Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I think we have been sold a sack of shit

America no longer stands for freedom of speech and we no longer have tolerance.  Tolerance for alternate lifestyles, or even the tolerance for non-tolerance. There are numerous examples.  This is a world of hypocrites.  Case in point, Christmas cheer.

All you hear is Merry Christmas.  You turn around and your getting cut off on the road or pushed around at the store (example walmart parking lot).  Take for instance during my last trip to walmart.  There was a pickup truck parked sideways taking up 2 spots.  You know the type truck lifted with duck stickers.  As I was leaving, the owner walked up to the truck wearing the duck dynasty getup looking like the latest hillbilly.
Have you watched the Christmas specials made in the last 20 years.  Most of the popular ones talk about Santa or buying stuff but nothing about what Christmas is supposed to be about.

Does anyone even remember why we celebrate Christmas?

"Christians celebrate Christmas because it commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. Some people celebrate because everyone else is doing it and view it as the season for intimate gatherings and gift giving even without religious conviction. Others celebrate Christmas because it is a family tradition."
(Ask.com)

Interesting answer.  So apparently there are a certain number of people that celebrate Christmas just
because everyone else does.  Reminds me of what my Mom would ask me when I wanted to do what everyone else was doing "If they were jumping off a cliff would you follow?"  It does however explain a lot.  For example:


  1. Why people buy crap for people that they don't really like.  It is just something that is done in their circle of friends.  Which makes the stores crowded.  It also explains the crappy Christmas music that is piped into the stores.  They are only playing into this tradition thing.
  2. Rude and inconsiderate attitudes and actions when in public.  These people are actually pissed off that it is Christmas and they have to act a certain way.
  3. The Christmas charity of food.  I guess that the poor do not get hungry any other time of the year.
  4. How we see Christmas crap being pushed in the stores earlier each and every year.  This year I saw the joy-tide crap before Halloween (my favorite holiday)
That time period that starts just after Thanksgiving and is finally over by December 25th must be the most aggravating and annoying time of the year.  Is there a place that has no Christmas?  Perhaps in the Middle east?  Not really a viable option given the state of affairs in that part of the world.  

Should I convert to Islam?

"Muslim believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, as prophet of God. Muslims do not celebrate Christmas since it’s not a religious holiday according to Islam. Christmas day to Muslims is like any normal working day."




Sounds perfect.  Where do I sign up.

A quick search on Google reveals:

"To convert to Islam and become a Muslim a person needs to pronounce the below testimony with conviction and understanding its meaning:

I testify “La ilah illa Allah, Muhammad rasoolu Allah.”

The translation of which is:

“I testify that there is no true god (deity) but God (Allah), and that Muhammad is a Messenger (Prophet) of God.”

To hear it click here 

When someone pronounces the testimony with conviction, then he/she has become a Muslim.
" (ref www.islamreligion.com)

Ah crap, I have a problem with the language.

I think we have been sold a sack of shit

I was told that there was a Christmas spirit, that we celebrated the birth of Jesus.  What is really happening is that in our materialist piece of the world, the holiday has morphed into something else.  It has become a tradition of a spending frenzy starting on "Black Friday", only being perpetuated by the growth of the internet.  As well as being fueled by Corporate advertising and the dumbing down of our school system.  

Perhaps we need to take a deep look into our current existence.  Where is this path leading us?  More importantly what path have you chosen?  As far as I am concerned I chose to continue to be cynical.  


I only have one question for everyone:  If everyone was jumping off a cliff, would you follow?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More

So as we come to the end of they year Two Thousand Thirteen (2013), enter the final holidays of the year. Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Every year I write about these holidays giving you a rant or even perhaps a rave about each of them.  Last year I ranted on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, I even gave you my opinion on Christmas 2011.  I sit back today, read these posts and realize that I have grown past a lot of what I said in those posts.  I was very bitter and sarcastic.  After reading last years post on Christmas.  I have come to a new revelation.

Today is different, this year I have turned a new leaf.  It is not my place to judge other people about what they do with their money and or time.  We must each live our own experience, find our own peace, and spread our own joy.  For each of us this will be different.  For myself, it is probably no much different than what is taught in the Atheist mega-churches that are springing up all over the country.



Does this mean I am atheist?

The answer this year is: I don't think so.  What I mean is that I believe that there is a higher being aka God or energy that we merge or join with in the end.  Is it an actual being or is our life energy absorbed into the universe?  I think that my brain is too small to even attempt to answer that question.  In addition, for each person that answer is different.  As I get older I fine tune my beliefs which are derivatives of all the years I have lived.  Hence the reason that I have written posts in the past that I do not necessarily fully believe today.

Stephan Hawkins said, "A belief that heaven or an afterlife awaits us is a "fairy story" for people afraid of death."

A belief that heaven or an after life awaits us is a "fairy story" for people afraid of death just like time is a
"fairy story" and subject to our frame of reference.  The closer we get to the end of life the more we realize that time is not a fixed unit of measure, just like god is not a fixed unit of belief.

What?

No one can tell you or "preach" to you who or what god is, each of us must experience life and come to our own conclusions.  Life is a journey, there is no guide, there is no manual, what I see life as, is not the same as what another person is experiencing.  Who am I to preach my set of beliefs on someone else?  We each have to live with our journey and accept it for what it is...  Truly amazing.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

H.R. 2356: We Are Watching You Act of 2013

Did you know that the big media distributors like Verizon and Comcast can legally install cameras and microphones in your set top box to monitor the activity near the TV in order to feed the proper advertising to your screen?  I wrote about the loss of our privacy while watching TV back in June 2013.

H.R. 2356 was introduced by Michael Capuano, U.S. Representative for Massachusetts's 7th Congressional District a Democrat of all people.  This bill, nicknamed "We are watching you act of 2013" would make the installation of cameras, microphones and other monitoring devices illegal without consumer agreement.

"To provide for notification to consumers before a video service collects visual or auditory information from the viewing area and to provide consumers with choices that do not involve the collection of such information, and for other purposes."

Unfortunately according to GovTrack.us there is only a 6% chance that this bill will make it out of committee. With just a 1% chance of it becoming law.

So what has happened?  Did we get too involved in the Debt Ceiling debate or perhaps the Affordable
Health Care Act?  Or perhaps the fact that Verizon and Google are helping the NSA spy on regular Americans and foreign countries.  It would seem that our rights and privacies are under attack from all sides.  We are currently losing our right to choose what type of health insurance we want as well as being forced to have insurance.  Now the very privacy we enjoy in our homes is under attack.

This "New America" is not the direction our forefathers wanted the country to go.  Someday in the future, sooner than later, we will wake up and wonder how we lost all our rights and privacy.  People you do not lose your rights in one day.  You slowly give them up little by little.  So after a bit of time you look back and say "What happened?".

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Independence Day - Rules and Regulations

The flag represents a living country and is itself a living thing. section 8j


For those of you that will be displaying the flag over the 4th of July weekend.  Here are the rules:

Displaying the Flag

1. When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south street.

2. The flag of the United States of America, when it is displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the right, the flag's own right [that means the viewer's left --Webmaster], and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.

3. The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. By "half-staff" is meant lowering the flag to one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff. Crepe streamers may be affixed to spear heads or flagstaffs in a parade only by order of the President of the United States.

4. When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the right of the flag of the United States (the viewer's left). When the flag is half-masted, both flags are half-masted, with the US flag at the mid-point and the other flag below.

5. When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.

6. When the flag of the United States is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff.

7. When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.

8. When the flag is displayed in a manner other than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out. When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window it should be displayed in the same way, that is with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street. When festoons, rosettes or drapings are desired, bunting of blue, white and red should be used, but never the flag.

9. That the flag, when carried in a procession with another flag, or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.

10. The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.

11. When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace. The order of precedence for flags generally is National flags (US first, then others in alphabetical order in English), State (host state first, then others in the order of admission) and territories (Washington DC, Puerto Rico, etc.), Military (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard), then other. Read more.

12. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium on or off a podium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker (to the right of the audience). Please note that the old guidelines differed from this updated and simplified one.

13. When the flag is displayed on a car, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

14. When hung in a window, place the blue union in the upper left, as viewed from the street.

Here is the complete code to follow when dealing with the flag.

United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1 — The Flag

§1. Flag; stripes and stars on
The flag of the United States shall be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white; and the union of the flag shall be forty-eight stars [Note: Sec. 2 provides for additional stars; Today the flag has fifty stars representing the fifty states — Webmaster], white in a blue field
§2. Same; additional stars
On the admission of a new State into the Union one star shall be added to the union of the flag; and such addition shall take effect on the fourth day of July then next succeeding such admission
§3. Use of flag for advertising purposes; mutilation of flag
Any person who, within the District of Columbia, in any manner, for exhibition or display, shall place or cause to be placed any word, figure, mark, picture, design, drawing, or any advertisement of any nature upon any flag, standard, colors, or ensign of the United States of America; or shall expose or cause to be exposed to public view any such flag, standard, colors, or ensign upon which shall have been printed, painted, or otherwise placed, or to which shall be attached, appended, affixed, or annexed any word, figure, mark, picture, design, or drawing, or any advertisement of any nature; or who, within the District of Columbia, shall manufacture, sell, expose for sale, or to public view, or give away or have in possession for sale, or to be given away or for use for any purpose, any article or substance being an article of merchandise, or a receptacle for merchandise or article or thing for carrying or transporting merchandise, upon which shall have been printed, painted, attached, or otherwise placed a representation of any such flag, standard, colors, or ensign, to advertise, call attention to, decorate, mark, or distinguish the article or substance on which so placed shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $100 or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both, in the discretion of the court. The words "flag, standard, colors, or ensign", as used herein, shall include any flag, standard, colors, ensign, or any picture or representation of either, or of any part or parts of either, made of any substance or represented on any substance, of any size evidently purporting to be either of said flag, standard, colors, or ensign of the United States of America or a picture or a representation of either, upon which shall be shown the colors, the stars and the stripes, in any number of either thereof, or of any part or parts of either, by which the average person seeing the same without deliberation may believe the same to represent the flag, colors, standard, or ensign of the United States of America.
§4. Pledge of allegiance to the flag; manner of delivery
The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag: "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.", should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute. [See Congressional Notes re use of "under God."]
§5. Display and use of flag by civilians; codification of rules and customs; definition
The following codification of existing rules and customs pertaining to the display and use of the flag of the United States of America be, and it is hereby, established for the use of such civilians or civilian groups or organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments of the Government of the United States. The flag of the United States for the purpose of this chapter shall be defined according to title 4, United States Code, Chapter 1, Section 1 and Section 2 and Executive Order 10834 issued pursuant thereto.
§6. Time and occasions for display
  1. It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
  2. The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
  3. The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.
  4. The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on
    • New Year's Day, January 1
    • Inauguration Day, January 20
    • Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, third Monday in January
    • Lincoln's Birthday, February 12
    • Washington's Birthday, third Monday in February
    • Easter Sunday (variable)
    • Mother's Day, second Sunday in May
    • Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May
    • Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), the last Monday in May
    • Flag Day, June 14
    • Father's Day, third Sunday in June
    • Independence Day, July 4
    • Labor Day, first Monday in September
    • Constitution Day, September 17
    • Columbus Day, second Monday in October
    • Navy Day, October 27
    • Veterans Day, November 11
    • Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November
    • Christmas Day, December 25
    • and such other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States
    • the birthdays of States (date of admission)
    • and on State holidays.
  5. The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.
  6. The flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days.
  7. The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.
§7. Position and manner of display
The flag, when carried in a procession with another flag or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.
  1. The flag should not be displayed on a float in a parade except from a staff, or as provided in subsection (i) of this section.
  2. The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.
  3. No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America, except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea, when the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for the personnel of the Navy. No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United States at any place within the United States or any Territory or possession thereof: Provided, That nothing in this section shall make unlawful the continuance of the practice heretofore followed of displaying the flag of the United Nations in a position of superior prominence or honor, and other national flags in positions of equal prominence or honor, with that of the flag of the United States at the headquarters of the United Nations.
  4. The flag of the United States of America, when it is displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the right, the flag's own right, and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.
  5. The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.
  6. When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the United States flag's right.
  7. When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.
  8. When the flag of the United States is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff. When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.
  9. When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.
  10. When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south street.
  11. When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right of the audience.
  12. The flag should form a distinctive feature of the ceremony of unveiling a statue or monument, but it should never be used as the covering for the statue or monument.
  13. The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff. By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential instructions or orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law. In the event of the death of a present or former official of the government of any State, territory, or possession of the United States, or the death of a member of the Armed Forces from any State, territory, or possession who dies while serving on active duty, the Governor of that State, territory, or possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff, and the same authority is provided to the Mayor of the District of Columbia with respect to present or former officials of the District of Columbia and members of the Armed Forces from the District of Columbia. The flag shall be flown at half-staff 30 days from the death of the President or a former President; 10 days from the day of death of the Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives; from the day of death until interment of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a Secretary of an executive or military department, a former Vice President, or the Governor of a State, territory, or possession; and on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress. The flag shall be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day, unless that day is also Armed Forces Day. As used in this subsection —
    1. the term "half-staff" means the position of the flag when it is one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff;
    2. the term "executive or military department" means any agency listed under sections 101 and 102 of title 5, United States Code; and
    3. the term "Member of Congress" means a Senator, a Representative, a Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico.
  14. When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.
  15. When the flag is suspended across a corridor or lobby in a building with only one main entrance, it should be suspended vertically with the union of the flag to the observer's left upon entering. If the building has more than one main entrance, the flag should be suspended vertically near the center of the corridor or lobby with the union to the north, when entrances are to the east and west or to the east when entrances are to the north and south. If there are entrances in more than two directions, the union should be to the east.
§8. Respect for flag
No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.
  1. The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
  2. The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
  3. The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
  4. The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
  5. The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
  6. The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
  7. The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
  8. The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
  9. The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
  10. No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
  11. The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning
§9. Conduct during hoisting, lowering or passing of flag
During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.
§10. Modification of rules and customs by President
Any rule or custom pertaining to the display of the flag of the United States of America, set forth herein, may be altered, modified, or repealed, or additional rules with respect thereto may be prescribed, by the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, whenever he deems it to be appropriate or desirable; and any such alteration or additional rule shall be set forth in a proclamation

United States Code Title 36

§301. National anthem
  1. Designation. — The composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem.
  2. Conduct During Playing — During rendition of the national anthem —
    1. when the flag is displayed —
      1. individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note;
      2. members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and
      3. all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and
    2. when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.
§302. National motto
"In God we trust" is the national motto.
§303. National floral emblem
The flower commonly known as the rose is the national floral emblem.
§304. National march
The composition by John Philip Sousa entitled "The Stars and Stripes Forever" is the national march.
§901. Service flag and service lapel button
  1. Individuals Entitled To Display Service Flag.— A service flag approved by the Secretary of Defense may be displayed in a window of the place of residence of individuals who are members of the immediate family of an individual serving in the Armed Forces of the United States during any period of war or hostilities in which the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged.
  2. Individuals Entitled To Display Service Lapel Button.— A service lapel button approved by the Secretary may be worn by members of the immediate family of an individual serving in the Armed Forces of the United States during any period of war or hostilities in which the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged.
  3. License To Manufacture and Sell Service Flags and Service Lapel Buttons.— Any person may apply to the Secretary for a license to manufacture and sell the approved service flag, or the approved service lapel button, or both. Any person that manufactures a service flag or service lapel button without having first obtained a license, or otherwise violates this section is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $1,000.
  4. Regulations.— The Secretary may prescribe regulations necessary to carry out this section.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

We Are Watching You Act of 2013

Are you ready for the next freedom that may be on the chopping block? Just recently a bill in congress, the "We Are Watching You Act of 2013" has been introduced by Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) to circumvent Big Brother activities:

Verizon last year filed a patent for monitoring technology that would use infrared cameras and microphones to track and collect consumer behavior in the vicinity of a TV or mobile device. According to the patent application, the technology could detect ambient action, like people eating, exercising, reading, sleeping and more.

"This may sound preposterous but it's neither a joke nor an exaggeration," Capuano said in a statement. "These DVRs would essentially observe consumers as they watch television as a way to super-target ads. It is an incredible invasion of privacy."

The bill, We Are Watching You Act of 2013, would prohibit video service operators like Verizon and Comcast from collecting visual or audio data from the vicinity of the device without express permission from the consumer. For viewers that opt in, the monitoring company would have to display a "we are watching you" message on the screen and provide to the consumer what types of information is being collected and how it will be used.

Sounds very "1984" to me. Just think, by giving up this freedom in the bedroom, Big Brother will know when you are having sex and will start charging a sex tax.......

"1984" wasn't supposed to be an instruction manual.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.


I love saying that.  How many times have I written about the loss of our freedom and Big Brother watching over us?  Have you been listening?  Now, with the National Security Administration surveillance scandal, the sale of George Orwell's book '1984' has skyrocketed.  Everyone is wondering "What happened to our Freedom?"

Just recently I was at a friends party and as usual one of my conversations reverted to digital rights and the monitoring our our internet activities.  The person, whom shall remain nameless, said "If you are doing nothing illegal you have nothing to worry about.".  On the surface that concept seems logical.  However if we dig deeper and think about it.  As time goes on and we are monitored to the nth degree deeper there will be nothing you can avoid to stay out of trouble.

Take the law they are trying to pass in New Jersey.  New Jersey wants to make it a law that when the police pull you over they can require that you hand over license, registration and cell phone.  Can you say "Invasion of Privacy"?  Is this an invasion of our privacy?  After all isn't it in the interest of public safety that you not talk on your cellphone while driving?

Our freedom is like a bucket of water in the desert.  The water represents our freedom.  When the bucket develops a leak.  Not a big one.  We might say that its not big enough to worry about so we just don't stop the leak.  After all its just a couple of drops a day.  Then, next year another leak develops and another the year after.

After a bit of time we look in the bucket to discover that it is half empty.  We surprisingly ask "What happened to our Freedom?"


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Can you say Entitlement Generation?

Are we a "Nation of Wimps"?  According to that article Americans have shielded their kids to the point of insanity.  The article dives into how parents will go to just about any means to protect their kids from bad grades, even through College.  Needless to say I have written numerous articles about the Entitlement Generation.  I have also written about the bane of Cell Phones.  An interesting section of the Wimps article was regarding Cellphone use and College students:

"Think of the cell phone as the eternal umbilicus. One of the ways we grow up is by internalizing an image of Mom and Dad and the values and advice they imparted over the early years. Then, whenever we find ourselves faced with uncertainty or difficulty, we call on that internalized image. We become, in a way, all the wise adults we've had the privilege to know. "But cell phones keep kids from figuring out what to do," says Anderegg. "They've never internalized any images; all they've internalized is 'call Mom or Dad.'""

Basically when a problem arises, "let me call mom and or dad."  Never really taking on the responsibility of making a decision.  This forces the Parents into defense mode for their kids.  When they get a bad grade they call Mommy who thinks she should get involved by calling the University.  Apparently it is so bad at Harvard that 95% of the students graduate with honors just so that there will be no Parent repercussions.  Perhaps this can be the reason that teens tend to text while driving.  I'm sure we have all seen the scary texting while driving commercials:



It is a real problem that seems to stem from the attitude that "We want it now" and "We want it fast."  after all they are entitled to it.

We can even see the problem in the selection of the Rutgers Athletic director Julie Hermann.  The root of the problem is that students in Tennessee claim that 16 years ago Ms Hermann ruled by intimidation and emotional distress.  She was accused of name calling and basically verbally bulling the athletes.  Funny how this is the only allegation over the past 16 years.  Could it be that Ms Hermann did not cater to their spoiled lifestyles and actually expected them to practice and do well?  She wanted to WIN! She wanted a 1st place trophy.  Did those athletes call Mommy and Daddy?

The future of our society seems to be destined for failure.  A society where politically correctness, watered down leadership, and participation awards to all that play will be the norm.  Where adults no longer can make decisions for themselves and after Mommy and Daddy die they will rely on the Government.  We will eventually all be treated the same and just because you are a star does not warrant you to have special privileges.  Even the lowest level employee or athlete will be treated the same as the highest producers and performers.  Resulting in finally discouraging any superstar performances creating a mediocre America.  Need I remind you of the New America?

Its not too late for change.  Its not too late to fix the problem.  Parents need to take responsibility for their children creating an environment of discipline and responsibility.  Control any an all external devices your kids use or your destined to be controlled by those devices.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Hot Girls and Guitars

I recently read an interesting article on the Letters on Evolutionary Behavioral Science website about how a Guitar Increases Male Facebook Attractiveness.

"Music is a universal phenomenon that has genetic and brain-localized features. As such, it warrants
adaptive evolutionary explanations. While some scholars believe that music arose as a by-product of other adaptations, others argue that music is likely to have served some adaptive function, for example in coalition signaling or mother-child bonding. The sexual selection theory of music suggests that music serves as a signal in mate selection. While this claim is prevalent, it lacks empirical evidence. A facebook experiment revealed that women replied more positively to friendship requests from a man shown in a photo holding a guitar. These results offer initial support for the sexual selection theory of music."

The article went on to give the results of their experiment:

"While only five of the fifty women (10%) responded positively to the friendship request that was sent by the profile without a guitar, 14 of the 50 women (28%) responded positively to the friendship request that was sent by the profile with a guitar (p = .03, Fisher’s exact test)."

If you read the article they dive into the theory that the reason this occurs is that women perceive that the male had better motor skills and therefore would be a quality mate. Or perhaps the fact that there was something else in the photo it offered more information than the other photo.  They do go on to discuss variations and other studies that need to be done in order to really get to the answer.  I would like to suggest the following:

It is my opinion that women find men with guitars more attractive because the represent the tortured soul, bad boy that they find a need to nurture and 'change'.  This is why nice guys finish last.  This would go hand in hand with the motorcycle bad boy image and tattoos.  Lets face it.  A guy that is holding a guitar with tattoos (even fake ones) while on a Harley has no problem with women.  He doesn't need to know how to play the guitar or ride the bike.

Now to be fair they did the same experiment with an attractive woman holding the guitar.  There was no difference.  All the guys befriended the woman with or without the guitar.  Lets face it women if you read my post about how women can be more attractive to their man you just need to follow rules #61 and #62 - Show up naked with beer.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Pavlov's Smart Phone?

I read a tweet the other day which stated that 67% of people with cellphones or smartphones will compulsively check for messages even when the device does not inform them that a message has come in.  I did some research and found that there was a study about cell and smart phone usage.  The Pew Research Center came out with an article about the subject of Mobile phone usage.

That article and statistic brought to mind Pavlov's dog.  Doing a simple search I found this article about Pavlov's experiments.  In that article it states:

"... when Pavlov discovered that any object or event which the dogs learnt to associate with food (such as the lab assistant) would trigger the same response, he realized that he had made an important scientific discovery, and he devoted the rest of his career to studying this type of learning."

Can we take this research and plug in what we know about mobile device usage?

Lets just take the dog out of the equation and add a human.  Instead of food we will use cellphones.

.. when Pavlov discovered that any object or event which the humans learnt to associate with Cellphones (such as the lab assistant) would trigger the same response, he realized that he had made an important scientific discovery, and he devoted the rest of his career to studying this type of learning."

Makes sense in the fact that when a message is received a cell or smart phone will ping.  The ping will instantly generate a response from the human since they have learnt that the ping means message.  Eventually just the sight of the phone will illicit the same response, ping or no ping.

In order to test this theory, we would need to have a gathering of people who are carrying phones.  Perhaps a restaurant or seminar.  Then just have a pinger in your pocket.  Generate a false ping and watch to see who checks their phones.  I hypothesis that we would get a 67% rate of people checking their phone.

In conclusion, we can equate mobile device carriers to regular dogs being no smarter and simply motivated by unconditional stimulus.  Hence the reason people will drive and text.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter and the Bunny

I understand what Easter is all about:

"On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. It is typically the most well-attended Sunday service of the year for Christian churches."

It's the time when 'posers' go to church so they can claim to be Christians.  My real question is when did rabbits and chocolate begin to become part of the celebration.  Case in point, take a look at this picture:

   This looks like the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.  This is just messed up.  I mean how does this have anything to do with Easter?  Here is 25 terrifying Easter bunnies

Exactly what is Easter?

"Easter is the oldest Christian holiday, but how much of the most public and common celebrations of Easter today remain Christian in nature? Many people go to church — far more than go the rest of the year — but what else? Easter candy isn't Christian. The Easter bunny isn't Christian. Easter eggs aren't Christian. Most of what people commonly associate with Easter is pagan in origin; the rest is commercial. Just as American culture secularized Christmas, it’s secularizing Easter." (Is Easter a Christian or Pagan Holiday? Unpacking the Pagan Elements of Easter)

Has this holiday become just like Christmas?  If you recall I wrote a post about 'Is Santa Claus Real?'  In that post we determined that Santa Claus was actually Chinese and lived in China.  Could the Easter bunny also be Chinese?  I did a search on Google and found this manufacturer of plastic Easter eggs a big manufacturer of throw away products.  This is just one of the many companies creating these types of products.  Has China figured out a way to take over the Easter holiday as well?  That question will need to be investigated further in a future post.

In my opinion, Easter, just like Christmas, has become a consumer holiday.  Stores devote entire sections of the store to stock pagan items in the illusion of celebrating Easter.  Parents pagan-ize their children with pictures of creepy bunnies holding them as babies, lets face it no intelligent adult would do this, then to atone for their pagan ways they attend church one day a year posing as Christians.

It would seem that everyone is jumping on the pagan band wagon, with photographers cashing in with these pictures, candy companies selling chocolate rabbits and eggs.

All that I know is that if the Easter bunny is going to visit me that bunny better look like this:

Happy Easter

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Social Media and the Ilusion of Friends

In my continuing series "Americans and our dumber society" I want to talk about Social Media and the illusion of friends.  If you are a member of society you most likely have a social media page like on Facebook or Linkedin.  If you are really cool then you have a twitter account and you tweet all your inane ideas to your followers.

We all have "friends" on Facebook.  Of course we all know that they are not really our friends.  Well only a small percentage are actual friends.  There seems to be 13 distinct categories that people fit into as your friend on Facebook.  I would tend to agree.  I in fact have looked through my friends on facebook and currently I have 129 people that have asked to be my friend.  I do not ever ask to be anyones friend.  Here is the breakdown:


  1. The over zealous updater:
    12
  2. The Link-Bot:
    0
  3. The Groupie:
    0
  4. I am my kids:
    15
  5. Spies (who used to) like us:
    0
  6. The Wanna Be:
    0
  7. The Two Facer:
    5 (I think)
  8. The Networker:
    10
  9. The over poker:
    4
  10. The get a lifer:
    0
  11. The attention seeker:
    70
  12. The Over Suggester:
    0 (I unfriend immediately)
  13. The Good Friend:
    Everyone left 14
I have a weekly ritual of unfriending some people that fits in Categories 1 - 12.  I do this because they illustrate their stupidity by their posts.  Let me explain:

People's personality comes out if you happen to hang out with them for a long period of time.  You may or may not like their personality.  For example, lets say that you and your significant other goes camping with a friend and their significant other for a week.  Normally you would not see your friend for this amount of time over a year.  As you hang out with them you notice that they are childish, not very smart and have some odd tendencies.  Well people, Facebook is like that camping trip.  Only difference is that you are hanging out with  100s of these type people.

Here is a conversation on Facebook I found today:

Obviously this person has found out that their friends are not really their friends.  In my opinion Social media is like a magnifying glass for ignorance.  With the onslaught of mobile devices out numbering people and with people not having self control.  It's not that people are getting more ignorant and selfish.  They have always been ignorant and selfish.  We just never spent enough time with them to find out how ignorant they are.  Social media shines a light and magnifies the society of dullards.



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Dumber America - Infiltration of Mobile Devices

In my continuing series on the Dumber America, I take a look at the use of Cellphone and Smartphones.  I have done some posts on cellphones in the past - Where has common sense gone?  and my Pet Peeves.  The past decade has seen the use of cellphone and smartphone sales and use dramatically increase.  In fact according to this article the number of mobile devices has exceeded the population of the world.  Cisco wrote another interesting white paper "The Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast"  All pointing to the increase in use of the internet and mobile devices.  An interesting Statistic that I confirmed on the Pew Research center website was tweeted by @susannahfox states: "67% of cell owners find themselves checking their phone for messages, alerts, or calls even when they don’t notice it ringing or vibrating."

These sources are reporting data that we as individuals can witness everyday.  As an example, we can walk into any Walmart today and see 40% of the people walking and talking on the phone.  In addition, simply drive around and you will see at least 30% of the drivers either texting or talking on the phone.  Laws banning cellphone use while driving does not seem to make a difference.  Even after the University of Utah came out with a study showing that drivers on cell phones are as bad as drunks.

"We found that people are as impaired when they drive and talk on a cell phone as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol limit”

In other studies compiled by Nationwide Insurance:


  • The No.source of driver inattention is use of a wireless device. (Virginia Tech/NHTSA)
  • Drivers that use cell phones are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (NHTSA, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
  • 10 percent of drivers aged 16 to 24 years old are on their phone at any one time.
  • Driving while distracted is a factor in 25 percent of police reported crashes.
  • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent  (Carnegie Mellon)

A Google search produces reams and reams of links to university and Insurance company studies showing that you should not drive and use a cellphone. Yet, I see it everyday.  The question here is :
"Are Americans  getting dumber?"

Monday, March 11, 2013

Me and Leroy

A guy stopped at a local gas station & after filling his tank, he paid the bill and bought a soft drink. He stood by his car to drink his cola and watched a couple of men working along the roadside.

One man would dig a hole two or three feet deep and then move on. The other man came along behind him and filled in the hole.

The men worked right past the guy with the soft drink and went on down the road. "I can't stand this," said the man tossing the can into a trash container and heading down the road toward the men.

"Hold it, hold it," he said to the men. "Can you tell me what's going on here with all this digging and refilling?"

"Well, we work for the government and we're just doing our job," one of the men said.

"But one of you is digging a hole and the other fills it up. You're not accomplishing anything. Aren't you wasting the taxpayers' money?"

"You don't understand, mister," one of the men said, leaning on his shovel and wiping his brow. "Normally there's three of us: me, Elmer and Leroy. I dig the hole, Elmer sticks in the tree, and Leroy here puts the dirt back. Elmer's job's been cut... So now it's just me an' Leroy. "

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Americans and the Dumber Society

Has the intelligence level of Americans receded over the past decade? I think that in order to look at this topic, we need to take a look at some of the really smart things that Americans have accomplished over the past 10 years.  PCMag.com wrote an article giving the 10 most influential Tech Advances of the decade.  Here is the list:

  1. Flat Panel TVs/HDTV
  2. DVRs
  3. High Speed Internet
  4. WIFI
  5. Smartphones
  6. Bluetooth
  7. Online Media Services
  8. Online Gaming Services
  9. Social Networking sites
  10. Flash Storage
Admittedly we are technology driven.  These advancements are in my opinion fantastic.  So if we have such fantastic gadgets and services.  Why does it seem that our intelligence level has declined over the past decade?

When you look at these advances in technology, your first impression is that our society is moving forward.  I agree, we are moving forward faster than ever before.  However, with excessive technology advances happening at the speed of light, combined with the ever affordable technology, we have an excessive use of that technology by people.  In a British study, they found that the average person spends 7 hours per day using our fantastic technology advances.

I propose that Americans are not getting "Dumber".  Our use of technology and the ever increasing availability of social networking has magnified our relationships.  Over the next several posts I will give specific examples to explain my point.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Piracy - A conclusion

To conclude my series of articles on Piracy and Digital Rights.  I leave you with a full set of tools that will  allow you to surf and download from the internet with privacy.  In review here are the posts:

Article #1: How Digital Rights Enables and promotes Piracy

Article #2: How Internet Providers are regulating and monitoring our Activity

Article #3: How to bypass the regulating and Monitoring

Article #4: My Experience in Piracy

Article #5: Software used to create copies of protected DVDs

I have given you all the tools needed:  DVD Ripper software, Bittorrent software, VPN setup via BTGuard and some file sharing websites.  Don't get me wrong, I do not advocate illegal activity.  I just believe that not all file sharing is illegal.  As an example there are a number of bands that upload their music onto The Pirate Bay that have made their music free.  Yet the internet providers do not consider this in their regulation of the monitoring.

With information and knowledge comes great responsibility.  Just because you can does not mean you should.  I say this because we the people have created the laws that govern the file sharing activity.  We the people should learn and then pressure our elected officials to change the laws governing file sharing which would then force the Music and Movie industries to change how they distribute their media.

I don't have all the answers, I don't know how this will end.  All that I can give you is the knowledge of what is occuring and how it affects everyone.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Creating Backups - Digital Copies of your Copyright DVDs


WinX DVD Ripper Platinum is one of the newest software options available from Digiarty.  WinXDVD Ripper Platinum is a Windows-based, user-friendly software capable of converting any DVD, as it is designed to allow access to all DVD encryption types for various regions.  This ensures that you can make back-up copies of your important DVDs.  Updates are being continuously added to ensure that new technology advances in copyright encryption don’t keep you from creating the backups that you need.


WinX DVD Ripper Platinum allows you to do more than just make a secondary DVD copy of your important disks.  It allows you to a rip your DVD into different format, allowing you to easily watch your movies in other devices.  Currently, WinX DVD Ripper Platinum supports the following formats: 
  • AVI 
  • MP4  
  • MPEG 
  • WMV 
  • 3GP 
  • MOV   
  • FLV 
  • WMP 
  • Android
  • HTC 
  • iPhone/iPad/iPod
  • Samsung
  • Nexus
  • Kindle Fire
  • Surface
  • Lenovo
  • PSP
The formats supported by WinX DVD Ripper Platinum ensure that you can rip a DVD into a format that can be viewed on virtually all smartphones and tablets as well as some gaming systems.

Unlike other DVD ripping programs, WinX DVD Ripper Platinum allows you to edit your DVD as well.  You can remove specific content and to rip only specific segments of your DVD.  The in-program movie previewer also allows to you to take photo stills of the movie, and then save them in JPEG or BMP format.  You can also rip just the audio portion of the DVD, allowing you to create sound-bytes or your own soundtrack.

As if the versatility of WinX DVD Ripper Platinum wasn’t enough, it is remarkably easy to use.  The WinX DVD Ripper Platinum is a simple four step process to ‘rip’ your DVDs.  
  1. Insert the DVD into your computer.
  2. Choose the output type you want.
  3. Select where you want to save your file.
  4. Click the RUN button.

After that, you simply need to follow the directions of how to install the file into the device you want to use it in.  And that’s it.  Your DVDs are now backed up and available for use on other devices.

For those not running on a Windows machine, there is also MacX DVD Ripper Pro.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Update: Surfing hidden and quiet

Read my blog long enough and you will come upon my post about big corporations like the music industry and movie mongrels trying to monitor our internet usage.  However, if you missed it, read all about my quiet revolution.  Digital rights and the lack of big business to change with the ever changing technology world has forced the private citizen to remain 'private'.  I refuse to be monitored.

Now if you listen to the liberal media, they would have you believe that it is illegal to share anything that you have paid for.  Just read my post about how this type of attitude has never worked.  In short, trying to regulate digital downloads like music and movies encourages piracy.

To update my last post regarding digital downloads and the use of VPNs, it has been several months since I started the experiment, in which I have been using BTGuard VPN service to download files from The Pirate Bay, utilizing BitTorrent.  So far no warnings from the internet service or any indication that they have even detected my downloads.  You can read how I setup and implemented BTGuard and the VPN experience.  I will not give you exactly what I downloaded but needless to say I really enjoyed all the downloads.

The question is "Did the Internet Services regulating threat encourage my digital Piracy?"  I would say that the answer is yes.  If the information I downloaded were available at a reasonable cost and in digital format I would have no reason to use piracy sites to get the info.

Stand up for your rights, refuse to be monitored.  Join the revolution.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Evolution of Mathematics


Years of Math 1950 - 2013

Last week I purchased a burger at Burger King for $1.58. The counter girl took my $ 2 and I was digging for my change when I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies, while looking at the screen on her register.

I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters , but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried.

Why do I tell you this?  Because of the evolution in teaching math since the 1950s:

1. Teaching Math In 1950s
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit ?

2. Teaching Math In 1960s
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

3. Teaching Math In1970s
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?

4. Teaching Math In 1980s
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

5. Teaching Math In 1990s
A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living?

Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers, and if you feel like crying, it's ok. )

6. Teaching Math In 2009
Un hachero vende una carretada de maderapara $100. El costo de la roducciones es $80. Cuanto
dinero ha hecho?

 7. Teaching Math In 2013
Who cares, just steal the lumber from your rich neighbor's property. He won't have a gun to stop you, and the President says it's OK anyway cuz it's redistributing the wealth.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The 70s were cool

I'm going to set aside my rants for the next few posts and write a series on my childhood in the seventies.  From about 1963 to approximately 1977 my family lived in a small house on Pendleton Street in Harlingen Texas.  The neighborhood was basically all the same style homes, built in the late 1940's and 1950's.  Probably to sell to the world war II veterans.  I lived there with my two younger sisters and my parents.  The house was small, but I thought it was huge.  It was just a simple 3 bedroom, 2 bath, living room, kitchen and a den.  I thought my parents were rich and that we had it made.

I recently took the family down to Dallas, Texas to visit my dad and two sisters, Janet and Brenda, Janet is the youngest.  While there I took the time to transfer all of my dad's Super 8 film to digital files.  These videos are basically the only record of my childhood.  Here is the first video that I created.

This video was created on my 12th birthday in 1973.  What makes this film so memorable is that my mom used trick candles on the cake.  When you blew them out they would relight.  This film has been a source of fun and laughter with my family for years.  You will see me cry and actually start to get frustrated.  Check out the background and you will see some really cool 1970's fixtures.  The orange bike I am riding in this film was probably the best gift my parents ever game me as a kid.  I loved that bike and rode it everywhere.  You even get a glimpse of my mothers cool Ford XL and my dad's International Scout.  I left the comments that everyone made while I was doing the transfer.  The loudest of the crew is my sister Janet.  She is the one sitting in the high chair and standing next to me while I was on the bike.