillary Clinton Really Is A Bitch!!

This just in! A new book is coming out with a less than flattering portrait of Hillary Clinton! Funny, though, that almost none of Clinton’s supporters is coming out to shoot the book down before its release. I wonder why, after years of Clinton denials of wrongdoing and counter-attacks discrediting accusers, are they silent now? Well, it’s because the book’s sources are Hillary’s own staffers!! You don’t have to believe me, you can check it out yourself here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20100111/pl_politico/31345

Damn, she really is a bitch. Who woulda thunk it?

Just When You Thought Hollywood Couldn’t Get Dumber

Guess what television show-based movie is coming out this summer? Why, The A-Team of course! Sure, the 80s television series wasn’t bad enough, now some genius decided we needed a just as bad movie. You know something, I like action movies; I really do. I love watching the explosions the chase scenes and the like but come on! Is this film really necessary? This just proves my point; there hasn’t been an original idea in Hollywood in decades. We have been made to suffer through big-screen versions of mediocre television shows like Mission: Impossible, The Avengers, The Saint, The Fugitive, and a few spoofs like Dragnet. There’s a reason these shows ended their television runs, people! What makes you think shooting a movie of a television show is a good thing? Still, though, there are enough mindless, easily-led, easily-entertained sheep out there who will gladly fork over their hard-earned dollars to watch yet another bad movie remake of a mediocre television show…enjoy.

I sincerely hope all of you liked this post; otherwise how would you know there was a book telling the truth about Hillary Clinton, aptly named "Game Change"?