The SamuraiMarine

Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Month: November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Day

Hello all…  and Happy Thanksgiving Day.

I would say that this has to be my favorite holiday of all of them, followed closely by Halloween.  I know, Halloween is not really a “holiday” per se, but I have always thought that it should be.

Thanksgiving is, for me, a time to express myself through the art of cooking.  I have always enjoyed cooking and if you were to ask most people that have sampled my wares, they would probably say that it shows.  I, on the other hand, am the consummate perfectionist (excuse the bad grammar) when it comes to my own work.  I am never happy with the results and always looking to improve of the end product.

Of the many talents that I will credit my Mother with blessing me with, cooking and the ability to “create” in the kitchen is one that I will always hold in the highest regard.  It is one of those things that has always pleased me to be able to do, not only for mine and my wife’s benefit, but also for the joy of sharing with others.  There is nothing that shows your friendship to others more than the ability and desire to cook for them.  Anyone can take a friend or loved one out to dinner and treat them to a good time, but not everyone can invite their friends over and cook them a great meal.

In some cases, you could say that there is nothing more sensual that the art of cooking and sharing of food.  When creating a meal, you are putting together something that is designed to satisfy not only the sense of taste, but all senses.  First people will usually smell what you have created, and this will set the stage for what to expect in the meal.  Next, people will see the meal and if presented well, will be pleased by the sights therein. Then people will taste the meal or food you have created.  Then you get to have the pleasure of listening to them complement you on the meal.  Add to this a good wine and conversation, and there is nothing I have found that it better.

Food and the company of friends and family… is there nothing better?

It’s the end of the world…

If you read this Blog enough, you know that I am not a big fan of most things TV related.  I will watch Discovery, History, Sci Fi (More on this later) and some of the other channels out there that I list as the few salvations to the art.

This being said, sometimes there is a show on Network TV that I do like.  Amonst these I will list CSI:Las Vegas, My Own Worst Enemy and the occasional episode of Cheaters (Yes… my one indulgence into depravity.)

There is another show that I try not to watch, only because I do not want to break my quota of Network exposure and that is the program called Criminal Minds.  It is actually a well written show and the cast is strong, but I hate the idea that I might get locked down to another program that will keep me stuck in front of a known radiation hazard occupying my living room.  I will fail to mention that I have a larger one in my office that I use to play XBOX 360, but I do so enjoy hypocrisy.

My title of this particular post is not to say that the world is ending because it is getting harder for me to not have an excuse to vacate the living room when this show comes on.  You can only use the “I have to go to the bathroom” excuse so many times in a given hour before your wife makes an appointment with an urologist for you.

No… it is because tonight I saw something that has shaken my world to the core.  Something that, when I saw it, I needed to use the good old rewind feature on my DVR to make sure that I saw it.  The character name “Hotch” SMILED.  Yes… I know.  Upon seeing this, I immediately checked to see if my Lotto tickets were winners… then I realized it was Monday night… and I then realized that I do not play the Lotto.  So I checked to make sure that there were no obvious signs of the apocalypse.

On the few… rare occasions that I have seen this actor in other shows… namely that atrocity of a program that my wife watched religiously called Dharma and Greg, I have never seen the man smile.  He has always appeared to be a walking, talking Prozac commercial… for when it does not work.  Then this.

There are few things in life that leave me thinking… “OK… I thought I saw everything!”  But this was one of those times.

With all the strange and new things happening this fall… the only thing that could top it off and send me over the edge is to find out Barak Obama is actually George Bush’s long lost brother from a pairing of George H.W. Bush and Grace Jones.

OK… That was all I had to say this evening… so I am out of here.

The Typecasting of Men…

In the event that I have been asleep for some length of time and just not noticed… in some comatose state that has kept me from noticing this pre-Huxlian world we seem to be moving towards in which men are subservient and docile, I need to ask an important question.  At least it seems important to me at the moment that I am writing this.

Why are men cast, in much of the media today, as idiots, morons or just plain stupid?  I will be the first to point out that there are many out there that are, and the rest of us just have our moments from time to time.  But then again, name ANY woman that can not also fit into that description.

The point that I REALLY started noticing these things was when Carl’s Jr. started on what I can only call their “Moron Men” commercials.  You have seen them… they are the ones that usually portray the man standing in the meat section with that “deer-in-the-headlights” look, staring at the meat like someone saved up a week and took a dump in the refrigerated section.  The latest one in this assault on intelligence is the one with the “Pretty-boy” standing in the kitchen trying to make guacamole by putting a whole avocado in the blender and setting in on the lowest setting possible.  The resulting effect is a guy standing there with a dumb look on his face while the avocado bounces around inside the blender… then closes with him trying to bite into the avocado.  Unless he is a refugee from the short bus, and I think even they are smarter than that, no one would try and eat an avocado like that.

OK…  To be fair, this is not the first time that I commercial campaign has gone after people by exploiting the intelligence factor.  Mostly, in the past, it was aimed towards women, and I did not care for it then either.  Granted… now and again… it is funny.  The current trend is at the point where the joke is getting old already.

Unfortunately it does not stop with just the commercials, it has also spread to other media as well.  It seems like comic strips, TV shows and other media, even Radio commercials, have gotten on the bashing bandwagon.

OK… The ranting aside, some of them were kinda funny… the first few times.  But come on people.  Find something new to beat on.

I do understand, though… seriously.  We live in an age where the only people that you really CAN pick on, without fear of a law suit or an attack from some special interest group, is the white male between the ages of 15 and 65.   If you go after a man or woman of any non-white race, then you are being racist.  If you pick on women, then Gloria and the NOW gang of feminazis come out of the woodwork to take you to task.  If you pick on the Homeless, then Jimmy Carter puts on his cape and flies in with his Nobel Prize of power to lay you to rest.  If you pick on the handicapped… well…  I am not sure who their spokes person is, but they will come out and attack.  Somehow, I think it would be neat to see Stephen Hawking fly in with a cape and protect them all… but that is a story for another time.

If you are sitting there, thinking that I am writing this out of hate… I am not.  I understand very well how the marketing system works.  I know that commercials are geared towards certain niche crowds that the writers know will probably bring in the most traffic, and that these commercials cater to the people that live in that region that they are shown.  I have to think that Carl’s Jr. probably used the Paris Hilton commercial out here in California, but in Pennsylvania they probably had a gal dressed in full smock and hair in a bun, “getting dirty” washing the family horse and buggy with the tag line… “You English will certainly like our fresh Amish beef steaks.”   This probably would not work in someplace like Utah…  in some cases one family would fill an entire Carl’s Jr… and that is just with the wives.

Making Friends…

As I grow older, I have started paying more attention to things that I used to take for granted… and that is making friends.

I have always been very critical of people… all people.  While some might say this is normal, I would go so far as to say my example would almost be to an unhealthy level.

When I meet a person for the first time, I immediately begin dissecting them.  Their mannerisms, movements, tone of speech, eye movements, etc.  I listen to the stories they tell and, in my mind, begin challenging them for potential realism, validity and probability.  All this in a matter of the first few moments that I have met a person.

Hindsight is always more clear than the vision before you at the time something is happening.  Thus, as I look back, I see many situations where I killed potential friendships before they ever started.  This attitude that I have towards people that I am meeting for the first time was and is unfair to them and to myself.

This has brought me to the point of this post.  A lesson learned, so to say.

  • Accept people for who and what they are.  People are not always going to be what you want them to be, and sometimes the best friendships can be borne from diversity.
  • Listen to what people have to say and take it for what it is worth.  If you do not think that it is the truth, keep that to yourself.  Over time, the truth always comes to the surface.
  • Once a friendship starts, just like a plant or any other life, it requires feeding and nurturing.  You need to make it work.  Don’t assume that “I called John this week, it is his turn to call me.”  That does not always work.  Friendship is a two-way street and takes both parties.
  • Don’t let little things get in the way, and in the case of good friends, nothing is more important.  With few exceptions, all other considerations are secondary to friends.

Making good friends is, in my opinion, not too much different than relationships with your family.  My closest friends ARE part of my family.  In my life, the few friends I have, and they know who they are, are every bit as much a part of my family as my Mom, Sister, Brothers and Wife.  There is little difference to me here.

Some friends you make will not be as close as others.  You will learn to keep them, without letting them KNOW this, at various distances from you, emotionally.  This is not to be callous or mean, but because there are times when you can feel that a person is responsible enough to handle that level of closeness.

There are times, also, that you need to let them go from your life because they become vexacious to your soul and your family.  There is one case where I have done this and the reason was because the path he had chosen led to the loss of his family and drove his friends away.  Even though it was his own fault, it was one of the harder things I have done in my life.  Telling a person to not be a part of your life when you have known them since high school is difficult.

All this being said, my newest goal is to teach myself to be less critical of people.  To try and make more friends and be a better friend to others.  To stop trying to find a reason to NOT make a person a friend, as I tend to do with my mental dissection of those I meet.  I do not expect this to come to me overnight, but I do want it to happen.

I hope that you appreciated my sharing this with you.  I hope that you have something to add, as your comments are always welcome.

Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps

From a little tavern in Philladelphia back in 1775, to the world theater of today.  The United States Marine Corps celebrates it’s 233rd birthday.

To all Marines… all over the world, both current and former… Happy Birthday Brothers and Sisters.  Lets all raise a toast to those you have gone before us!

Semper Fi!

And to all soldiers of all the branches that may find yourselves in harms way this day… may you find your way home safely.

My Blog…

Greetings…

When I started this blog, I did so with every intention of making it a place to keep things light-hearted and fun place to write the occasional article about my observations and opinions on things.  However, over the several years of it’s life, it has take on a new meaning to me.

I have found that this blog has been a sounding board for my own frustrations, a place to share my pains and success’ and a place to share fun things that I have seen and experienced in life with those of you who are willing to take the time to read.

With all this being said, I am looking into the option of changing the name of the blog into something a little more on par with the topics I discus.

I am willing to listen to any suggestions that you might have, or any reasons that you might suggest for keeping the name as it is.  I do not plan on making any changes until the first part of the year, so we have some time.

As always, I thank the few readers I have for their input and their time.

Is America dying?

I read the papers, watch and listen to the news, read the blogs and listen to the way people talk and the question arises… is the America that we, as Americans, know and love, dying?

This is not a question of philosophy or morals so much as it is a question of us as a stable, strong and unified nation.  A question asking if we can survive the next 200 years without self destructing into a mass of greed and selfishness.

When I was young, I remember being told that you can get whatever you want with a little hard work and determination… I was even told that I, or anyone else, could even aspire to be president, someday, if we worked hard.

It really is not even about that anymore, is it?  Anymore it seems like the LAST thing you would want your kid to be is the President.  What’s more, being President is not about who can do the best job for the country, it is about who has the most money… so that they can spend it on advertising to bash their opponent and who can talk the “prettiest” talk soas to woo the voters to vote for that person. In short, the presidency is a “bought and paid for” office. It is not “earned” anymore.

Unfortunately it is not about the “Issues” any more.  It is more about the perceived issues as the candidate want you to see them.  It is about the problems with the candidates themselves, not the issues that they stand, or do not stand, to support of defend.  It is not about honesty, it is about what YOU consider honesty to be.

I have watched this latest bout of elections and I wonder if there are still people out there who READ the news.  People who look for information out there on the candidates or the laws that are going to be voted on, and really understand what is being said.  I wonder how many people who are voting, are people that ONLY watch the news that is put out by their selected candidate and do not take the time to challenge it by reading other sources.

How many people will base their decisions solely on what they see on TV, or on those little “Cheat Sheets” that the Democratic and Republican parties send out to tell you how to vote?  How many people vote “Strictly Republican” or “Strictly Democrat” without understanding WHAT they are voting for?  If you ask me, people who do this are expressing themselves as uniquely unqualified to vote.  They are sheep following the shepherd and expressing no free will, other than to be freely led by another person to serve that person’s needs or goals.

Why can people NOT SEE that our current path is taking us nowhere?  Many of the people that we are electing are not taking office for the purpose of helping this nation climb back up on top again, they are taking those offices for personal gain, to make something of THEMSELVES or to make money.

Someone I know made a comment, years ago, that still makes sense to me today, and I will paraphrase: “Why would someone spend millions of dollars for a job that only pays a few hundred thousand a year?” I understand that there is a certain amount required for advertising, but when does that amount become too much? Between the two main opponents they raised over 1 billion dollars for their respective campaigns. I cannot help but think of all the good that money could have gone, to help real issues. Instead we are giving them money to use to host dinners, buy ads on TV, News Papers, radio… etc. Essentially this is money that is being thrown away.

Politics disgusts me. There is no other way to put it. The people that win the elections are rarely in the race for the rest of us, lest it be for their own agenda. The people that do care and have the best ideas do not appear to get the support that they need and end up barely making a dent in the election and are later accused of taking votes away from the big two.

But you know… after all is said and done… there is only one group of people to blame. Us… the voters. I will say all of us, because it is not fair to try and break it up. I did try and do my part by leaving the Republican party and becoming an Independent, a choice that I have no regrets over. But the rest of us have become so complacent, so lazy, that we will not take a stand and send a message to the parties and change our affiliations. Not enough people stand up for a cause anymore.

Election Map – 2008

Your Ideas are Welcome!!!

Greetings all…

My Apologies for the recent lack of posts… I have been going through a recent phase of mind block and have had plenty to write about and little to say.

If you have ideas that you think I might be able to work with, you are more than welcome to send them to me.  If I use them, I will give you credit for the idea.

Thanks.

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