Who is More Important: You or THE MAN?

Do you sacrifice your soul and your well-being at work in order to satisfy THE MAN's needs?

If so, do you believe THE MAN is more important than you?

He's not you know...

THE MAN isn't even a real man. He's the anthropomorphization of the corporate entity. He has no emotion, no empathy, no compassion, no morals, and no ethics. All HE wants is to make money. If you sacrifice yourself to satisfy the profit motive of THE MAN, while you are NOT profiting, there is something wrong with that. You are selling your soul, and that is one thing you should never sell. It's hard to get back.

If you work long painful hours at work and your personal life suffers as a result, then you are valuing THE MAN over yourself.

Don't do that.

You are the most important person in the world. THE MAN is not better than you. If you are going to give your heart and soul to someone or something it should be your family, you partner, your kids, your creative passions, and society, not some amoral, inhuman, non-existent corporate being.

Fear is why you do it.

Let's face it, there is a psychological compulsion to sacrifice yourself for THE MAN. Even though THE MAN does not exist, you believe HE does, manifested via the boss and upper management at the company. Those people aren't better than you either. In fact, many of them are worse. THE MAN rewards the worst kind of soulless people with promotions. These are the ones who sold their soul to move up in the company. They are the kind of people who don't mind stepping on heads. You have to be a douchebag to get ahead in corporate America.

But somehow they have convinced you that you need to work ever harder with less compensation.

And you do it because you fear repercussions and retaliation. You think you might be fired, and then you won't be able to pay the bills. But you know what? It takes a lot to get fired. A true leader stands up to bullshit and recognizes good people who stand up for themselves and think outside the box.

Crappy managers are not leaders. In fact they fear true leaders. If you fear standing up for yourself at work, you may be a leader and they may be simply douchebags in positions of power. Such people do not like leaders and will work to not let leaders move up in the company.

If you are in that situation, you should look for a new job anyway, because you will never move up in an organization that doesn't value true leadership.

So, if you are giving up your own value to help THE MAN profit, this is probably your situation. That's a bummer.

You have two choices. Let THE MAN suck your soul away until it is all gone and you are a sad, pathetic, lifeless corporate drone, or stand up for yourself and value how awesome you are. Get out of your lame job and find a new better one. Better yet, become self employed and work for yourself, you leader you!

REVIEW: Massage Therapy with LeAnn Powers, LMP

I got a table massage today. I give full marks to LeAnn Powers, LMP. She untangled a lot of blocked energy pathways using just enough force to not cause pain. I could actually feel the tense muscles and blocked nerves opening up on the spot.

Check it out.

Hello Kitty Cakes and Banks

The "Hello Kitty" niche is big, I guess.

Popular, but inexpensive, the Hello Kitty trinkets could make good stocking stuffers.

People like to make Hello Kitty cakes.

Hello Kitty banks are also popular. I personally favor the piggy (kitty) bank idea. It's good to teach children about saving money for the future.

Someday they will have kids and need to buy them Hello Kitty stocking stuffers, presuming Hello Kitty is still as popular 25 years from now as it is today.

Kim Kardashian Marriage


I am creating a post with the sole purpose of backlinking to the keyword term "is kim kardashian pregnant?"

As to the actual answer to the question, is Kim Kardashian pregnant?, I have no idea. But a lot of people apparently would like to know, because it is a very high traffic keyword.

Surprisingly, the competition for this keyword is nowhere near as high as I expected, so I am testing out its potency with a couple of anchored backlinks.

"Kim Kardashian Website" is a decent keyword too. Does she have one? Probably.

Don't know and don't care.

"Kim Kardashian Marriage" is good too.

Gosh, everyone is so nosy. Just leave the poor girl alone...

Thank Goodness I Am a Writer

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When I am relegated to eating lunch alone, I am really glad I am a writer. It gives me something to do versus staring off into space thinking about random topics I could be writing about instead. I wonder how much human creativity is lost to the ether because people don't have an accessible way to document the genius going on in their heads. I mean, not that everyone is a genius, nor do we even want to know the nature of the things going on in some peoples' heads. To tell you the truth, I am not that much of a genius, and if some people knew how close they were to getting bashed in the head by my full liter bottle of water, they probably wouldn't like that info.

But actually, I don't think that much creativity is lost to the ether. In absolute terms, a shitload is lost, but in a relative sense not very much. Even if everyone had a quick and easy way to document their headscape, they could only document a little bit of it (think social media), due to human physical limitations. The people, such as myself, who currently document the banalities of their minds, probably aren't doing their best work in any case, although the more you do it, the better you become, which explains why I bust out my smart phone in moments of quiet isolation and spill whatever I am thinking. It's free thought, and it is a tool for honing writing skills, with no effort to generate anything genius or creative. Just write. It just knocks the dust off and gets the juices flowing, like mental exercise. It can be a good forum for ideas for future use.

For example, during my power walk down to the Roman Candle pizzeria, where I am now about to dine in solace, I had a couple of good thoughts. I only remember one of them (see, I lost one to the ether already!).

I have a theory about atheism bringing you closer to God, and I had a corollary to it today. Maybe religious people really do need God to prevent them from going on a bloodthirsty rampage of killing and cannibalism (as Edward Current would say). That is, maybe religiosity is inversely proportional to moral/ethical character. Most atheists I know are pretty decent people all around. Most Christians I know are terrified of the people they might become without the Lord's guidance. And historically, it's religion that correlates most highly with atrocity, not atheism. Atheists don't give a fuck about power and oppression. That's probably why they are weak and generally ridiculed by staunchly religious people.

Damn, I wish I could remember that second idea. It was pretty good. Well, I am going to eat my pizza (for one) and maybe it will come to me if I don't think about it for a little while.

Well it didn't come to me so fuck it. Maybe it will hit me on my power walk back to work...

10 Minutes - It's Friday

At lunch today, I power walked down to the Barriques coffee shoppe in Middleton WI. It's a decent 25 minute walk each way. While there, I spoke on the phone with a recruiter about a possible technical writing position he had available. I have an informal in person interview to discuss further on Monday morning, early. I am being proactive about my career goals. The system at my current employer is at least 10 years out of date, ever since they were bought out last year and re-organized. They pretty much sent technical documentation back to the stone age by putting us under engineers who don't know how to do documentation. Documentation does not work in a vertical hierarchy. It has to be horizontal because we have multiple clients throughout the company. Putting us under a single area is destructive to quality and process efficiency. Now when other internal clients have documentation needs, they have to beg for resources (us) via our manager who is a bully. He claims to have been powerless to do anything about the re-org when it happened, but now its clear he played a role in the way it panned out. He wants total control of documentation. The problem is, it sucks. Low quality and inefficient processes. Just the way he likes it.

I am no longer agreeable to these terms, so I have one foot out the door. Twice I have told them what needs to happen. We need to be regrouped as an independent writing group, horizontally positioned between the several groups of clients we provide for, and we need to be supervised by a team lead who organizes and manages priorities. This is how it was before the buyout and everyone loved the process and quality then. It was superb and worked beautifully. Now selfish interests prevail and it's a disaster. But honey badger don't give a #*@%. They know what they need to do to make things right. I am not staying if they don't. I don't believe they will because petty politics trumps quality every time. But if they do, I will reconsider depriving them of my awesome brain, skills, and productivity.

All Hail the Mighty God Emperor of American Taxation, Grover Norquist!

New Commandments for the Religious Right:

Thou shalt worship no other deities before Grover!

This goes for EVERYONE!

The last time I checked, a democratically run taxation system was not supposed to be unilaterally controlled by the psychological mind control of a single individual.

This is more like the behavior of a cult leader, getting his followers to drink the economy-killing cool aid.

You have to give the guy credit.

Grover Norquist has single-handedly cut the nuts off the 100 or so Republicans who, for political gain, signed Norquist's no taxes pledge.

Now they are his bitches, plain and simple.

It was a diabolically clever move, even if it does expose what a bunch of complete imbeciles these Republicans are.

They signed a piece of paper, but they may has well have signed their souls over to the Devil.

And Grover Norquist is that devil.

A good day to you.

10 Minutes - SPOTIFY Neutralizes Annoying Losers at Work

All I have to say is thank goodness for SPOTIFY. If I didn't have the free music app at work, it would be very difficult to block out the handful of annoying losers who work in my building.

Now don't get me wrong. A few of my coworkers are normal, hard working, high quality, non-creepy individuals. But not all of them and it is the losers we need to avoid. Most of them should be living under a bridge somewhere but for some reason (aka, management) they managed to secure and hold on to jobs at this company.

I usually open the HIATVS (my band) play list and listen to it with headphones at an appreciable volume. This serves the dual purpose of helping me to subconsciously learn songs for band practice.

We have all types of useless coworkers where I work. I don't know why they are tolerated. I sympathize with their losses of rational faculties but they really don't belong here. One guy gets drunk at work and is pretty much out of it by noon. He has to claim he is not feeling well and go home after his 3 martini lunch. Not surprising that he gets very little quality work done. Another guy spends his day working on everything but what he supposed to work on and then blames all the other unnecessary work for why he did not get his necessary work done. That guy needs to learn to delegate. Another guy bitches about everything and always passes the buck onto others for both his responsibilities and his screw ups. He always makes himself out to be the victim good guy. Then there is the creepy uncle guy who likes to touch female employees way too much and once gave me a wet willy (yes, HR was indeed informed...but he still works here).

Enough said. Thank you, SPOTIFY.

Giving Myself a Raise

Sometimes when THE MAN is being especially troublesome, you need to send him a clear message that HE can go pound sand up HIS ass by giving yourself a raise. How this works is pretty simple. You just reclaim some of the time HE is extorting from you by converting it to personal time on a small scale. This is totally justifiable and a business case can be made for it. THE MAN needs to be reprimanded for harshing your gig unnecessarily and you deserve to be compensated for bullshit outside of the scope of the normal quota of bullshit you are contracted to tolerate. This is a subjective assessment but totally quantifiable. You just determine what your threshold BS level is and log comp time against the time you spend dealing with unnecessary BS. This could be wastes of time due to busy work or incompetent coworkers. It doesn't matter. What matters is that this time gets billed to THE MAN. Not to you.

I am giving myself a raise right now, in the form of a stress relieving 3 mile power walk. Stress relief is another benefit of giving yourself a raise. You are totally within your rights to protect your health and life. Do so.

Sexploitation


I have a blog post that gets a lot of traffic, entitled "Top 100 New Songs..." that I originally posted to draw attention to my (at the time) new song ROUNDHOUSE.

Since it gets a lot of hits, I decided to pepper it with affiliate linked (to AMAZON) music magazine covers, figuring that the people searching for "top 100 new songs" on search engines will be interested in music news and information.

When I went to AMAZON to score the thumbnail image for Rolling Stone Magazine, I saw that it had Barack Obama as the person on the cover image. Now, I like Barack Obama ("Bronco"), don't get me wrong. He's a great and smart man. But I am all about getting conversions here.

So I looked around for some different cover images and decided to use thumbnails showing good looking female pop stars instead. I know it's totally sexploitative to use sex appeal to get web traffic. But give the people what they want, I say. If people are intrigued by the images and click through, that increases my chance of a conversion.


If I am going to do that, I may as well not kid myself, and use attractive images in all my blog posts to garner traffic. There's a poster of Megan Fox on AMAZON, entitled "Super Fox" (see thumbnail upper right). It's a play on words, because she is dressed up as Super Girl, she's a fox (in the beautiful woman sense), and her last name is Fox (probably not the last name she was born with, but I don't know). Is that triple entendre?

Anyway, I am not sure what my moral and ethical code has to say about this. AMAZON wants me to use affiliate linked text and images to garner traffic to their site. I want a lot of people to go to AMAZON, because I get a kickback if anyone should happen to buy something on AMAZON when they click the link and go there. I don't owe Rolling Stone or Megan Fox any royalties because someone has already paid them for the rights to these images to be used as thumbnails, and most people aren't going to buy the Super Fox poster or a magazine subscription in any case. If they buy anything at all, it will probably be some random other thing on AMAZON.

What do you think? I would love to know your opinion.

How To Publish On Kindle

It is hard to find a good and reliable resource for self publishing your own work on Kindle.

There are a lot of charlatans out there, especially the ones offering free how to advice on Kindle publishing.

Don't believe it. I recently downloaded one of these free e-books on Kindle publishing to see what it offered.

The short PDF e-book explained how to research and write a book. Then, when it came to the final chapter, actually publishing on Kindle, the author referred me to one of his online videos and an opportunity to BUY his Kindle publishing how to book. Not helpful.

It was false advertising. I downloaded the free e-book because the advertising for it said it would teach me how to publish on Kindle. I already know how to research and write books. He should have titled the e-book "How to Write a Book." Maybe that would have been useful to someone, though not me.

The e-book on Kindle Publishing was no good to me, because it didn't explain how to get my book published on Kindle. Jokers. Charlatans.

FYI, the e-book was not even a very good instruction on how to write a book. It was a low budget way, that probably works for the author.

But you are better than that, aren't you?

Campaign Finance and the Law of Diminishing Returns

Citizens United may have backfired on the right wing. Campaign finance is not a linear, but rather a U shaped function. There is a Law of Diminishing Returns at work. But above a certain amount of spending there is a Law of Negative Returns. Now the right has a different kind of problem - not spending too much so they end up on the negative side of the curve. This happened to Mittens, who outspent Bronco 5 to 1 and still lost, because he spent too much and ended up on the down slope of the curve. This has driven the right hysterical as they try to explain why they were unable to buy the election with so much money. It will be decades before they find a way to fix this nice big money hole they dug. Ironically, they have become job creators even while losing elections. It's wonderful.

My Computer Biffs Sometimes, Unexpectedly

I was a little scared tonight, when I went to boot up my Mac and it had a brain fart. It went into a boot loop of some kind and wouldn't boot to the main screen. I hard powered down, unplugged it, and let it rest a few seconds. Then I turned it on again and it booted OK, albeit a bit slowly. I don't know anything about computers, but I would wager it's a fragmented hard drive issue. I have had this laptop for longer than I can remember. The battery doesn't even work anymore. I could replace it, but I never do. It works fine with wall power and that's all I ever use. Anyway, I should think about a new computer soon. Macs are great, but they are expensive.

Just Say No To ATM Fees

I have started boycotting ATMs that ch arge a fee. Fer chrissakes, this is the 21st century, as evidenced by Bronco's recent re-election. Am I to believe that modern technology has made running a bank more expensive such that these fees are needed? Or is it more likely that banks charge these fees because people are suckers?

I hereby make a no sucker pledge. Going forward, I shant use an ATM with a fee unless it is a real emergency. I can't think of any situations where I couldn't forego some hard cash. If I am in a situation where a vendor does not take credit cards or check, I will let them know it was an ATM fee (and their own inability to join the 21st century) that thwarted their desire to part me with my money.

Maybe if enough small businesses get the memo, they will bring some pressure to bear on the banks to get rid of these dumb fees.

An Open Letter to the Wisconsin Deer Herd

Dear Deer,
Some of my fellow humans are now out in nature firing guns at you. I'm sorry, in a sympathetic way. It's not my fault, of course, so I'm not sorry in an apologetic way. And certainly, one could argue that I'm complicit, in as much as I am probably going to eat some of you, if any of my hunter friends are successful.
But I just wanted you to know, I won't be shooting at you, personally. In fact, I won't even be spending much time out in the natural areas that you frequent. That's because some of my fellow humans are trigger happy, drunk, and stupid. I don't want to get shot, so I am going to avoid getting between you and your human predators.
This time of year must be terrifying to you. Up until now, humans have largely ignored you, maybe even appreciated your natural beauty when you chanced to cross paths with us bi-pedal homonid primates. Now all of a sudden, we're shooting at you (the royal we, because, as I said, I am not taking up arms against you), with seemingly reckless abandon.
As it turns out, some humans are also shooting at your natural predators, wolves. I think the wolf hunt idea was one of Wisconsin's dumbest, for the record. Now there will be even more of you guys out crossing our highways next year and causing millions of dollars of destruction to our automobiles. I can tell you this though...getting shot by a skilled and responsible human hunter is a lot nicer way to go than being torn apart by wolves. I assume. I mean, I don't know. I am just using my human logic to deduce that. When a human hunter shoots a bullet into you that finds it's mark, death will be swift and merciful. You might not even know what happened. One minute you'll be nibling on some corn husks in some farmer's field and the next minute...blackness.
Sadly, there are bound to be a few idiot hunters out there who will shoot at anything. These morons might wound you, and you'll suffer for hours before you die of sepsis or slowly bleed to death. Gruesome thoughts, and I am sorry about that. I do hope you are dispatched with expediently, if you are the one nature has chosen to be food for humans.
But honestly, I hope natural selection favors you and you live to see another year. Maybe evolution has granted you exceptional hearing or a good sense of smell, and you're able to avoid wandering dangerously close to people with guns and a hankering for venison. I can't profess to know how nature picks and chooses, but I am damn sure evolution by natural selection is real. So some of you are going to make it, for whatever reasons, a combination of excellence in the biological arms race and dumb luck.
The one good thing about wolves though is that they tend to cull your kind based on biologically sound criteria. They pick off your old and weak. Actually, this is what the scientists say, but I think it is a bunch of huey. On the nature programs, it seems like the predators are always trying for the new born herbivores and it is up the the mama wildebeest to fend off the lions. And when it comes to alligators, they just seem to latch onto the first animal that reaches the watering hole. I would think it would be the dominant and healthy animals that would get first dibs on a drink, and being an alligator's breakfast. But who knows, maybe the scientists are right.
One thing I do know is that human hunters aren't looking for the weak members of your kind. They want healthy, well fed deer, that will make good venison stew. So human's are kind of f-ing up the program as far as nature is concerned (what else is new, right?). They take down your best individuals and your herds become statistically more mediocre in subsequent years.
Good luck out there. While I hope that you don't draw the short straw, I know that some of you will. Know that if you are "harvested" (a polite human way of saying "tearing your vital organs to shreds with bullets/arrows"), I will be thinking of you most appreciatively as I savor your fleshly flavor. I mean, we both survived 4.5 billion years of evolution to end up in the here and now, right? That's nothing to scoff at. A lot of shit went down over the eons and our ancestors did good, eh?We made it! Even if this year's deer hunting season is the end of the line for you, I hope that you were able to squeeze out a few fawns (or, if you're a buck, inseminate a few does who did) that will carry your genes on long into the future.
Now run your f-ing ass off!

Time to Muster Up an Angry Mob?

I just heard on NPR that in Brooklyn, NY, the utility companies are refusing to turn on the electricity for victims of Hurricane Sandy until they get their wiring certified by an electrician.

This is unacceptable. They had electricity before the storm and the utilities didn't turn off their electricity because of some bullshit building code. Turn their power back on and worry about the wiring later.

This is grounds for revolution. It would not bother me at all if Brooklyners took over the utilities by force and demanded action. People are dying from hypothermia. It's self defense.

Bronco needs to throw down some executive orders waiving any dumbshit local regulations and f@ckstick utility workers need to disobey the law and their douchebag upper management or else face an angry mob.

I am livid. You should be too.

Miley Cyrus: Is She Too Young Too Get Married?

If I could, I would tell Miley Cyrus to reconsider getting married. Not necessarily NOT do it. Just think long and hard. Like, for a few years.

Don't get me wrong, I like Miley Cyrus. She's an intelligent pop star, and there are not many of those.

Which is why I can't figure out why she wants to be tied down by marriage at such a young age.

Marriage is no walk in the park. Unless your marriage is in a park, but even then, it is a really short walk. There are a lot of obligations in a marriage.

People gotta do what they gotta do, I guess, and learn the hard way.

But there is so much an energetic 19-year old still has yet to do in this world besides get hitched.

Why does she have to tie the knot? Can't she just date the guy for a few years, while she chases her dreams? Or has she chased them all already?

I don't have the answers. I can't tell someone else how to live their life or what to do.

If she really wants to get married great. I just hope she is really sure it is the right time and place in her life.

And if it is, then that's swell.

I Did It (But I Didn't Drink the Corporate Cool Aid)

I did it.

I voted.

But that's not all.

I faced my fear and I voted for Jill Stein (Green Party). She says everything I always want President Obama to say, but he never does.

Did I throw away my vote? Depends how you define it. But I am done with fear. I am done with voting for the lesser of two evils. I don't fear Mittens. He does suck, but only a little bit more than Obama. My vote might be completely swamped out by all the votes for the two mainstream parties, but IT'S MY VOTE. I can do what I want with it, and politicians who want it have to earn it. Obama has not earned it. Mittens will never earn it. Jill Stein seduced it and received it.

My vote isn't going to swing any elections. Even if Mittens wins, I won't feel too bad about it. The fear is overblown. Everyone knows what they are in for with Mittens, and if they vote for him, that is what they will get. The President is not king. There are checks and balances.

Even if the election comes down to a single vote in Wisconsin (which is statistically almost impossible), there would have to be a recount, and there is no way of knowing if it was my vote or someone else's that decided the election. The Electoral College ensures that my vote only matters in Wisconsin anyway. It is irrelevant to the national popular vote.

If Mittens wins, then Obama did not work hard enough to win people's votes. That is exactly how it is supposed to work, even if Mittens takes the U.S.A. back to third world status.

Obama should be crushing Mittens. The reason he isn't is because Obama succumbed to the corporate cool-aid. Both mainstream candidates are beholden to evil corporate America, because of the way the system is rigged. It is essentially a government of a third world country, rife with corruption and bribes (under the guise of campaign contributions via PACs).

So maybe we do need to go back to a third world state and just see how we like it. If my vote for Jill Stein was a "vote for Mittens," as my sellout liberal friends say, then that's how the cookie crumbles. Deal with it.

My vote is mine to spend how I see fit. I don't tell anyone else how to vote and I can't do anything about the final outcome.

I did vote for Tammy Baldwin for Senate. I like woman politicians. They are far more sensible than testosterone bloated male politicians.

See ya.

A Nazi Nightmare

Flu season is coming. I think I am getting a flu shot this week.

This reminds me of a story my dad told me about his childhood, while I was interviewing him for the biographical memoirs I am writing for both of my parents.

He thinks he was probably six or seven years old, and World War 2 was in full swing. His parents were fairly well off and either rented or owned a country place in Ferntree Gully, a suburb of Melbourne. His family used to go up to the place, called Clematis, on weekends.

“Somehow, I had caught a very serious fever of some kind," my dad told me. "I suppose it was just the flu. Dodge [the family dog] was with us."

My dad had seen and heard news reports about the wars in Europe and the Pacific, although as he tells it, the Australian government withheld a lot of information from the public about Australia's role in it.

"I must have also seen pictures of the first World War," he said. "Because the bad guys in my dream and hallucination were wearing those old German helmets with the spikes. It was very realistic. I don't know what time of the day it was, but I heard this crunching sound on the gravel driveway up to the farmhouse. Crunch, crunch, crunch..."

In my dad's mind, he saw a squad of German soldiers march up to the house and surround it. Of course, there are no historical records of Germans ever getting anywhere near Australia (that was the Japanese).

"It was quite real," my dad said.

The interior of the farmhouse at Clematis was paneled in dark wood, and there were decorations of some kind on the shelving of the house, which "turned into machine guns and they were pointing at me. It was just a scary experience."

My dad's parents wrapped him in a blanket and put him in front of the fireplace to stay warm.

"I thought I was being tortured," my dad said. In fact, his toes were sticking out from under the blanket and because he was sweating from the fever and the fireplace, Dodge, the dog, was licking the sweat off his feet.

That night, my dad went to sleep in his dad's bed.

"I was lying behind him, and I thought it was very strange because I could see right through him and I could still see the soldiers milling around. Then they marched off, crunch, crunch, crunch, down the driveway again, and it was all over."

I asked my dad if he thought the noise was caused by something else and he just imagined it to be marching soldiers.

"I don't think I was hearing any particular noise," he replied. "Just my ears as well as my eyes were playing tricks on me."

REVIEW: Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (Campy Fun Horror Movie)

It's Halloween.

So what better time to review a great horror film I saw last weekend on Netflix.

It is called "Tucker and Dale vs. Evil." The only criticism I have of this film is that there isn't any actual evil in the movie. Well, there sort of is at the end, but it is underemphasized in favor of a campy plot that is a comedy of extremely gory errors that happens when some college kids cross paths with some rednecks, all of whom are just trying to mind their own business up in the woods.

But when rednecks Tucker and Dale get out the shovels, chainsaw, and a woodchipper, to do a little harmless beautification of their newly purchased fishing cabin, things start to go insane.

The movie was non-stop action and didn't dwell too long on the cliches of other horror films. In a weird way, it is kind of a romance (when one of the rednecks somehow enchants one of the college girls).

It is what it is. Don't take my word for it. Netflix gave it 4.5/5 stars. That's part of the reason I chose to watch it, while I was up in Osh Kosh last weekend for a little pre-Halloween celebrating.

When I was up in OK for the Midwest Indie Horror Film Fest on Saturday October 6th, I saw a couple of other great horror films. One was called "Collapse," and I am not sure it is released yet. It was made in Iowa and involves some bigger named actors. I can't find it on Amazon or Netflix, so I am not sure why. It's kind of a zombie film but it has an incredbile twist at the end.

And of course, there was "A Cadaver Christmas," a great campy gory indie horror flick, that is at once a Halloween and a Christmas movie that can be enjoyed by the whole family (if they are into gore).

REVIEW: Colgate Wave Comfort Fit Toothbrush

I never in my wildest dreams thought I would endorse a toothbrush.

I needed to replace my old toothbrush recently, so I grabbed one out of the bathroom drawer that the dentist had given me after a checkup and cleaning a long time ago.

It was a Colgate “Wave” Comfort Fit toothbrush, according to the packaging. This thing fits my teeth like a charm. It’s not too hard but not too soft, so the medium bristles are just right. The size and shape are also perfect for shaping to my teeth and covering a decent amount of surface area.

It grips in my hand beautifully too. I have to remember to get this make and model of toothbrush the next time I need one. This toothbrush makes me look forward to brushing my teeth, and that’s a strange new feeling.

F-ing F-ers

The WI Highway Patrol is seriously on my shitlist right now and fully justifiably so. Total traffic redirection fail.

So, I am driving back from Osh Kosh (begosh) after a fun weekend of Halloween celebs and when I get to Rosendale, a cop has Hwy 26 closed off and is directing traffic to turn left. We can assume that was the best detour to get us wayward motorists around whatever catastrophe was unfolding a presumably SHORT distance down Hwy 26. I was willing to forgive the detour as the good intentions of law enforcement, even though I was remarkably frustrated that, after that first left turn, none of the other turns of the detour were marked or manned. I know state coffers are running a little thin, but it is unethical and immoral to ask drivers to follow the other lemming drivers who have no idea where they are going either. Blind leading blind.

But then, once we all found our way back to 26 farther down and were heading south again, there was another cop redirecting us once again, rendering the efforts of the first cop completely useless and unnecessary. Fail.

I am sure there is some lame explanation for such a massive breakdown in logic and reason, but I reject it out of hand because of the weak sauce implementation. I have got rocking to do tonight and that trumps all. Just go clear the golddang road and let's get on with it.

A World of Pain

I don't especially care if people tailgate me. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me because it's not going to change anything. Unless I am feeling remarkably ornery, I am not going to slow down that much, maybe a couple of mph tops. And I am certainly not going to speed up, in no small measure because I refuse to contribute to the ridiculously over inflated coffers of law enforcement, which by the way is a misnomer. And I am not going to magically vanish into some rift in the fabric of time/space manifested by the close proximity of your high speed hunk of metal to mine.

But if you cross the line and flash your brights at me, when I am traveling at a speed amply above the posted speed limit, you will find yourself in a world of pain.

First, I will slow to 1 mph below the speed limit every time it is impossible to pass me, which you could have done in the first place without penalty. Then I will spend the rest of the time speeding up and slowing down as seemingly randomly as I can.

You have been warned.

Corporate Mainstream Media

There is an easy test to determine if mainstream media is progressive- or conservative-biased.

Stop watching it.

If your thinking and beliefs begin to drift in a progressive direction, it's probably because the corporate mainstream media is conservatively slanted, and without those social cues to guide you on what is important news, your mind will need to seek out other cues.

Conversely, if your thinking and beliefs begin to drift in a conservative direction in the absence of mass media cues, this suggests the media is more progressive, or "liberal," to use an archaic term.

Most people when asked will say they are not influenced by mass media. This must be why advertisers spend billions on persuasive messages and broadcast them in the context of mainstream media news programs.

Humans are social animals. Our thoughts and behaviors are in part determined by social cues from other humans. In the absence of social interaction, those cues come from the media that is consumed.

It is well known that interpersonal communication is the most persuasive. When messages come from people around you, especially people you trust, they have more impact on you.

The media is a proxy for the collective mass mind. That is why it is called mass media. The social cues it gives help people determine what are important issues.

Gay rights? Abortion? Immigration? The economy? Extrajudicial killing? Tax fraud? Banking fraud?

Many topics that don't get covered are out of sight, out of mind.

Nuclear I Told You So...

As it turns out, the Fukishima nuclear disaster following Japan's tsunami was powers of magnitude worse than even scientists believed, much less the corporate media. I don't want to say I told you so, but I did.

When I was a kid growing up in New York, the 3-Mile Island nuclear accident happened in Pennsylvania. That too was under reported and the dangers downplayed. However, my insightful mom made me and my sister take iodine supplements to protect us from radioactive iodine in the air, soil, and water.

I don't know if it helped us or not. But because of that lesson learned growing up, when the Fukishima thing happened, I immediately bought a natural iodine supplement (kelp) and started taking it.

Most experts still say no radiation reached the west coast of the United States. But never believe corporate media to report the truth. Use common sense. A lot of debris washed up on the west coast. If debris can wash up, what else can? Are water supplies affected? Air? Sand?

Natural iodine from kelp is cheap and harmless. Is it worth the small investment to protect yourself from possible thyroid cancer down the road? I can't answer that. Only you can.

The VALUE Solution

There is far too much wrong with the world to solve all the problems with reactionary solutions.

We need visionary solutions, and there is a really simple one that can do a lot.

As people, we need to start focusing on VALUE rather than money.

You don't need to know what this means for action, but it is not hard to understand the concept, and once you do, action will naturally follow.

Simply put, money does not create value.

Value creates money.

The order is important but the key thing to remember is that VALUE is the key. Money is not a substitute for value, although it usually flows to where the value is.

But if you assume money is a proxy for value, that is destructive. That is where America is now and we need to get back to values if we want to save ourselves.

This is very pertinent in the debate over giving tax breaks to the rich in hopes they will take the money and create value. They won't. It doesn't work that way. Money does not create value. Value creates money.

I Try

My workplace is deteriorating. That is to say, the quality of the work being produced here seems to be on a downward spiral, unable even to achieve the level of mediocrity our clients have come to expect. The culprit is of course dirt poor leadership from upper management. There are a whole slew of people that need to be cut loose and in so doing the quality of output here would skyrocket. Although the quantity of output would temporarily decrease, the higher quality would more than compensate. Right now, the low quality detracts from the small percentage of quality output being generated. Actually, a lot could change if upper management itself got the hell out of the way.

Medicare and Social Security

I'd like for someone to explain exactly how Medicare and SS contribute to the deficit. They are funded by the Medicare and SS taxes of working people, independent of the income taxes that pay into the general treasury. Not only that but at least for the immediate future, these pots are well funded. They have a surplus at present and in fact the general treasury is borrowing FROM MC and SS, leaving IOUs. Regardless of what might happen to these funds in 25 or 50 years, it is unfathomable to me that these could have any impact on balancing the budget today, since they are liquid and independently funded from the general treasury. In fact, taking them away would actually hurt the deficit due to the cross fund borrowing mentioned earlier. Somebody explain. Now!

Every Election You Got One Thing No One Can Tell You What To Do With

Every election, you are given ONE VOTE to spend however you like, assuming of course you are legally registered to vote. Now there are a lot of people who would like to disenfranchise you of your vote. But I don't want to discuss that here. Let's assume you have all your ducks in a row and can go vote on election day.

How are you going to spend that one precious vote? It's not like your one vote is going to swing any elections. If the election was that close, they'd have to do a recount anyway. So the way I figure it, you have a few options.

It's your vote. You can do with it what you please.

1. You could NOT vote. This is truly "throwing away" your vote. I'll get into voting for third parties in a minute. You can decide not to vote, and then your one vote is wasted. It has no value of any kind. It is nullified until the next election. I can totally understand the desire not to vote, given the crappy choices available. If that's what you decide to do, no one can hold that against you. It's your vote.

2. You could vote for one of the two mainstream candidates, Obama or Mittens. These are the choices the corporate mass media tells us are the only two viable choices. Maybe you think so too. In that case, go vote for one of them. At least you are not flushing your vote down the toilet like you would be in scenario #1. They are the conventional mainstream pop culture choices, and like many pop culture icons, they sell out often and follow the polls.

3. You could spend your one vote on a third party candidate. Many people mistakenly think this scenario is the same as "throwing away your vote." But that's NOT voting. And as I said above, your one vote isn't going to swing any elections. You don't have any say over anyone else's vote, only yours. And what you do with yours has no bearing on what others will do with theirs, except for the fact that if you vote for the mainstream candidates, you are just kind of following the herd over the cliff, via conventional wisdom. But you can spend your vote however you want. The mainstream candidates ASSUME one of them owns your vote. Do they? The conventional wisdom says yes. But don't they have to EARN your vote. If you really like a third party candidate like Green Jill Stein or Independent Ron Paul, why not make this bargain with the mainstream candidates: Adopt some of the third party platforms I like, or don't ASSUME you will get my vote. It has to be earned. Now, you might still want to vote for one of the two mainstream candidates so you can be on the "winning" team. That's peer pressure. But are you really winning if you only have two choices and the "winner" is really just a loser to one degree or another?

I heard Jill Stein talk on Wisconsin Public Radio. She is the Green Party candidate. She said everything I always want Obama to say, but he never does. Like jailing criminal bankers and oil company crooks that pollute and price fix. She points out that the middle class should not have to accept AUSTERITY while the rich are basically bathing in Benjamins (rolling in cash).

Look at the stock market and the banks. There is NO shared sacrifice there. The stock markets are doing great. So why is the middle class suffering? Where are these so-called "job creators" that we were told we would see if we just gave the rich MORE tax breaks.

So, I say to President Obama this: Earn my vote. Be a true progressive and take action against the crooks. I realize it is too late to expect this before this coming election. But there is a lot he could say and do between now and then that might take my one vote away from Jill Stein (who I currently plan to vote for) and give it to Obama. It's a real long shot. But he can't just have my vote. He has to earn it. It is the one thing I own that no one can buy or take away. It's precious and valuable and I am not going to spend it on a load of rhetoric. I am going to be very discerning on where I spend my vote.

Let's face it, Obama should crush Mittens in this election. Obama is intelligent and he has values. Unfortunately, he has sold out to corporate America. Not quite as badly as Mittens has, but he has. It's the way the system is rigged. Elections cost money. But I believe you can foster an economy built on moral and ethical companies that care about building America, not ones who want to fleece it.

If Obama can't beat Mittens, my one vote is not going to change that. It's not possible. The same goes for if he beats Mittens. My one vote may not matter to either candidate.

But it's mine and it matters to me.

Poor Lance Armstrong

I feel bad for Lance Armstrong. I am not going to take a stand one way or the other on doping. Maybe he did and maybe he didn't. I sat next to a pro bicycle racer on a plane once who told me it was impossible to be in the top 10 cyclists without doping. This guy on the plane said he did not dope and the best he could ever hope for was to come in 4th or 5th against the dopers in a race. And that was the best he could ever hope to do. He was OK with that.

So that's what I know. Annd that's that.

But Lance Armstrong is still a visionary leader and figurehead when it comes to the fight against cancer. I don't think he should have to step down from his Livestrong role. He beat cancer, which is all the more amazing if he was doping himself up with toxic chemicals to bicycle race.

As for Nike taking away its endorsement of Armstrong, I say, "Honey Badger don't give a shit." But for Nike to take the moral high ground when they profit from overseas sweatshops and migrant labor is a bit of a stretch.

I think Armstrong should come clean on his doping, if he did it. Honesty is the best policy. But either way, I think he is a decent guy and shouldn't be a sacrificial lamb.

Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones and let he or she who is without sin throw the first stone.

That's my take and I am sticking to it.

Honey Badger Don't Give a @#$%

There was (and still is, I guess) a viral video on the Internet about the Honey Badger, with a hilarious voice over about the aggressively carefree nature of this beast. I’ll embed the video below this post. It is worth watching. The narrator says at one point, “The Honey Badger don’t give a @#$%!”

At work, I am a lot like the honey badger, just not giving a @#$%.

I have one coworker in particular who passive aggressively complicates every task, throwing up roadblocks and trying to pass the buck. Everyone recognizes this, but at the slightest criticism he becomes defensive to the point of paranoia, blames everyone else, and spews venom (much like the cobra that appears in the honey badger video).

A guy would be within his rights to get mad at this coworker and tell him to @#$% the @#$% off. But, I don’t do that. I recognize that he is a bitter angry person. There is no sense in 2 of us being that way. I don’t know why he is so mean spirited. But you know what…

“Honey Badger don’t give a @#$%!”

That’s a good attitude for working with dangerous people.

 

Jill Stein Says Everything I Want Obama to Say, But He Never Does. So Guess What...

On Wisconsin Public Radio today, they interviewed the Green Party candidate for President, Jill Stein. Who else does that? She said everything I want Obama to say, but he never does. So guess what...@#$% it, I am voting Green.

No more austerity for us working peeps while the bankers and oil billionaires are bathing in Benjamins.

I totally don't care who you vote for, if you want to stick with the winning "losers." But not me.

A good day to you.

http://www.gp.org/committees/pcsc/

Workspace Madness

I have noticed a high correlation between the presence of upper management and a complete breakdown of mental faculties amongst my coworkers. It is as if the presence of managers flips a retardation switch in their minds.

This is yet another reason why management sucks and is totally useless to the organization. When the managers are away, my coworkers behave like normal intelligent and competent human beings, who actually do work and accomplish things. But as soon as the managers return, they lose all ability to be self directed and instead just sit in their cubes mumbling, drooling, and soiling themselves.

Quite pathetic.

The Government Won't Save Us (But Neither Will Corporate America)

If you want to protect the environment and save the earth, you need to take responsibility for your own chunk of the cosmos and do your part. The government and corporate America will not save us, and even if they could, they would have to do it by asking YOU to change your fossil fuel addicted lifstyle.

So just take the iniative and change it yourself. Take personal responsibility and make changes that shrink your ecological footprint. What are you waiting for, someone else to save the day? Not going to happen. Why would you put a government or corporate bureaucracy in charge of that? But more importantly, why would you expect them to do anything other than asking YOU to do your part. That's the bottom line.

Perhaps you could argue that the government or corporate America could do it by acting on a mass societal scale, but the end result is the same. You have to change before society can change. So just change. Buy a bike and get a fuel efficient car; drive it less. Weatherize your house and lower the heat/AC. Buy foods locally and minimize packaging and processing. If you can, go vegetarian, which is a power of magnitude less harmful to the environment than eating meat. You don't have to be a strict vegetarian, but just trying to eat about half the meat you currently eat will go a long way. Avoid foods with corn and soybeans when possible. The prices of such foods are dependent on the environment and they cause a death spiral for the environment.

Saving the earth is a 3 step process.

1. Education.

2. Conservation.

3. Alternative Energies.

Note that alternative energy technology comes last. These technologies are not sufficient to meet our energy needs unless we lower those needs, even though everyone talks about it first to avoid having to talk about the hard one, conservation. Education allows us to make the best choices for doing so and for deciding on what alternative energies are best. Also, we need to educate more scientists who can find ways to make conservation and alternative energies cheaper and easier to do. Conservation comes before alternatives, because lowering demand is the only way these technologies will work.

Education is not enough though. Sitting on FACEBOOK and trying to educate people is not enough. Act. Get out there and do something.

Mittens' Diabolical Plan for Earth

I didn't watch the debate between President Obama and Wannabe President "Mittens" Romney.

I have already decided to vote for Obama because of Mittens' diabolical plan for complete destruction of the planet.

You can argue that THIS is a piece of fabricated left wing journalism: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/mitt-romneys-disastrous-energy-plan-20120914

Go ahead.

But if you don't make that argument, and agree to the accuracy of it, then you are an friggin' idiot to vote for Mittens.

There is some good info on the world oil market here that has nothing to do with Mittens at all. Just facts of the market from which you can use common sense to determine Mittens has no idea what he is talking about.

Why I Did Not Get a PhD

I'm a smart guy. Maybe too smart for my own good. And by too smart, I mean too much of a smart ass.

Let me preamble this by telling you that my goal is to someday have a PhD, not just for the academic street cred that goes along with that. In fact, not at all for that. For me, a PhD is just a consequence of busting ass at something one is passionate about. For some, it is about the street cred and commensurate income stream. For those people, busting their ass at something tolerable is sufficient, provided they can keep the goal in mind and suffer a whole lot of douchebaggery from some not very nice people.

Getting a PhD is a pyramid scheme in brutality. Everyone who gets a PhD is more or less shit on while they are getting it. Ironically, but not surprisingly, once these people get their PhD, they go on to shit on up and coming PhDs. This is not because all PhDs are douchebags, but because the douchebags in what passes for management at universities create a political culture of douchebaggery, the well known "sink or swim" mindset. Those who are unwilling to be douches don't last long in that culture.

Of course there are exceptions. My former boss had a PhD, was the ultimate douchebag, and also did not make it in academia (because he sucked and was a douche to his students). Also, my parents are not douchebags, but they have PhDs and high standards. Douchebaggery results from low standards.

Anyway, all that is the lead in to my reasons for not getting a PhD. I simply have a huge anti-authority streak, and at the first sign of douchebaggery, I become a real asshole towards those wielding the douche. I have made a couple of attempts at getting a PhD and it was not for lack of intelligence or hard work that I did not succeed. It was my inability to suffer douchebaggery, even knowing the positive outcome of doing so.

Someday.

Atmospheric Change

I find it amusing when climate change deniers reject the notion that humans, the dominant organism on the earth (in effect, if not sheer numbers), can affect the climate.

Life on earth has been influencing climate and the makeup of the atmosphere since it began. There was no oxygen on the hot early earth, and carbon dioxide accounted for the difference. But that earth was remarkably hot. It was hot spring hot. Deep oceanic vent hot. And we can presume much of the life observed in those ecosystems may resemble the earliest life on earth, in form and function, if not direct evolutionary lineage.

The evolution of aerobic organisms came about as the levels of toxic oxygen (a waste product of photosynthesis) rose in the early atmosphere. Oh how the early anaerobes must have objected to the wonton oxygen production of their peers, all the while doing it themselves (it is OK if I do it, but not if others do...sound familiar?).

So the notion that organisms can influence the environment, including the atmosphere, is quite sound. But the question to be asked is if there is anything we can or should do about it.

Poor Mittens

A friend of mine on Facebook noted how Mitt Romney's mouth is his own worst enemy. The guy just seems totally out of touch with most of humanity.

But you just go ahead and vote for Mittens.

Working Too Much Can Kill You

Science doesn't lie.

A meta-analysis of research on heart disease and hours at work shows that too much overtime can increase your risk of heart disease by up to 80%.

No thanks.

A meta-analysis is a study that pools the data from lots of other studies to get a stronger statistical analysis. See for yourself.

According to the study, working too many hours also makes you dumber:

Middle-aged workers putting in 55 hours or more a week had poorer brain function than those clocking up no more than 40 hours, with lower scores on tests to measure intelligence, short-term memory and word recall. The effect was so pronounced, they found, that it was similar in magnitude to that of smoking, a major risk factor for dementia.

Incredible.

Working too much is as bad for you as smoking?

No thanks.

Your boss is putting your life at risk if he asks you to work too much. You have a right to protect your life and health. So tell him or her to go pound sand up his/her ass.

10 Minutes - Words With Friends

Hi. It's Joe.

I am definitely improving at Words With Friends, which is essentially Scrabble on app form. I still suck though. I tend to kick everyone's arse in actual Scrabble, probably because of the time constraint of a board game. The WWF app has no such time restriction because you can play when you like. This gives you a lot more time to scheme up high scoring words. I mean, if you don't make a move for a long time, like a fortnight, I think the app assumes you have forfeited and awards your opponent a win. This happened to me once.

I played GUMBOOT in WWF today for like 36 points. I did not even know it was one word, not two. I gambled that my opponent did not have an S, but she did and made an S word that gave her a score for that and for GUMBOOTS. Shit!

Anyway, this game is a lot closer than the last one we played. It's probably a combination of minor improvement on my part and cockiness on her part (since she whooped me handily on the prior game we played, she probably just assumed I suck in general). I think I can win this one if I do some clever wordsmithing. But I don't want to get too cocky just yet. My friend is a good WWF player.

I am up at the cabin this weekend, helping my parents tidy it up so they can close it down for winter. In a few minutes I am going to go bring the boats up from the beach. There is a kayak down there, as well as a rowboat.

Rowboat would be a sweet WWF word. I wonder if I can play that one soon.

Time.

Rush Hour Is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

I rarely experience rush hour and so for all practical purposes, it does not exist for me. I can make it manifest itself. It is quite simple to do. All it takes is for me to drive my car between 7 and 8 AM or 4:30 and 5:30 PM in Madison, WI, the city in which I work.

But I hardly ever do this, because I do not believe in creating my own personal hell on earth, as so many of my fellow human beings seem, collectively, to do.

Indeed, it is only by working together that my urban brothers and sisters can generate the hell cooperative known as rush hour. They appear to engage in it willingly and repeatedly do so. Unless they are also collectively insane, they must at some level enjoy this twice daily torment parade, during which each attempts to out do the others' displays of conformity and learned hopelessness. Because to repeat the same behavior day after day, expecting a different result can only signal one of two things: madness or relish for self-loathing (i.e., a self-induced living hell).

I seek no accolades from my fellow humans for defying convention and avoiding rush hour when I commute. In any case, when I commute there are, by definition, far fewer drivers on the road for whom to flaunt my individualistic taunting of the societal status quo.

Sometimes I don't even lower myself to driving a car but rather join that elite fleet of transportation royalty, bicyclists. Not only does this save me money on gasoline, but I can get a workout while sailing past all the pathetic and miserable, self-loathers stuck in traffic.

This has a small downside, especially during the evening commute. Some car drivers are not satisfied directing their pathos of hate inward. Perhaps their once vivacious souls have been so withered by repeated self-emolation that they feel a need to share some of their contagion with those they perceive to have an excess of positive energy and freedom. So they direct their derision outward on others, especially bicyclists.

Luckily, it is very easy to repel negativity with positivity, once you realize the nature of the negativity beast. I hope this post has provided you with helpful insight on this, assuming you are one of those rare few who prefers a free, positive, heaven-on-earth kind of existence.

I'd love to hear your comments.

Review: Cambridge Auto Repair Shop (C.A.R.S) in Cambridge WI (Highest Rating: 5 stars)

I like my mechanic Terry. He is an honest guy. Unlike the car dealership, he does not charge me $80 to run a diagnostic on my car's ECM (engine control module - the computer brain), because it is only a five minute operation and he knows he will get future work from doing so. He also knows that it is crooked to charge $80 for an easy five minute operation.

Terry is not a charlatan.

I am not a mechanic. But I am a scientific and technical thinker. When Terry pulls ECM computer codes from my car's computer chip to diagnose a problem, he often gives them to me so I can go research them online with respect to my make and model of car.

My car has recently been throwing a code indicating low engine power, where it will stall out after startup. I found out that this is a common issue with 2001 to 2003 Priuses (Prii?). It can be related to overfilling the crankcase with oil during oil changes. It turns out that my Prius only holds 3.9 quarts of oil, not the usual 4 that most cars do. This can lead to oil escaping into some valve, clogging it. My engine often dies on startup in the cold, because this oil is more viscous then. It does it less so when it is warm.

The warm weather occurrence is actually a slightly different code. The code in winter is a "failure to start" issue, whereas the other one is "low engine power." The latter one is the issue I have had lately and is the reason I am typing this post in the waiting area at my mechanic's.

He is doing an oil change in advance of my 4.5 hour drive north for BIKE WITH (OR WITHOUT) MELINDA this weekend. During this operation he is going to have a quick look at this problem valve mentioned earlier and see if it is clogged or corroded. He is also going to only put 3.8 quarts of fresh oil in my car during the oil change.

It will be hard to know if this fixes the low power problem. It happens very intermittently, so if it doesn't happen after this oil change, there is no way to know if it is fixed. But if it does happen after this oil change, then the problem may be elsewhere in the gas engine system. At that point, we will troubleshoot some more.

I dig this synergistic relationship I have with Terry. He is open to me researching car issues online and sharing the info with him. Unlike the car dealership, he does not treat me like a total moron and listens to what I have to say. He is knowledgeable and open minded, as well as honest.

That is a kickass local mechanic. 5 stars.

Why I Probably Won't Vote For President Obama

I am a man of principles.

So is President Obama. I like the man. He is smart and well spoken, thoughtful and often clever.

He is everything a President should be. So why am I not likely voting for him?

I will tell you.

But first let me tell you that I might vote for him. I do not think my one vote is going to swing any elections and I don't expect anyone else to change their voting based on anything I say.

For me, it is that Obama has lost sight of the greater vision for America. He is putting out fires and solving small problems in a reactionary way, mainly to get re-elected. For most Americans, this will probably do the trick. Americans are simple minded. They like men of action. But I like men of vision, from whom action follows.

The earth is cooking in it's own juices due to climate change. But regardless of whether you believe in global climate change, there are hard realities that come with basing our society exclusively on fossil fuels. We have to be friends with some real bad people in order to satisfy our fossil fuel addiction.

A visionary resource conservation policy is needed for America. We can't hope to cut our dependence on foreign oil unless we reduce our collective oil consumption by 50%. There is no physical way to do it. If we tapped every known source of oil in America it would not even dent the 50% of total oil we import.

When we stop depending on foreign countries for our energy infrastructure, wars end almost overnight. When we stop invading other countries, killing and torturing their people, for resources, they stop hating us.

Funny how that works. Imagine if your house was broken into every night by armed soldiers, your children scared and screaming, while the soldiers ransacked your house, with no intention of restoring order. They might even haul you off to jail for a while, just for shits and giggles.

Not cool. So why do we think it is alright in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Anyway, you get the picture. I am not even suggesting we switch to alternative renewable energies. We just need to cut our consumption of fossil fuels in half. I can live with half the gasoline prices and energy bills I pay now. How about you?

I encourage Mr. Obama to focus all his remaining energy on sound environmental policy. He can kill so many birds with that one stone. No more need to play nice with heinous murdering dictators in Saudi Arabia and other places. Cleaner air, water, and soil. No fracking. More money in peoples' pockets and less in the pockets of the oil company monopolists.

If more people biked and walked to work, health care costs would go down. Less road rage and traffic. Fewer oil and tire changes.

It's a domino effect.

So that is why I might not vote for Obama. He has not indicated he is serious about pursuing a strong conservation agenda with regard to environmental policy. It would be so easy. Nothing has to change. It is simple supply and demand. We just need to decrease demand for fossil fuels by 50%. Everyone wins EXCEPT the greedy oil companies.

But, perhaps, it is the campaign dollars of these companies that cloud Mr. Obama's vision and weaken his resolve.

In any case, my path is clear. If I see a major focus of the President's administration on environmental policy in the next couple of months, I might change my mind.

But honestly, I think it is too late. Two months is not enough time for me to be sure he is resolute.

But don't let my decisions persuade you. Vote for whoever you want. I am actually not too afraid of Obama losing. He should be able to whoop crooked Mitt Romney's arse handily on almost every issue. And if he can't then perhaps he does not deserve to win.

More Republican rule might actually be good. The faster the United States is relegated to third world country, unfettered free market status, the faster we can start rebuilding. Because you can only go up from ZERO.

Logic of Drug Testing Welfare Recipients

To the people who say welfare recipients should get drug tested, I have to ask...

Do you really think it is feasible or practical to drug test ALL the big bank and oil company CEOs before they can receive their taxpayer funded bailouts and subsidies.

I mean, I know a trillion bucks can buy a lot of drugs, but still...

Good Peeps

My friend Alexandra is awesome.

Even though her friend bailed on her tonight, she still came out by herself to hear me play jazz at Come Back Inn in Madison WI. That's the sign of a true comrade.

As a result, she got to hear a phenomenal jam session. We really laid it down. I had not played with the drummer Matt before and we were really in tune on the grooves. "In the pocket," as they say, laying down a fat foundation for guitarist Charlie and the horn players.

I kind of pity those who missed it. I mean, I know they had their other priorities, and that's cool. But no matter what those other priorities are, I can guarantee you that their soul is less fulfilled than if they had come to jazz night.

But Alexandra's soul is on FULL right now.

The waitresses at Come Back were also super cool. They were both named Olivia (not relevant) and managed to get us free food and drink discounts as part of the band.

My buddy Kyle (trombonist for jazz) and I ate dinner with Matt and Kristen, who are also good peeps. Matt dates Kristen who plays sax with the jazz group. Kristen started an LLC and asked if I could refer her to my awesome accountant to help with taxes and the other hoops that independent contractors have to jump through. She is contracting as a personal trainer. Both her and Matt do triathlons.

A really fun time tonight. I am glad I was able to do it.

Jazz gets me out of my rock-n-roll comfort zone a little bit and that's important to do every once in a while.

See ya!

Douchebag Apocalypse

Am I the only one who thinks douchebaggery is on an epidemic rise?
This eCard I found on Facebook would suggest others have noticed it too.

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I have observed a lot more douchebag drivers during my bike commutes over the past few weeks. Drivers have become downright mean spirited toward bikers, even in a city that facilitates keeping bikes out of the way of cars with bike lanes and paths (Madison WI). But it is not the behavior of bikers that sets these douches off. My theory is that these people are simply jealous and angry. They have to pay $4/gallon for gas and then sit in slow traffic going to and from work (while bikes whiz by). Plus, many of them probably work crappy jobs for douchy bosses, and that just adds insult to injury.
I can totally see why douchebaggery is running rampant. Still, I do not think it is right.
I think we should do something about it, maybe start an Anti-Douchebag Apocalypse group or something.
Today, as on most days, I parked my car in the subdivision in Cottage Grove from whence I bike to work, saving miles on my car and gas dollars (that I can spend on other things), as well as protecting the earth.
When I got back to my car after work today, I was confronted by a woman (named Connie, as it turns out) who told me that she did not much appreciate me parking in HER subdivision, because I did not live there. Really, Connie?
Anyway, I was as nice as I could be, not confrontational at all. You see, douchebaggery can be contagious. You have to willfully resist its pull, or you will become a douchebag too, once one has bitten you.
After explaining to Connie that I had been told by the Metro bus department that it was OK to park in the free lot next to her subdivision (it is not actually a residential lot, but a separate area completely open to visitors), to which she replied "What do bus drivers know?," I decided to fight her douchebaggery with the only weapon that I know works against it...KINDNESS.
I told her I totally understood her point of view and I wanted to respect HER space, and could she please advise me on where would be a better place to park in the area.
This seemed to throw her for a loop. I think she was expecting some defensive douchebagging from me, but when she got full acquiecence, she did not know how to respond. So, I followed up with, "Should I maybe park on the street instead?"
This spoon fed answer seemed to satisfy her, and she nodded, although she added the caveat, "...if you can find it, YES."
"Well, my dear Connie," I thought (but did not say). "I can find it." Many people park on the street in that neighborhood and it is really not a big deal, there is plenty of parking for all.
What I did say was, "I apologize for parking here. I will totally respect your space and park on the street henceforth. Thank you for letting me know that you hate me." The italics, of course, I did not say, but may have briefly thunk.
Having behaved honorably and chivalrously, I then added for an extra facial firehosing of nicety, "I am Joe, by the way. It is nice to meet you."
Again disarmed by my gratuitous response, she reflexively said, "Hi Joe, I am Connie." And that is how I learned her name.
Douchebaggery crushed in its tracks. Sadly, my parry was not enough to get her to reconsider my parking option and say something like, "I'm sorry I was a douchebag. You know what, Joe? Go ahead and park here. You seem like a nice guy."
However, we made it to a first name basis and I was no longer an anonymous parasitic invader in her sacred lands.
I bet the interaction did leave her feeling like a mean spirited douche and maybe she won't be so quick to dash a dose of douche-load on the next stranger who violates her air space by parking next to her condo complex. Hopefully, that next guy is as nice as me and not a murderer or a rapist.
Karma, Connie. Karma. All douchebags are beholden to it.
"Do unto others..." and "What would Jesus do?" and blah blah blah.
Good day.

3 Reasons to Bike Commute

Here are three no brainer reasons to ride your bike to work sometimes:

1. You are fat. Regardless of who is reading this post, this statement has a 75% chance of being true, according to health statistics. Riding your bike is exercise. If you do it during your commute to work, you have killed two birds with one stone, multitasking your workout and your commute at the same time. That's time available for other things.

2. You save on gas. If your car gets 30 miles per gallon and your commute to work is 5 miles, you save a gallon of gas every six commutes. Note that the round trip commute is 10 miles, so you could actually redeem this in 3 days of bike commuting. If you live farther than 5 miles from work, but are too fat to bike the entire distance (see #1), consider driving part way to work and biking the rest.

3. It's exciting and fun. Bike commuters are a friendly, elite group. You see things biking you won't see in a car. You can talk to people and make new friends. You can zip past people in cars stuck in traffic. You can find one or two co-workers to commute with and make it a bonding experience. Of course, if you hate your co-workers, perhaps you need to get a new job, one closer to home that you can bike to.

See ya.

Review: Salad Creations (Madison WI)

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This salad bar restaurant is awesome. It has been around for 2 years and I wish I had discovered it sooner. You can create your own salad for about $8 if you don't add meat and don't get a soda. You can add chick peas, black beans, hard boiled egg, or nuts for no extra charge. That's awesome, because egg is a great (and vegetarian, but not vegan) protein source. Even without egg it's a high fiber meal.

I am always hesitant to eat raw foods at public restaurants, but they seem to keep this place spotlessly clean and the salad chefs all wear plastic gloves and head gear.

Impressed, the three time I have been here. Four stars.

Best Video Baby Monitors

So, I am subscribed to the mailing list of NicheChick.com. This is the web site of a woman who looks for profitable internet marketing niches and then shares them with her readers, along with a list of worthwhile keywords.

As an experiment, I am going to backlink to another post I wrote about the niche for digital baby monitors, using as my backlinking keyword "digital baby monitors reviews," because that was a very high yield, albeit awkward sounding, keyword. Actually, it is two keywords blended together for maximum traffic, "digital baby monitors" and "baby monitors reviews."

Also, since this Posterous post also posts to Blogger and Wordpress, I will get a triple backlink.

That's the theory anyway. I am sure the charlatans at Google have found a way to counter such underhanded methods.

Review: The Free House Pub (Middleton WI)

Some coworkers and I decided to explore the brand new Free House Pub in Middleton WI for our weekly "team building." It is excellent.

It has only been open for a week. The staff are awesome, as is the beer selection. I am about to taste their portabello mushroom sandwich and I will let you know what I think...

Wow. Good. Some kind of cheesy white sauce that is really good. I got a side of greens, health nut that I am, and it was a little warm, but still crisp, and I am sitting outise on their sweet patio in 88 degree weather.

Their beers are only $4/pint, a good $1.25 cheaper than our other "team building" venue, the Claddagh Irish Pub. Plus, they are a dollar off during happy hour, from 5 to 6:30 pm.

4 out of 5 stars. As you know, that 5th star is reserved for repeated reliability on QUALITY. So we will have to come here a few more times and see how they do.

West Bend, Wisconsin: More Nazi Than The Nazis

CHECK THIS OUT.

Speaks for itself.

Glenn Grothman wants to make any kind of non-married parenthood a crime. Not just any crime, child abuse.

If you live in West Bend, WI, I pity you. Glenn Grothman is a total douche nugget, and he represents you, people of West Bend.

You probably meant well when you elected this nut job.

If, on the other hand, you agree with Mr. Grothman, and apparently a majority of you do (I don't think West Bend has touch screen voting machines yet...), then you can go pound sand right up your ass.

Luckily, my sister does not live anywhere near the Nazi-esque community of West Bend, because she raised two twins on her own, and they turned out a lot better than most peoples' kids.

But as long as they don't turn out like Glenn Grothman or the extremist fear and hate mongers of West Bend WI that elected him, I would be OK with that.

http://chicagoist.com/2012/03/07/wi_grothman_parenthood_abuse.php

How Are You Celebrating Your Independence?

Today at 5 pm, I have to play an outdoor jazz gig in Madison WI, which is under an Excessive Heat Warning due to temperatures over 100 degrees.

The venue, if you can believe this, does not provide ice cold free drinks for the band.

That in un-American, and I am going to express my freedom and independence by bringing my own small cooler of ice cold microbrews and soda (lemon-lime Squirt, if you must know, which is exceptionally cooling on a day like today), which will be exclusively for me and my band mates.

If the venue doesn't like it, they have a choice. Three choices actually. They can give us free ice cold drinks to keep cool while we are performing in this blazing inferno, or they can let us play indoors where it is air conditioned (and where all the patrons will be...you think they are going to sit outside in this heat?), or they can go pound sand right up their asses.

It's time for people to stand up for their principles and in my America, when a band pours out its heart and soul to entertain people, it gets FREE F*CKING ICE COLD BEER!

Dig it.

Inadvertently Stumbling On Some Intrigue At Work

So, I have this female coworker.

I hardly ever see or talk to her at work, but we went running a couple times, probably well over a year ago now. She is decent friends with my favorite bff (also a female coworker), although she never hangs out with our inner circle. She's a quiet type.

So I am at the Irish Pub with a couple inner circle work buddies tonight and we get to talking about having a work outing at the Union Terrace in Madison WI next Thursday, the day after July 4, with the inner circle, to drink beer and listen to music. Well, my one buddy has what he calls a "fleeting" interest in this quiet coworker. Fleeting because she is engaged and totally not available. In any case, he said we should invite her along.

Well, back when I went running with this chick, she gave me her number so we could coordinate and I still had it in my phone. I wasn't going to give it to my buddy without permission, but I felt comfortable texting her an invite, since she is friends with my work bff and knows who I am. Presumably my work bff talks a good game about me when I am not around, as I do for her.

So later on, I shoot off a text inviting her to this social, being quite clear that it's a group outing with coworkers, mind you.

"Hi [Her Name]. It's Joe from work. Some of us coworkers are thinking about a social at Union Terrace next Thursday and we wanted to invite you if you are interested."

Pretty benign stuff right? Granted, I am about the last person she'd expect to hear from.

Well, a couple minutes later I get this bizarre reply about how she has a serious boyfriend and she is not comfortable talking to other men.

So I was like, what is going on here?

Are we talking about the same Joe from work, me, the one who almost never talks to her?

Then I got to thinking. There are other Joes at work. Her boss is even named Joe.

Hmm.

If she no longer has my number in her phone, which is a strong likelihood, perhaps she thought it was another Joe from work who maybe has been hitting on her at the office. If it was her own boss, that would be tragic. I like that guy.

Anyway, not only do I potentially stumble on some kind of work drama, but I also take the heat for finding out about it when it wasn't even my idea to invite her.

I don't need that kind of knowledge. Works sucks bad enough with the upper management drama.

If my theory is right, I hope that whatever Joe is harassing this poor woman at work gives it a rest. I have to keep up appearances on my namesake, dig?

Or maybe she just really isn't comfortable talking with the 50% of the population that isn't her boyfriend. I don't know. Intriguing though, don't you think?

Other ideas?