Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Get the Mind in Gear

I've been trying to organize and de-stress my world. While it is not exactly what a 90 minute deep tissue massage would do, I have found a few things that help me.

  1. Get organized. I know this sounds like kindergarten talk, but it really is the Starfleet General Order 1.  I have tried every "new and improved" system, gimmick, idea, and all-around well-meaning suggestion. None of them work. I finally went back to the organizational system I used in college --- a series of file folders, some lose leaf paper punched with a 2 hold punch, and a clipboard and legal pad. Yep. Back to old school. The legal pad for daily note taking of ideas; the divided file folder for my notes of various projects; and the paper records of things I need to keep. It makes sense in my brain and it works for me.
  2. I spent a whole month watching YouTube videos of tips and tricks and ideas on how to use Googe, Gmail, Google Docs, Chrome, extensions, etc. A whole month. Granted, the 2 hours at the gym each day helped accomplish this but I got some fantastic ideas. Check out DottoTech on YouTube for some things that may change you life.
  3. Forget the TV or music in the background. Use nature sounds. AMBI Nature Radio  (I listen via Tune In Radio) or Noisli cannot be overstated for the relaxation and increase in work productivity. 
  4. Live Start Page. Take a few minutes to explore it, set it up with bookmarks, and keep one of those windows open. It may be sappy; it may sound wimply; it may even sound crazy as hell; but I'm telling you, I am much more productive and feel better using those nature sounds while working. Don't knock it until you've tried it.
Other ideas?

Friday, October 13, 2017

US Men Miss 2018 World Cup

US Misses Out on World Cup and Americans Experience Weeping, Wailing, and Gnashing of Teeth

I have a different view.

Yes, it was an upset, but it wasn’t the only upset that night since both Mexico and Costa Rica lost --- 3 major losses that weren’t supposed to happen but did. If any of those 3 didn’t happen, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

Yes, there is loss of money. Other nations won’t go to the World Cup either and their program won’t share in the money, either.

Yes, first time since 1986 the USMNT won’t be there.

All true.

But hang with me a bit: soccer in the US is not like football or basketball or even baseball, all 3 where we dominate. It’s not even like hockey were we, well, contend. No, in soccer we are on even ground with most of the world and trail the nations who put money in developmental programs and the best athletes play. In the US, the best athletes play other sports. Now that is changing, especially in football where mamas are saying, “My kid is not going to end up a veggie-brain for others’ entertainment.” So our best athletes still play other sports.

And the competition is different. In the Big Three of football, baseball and basketball, the US dominates the world because the rest of the world just doesn’t play those sports. Granted there is baseball in Japan, the Caribbean, and Latin America, but the best players come to the US to compete and are part of the US training system. We have a monopoly.

Not in soccer. The whole world plays. There are only 11 men on the pitch and only 3 subs. It is as even a contest as there is. The US can’t out-gun or overwhelm with superior numbers. We have to compete with 11 men for 90s minutes, just like everyone else, and our best athletes are not out there. Our best players are on the pitch, but we don’t know what the athletes in other sports would be able to do, now do we?

Fact is, the US is not the best in everything. We’re not the greatest. Oh, we like to say we are the greatest nation on earth but other nations are just as good in many areas and we are as sorry as other nations are in some areas, too. In soccer, we just happen to be mediocre. Time to face that fact.

Then there is the problem is Major League Soccer actually being successful. That’s right. Successful. The quality players in Latin America and the Caribbean now come to the US to play in Major League Soccer because there is better money and the chance to showcase themselves. So as MLS gets bigger and has more money for training, good players from the Americas come here getting better. We have created better competition against ourselves.

So in 2018 I will enjoy the matches without my team in the fray. I’ll scream and yell. I’ll marvel and I’ll do a lot of cussing, I’m sure. I’ll swear the ref was blind one game and the best ref ever the next time he’s on the pitch. And?

And I’ll have fun. I’ll enjoy watching national pride on the line from other nations who are just as proud of their guys on the pitch as I am disappointed my guys aren’t. It’s the world’s most beautiful game and I can’t wait for the next 5 years when we compete for the honor in 2022.

Did I mention powerhouse Argentina is not going to the World Cup, either? It’s just our time to feel what it is like to be average.  It hurts some Americans to admit it but look around --- we are, just like everyone else.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Live Start Page

Update on Live Page -- neat Live HD screen with all sorts of scenes for your fancy ... pick one or two or randomize a lot of 'em. It has a really neat bookmarking tool. with weather, time, a focus statement that you control, and a meditation option page. Check out the Google Extentions & search LIVE START PAGE.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Let's Get Organized

Spent the last 4 weeks getting things better organized. A few things I realized: 1) I live in my email and needed a better way to organize it - found cloudHQ suite of apps that made Gmail much better; 2) I found some YouTube videos on better ways to use Google to organize things - things I knew were there but didn't know all the ins-&-outs and the features of integration; 3) I forced myself to do what I didn't want to do, cleaned off my desk and did my filing - feel much better not having to look at the piles of stuff; 4) nature sounds (birds, a stream, a storm, or other background noise instead of music or news) while working makes me 100% more productive; and 5) I turned off a lot of the information that was coming at me from every side, every day, from every possible viewpoint - I know this but now I'm practicing the fact that I can get all the news I need while working out in the morning from WABE Morning Edition. The last thing I need is to have some announcer urgently teasing me about the latest Trump Tweet or statement or insult. One more thing: no more negative people and if I don't want to talk to you, I'm not. I feel much better, thanks for asking.

More details on all this to follow.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Economic Growth from Pixie Dust

The Kansas Experiment was a total disaster. The only people who believe Trickle Down Economics will work are either delusional, criminal or hypocritical. The idea that modern* tax cuts produce economic growth to pay for themselves, or will generate wage growth for the lower and middle class is horse poo. It didn't happen under Reagan or Bush 2 or Obama. Nope. Didn't. (Note that I said modern since there is the taxation point where the tax is so high that a cut does spur growth, e.g. the JFK tax cuts, but there is a bottom point where the cuts no longer do that. We've burst threw that floor a long time ago.)

So when Steve Mnuchin tried to sell that empty bag, I wanted to laugh but I cried knowing people will believe that stuff.
In an appearance at a Washington forum on Thursday, Mnuchin argued that the Trump tax cut plan would generate so much extra economic growth in gross domestic product that it would not only pay for itself, it would also cut the deficit by $1 trillion over the coming decade.

You may read the rest of the article if you like but it is time the adults tell the the children to put away childish games and begin the process of handling things as reasonable, responsible and rational adults would.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

White House: Fire those who say what we don't like

So now the White House supports / encourages / condones the firing of employees who exercise their rights of free speech? Really? Goebbels did that too, you know. Jemele Hill, resist!


Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Changes to Majority America

Times are a'changin'.

Give it 12 years. Maybe 16. But it will change. The demographics don't lie.

In 12 years, the conservative older voting bloc will be diminished and the younger, more liberal crowd will be emerging.

America tomorrow is more educated, more tolerant, more open, religiously diverse, more brown, and will have more females in positions of power. The favored religion of today will be on equal footing with other faiths, and conservative Christianity will not like it when other religions begin using their tenets to discriminate. That Christian baker in Oregon who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple, will become the Muslim baker who refused service to the Christian couple because the woman wouldn't cover her hair for modesty sake ... and there are no other bakeries that would serve that Christian couple.

Those state tax schemes that allowed Christians to designate their tax bill to private Christian schools will be hated when the growing Muslim population do the same thing and Muslim schools start popping up in every community.

Yes, America will change. That means we will have the opportunity to right the ship in a few years, if we survive that long.

If we survive the economic, cultural, and worldwide upheaval of the disaster upon us as of January 2016.

Inauguration Day and A Lot of Mourning

I am generally an optimistic person. But not today. Not with what I believe is the biggest disaster this nation ever voluntarily put on itself. And, sadly in this case, it is not just what happens to the US but what will happen to the rest of the world, and even the future of the planet.

Donald Trump is a national calamity.

Don't give me that "well, he is the president and we have to support him," or the "we have to give him a chance," or even worse the "we lived through Obama and look at how bad he was." Bull. In every language --- bull excrement.

This is not just any Republican but a fascist. His speeches, his rallies, the content of everything he said is so eerily similar to that of Adolf Hitler that I am shocked no one is calling him on it. Wait. They are pointing it out in the media but those stories are discounted as fake news or liberal wrangling that should be ignored because, hey, the media is won't tell the truth and only Trump has the truth. After all, it doesn't matter what the facts are because if you feel something is true, it must be. The media is filled with elitists, i.e., educated, who are trying to keep the common people down. It's not the wealthy who will benefit from these policies --- nooooo, the poor and middle class will prosper again when the tax burden falls on them and off the wealthy.

Trump played on people's fear, racism, bigotry, lack of education, desperation, xenophobia, ethnocentrism, and called it all patriotism. After all, you can't be a patriot and love America is you don't agree with Trump and you certainly don't want America to be great again like the liberal elites who are working against the common man. He played it well. It worked. And now we have to pay for it all.

Don't misunderstand me here. I don't want Trump to fail because I don't want America to fail. I no more want Trump to fail than I want something awful to happen to my own kids. No. It's not that I want Trump to fail but that I know Trump will fail.

I grief. I am still in mourning over the election. That is exactly how I still feel: in mourning. That deep sense of loss. It's real. Because I know the policies of Trump will be horrendous.

Women will lose a lot of specific health care needs with Planned Parenthood vilified with manufactured controversy that is completely false.

Health care costs will go up more than needed.

Lawsuit limits of malpractice will be implemented, something that will decimate the ability to care someone with a lifetime injury.

Insurance for those outside of employer coverage will see premiums go up exponentially, if it is evern offered.

Lifetime coverage limits will come back, meaning the most sick and vulnerable will not be able to receive the care needed.

The Obama Care taxes and required coverage mandate will go away, making it impossible to provide premium assistance to cover the risk pool that will be older, sicker, and in most need of services.

The environment will become the litter box of the nation.

Our national parks and public lands will become the free resource of large corporations, who will rape the treasures and return them to us forever damaged.

The economic policies simply don't work, e.g., Kansas under Brownback and Louisiana under Jindal. The tax cuts will not spur the sort of magic growth promised. That is not how economics works but it sounds good to people who have not taken econ. Of course, the ideologues insist Nirvana is just arund the corner in KS.

Building a wall --- not gonna happen.

Education is about to take the first step in being privatized.

Manufacturing jobs will not come back to the US and protectionism doesn't work. There is a structural shift in the global marketplace and that genie can't be put back in the bottle.

Russia is celebrating because they did it. Their plan worked. Now the US will focus on internal problems of Trumps on making and his international alliance re-structure and trade arrangements will leave an easy opening for Russia to do whatever she wants.

I could go on but it is irrelevant. All I can do is speak out, though my representatives from GA will discount my emails, phone calls, letters, and opinion.

God help us all.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Theologies of Change: Wittenberg Door 2.0

I have a question. Several questions. Actually, I'm not entirely sure what the exact question is but I do know the direction of what I'm seeing.

First, I submit this link that says maybe our traditional idea of God's Sovereignty is outdated, if not flat out wrong. In particular, perhaps God is not in control of everything that happens.

God is Not in Control

Second, here is an article about Bart Campolo (son of THAT Campolo) who now no longer identifies as Christian.

Bart Campolo No Longer Believes

Here's what I'm thinking: Is it possible that we have been wrong on God's Sovereignty in the same way we were wrong on so many other issues? In situations such as slavery, evolution, the earth revolving around the sun / being round, or countless other things, we damaged ourselves greatly in reaching people because they viewed our ideas as backward and uneducated. Is that a necessary roadblock to keep throwing out there? If we adopt a theology that says God is not always in control of everything but is completely Sovereign in Love, does that damage the definition of God? Or take Campolo, for example: he had trouble believing in the idea of hell and eternal damnation, so he adopted a Universalism of sorts a long time ago.   The idea of an eternal hell, created by a loving God, for the eternal punishment of people who didn't believe, is all sorts of problematic for everyone's senses. Is that another area where we need to re-examine what exactly it is we believe?

The point here is that in this era where we have (hopefully) a better sense of thinking through all this stuff, oftentimes our theology creates more moral problems than it resolves. I can certainly see many inconsistencies in our theology that unbelievers are pointing out as reasons to reject the faith outright ... and many of those inconsistencies are not ethically defensible on our part. Many positions can be resolved by simply changing our interpretation of some texts, and that would make us be more consistent morally/ethically in our presentation. Perhaps it is that inconsistency that people are seeing, what Bart Campolo recognized, and that is =a= reason (not just =the= reason) some reject the Message.

I'm not in any way saying we should change our theology to fit the "world." I'm not suggesting we soften our positions. I'm saying that perhaps we need another nail on the church door at Wittenberg. The post-modernity doesn't reach everywhere at the same time but it is coming whether we like it or not. Maybe it's time we address legitimate questions about our theology. Are we being resolved in our commitment to truth, or are we being bull-headedly stubborn in refusing to recognize our own inconsistencies?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Pharisees in GA

So very, very sad. GEORGIA IS BEING GOVERNED BY DEMETRIUS THE SILVERSMITH The US constitution guarantees that no faith will get a Most Favored Status from government, even if it is our own. We Baptists were the persecuted minority at the nation's founding and it is we that were told the Word of God was against us and our beliefs were not scriptural. It was the Established Churches that claimed they rightly interpreted the text and should be given special favor over the heretical Baptists. Our nation and stae are not governed by the Bible or any religious text but by the US Constitution. As far as I can tell, no church has been shuttered; no one has been denied access to a house of worship of any faith, even our own; and all public businesses have to be held to the same public accommodation laws that may not refuse service to anyone for any reason, =unless= they are LGBT, a non-protected class in our state. No pastor has ever been forced to marry anyone with whom he/she didn't want to; and no church has ever been forced to host a ceremony it didn't want to host. Now that is not the same for =BUSINESSES= since all =BUSINESSES= are held to the same standard of law.

GA is not governed by the Bible, or more aptly one narrow interpretation of a select few passages. We are a nation of laws that protect everyone and makes sure everyone is treated the same in the public arena. If we don't make sure other interpretations of faith are protected in the public arena, then one day another religious group can force THEIR religious interpretation onto us in the business arena ... you know, kinda back to where we Baptists started in England, Boston, Virginia, etc., when we were refused service in businesses, or buying/renting property, or getting services from state employees, and the government sanctioned that discrimination because the majority faith said we were not true Christians.

An analogy of Demetrius is not the proper one in this case. Maybe it should have been the Pharisee standing outside the party Jesus was, saying: "Why does Jesus even associate with those sinners?"