Monday, December 13, 2010

Learn to fish

I have never been a big fan of fishing. I can say that it's because I have a tendency to get seasick. I can say it is because this city boy has no need to put my fingers in the mouth of a fish or pull its guts out. I can even say that it goes as deep and nutty as I stay away from a lazy pastime that parades itself as a sport. In reality, there's one simple reason. I don't like the passive-aggressive nature of that activity, specifically on the part of the fish. I know that the real anglers will say the fish wants to be caught but that give and take that can go on for hours is not what I'm about. I like clearly defined roles. I like things to be linear and progressive. Reel some in, let some out, reel in more, let more out. Three steps forward, two steps back. I'm a man, it's a fish. It should be an open and shut case of me reeling it in.

As you can imagine, none of what I have to say today is about fish or the act of entrapment of fish. It is clearly a metaphor for something bigger. At least I see a connection between fishing and what else is really on my mind; you may not. Let me just say that I can almost see the need for that relationship with a fish. There is no way to level with the fish and say - "Listen, you're a damn fish. We all know who is gonna win this. Let's just save some time and get you in the bucket in my boat." You can't reason with a fish or gain perspective. A fish can't say back, "I hear ya buddy, but see... I was on my way home to the wife and kids so this whole catching and eating me thing just isn't gonna work out for me. How about we part ways and just call it good?"

I suppose the complexity inherent in being a person higher on the food chain is enough to mean that our also complex communication abilities don't hold. Maybe life is zero sum after all. What I mean to say is that I, in my unrealistically idealistic and utopian mind, I think that people should always be able to communicate. To the contrary, our complex wants, desires, thoughts, internal musings and lack of communication often create a deep-rooted inability to bring things to the surface.

Let's look at my behavior for a moment. My mind is a constant game of chess. Every iteration of the game from the first movement of a pawn unfurls in my mind. I have a proclivity to determine every possible move and outcome of any situation. I, often, make no move in the first place if I can't be sure how it will all work out. Other times, I make a move and commit to its path and hope the other party makes the moves I foresaw. Rarely do either work out so I try to be adaptable to things that change and adjust accordingly; try being the operative word.

Enter the human dynamic. Not only can you not count on the actions of another to be what you expected; rarely can you count on the actions of another to be what they expected. Here is where you find your favorite, long-winded friend today. Confused and feeling a little like the rug came out from under me. Let me see if I can explain yet remain abstract.

I was heading down a road at a certain speed. All was well. Suddenly I picked up speed, but there as no resistance. To that end, I was encouraged. All was well. Now there was momentum. Suddenly, there was a wall in the way. I did not see this wall nor was I warned about this wall. All was not well. Rather than alerting me, my "travel companion" saw fit to jump from the vehicle to safety. It was then that I was told that the increased speed was problematic, but it was too late. Even slamming on the breaks did not stop me in time and inertia sent me careening headlong into the wall. When I came to from the shock and suddenness, I knew that the damage was total. I was given an estimate that shows it's reparable but there is no corroborating evidence. All is still not well.

Now I will spend time alone at the crash site trying to determine if the road is safe for passage or if this means it will fork and I will soldier on down a new road, on a new journey, on my own. If I had my way, I would have one of three things. The first would be to back up and repeat at the same rate sans wall. The second would be, downshift in time to slow down which would mean by the time the wall was reached, it would no longer be there. The last would be telltale signs of the existence of this wall early enough to make it avoidable.

I guess that's the difference between me and most people. When things change I have to adapt and this forces me to be reactive rather than proactive. I just don't see the changes coming in the near term because I'm fixated on the goal. I try to sprint a marathon and end up doing so alone. People don't want to take up that task and consequently, when I look to my sides I realize they aren't there.  I don't understand the ways of letting out some line and reeling some back in over and over.

Maybe I should find new ways of handling these situations. Maybe I should be less black and white; less pragmatic. Maybe I should just learn to fish.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Potential

It seems major upheavals bring out the blogger in most people. Everyone wants to eviscerate their enemies with a pen (not literally, of course. That would just be gross). Rarely do we find topics of hope or... potential. In electronic/electrical industries we talk about potential to determine different electrical properties of metals, for example. In life we define potential as a perceived future value of something. Its ability to develop into something with time. Many times we don't know what will be, but we see potential for something terrific.

I have to tell you that lately my life has been on a tremendous upswing. I cut out the deadweight and drama by getting rid of the wife. That tied up fairly smoothly and I'm not really worse for the wear. I think we can all agree that parting ways was, by far, the best decision. Another life lesson - with take-aways to be used as we grow.

I'm still plugging along at school and knocking that out as best as I can, although this history class may prove to be something of a challenge. I have a hard time being invested in the re-Stalinization of Soviet Russia. Progress is progress and I suppose this will help shape me as a person.

I got a bit of a bump at the job. I'm not making any more money and my only real compensation is more work and responsibility - at least on the tangible side. Beyond that, it is a wonderful opportunity for personal and professional growth.

After a year of being here and the dust from the divorce settling down, I have been fortunate enough to have my friends clearly outlined for me. Some old friends, some new friends - I have found who is important during an important time.

None of that is what I'm here to tell you about though. I wanted to talk about potential. Those are all good things. Those have all been proven. What else is there that is new and possibly good? Where is the potential?

A couple of months ago I met someone through my friends. She was just another friend. We would all hang out and have a blast together. Sure, I thought she was quite attractive right from jump street but didn't think much of it beyond that. As time went on, I'd have my curiosity piqued at certain points but for one reason or another, I would always disregard.

One week ago, on Thanksgiving we were all together. We cooked, we ate, we drank. We conversed and played games. The night began to wind down. As energy was sapped, either from partying or tryptophan we both took up residence on alternative parts of our friends' "L" shaped couch. As we sleepily chatted, something happened. There was this connection that you only hear about or see Hollywood-ized in Meg Ryan movies. Not only did I feel it, but she felt it and you know what... each knew for a fact that the other felt it. It wasn't spoken about at the time, but we knew.

Over the subsequent days, we've been in contact often. By often, I mean nearly nonstop. We text when we can't talk. We talk when we can. Hours zip by without realization. We talk about real things. We talk about nonsense. We laugh. We laugh a lot. There's never been a dull moment in our friendship and there's not one now in our... whatever this is right now... exploratory time, perhaps?

I love that she has a head for business - she loves finance (how perfect is that for me?) I love that she'll crack up hysterical when I wax intellectual about about why I don't eat living things like yogurt or how waffle fries are better because the waffles hold more ketchup. She doesn't flinch when I make up words on the spot because they fit in context and make me laugh. And then we somehow effortlessly segue into deep talk about fears and goals. Even when this transpires over text message or phone, it's like I'm there. I know her face when she laughs so well that I can see it even when I can't see it.

Could this be the novelty of something new? Possibly. Could it be someone that proves to be an awesome friend but doesn't go deeper? I suppose so. Could this be something amazing? Also plausible.

That is why we talk about potential. I have no crystal ball. If I did, I'd be on a beach somewhere laughing at the morons who missed 100 different IPOs or maybe I'd have created Google or the iPhone. I don't know what the future holds. But I know when to recognize potential and invest in it. To foster and nurture it and see just how it grows.

As I said earlier, potential is not only a measurement of how far we believe something will go. It is a comparison between to similar objects. When two metals, for instance, have the same potential, it is a match. There is no impedance between them. Impedance is also known as resistance.

I have no idea where Kimber and I will be in a year, a month or even a week. I do, however, know that our potential means I'm prepared to find out.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

September Blues

I've been so wrapped up with all the nonsensical stuff in my life lately that it only occurred to me at this very moment that it is the 5th of September. Now comes the sudden snap back to reality, complete with painful whiplash. My recent relationship split has taken precedence over everything in my life whether it has seemed it or not. Ok, let's look at that in detail. I'm not upset by it. It's for the best. I'm not missing it. I'm not regretful. But make no mistake, it is a big change. Day to day life requires an enormous adjustment, if nothing else.

Trying to find my "new normal" has been harder than anything else. When do you date? What is it like to shop and cook for one again? Menial tasks around the house that were split or assumed by one person or the other fall on my squarely on my shoulders alone. Long term plans that revolved around building a life now need to be rethought. Some of them are immediately outmoded. Others need to be put into play for myself. Back to the drawing board.

None of that is important though. Not one bit. The apartment will get cleaned. I will eat. The right person will be very clear to me at the right time. An idea for what is next in life and the outline or checklist to achieve it will be part of an epiphany one day. Erratic behavior of ups and downs is not helpful. I'm home watching TV. I'm out partying with friends. I'm angry at the process. I'm relieved at the process.

It is what it is. One person cannot possibly shoulder the burden alone, since two people were involved in the creation, sustainment and demise of this relationship. And no matter how hard you work at mitigating the risks and stressors, you always have an X factor - the actions, reactions, and interactions of and with the other person.

After an excellent few days with a variety of friends and activities, I found myself sitting on the couch rousing from a nap to the movie "Bride Wars" on HBO. Surely enough, it was the scene near the end that takes place in the Plaza Hotel. It has been many years since I was there. The last time I was in the Plaza was for a corporate Christmas party. That was Christmas of 2001. The odd coincidence is that I was finding myself again at that point after a shake-up in life.

From 1999 through 2001, as many of you know, I roamed the streets of Manhattan, mostly downtown, while working for the New York Stock Exchange. We spent many nights out in that town. The late 1990's were full of money and opportunity in information technology. It was when tech became cool. People weren't hiding from being tech geeks, we were all trying to be the biggest tech geek. There were more jobs than people and more money than most could spend. Night were filled with bouncing from happy hour with the traders and brokers to dinner at most of the top 10 steakhouses in the country to drinks in places tourists wait on line just to see inside of. Corporate royalty is how many in my industry were treated. 

Just like the questions I've been asking myself and adjustments I've been trying to make are not important; none of that was important either. In one day, everything changed. We learned the important lessons that day. If you know me, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you don't, you should be able to put 2 and 2 together and manage to come up with 4.

Amidst all of these changes in my life I managed to forget what was important. I guess we all get wrapped up in the daily bullshit that life slings. Then we look at the calendar and realize that in less than a week we will see the ninth anniversary of a day that really mattered. Now I wish I could put my head in the sand and be caught up in the little unimportant shit and ignore the negative significance of what's coming, but I can't. Now I'm hit with the September Blues once again and there's nothing I can do about it but soldier on as best I can - in remembrance of those who did the same and always knew what was important.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hiding your real face under a mosque

I am sure that anyone who had read anything I have ever written knew this was coming. I have been a little behind the eight ball lately so it has taken some time to process my thoughts on the topic. Here they come...

This mosque in lower Manhattan issue is total insanity. As many of you know, my connection to the area and the event is very deep and personal. I'm obviously against putting a mosque in the area. Before you get on my case about any anti-muslim rhetoric, let me explain my position.

I'm not anti-muslim in any way, shape or form. I'm not against a house of worship in any particular location. I am against using the final resting place of many innocent victims as a platform for getting out a message. If there was a diversity group that wants to put a Catholic church, Jewish temple, mosque, non-denominational temple, etc along with a center for education and interaction, I would be all for it. I don't care if you want to add in a time slot for people who worship belly button lint. Fine. Go bananas and do it all. That is not what is happening here.

This is neither about religion nor faith. This is about the message. Did the terrorists want to get rid of those buildings? No. They wanted to disrupt our way of life on a massive level and kill as many people as possible in one fell swoop. It was about the message. So if the mosque is not about faith, what is it about? The message. A group wants to show the world that not all muslims are dangerous extremists. Not all Germans are Nazis - is there a Jewish temple where Auschwitz once stood? Of course not. Why? Because that's adding insult to injury and doesn't prove anything. Why is this any different?

Setting aside the discrepancies that have popped up about where this group gets its funding (such as partially from radical Muslim groups), this is a bad idea. Remember, that this is less than a decade ago. The wound has not healed for everyone just yet. Many people are still dealing with the loss of loved ones - some of whom were never found. For some, that land is all they have to visit. Staring at a center that represents the "good side" of the culture that took away a husband, wife, mother, brother, etc can't be helpful.

They say that there are 12 million people on Manhattan at any given moment. Are all 12 million people tolerant, balanced, informed people? If you've been there you've seen the guy talking to himself on subway and the lady who knows more pigeons than people. So, will the less than tolerant people stand by and watch this get erected and remain respectful or will this invite violence and misguided vengeance? Don't be naive.

So what's the point? To show the world you're peaceful and respectful? Then put your mosque elsewhere. The only reason this land is being considered is because the radical members of the same culture have made it so. If this group had outreach centers all over the place, it would also be different. Interesting how they showed up right now.

Don't get me wrong, I understand that the worshippers of Allah are not the only ones who are in the this negative limelight. The Christians had their day during the crusades of the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries. Every major religion had a moment when they ran around killing people because God said it was a good idea. I get that. And it has never been the whole group of any particular religion. And a group is greater than the sum of its parts. At the end of the day though, society remembers the noisy ones though. In the last decade do you remember the priests who have done good in their life or the ones involved in the sex scandals?

So here is my point... get your message out. Prove yourselves. Let us know that there are good muslims out there. Just don't do it by setting up shop on a tender spot of our land and hearts, especially when you know full well that the message will be lost on more people than it is received by.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Who are you spiting?

As most of you know, I live on the gulf coast in Biloxi, Mississippi (at the moment), although I'm a NYC native. Obviously, my zip code puts me face to face with the BP disaster. Some fireworks shows were cancelled due to safety hazards of explosions and tarballs. Beaches are closed. Hurricane paranoia is amplified in fear of a tar-laden tsunami covering Biloxi. Every other commercial attempts to amass volunteers to save the wildlife. It's real fucked up. I get it.

All over the social web, there are boycott BP groups cropping up. I have been really tempted to join them, but I try not to express political views from within an ecosystem like that if they are not my words so I've refrained. Years of military service have taught to be aware of the light in which I portray myself.

So, I have been doing some reading and thinking and thinking and reading about all of this. I have come to a conclusion. I'm not going to boycott BP. Before you decide to tarball and feather me, I'll explain.

1) Boycotting BP and not buying their gas hurts BP? No, it doesn't (at least not most severely). Their stations are independently owned and operated. So, if Jimmy from high school owns a BP station now, you're hurting him. Does he deserve that? He didn't know this would happen when he bought into the company with his own station.

2) If gas is cheaper at BP, and I'm not necessarily saying it is, shouldn't you save the money in this downturn economy to put back into our country? Moreover, couldn't you take the savings and give to the relief efforts where you'll see your money work saving animals and clean up the shoreline? The situation is negative so do something positive to counter it. Don't fire back with more negativity.

3) Did you know that BP stations don't always use BP gas? This is not confirmed but I've heard that there are instances where individual owners will use a third-party gasoline. If that is true, do you know which stations are doing this at what times?

4) I scream, you scream, we all scream for gasoline. How many of the picketers and anti-BP folks drive to cleanups or demonstrations or to competing companies stations in SUVs and gas guzzlers? BP, like many others, are drilling way the hell out in deep, dangerous water because they have to. One reason is that they keep pumping and we keep buying to fuel our lives. The other reason is because they have to. They can't drill closer to shore where it may be safer. The Alaska situation puts them in the gulf.

5) You think this is a picnic for BP? They're not losing money yet but their profits are cut. The business of business is business. They are here to make a buck and that's not happening as well right about now. I'm sure nobody at BP is having a good day lately. What happens if we all boycott and put them out of business. Then who the hell is gonna fix this mess? Give them the cash so they can shut it down.

6) Are all other companies exempt from an accident of this magnitude? Seriously... this could not have been someone else? It's an accident and it sucks and any other company can have the same issue on any one of their rigs at any moment.

7) BP is in a lot of places. The name stands for British Petrol. Clearly they're not limited to the US. No matter how hard you try, you're not gonna make a dent by boycotting them. Quit stomping your feet and find a better outlet for your frustration.

I'm not here to exonerate them. They've screwed up royally since the accident. A company in Canada (aka America Junior or America's Hat) farms a particular kind of peat for this exact reason. It's a magical solution offered to BP and they turned it down. Why, you ask? Ok, I'll tell you. Because when it is used they can't recover any oil from it. Well you're not gonna recover oil from the marshes in Louisiana or the dead animals either, dingbat, so use the stupid peat and clean it up. That's a mistake.

I think it all boils down to an accident that is just too big for them. Ever lift something to heavy or take on a project to large for yourself and need help? I tried moving a full fish tank by myself once. The worst part about it is that there was nobody around to help and I struggled, spilled water and it took me three times as long to get it done. Funny that my analogy is a fish tank, huh? There's your BP situation drawn to scale. Fish tank had to be moved = not given a choice on where to drill. It was bigger than I anticipated and I couldn't handle it under the circumstances = something went wrong and there was an explosion. Enough said or do I have to continue? The biggest problem I had was that I was alone. Nobody was there to help me. We were offered help but it took someone a long, damn time to accept it. I guess he wanted his largest contributor to climb out of this mess on their own so they could be the hero to their own problem.

All that being said, if anyone wants to mail me a check to foot the difference and subsidize my fuel needs from another company, I'll be happy to oblige. Until that point... I'm going where I can make the most difference on my wallet. I have local responsibilities in my home that come before saving the world. I won't seek out BP stations but when I need gas, I need gas. Plain and simple.

I'm sure this is unpopular. Oh well. What else is new?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy Independence Day all.

Social networking sites are full of patriotism this weekend and especially today. It's our birthday, after all. It's always nice to see people celebrating the true cause of the holiday rather than just indulging on the long weekend. I wanted to take a moment to relay to you one of the funnier things I had seen along the way.

We've all seen the adage:
"If you can read this, thank a teacher.
If you can read this in English, thank a soldier."

That holds true 99.9% of the time. Our military has ensured it in the past and promises to continue to do so in the future. What made that funny today was that  at the end it said, "Happy 4th of July. Thanks for our independence." It was a nice sentiment, but just made me laugh. Does anyone see where I'm going with this yet?

Well... we won our independence from England. "If you can read this in English, thank a soldier." I'm fairly certain that if our soldiers failed and we lost the war to England, we'd still be speaking English today. Just a thought.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Message

Happy Father's Day to everyone out there. I love Father's Day. My dad has always been terrific. I couldn't have asked for better growing up. Whether it was camping trips, homework or putting up with my bullshit, he's always done it and usually with a smile. I'm lucky.

I know not everyone is as fortunate, of course, and that's a real shame. I partially understand. I've been away from my dad for 7 years now, courtesy of the Air Force. You'd think it gets easier with each passing year but it doesn't. As a matter of fact, it gets harder.

Today is particularly difficult for what seems to be a multitude of reasons. It's another year away from the family. Linda happens to be in NJ visiting them for 2 weeks and I feel like I'm missing out on all of it. What may be the biggest reason of all is that it's June 20th. A day of little significance for most people. June 20th was my Uncle Tommy's birthday. Another wound that never seems to fully close. I hate June 20th EVERY year but the fact that it coincides with Father's Day this year makes it worse. I'm already feeling melancholy and then I've added the impact of the loss to my mood as well.

It's not all about me though. It's hard for everyone in the family, not the least of which are his children. I simply don't think I can imagine, for one moment, what it's like to lose a parent. We all go through it eventually, but always hope that the parent lived a full and prosperous life and at the very least, is not ripped away from us unexpectedly.

My father said something profound about life and loss. I don't have the verbiage so I'll just explain it. Our life is like a tile mosaic. Each person, memory and instance is a tile. As we lose people, the tiles are taken away leaving holes. When someone is taken suddenly and unexpectedly, the tile is torn from its place leaving a hole that is jagged and unclean. It's harder to look at that rough spot.

That is what my family lives with every day. Some days it's easier than others. Some days it's especially hard. Today is one of the latter. I miss my father and my Uncle Tommy both, but each in their own very unique way. I love them both deeply as well. I'd give anything to be standing around the barbecue with both of them again. To laugh when Uncle Tommy blows up the front lawn with fireworks and scares the shit out of all of us who somehow didn't notice that the six-foot-one firefighter went missing. I remember in the days before cell phones, it was nearly a contest who could get who in the pool more often with a beeper on his belt (and count the beepers that had been sacrificed to the pool throughout the summer). To watch my dad, an only child, revel that the "in-law" part of the title "brother-in-law" never seemed to fit. And when the third Musketeer, my Uncle Charles (Uncle Tommy's brother) was in the mix is was just mayhem, but always hilarious. Just to see the broad shouldered man with a broader smile walk in through the door as he had every holiday of my life. Or to hear my Dad look up from the morning paper, over his reading glassess and say "Good morning, boy" when I announce my entrance with a "Hi pop." Watching my parent tease each other mercilessly and still laugh hysterically after 39 years of marriage.

Some of those I'll get again. Others are to remain memories. The former is what keeps the latter from truly breaking my heart.

For those of you who are fathers or are around yours, enjoy them not just today, but every day.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Finding peace and moving on - and moving home

I've been talking, quite a bit lately, about becoming a civilian again. This may sound contrary to what all of you think you know about the relationship I have with my uniform. I still have three years on this enlistment but I figured I would take a minute to explain.

Some of you may know how my military status came to be. It was a function of several things. Bad economy, financial needs, a renewed sense of patriotism, and one really big chip on my shoulder. I came in, I trained, I worked, I deployed and now I teach. I'm one of a select few that volunteered for this instructor position. I knew I'd love it and I was right. Biloxi, Mississippi would not be my first choice of locations to live but the job is worth it and the area is actually pretty nice (especially given other locations I've been to - like Sierra Vista, AZ).

I took this job for 2 major reasons - 1) It is a great career stepping stone in case I decided to stay in and 2) for me it's the best job in the Air Force to have as your last assignment. I was split down the middle about my Air Force future when I re-enlisted and took this job.

When I came through technical training and early on at my first base, I didn't have great guidance. I have seen the "kids" come through the training pipeline and into the operational Air Force for years and it appeared they were not getting the guidance they needed as well. I have had many experiences over the years and I have an inherent need to understand as much of the world around my as possible. I've absorbed so much and wanted to share it with the next generation of Airmen. I can't possibly fix all the problems and I wouldn't dare try. My presence here is not going to make the Air Force replete with stellar Airmen. You can't change the whole Air Force but you can work on your little corner of it. So that's what I'm trying to do. It makes me happy to affect the lives of these young troops and set them right on their course whether it lasts 4 years or 20 or anywhere in between. I teach. I don't instruct. We're called instructors by the Air Force. I teach. I teach them about the assignment system, the promotion system, finance, deployments, overseas cultures AND I teach the curriculum for understanding, not just to pass the test. I'm a teacher.

But... in 3 years, I'm going home. I love the Air Force, I love the job, I love the adventure, I love the mission. I just love my family more. I've been gone 10 years (at the end of this tour) and enough is enough. Less than 1% of the American population ever dons the uniform. I did for my country; now it's time to do for my family.

I'm not here for the money, I'm not here for the experience. I'm here for the job and what it means. I did what I set out to do. I've repaid  this wonderful country for all it has given me. I've played my part in the war on terrorism. I've stuck my neck out and after a few bumps and bruises (mostly emotional), I'm no worse for the wear.

I spent many years working in corporate technology in New York City. I endured corporate America and 9/11. I have a lot to give back in terms of knowledge and experiences (both of a professional and personal nature).

I said this is the best last assignment in the Air Force. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. For me it is, and it will be my last (barring entry into World War III, I suppose). You work and train new people. You move on to other places and leave people in your shoes. We learn that we should always be training our replacements. I don't know if that is idealist so we can share information and have a knowledgeable work force or if it's just so we can get promoted. The latter sounds very Peter Principle-esque so we'll stick with the first. There's honor in it.

I can tell you why I do it. Not so I can move up, but so I can move out. I teach 12 students at a time for a period of up to 2 months, but generally only a couple of weeks. I spend my time pouring into those spongy little excited brains all of my knowledge, experiences, stories, tips, tricks, hints and thoughts that have made me a success thus far. I can stand outside my building on the last day of this enlistment, look at the front door and say:

"You know all I know. It's your time now. It's your Air Force. You're the next generation. Run it well. Make me proud. I'm going home to my family."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

They're over there in their house

If the title didn't give it away, I'm a little perturbed about spelling and proper word usage. Chances are, you have read several of my blogs already and can appreciate the fact that I use more words than are generally necessary. I like having a large vocabulary. I'm proud of my command of the English language and I very well understand that not everyone is me. People don't all have the ability to incorporate extensive word usage into daily life and many people simply don't care about it in the first place. That's fine.

However, that does not exempt you from properly using the 6 words you do know. I spend about 18 hours a day in front of a computer screen. I read MANY words each day. There are going to be typographical errors along the way. We all slip up and make a mistake or "fat finger" while typing and hit extra letters or mishit a key. I get that. There is an enormous difference between making an honest mistake while typing and simply not knowing how to speak English.

For instance... there, their, they're. They're is the easy one. It's short for "they are." Plain and simple. There is the location. Their is possessive and shows ownership. People quite often say "my friends say there at a bar." or "they lost there keys." Are you fucking kidding me? Do you not know the difference?

Another peeve is to, two, and too. Ok. Most people don't type two and use 2 instead. Let's focus on to and too. Didn't you learn in school that too means also or as well. It means more of some and that's why it has an extra "o." Well, that's not nearly why, but that's how it's taught.

Oh yeah... it's. It's short for "it is." Its is another possessive. It's over there. Instead of "the dog lost its bone." Fucking figure it out.

And dare correct someone on these items and they get defensive, "same thing, you knew what I meant." Of course I did... I'm actually intelligent. I was able to decipher your 1st grade shit. The other one I like is, "I learned that so many years ago. I don't remember that." You also learned that Washington D.C. is the capitol of the United States and that 3x5=15 so many years ago but you remember them. I'm not buying your brand of bullshit. You're an idiot and you'd rather get defensive about your idiocy instead of fixing it.

When did it become ok to be dumb and in some arenas, even cool. I understand that nerds get picked on high school. Remember one thing, that nerd just bought the business you work for. That nerd isn't reading your stupidity online because he/she is running a company. That nerd is a somebody. You're a misspelling nobody.

I make mistakes. Truly I do. I've hit the backspace key 100 times while writing this. It's also 2:45am and I had a bunch of beers, but that is not the point. The point is that while I make mistakes, I would say that 99 times out of 100 I know I made it and I correct it. If there's a typo in here and you point it out, I won't bitch about it. I'll go fix it.

If you can't spell antidisestablishmentarianism, I understand. If you don't know the difference between there, their, and they're then you're a fucking moron. Why is this important enough for me to blog about? Maybe I should just use context clues, figure out what you mean, shut up and read it. Well I've done it all along and will have to continue to do it, lest I force myself to repeat this message daily, nay hourly. So why say it at all?

Social media. We are all connected. Just a few years ago, I was in the minority as someone who published content to the web. I had like 7 websites and most of my viewers didn't have any. Now with myspace for the teens that still use it, Facebook for the people who don't care about privacy and still use it, Twitter, FriendFeed, Google Buzz and the billions of emails that are exchanged each day; we are connected more than ever. Guess what? It's not gonna go away or slow down. The rate at which we connect won't even stay the same. It's going to go up. We will connect to more people, more often, and in more ways. Maybe you should sound like a functioning member of society, huh?

Privacy is going away. Transparency is on the rise. Connections are growing exponentially. Your next boss might be in your information grid already. Keep misspelling simple words and that next boss will teach you when to ask, "would you like fries with that?"

By the way, you're and your are two different words. Your brains are underdeveloped and you're all morons. See how easy that is? Now figure it out or be condemned to a life of ridicule, mostly by me. Seriously though, sounding like you have an IQ of a sweet potato that doesn't speak English as a first language is not attractive, it won't make you money and is just a ridiculous concept.

Dictionary.com is FREE, dopes... free. Now stop this shit.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Looking at Haiti; Blind to home

I'm gonna get a lot of shit for this and people are going to call me insensitive and whatever else. Let me open this by saying. I feel terrible about what's going on in Haiti. I have a colleague with a haitian wife who has tons of family there. I've been barking up my leadership's tree to try to deploy there and help out. I'm not against Haiti or relief efforts.

However, things are getting a little out of control and it's turning into a publicity stunt. And I fucking hate politicians. Especially the loony, lefty, liberals. Let's iron out a few things first. The U.S. pledged $100 million and 5,000 American troops. Urban Search and Rescue teams are already in place as well as EMTs. A friend put not too fine a point on it by reiterating that many of the troops headed that way just got back from a year or more in Afghanistan.

So where's my problem you ask? It's with the asshole Americans that ask "Are we doing enough?" It's with the New York Times that has a "Room for debate" commentary running in its special Haiti section considering the merits of adding to our pledges.

Look, Haiti is fucked up right now. But so is our budget/deficit and most of our troops, which in case you've forgotten are not Cyborgs. They are human beings. And we're America, I get it. World Police go help everyone when they need it; get criticized when we're not of any use to other people. Called bullies. That's what happens when you carry the big stick. People want you on their side when they need you and give you shit when they don't. So we have to help. Haiti deserves our help.

But people, look at home. $100M may not go as far as the Haitians require, but we just can't afford to keep giving. And what's this publicity stunt bullshit with President Obama, and former Presidents Bush and Clinton standing in the rose garden. So now we've got a relief fund being run by those 2 guys, which I have a lot of problems with. Want the list? I know you do.

1. Obama really got on Bush's case about his response to Katrina. I'll agree that Bush's performance was less than stellar. However, how can you, in good conscience, pick up the phone and call Bush after all you said about him? Maybe he said, "This will be good press, which we BOTH really, REALLY need."

2. Clinton. You're a budget guy. Remember what went on while you were president? We had money as a country. You have to have noticed (if Hillary lets you watch TV) that we're in shitty financial shape. As a federal government and as a people. Why not hold a relief fund for the millions of your fellow Americans that can't put food on the table?

3. Obama and Clinton now have the added task of making sure Bush knows how to read.

Any one of those 3 things presents a problem.

I'm not sure how we can want more, more, more at home and then want people to give more, more, more elsewhere and still find time to bitch that we don't have enough here. Really?

Where was everyone during Katrina? Not here helping. Where are we during this earthquake? There helping. The 2004 Tsunami? There helping. Earthquake in Pakistan in 2005? There helping. Cyclone in Myanmar in 2008? There helping. How about the 2007 fires here? Nobody showed up.

Want to help Haiti? Then go for it, but stop exploiting the US efforts as not enough. Stop twisting it. It's relief for another country in trouble. We have NO obligation outside of trying to do the right thing, and we're doing it. More than anyone else and more than we can afford to do in the first place. Saying it's not enough is asinine and unfair to the people breaking their asses in Afghanistan only to come home and leave their family and go to Haiti only to come back and leave their families to go back to Afghanistan. It's unfair to the American taxpayer who lost his/her house recently due to the lending crisis or economic meltdown (and there were a lot of them). It's unfair to the person clinging to his/her job by a thread hoping there will be money for food tomorrow.

Stop being babies America. We can't turn our bleeding hearts toward everyone with a problem, but we will anyway. Recognize that and lose the tantrum about wanting more.