The SamuraiMarine

Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Month: May 2008 (Page 1 of 2)

The Samurai’s “You Gotta Visit” Sites for May

This is something new I am sending out at the end of each month. Sites that I have found that I really like, and would like to share with you. These cover all genre’s… maybe there is something there that you will like.

The Masonic Traveler – News and Commentary from a fellow Mason.

My Radical Blog – Run by Les Scammell, a well done site with well written commentary and opinion.

Andy’s Sand of Hell – Addictive site where you get to play with virtual sand.

The Seeker – A site dedicated to helping you find people.

Just BBQ – Looking for a BBQ joint in the southland?

KIVA: Loans that change lives – Lets you help developing entrepreneurs in other countries.

I am going to hell – If for no other reason, than he shares my hatred of David Caruso

A quick Friday update…

I was not planning a post today, then I ran into something that I had to share.

Through the course of using SumbleUpon I will find many a new and interesting thing. Today was not exception.

I ran into a broadcast on YouTube by an internet personality by the name of Phillip DeFranco. It was regarding the whole “controversy” with Rachel Ray and her scarf… <video posted, until and if I am asked to remove it.>

I encourage you… the few readers I have, to visit his site… and if you can, give to his cause to support his PKD effort for him and his dad.

Not trying to inflate his ego any, but this is the kind of web presence I would love to be!!!

Philip… if you happen to visit, and do not appreciate my post, please let me know I will remove it!

Have we nothing better to worry about?

This question comes as I stumbled upon the following video:

Have we really gotten to a point where someone like this is not allowed to get up, and speak his mind, whether it be in ernst or jest, without being taken to task by the media as being a racist or hate monger?

His message was stated with a sense of jest and humor. There was nothing negative about it. It was a speech that, if given twenty or thirty years ago, would have had no negative feedback for anyone involved. But we have become so worried about what others think, and not wanting to offend anyone about anything, that we feel obligated to place him on some shelf as a bad guy.

What makes this worse is how the media, in their usual idiotic way, only shows enough of the clips from the actual speech, to make it appear that he was being hurtful to others. As I have said before, the media is nothing more than a vulture culture that lives to feast off only the refuse of what should be real news. What they did to Brandon is a prime example of that. While it is of poor quality, I have included a video of that as well.

There is nothing wrong with making fun of the things that divide us. There is nothing wrong with demonstrating that you have a sense of humor. Personally I think that is something that all too many of us are missing these days, and the world would be so much better if we did not hide our jest from one
another, and Brandon Rosario was demonstrating just that.

Looking at this from another point of view, we are sending a message that expressing yourself openly and honestly is not something that we want our youth to do. We are teaching them that you have to censor everything you say and do to not offend anyone. Doing this is almost impossible without making your speeches so open ended and bland, that they lose any real substance.

Back to Brandon, though. I hope that he stays who he is and does not change because a few people might have been offended but some of what he said. We really have to learn to laugh at ourselves and others. I honestly believe that the only thing that is going to save our world is if we all learn to have a sense of humor again and start using it.

There is nothing more cleansing to the soul than a really good, gut wrenching, laugh. Preferably one that brings you to tears.

Brandon Rosario… keep up the good work.

Credits for the attached videos go to “Moohu” on you tube, for the news clip, and the coverage of the actual speech by Brandon Rosario.

Memorial Day

I would like to take this moment to honor of those who have fallen in the line of duty for our country.  It is important for me to stress that I not only include military men and women, but there were many civilian men and women that died for our country as well, and their loss should be no less important.

Unfortunately this holiday has turned into more of and excuse to have a three-day weekend than a memorial to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the rest of us.

Remember, this day, that without those that have fought for our freedom and those who serve to protect us, we would not have all that we have today.

Online career sites

Several years ago I decided to keep a resume presence online with two companies. One with Monster.com and the other with a site dedicated to tech jobs called DICE.com. Both are great site and have a long history of reliability. I had no problem putting my information on there. I also liked the sites because not just anyone can get your resume. The group requesting it has to be accepted by the site as an employer that is looking to hire. Even then, they do not see the whole thing until you release it to them.

Like I said, I have always felt good about keeping my resumes on those sites, but there is a dark side.  That is that there are people that look for your resume, and do not pay attention to what your resume is about.  What kind of career you are looking for or what skills you have.

Some of them can be partially excused.  I work for a rather large insurance company in their IT section, and I work most with the phones and the remote users.  Some times people find my resume by simply searching for Insurance, and then do not pay attention to WHAT I do with and insurance company.  They just see the reference in my resume and send me a typical head-hunting email to ask me if I am interested in joining their team.  Sadly, most of the time these are ‘bots that send out this first email, so replying does not do much.

When I do call them or email them to let them know what they did, they seem to get mad at me.  Here I am trying to help them, and they act like it was my fault to begin with.  I had one person tell me that I should remove all references to insurance from my profile, so that they would not get confused.

There have been others too… People asking if I want to be a store manager, a library clerk for an oil  company, things like that.

It just amazes me that these people really do not seem to pay attention to the contents of the resume, or even my profiles on the sites that state what I was looking for in the way of work at the time I created the accounts.  You would think that if they were serious about looking for a person to fill an opening, then they would do a little looking at the profile before asking a person to apply.

Always a great day on the coast!

I love the coast. Were I a wealthy man, I would like to live on the coast.

I know that for many of you, living on the coast brings thoughts of a big fancy house on or near the beach, that is only a stones throw from the sand and you can wander out and take a dip before each meal.

Not for me.

First off, I am not a big swimmer. I can swim to save my life, if needed, and that is about it. I will sit and do my impersonation of a potato and stew in a hot tub, and I might, occasionally, sit in a pool.

No… I would not want a big house or lots of land on the coast. I would just want a good old Lighthouse. It would have to be a fully functioning light house that had a real 2nd or 3rd order fresnel lens set, and would actually require me to work on it from time to time. Oiling gears to keep the lenses rotating. Making sure that the fog horn is working. That kind of stuff.

The reason I think I like the coast the most though is the people. You really do not find this as much in the larger, touristy cities, but in the smaller towns that are a little more off the beaten path, you see a nicer group of people. Especially in areas where the people still carve a little of their living out of the sea. I think you see this more in the east coast and on the northwest coast. For the most part I will not count any of the California beaches. There are a few pretty Californian beaches, but I think that Californians treat the beaches much the same way someone might treat a twenty dollar hooker. Use it, mess it up, don’t clean up after yourself and leave it dirtier than you found it. Sorry for any visual that might have created, but of all the beaches I have seen, ours have to be the worst.

There does seem to be a certain “feel” in small coastal towns. I cannot say electricity I also cannot say that they are all laid back. There just seems to be this “expectation” of things to come. A good local, to me, example is the town of San Simeon. It is still a little too touristy for me, but it still has enough of that feel that I am talking about. When you are there and eat at one of the restaurants, you can tell that the people that live or work there are not entirely jaded to the fact that they are a sleepover town to a tourist trap, meaning Hearst Castle. They are genuinely nice and willing to talk with you, at length, about almost anything.

In reality, as I alluded to in my opening comment, a house on the coast, let alone a lighthouse, is beyond my means at this point in life. There is no chance that I will be a lighthouse keeper any time soon. But I will continue to visit lighthouses and dream about them. The wife and I will continue to make our pilgrimages to the coast and enjoy that as well.

There is just SOMETHING about the coast…

Movie Review: Iron Man

I will rarely go to the movies anymore, usually when I post these reviews, it is based on a movie that I have waited to make the transition from the BIG screen, the the little screen.

It is not because I do not like to go to the theater, but it is more about the cost.

I know there are those out there that can beat me on this, but I can recall when I was young, going to the movies and spending about $3.50 to get in during the regular showing.  Nowadays you practically have to go down and apply for a small personal loan if you want to see a non-matinée movie and want to get a couple sodas and popcorn.  You will need some collateral if you plan on getting one of their pizzas or pretzels.

So my wife and I went to the theater and saw this movie.

I will tell you something.  This movie was really good.  In fact, I would say that it was the first time I had been to the movies in a long time, where I did not leave feeling like I wasted two plus hours of my life, and a handful of money… like I felt when I saw the last three Star Wars movies.

It had a good story, good characters and Robert Downey has made a pretty good come back with this movie.

If you are a fan of the comics, which I was years and years ago, then you will certainly like this one.  The story is updated for the modern time, and the topics are written to use current story lines.

Go see this movie!!!

Favorite line:  “This is the Fun-V, your in the Hum-V!”

Random acts of kindness… at gunpoint.

There are two movements in this country that seem to be pushing the whole “Random act of kindness” philosophy, at least that I have had direct, personal experience with. Those that just go out and profess that we should occasionally do it and then do it themselves to lead by example, and if you follow suit, then great. Then there seem to be the ones that are militant about it.

Like any militant group, I see these people as bad examples of the parent group. There is nothing wrong with doing random acts of kindness, I think that it follows that whole “pay it forward” program, whereby helping one person, they will help another and another. I honestly believe that something a simple as smiling and saying hello to someone you do not know, might help their day. Unless you live in New York, then you will get mugged.

It amuses me when I hear people come out, and granted, they are not common, at tell others that they need to go out and practice random acts of kindness, and they should try and do “x” number a day or week.

If you set a goal, or quota, does that not make it so it is no longer random? Isn’t that like a loan officer taking up a policy of at least one loan a day, or a car sales person treating it as novel to make one deal a week?

The point of the whole random act thing is like what happened to me once. I was in the drive thru at a Starbucks. I had already placed my order and gotten to the window to pay, when the “Barista” advised me that the car ahead of me paid for mine and the person behind me. That did two things. First, it floored me, since it was my first time being a recipient of one of these acts, and second, it had me in the mode to do the same for another. Face it, when someone does something like that for you, it generally has a tendency to put you in a good mood, in some cases makes you want to return the favor.

Forcing or shaming a person into doing a good deed or act really accomplishes nothing. People are more apt to give generously if they are doing it anonymously or just because they see a sudden need, and have the means to do it. Personally I like to give “voyeuristically”. I like to see the reaction on the person’s face, but not let them know who it was that did it for them. I get to see the joy, and I get to know it was me that caused it, without the embarrassment of the person thanking me, or the awkwardness for them of thinking that they NEED to thank me.

So the title of this was a little misleading… no one has, to my knowledge as of this writing, been forced to preform a “RAoK” at gunpoint, but I do wonder if there will ever be a time when the whole Robin Hood mentality comes back around.

Imagine… you are standing in line at your favorite store, and you feel something in your back. A whisper comes to your ear… “See that woman at register 10, the one fumbling for exact change?

You nod your head.

“You are going to slip this here cashier a c-note and tell her to go over an pay for that woman’s groceries, right?” and he jabs the gun in your ribs.

“Sure…” You hand the woman the bill and give her the details, and she walks off. You turn around and your new friend is gone. About that time you hear the woman yell… “Hey Billy! Go get us another three twenty-four packs of Coors!!!”

Seriously though. If you have the means, sometime, pay for the guy or gal’s coffee in the car behind you, or something like that. I will not hold a gun to you, I will just make it a suggestion that you try. No pressure.

Mother’s Day…

So… Tomorrow is Mother’s day.

I would like to wish all mothers of all ages a very happy one.  Too often we do not appreciate the work that they do.  So do me a favor…  If you can, go hug your mom, just because.  If she is not living with you or near you, call her and talk for a while.  If your mother is no longer with us…  then remember her in fondness.  Light a candle for her, remember her with YOUR children or friend, or just talk to her anyway, we really cannot say that she will not hear you.

Again… Happy Mother’s day to all of you Moms out there…  As well as “Dog” moms and “Cat” moms!!!  😉

“Where are all da white women at???”

WARNING… PART OF THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IS VERBAL MEANDERING WITH INTERMITTANT POINTS OF CLARITY. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. PROCEED WITH CAUTION AND A SENSE OF HUMOR. IF YOU ARE MISSING A SENSE OF HUMOR, PLEASE LEAVE THE SITE IMMEDIATELY.

How many people out there know what movie the title of this article came from? There are many of you who probably think I am just being hateful, or mean, or making a racist comment. Trust me… I am not.

The quote came from what I would have to say is one of the greatest comedy movies, from the greatest comedy mind of our time. Mel Brooks and the movie was, dare I say? (Dare Dare) Blazing Saddles.

I started this article out with that for two reasons… first, because I know that there are probably people out that might not have ever heard that line, and will be drawn in by the sensationalism of it (Hi there, and welcome!), and also because I have just always wanted to use that quote for something.

I miss the days when movies could really take chances and not have to worry about some particular group being offended by something, or having some organization crawl out of the legal swamps and morass to defend some group that has yet to realize that they think they are being victimized.

A good RECENT example is the whole controversy over the character “Jar Jar Binks” in the last episodes of the Star Wars franchise. Yes, I will agree, Jar Jar needs to be killed in the most gruesome way possible for being one of the most irritating characters ever created in the the history of Science Fiction, following a close second would be the entire cast and concept of the movie “The Black Hole”, which ranks right there with “Attack of the killer tomatoes.” But I digress…

Jar Jar was a irritation, not too far removed from severe jock itch if you are Edward Sisor , but the idea that he was offensive to the Jamaican community? That is a bit a of stretch. Yes, he had an accent that would be considered slightly “island” and with a stretch of the imagination, you could say his ears looked slightly “Dreadlockish”. But SciFi is SciFi… we have no idea what is out there and what they look like, or how they sound. If you watch most of the newer SciFi movies and TV shows, then all of Australia and England should be offended, since it appears that most spacefaring races have a distiguished British accent.

But going back for a moment to the 70s, and the movies that were out at that time, you can see that there are some of them that would probably never make it back to the big screen, if they were released, brand new, today.

Take the whole opening sequence to “Blazing Saddles”, for those of you who remember it. The continuously running joke about Cleavon Little, and his become the first black sheriff of the town. How they actors kept teasing you with by saying things like, “The Sheriff, he’s a ni…” then a bell would ring, or something else would sound. And just when you were SURE that they would not say it… John Hillerman’s character drops the “N” word. Please see play the embedded video for the real scene.

I honestly do not think that studios could get away with releasing movies like that today without being called to task for them. Blazing Saddles was not being racist, it was making fun of the fact that there is racism out there and at the process of BEING racist.

If you go back even further, there are other examples that are not as light hearted as Blazing Saddles, and while their message is considered “Racially Insensitive” by today’s standards of not being allowed, in some cases, to acknowledge color or nationality except in a educational way, they were considered appropriate and innocent for their time.

As another example, look at the Disney movie The Song of the South. This was not a malicious movie, is was a fun movie whose message was in no way negative. It simple told a story about the deep south and was set in the past. There are probably very few younger people, born after the mid seventies, that remember this movie. In spite of the way people probably will look at it today, it was a good movie, and some of you may be familiar with the music of it.

If you have never seen The Song of the South, then I would ask that you rent it, if you can find it. I have actually been in two places that will not carry it because they consider it offensive material. Yet it you walk down the isles, you see just about every horror film you can imagine, and one of them had an adult movie section. Granted… these were smaller private rental places, but the point is made.

I think the point I am trying to make with this is that yes, racism is important, and it is something that makes no sense. There are already plenty of ways to keep ourselves divided, why make the color of our skin, or where we were born one of them. But we also need to laugh at ourselves sometimes. There are probably just as many Black idiots as there are White idiots, Red ones, Brown one, etc… Likewise, there are probably just as many of each who are as smart or smarter than you and I. The idea that you can look at a person’s skin color, and decide that they are smart or dumb, worthy or not of respect, etc, tells me that the person making that decision is missing something upstairs.

I think that portraying racism or bigotry in a humorous light makes it that much less of an issue, because if you can laugh at something like this, then you are that much closer to beating it. Simply dwelling on the negative does not fix the problems. Sometimes you need to look at something like this, and laugh. Make a movie about it and let other people laugh.

Can you imagine a world where racism was laughed at the same way we laugh at people when they same that they think the earth is flat, or Elvis is still alive, or that modern technology is based on what they found at Roswell?

Next time you hear a person use the “N” word, as referenced above… start laughing at them… just keep laughing and walk away. Who knows… maybe if they get the hint that the shock value of the word is gone, they will not use it as much. Then people like Mel Brooks can start putting out the movies we know and love!

Until next time!

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