Archive for the 'Life' Category
The greatest threat the United states faces is our growing level of willful ignorance and anti-intellectualism. When the majority of those who consider themselves educated in a culture can tell you who won entertainment awards but cannot tell you the names of our representing foreign heads of state are or details about current world affairs such a culture, society or nation will not survive.
This is why our children will not know the United States the nation we remember. To an extent this has nothing to do with politicians, monied interests or corporations. It has to do with the dumbing down of society to an ignorant culture valuing entertainment over education and complex thought. American’s, as a majority are simply lazy and saturate ourselves in misinformation to justify it.No comments
In 1795, an immigrant complained that “civility cannot be purchased from Americans on any terms; they seem to think it is incompatible with freedom”. – John F. Kasson
Kasson nailed it over 200 years ago and his message applies today more than ever. In the rampant, ideologically “patriotic” quest for individualism America has really become a nation of “me time”, “all about me” and “what about me”? Zero courtesy for others. Worse, this individualism and lack of respect for others is embraced and promoted by certain ideological groups in the United States. I owe no one anything. That is the lame, narcissistic position now embraced by many Americans.
Everyone has an example: the lazy, slow moving women in the check out line taking YOUR time, not hers. The guy who leaves his car at the crowded pumps so he can spend 20 minutes shopping in the convenience store. Hell, everyone knows the jackass reducing the flow of traffic because of exercising their “right” to be in the wrong lane. Americans lack of respect for others might be at an all time high.
At one time in history this type of discourteous behavior created embarrassment, scorn from the community and local society. I’m embarrassed for them. I won’t even get into the misuse and tangled use of terms like “socialist” when applied to those who point out you can’t infringe upon the rights of others to exercise your own. I’m also embarrassed by how across the American landscape people have become so self-absorbed in general. You are not going to be famous. You are not as special to society as you believe. You might be reading this blog and I don’t even know your name, never will. That is how truly insignificant most of us are. Go jump from the bow of a ship into the open ocean. Drive into a class 5 tornado. Get back to us with your delusions of grandeur and let us know how much material wealth and self image did to save you. Luckily we will be spared such narrative for despite your perceived invincibility, you are human. In certain circumstances you will be humbled to death without help from others.
Yet in most American’s minds we are special. People look towards us because we are wonderful. We’re Americans, the whole world is filled with envy, or so I’m told. Most Americans current moment and activity is all they are worried about so hell, it’s all the world should be worried about right? Because it’s your world. Um, no dipshit, it’s our world. Many could do themselves some good by traveling outside their own mental cocoon, usually built as a security blanket, and realize they live and move among others. Other people who don’t want to wait on you. Other people who’s time you are wasting. No, do not “take your time”. Hurry the fuck up. Be efficient in your public activities. Politely and courteously get out of the path of others.
Also stop pretending their is no community. Margret Thatcher lied. It’s all around you. Those people waiting behind you at the checkout line while you dick around, consuming their time – they are part of your community. Yes you have a right to travel 5MPH under the limit in the slow lane. I have a right to flip you off and call you a discourteous asshole when you earn it. Indeed I believe the right many Americans now exercise the most is the right to be a self absorbed asshole…. with a selfie stick.
This all comes down to empathy, (n) “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another”. A definition Americans could stand to learn. Too many now mistakenly think the word empathy is interchangeable with the word pussy. It is not. Empathy purveys strength. If you don’t understand that you have some work to do on your social skills.No comments
American’s like to project. Too many now blame others for their own failings. Taxes too high? It’s the “illegal’s” fault. Lost your job? It’s those God forsaken minorities. My own father was a projector for a long time. Every problem in his world came down to Muslims, Jews and Blacks. He wasn’t afraid to let us know it. He’s toned down and I don’t know if this is because of social acceptance diminishing for blatant racial rants or if his position has really changed. Regardless, his past behavior is a great example of how unaccountable so many American’s have become for their own failures.
Never mind he lost a job when I was thirteen and NEVER really went back to work until recently. We lived off my moms income as a nurse. He dabbled in real estate, an endeavor that might have lost more money than it ever made. To ask him, the lack of opportunity and pay he faced came down to Muslims and his claim they “can’t be trusted”. I trust every Muslim I’ve ever met. Of course, unlike the conservative fear mongering implies, they are not members of ISIS here to perform covert terrorist operations on the US. They are here to do things like raise families and source cheap textiles from overseas, which may be the most threatening thing they do to America.
I reflect on the 80′s and 90′s. Yep we wore disturbing clothes, Pana D’or Parachute Pants happened to hold a level of awesome unmatched by any 2000 era article of clothing, but we were a nation of high physical standards, “No Fat Chicks” and embraced fitness. Flash forward 2015: American’s justify “Plus Size” as the new normal. Apparently so many men have gotten fat they can’t imagine “No Fat Chicks”. But that doesn’t mean we’ve avoided double standards. Not by a damn mile. American’s make sure it’s understood that while we actually produce less we will tout “hard work” as the reason for success. Never mind that what we are “producing” is phantom bullshit thanks to the “investment” or “ownership” economy. All those “hard workers” watching money compile on computer screens. They must be too sore to get out of bed the next morning.
Meanwhile, as usual the people actually doing work continue to lose money and spending power. We’ve given up on higher standards. We don’t want to offend. Great. Now we are just a bunch of lushes making sure laws can be passed to keep the laziest the wealthiest… “Work Smarter, not harder”? WHAT THE FUCK EVER. How about produce an actual damn result besides money in your personal bank account. We must stop measuring accomplishment by monetary gain because it’s now a piss poor indicator of what a person’s actually accomplished. Some of the dumbest, laziest people in society are the wealthiest.
I will judge a person by the contents that make up their character, not giving one turd about anyone’s concern that I do it. So if you’re a fat, lazy, non productive ass wipe just trying to make it through your day to your next beer and eventual paycheck don’t expect to be treated by me as anymore than that. In particular I think of fat hillbillies. American’s embrace these losers because they are “Good ‘ol boys” representative of “America values”. So “American Values” are now…
- Skoal dripping from a beard.
- A lack of desire or ability to shave that beard.
- A shotgun rack in a gas guzzling, “coal rolling” pickup.
- An obesity fetish.
- A fat partner so neither feels bad about being fat.
- Social acceptance of your “plus size” ass.
- All the sugar than can be crammed into a human body without causing immediate death.
- A healthy dose of alcoholism to destroy any memory or regret should the denial fade.
Hillbillies aren’t cool. Thugs aren’t cool. Fat chicks aren’t cool. The decision to embrace them because you are one isn’t cool. It’s embarrassing for a country to denounce health, the environment and intellectualism as pretentious and arrogant while embracing bad lifestyle decisions. That’s where we are. Simpler, easier, lazier and dumber… “Don’t tread on me”! Yep, it’s your right to be a fat, uneducated hick or wannabe gangsta. Expect to be treated like one. All in the name of “simple folk”. Ya, you’re fucking simple alright. Too simple to understand or even try to comprehend the problem: Fat, lazy people in denial. Now, get mad and blame Obama, minorities, gays, Benghazi, gland problems or whatever fuels your denial. But for the sake of Buddha don’t take any personal accountability for your own failures. Not your fault right? “Land of the free” and therefore home of the under paid, heavily armed, uneducated, lazy and fat people. These are the freedoms you choose to embrace over the last 20 years? And yet we argue over what went wrong. Apathy rules!
America now ranks poorly on a host of social issues be it…
- The percentage of children growing up in poverty,
- Inequality in wages,
- Percentage of the population locked up in prison,
- School test scores in math and science,
- Number of medical caused bankruptcies.
The Republican response:
- Reduce social safety nets to make sure more children are in poverty,
- Reduce wages or keep them stagnant, (AKA “right to work”)
- Lock up more people and execute more people in a wildly inequitable and corrupt justice system padding a for profit prison industry,
- Denounce science and math as unGodly,
- Status quot or worse, pushing more costs of healthcare on to consumers.
So basically their response is let’s fix problems by creating more of the same. They’ll just say Obama is bad, Muslims are evil and coming to kill you so many fearful minions will fall behind them, guns and bibles at the ready.No comments
- “Right to Work” = Right to Fire anyone without consequence.
- “Pro Life” = Pro birth, let the unwanted baby fend for its future.
- “Abstinence” = Unwed conservative daughters who are privy to immaculate conception and young conservative males without sex drive who immaculate them.
- “Freedom of Religion” = Freedom to file a lawsuit when Evangelicals can’t force religious upon anyone they want, anywhere they want. Also the freedom to judge and discriminate against anyone who is not a proclaimed Christian.
- “Family Values” = Destroying any family that does not conform to right wing values. These include interracial families, immigrants and gay parents. Note: “family values” can only be emphasized from a main stream media soapbox when a Republican finalizes his or her third divorce.
- “Privatization” = Legalized corporate theft from unsuspecting, misguided consumers and endless, legal, tax loopholes.
- “No Child Left Behind” = Dumb it down… the GOP plan for the future. Hey, don’t scoff, it’s working …
- “Charter Schools” = Sunday School 5 days a week.
- “Smaller Government” = Profuse spending and bedroom supervision.
- “Trickle Down” = Niagara Up
- “Constituents” = Largest corporate campaign donors and favorite lobbyists.
I’m sure I’m missing a few if anyone cares to add in the comments.No comments
On 9/11/2001 Islamic extremists set out to strike fear in the minds of Americans through their act of terror. Based on the initial response (“liberating” a country that was not responsible) and ongoing media driven sensationalism the result is becoming pretty clear. Flash forward 2015. So many of you seem very scared and full of hate, bigotry and worse… many now presume these to be admirable qualities deserving of praise, openly flaunting them and demonizing those who don’t join you as sympathizers. Sorry but…. they got you. This is the exact response the 9/11 attackers sought to invoke. Meanwhile I’ll work, eat and hang out with more than a few Muslims this month without a shred of fear of being bombed or beheaded. They practice religion about as much as I do (zero), have their finances and families in top order. At the same time my ever so flaunting Christian friends and family… plenty of therapists and financial assistance getting passed around as they fight yet more court battles. Pretty sad since you would have all those from the middle east thrown in camps if you had your twisted druthers.No comments
Oh great. Now this. I will ride up Hwy 97, on a bike, going where no man in Lycra has dared before. With luck no shots will be fired.No comments
In the two mile bastion of turkey shoots, used car lots, tow trucks, side arms, barely hidden bigotry, occasionally open racism I roam Highway 97 in Lycra. Yes, the type yoga pants are made of. Mine has butt pads. Recently learned I’m called a MAMIL. I am not ashamed.
I quietly listen as you denounce wage increases and single payer health care. I listen to your angered anti-tax rants. I loathe your fear of government, immigrants, regulation… Your fear of everything. Such constant fear. I hear you don’t like the suppression of your Christian practices while denouncing all other worship, threatening those who dare. Your island was breached long ago. I move among you a dissenter. A free thinker without fear. No feeling of loss or emptiness when shunned by the local community, a non worshiper. One who does not allow any religious teachings to form my opinions. I am not distressed by your local, revered past time; judging others. I pity it.
This is a day of self liberation and political awareness. Inside this red sea of conservative dogma and sweet tea slang resides more than tow trucks, shot guns and rednecks. There is a liberal in the ranks. One who has gay friends yet is not gay. Some married, residing among you locally. True story. I’m the one who prefers to ride a bike instead of driving a pickup. One whose children attend your coveted, local, conservative charter school. Someone who does not think unstable, anti-social, insane people should be armed, despite any amendment or sanctimonious perceived right. Dear Zeus, I drive a Subaru in your zip code! I am certain this is causing some Lizard Lick locals extensive anguish so I will have mercy just one time and not extrapolate on my cycling adventures to Whole Foods and experiences with fine wine.
If all that hasn’t created an unhealthy blood flow, caused an extra drip of Skoal or mustard into your beard I will leave you with this: Reagan was wrong on the economy and all Muslim’s are not Islamic extremists.
Let’s begin. NamasteNo comments
The more things change, the more Americans try to keep them the same. Usually to our detriment. War stories, tales of the good old days… we love us some nostalgia. Even if it’s broken we won’t fix it unless there’s profit involved. Despite this desire by many to keep antiquated product, systems, and procedures in place there are quite a few things we use every day that are going the way of the beeper despite the resistance. We don’t need them, they don’t make money and our kids won’t have them.
#5 – Car Keys
It’s getting more and more difficult to buy a new car that comes with keys. Proximity sensor key fobs are here to stay. I made sure to buy a car that has keys in 2013 because it will likely be the last one I will be able to purchase new that does. My kids will be driving in their 20′s laughing with their friends about the car keys dad carried.
#4 – CD’s and DVD’s
Redbox better take advantage while they still can because streaming is the future. Your kids will watch episode 14 of Gilligan’s Island whenever they want to and they will wait less time than it takes a 30 second commercial to run for their programming to begin.
#3 – Land Lines
And for that matter wired internet connections. My oldest son will be happy to look back at my fights with routers, wireless access points and bridges throughout the house and realize his wireless connection is effortless. In less than 10 years AT&T will end the era of copper phone lines from the street. It will all be fiber, VoIP and wireless.
#2 – Newspapers
Yes, they are still sold. The only reason I know this is because someone leaves a free one in my driveway once a week that gets turned to mush as I drive over it more than four times. I’ve never opened the little plastic bag it comes in. Didn’t even read or keep the print edition that contained quotes and excerpts from this blog. What a waste of paper. If you still read a newspaper chances are you are checking your blood pressure regularly and considering a Geritol supplement. It’s over. Buy a tablet or eReader, let newsprint die and save some trees.
#1 – Checkbooks
Speaking of useless paper. The UK is scheduled to do away with personal checking for private account holders in 2014. The U.S. will certainly follow in short order. They are nothing more than an expense in processing coupled with risk for the banks. They are nothing short of infuriating for shoppers in a check out line. It’s time to give up on the nostalgia and the perceived need for checks in the name of personal organization. Does anyone under 50 actually balance a check book anymore? I think we still have some checkbooks around. I’ve literally written two checks out of one book in the last six years.
Of course I could go on… local applications on computers, hard drives, dedicated digital cameras, fax machines, dedicated remote controls… Most items in the tech sector including some brand new ones like 3D glasses. However I don’t share some technologists sentiments that movie theaters, performance theaters and other live performance venues will be impacted. Much like the Beatles had to perform live over 12,000 times before hitting the Ed Sullivan Show, I think (and hope) the music industry is going to make a swing back to live performance as the main source of revenue, not 99 cent downloads. People are becoming too anti-social and complacent (i.e. boring) thanks to technology and this is not a trend I see future generations outside of the gaming community embracing.1 comment
I am often asked by friends and co-workers what I do to protect my kids when they are using their computers and the internet. I decided to document, in Lehman’s terms, how I’ve set up my kids systems so in the future I can direct anyone to this post. This is an overview of the steps I have taken to make sure the kids in our house, not limited to our own, ages 4-13 can use any computer we allow them access to without worrying about them straying to the Porn Parkway, or the Exploitation Expressway.
1. Only install Linux. This is the primary component of protection. Not Windows XP, Windows 7 or any other flavor of Microsoft operating system. Why Linux? First because Linux is no where near as susceptible to web based viruses and malware as Windows based PC’s. Second, they do not cost as much as Apples. It is true the Mac OSx and iOS can provide as much protection as a Linux based PC, but not likely. Malware is now being targeted at the growing Apple user base, because of the flood of devices, so it won’t be long before Apple devices rival Windows for the volume of malicious content approaching them. That said, just days ago I was told by a co-worker that my recommending a Mac for his kids was the “best advice” he got last year. But he had no problem paying $1400 for it. Linux is free and will run on a $200-300 laptop with ease. There is more information about Linux distributions at the bottom of this post.
2. Install a keystroke monitor with remote reporting capability. There’s no better way to know what kids are doing on-line than well, knowing exactly what they’re doing and saying on-line, per keystroke. I prefer logkeys from Google. Available for download right here on my site. A good keystroke monitor will allow the service to run in “promiscuous mode”, that’s the term you’re looking for, meaning that it runs in the background secretly without any user awareness. It should also be able to email report logs secretly so physical access to the PC is not required to monitor the keyboard activity. Keep in mind one of the big benefits of keystroke logging is that even if the visible contents of a website is not logged, any user ID’s and passwords typed in to gain access to a site are captured. Isn’t this spying on kids? Ya. Is it better than wondering what they’re up to on-line for which you, the parent, may ultimately be liable? Yep.
3. Use browser based parental controls. Did you know that Firefox has several free parental control browser extensions, such as FoxFilter, that are easy to install and configure? Do you know how many free browser based parental controls Internet Explorer has built in? None. Internet Explorer relies on the Windows operating system parental control settings that are much more difficult to configure and have questionable reliability. Again, a Windows PC running IE is the most insecure setup you can hand over to a kid. This is coming from a guy who cleans viruses off of a corporate Vice Presidents laptop routinely. If adults can’t control their browsing habits and security how much attention do you think kids are paying? Ya, I know, probably more than the adults. Forget those subscription based filters like Net Nanny for Windows. I would only recommend these paid services for those bound to Windows without any alternative. Save your money, get off Windows, abandon Internet Explorer, protect your kids on-line. Nothing but winning.
There are many variations of Linux available for free, known as “distributions”. Not long ago I championed Ubuntu Linux. When Connor was just 4 years old his first laptop ran Ubuntu so he could play Disney and PBS Kids games on-line. More recently I prefer Linux Mint due to it’s ease of installation and more friendly graphical interface. Ubuntu recently incorporated a more unique style of user interface (I’ll spare the technical details) but it is not as familiar as the “windows icon” style of desktop kids would be more comfortable with and accustomed to. With the exception of the wireless network adapter configuration almost anyone can install a Linux Mint distribution on a Intel or AMD processor based laptop or tower PC. Another great benefit is free software. From games to OpenOffice there is a software solution that will keep kids and teachers happy. As a matter of full disclosure another well known Linux limitation is printer compatibility. It can be a challenge to find driver software that is Linux compatible for many printer models. It is almost unheard of that a Linux print driver will support all of the features of many multifunction printers. This is because the printer manufactures target all their internal software development at Microsoft and Apple. Open source community developers are responsible for most of the free Linux print drivers available today.3 comments