Get your whining ready… Christmas is coming!

History is the autobiography of a mad man – Alexander Herzen

Today is Thanksgiving which means IMHO it is now acceptable to listen to Christmas music and the Christmas season has officially began…even though I saw Christmas decorations SINCE AUGUST! But I’ll save that rant for later. So after the stuffing is finished and 2nds and 3rds have been had of Turkey and all the football is watched, we’re going to go to sleep and some of us will pack the stores tomorrow for black Friday and get some crazy deals on products and we’ll kick off the holiday!

The Christmas season brings all sorts of things, for better or worse. Good cheer, consumerism, snow, presents, increased church attendance and my personal favorite: The War On Christmas!!

The War on Christmas is my favorite part of the holiday season because it’s easily the most absurd notions in America (and this is a country that invented twerking, Scientology, and pet rocks.) For those that don’t know, the war on Christmas is the idea that Christmas or Christianity is under some sort of secular attack. This is done under “the guise” of diversity and equality for other religious holidays in December (like Hanukkah and Kwanzaa)

Evidence of this “assault” is seen in Wal-Mart greeters being forced to say “happy holidays” or “season greetings” instead of the traditional “Merry Christmas” People who do not celebrate Christmas finding themselves insulted that someone would have the “audacity” to wish them a merry Christmas when they do not celebrate that, and how dare they assume they do. People who perpetuate this “war” all will find some obscure showing of Christmas like “A Christmas tree in the Seattle airport” or “The Christmas Parade in Omaha” being shut down or tweaked so that Christmas isn’t mentioned.

This is insanity. Anyone who believes that Christianity or Christmas is somehow being hurt by people wishing “seasons’ greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas.” People who find fault in a town’s Christmas parade turning into a “holiday parade” one of the most pathetic episodes of self-victimization I’ve ever seen.

Now the other side is not all innocent either

Being some snotty atheist who wants to be offended because of the fact that while we don’t have a national religion and a government entity promoting what is “technically” a religious holiday is unconstitutional. Also, fun fact: Christmas is not wholly a holy holiday anymore. I know people who have no religious leanings who love Christmas because it gets the family together, they try to be nicer to others, and of course, the presents. Whether or not that is right or not is a whole other discussion but it is what it is.

If you are in another religion or an atheist and you get some small win because signs in your town change from “Merry Christmas” to Season’s greetings…then you’re a small person. And is it really a win for you? The town where my church is has put up “Seasons’ Greetings sign with candy canes…. A Christmas candy. When I hear season’s greetings or Happy holiday I think of the holidays I celebrate and go on my way. I don’t have the gall to say “NO! SAY MY HOLIDAY (CHRISTMAS) AND ONLY MINE!”  And for the people who sing woe because of the death of “Merry Christmas” you know Season’s greetings can include Thanksgiving and New Years (nonreligious holidays)… What’s in a name anyways? Is it really appropriate to say Merry Christmas on December 2nd? Seems a little early. But it is the Christmas season… EVERYONE just needs to calm down.

So no Christmas is not dying. If you need proof just go out into your neighborhood and see the lights. Parks, houses, businesses, and downtown and decked out in bright lights. Those aren’t Hanukkah lights (unless they’re on a menorah) they’re Christmas lights…or seasonal lights…whatever you want to call it, it’s all the same thing. Christmas is king, and will always will be. Don’t we have 12 days of Christmas? Or 25 days of Christmas if you do the Christian advent season?

The War on Christmas will prevail. Crazy Christians will yell and fume about some other small school in Kansas having a “holiday party” that falls just before Christmas Break Winter Break. Snotty atheists will revel in the win. They’ll fight on fox news and it’ll be business as usual. For me, I’ll grab some eggnog, some popcorn, a blanket, and watch it as a fire rages. 😉

Hope ya’ll have a Merry Christmas season 🙂

Hey 4th amendment, where’d you go?

History is the autobiography of a mad man – Alexander Herzen

Ever since I was young I was always interested in things that were unproven, like aliens. I would read any book in my elementary school library about aliens. In 6th grade I had a study skills class and we had a project where we would do a presentation on any topic that we wanted to do…I did aliens. I think I got a B. 

Now as a man, my affinity for extraterrestrials has died down a lot. Especially since the history channel stopped doing history and did “ancient aliens” …and this meme came out.

Anyways…my interest in the unproven transformed into conspiracy theories, like 9/11 truthism for a time. Most seem crazy to me, but they are interesting. The conspiracy theory about the government spying on us and our 4th amendment being shredded is one of my favorites… What? That’s not a theory you say? Recently you can flip on the news without hearing about our own government spying on us, police officers abusing others, drones, and other scandals in all levels of the government and have started to realize something… We’re missing our 4th amendment. 

Now this is what people on the far right like Alex Jones and politically lefty people like Dan Carlin rail about but people would dismiss them as tin hat people, but this has gone from a conspiracy theory to just flat out truth. A creepy, disturbing, depressing, truth. 

For those of you that don’t know our 4th amendment is the one that protects us from illegal search and seizure. It makes law enforcement need warrants to arrest us and search our homes for evidence. It also establishes “probable cause” to get those warrants. 

So how is our 4th amendment gone? How did this happen. 9/11 happened. The Patriot Act happened. The (perpetual) War on Terror happened. After 9/11 small towns across America were paranoid another terrorist attack was in our midst and so after the patriot act was passed it shred the 4th amendment for “safety” concerns. Thinking about it conjures up the old Benjamin Franklin quote “Those who would sacrifice freedom for liberty deserves neither”

The War on terror is a hilarious term…if it weren’t so sad. When exactly is “terror” going to sit down and negotiate the terms of its surrender? When is “terror” going to come out of the foxhole with a white flag? (For that matter when is drugs and poverty going to do that as well, since we declared war on them as well) It’s something perpetual and it comes with certain…characteristics. Like I said before small towns thought that there were terrorist cells in their town. So once the Pat. Act was passed they received state of the art weapons for a potential terrorist attack… the thing about that is there weren’t terror cells in small towns or even big cities. So now we have local cops who look like this.


And thanks to the Patriot Act that President Bush made and President Obama continued (so it’s not a right or left fight) people can be detained, questioned, abused, and searched with little oversight. Don’t believe me? Here’s a recent story about a New Mexican man who was stopped for running a stop sign. The police officer had the man step out of his vehicle then believed he was “clenching his buttocks awkwardly” this led the police to believe he was hiding drugs…because you know…who doesn’t want to smoke weed that you just pooped out? Anyways he called a judge and got a quick warrant to…search the man. The man was then given a ride to a hospital. There he was detained, forcefully given enemas several times, forced to defecate several times, the contents were then searched, he was given several deep cavity searches. This is all over the time span of several hours. Nothing was found and he was promptly given a $6,000.00 bill for the procedures and sent on his way. 

Here’s the link to the full story:

Now he is suing the hell out of them and yes the officers should be fired, and the judge should be disbarred, and the doctor should lose his license and they should face fines, and the man should receive compensation (or at least the medical bill waived) but THIS HAPPENED. AND THIS WAS “LEGAL”!

In my own town in Maryland a mentally handicapped man was detained by the police and tazed and then “mysteriously” died in their custody. Will they be charged with any crimes? Of course not. 

Now you may be saying “but Paul these are just two awful story, bad things happen but this isn’t a trend”
You do realize the government can look at all of our e-mails, text messages, listen to our phone calls, and retrieve our website history? No warrant needed. Hell they can even send a drone to look at us. 

Here’s another example.There’s also been a lot of talk about drug testing welfare recipients. Making them pay for their test but refunding them if they pass. As expected pass rates were around 98% costing the tax payers thousands. It’s just another way we are being forced to give up personal information to the law. The state is searching their bodies for drugs and their “probable cause” is that they are poor. The way they get away with this is that these tests are “voluntary” but surprisingly everyone submits because starving is the alternative… 

Again, you may say now Paul… “If you don’t have anything to hide then you shouldn’t worry. Just obey the law and you’ll be okay” I’ve heard this excuse used so often in defense of these things. It’s so sad. First off the man I mentioned before was FOLLOWING THE LAW and he was essentially raped and humiliated by the law. 

Second off do you have a toilet in your living room? Probably not. Do you do anything illegal in the bathroom? Hopefully and probably not. Then why is the bathroom regarded as a private room? The house I grew up in had no locks on the doors…. except our bathroom. Just because you don’t do anything illegal doesn’t mean it’s okay for others to invade your privacy. I’m a very open person but there are things I choose not to put out there. These are not illegal things but I prefer a certain level of privacy and… 


The reason is because we have a 4th amendment… well at least we used to.

Intended to be offensive?

History is the autobiography of a mad man – Alexander Herzen

When I was younger and would say things to irritate my sisters. I would always try to talk my way out of it. For example, when I would get in trouble for saying that one of my sisters was dumb. I wouldn’t actually “say” it but insinuate it, and use that as a way of avoiding punishment. My dad of course saw through me, and always asked my what my intent was. Was my intent to irritate my sister? Usually it was. I knew what I was doing.

However, many people don’t, or at least don’t have a harmful intent. People (myself included) say things that are truthful to get to the deeper point of things. For example someone can look at history and come to the conclusion that being “white” gives certain privileges that those of other races don’t have. Is that a racist statement? It’s all about intent.
It could be an objective statement if the intent is to create some dialogue about racial inequality
It could be a racist statement if the intent is to gloat about that fact in a minorities face

People like to infer that statements like that are always meant to hurt. People are quick to play the victim are on the rise and these are the worse kinds of people. Displaying unpleasant truths these days is seen as advocating those beliefs.

A friend today posted a link about a “disgusting” list about “5 reasons to date a girl with an eating disorder” Now the way that is phrased is disgusting. It seems to be advocating eating disorders or how they’re good because of the benefits they bring to a relationship. Now having experience in being romantically involved with someone with an eating disorder…the list was remarkably accurate. Again all about intent.

No, I’m not advocating eating disorders. That would be disgusting. I did comment on the accuracy of the article though. My intent was just that though, to bring that point.

We’ve reached a point in society where we want to be outraged and have our biases confirmed. Any blunt or unpleasant truths are shouted down. It’s not a point of political correctness either. To me political correctness is just calling a group of people what they would like to be called. There is a reason people are looked down for calling minorities whatever racial slur they’ve been assigned. I don’t care what the intent is there it’s almost always bad. It goes beyond that.

The 1st amendment of our Constitution gives us the freedom of speech. But we’ve fallen so far from that. We have taken away our own freedom to criticize others, to be blunt, to be bold, to be unpopular. There are a numbers of supporters of the president who are quick to call his critics “racist” and let’s face it some of the criticism is racist. Calling him a secret Muslim socialist fascist secular Kenyan… is about as racist (and stupid) as it gets. Calling him out on drone strikes that kill Pakistani children is not racist.

Having an opinion is always going to be unpopular to at least one person and they will call you out on it if they have the guts… or be passive aggressive about it (see “the world on eggshells”) If we all buckle to what society, our friends, or our families think we should believe or think we should say, then why have a 1st amendment at all? We don’t use it anyway if we let others police our speech.

Joe Rogan (comic, MMA commentator, and pod-caster) recently came out with saying that women should not fight in men’s MMA contests because they are women. Is Joe Rogan a sexist? Well what did he mean? His reasoning was despite training and experience there are biological differences between men and women. A male MMA fighter has certain biological advantages like bigger and stronger hands, a wider wing span, a different center of gravity and other differences that give males an advantage in fighting females. You could argue that he’s a feminist and trying to protect women from hubris. He received a huge blow back and criticism for simply observing biological differences between men and women and forming an opinion from that. If his words were not taken seriously women who want to fight men in the MMA could wind up seriously hurting themselves.

Again, I am NOT saying that you should say unpopular things that hurt people just for the reason of hurting others. That’s called being a jerk and you’re doing it because of some emptiness you feel inside.

What I am saying is that it’s time we start admiring those who go against the grain and say unpopular things if there intent is good and just. Obviously there are many out there who say unpopular things because they have hate in their heart. It’s up to us to be intelligent or diligent to decipher between the two.

My dad taught me one more thing as well: There’s nothing wrong with stirring the pot 😉

Procrastinating to Radicalism

History is the autobiography of a mad man- Alexander Herzen

When I was in college and had a paper to write I would act like every other college student, and wait until the last possible moment, choose a topic, do research, and complete the paper on the last day. Typical college move right? Typical high school move? Typical human move.

I had a problem and I didn’t want to deal with it until I HAD to. Now, the way I work is to do something all at once with minimal breaks. When I get into my groove I don’t want to stop until I’m done. Now I did alright on these papers, B+’s usually, with some A’s and C’s. If I broke up my time and researched more would I have gotten a better grade? Probably. But I waited longer and longer until I wrote something, mostly something pretty decent but rarely exceptional. Again, not due to lack of intelligence or skill but procrastination.

This can be seen in the history of America’s federal government. (I swear I don’t want to make this into a political blog but sometimes I just can’t help it.) What are some deep seated problems in America? Obviously 1st and foremost is our debt. During the Jackson administration our debt was 0 and had been growing slowly until the last 30 years where it’s exploded. It’s also been done by both parties so this I’m not going to start Bush or Obama bashing. But let’s look at this rationally. If we had modestly cut spending in some areas, and modestly raised taxes 60 years ago in 60’s…or 70’s 80’s 90’s 00’s 10’s.. we wouldn’t with a debt that now shadows our GDP and we wouldn’t be in this situation.

This country’s infrastructure is also in dire straits. Every once in awhile we here about a road or bridge that collapsed “unexpectedly” killing a 1 or 2 dozen people, injuring more and then we get a 60 Minute special about how it was Not expected not only not unexpected but there are also 1,000 or so other bridges in the country that are in similar situations. ONE THOUSAND…BRIDGES…COULD JUST FALL! That’s not okay folks. How can we focus on making a high speed rail system and competing with the Asian and European powers when some bridge on I-70 or I-95 is on the verge of taking one car too many. Again, if we would have done scheduled maintenance when it was needed we would be in this situation.

Our education is great for mediocre people so if you’re less than average it’s great unfortunately for the other 50% it doesn’t do them much justice. With unequal schools, paying our teachers a beggars wage, meddling teacher’s unions that can forget students, and vouchers which destroy schools… How do we fix it? Well if we dealt with each problem one at a time it would be an easy fix but now we have a 4 or 5 headed monster that need a radical fix. So for a 3rd time, if we dealt with each one in a moderate way when it was a small problem we wouldn’t be in this situation.

I could mention other issues. ANY gun laws appear radical to some folks and some actually are. We had MASSIVE health care problems and tried a moderate fix instead of going with Universal coverage and we see how that’s worked so far…

The point I’m making is that we have a handful of GIGANTIC problems with America. The reason they are so big is we refuse to address them until the proverbial “due date” approaches. Then when it does we do a political all nighter and come out with a shoddy moderate piece of legislation that tries to hold the institution together with bubble gum.

Every time the government acts now is too either advert crisis or to stop a crisis from getting worse (sequesters, shut downs, defaults, debt ceilings…) Here’s a little tip though for the government… IT WAS NOT MEANT TO RUN ON CRISES!

It was meant for small moderate legislation to fix small problems before they got too bad. And now? Every problem is bad. Every solution that means anything will be extreme and seen as radical.

We stand at a cross roads and neither option is pretty. We either are going to get another moderate wishy washy politician who will keep on procrastinating and kicking the can down the road and do an EVEN MORE EXTREME solution later. Or bite the bullet now so we don’t bite the grenade later…

The world on eggshells

History is the autobiography of a mad man – Alexander Herzen

Does anyone remember AIM? (AOL Instant Messenger) In the late 90’s and early 00’s it was the best way for friends to talk. There were small little AIM profiles and everyone had 1 or more screen names (sn) I used to be mysticalhobo114. Every day I would come home after school and talk to people for hours sometimes. Or have it on just to show people that you were at a computer. 

One feature was the “away messages” You could still be online but put up an away message so that people could see that you’re away but maybe would be back soon. Using these things in middle/high school online feuds would rise but people wouldn’t yell at each other via screen names, although that did happen sometimes. The weird thing that happened was people would vent their frustration at someone by making a directed yet vague status blasting someone. Usually only that person would know it would be directed at them. Then in turn they would make an away status in response that blasted the original person. This would go back and forth. Clearly the person wouldn’t actually be away from their computer they would want to see what the other would say so they can put up a new message.

These would normally be girls but I suppose guys could do it too. But when I saw these passive aggressive fights I would follow them closely, catching each new away message. They fascinated me and had no idea why they couldn’t just talk to each other and had to be childish about it. 

This has only been amplified as time has gone on. With Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter these online passive aggressive feuds have only become more prevalent. But this isn’t a new happening. Social media has only allowed new mediums for gossip. Gossip and talking around people’s back has always happened but why?

Looking at confrontation, why do we have a problem telling others how we feel? Why do we have a problem with having a different opinion than our peers? Why is having a problem with someone a problem? Holding things in, showing a fake smile, and being passive aggressive doesn’t solve problems it hurts it more. Having a problem with someone is done in whispers so that few people know. Holding grudges, tip toeing around others, and posing a carefully worded facebook status of “fake hoes” or something stupid doesn’t get anything accomplished. It just makes people uncomfortable for a longer period of time. 

If someone has a problem with you do you want to get to the bottom of it and fix your relationship or have them talk about you behind your back? Hopefully the 1st option, most people would agree so why do we always choose the 2nd when we’re the ones with the problem?

Confronting people maybe be uncomfortable in the meantime but the positives that can come out from it are untold.

Disclaimer: No I am not writing this to passive aggressively solve an issue 😉

No leaders? No surprise.

History is the autobiography of a mad man – Alexander Herzon

When I was little I had great mentors. My parents first and foremost, coaches, youth leaders, teachers, friends, and others. They taught me many things from the difference between right and wrong, how to write well, play soccer, and even learning how much weight it takes to crush a testicle (It’s 1000 lbs btw) 

I guarantee that unless you know me personally you can not name anyone on that list. I followed those people as leaders until they were removed from my life or I learned all I could from them. They were leaders in their own way. Leaders of a class room, small sports team, youth group…etc but they weren’t powerful.

None of the leaders in politics, sports, business, entertainment, have ever seen appealing to me as someone who is worth following. And no, not in the twitter sense, I mean actually looking up to and aspiring to be. I also feel like I’m not alone in this.

I think it’s a gen x trait (that has been passed on to gen y and the millennials) that lived through the Watergate scandal, the toxic effect of money in politics, corporations shipping jobs overseas, increased sensationalism in journalism, the death of investigative journalism, sport stars acting like babies, and the lies from everyone.

Politicians lie
The media manipulates
CEOs deceive 

Where are the leaders? Who are we to aspire to be like. Do you want to be like a president that lies to people and orders death either via drones, war, or a “special military intervention”?

Do you want to be like the media who has stopped asking hard questions decades ago. Political debates have become nothing more than beauty contests.

There is a political uprising in Brazil, a Taliban leader in Pakistan was just killed via drones, Syria is a mess, the healthcare roll out is swamped in controversy, we’re spying on EVERYONE…  and what do I see being the “breaking news” on CNN? What do I see on what was once a world leader in news? I get to learn about how Katy Perry is beating Justin Bieber in Twitter….WHO GIVES A FLYING FUCK?! I’m sorry, I’m trying to stop cursing as much but sometimes “gee whiz” doesn’t give a circumstance justice. Even if there wasn’t pressing stories when did that become news worthy?

 We don’t manufacture anymore in this country. You know why? Some blame unions but CEOs have found a way around caving to unions demands of living wages and hours and such. Just make the workers live in a place that allows pennies for pay and draconian hours. Places like China work. Pay a fraction of the cost to the workers and since they have no protection work em longer too. When workers at the Fox Conn plant in China tried to kill themselves via jumping from their tall apartment/work buildings because of their conditions. The company knew it was time to make better conditions…so they kindly put up nets to catch anymore people trying to jump out of the buildings to end their miserable existence. 


Nets like these





We’re lied to all day in ads, on the news, by powerful political and business entities. Sport stars and models lie to us by giving us unrealistic expectations of our own bodies. Is it any wonder that people are done with leaders? We have been for a long time…and where has that gotten us?

This isn’t a post about how leaders suck, this is a desperate cry for GOOD LEADERS. It’s easy to say oh well “screw these leaders that lie to me, I don’t need them!” Then who do you follow? Yourself? Why do you have the skills to do that? Who did you learn them from? Other people who want to be leaderless? We’ve reached a point in our society we EXPECT to be lied to so we don’t trust anyone even if a leader has given no reason to be suspicious.

I have an idea if you want to lose weight. Watch fox news of MSNBC. Every time you hear a lie go run into the streets and scream about how you can’t believe you heard a lie by a major news source. No one will care. They expect it. Go back in and run back when you hear the next lie and repeat. You’ll be running in and out and screaming all day. (sometimes I feel like doing this) Again, no one will care. No one will die, buildings will not fall, babies will not cry, the world will keep moving. And maybe because there is no outrage that they get away with it…

Leaders can bring out the best in society. Leaders inspire us to make us to be greater than we thought we could be. Leaders make things better for the people who can’t as easily affect change. Leaders put themselves in harms way so that others may be saved.

Who are those people now? Who should we aspire to be? I know many great small leaders that make great change for a small amount of people. But with every new sex scandal, every lied spewed, every criminal charge levied, every ethical violation thrown at a great man or woman we take another step down in the quality of our society.

Who are our leaders now? People like Jon Stewart, Stephan Colbert, Dan Carlin, Bill Burr, Joe Rogan, Vice News, and others who are telling people the exact same thing I’m saying. That the world we live in is absurd. People like Obama who some people hold up like the Anti-Christ and others hold up like the 2nd coming of Jesus… is really just a dude. He’s a good speaker with a law degree and just a guy. Just a dude who’s mistakes and triumphs are magnified 1000 times more than yours and mine because of the people they effect. These people are great at identifying problems but what do you do to solve them?

No one’s seem to have the answers. If someone does please show them to me.  

Stop the tribalism

History is the autobiography of a mad man – Alexander Herzen

I was 17 when I registered to vote. I remembered I was so proud. I registered as a Democrat and cast my first vote when I was 17 and 9 months (it was legal since I would be 18 by the time the general election was held) I voted for Barack Obama in the Democratic primary and then again in the general election. I was a young liberal thinking that I was voting for a lefty freedom touting hero. 

At 20 I took a political science class on political parties and one of the topics that the final term paper could be done on, was how “there’s not a dime worth difference between the two parties.” I laughed when I heard that topic. This was during the rise of the tea party and I was able to see far right ideologues go against a “moderate” “liberal” president. I could see many dimes of difference.  

Fast forward 2 years. I was 22. I begrudgingly sauntered into a voting both and voted for that man again. A man I call now “the black Romney.”

A year later I’m done being part of the Democratic tribe. Now, I’m not going to the other tribe. I’m just done being part of any tribe. It handicaps you. 

Everything, every issue, from abortion to Yankees v Red Sox is a partisan issue these days. One can not come out in favor or against anything these days without falling in line with a political party or ideology, and then being called out as being “blindly partisan.” I debate people every day who follow a party’s agenda and who have their own beliefs… And not many people follow a party’s agenda. So why do they still get to be so powerful? The only thing worse than that is the path I’ve started to follow “being a useless independent” 

The joke with voting option 3 instead of (R) or (D) has been described being asked what the square root of 225 A) 15 B) 20 C) Chocolate …well hmm I know it’s not chocolate

Why did I do this? Same as the reason why millions of Americans do it as well. Because there is no real choice in this country and both are bad. The last 3 presidential elections have proved this. We have a country run by Republicans and Democrats for… Republicans and Democrats. The problem with that is that only includes 2/3rds of our country…and shrinking.

What’s really made this blatantly clear is all the spying revelations that have come out.

Would Romney not spy as much? No, he wanted the presidency to go further with it.
Would Romney have used drone strikes?
Would he kill the patriot act?
Would Romney be for marijuana legalization and not raid legal dispensaries?
Would Romney’s opinion on gay marriage “evolve” like the president’s did? (He was anti gay marriage until 2 years ago)
Would he not be cozy with Wall St. bankers and charge them with wreaking our economy?
Would be bail out companies “too big to fail”?
Would he end the Bush tax cuts?
Would be propose fair trade instead of free trade?


At least Republicans are more open about it. With Democrats they pretend to be liberal.  Obamacare? Modeled after Romneycare. Where insurance companies get more clients.

If 30-40% of Americans are Independent then why doesn’t our government reflect that? It’s run by Republicans and Democrats for Republicans in Democrats. It is not in their interest for outsiders to get in their way. It is not in their interest to compete against an opponent they can’t tie with a tribe. We have tribal leaders and village idiots. And I for one am done.