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  • weekendkeyboardwarrior 1:40 am on November 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    71: Don’t Be A Douche 

    So I am currently watching a show on the Science Channel called Build it Bigger; if you’re not familiar with it, the premise of it is this: The host of the show is a post-grad engineer named Daniel who goes out into the real world to learn more about his craft by seeing it through the eyes of the skilled tradesmen who will be doing the actual building of the things he designs (theoretically). Daniel is still a bit of a douche, but at least he is attempting to put away his selfish pride and learn more from the people with working experience instead of interjecting his hair-brained insistence into every job he encounters.

    This got me thinking… if more post-grad professionals were like Daniel, we would live in a better world. Unfortunately, most of them are not — in fact, most are the polar opposite of Daniel, and insist that once they reach commencement, there is nothing they do not know (although they usually find out quite quickly how incorrect they were). You see, the wonderful institutions of higher learning in this world are particularly good at one thing: padding the egos of the students who patronize them. This leads to a society filled with foolishly overconfident graduates ready to make catastrophic mistakes without consulting with the people who actually know what they are doing.

    Thankfully, I no longer have to deal with such people on a consistent basis, however I have had my fair share of these encounters during my time in the military in dealing with shiny, new lieutenants. As a dog-handler, I was charged with training my dogs to detect the odor of nearly every explosive known to man; and to do this, I had to safely use and keep track of more than 20 pounds of high explosives. Additionally, we were required to go through a certification process where the commanding officer of the unit would come out and watch the dogs go through a training problem and verify that they can do their job with a high degree of accuracy.

    Most commanders know nothing of explosives limits, explosives safety precautions, or minimum safe distances… or anything of the like, and they don’t pretend to know! They understand that there are requirements which are set in-place to keep everyone safe and they do not attempt to interfere with that. However, occasionally a Lieutenant will be required to sit-in for the commander at one of our certifications due to some sort of absence…. and THAT is when chaos ensues. Fresh from the factory, most of them constantly insist that they know better than you and will attempt to correct you at every opportunity, even when there is nothing to correct or they know nothing of the topic at hand.

    One time in particular, a certain young individual tried to tell me that we needed to continue a certification despite an impending electrical storm, because he had a very tight schedule. Let me repeat that for you… he insisted that we needed to keep the electronically detonated HIGH EXPLOSIVES out in the OPEN FIELD during the ELECTRICAL STORM and continue the certification because he was busy and could not re-schedule.

    Let that one sink in for a moment…

    Needless to say, I did not comply with his request. But it goes to show you how someones foolish pride could easily mean the difference between life and death in certain cases, and especially in the cases of certain jobs — such as engineers — where their decisions can endanger the lives of thousands of individuals. So, if you are a post-grad, and you are ready to hit the working world… please, don’t be a douche.

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    • dannifoley 7:27 pm on November 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      That is so frustrating! That happens to me a lot at the bank too. But to make matters worse, the person who wants me to do things their way had nothing to do with the situation in the first place, they just butt in to tell me I’m doing things wrong even though I’m not…
      P.S. Are you familiar with the teachings Wil Wheaton? Wheaton’s Law simply states, “Don’t be a dick!!”

    • nocturnalgroaner 4:53 pm on November 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I’m a college student and I recognize that I think what I do is right or correct and am pretty judgmental towards those that are “wrong” or do things for the wrong reasons ( like, only going to college as a means to get a job, instead of to, y’know, learn and being motivated only by the bottom line). I’m not audacious enough to think I know everything though, and I think that’s due to the fact that I’m a Liberal Arts student, more specially a Social Science major…. I study cities and interventions/disruptions within them, and pretty much the major idea I’ve come back to is that it’s impossible to know the outcomes of any decisions because there are so many variables and so much complexity in the world; it’s almost depressing, but very interesting. Instead of being obsessed with what’s right and what’s wrong’ I’ve had to develop what, I think is important and why. I’m also a design major, which is highly subjective so much of the education is built around getting critiques, which can be really brutal sometimes. So for me, my education is linked to a lot of self-doubt….whether I think something that I’ve made is good enough that despite a bad critique it still expresses my point-of-view or whether I learn something from it that informs my values.

      People who study hard sciences get evaluated by being wrong or right and I feel like that’s the way they see everything. And when a person succeeds at an education that says “you’re right” all the time; they don’t have question anything about themselves because they’ve always been right. Also, I think that people who study hard sciences are often elevated ( and elevate themselves) to this category of “smart person” when actually it’s just a different type of learning, and different way of thinking… I know a lot of Engineering majors that act like because they study Engineering that they somehow can speak with authority on on every other subject. For instance, I would never assume that I knew how to fix an engine better than someone who studies mechanics would, but I have to put up with people calling something “modern” when they have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.

    • Arnulfo Ratliff 3:56 am on February 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Perhaps it was the alignment of the stars or the creative team had an idea they wanted to try out or maybe it was seen as a way to reintroduce Alexis Bledel to the world at large and test her potential as a leading lady. If only they kept away from the blatant fairy tale world of the end and showed a little bit of courage upon conclusion.

  • weekendkeyboardwarrior 9:48 pm on November 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    68: Excuses Are Evil… But a Necessary One 

    Alright, everyone — first of all, I’m sorry for not posting for you last week, but I’m in the midst of trying to create some certainty for my family in a very uncertain world.  This is not an easy thing to do, so I’ve been devoting some extra time to it.

    Anyway, I’m here now and ready to ramble incessantly! *que the loud groan from all THREE of our unapproving readers*

    I’ve been sad lately because motorcycling weather is slowly but surely going the way of the dinosaur.  Luckily, here in New Mexico I still get an hour or two of good riding weather (60-ish degrees or so) during the afternoons.  I’m sure if I were elsewhere in the U.S. I would be lucky to see 50 degree weather this time of year, so I guess I should count my blessings.

    And on that note, my next bit of news is rather counter-intuitive to my previous complaint…  I might be moving to Colorado!  It seems in order to keep a steady stream of money moving into my household, I need to go to where the money resides.  And for ME, that means moving to one of four places…  Las Vegas, Denver, Los Angeles, or Atlantic City.  These are the four places that someone like myself can make some good cash, and I wasn’t too fond of the idea of going to either of the coasts…  so that narrowed my choices down to Vegas or Denver.  And since my kids live in Colorado Springs, I figured my choice was simplified!  Nothing is certain yet, but this looks to be the direction we will be headed.

    Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you today!  Feel free to talk amongst yourselves in the comments section!

     
    • dannifoley 7:19 am on November 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hey! What do you have against the coast?? However, moving toward’s the kids makes sense. Good on ya, mate.

    • Roy 2:08 pm on November 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      The problem is that I’ve lived on the East Coast before…. and it was some of the most miserable times of my life. And L.A. (despite the nice weather) is quite possibly the worst city on the planet. 🙂

  • weekendkeyboardwarrior 1:27 pm on November 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    62: Home Sweet Home 

     
  • weekendkeyboardwarrior 8:45 pm on October 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    59: Hello And Goodbye From Chicagoland! 

    Alright, so here I sit in my hotel room in Joliet, Illinois.  I know I told you my next two posts would be of the audio variety, however, the technology at my disposal had other plans.

    This has been one of the most frustrating trips I’ve taken in quite some time.  I’ve spent the majority of this trip huddled up in my hotel room sick as a dog.  Even as I type this, I have one of those hacking “chest cold” types of coughs, as my “flu-like symptoms” have now evaporated into annoying chest congestion.  Over the course of the last week I’ve taken heaping loads of Nyquil/Dayquil/Tylenol PM, and despite all that medication, there were four or five days where I was completely incapable of venturing out into society.  Actually… I was incapable of doing much more than lying in bed and watching Discovery Channel.

    I HATE BEING SICK!  Yeah, I’ll admit it — I’m a baby when I’m sick!  Everything sucks, and it’s all too terrible to bear.  *que sad violin music*

    Anyway, enough of my complaining; the entire purpose of this trip was to play in the World Series of Poker Circuit event in Hammond, Indiana… and I did that — sort of.

    I played in two events when I first got into town (pre-sickness), and did pretty well in one event although I did not win it.  Then I came down with the crud at the worst possible time and was unable to play in the NEXT SEVEN EVENTS!  It felt like the biggest waste of time I’ve ever been involved with in my entire life.  Eventually I felt a bit better and bought into the final event of the tournament despite feeling less than 100%.  I nearly fell asleep twice at the table, though… so as you might expect, I bounced out of that event pretty quickly, but at least I gave it the old college try.  But it still sort of felt like a waste since I had planned on playing in 12 total events and was only able to play in a whopping three events!

    Pam and I at Navy Pier

    I suppose the silver lining of this trip is that my girlfriend was able to fly out for a couple days.  We spent a weekend just enjoying each others company, and we also got a chance to go downtown and spend a day at Navy Pier as well as go see “Blue Man Group” at the Briar Street Theatre… and it was AWESOME!  If you ever get a chance to go see that show, I HIGHLY recommend that you do so.  It was amazing how they constantly kept the audience involved and completely overwhelmed.  They made it totally interactive and kept you guessing what was going to happen next.  There were times when the stunts they did were so outrageous, that you weren’t quite sure if they were real or faked… or HOW they were faked for that matter since they were done literally right in front of your eyes (and less than 20 from you in a small theatre).  But, if you go see this show, the only advice I have for you is:  Don’t be late!  Just Sayin’.

    That’s all I have for you right now since I had to type this entire post out on my phone due to a frustrating lack of hotel internet connectivity.

    I’ll be heading home on Thursday, and I’ll try to get my audio posts up once I hit Albuquerque.  Lata!

     
    • nocturnalgroaner 10:32 am on October 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I saw Blue Man Group in Chicago too! It was years ago for a school trip in which I also saw Wicked and kind of dozed off, but Blue Man Group was much more entertaining!

      • Roy 12:21 am on October 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised. it was an awesome show!

        • dannifoley 7:44 pm on October 27, 2010 Permalink

          I’ve actually never seen Blue Man Group! I’ve always wanted to though…
          And I can’t believe you didn’t like wicked! It’s one of my favorite shows!!

        • nocturnalgroaner 11:55 am on October 28, 2010 Permalink

          I was just super exhausted; I probably dozed for 5 minutes. I didn’t think it was bad. My favorite Broadway musical that I’ve seen is Avenue Q; I haven’t laughed continuously for so long ever.

        • dannifoley 6:11 pm on November 1, 2010 Permalink

          Yes! That’s another good one! I just feel bad for the parents who taker their kids to see it because of the puppets and then…yeah

  • weekendkeyboardwarrior 6:00 am on October 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    52: Leaving Soon… And Other Random Things 

    Alright everyone, here is my contribution to this week’s blog adventure!!

    First off, if you watched the above video, then you already know what I have planned for the upcoming weeks. If you have not yet watched the above video… watch it (it’s really just an audio file, not a “video” per-say)!

    With that in mind, I bring you back to the regularly scheduled programming…

    I’m now fully settled into my home here in Albuquerque — and JUST in time to leave again! It’s currently 12:35 a.m. on Sunday night (or Monday morning… however you look at it), and I have roughly 31 hours remaining until I board my flight for Chicago and the World Series of Poker Circuit event.

    Those of you keeping score at home might also have noticed that Chicago is my former home-town, and as such, I will assuredly be expected to go visit everybody and their brother while I am home. And just like every other trip home I’ve ever gone on, I will not be able to do that, and someone WILL get their feelings hurt… it’s inevitable. I never intend for it to happen, but it never fails! Everyone always assumes that when I come into town, I have NOTHING else on my plate except spending every waking moment galavanting around town visiting with old friends and family members.

    It’s kinda crazy how that works! People who haven’t spoken to me in four or five years will suddenly act like we are best friends and expect me to drop everything and come RUNNING to their door. And family members will have the audacity to suggest that the reason we haven’t talked in three years is because ::I:: never picked up the phone and called them (because THEIR phone CERTAINLY doesn’t have a dial pad or a “talk” button)! But alas, I put up with it… and I take the time to ensure that I visit with the people who have made an attempt at keeping in contact with me, and I put VERY LITTLE emphasis on visiting the ones who magically disappear from my radar once I leave town.

    And ironically, it’s those same “why don’t you ever call me?” people who tell me that they’ve been keeping up with me via facebook or twitter… but yet they never bother to send me a message or say “hi” — and I’M the one who’s wrong!? I don’t get it. Okay, I’m done ranting now.

    Anyway, my girlfriend isn’t exactly thrilled about me leaving again, but she seems to be dealing with it quite well. As I type this, I’m sitting in our guest bedroom which is currently doubling as a box-storage room — and our garage/box-storage room is also in desperate need of some attention. But, I gotta pay the bills, and a major tournament victory at the WSOPC would certainly help that, so off I go to Chicago!

    In the mean-time, I’m busy cleaning-up and unpacking what I can, so that I keep the household mess to a minimum for my girlfriend (who must be a saint to have put up with my crap for the last five years).

    Well folks, it’s now 1 o’clock in the morning and I have to get up at the crack of noon tomorrow and do more cleaning before I leave town (and I might find a few minutes to take the Harley out for a spin, as well).

    See y’all next week from Chi-town!

     
  • weekendkeyboardwarrior 1:43 am on October 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: adulthood, blisters, housework, responsibility, , yardwork   

    48: Being a Responsible Adult Blows 

    Alright, so I am typing this from my phone so as to actually do a post this week as it has been crazy around here recently (thank goodness for iPhone apps).

    So, I left Istanbul, Turkey on Friday the 24th… three layovers (and roughly 50 hours) later, I arrived at home in Albuquerque, New Mexico jet lagged as a mother fucker and ready to sleep for a week. I did NOT get to do this, unfortunately!

    My girlfriend informed me shortly after getting off the plane that there was still a metric ton of shit left to move in our old house and we only had five days to do it. So… Despite my fucked up body clock, I had to wake up with her at 6a.m. every day and go load up boxes and bring them to the new house. I tried my hardest not to complain since I know she’s been through hell the last month or so doing this in my stead, but there were times when I couldn’t prevent myself from voicing my displeasure. It wasn’t fun to say the least. And now, we’re buried under boxes that look as though they will take months to unpack, and I’m soon to be getting right back on a plane and leaving her to fend for herself (which, I’m sure she’s delighted about).

    I also spent a day-and-a-half in our back yard with a leaf-blower getting rid of Fall’s tell-tale signs. I received nothing but blistered hands for my troubles. But at least it’s done now!

    It hasn’t all been bad though! My girlfriend and I took today off and spent the day doing things just for us. We also did something that we have been meaning to do since May… You see I bought a small motorcycle for her birthday a while back (at her request) with the promise that I would soon teach her how to ride it… And today I finally got around to doing that. She had a blast, and hopefully she will be riding like a pro by next weekend.

    That’s all I got folks! See ya next week…. Next Monday will be my last post before I hit Chicago.

     
    • Mr Str8 Fwd 10:05 am on October 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Wow you get to travel all over. That’s wassup

      It’s kickass that your showing your girl the world of motorbikes. It’s really a great activity for both men and women.

    • Roy 6:33 pm on October 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      It’s not as cool as it sounds. If I were traveling for tourism, it would probably be more fun; but alas, I’m traveling for work-related purposes.

  • weekendkeyboardwarrior 1:20 pm on September 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: banks, book, casinos, Dante, fools, gambling, greedy people, money, odds, rant, shady, suckers, tactics   

    39: “Abandon All Hope, You Who Enter Here” 

    BONUS POINTS IF YOU KNEW WHERE THE TITLE QUOTE CAME FROM WITHOUT GOOGLING IT (THERE’S A HINT SOMEWHERE IN HERE).

    Here’s a topic that should be close to Danni’s heart (or distant from it, depending on her perspective).

    Government sanctioned loan-sharking (a.k.a. banking).

    I can’t speak from an insider’s perspective; but I can speak from the perspective of a consumer who understands mathematics and militaristic tactics.

    I understand that speaking in a reproachful manner on the money-making tactics of banks given my current profession is a bit of a paradox; but let me put this angle of the discussion to bed right off the bat.

    The difference between what I do for a living and what banking executives do for a living boils down to volunteerism and mathematics – I make money off of people who give me their bankrolls voluntarily by assuming that they can play my game at a competitive level; when, in actuality, they cannot. No one is forcing them to sit down at the table and put their money in play! They do so voluntarily, thinking they can be profitable at it, and when they discover that they are not… instead of walking away, they blame it on luck and buy-in again. Suckers are my bread and butter! It sounds unscrupulous but when you think about the bigger picture, it’s wholly sane and logical in that these people are not required to sit down at the table in the first place, let alone stay for hours on end trying to win back what they’ve lost. And there is definitely no politics involved as my advantage lies strictly in numbers… I always ensure that I put the mathematical odds in my favor and keep my wins big and my losses small. I don’t lobby senators to make laws that favor me; I simply take universal truths (i.e. odds and probabilities) and use them to my advantage.

    Banks on the other hand rely on customers who have no other choice but to use them, and take them for every penny they are worth. They take people who didn’t want to be playing the game in the first place, and force them to not only play, but to play it out to the end! They fight to enact laws that require the populace to use their “services” (see the mandatory direct deposit laws instituted in many states) until they provide a substantial amount of profit to the bank, to spite the fact that these people wanted to stop playing long ago!

    This would be akin to me lobbying Washington to enact laws that require poker lessons be given at Gamblers Anonymous meetings! It’s irresponsible to force (or even just passionately persuade) the general public to play your game when you know full well that they stand no chance of winning. I don’t go out looking for untalented opponents and try to convince them to play me. I simply sit down at a table and wait for them to show up of their own volition.

    There, now that that’s out of the way…

    Continuing with the theme of the conversation, the way banks operate is similar to the way that casino management operates – they skew the numbers in their favor enough to make it consistently profitable for them while giving the illusion of profitability to their consumers.

    Here is an example – when you go to a craps table and place $10 on a one-roll “hard 12” – the odds of you hitting that in one roll are 36:1. So in order to make that a profitable bet, you would have to be getting somewhere around 37: 1 on your money. But the casino offers you 30:1 on your money, meaning that over the long run this is a sucker bet that will be very profitable for them. But the uninformed gambler looks at the 30-to-1 return on their money, and believes those to be great odds.

    Banks do something similar – they offer interest rates that sound fair, and they skew the numbers to their favor by doing things such as: changing the date that interest compounds to either before or after the payment due date (depending on whether they are the giving or taking the money), instituting obscure fees and charges, and offering balloon payments. Small differences such as these can mean thousands of dollars over the course of a year, but most people never even notice them! And of those who do notice, only a handful actually cares! Every “it’s only money” customer mentality earns banks millions over the long-run. Normally I would say “buyer beware” in such situations, but when using their services is a requirement for survival in civilized society, I have a much harder time justifying it. Your only option is to use a different bank which will undoubtedly be using these same shady tactics.

    The messed up thing is that most bank employees make modest wages compared to the bank’s big dogs (the CEO/CFO etc.) and thus, have no say in the policies… but yet take all of the blame from customers (Danni, I apologize on behalf of all bank patrons). It’s a small handful of ultra-wealthy people making fortunes off of those who cannot afford it.

     
  • weekendkeyboardwarrior 8:53 am on September 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: america, americas pastime, , boring, caray, chicago, cubs, harry, memories, sports, team   

    34: America’s [Boring] Pastime 

    Things have been crazy this week as I am now getting ready to head back home after a LONG time in east Europe away from my family (I’ve been gone for a little more than a month). I’m anxious to get back to my family and enjoy a little time off with them before going back on the road again; I’ll be heading back to my hometown of Chicago around mid-October. I’m actually excited about this next trip as this will be my first time going back to Chicago in a long time. I think the last time I went back there, I was still in the military (around 2007/2008 timeframe), so I’m excited to see how things have changed (or not changed) since I was there last.

    This got me thinking about some of the things from my childhood that I reminisce about occasionally. One of which was Baseball!

    Now, I am not a baseball fan by any stretch of the imagination – the only time I turn on a baseball game is when I desperately need to fall asleep or when I need a mind-numbing activity to take my mind off of everyday life. But never in my adult life have I turned on a baseball game with any kind of vested interest in the outcome! It’s not that I hold a hatred for the game or anything, I just feel like it’s too similar to farming… or watching paint dry… or watching paint dry while farming at a snail race. It’s fucking boring! There is nothing even remotely exciting about that game! But there was a time when I actually enjoyed the game of baseball – it just so happens that it was at the same point in my life where I picked my nose and thought girls were gross.

    Like every other kid in the Midwest during the late 1980’s, I grew up watching and playing baseball; and the Chicago Cubs were my favorite team! I watched players like Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg, Goose Gossage, and Mark Grace and dreamed of one day playing professional baseball like them! My parents, being the amazing people that they are, entertained my fantasy throughout my childhood and never told me that anything was out of reach for me. They allowed ME to decide what was or wasn’t beyond my scope of accomplishment (which I am still grateful for to this day). Obviously, growing up to be a professional baseball player was FAR beyond my capabilities as semi-coordinated, semi-mediocre Little Leaguer, but I always liked that my parents allowed me to succeed or fail on my own.

    Anyway, one summer, my Dad decided to surprise me with something that absolutely made the day of an eleven-year-old boy: a trip to Wrigley Field to watch a Cubs game! It was fuckin’ awesome! I don’t know what it was about going to that game, but it was one of the defining moments of my young life… it was so exciting to see the magnitude of it all! We got there early and I was able to watch batting practice and meet Harry Caray as well as some of the players. It was like a dream come true!

    Now, of course, there was a BIG difference between the games of that time and the games they play today. It wasn’t differences in how the game was played, but rather in how it was presented… which, I believe, made baseball more exciting to watch at that time.

    Case in point: Harry Caray, the Cubs play-by-play announcer through most of the 80’s and 90’s, was known to indulge in a cocktail (or twenty) while he was announcing the game. This meant that if you were watching it on television, there was no need for them to tell you what inning it was – all you had to do was listen to Harry’s voice! If he sounded relatively sober, it was early in the game… if he sounded wholly inebriated – then the game was just about over. This was also how Harry’s drunken rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” got started! One time, during the seventh inning stretch, Harry Caray was three sheets to the wind and decided now would be a good time to use the public address system (don’t try this at home, kids). I know that it sounds silly that something like this could make the game worth going to in and of itself… but it DID! Harry Caray was a Chicago sports icon, and without him, I don’t think the Cubs would be as popular with Chicago baseball fans as they are today.

    I went to three Cubs games throughout my young life, and I have indelible memories from each of those games that will probably last me a lifetime.

    I can remember one time going with my Dad to a game where we sat along the left field wall (despite the fact that those weren’t our seats… they just happened to be empty). We stood up and started watching the visiting Houston Astros take batting practice when suddenly one of them hit a line drive… DIRECTLY AT ME! I saw the ball heading for my face and so I ducked behind the brick wall, but my Dad (who was standing behind me) wasn’t paying attention and got smacked in the chest by the ball. It knocked him over, but luckily, only his pride was hurt! He wasn’t injured (just a little bruised), but it had looked awful to everyone else at the stadium, and within seconds several members of the Wrigley Field staff (as well as the Astros left fielder) had converged on us to make sure my Dad was unharmed!

    He assured everyone that he was fine (and that he had no intentions of suing) and they gave us the ball that hit him as a consolation prize. But I will always remember that day as the first time I saw my life flash before my eyes… and the day my Dad’s concentration lapsed at precisely the wrong time.

    Honestly, I truly miss the days when I actually enjoyed watching baseball. But every now and again, I turn on a game to try and get re-acquainted with my old favorite pastime only to think “how did I EVER enjoy this game?”

    And then I promptly take a nap.

     
  • weekendkeyboardwarrior 7:00 am on September 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bible, christianity, divinity, following, history, introspective, islam, judaism, , religion, truth   

    29: Divine Interception 

    I’ve got a boring week on my hands, and I have a few things I need to get out there… so please excuse me while I get cathartic for a moment.

    “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things, but for good people to do evil things, it takes religion.” ~ Steven Weinberg

    LET ME GIVE YOU A QUICK RUNDOWN ON RELIGION (ACCORDING TO ROY):

    Thousands and thousands of years ago, we humans were very early in our evolution. We only knew what we needed to know to survive (i.e. we needed to hunt and procreate to continue the species), and we were in a strange place which we did not know much, if anything, about. There were also some very confusing events happening, and due to our lack of knowledge, we had no way of explaining them. Volcanoes would erupt, lightning would strike, people would die randomly with no explanation, and the Earth would sometimes start violently shaking!

    When you don’t understand why these things are happening, it can be very frightening to the un-evolved human mind! So we, as humans, created a few systems to help us explain that which we could not comprehend. The presence of an all-powerful god was cornerstone to this! It seemed that the only logical explanation was that every time a volcano erupted or lightning struck… the gods were angry!

    When someone would die unexpectedly, it would be unnerving to admit that we had no clue why he died, so instead, we decide that the gods must have been angry with him and decided to kill him. In a very random and chaotic world, an omnipotent god was the only way that we could give ourselves inner peace. We needed to know that things don’t just happen randomly, and that there is some method to the madness! Religion provided that for us.

    FAST FORWARD A BIT TO THE PRE-ROMAN ERA.

    Roman Coliseum Plaque From Pope Benedict XIV, Placed in 1750

    Systems of government are now instituted to help make sure the populace stays in order, but there is one little problem: people are so wholly devoted to their religious ideology that the in-place government doesn’t hold nearly the amount of influence that officials feel it should. People are not afraid to die because they feel they will simply be sent to meet with their god. This is a huge problem for the governmental systems of the time, as fear is critical to their ability to control the people.

    So, the solution is simple – intertwine religion and government! Convince the populace that their religion and their government are one, and of the same cloth; to be a servant of your god, you must also be a servant of your government… it works! People have longed for many thousands of years to have a human face to associate with their religious beliefs. And, to win complete sovereignty; their government has provided them with this. The birth of the clergy has arrived!

    Initially an arm of the state’s government, the clergy had the power to take the wishes of the hierarchy and translate them to the masses as an instruction from god. Government control of the population is at its pinnacle and the decline of free will is in full swing.

    The problem with this was that they took it a step too far and people began to see the clergy for what they truly were: governmental cronies. Enter the saviors of the Western world (the timeline is similar in the Asian continent, only the names are different)… Jesus, Muhammad, Moses, et al. – they came along at the most opportune time and gave people a different path with which to explore their religion. It was a path that coincided with the values they had always held as truth, and none were connected to the governmental systems of the time. Behold the birth of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam! All of these newfound religions used different languages and wording, but they all told essentially the same stories and held the same truths: be humble/moral, follow the principles of discipleship, stay a servant of your god. People now had instructions on how to practice their chosen religion without interference from the state.

    Now, take away all the pleasantries and stories behind the foundations of religion and take a look at it for what it really is. What do you have?

    What is religion? In the words of Adam Carolla: “A FUCKING FAIRY TALE!”

    We are the only species on the planet that is aware of our own mortality, and to cope with this problematic truth, we have devised concepts such as religion to give us a sense of order amidst the chaos and keep the world from breaking into anarchy and tearing itself apart. This is understandable — imagine how insane the world would be if we all knew that, not only are we going to die, but we’re not going anywhere after that. No heaven, no hell; decomposition is the only thing that awaits us once we go. The world would be in chaos! This is where religion benefits us, it pacifies the masses — it gives the populace something to believe in, and a reason to act in a moral and just fashion.

    Heaven's Gate Logo

    But the problem with it all is the malleability of the human mind! You can convince a human that anything is truth… that part is easy. The hard part is that once you have convinced them, trying to swing them the other way and convince them they are wrong is nearly impossible. Catechization is not a gradual slope, it’s a steep drop-off! Once they begin to believe whole-heartedly, they often take it to far-reaching extremes and then try to force their new found belief on others. And, this is not conjecture, this is evidenced by many thousands of years of historical proof! Take a look at the thriving cult scenes throughout history and view for yourself just how desperate we humans are to have something to believe in! Jonestown, Branch Davidian, Solar Temple, Heavens Gate… these are just a few of the names in recent history of “religions” that were able to convince their subjects so fully of the “truth” of their message, that they were willing to die for it! And the pattern has repeated itself over, and over, and over again throughout history!

    Heavens Gate Followers

    However, I am not trying to surmise that religion is a bad thing, no, quite the opposite! I think religion is wonderful for those who need it to give them a sense of purpose and belonging. But the one thing I have a problem with is people who use religion as a reason for inflicting their will on others… and members of EVERY SINGLE RELIGION are guilty of this at one point or another.

    Religion can do some wonderful things for the mentality of certain people, but it can also be very damaging when those same people use their religion as the reason for destructive actions. Religion has been one of the major justifications behind nearly every war to ever hit the earth — millions have been killed, countries destroyed… all over ideology that we have CREATED to make ourselves feel better about our surroundings! It’s insane how over-zealous people get over these ridiculous religious philosophies that they hold so dearly as truth, and how defensive they get when the validity of their faith is called into question. I’m sure if anyone who considers themselves religious reads this, their heart beat will begin to race and their blood-pressure will rise. They will start to feel so angry that someone has suggested they are wrong… they may never admit it, but deep down, they have their own doubts.

    And if you confront a religious zealot with facts when they attempt to argue with you… what does it always boil down to? Faith. When you show them the amazing contradictions and inaccuracies within their own religion, they always end the argument with something along the lines of “I just have faith”. And that’s fine, but here’s the thing; if you insist on proving to me just how wrong I am, then provide me with something proving that I’m wrong — but don’t give me any of these ridiculous faith-based, bullshit arguments. And I don’t want to hear about the “prophecies” of the Bible (or the Koran, or any other religious text), such as predicting the conflicts between the Jews and the Muslims… Jews and Muslims have been at odds since their inception, anybody with the slightest bit of insight could have predicted that at some point, this mortal feud would come to a head. There’s nothing mystical or magical about the predictions made in these literary works; the “prophecies” are broad, vague, and open to interpretation. And, many of the prophecies were of the self-fulfilling variety — they were completed because the practitioners of the religion knew that their faith was contingent upon the prophecy coming true, and thus did everything in their power to ensure it.

    If I am wrong on this matter, I will be the first one to admit it. But I want someone to PROVE to me that I’m wrong; as of yet they are not able to do this. Until that time when you can, please stick to your faith, and I’ll stick to my facts.

    ~ Roy “weekendkeyboardwarrior”

     
  • weekendkeyboardwarrior 6:43 am on August 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Age, Aging, Back Pain, Chiropractor, Doctor, FML, Hurt, Old, Pain   

    24: Old Age Sets in Early 

    Another Pre-write… sorry.

    Alright, so I’ve had back problems lately; namely from the torture that I constantly put my body through by cramming myself into tiny airplane seats and sitting at poker tables for 12 to 14 hours a day.  And juuuuuuust when I thought my back problems couldn’t get any worse… they did! You see, I’m usually sleeping on hotel mattresses that have very little support for my back (at least so it seems), and that has caused me a great deal of pain over the course of the past month!

    And I thought to myself, “Can I possibly be hurting any worse than I am now?”

    YUP! SURE CAN!

    So, there I was walking through the Deli at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas holding my tray “waitress style” with one hand while I reach for a Gatorade with the other hand when…

    *POP — POPPP — POPPPPPPPP*

    My back pops three times — each one progressively more painful than the last — and suddenly I cannot turn my head or back, cannot bend over and standing up and sitting down cause me to go into excruciating pain!

    Just getting up out of a chair would cause a single tear to trickle down my cheek, and getting in and out of bed was nearly an impossible task (let alone finding a position comfortable enough to sleep in). That hotel room was my hell for two days!

    But then, a wonderful thing happened!

    One night my Romanian friend Mihai tells me that we are all going to get a private poker game going that night.  I went to the game despite my predicament, and I spent the night whining and complaining about how much pain I was in!  After getting tired of my whining, my South African friend Rousseau pipes up and tells me how one of the other Romanian players was previously a Chiropractor back in his home town!

    Actually, he described him as a “Doctorrrrrr… of….. You know…. the back.”

    “A Chiropractor?”

    “Yes, yes… that is the word.  I don’t know ya language fa fackawl!”

    Apparently, he was a practicing doctor in Romania, but the Romanian healthcare system doesn’t pay all that much, so he is actually making a bit more money playing poker.  Oh, and by the way he’s also about the size of a house!  This dude works out so much that he now looks like an upside-down pyramid.  I’m a pretty big guy myself, and he makes me look like an infant by comparison!

    So I wait until the next day and try to find my new doctor — I spent a good part of the morning patrolling the hotel hallway waiting for him to appear, when I finally see him come out of his room and I jump on the opportunity!

    “HEY! There’s the man I’m looking for!”

    He looks around as though he thinks I am talking about somebody else…

    “I heard that you’re a Chiropractor!”, I said

    “Who tell you this?” he replies…

    “Rousseau… He said you’re very good!” I say

    “Ahhhhhhh… Rousseau, he give away my secret! Yes, I am back doctor in Romania. What you need? Do you have pain?”

    I tell him my story about my instant pain at the deli the other day, and he takes me into the hotel Gym, tells me to lie face-down on one of the yoga mats and puts a rolled up blanket under my head.  At this point, my gay-o-meter was higher than I usually prefer, so I was starting to wonder if I had made a mistake.  But, I decide to trust him and do as he says.

    He starts doing some pushing on several different nerves throughout my back, legs, arms and neck to find out where the pain is coming from.

    Nearly every spot he pushes on causes me to yell with pain.. the kind of pain that could make a dead man cry.

    He says, “Okay, I think I have found the problem disk…” and begins to explain to me in very broken english what the problem is.  It was difficult, but through a mixture of hand and arm signals I was actually able to understand him, and I tell him to go ahead and do what he needs to do.

    He forces me into a series of stretches and then does some forced “popping” of specific vertebrae in my back while continually telling me to “RELAX!”. Now, “relax” is a hard thing to do when a Romanian man who looks like a Rhino-Antelope-hybrid is working on your back, but somehow I manage to do it.

    He does all of this popping and then kneels down beside me.  He places his knee on my oblique, just below my ribs and uses his hands to grab myother side just below my armpit.

    And with ZERO warning, he simultaneously pulls back with his hands while thrusting forward with his knee!  It was quite possibly the most painful three-tenths of a second I have ever experienced.  And then — Nirvana!

    He goes back through the nerve tests to see how much pain is there now…. IT’S FREAKING GONE!


    I felt a sense of relief that I can only imagine rivals that of a hooker after a negative test result at the STD clinic! I got up and started jumping around like an idiot — So he grabs me by the shoulders to stop me from moving around, and tells me to be careful because the disks are only re-seated and they will take a few days to go fully back into alignment.

    He then advises me that I will also be a bit sore for the next day or so (and he was correct!) and sends me on my way!  He was going to do all this for free, but I couldn’t let him do this, so I gave him $100 for his help (I figure that’s probably what my co-pay would’ve been, anyway), and he told me that if I start to feel pain again that I should tell him and he would re-align my spine once more.  What a godsend this man was!

    And now… pretty soon, I will be getting back on a plane; which assuredly means more back pain.


    ~ Roy “weekendkeyboardwarrior”

     
    • dannifoley 10:34 am on August 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I was wondering why I thought I’d read this before, and that’s because I had! You told me about it when you wrote it, and I read it then!

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