Saturday, March 29, 2014

I Want To Make The World Turn Around

From my Facebook, (3/28/14):

Don't really know why this song popped into my head tonight. Maybe because it doesn't get any airplay on mainstream radio any more? (BTW, I have learned to despise Clear Channel and other mainstream radio... separate rant...) Thankfully, I currently have 11,540 songs on my iPod, so I can say "screw you" to terrestrial radio whenever I feel the need... which is becoming more often.

Anyway, this is 80s Steve Miller, with saxophone provided by Kenny G. Yes, Kenny G, but I think it works in this piece. Granted, the audio quality is not the greatest, but it's the only copy with the original video I could find. Hope you listen and enjoy.

There is a longer version afoot, seek it if you so desire.

Now for my ranting, (3/29/14):

Refresh, next day:  I'm not really a fan of Steve's Harlequin makeup, but I love the song.

Now I remember what got me down this track.  I was listening to Jet Airliner on the radio.

Censorship irks me. For most matters, it is not a government issue. Unless the Congress has made a law, it is not censorship.  Clear Channel, or your next door neighbor, can decide what they think is appropriate or not.  (The FCC has power from Congress... that is a separate issue, most media outlets play along nicely and self-censor... we need more court challenges.)

There are essentially two versions of Jet Airliner by The Steve Miller Band.

The original, presented below, followed by the "safe for airplay" with verse changed.

Original (with extended guitar):
(Music, lyrics below)

Leavin' home, out on the road
I've been down before
Ridin' along on this big ol' jet plane
I've been thinkin' about my home
But my love light seems so far away
And I feel like it's all been done
Somebody's tryin' to make me stay
You know I've got to be movin' on

Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner
Don't carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner
Cause it's here that I've got to stay

Goodbye to all my friends at home
Goodbye to people I've trusted
I've got to go out and make my way
I might get rich you know I might get busted
But my heart keeps calling me backwards
As I get on the 707
Ridin' high I got tears in my eyes
You know you got to go through hell
Before you get to heaven

Big ol' jet airliner
Don't carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner
Cause it's here that I've got to stay

Touchin' down in New England town
Feel the heat comin' down
I've got to keep on keepin' on
You know the big wheel keeps a spinnin' around
And I'm goin' with some hesitation
You know that I can surely see
That I don't want to get caught up in that 
Funky shit goin' down in the city 

Big ol' jet airliner
Don't carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner
Cause it's here that I've got to stay

Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner
Don't carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner
Cause it's here that I've got to stay
Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah

Big ol' jet airliner
Don't carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner
Cause it's here that I've got to stay

Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner
Carry me to my home
Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner
Cause it's there that I belong

Here is the "safe for airplay" lyrical verse in contention:

Oh well... at least the children are safe, right?

That I don't want to get caught up in that 
Funky kicks goin' down in the city 

Doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it? Or maybe it does, to you. Funky kicks... yeah.

(The offending lyric is at approx 3:05 & 2:15, respectively.)

(What exactly ARE funky "kicks" going down in the city?)

It doesn't matter whether we are talking Katy Perry (Hot & Cold) where the lyrics should read:

You change your mind
Like a girl changes clothes
Yeah you PMS
Like a bitch, I would know

The word "bitch" is simply softened by a seemingly unobtrusive "bleep" unless you know the recording. (I am more offended by the "bleep" than any Katy Perry song, btw...)

Or the Eagles Life in the Fast Lane (A song AGAINST drugs, btw) is bleeped:

She said, "Listen, baby. You can hear the engine
ring. We've been up and down this highway;
haven't seen a goddamn thing."
He said, "Call the doctor. I think I'm gonna crash."
"The doctor say he's comin', but you gotta pay him cash."
They went rushin' down that freeway,
messed around and got lost
They didn't care they were just dyin' to get off
And it was life in the fast lane
Life in the fast lane

I detest censorship in any form. Whether it is a legitimate 1st Amendment issue, or whether it is simply a station or artist self-censoring. I don't like it.

In fact, I am going to openly type George Carlin's Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television








No particular reason, other than protest. I just felt like putting them here in bold-face & color.

Because I can.

Think about this the next time you profess to live in a "free country."

I'll close with a link to a previous post about freedom of speech.  Revisit it if you wish.  But do not be ignorant.

-- Sam

7 Things That Prove God Is Real... ?

And there's that pesky numeral seven again.  Pops up in the Bible & literature all the time.  Here we go again. The mystical number 7.  Makes me want to have some Seagram's 7.

WARNING: Sarcasm, and perhaps a religiously offensive, laden post.  Enter at your own risk.

BTW, did you know there is no basis for a 7 day week, other than religion? The month is based on the phases of the moon, the year upon Earth's revolution about the sun, the seasons upon the equinoxes and solstices.  The day is 24 hours based upon Earth's rotation.  I suppose it could have been 48 1/2 hour intervals, or 96 1/4 hour intervals, etc, so my statement is not 100% absolute.

Time is the method the Universe uses to keep everything from happening simultaneously.

Here we go:  I stumbled across this piece recently while prowling the Interwebs:

Now, first of all, I want to say I have many friends and family members who are Christian. I am not anti-anything (other than ignorance) when it comes to religion.  As long as no one is trying to burn me at the stake for being a witch, or trying so saw my head off with a butter knife for being an infidel, etc..

But this is my house, you do not have to walk through the door.  I, in fact, spread it in lamb's blood red over my door posts (above.) I am going to say what I want.

"Any man may easily do harm, but not every man can do good to another." -- Plato

If religion guides your life and helps you to do no harm to others, wonderful. If it helps you do good, even better.  I personally follow the principle of "Leave me alone and I'll leave you alone," all the while contributing to homeless shelters and soon to be volunteering at an animal shelter. And I don't expect a gold star on my essay at the end.

I don't concern myself with what you believe.  I will respect your beliefs, I will bow my head if you wish to pray, I will observe a moment of silence, etc.  But if you want to discuss it in-depth with me, I can be extremely sarcastic, even excoriating.  The gloves are off!

So no punches pulled.  If you find the beauty of God in a flower, a child, or thunder... fine.  You interpret it as you wish. But do NOT offer it to me as "proof" that a God or gods exist.  You and I might gaze at the night sky and be in awe.  You may see a god, I will not.

"Stand under the stars and say what you like to them.  Praise or blame them, question them, pray to them, wish upon them.  The universe will not answer.  But it will have spoken." -- Timothy Ferris

But that earlier link was an extremely condescending piece of tripe.  Do not attempt to sway me with your euphemisms for "truth" or "proof."  I await proof of God.  I can not "prove" there is no god any more than I can prove there is no invisible guardian angel swilling booze in need of a shave and sporting a John Bonham tattoo sitting on your right shoulder. (There is, by the way. He told me to tell you "Hello" and that you should change soap and exfoliate more often.)

But if you are a person of faith... all you have to do is provide demonstrable proof of a supernatural entity, in some way verifiable to the rest of the world.  So I guess that works out to at least twice?  I dunno.

I actually found the previously linked post by back-tracking from this next article.  I don't want to just read stuff that mirrors my own opinion, or someone's interpretation.  So I found and read the original article.

In addition to the article, I find the comments for both this and the original piece to be amusing. (The following are quotes and not my own work.)  Here are a few of my favorites:

Frank Mitchell:
All those things prove the truth of MY beliefs:

1. The caterwauling of infants reveals the blind idiocy of Azathoth, to whom the death of suns is music.
2. Thunderstorms echo the voice of Yog-Sothoth, who exists throughout all time and space and in the Spaces Between, and the eventual vessel through which It will gain access to this world.
3. Flowers reflect the unstoppable fecundity of Shub-Niggurath, Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young.
4-6. The Christian religion arose through the seductive lies of Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos. From behind a thousand masks the Messenger of the Great Old Ones seduces humankind along a path of ignorance and mindless adoration.
7. Above all, I fear Great Cthulhu who whispers in my dreams, warning of the day when he rises from R'lyeh to spread madness and death.

1. Babies prove the existence of both God and the Devil. At eleven o'clock in the morning, fully feed, wearing a clean diaper, then yes a baby is proof of god's love. But after a week or two with no sleep, at 2:15 in the morning, cranky, screaming its head off, and wearing a diaper that can ward off turkey vultures, then a baby just might prove that the Devil is real.
2. Thunderstorms prove God, because like God thunderstorms are predictable by NOAA, and they randomly kill golfers.
3. Flowers again prove God, because like the largest of gods, which is Jesus, the largest flowers smell of rotting meat.
4. The bible proves God, because it requires a miracle to believe that all 66 books contain the same message and theme.
5. The spread of Christianity proves it to be correct, just like the global spread of Islam proves it to be incorrect, because.
6. If Jesus weren't real then why is he always showing up in my taco. Checkmate.
7. God is my friend, albeit it a friend who doesn't answer his phone, always asks for money and has never come to my birthday party.

Richard Wade:
So if I might paraphrase these 7 "proofs,"
1. Humans are emotionally moved by the infants of their own species, therefore God.
2. Humans are emotionally moved by violent/dangerous things in nature, therefore God.
3. Humans are emotionally moved by strong colors and symmetry, therefore God.
4. Humans are emotionally moved by exciting or romantic stories, therefore God.
5. Humans are emotionally moved by large, unified groups of humans, therefore God.
6. Humans are emotionally moved by loving/protecting/disciplining parental figures, therefore God.
7. Humans are emotionally moved by figures of camaraderie, allies, and friendship, therefore God.
To sum up, if something is emotionally moving, it proves God.
Not very convincing to an adult who has an emotional maturity greater than a child's. Unfortunately, many, many adults do not.

Bob Springsteen:The day I found God. When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bike. Then I realised that Jesus doesn't work that way, so I stole one and asked him to forgive me. Praise the Lord.....Praise the Lord.....Praise the Lord.


God... I absolutely hate the fucker (from Pitch Black with Vin Diesel)

Now, I personally do not hate God, any more than I hate Lord Cthulhu.  There is no evidence either exists, and I refuse to live my life cowering in some dark corner, pondering Pascal's wager. 
So instead of wagering, I am doubling down ...

There are many more... I can not find them all right now.  Tongue in cheek to some, yes. Some made me laugh out loud.  But proof of God.  No.

Oh, that Yahweh... he's got SUCH a sense of humor, doesn't he? If "Hide n' Seek" were an Olympic event, he'd take the Gold Medal.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Rant Alert

Tonight I set my clocks forward. I was tired, thought I might actually get a little extra sleep.

There aren't actually too many channels I like to watch, but I put it on DirecTV #284, the Science Channel.

I was suddenly pissed, pacing the floor, and ranting and raving. (Just ask my wife)

I can't believe we are paying for this shit.

Seriously?  "NASA's Unexplained Files?"

I hit the info button to see WTF I was watching, and the description was (paraphrasing) "Life on Mars & Mysterious Moon Pigeons." I am not making this shit up.

I think they even had astronaut Story Musgrave on, but by then they had lost me. (I don't know what he might have seen, but I *AM*  disinclined to listen to conspiracy theories and such...)

So... Major networks jumped the shark LONG ago.

MTV 1 & 2, VH1 might as well not exist.

TLC has apparently become the Honey Boo-Boo network. (The primary thing I have learned from The Learning Channel is to not watch it anymore.)

History Channel is purveyor of Monster Quest, Pawn Stars, American Pickers & Ice Road Truckers.

Animal Planet is home of the American Mermaids Are Us program (or some shit like that.)  If I remember correctly, I think they tried to pass that off as a documentary.

This crap makes me angry.  Now, for a while, I was cable & satellite-less. That actually worked quite well when I was living in the single-guy mode.  Although insomnia nights sucked.  Even though I got 12 or 15 channels... late night infomercials blew chunks.  And I could only live through a few seasons of She-Ra, Princess of Power. Not to mention Brave-Starr & Tex Hex.

Why have we allowed this crap to become what we accept?

Unfortunately, in January I just extended our contract by 2 years in exchange for going High-Def and getting a DVR.  So apparently I get to see the same crappy programming, only in higher resolution.


Friday, March 7, 2014

The Death Penalty

When I first began this post, I had just read news about a Mexican national being put to death in the U.S.A.  Of course the world, and many in the U.S.A. are in an uproar.

Let me just openly say I have no moral qualms with executing a guilty person, if our society has chosen to make it a capital offense.  Whatever that means in this day & age.  I don't know of the specifics of this case. I am painting with a much broader brush.

If I see someone harming another, especially a child or a woman, there is a fair chance they will meet a piece of lead and subsequently, their maker.

I have never directly killed another. If I did, I might have nightmares.  I don't know what it feels like, I don't pretend. I am not thumpy-chesty.  I am blessed in my ignorance. Even the most hardened soldier usually regrets what he has done.

Where my doubt emerges, regarding the death penalty, is in the form of proof.

I am no bleeding heart liberal, yet I am opposed to the death penalty as it exists in our current system.

I have no problem with a guilty person being executed. But how does one determine that a person is guilty?

We are human; we are fallible. We have constructed a system... by extension, it too is fallible.  And sometimes, even though the facts seem immutable, our interpretation may be incorrect.

This was a turning point in my view of the death penalty.

Conceivably, this woman could have been sentenced to the Death Penalty, depending on jurisdiction.

Can you imagine the hell she went through?

Her child died, she went to prison, her other child was taken, her marriage was destroyed.

I can not begin to fathom.

"Flame On" against me. As long as a person is still drawing air... there is hope, and we can correct a mistake.

Again... I have no problems with a guilty murderer, pedophile, or child rapist being executed... but how do we determine that?  Not just beyond a reasonable doubt... but beyond a human constructed system's doubt?

Short of "Minority Report" how do we do it?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A New Blog for a New Blogger

My wife likes to write. Sometimes she'll write a bunch of stuff in a short period, other times she'll go a long time writing very little.

Several months ago, I helped her start a blog on this same venue. She has written a few posts and is still getting her legs in the blogosphere.  Last Saturday night, I helped her get her e-mail subscription form/link working.

She tends to write primarily about personal, philosophical & spiritual topics, unlike me... I'm all over the map!  But I invite you to subscribe to her blog and find out for yourself.

Monday, March 3, 2014

What Does Freedom Taste Like? (Part II)

I chose to divide this into 2 parts, due to brevity and a typical American's attention span, but also to lay the framework, and now my own interpretation.

(I know, I am being redundant, but I am passionate about this topic.)

The Founding Fathers were imperfect, they allowed slavery and did not account for the Native Americans in a fair manner.  Yet they built a Republic, not a democracy, in which every man could have a voice. We continue to refine the system, work out the bugs, or, in Darwinian terms "evolve."

After the Constitutional convention, a person asked Benjamin Franklin:

“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Our system is not perfect, nor do I think it ever will be.  And we'll always bitch about that nebulous body called "The Government."  But when properly applied... we are bitching about ourselves.

I will not delve into the mechanics of the Articles of the Constitution.  Find them yourself... learn them, live them.  The Constitution of the United States of America

Instead, I now turn my attention to The Bill of Rights.  The first 10 Amendments to the Constitution.  If The Constitution is the foundation, then the Bill of Rights is the first layer of bricks.

I invite you to learn the rights thus enumerated.

Oh, I hope we've all been indoctrinated.  It's grade school fun. I won't go through it again right now.

Going back to my older post... read it if you're so inclined. I won't repeat it in entirety here.

Ancient Secret:

Live it.  Learn it.

The rights enumerated in the "Bill of Rights" are NOT given to us by the font of all knowledge, or the creator, or whomever you think is entitled to do so.

Rather... read them as written.  The "Rights" enumerated are CONSTRAINTS upon the government, not the individual.


As long as there are people among us who hold true to this fact, there is hope for us retaining our republic.

-- Sam

Part I

What Does Freedom Taste Like? (Part I)

My title is a rhetorical question.

We should not taste freedom... we should bathe in it. We should swim in it with much aplomb. We should be swathed in it from cradle to grave.

I have touched on this very topic, albeit with a different twist as I recall.  I'm not going to go back through my own rants to recount the selfsame.  You may, of course, at your own leisure.

Man (and I use that intending gender neutrality to imply humanity) in his natural state is 100% free to do as he pleases.  But a man does not live as a solitary animal, much as a wolf does not roam alone.

I am not an anthropologist, but we are social animals.  Man forms bonds with other men. We want to be with others, we form families or tribes in our natural state.  Then by extension, we form towns, cities, kingdoms, nations and so on.

Tribes once fought each other, they banded together, then cities, then kingdoms, then nation-states, then nations...

Somewhere along the way, the individual man gets lost.  He becomes a statistic, a pawn.  He fights for king and country.  He is but another salmon swimming against the stream.  Yet he still exists.

Thus the battle between the individual and the State.

I am concerned that too many have lost site of the natural order, and look to the nebulous term of "the government" to take care of them.  Whether in the form of a benevolent dictator, king, or committee... when one gives away the right of being an individual, one is less of a person.

The government does not exist.  If every human being died tonight, tomorrow, there would be not be a government.  We are all cogs in the wheels of that machine which we created, and in many instances, that machine has swallowed us.

"Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed"

Gawd... I love that line... It's from The Declaration of Independence.

The next line is one which should give pause:  "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."


In the interest of brevity, I will now leave you with Part II.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Into the vapors... Part II

Facebook is an interesting way to interact with people you know, and maybe meet some you do not know, or even become better acquainted with people you know (knew?), but not well.

Millenia ago (just a few years in computer terms) I used MySpace.  Found it useful, met some new people, even dated a little (while I was single.)

I resisted the upstart "Facebook."  I found it clunky, but I set up a profile, deactivated it, but then again grew curious and "re-activated it." Haven't really looked back since.

I saw the S.S. MySpace sink while the S.S. Facebook sailed by... I went from one ship to another. The S.S. MySpace became defunct & adrift, and I think I helped bail the last few buckets into her hull  (In the Beginning...)

Now, I am going to fast-forward.  I have suddenly found myself in possession of 128 "friends," many of whom I have not communicated with in ages, and did not know well in the first place, or did not know at all.  I realize 128 friends is a low count in the FB world... but I am stuck in the human world.

Time for either a cartoon flashback, or a cheesy metaphor.

I can't draw well, so guess what you get?

I own a couple of pieces of property. Trees, bushes, weeds, you get the idea.  Some are old trees, some are fast-growing bushes, some are in between.  When I prune a tree, I am careful. When I decide to cut a tree, I am even more careful.  It is easier to leave a tree than to plant a new one. I have cut many trees over the past 19 years of owning these properties, but I don't truly regret any. Some of them just had to go. They were either dying, or they took up too much space against other trees, or were a danger to other things more valuable to me (like falling on a house?)

I warned several months ago:

Facebook Friends Into the Vapors

I cautiously fired up the chain saw, I waited. As I breathed the 2-cycle smoke & oil exhaust, my bushes continued to grow. I thought they'd be OK, I wouldn't notice... I allowed some to grow, I even allowed a few new ones.  That's how I became the possessor of 128 friends, with a bunch of people pending, most of whom I don't recall meeting.

I now live 2,500 miles from where I grew up... suddenly I'm Mr. Popular back there?

No Thankyew.

Tonight, the motor revved.  I went from 128 "friends" down to 90.  I wonder how many will even notice?

I Got Plowed Tonight (Part II)

So this is a follow-up post regarding my last Saturday night (Feb 22) collision.

Last Sunday, I called the lady who hit me the night before. I left a message and she called me back shortly after. I offered to let them look at the car before it was towed, because I didn't want them to think I had mystical alien abduction damage or back/neck injury and sue them for bazillions of dollars.  (I'm fine, but the car is bent, to say the least.)

She said she'd bring her husband down, they looked at it and were very apologetic.  She is working night shift in what is probably the vicinity of a minimum wage job.  Her husband is out of work due to back injury. (I get that one... believe me... I get that one!)

So far I've been chastised by multiple people for not getting the cops involved.  Deputy Barney Fife from across the street showed up.  He was a shirtless SCOPE (Sheriff Community Oriented Police Effort) volunteer who drives an almost unmarked car with a light bar. He appeared immediately and questioned whether either of us were drinking. He was waving his flashlight, which he reluctantly surrendered to me in order to check out the damage to the car. I declined his offer of protection "to have the cops here in a minute."

Again, I am not a believer in mystic Karma.  But I do believe in treating others with kindness. Just because you have a kill shot does not mean you should decapitate your opponent.

In my mind, if the other driver had no insurance, my "uninsured motorist coverage" would kick in. Whether she had a ticket or not is irrelevant.  I could have had Law Enforcement pile on with "no insurance" and "Failure to yield."  Probably over $1000 in fines.  From my perspective, my insurance pays either way.  Time will tell if I've been too soft, although I met her & her hubby under less stressful situations Sunday.  They seem genuinely contrite in their position.

I was initially concerned that the car would be considered a total loss due to its age (we just had the trannie rebuilt 1 year ago), but my insurance company is paying for the repair, which is around $2700.  The bumper is being replaced, the wheel, hub & strut also, along with a minor dent to the quarter panel.

I've asked the other driver to cover the deductible, which for uninsured motorist, is $100.  They said they would.

We are getting our wrongs righted... once again... time will tell if I'm being too much of a softie.

Don't get me wrong... I can be your worst enemy if I feel I've been crossed.


"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
-- Plato