The SamuraiMarine

Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Category: Commentary and Critique (Page 2 of 3)

My rage at a father’s betrayal

Rarely will you see me write a piece out of anger, but there is something in the news that has kinda pushed me over the top.

If you have recently been watching, reading or listening to the news, then you may have heard something about the recent rash of deaths that have envolved a father killing their child or children.  I know that this is nothing new, and that fathers are not the only ones that are guilty of crimes like that that have happened through history.  There have been many cases where Mothers, children and various other members of the family have killed one another.

What drive a father to kill his children and family as in the case of the Ervin Lupoe, who ( allegedly ) came home after losing his job, killed his children and his wife.  Then there is the story of Miguel Ruiz, who beat his 6-month old baby and mortally wounded it, whilst the mother stood there and did nothing. What about Sharome Frazier, who shot his son then himself.  Lastly there is the, now famous, case of the man dressed as Santa who raided a party and killed six people.

If I had to say that there is anything that I would truly classify as a sin… the ultimate sin, it would be the mortal betrayal of your children in a matter that would leave them dead and many many others hurting from the loss.

I understand pain.  We all have experienced pain in some way or another.  Unfortunately, that is just part of life, being human and you have to learn to live with it.  Pain is a force that should teach us to try harder and keep trying.  Pain is not something that you use as a cheap excuse to go out and kill the ones that you, supposidly, love and cherish.

Many of these people, these cowards, commit suicide after they have completed their task.  Do they think that this is making something right?  That in some last minute moment of self imposed justice they are setting the scales right and balancing their errors?  No… they are taking the easy way out because they are too weak to face the facts of what they have done.

I would really like to know something, though.  If the final intent was for them to kill themselves the entire time, as I am sure is the case in some of these crimes; why kill all the other people?  Why not just take their own lives and let their family and children live on?

In closing, I do hope, for the sake of these idiots, that there is a hell…  because I would have to think that there is a special place in it for people who would do this to the ones that they profess to love.

If there are people out there reading this… people who are even entertaining the slightest thought about doing something along these lines and have somehow come across my site and are reading this.  Do the world a favor.  If you are thinking along these lines, get your ass to a doctor and have yourself commited.  But if you feel that you have gone beyond that, then leave your family alone and just wax yourself.  They might still want to live their lives, even if you do not.

What makes beauty?

What is beauty?  What does it mean to be beautiful? What do you consider beauty to be?

More or less I think that too many people attribute beauty to be solely that which is on the outside, beauty of the flesh not of the spirit or the mind, when in reality, regardless of how a person looks, THAT is where the TRUE beauty lies.

Media, today, does nothing to help the matter in that most of what you see on television, movies and magazines are designed, either by intention or happenstance, to shame people who do not appear a certain way, dress a certain way or otherwise fit a certain category.  This is, in turn leading to people hating themselves because they do not like the way they look.

Popular culture is brainwashing us into thinking we all need to look like people like Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Tyra Banks and George Clooney, when in reality there is nothing wrong with looking like who we were to begin with.

People as young as in their early teens and as old as their eighties are going in for surgeries to augment themselves, make themselves look younger, make themselves prettier.  Except in rare cases, there was nothing wrong with them to begin with and they looked just fine.  But because they did not look like a super model or a certain actor or actress, they do it any way.

To be fair and honest, yes… I considered cosmetic surgery for a while.  My reason was because of some discolorations I have under my eyes as a result of some malnutrition issues when I was very young.  But that is it.  I am not looking to liposuction my waist, tighten my butt, make my skin more taught… you see, that is what exercising and diet is all about.  It’s called NOT BEING LAZY.

One last thing I think people need to remember is this.  If you are not happy with the way you look, then all the surgery in the world is not going to correct the issues you may have.  If you were not happy being who you are before, what makes you think a little nip and tuck here and there is going to help you?  Doctors should offer FREE extensive counseling to anyone who comes in for cosmetic surgery, that does not have a need for it other than to look prettier.  Be they would never do that because of the potential lost revenue.

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Election Map – 2008

A brotherhood/sisterhood of car owners

Tell me… When did it become the norm for people to think that just because you drive the same car as they do, that there is some bond created between the two of you?

Trust me, I DO undstand it if, say, you own a collectable or unique car.  My wife has a 1993 Honda del Sol and we are on-again off-again members of a del Sol car club.  But see, that is different.  You have a car that is worth being happy with and there are few enough of them out there that make it special.  Several times we will be driving in her car and happen upon another del Sol driver who would wave at us.  There have even been a couple times that people have stopped and talked to us about the car and we are more than happy to share our time with them.

I think the first time I noticed that there are groups out there that seem to see a bond where none exists, is when I bought my first car.  It was a 1997 GMC Jimmy SUV, which is actually nothing more than a Chevy Blazer.  Anyone that has been around the block a time or two knows that you almost cannot walk a hundred feet without tripping over one of these things from some model year.  They are not that rare.  Yet, there is a car club for their owners.  I could not tell you how many people there are in it, but I am sure that there are quiet a few.  But the question is… WHY?  I can say, from personal experience with my own and from the points of view of others through conversations, that the Jimmy was a crappy vehicle.  Why form a club?  So that you know you can have a group of people to cry with you when you have to replace your radiator after the Dexcool seizes your cooling system?

Another one that makes me laugh is something I saw here in my town.  A Ford F150 owners club.  Alright, I would associate that as being about as relevant as a club called “Bathtub users of America”.  There are so many of those things on the road that again, I have to ask, what is the point?  They have a good record, yes.  They have a history, yes… but they are about as unique as humans having two feet. (no offense to any double amputees or paraplegics that might read this.)

The reason I am talking about this is because of my new car…  well… not actually a car, it is called a “Crossover” these days.  Not quite a car, not quite a truck, not quite a minivan…  you get the point.  It is a Chrysler Pacifica, as I have spoken about previously on this site.  Since getting this vehicle, I have started noticing more of them on the road.  I am pretty sure that they were always there, but the way the mind works, i was just not seeing them.

Now I have noticed that occasionally people see me driving in mine, and wave at me.  I do not know who they are, but they seem pretty happy about waving to me.  So I can only assume that they feel some bond to me for having bought a Pacifica, or maybe it is some mass delusional state that accompanies ownership of these crossovers that I have yet to succumb to, that causes involuntary wagging of the arm… who knows.

I like my Pacifica… I really do, but I do not consider them to be unique enough to warrant the “buddy effect” that seems to be surrounding me since I bought it.

Oh well… I am a gracious person… I will smile when people wave… like I always do.  But in my mind, I am hoping that you get back home before the Lithium wears off.

Just because it fits… Observations from a Gym.

Since there does not appear to be any guides stating that I cannot talk about this and my gym membership did not include a Confidentiality Agreement, at least not that I am aware of, I fee pretty “OK” talking about this subject.

I recently started going to a gym. I did this mostly due to the wake-up call I received a couple weeks ago and shared with you all in the piece I wrote called “A Place in my heart.” Last night was my first time going there, and I will have to admit that it was not all bad. There were some things that I saw that I really need to talk about… let’s call it therapy.

Warning: Some of the following may be considered crass, rude, hostile or even just plain mean hearted… but I mean it in the most constructive way possible. Read it and comment on it, but consider yourself warned.

Many years ago I belonged to a gym here in Bakersfield named Bakersfield Athletic Club. I went pretty regularly until they were bought out by a place called “24 Hour Fitness”. To me, this was like finding out that my local Temple (Jewish) was being run by Saint Frances’ Catholic school for children with spastic rectal disorder. In other words, not a good thing. 24 Hour Fitness could ruin half off happy hour at the Mustang Ranch.

I digress… the above was not what I came here to talk about. What I really wanted to talk about are the items that people wear to the gym and some of the things you see in a gym. Trust me, they are not all good and some of them would send Freddy Kruger back to the pits of hell looking for someone to hug him.

First of, let me tell you how I dress to work out. It is a matter of utility for me, I am not there to attract the women, expecially since I have been off the market for almost twenty years. So my attire is usually a pair of sweat shorts and a heavy sweat shirt. Yes, I wear this all the time that I am working out, even in the summer. The object of doing a good workout is to sweat, right? For the ladies reading, I will call it “Glowing”, but for me, it is sweating.

I am also not there to have a discussion, so you will not see me chatting with other people. I just go in, get on the machine that I want to use and sweat away.

The reason I talk about what people wear to the gym is because while I am not not on the market and I am not looking for a date, I am also not dead. I will notice the ladies if they are pleasing to look at. Which brings me to my first point.

Ladies… just because you fit into the size 6 unitard, when you are actually a size 12, does not mean you SHOULD put it on. There are many reasons that you should not wear it.  I know that there may be something that tells you that this looks sexy, but that is the same voice that keeps telling you that one more banana split will not make a difference. IGNORE THE VOICE.  I have NO problem with large women and I have no problem with them working out.  I do have a problem with seeing things that are better left to someone else’s imagination.  I will end that portion of the topic with two words, and leave the rest to your imagination…  Camel Toe.

To be fair, I am not slender.  I am 276 pounds and most of it is in my ass and stomach, but you will never see me in the gym in bicycle shorts or a tank top.  Heck, even if I had a great body and was built like Bruce Lee, you would not see me dressed like that.

Guys… I have two issues to pick on with the guys who go to the gym.  There seem to be three types of guys that go to the gym… people like me who are trying to get our bodies back in some shape other that pear or “bowling pin”, who go in at regular times and work our butts off… hopefully literally.

Then there are the guys that seem to mistake the gym for a pick-up joint.  They go in and try and pick up on the ladies to see who might be available.  You guys are the reason that many gyms have created a “Ladies Only”.  These are the idiots that come in, find a machine next to a lady and start working out on it for no other reason than to chat it up with a person that wants nothing to do with you.

Then there are the muscle types… they go in and work for hours on the free weights.  You can usually tell these ones, because they lose their sense of anything but themselves.  when they walk around they strut, if they happen to walk by a mirror then they watch themselves walk past.  That alone gives me the creeps, because the way they will sometimes look at themselves, you start to wonder if they are have some weird homoerotic fantasy about themselves.

Now… I know that anyone reading this may stop and ask me about the issues that I have… and I do have issues.  I lack a great deal of self-confidence, I am ashamed of how I look, especially when I thing that I was once a Marine and did have a good body.  I am paranoid that others are watching me work out and whispering under their breath about me.  There… I am not perfect.  That being said, I do get out there and do the best that I can.  I am not getting any younger.

Please do not be offended by anything I have written about in this post.  I am venting about things that I think are silly.  You will have your own opinion, I am sure, but I am sure that there are things you can all agree with in this.  We have all been to gyms and seen things like this.  This is no longer the late 70s or 80s… there are no more Kelly LaBrock’s or Olivia Newton John’s bouncing around in leotards and leg warmers, images that filled the fantasies of many a young man, myself included, in those times…  I cannot speak to what you ladies reading this looked at and fantasized about during that time .  Two decades of gluttony have caught up with us all.

Now we see the gyms filled with people more like the Michael Moore’s and Rosanne Arnold’s trying to do the same moves, and it is scary.

Good Night, all… with all I have written I hope that you have no nightmares.

Allergies and this valley…

In this post, I am venting… well, I would like to vent if I could breath.

Anyone who has lived in the San Joaquin valley knows that our air is, for lack of anything better to describe it, CRAP. I can honestly say that I mean that in both the figurative AND literal sense.

This valley seems to be the catchall for the smog, humidity and cow odors from the surrounding towns and cities. There was even a survey done a few years ago that determined that we were getting smog from as far away and San Francisco.

It was not always this way. Even in my comparitively short life, I can recall when the valley had a lot cleaner air than it has today.  I can recall seeing the mountains that ring this valley more often than not.  Now a days, you are lucky to see them at all during the course of the average week.

More and more you hear about kids developing Asthma or other respiratory problems and many times it can probably be traced back to the air itself, in this valley.  One example I love to give is my Mother.  Back in 1995, right before she left this valley, and California, for Alaska, she had just been diagnosed with the beginnings of Emphysema.  While my Mother does smoke, the doctor advised her that that was only part of the problem, the other part was the air in the valley.

Sure enough, after living in Alaska for some time, the doctor up there said that the emphysema had reversed itself.  She still smokes, I doubt that she will ever stop that, but the clean air up there was the key to helping her get through the problem.

I would like to see the pollution go away, but I really see no way that will ever happen.  It is more or less a case of just getting out of the valley for now.

So for now I will continue to sniffle and sneeze, then, one day, get the hell out of here to higher and cleaner climes.

Who are we becoming?

Recently there was an event in Hartford, Conn. that has me worried.

This is the news piece, please follow the link for the story.

A man is hit by a car while they are, by the sounds of it, playing a game of cat and mouse. Chasing each other through busy streets.

The fact that he was hit at all was bad enough, but what makes it worse is that while the man lay in the street, people just watched. No one lifted a finger to help, short of calling 911 to get emergency crews out. It was very likely that another car could have come along and hit this fellow. The video and the stills clearly show that people did see this man, and while taking the time to gawk, took no measures to stop traffic or make sure that nothing further happened to him.

Right here I would like to step out of the calm way I usually talk and just ask, what the HELL kind of society are we becoming? Is it more important for us to take pleasure in someone else’s agony than to lend a hand, or at the very least stop further injury or suffering? Even if someone had gone so far as to pull their car out into traffic to protect this guy, or as simple as kneeling next to him, holding his hand and telling him that help was on the way.

Now… of all those people on the side of the street, I wonder how many pulled out there camera phones and took pictures of this man laying there. How many of those same people stood there wondering if someone else was going to do something, or said to themselves that someone else would take care of this.

THAT is the problem. We have become a society that is waiting for others to do something, and not taking action ourselves. You will probably argue with me on this, but when you look at the stills and the video, how many people are standing there watching, and not doing a damned thing to help the man? How many people do you see go out and see if there is anything they can do?

Everything is an episode of Survivor or Real World to people these days. People are too busy watching and enjoying the pain and suffering of others to get involved in something as meaningless as, oh, I don’t know… SAVING A LIFE! They see it happen, think, “Man, I am glad that was not me!” then go home and sit in their chair and watch the news of the event, then see the person there. They might go so far as to say to someone, “Yeah, I saw that happen.”

There was a time when more people used to give a damn. When you saw something happen, and sprang into gear and tried to help. I know of one person, personally, that did this. He lived in central Utah, and was there when a child was hit backed over by a van. He did all he could, but was not able to save the child. THAT is the type of people that we should all be. Willing to help when the time calls for it. He may not have been able to save that child, but I have to think that there are two things that happened… First, he took a chance to save a life, and he did his best. Second, maybe somewhere in the little consciousness that ebbed from the child, she knew that there was someone there trying.

That man, Arce Torres, laid in that street and waited. He may or may not have known that there were people around him, treating him like the latest side show, or an errant cat that was hit by a passing car. He may or may not have felt that no one there cared enough to try and help him. But if there had been even ONE person that had been a stand up guy, like the one I spoke about with the child and the van, then Arce would have known someone was there who cared about him and wanted to see him safe.

It angers me that so many people out there no longer care about strangers the way we once did. That we have to fear getting involved in something just because we do not want to become inconvenienced by what might happen if you help a person in need.

If any of the people that stood there and watched this happen, and did nothing to help, happen upon my site, and read this. I do hope that I am wrong, and there is a hell… because there is a special place in it for you, I am sure. You should all just hope that if something like that happens to you, that the people who show up are kinder than you were.

That is all… At least all I have the stomach for at this time.

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.

The California Cell Phone Law (VC 23123)

In July 2008, California will roll out VC 23123. This is a law that will make it illegal to use a cell phone without a hands free kit, while driving.

Now… First off I would like to say GREAT!!! I am happy that they did this.

Personally I have no problem with this law, I think it is fine. If there is one thing that gets my ire up the most, it is driving behind, or anywhere near, someone who has mistaken their car or truck as a mobile phone booth. Trust me, I always seem to find the ones that feel that talking on the phone means that they need to drive stupid, slow or both.

I cannot tell you how many times I have almost been hit by some idiot with a cell phone planted in the side of their heads. To top it off, they get mad at you, when they almost hit you or if you honk at them.

My thoughts on this, though, is do we really think that this is going to change anything? I mean, there have been “Distracted Driver” laws on the books for some time now, and even local ordinances against cell phone use without a hands free device, for some time as well. But how often to you really ever hear of a person getting pulled over or ticketed for using their phone? I am not saying that it does not happen, I am just saying that I think it is the exception more than the rule.

Then the other question that I think of is directed towards the police themselves. Granted, no one, including cops, are busy all the time. I am sure that there are down times in their days. But how likely are police to really, seriously go after a person using a cell phone? Maybe if they are driving, and see a person that is going the same direction as they are, and they notice that they are on the phone, then maybe. But as far as going out of their way to go after people, or respond to calls reporting a person violating the law… I am not so sure.

The only way that I see that this law will have a bing impact, is in the fact that if there IS an accident that is as the direct result of a person using a cell phone without a headset or speakerphone, then the insurance companies and the authorities will then have more ammo to use against the driver of the vehicle.

I am not really that concerned with how the law will affect me or my wife directly. I will only answer my cell phone, if it rings while driving, if I have my headset on or my speakerphone kit turned on. Otherwise, if the call is important, they will leave a message. If they do not, then I guess it was not that important to begin with.

One item in this law that I do like, a lot, is the rule banning people under the age of 18 from using a phone AT ALL while driving a vehicle. Not even with a headset or a speakerphone. But once again, the idea that cops are really going to go out of their way to pursue these people, unless there is some other infraction being committed, is a little hard to ponder.

Belching in public

Alright… I am open minded.  I can tolerate quite a bit, even if I find it repulsive.

That being said, when did it start becoming the norm for people to belch or fart in public and it be connsidered something to laugh at, encourage or otherwise support?

My wife and I where at California Pizza Kitchen a few days ago, when some people a few seats from us all laughed because there kid belched.  I could excuse this if the kid was, oh, say… five years old.  Even then I would expect the parents to explain that this was not proper behavior.  But the kid in question was obviously between thirteen and fifteen years old, and appeared to be mentally capable (i.e. not mentally challenged.)

This was not the first time I have seen this happen.  In fact there are a couple of my friends who have done similar… luckily they, at least, waited until they were outside the restaurant before doing this, but I still see this as being extremely rude.

To be fair, I am referring to the loud, intentional belches that one releases for the sake of releasing them.  I am not talking about the little ones that you cannot always control, and you release them making every effort to keep them quiet and suppressed.  Those are excusable, and should still be followed up by a polite, “Pardon me.” or “Excuse me.”  The fact is that your body still needs to function, and part of that is the production of gases that need to be expelled.  But you have a pretty good idea of how much force is coming up before you releaser it, so rarely should you be surprised by one.

So… do I belch?  Of course…  When I am sitting at home, and need arises… I do let a couple noisy ones go.  But then again, it is me, my wife, the dogs and the cats.  There have been a couple that I would proudly say are award winners.  But I still excuse myself when I do it!  If we have guest over, I will not do this.

Now that I have put all this out… I have had a few accidental ones slip out and I can tell you that they are rather embarrassing.  They usually come out in the middle of a conversation with someone, too.  Not something that pleases me, or the person I am talking to.  But I hope that my profuse apologies and reddened face can attest to the fact that it was entirely unintentional.

A story comes to mind about a guy I used to work with.  He was at a job interview where part of the interview was to display how he could save the company money.  About half way through the powerpoint presentation, in front of about six people, he leaned over to adjust the focus on the projector, when he let out a fart.  As he tells the story, it was not a quiet one… it was a “ripper”.  Add to that that it was a small room, and this one reeked.  He told me that he cleared the room in a heartbeat.  The good news was that he did get the job.  However he would never tell me the nickname they gave him… I can only imagine.

Maybe I am being too prudish about things like this.  But we really need to get back into the habit of telling our kids when something is just not cute or funny.  The kid I mentioned in the start of this piece… if he had done that at home, with just his family… I am sure it would have been hysterical to them all.  But in a restaurant or in a public place?  I think not.

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