Thots and observations about our culture

Fun at the Oklahoma State Fair • Pizza on a Stick!

I don't quite get all the flack against Walmart. Some say they pay low wages, have poor health coverage, and hurt communities where they open up a new store. When I was a kid, we had these same conversations about shopping malls - they were killing downtown shopping. And they did. But we liked the convenience, ease of free parking, and selection of stores and activities. Malls became the new 'Main Streets'. We flocked to the malls just as we now flock to Walmart. Here are some statistics from George Will of the Washington Post:
• 325 jobs available at a new Walmart in a suburb of Chicago - 25,000 people applied, 25,000 people who felt they would be better off with the alleged low wages and poor health coverage.
• Walmart accounted for 13% of the nation's productivity gains - makes Walmart about as important as the Federal Reserve in holding down inflation.
• Walmart causes the loss of about 50 retail jobs among competitors - but Walmart creates 100 new jobs (net gain of 50 new jobs).
• Walmart saves shoppers over $200 billion a year - more than food stamps ($29 billion).
• Walmart saves grocery buyers 17% (Walmart has 20% of the USA's grocery business).

Got into a discussion with Beau (who lived in Australia) and Julie (who lived in London) about Aussie rules football, soccer, and American football. Calling soccer, a sport where the hands can't touch the ball, football makes a lot of sense - its mostly about running and kicking. American football is not really about the feet - its passing, running, and some kicking; but the ball is mostly touched by hands. Should we call it Handball? No, that's already the name of a game that uses hands extensively. How about Runball or Passball. That makes sense. Okay, from now on, I'll call it Runball. Or Passball. Or Touchdownball. Just not Football.

There is a subtle move that people (mainly males) do in New York City - I call it the Pocket Pat. Its to check, when leaving one's apartment, to make sure one has keys and phone in the pockets before the apartment door locks behind you. Its a quick movement to check for the bulges - simple pats on the pockets.

Basically, I am a pacifist. I prefer not to kill. I'll even catch bugs and release them outside rather than squash them. I am opposed to the death penalty and to aborting fetuses. But, as much as I strive to love all creatures, I absolutely hate mosquitoes, yes - hate, detest, abhor. They are miserable little creatures. I enjoy killing them. I can't find any positive value to the planet from these damn things. I do not understand why Noah did not swat that one pair of mosquitoes when he had the chance and save all the rest of us from the misery of bites and malaria. Damn you, Noah.

Concerning the issue of underage drinking - the problem is not one of underage drinking. If we state that it is, then we will likely fail. Alcohol doesn't force itself on us - we make conscious decisions to drink it. People not of legal drinking age will chose to drink - its a part of the rite of passage in American culture, whether we like it or not. The problem is drinking too much - more than the body can safely metabolize, often brought on by binge drinking. If we recognize that, then we might be able to address the problem and make things better, with the goal to help develop drinkers who are willing and capable of making intelligent and responsible decisions. We have learned (hopefully) that prohibiting something is simply not effective. Prohibition seems to increase desire, as it did in the early 1930s. Prohibiting the American teenager (no matter the age) from drinking is not working, nor will it ever work.
Some recommendations to consider:
    1. Continue to educate young people through schools, churches (just declaring drinking alcohol a sin won't do it), and, especially, in the home. Provide materials and incentives for educators/parents to discuss the harmful effects of alcohol. We may then minimize ignorance - to help one make a more intelligent decision concerning their physical and mental health, the burden on society and the judicial system, the dangers of drunk driving, relationships, embarrassing behavior, and one's own dignity.
    2. Change the legislation that requires 3.2 beer in Oklahoma. 3.2 often encourages young people to drink more in order to feel a 'buzz'. So, the 3.2 legislation helps develop habits of overdrinking - probably the opposite of what it was intended to do.
    3. Remove inducements for binge drinking, such as Nickel beer night, Bottomless cup, Ladies drink free, Happy Hour drink specials, Half-price drinks, etc. These all encourage people to drink too much and/or to binge drink. Bar and restaurant owners should impose this on their own. If not, legislation may be necessary.

Snowwoman and excited snowman in the park down the street, Edmond, Oklahoma

Fun trivia from the Internet
• No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple (other than, of course, bunth, flornge, pilver, and slurple).
• 'Dreamt' is the only English word that ends in the letters 'mt'.
• There are only four words in the English language which end in 'dous': tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous (I can also add baldous and gregaldous to that list).
• The shortest common word that contains all 5 vowels: sequoia. The 2 words in the English language with all 5 vowels in order: abstemious and facetious. All 5 vowels plus Y: facetiously.
• A 'jiffy' is an actual unit of time - 1/100th of a second.
• Almonds are a member of the peach family.
• If the population of China walked past you, 8 abreast, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction.

Just talked to a friend who mentioned he was going to church on Sunday morning, but, instead of calling it church, he referred to it as 'Celebration of Mythology'. What an appropriate phrase.

I am confused by the name, Little Bo Peep. Did Mr. & Mrs. Peep name their tiny daughter 'Bo' or did they name her 'Little Bo'? Is Bo even a good name for a girl? The Peeps? See, this kind of stuff baffles me. Here it is 2:30 in the morning and I'm awake and confused by this name (and why would anyone name someone Humpty Dumpty). I checked online to find out how to contact the Peeps (I thought I would just ask them why they chose that name) but could only find businesses named Peeps. One was an insurance agency and the other was a restaurant in Florida - Le Peep.

So I was walking somewhere in New York and saw a slogan or title that said - 'Power Up'. It occurred to me that Power Up backwards spells Pure Wop. Now, I'm not real sure what Pure Wop is (or even wop that isn't pure) but there must be some cosmic connection there. Power Up to Pure Wop. Maybe like 'give someone a wop upside the head'. And a powerful wop, at that. Just something to think about.
I also wonder if, somewhere in the universe, there is a woman named Pam Yawbus. Google found no such name. But Pam Yawbus is Subway Map backwards. That just can't be a coincidence. I suspect it is some sort of code used by transit workers (or the Yawbus family while in New York). There is likely some deeper meaning that is just not obvious to us mere mortals. More shit to think about.

When I drive to and from Edmond OK and Manhattan NY, I pass numerous Interstate highway interchanges that are full of services for motorists - fuel, food, stores, repairs, motels, amusements, etc. Some of these interchanges are small communities that rely on the traffic stopping for their survival. They are a unique part of the American landscape - created and maintained for the convenience and pleasure of mobile Americans - tourists, business people, and truckers. We need a name for these places. Travel Plaza, Services, Service Center. How about 'Stopping Center'. From Shopping Center but expressing the unique attribute - we stop at these places to interrupt our journey for a few minutes or overnight to take care of our needs and wants.

According to recent research studies - wearing a seat belt allows drivers to feel more secure and confident and, therefore, take more risks and drive more dangerously. Wearing a bicycle helmet allows automobile drivers to feel the cyclist is more experienced and more in control of their bike and, therefore, can be approached with less caution, resulting in more danger for the cyclist.

Some names that were originally trademarked but lost their legal trademark status: aspirin, cellophane, dry ice, escalator, heroin, kerosene, linoleum, nylon, raisin bran, shredded wheat, trampoline, zipper.

Okay, I'm confused - how should we drive when we're not in the Traffic Safety Zone? With unsafe driving skills? Shouldn't we be encouraged to always drive with safe driving skills?

- I'm still digesting this one - a combo new word for More Info. On websites, linking to another site for more information is quite common. Usually written just as More Info, it is becoming a single entity - visually and orally. So, maybe a shorter word - morinfo was the first suggestion, but then, mornfo based on the pronounced phrase, like 'seeya' for 'see you' and 'sup' for 'What is up'.

Letter from Glen Tibbits, in The Oklahoman:
A few men who go to Thunder (the OKC NBA team) games feel it necessary to use curse words during the game, in restrooms, and when leaving after a disappointing loss. For men to be talking like this speaks of a heart that's hurting; the overflow of darkness in the heart comes out of the mouth. Wouldn't you rather have blessings and joy coming out of your mouth instead? I pray that these men ask God to clean their hearts and restore them to the men that they should be.
Let me see if I understand Glen's concern: he chooses to attend a sporting event with these characteristics - testosterone-pumped men are rooting for professional basketball, there is a bevy of provocatively-dressed Thunder girls on the court, beer is consumed at the arena, and the men are cheering a losing team. Sorry, Glen, but that's simply an ideal recipe for men to cuss.
Greg states that they should be restored "to the men that they should be"? According to whom? Why does Glen feel he is qualified to dictate how others should behave?

To call somebody ignorant is not an insult. All of us are ignorant of most of what there is to know. If, for example, someone does not believe in evolution, that person is one of these: ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked. To refer to that person as ignorant is to pay him/her a compliment - one is assuming that he/she is not stupid, insane, or wicked. However, a 2004 newsweek poll shows that 48% of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form in the past 10,000 years. Are those people ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked?

Gist of a letter I sent to
RE: the USAirways emergency landing in the Hudson River
Some reasons why the broadcast media has lost credibility:
1. The waters were not "icy" nor "freezing" if the water temp was 40 degrees. We would not tolerate a weather forecaster being so inaccurate, why do we tolerate it from news reporters? The water could be frigid, cold, or something similar, but not icy or freezing.
2. Calling the landing a "miracle" is an insult to the training, expertise, and intelligence of the flight crew. The safe landing and low injury count is due to humans acting appropriately, not to divine intervention (if it were divine intervention or a 'miracle', then we will have a tough time explaining the planes that do crash and kill people).
3. Was it really a "crash"? There was no wreckage and no damage (other than what the birds caused - the birds crashed, not the plane). Wasn't it just an emergency landing or a water landing? I realize that doesn't make for sensational copy on-air, but it does seem more accurate.

I stood and pondered the message on this billboard. The only clue I can find to help me answer the question posed is that the sponsor seems to be the Special Olympics. I assume, then, that the 'R-Word' is 'Retarded'. This billboard asks the reader to wonder and figure it out - thereby making the word even more dominant and memorable. The result backfires - instead of encouraging the reader to erase a word, it is reinforcing the word and making it a part of our vernacular. There are also too many image messages - the eraser competes for attention with the prohibited symbol over the R - which is the dominant message? Is the content asking us to erase the word or prohibit it? Do we really need two messages? A reader typically doesn't have much time to read the message on an outdoor billboard. Is the message conveyed here that the 'R' is prohibited, but the word 'retarded' is okay? Should we replace retarded with the R-Word? Doesn't that seem a bit retarded? There sure is a lot of bad design around. Weak concepts. Weak messages. Weak communication of content   Photographed on The Drag in Austin

Egossism - Egotism + narcissism. Remember when media pundits labeled the 1980s as the 'Me Decade'? It was due to our putting individual needs and desires first. But the 80s have nothing on '08. I notice so many people who are true narcissists - they are driven primarily by their own egos.
    Definition: nar·cis·sism [nahr-suh-siz-em]
    1. inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity -
        being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development.
    Synonyms 1. self-centeredness, smugness, egocentrism.
It seems that many narcissists are hiding deeper insecurities and fears - the 'me first' is quite likely just a cover so underlying deficiencies can be masked. Maybe this is just an appropriate and expected result of this era of fear-mongering from the government and the media. This commitment to self may help explain why so few people are involved or seem to care about the consequences of The Worst President Ever, climate change, and other social issues. I wonder if facebook, myspace, blogs, and chats have an influence on this - much of this digital socializing encourages self-centeredness - 'tell what you are doing', etc. The illustration above, by Ron Barrett in The New York Times, is so right-on. It portrays the extent of the universe in the minds of many people. It accompanied an article discussing this trend among us.

Homecoming at Oklahoma State University. LEFT: Walkaround on Friday evening. University Avenue was closed to traffic and it filled up with hundreds of people, food booths, vendors, photos of Pistol Pete at Theta Pond, and more - it was like the state fair or a carnival without rides. The highlight is viewing the elaborate animated and pomped house decorations at 12 fraternity houses. Earlier in the week, I helped judge the sign competition on the Library Lawn and the same theme was carried out on the HouseDecs.
RIGHT: At the front deck of a pita shop on the Washington Strip, I stopped off to get a beer. I got to chatting and joking around with the guy selling the beer. When he needed to go get more beer to put in the tub, he left me in charge of selling beer. Cool, I can do that. What I wasn't prepared for was the line of people that would periodically form. I would reach in the tub of ice to get their beer, check IDs when necessary, open it with the opener, take their money, and make change. I just stuffed wads of bills in my pocket. When he got back, he counted up the money I had in my pocket - it was about $130. It was a lot of fun.

1. I don't understand the phrase, 'get a kick out of this'. Why would anyone want to be kicked? Why do we say that in reference to something good - like getting kicked is good.
2. In Manhattan, I take the two dogs to a nearby dog park. Once, while they romped with their pals, I realized that 'dog park' backwards spells 'krap god'. I'm not real sure what the cosmic connection is between these phrases. Holy shit? Supreme turd? I just don't know. Maybe it will come to me one day in the dog park.
3. Emily coined a neword in an email about my leaving New York City for Oklahoma - she referred to the home state as Oklahome. Nice.
4. Have you heard the phrase, "As much fun as a barrel of monkeys"? Help me on this one. Who has ever played with monkeys in a barrel? Wouldn't monkeys in a barrel be pissed off and desperate to get out? Is that fun? Doesn't it make more sense to say, "As much fun as monkeys at an amusement park." or "As much fun as a barrel of whiskey."
5. Since a teacher teaches, an actor acts, and a baker bakes, does a carpenter carpent?
6. Have you ever heard someone say, "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse" ? Yuck - what's that about? Horse meat, hooves, horse head? I don't get it. Why don't they just say, "I'm so hungry I could eat a big steak (or Caesar salad or a large pizza)", anything but a horse.

I found a new way to waste less. For years, I was getting a cup every time I ordered coffee at Starbucks. I requested 'no lid' since I didn't need one and it was just a waste. Then I bought a reusable plastic Starbucks cup that I took in with me and reused. In April, 2008, I was given a great gift of a ceramic cup that is all white and looks like a paper coffee cup. So, I started using that one at Starbucks. Then I realized, why not take it into every restaurant? Why get a new cup or glass every time I eat out (which is a lot). I keep the cup in my car and rinse it out at the restaurant before putting it back into the car. This eco-friendly ceramic 'I am not a paper cup' was designed by James Burgess and is a double-walled thermal porcelain cup with a silicone top. I used to get 12-15 cups per week. Now with this reusable ceramic cup, I am saving the materials, manufacturing, shipping, storage, disposal, and landfill of about 700 cups per year. April 22 (Earth Day - a nice coincidence)

This foto just baffles me. A parking area for wheelchairs? Providing a safe haven for them is considerate but how do the users move from here - do they hobble?

My driver's license expired on December 31, 2007. Flying back to OKC from NYC on January 2nd, I was marked for special security screening - the whole package - double pass and hand search of my stuff, thorough pat down. So, I asked the pat-down guy, "Wouldn't a terrorist make sure they didn't have an expired license or anything to draw extra security screening? In fact, doesn't my stupidity about letting a license expire put me in a category of 'Least threatening'?" That made too much sense, so he just gave me a sheepish 'I dunno' smile. Security measures at airports have been and are absurd and completely unproductive.

I had gone out to eat with a group of nice people. Apparently, each of us had been trained to not take the last piece of food. Shown is our plate of cheese and fruit appetizers with one small bite of each item left on the plate. Jill then cut each of these pieces in half, so there would be no more 'last pieces'. So, we each could eat another bit of appetizer (we even took turns going around the table).

Michael Jackson Memorial at the Apollo Theater. The media trucks continued around the corner and up the next block. The line of people continued the other direction, also around the corner and up a couple of blocks. 125th Street was closed to all traffic but buses and emergency vehicles. The photo below on the right is from the newspaper.

1967: Joe Jackson drove his sons from Indiana to the Apollo Theater so they could perform during amateur night at the famous Apollo in Harlem. They had very little money. He wasn't even sure where they would spend the night. The youngest of the Jackson 5 was Michael, 9 years old. They performed and won. The Apollo wanted them to come back but the Jacksons couldn't afford it. Soon after, Diana Ross saw them perform and she introduced them to the rest of us. The Tuesday after Michael died on Thursday, the Apollo Theater held an open house memorial from 2pm - 8pm. It was part respectful memorial, part party and celebration, and part shopping mall. I went to participate in the event. Michael Jackson's music formed much of the background soundtrack for me in the 1980s. Larry Lewis, one of my high school students, treated me to a ticket to the Victory Tour concert at Texas Stadium in 1984. It was a phenomenal concert. MJ can wow a crowd. Even in death.
Some facts:
1. MJ was acquitted - found innocent - of all charges in one of the 2 child molestation charges.
2. The other case was settled out of court to avoid negative publicity.
3. The mother of 2 of his kids, his family, and friends have all emphatically stated that Michael is not a pedophile.
There is no evidence that he molested anyone. There is much precedent, however, that some adults will exploit celebrity millionaires to get money.
4. He did not 'dangle' his baby off that balcony. He had a firm grip around the child. Dangle is the term the media used to sensationalize the event and millions of gullible viewers bought it, without thinking that it was the wrong term. I wonder how the media would report it when dads toss their kids, "Father abandons child in air" or "Dad lets go of child in mid-air."
Michael Jackson had an unusual childhood, a domineering father, success as a star at the age of 9, etc. Of course, he's going to be eccentric. But what talent. An incredible entertainer. And a great humanitarian.

This is a foto of St. Mergerie, sitting reverently on my dashboard. She is the Patron Saint of Freeway On-ramps. I pray to her each time I am entering a freeway and about to merge into the traffic (while driving a car). She clears a path and provides great peace of mind for me. When I first saw this statuette at a dollar store in Dallas, I assumed it was entitled, 'Do these painted flowers make my face look fat?' I soon learned her true calling. I keep this delicately painted icon right on the dash, as a reminder to have faith in her power. Hail St. Mergerie.

Great idea: wireless pizza. There are machines that can digitize photos and documents. Now we need a machine, about the size of a toaster oven with a USB or FireWire connection, that can digitize a pizza. The digitized info can then be transmitted wirelessly to another machine where the pizza is translated back to analog from digital. These machines could even be installed in cars. I am now looking for investors to fund this new Wi-Fi-Pi venture. Please contact me ASAP so we can get started. Thanks.

A current buzzword among celebrities is "I want to give back."
What did they take? I am concerned because using this phrase is a symptom that one is not a thinker, but a follower. They use the phrase just because its a trendy buzzword right now that sounds impressive and altruistic. But, for those who give to their community and are thinkers, the phrase doesn't make sense.
A good person doesn't give 'back', one simply gives of him or herself. That's impressive enough.

One night recently, Jim had a chip on his shoulder. I hate it when this happens. Just spite and anger. But I flicked it off, dipped it in salsa and ate it - then, everything was okay.

When i was Chair of the Department of Design, one of the tasks i enjoyed the least was having to write Strategic Plans (redundant words to begin with - a strategy and a plan are the same thing). We spent a disproportionate amount of time preparing reports for an administration that didn't know nor care what we really did. The university bureaucracy would have us write reports and fill out forms that had little-to-no value. Once, i had to call a meeting with the Design faculty and the admin to present the SSCI report - a huge paper that discusses our procedures for planning. The VP asked me to detail the ways in which i involved the faculty in the preparation of the report. I told him that i didn't involve the faculty at all - i saw nothing in the SSCI that would help faculty do a better job in the classroom and i wouldn't be so inconsiderate as to ask them to help with a useless report (no one in Admin read the entire thing or used it to improve teaching at the university). The poster above is from the Baltimore Print Studios of a quote from Herb Kelleher, the guiding force behind Southwest Airlines, a lean company that makes profits while other airlines lose money. Herb is a doer.

Saw this man looking for aluminum cans on Wall Street in front of Federal Hall and the NY Stock Exchange. He may be an immigrant from China. Compare him to the photo of the ancient Chinese farmer. Sometimes, the old world ways still suffice.

Just too many receipts - even when arranged neatly in symmetrical rows. What a waste of paper. The store/restaurant needs a copy and the consumer needs a copy. Shouldn't that be enough? Doesn't the technology allow the number of receipts to be reduced? The Apple store emails a receipt or asks if you want a printed one from the store at time of purchase. That reduces the number to zero or one. Much better.

We often say, I have to go to work or I gotta go to work. This attitude of 'have to' can be a bit demoralizing. Like its an awful ordeal. One's entire outlook can change with a simple change of attitude about work. Given the option of not working, going to work is usually preferable. We like the benefits that work provides - a sense of satisfaction, service, and productivity and, often, a sense of self-worth. We also love the benefit of a paycheck. We love the money to pay bills and buy stuff that we want. So, maybe the a healthier attitude would be I want to go to work.
American English intrigues me - it is still evolving and adapting to cultural needs. I read the phrase I got to go to work on Facebook and wondered if it could still be read if it was translated into phonetic and slang: gada goda wirk. The unscientific survey confirmed that it could.

A thoughtful idea: sanitizer outside the restroom. So one can sanitize hands after leaving the restroom, touching the door knob, and closing the door.

Left: Another in the series Graphs of the human condition. Right: The formula for Hate. Fear is the catalyst and the flame stirs up the ignorance that is contained until it boils over.

Easter morning:

Robert Peraza, 68, had been selected as a reader at the 10th anniversary ceremony, but before the 9/11 Memorial opened to family members, Peraza took a moment to walk near the North Pool around 9:45a. It was there that he found his son's name: Robert David Peraza, who had been working on the 104th floor of the North Tower, just above the gaping hole left in the building by the impact of American Airlines flight 11. Justin Lane, a press pool photographer, took Peraza's picture and it soon appeared around the world.

David emailed me with a great idea: a hurricane name that provides more information. Naming devastating storms after people does provide a reference, but there are 2 problems:
1. The name does not provide any information about the storm - like when it is, what ocean, etc.
2. It associates a negative connotation to a name. I suspect that, a few years ago, not many baby girls were named Katrina.
We don't name terrorist attacks after people - we use 9/11 for September 11, 2001 and the English use 7/7 for the terrorist subway bombings. In Oklahoma, we still refer to the May 3 tornadoes - we refer to them by their date, not someone's name.
David's suggestion is to use a letter prefix to denote the number of the storm in a year, followed by the year. So the 3rd storm of 2009 would be named C-09.

I wonder if we can go a step further and add a code for the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. Maybe just A, P, or I? And even add the month to the year. The date may not work since a hurricane can last several days and strike different locations on different days.

Example: P3-8-11 would be the 3rd storm in the Pacific, occurring in August of 2011.
Downside: tough for the weather reader to say on air - maybe a storm has both - an on-air name (Irene) and a letter/number denoter (A2-8-11). In print, the storm could be denoted by both for clarification.
This doesn't address the issue of potentially tainting names with a negative association. They could assign obscure names such as these that have previously been assigned: Hazel, Beulah, Caesar, Hortense, and Ophelia.
But, improving the system for naming hurricanes is certainly an idea worth considering. Thanks, David.

Background, from the FEMA website
For hundreds of years, hurricanes in the West Indies were named after the particular saint's day on which the hurricane occurred. An Australian meteorologist began giving women's names to tropical storms before the end of the 19th century. In 1953, the US National Weather Service, which is the federal agency that tracks hurricanes and issues warnings and watches, began using female names for storms. In 1979, both women and men's names were used. One name for each letter of the alphabet is selected, except for Q, U and Z. For Atlantic Ocean hurricanes, the names may be French, Spanish or English, since these are the major languages bordering the Atlantic Ocean where the storms occur. The World Meteorological Organization uses six lists in rotation. The same lists are reused every six years. The only time a new name is added is if a hurricane is very deadly or costly; then the name is retired and a new name is chosen.

Assessment of the names of network morning shows:
The Early Show
Early is not typically associated with something positive: early to a party, early to work, early in the morning. "Dang, Its awfully early." "Why are you up so early? And why are you dressed like that?"
The Today Show
A bit better, at least its neutral. One can't deny the fact that it is today.
Good Morning America
This is the strongest - positive, cordial, and patriotic.
Appropriately, the program with the negative name is in third place in the ratings.

   Wisdom from the Dalai Lama

Okay, we have embraced Facebook and welcomed it into our lives - it has become a major influence and powerful manipulator of public opinion. We already give awards for many entities in our culture - it seems time to initiate the same for Facebook.
Name: Facebook Status Update Awards
Nickname: The Zuckers
Purpose: To recognize and reward those who embrace the medium of status updates
     • Get a Life - Updates that are too mundane, pithy, and trivial
     • What about me? - Too self-centered
     • Who gives a shit - Useless observations and opinions
     • Get your finger off the key - Overuse of !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and other punctuation marks
     • Its just not that funny - Inappropriate use of LOL
     • Too much pussy - Too many silly kitten/cat videos
     • WTF? - Unbelievable, just doesn't make sense
     • Winklevoss - Swiping an update and claiming it as your own
     • Stop yelling at me - INAPPROPRIATE USE OF CAPS
     • Wish I'd thought of that - Truly thoughtful witty and clever
     • Big Bang - Novel, unique, never read before
     • LOL-S - Actually laughed out loud - seriously!
     • Family time - Sweet and sincere
     • Shakespeare- Well composed and well written

Please do not drive 45 miles an hour down a freeway on-ramp when the freeway traffic is going 70 miles an hour. Those on-ramps are designed to give the driver time and distance to get up to freeway speed to merge with the flow of traffic with minimal disruption.

There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.
You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.
You built a factory and it turned into something terrific. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is that you take a hunk of that and pay it forward for the next kid who comes along.
By Elizabeth Warren, From Adbusters magazine

This table appeared to be the scene where two people ate lunch. There were 24 napkins on the table - 21 unused napkins in a pile and 3 used ones on the table. The restraunt, by health code, probly cannot reuse the pile of napkins - they must be discarded. Three napkins for 2 people seems about right, but 24? 12 each?

Was wandering around the University of North Texas and came upon this sculptural column. I assumed that it was for skateboards - that made the most sense on a college campus next to a bike rack. Sho nuf. Researching it later, I found these images for the product:

Farther down the bike rack was this bike repair station. I had seen these before at Oklahoma State and other campuses. A cool idea - to provide tools and a support bar for making repairs.

Jim's speeding ticket

The drive home from Colorado took me down I-25 to Raton, New Mexico and then southeast towards Amarillo, Texas, where I would spend the night. Just before getting to the Great State of Texas (that's the way we were taught to write that), I went through Clayton, New Mexico. I had already passed the Capulin Volcano and other small towns where the speed limit dropped from 70 to 30 or 40. I suspect some of those are intended as speed traps to get unsuspecting drive-thrus to pay a 'donation' to the city. Well, it seems to work. I am very alert when I drive. I avoid driving out of habit - I don't always use a turn signal (only when there is someone I need to communicate with). But, as alert as I was, this officer was better - he was well-hidden. By the time I noticed him behind the trees, it was too late. I pulled over immediately. I was already on the outskirts of town. The speed limit lowered in town, but then returned to 50 and then 70 at the edge of town.

A ticket for speeding is just no big deal. Really.
• Sometimes, I choose to speed. It is entirely my decision. I accept the consequences for my actions. I am willing to pay the ticket in exchange for my decision to drive higher than the posted limit.
• I am very alert when I drive. But, sometimes, I miss spotting a police car. They sometimes play the game better than I do. Congratulations to them.
• The issuing officer is doing exactly what we ask him to do, exactly what we pay him to do. He is doing his job - and doing it well.
• Since the officer was doing a good job, I am very courteous and polite to him/her. That usually pays off in reduced fines - in the Clayton case above, he clocked me going 54 in a 40 zone, but lowered it to 44 in a 40. The citation I mailed back clearly showed the 5 crossed out and replaced with a 4. How kind of him. And I thanked him for that.
• Once I get home, I pay the ticket as soon as I can and then put it out of my mind. It's done. Over. No big deal. I see it as just making small donations to cities and towns who play the game well.
I am often amazed and disappointed how angry some people get at getting a ticket. They fucked up, not the officer. Maybe they are just mad at themselves and too proud to admit it.

"The system didn't work!" and "Justice wasn't served!"

Justice means that Martin's killer would be arrested, go to trial, and have a verdict administered by a jury. All of that happened. The system did work.
Zimmerman admitted that he shot Martin. That was not in question. The trial was about whether he acted in self-defense. And, maybe Zimmerman didn't act in self defense, maybe he is a murdering racist. But, that isn't the process. The process is which legal team plays a more convincing game of determining blame. If people are upset, maybe they should be upset with the legal system of high-paid lawyers who twist the system to their advantage. Maybe they should be upset with their peers (the jury) for being too ignorant.
Maybe there should be a civil case, maybe other avenues for clarification should be addressed. But, that won't change the outcome of this trial.
Some factors to consider
• Racism does permeate our culture
• America is a segregated society.
• Americans are often motivated by fear, insecurity, and competition.
• The USA is a violent culture. We abort fetuses. The Gun Lobby is powerful. There are, on average, 35 violent murders every night in America, almost 20 times higher than in any other country.
So why the anger here?
• Racism? if Zimmerman was black, not Hispanic, this would have been just another black-on-black murder, like numerous others that happen every day. Not front page news.
• Entitlement? Are we spoiled? If we don't get what we want, we just whine and throw a tantrum?
• Group hysteria reflecting a larger frustration with the economy, disappointment in a black president, the heat, societal racism, unreasonable drug laws?
• A social movement? Protesting is a community activity that helps bring people together. It gives meaning and purpose - to get involved in a cause greater than us.
Some people confused emotion and empathy for a young man with the law and the justice system of trial by jury.
• People who post on social media get their information from the media, their friends, Internet posts, and speculation.
• The six women on the jury got their information from witnesses, detectives, police officers, and evidence.
Which group is more prepared to pass judgement that follows the law?
(I also wonder if some of those who disagreed with the verdict did so on grounds of sexism - that a jury of all females couldn't possibly get it right.)
As we've seen too many times, the ignorant masses get prominent media coverage, drowning out the calm voices of reason.
The upside
Hopefully, this event will encourage a dialogue and action towards addressing some of the above issues: racism, the legal system, the economy, gun laws, violence, and entitlement.
My Thursday evening Facebook post
The Zimmerman trial was not a murder trial. Zimmerman admitted he killed Martin. It was not about skittles, hoodies, OJ Simpson, walking home, neighborhood watches, or who should carry guns. It was not even a trial to determine if the Hispanic Zimmerman was a racist or had a bias against Blacks. The trial was to determine if Zimmerman acted in self-defense - did he fear for his life at the hands of Martin. Did Martin pose a threat or attack Zimmerman. That was the question that was decided.
So, why all the protests?
• People can march against racism in America.
• They can fight sexism (an all-female jury couldn't get it right!)
• Protest the weaker performance by the prosecutors.
• Protest Hispanic immigration.
• March out of respect to honor a slain child.
• Feel sadness and empathy for Martin's family and for the state of race relations in America.
But, to protest the outcome of this trial? There are just no grounds for such a protest. The jury listened and ruled what they believed to be the best judgment, according to the laws of Florida and the USA. That's the system and George Zimmerman benefited. His lawyers just did a better job. George Zimmerman did murder a young black man. But, in the eyes of the law, he acted in self-defense and is allowed to go free.
One can choose to feel frustration, disappointment, and anger. But please be mindful to whom that energy is directed.

A response to days of 100 degree temperatures

If long hot summers become the norm, we will need to adapt and seek ways to make it more tolerable, safe, and comfortable.
Here are some thoughts:
• Clothes: wear sandals, no socks or short socks; wear shorts, but not thick, layered cargo shorts; wear StayCool fabrics and more breathable fabrics.
• Cars: put valuables in the trunk, leave the windows down for air flow. Buy cars in light colors to reflect more heat.
• Transportation: install more canopies in parking lots, plant more shade trees along parking rows, use more public transportation, and add shade shelters at bus stops.
• Landscaping: plant grasses that better withstand heat and drought and require less watering and pesticides; embrace xeriscaping (dry) to use less water.
• Roofs: use light colors to better reflect heat. Ventilate attics.
• Structures: install awnings and shade structures on houses and buildings.
• Haircut: shorter and cooler, wear ventilated and wide-brimmed hats.
• Shade: use parasols/umbrellas to shade pedestrians.
• Outdoor activities: schedule earlier in the day and later in the evening; slow down and take siestas in the heat of the afternoon; get used to lawn care noise earlier in the morning and later in the evening.
• Garage: install an exhaust fan in the groj ceiling. To enhance the view of an open garage from the street - make it look more like a carport.

Merry Christmas to all: A Pagan Holiday becomes a Religious Holiday which then becomes a Shopping Holiday.
(Above from Neil DeGrasse Tyson)
People ask if I celebrate Christmas, now that I am no longer a devout Christian.
My answer: An emphatic Yes! Christmas is fun - the decorations, lights, music, food, and joyous festivities. And it is almost entirely a secular holiday. Even intelligent Christians acknowledge that there is nothing Christ-like about modern Christmas.
But, it is the time of the year when we have to endure mass amounts of ignorance.

Every year, Fox News, seeking to appease their ignorant viewers and stir up anger throughout the land, uncovers 'evidence' of a 'War on Christmas'. But, it is those defending Christmas who are not being true to their traditions and teachings. As we celebrate it today, Christmas owes more to Charles Dickens, Clement Moore, and Thomas Nast than to any church. This holiday is a ‘cultural creation’ rather than a sacred ceremony. All the whining about people 'stealing' Christmas, or declaring war, does not make the season any more religious. Here are some of the major issues:
Jesus is not the reason for the season.
The word Xmas is just as reverent as Christmas.
WWJD is inappropriate during the Christmas season.
Government Christmas displays are inappropriate.
Jesus was not about 'family'.
Please enjoy the beauty, excitement, joy, and festivities of the Christmas/holiday season, but please don't mistake it for an authentic historical religious observance.
More info about this misunderstood holiday season.

Black Friday Eve - overeating, television, and shopping - a true American holiday

Black Friday Eve is a great holiday, well, at least for men. Here's how the day often goes for them: easy morning - no work, can sleep late and read the paper, maybe watch a little football preview. Breakfast is fairly minor since they'll be pigging out in the afternoon - gotta make room. The primary chores for men are to, maybe, help with cooking the turkey and carrying the food dishes from the car to the host's home. At that point the females in the clan take over and continue the cooking, preparation and serving. The kids in the crowd wander off to a kid's room or outside to play. The men amble into wherever the largest screen TV is and notice the appetizers laid out. The host offers a drink. Sure, thanks. The day of feasting begins. The men eventually, after some small talk, settle into some comfy chairs and watch the television, which had been on the entire time, but is now commanding attention. "Who will win, Hope so-and-so's injuries have healed, Could you believe that catch last week." Because no one has eaten much today, the men are scarfing down the appetizers and starting to feel the drinks on their mostly-empty stomachs. Soon, the men are called from their comfort to find their seats in the dining room. The next hour or so is nothing but a pig-out AYCE banquet. There is more food than the entire extended family could eat, and that includes the weird cousins from upstate. At some point towards the end of the feast, the diners are warned to save room for dessert (since most contributing women in the family brought two different options). Despite some groans, most are looking forward to that course of the meal. But first, let's take a break from our bacchanalia. The men return to their comfy chairs to watch some football, the actual game now. The women clear the table, do some of the dishes, and begin to package up the leftovers to distribute among the guests. When they are through with that, they set up the dessert buffet. During a break in the game, the men struggle up out of their chairs and get a plate of several pie slices, with whipped cream. For those guys that don't drift off to sleep, the end of the game often signals the end of the banquet. The leftovers are distributed and the men are put back to work - carrying the dishes to their cars. A fun satisfying day (for the men).
In my parent's later years, my father, a semi-minimalist, and I would suggest to my mom that we should just go to the cafeteria and avoid the shopping, prep, cooking, and clean-up. She, being the traditionalist, would never agree. Cartoon above by Jeff Parker, Florida Today

During 30 years of teaching, the most common excuse for not meeting a project deadline was, "I didn't have time.”
I would ask, "Did you sleep last night?" Of course, they did. I then pointed out that they obviously had time. After some disgust on their part, they would admit, they actually did have time. What they really meant was that the project was not a high enough priority among all the options: eating, sleeping, socializing, games, work, laundry, and homework.
We constantly, throughout the day, make decisions and choices on how we spend our time - we prioritize that time since there is rarely enough of it to do everything we want to do. I have time to iron my shirts, I just don’t want to. “I’m not going to edit your résumé, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice and we can waste it or we can prioritize and use it efficiently.
Changing one's attitude from the lie "I didn't have time” to the more accurate and honest "I chose to do other things that were of a higher priority" is quite liberating. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.

It isn't Please or Thank you. It isn't How are you? to open the meeting or What are the next steps? to close the meeting. No, the most important phrase you'll ever say in a meeting is: How can I help you?
There's no better way to show that you care about the person you're meeting with than to genuinely ask him/her what you can do to help. There are two possibilities for responses:
• The person will tell you, thereby giving you an opportunity to help, after which the person you helped will feel compelled to return the favor, and help you.
• The person won't tell you, instead politely declining, but then she will still feel like you care, and will be emotionally invested in helping you.

Either way, establishing that you care and that you're there to help is a powerful emotional bond. It is through helping that you gain trust, and eventually, influence.
If it seems simple, it is. It doesn't matter whether it's a customer, a prospect, or a colleague you're meeting with - we all like to be cared about, and we all can use some help. Just make sure you're genuine and never contrived. Ask in your next meeting, "How can I help you?"

By Dave Kerpen, Chairman of Likeable Media

Celebrating birthdays and giving gifts

Definition: A birthday is a day when a person celebrates the anniversary date of his or her birth. The full story.

Let me see if I have this right
• I can write a 3-page letter, and put it on my front door.
• That same day, someone authorized by the government will stop at my house and pick up that letter.
• The letter will then be transported anywhere in the country.
• It will then be hand-delivered to the front door of the person I wrote the letter to.
• This cross-country trip will take 2-3 days.
• It will cost me 46 cents. About 2 quarters.

And some people bitch because that is so expensive. 46 pennies!

The United States Postal Service is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution. The USPS traces its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress, where Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general. The cabinet-level Post Office Department was created in 1792 from Franklin's operation and transformed into its current form in 1971 under the Postal Reorganization Act. The USPS employs over 574,000 workers and operates over 260,000 vehicles. The USPS is the operator of the largest vehicle fleet in the world. The USPS is legally obligated to serve all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and quality. The USPS has not directly received taxpayer-dollars since the early 1980s with the minor exception of subsidies for costs associated with the disabled and overseas voters.
Sidenote: If the Post Office is ever to make a profit, it absolutely must be removed from under the control of the US Congress.

"I took up two spaces." (pause) "I'd better hurry!"

I was sitting outside at Starbucks with the dogs, having a breakfast sandwich and an Americano. This car pulls in, right over the line and out steps a woman who, noticing my dropped jaw, looks back at her car and admits she took up 2 spaces. Then, stepping towards the door, she says she'd better hurry. Normally, this time of the morning, the lot is full. Fortunately, the extra space wasn't needed while she was inside. Maybe she just needed extra room to get back into her car. Her hands are full of drinks - she needs an exterior cup holder.

Note: the iPhone is a great tool for taking covert photographs. One can easily fake a texting or video-watching motion and snap the photo by pressing one of the volume buttons on the side of the phone.
Below: more examples of selfish ego-centric self-centered me-me-me narcissism that is so prevalent today. Notice that each asshole also parked close to the door.

I suppose that these people, and thousands more like them, place their own desires (no door dings on my car, please!) above being considerate of others. They may think that they have 'earned' the right to do as they please.

Dang that iPad habit

On the flight to Oklahoma from NYC, I was looking out the window. I wondered what town we were looking at - so, I tapped the glass to bring up the map settings window so I could turn on 'Labels' which would add the layer of text over the map. Oops, it's a fucking window, not an iPad. Why are these planes not equipped with iPad windows? There could be a camera lens behind each iPad to capture the image beyond and display it on the screen. Then I could access it and have all the functions to manipulate and access info.
Or, I could do a better job of separating reality from my digital universe.

But, wait, maybe it could work. The screen could be much larger than an iPad. Instead of windows cut into the fuselage exterior, there would just be a row of camera lens along each side of the plane. The safety video could be shown on the pads before takeoff. In case of an accident, evacuation instructions could be displayed. Here's an example applied to a truck on the highway.

There is a camera on the front of the truck and the rear door panels are large screens, projecting the image the truck sees in front.

Why I don't put on my seat belt when I start the car.
Because it's dangerous.
I strive to have as many things in my favor as possible when I drive. I want to avoid an accident by limiting distractions and encouraging alertness. The windows are not tinted, there are no decals on the windshield that might obscure part of the view, and I drive cars (since the 1970s) in which I sit up high for a better view. So, here's the problem with putting on the seat belt when I get in - the belt constricts my movement when I turn around to see behind the car while backing out of the driveway or a parking place. So, I don't put it on. Once I put the car in Drive, then I put on the seat belt. Every time.

A great idea! Spicy Ketchup

Just driving down the street, listening to Shakira when I notice the marquee at Whataburger. My response is immediate - that is a brilliant idea. We love ketchup and we love salsa. Pow! Put the two together. Both are dipping condiments and both are tomato-based. Why hadn't someone thought of this years ago?

I have always put pepper on my fries, so a ketchup with a bit of peppery hotness was an easy transition. The burger was bland, but the Spicy Ketchup was quite good.

I normally do not eat at Whataburger because of the slogan painted on the window, shown below. The saying, added to the Pledge of Allegiance in the 1950s, is a symptom of stupidity. Those that promote it can't even explain what it means. Is the nation indivisible? Bull. Our nation has always been divided. Even after 9/11 brought most of us together, we were still not completely undivided. I am reluctant to patronize a place that displays its stupidity on their window (and seems to be proud of it.) I suspect they are just trying to promote their Republichristian beliefs in hopes of attracting more Okies to spend money there.

Another small way to make things better

For some reason, I looked inside some trash can somewhere and noticed that the can was full but it was full of empty cups. An empty cup contains lots of air that takes up volume within the limited interior of a trash bag. It was an easy transition to the notion that if these cups had been flattened, they would take up much less space. So, now, I flatten empty cups before putting them in the trash can.
• Increased capacity of trash cans.
• Less trips to empty the trash can.
• Less liners used - less plastic wasted.

Useless handicap parking places

Above left: On the NYC subway. Others: Intermission in a Broadway theater.

People were talking behind me at the conference. It was distracting, rude, and inconsiderate. I wanted to glare at them, hush them, or and ask them to keep it down. I wanted to control those around me to suit me. Yikes. How disgusting. Instead, I thought more deeply and realized my life would be better (and theirs) if I just accepted what was happening, adapted to the new environment, and turned my attention back to the conference speaker. Those previously annoying voices now just became part of the environment, like air conditioning noise, coughs, rustling of papers, and scooting of chairs. That makes so much more sense. I felt so much better. Why, I wondered, was I conditioned to try to control so much around me? Seeking some control is normal and healthy for survival. Seeking to change threatening situations or those that impair good things from happening for the society is probably good. But there's a limit. Sometimes it makes the most sense to just accept, adapt, and move on.

One more rep
I was at the gym, Gold's on the north side. I was a new member and was doing some chest presses when I looked across the bicycles and rowers and saw the sign over a set of double doors: Cardio Enema. Huh? Did I read that right? It was a serious sign - individual thick letters mounted on the wall above the door. Was it a cruel joke or a mistake by the sign company that no one had yet noticed? I couldn't tell, but I figured that there may have been some exercises in that room I didn't want to do.

I finished the presses and then went to two other machines. I took another look. Nope, still there. Still says Cardio Enema. I got my stuff from the locker room, no shower, not after what happened last week, my first week at this gym. On my way out, I told the fit young woman at the front desk about the sign. She looked at me like I was a fool, turned to read the sign, read it again, gasped audibly, and ran to the manager's office. I waited, no one came out. I was satisfied: I had alerted them, not much else I could do. So, I went on out the front door just as two police cars pulled up, lights flashing. They ran right by me. As I turned back to look, they were pulling their guns out. I drove on home and made a protein shake. Chocolate. Sugarfree - well, I had just worked out.

This is so American that it is embarrassing and shameful

Advertising bullshit from the website: Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are serving up a delicious symbol of freedom with the arrival of the Most American Thickburger. The Most American Thickburger unites three popular American picnic foods together on one bun: a split hot dog and crunchy Lays Kettle Cooked Potato Chips atop a charbroiled Black Angus hamburger patty, along with a slice of American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup and mustard, served on a Fresh Baked Bun. “Nothing is more American than a summertime cook-out with grilled burgers and hot dogs served with potato chips; three classic American favorites that taste great on their own but taste great together, too. A hot dog, potato chips, and a beef patty is, unquestionably, our most American creation yet."
"A burger this epic required an equally epic ad campaign that salutes all things American.” American as the military, sex, red white blue, blonde, liberty, boobs, cleavage. Who do ya think the target market is - probly the FuxNews non-thinker. Simple colors, sex, and blind patriotism appeal to them (as does fast food).

Is this where the Texas flag came from?

Nice image that reminds us of the rainbow of people on this planet

One of the reasons why I prefer Austin and Dallas over Oklahoma

Some selected area cities. Oklahoma City was #2 of all cities over 250,000 people (Mesa Arizona was #1).
The full article with chart of more cities

Walton Arkansas
Spent a weekend in Northwest Arkansas. I was amazed at how the area has boomed in population, stores, restraunts, museums, and housing. It appears to be a major urban metro area, spread out throughout Northwest Arkansas. But, saying Northwest Arkansas is a bit too much There ought to be a shorter moniker to refer to the metro area. The boom is a result of Sam Walton keeping his headquarters in the area.
Great idea: combine the communities in Northwest Arkansas under one more appropriate name - Walton.

Full story of the Walton metro area.

A night out with the girls

And by girls, I mean devices.

How a cup easily and quickly becomes litter

One Sunday morning, I walked the dogs up the bike path to the local Starbucks. After coffee, we crossed this street and saw this cup full of water sitting in the pavement. I was baffled. Why there? I ran through some scenarios - the most likely seemed to be that a driver opened her door and set the cup down on the pavement, shut the door, and drove off. But what was going through her mind? "If I put this cup out here, I'll be rid of it." But, where did they think the cup would go? Now, the cup (which has been repurposed as litter) will be someone else's problem. If no one else takes responsibility for this cup/litter, it will either blow around the street or eventually float down the drain into the nearby creek. To somewhat avoid becoming disappointed at how selfish and unempathetic people are, I picked up the cup, emptied it, and took it home where I put it in the recycle bin. It's life of litter was over.

Time required for litter to break down
1-5 months: Cotton rags
2-5 months: Paper
6 months: Orange peels
80-100 years: Aluminum cans
Forever: Glass bottles, Cigarette butts, Nylon fabric, Plastic bottles, Plastic 6-pack rings

Great business for when some people regret what they have done

Store that sells diapers to Viagra users

The Zen of leaving the toilet seat up or down
One way to solve the seat up or down conflict:
• If you don't like the person you share the bath with, are annoyed by something they do, or want to feel in control over them, then bitch at them for not leaving the seat just the way you prefer it.
• If you love someone, care about them, and feel good about yourself, then just put the seat up or down as you prefer and go about your business.
So simple.

Other solutions: install a urinal for the men. I hope that one day, urinals will be common in homes. No more seat issue. Or, install a handle to decrease the yucky factor in touching and raising the lid. There are several styles of these available online.

Fascinating wisdom from Neil deGrasse Tyson (host of Cosmos on Fox, Sunday evenings)

If the gridiron was a timeline, the Big Bang would be on one goal line and the time from the cavemen until now would be just the thickness of a single blade of grass at the other goal.

So much crap in seatback pockets

6 pieces of literature. I had to rearrange and neaten them up. I put 3 of the technical pieces inside the 4th, a single fold piece that served as a folder; magazine and catalog in front.

Just not sure what to make of this

It caught me off-guard. It seems impersonal, but it does make sense - at IHOP, instead of seeking a manager and interrupting the workflow to get an application, the application process starts here and then moves to online or a phone call. The dispenser is like those that are used in bakeries and butcheries. 'Take a number, please' does have value as an alternative to standing in a sequential line. Wait til your number is called - wander the store, airport, or salon. Many of these places have an electronic board mounted up high that shows the number being served so those waiting can see hen to approach the counter. In the instance above, the number is replaced with contact information.

"Any damn fool can get complicated. It takes genius to attain simplicity."
From Bound for Glory, by Woody Guthrie

The somewhat-new Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa is well worth a visit. Guthrie is part of American history - many of us are familiar with the name but know little beyond a folk singer who wrote This Land is Your Land. But, there are so many more fascinating details - his artwork, poetry, and stories. The center is the home of the Woody Guthrie Archives, a collection amassed by his second wife (of 3) and bought by a foundation in Tulsa. The center website. The logo and graphics were designed by TOKY in St. Louis.

A breath of compassion, clear thinking, and logic - in Oklahoma!

In Tulsa, January 14, 2014, Senior US District Judge Terrence Kern ruled that Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage discriminated for no rational reason. Judge Kern wrote:
Protecting the sanctity of marriage wasn't a valid reason for the ban, given Oklahoma's high divorce rate of opposite-sex couples.
Encouraging procreation wasn't logical since opposite-sex couples aren't required to say they'll produce offspring in order to get a marriage license.
Moral disapproval of homosexuals as a class, or same-sex marriage as a practice, is not a permissible justification.
"Exclusion of one class of citizens from receiving a marriage license based upon the perceived 'threat' they pose to the marital institution is an arbitrary exclusion based upon the majority's disapproval of the defined class. It is also insulting to same-sex couples, who are human beings capable of forming loving, committed, enduring relationships.
The majority view in Oklahoma must give way to individual constitutional rights."
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said, "I am troubled that the will of the people has once again been ignored by the federal government."

Wisdom from Nancy Struby: If we allowed civil rights issues to be decided by "the will of the people," schools would still be segregated, slavery would still exist, and Ms. Fallin would not be governor since women wouldn't be able to vote, much less be elected to public office.
To those who oppose same-sex marriage: please stop. Please find a stance that is more loving and caring in which to put your time and energy. The marriage equality issue is over. Civil rights won.

Why I can't watch all of the Disney Christmas Parade

1. There is a constant annoying background noise of screams and yells. I have watched this parade in person. Nobody screams and yells throughout the entire parade.
2. The people clap nonstop, even when the emcees are introducing a performance. How rude to clap while someone is speaking. I suspect someone at Disney felt that they needed to up the level of excitement and coached the parade audience to clap, yell, and scream.
3. The visual images are flashed in constant rapid cuts. The viewer can't focus on a person, a dance number, or a song - the action is jerky quick cuts.
4. It is just one very long and repetitive infomercial for the Disney Company. It is a cover for promoting Theme Parks, Hawaiian resort, Cruise ships, Films, and Broadway shows.

Why not Christmas birth stars instead of Easter death crucifixes?

Every Christmas season, two skyscrapers in Oklahoma City turn on lights on their facades that form Christian crosses (the full story). Unfortunately, the crucifix, an instrument of death, is more closely associated with Easter and the Resurrection, than with birth. How simple it would be to replace the crucifixes of death with the Christmas Star of birth. This would better reflect the joy and life of Christmas and better convey that Oklahoma City is becoming more of a major league, inclusive, and respectful city.

But, that is probly just too logical and thoughtful. Even though this simple change would be more appropriate, Okies would likely see it as another attack in the War on Christmas and demand that Christ (as represented by the crucifix) be kept in the season. Of course, this attitude just highlights the ignorance about Christmas (full story).

Why I watch less Jeopardy!

1. Really ugly, poorly designed stage sets
2. The category title of Black America.

There is no place called Black America. Nor, White America or Polish America, etc. There are Black Americans, but those Black Americans live in America - they don't live in a place called Black America. Even as a seemingly harmless descriptive term, it still confirms the bias and ignorance of many people that America is divided into racial segments.
Jeopardy has been using this category name for decades. Many years ago, I wrote them a letter with the rationale for less divisive language. They responded and stated that they saw no reason to stop using the category title, Black America.

Where the USA may be headed
From The Week magazine: A minority student group at the University of California, Los Angeles, is accusing a professor of racism for correcting grammar and punctuation in minority students' assignments. The group, Students of Color, says the grammar "lessons" are acts of "micro-aggression" that have created "a hostile class climate." The Professor said he was just trying to help students.

We should have seen this coming, in this day of wanting special privileges without earning them, this is an obvious step. If this continues, we may see the day when teachers can't put negative comments or low grades on work, since they might be seen as detrimental to self-esteem, offensive, and acts of hostile aggression.