Who doesn't love Christopher Walken?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Coexist - But to what extent?

I'm sure most of you have seen these bumper stickers or had the cards handed under your windshield wipers at some point.  For those of you that aren't familiar, they look something along the lines of this:

I know some of you will look at this and see the surface; different religions and lifestyles not bothering each other about their respective beliefs.  But I can't help but pry deeper.  Before I go into it, let me air my bias.  I was raised Christian, attended Catholic school K-12, am now agnostic with varying beliefs and support gay marriage.

Now, from what I understand, this symbol/phrase is telling us that we should all just...get along.  But my question to you is this:  Where do we draw the line?  This is where it gets complicated.

Morals are such an incredibly subjective thing, this is a near impossible feat because there is no real scale of acceptability.  Who is to say one person's morals are greater than the next?  Are we to ignore our own beliefs for the sake of another's?

Example:  Say a 'morally corrupt' dictator is going and rounding up people that he finds repulsive, for whatever reason, and executing them.  Are we to just stand idly by while they do so?  I mean, after all, who's to say their beliefs are wrong?

If we say this practice is wrong and unacceptable, and that we should end this kind of behavior, we have made ourselves hypocrites.  According to the principle of coexisting, we have to allow this in order to keep the peace.  In order to keep consciences clear, we have to create chaos to stand up for what we think is right, thus negating the idea of a peaceful existence together.

To the average person this seems plausible, but when you really get down to it, coexisting is just another majority rule.  The idea of it is beautiful, but the reality is impossible.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Are cars really that bad of an investment?

As some of you may know; I am a car nut.  I love 'em.  I physically can not own a boring car.  Even when I get an exciting car, I have to tweak it, dump insane amounts of money into it just to make it my own.  There are people who just view these incredible machines as simple tools - inanimate objects built for the sole purpose of servitude.  They don't know how they work other than that they do until they don't, and then they trade them in for one that does.

For those of us which enjoy modifying these magnificent metal beasts, it becomes an incredibly personal relationship.  A special bond develops between man and machine, similar to that of a pet.  They are our loyal companions to the bitter end, and believe me, the end is always bitter.  We grow together, learn together, get in arguments.  Yes, arguments.

But on the other hand, it's not just the relationship with the car that makes this hobby so incredible.  It's the people we meet.  It's hard to find a group so passionate about what they do as car enthusiasts.  Sure some hold fierce loyalty to branding but when you get down to it, there's so much to be had in common.  The community is so accepting to all walks of life, and it's amazing.

Those that view us as hooligans throwing our money away will never care to delve any deeper than the surface.  They will never understand what lies beneath; that this is forever engraved into our souls.  I guess I just want to stop explaining myself to these people.  Sure cars are a horrible investment from a financial standpoint, but that's as far as that statement goes.  For this much fun, knowledge and brotherhood, I'll smile all the way to the poorhouse.

And this will be my chariot.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Definition of Manhood

I've seen several articles about "what it is to be a man".  Most of which have to do with the lack of "real men" in today's society.  They talk about men becoming more effeminate, substituting the classic methods of communication for the modern electronic pathways, avoiding physical confrontation and so on.  To me, this means that we, as a progressive species, require an updated definition of "manhood".

Now I still firmly believe in some of the classic points in the definition, but with the progress in technology and civilization, some of the classics have become obsolete.  A man should not be defined by his profession, what he drinks, what he wears, or his car.  A man should be defined by how he lives his life.

In the past, a man was someone who got his hands dirty.  Just because you work with your hands or serve your country does not mean you are a "true man".  What makes you a man is how you do your job.  Your willingness to learn, progress in your respective profession, respect authority figures but know when to challenge their judgement and take the opinions of your subordinates seriously.  If you are good at what you do and respect yourself at the end of the day, you have earned my respect as a man.

Technology is growing at an exponential rate.  These days most people can't spend hours talking on the phone.  Not necessarily because they don't want to, but because we're so busy these days.  Also because most people have cell phone plans with time restrictions.  Land-lines are a dying breed of telecommunication.  Just because communication isn't as vocal as in the past, doesn't mean it's less personal.  A man that can hold a solid conversation, regardless of the medium, is a good man.

Physical confrontation is such a primitive form of self-expression.  A good man isn't someone that always gets in fights in the street, whether he wins or not.  Most fights I see are over the smallest things; a look, a snide remark, etc.  To me that's a short temper, not a man.  A good man should know how to handle himself when he finds his liver pickled, and understand that not everyone has this ability.  A good man doesn't start a fight, he finishes it.  Whether by words or actions, when it's done it's done, win or lose.

I now realize how much of a wall of text this has become, so I suppose I should wrap this up.  I believe a real man is someone who has respect for others.  A man is not defined by what he does or has, but by who he is.  There are boys, there are men, and there are good men.  Which are you?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Esse Quam Videri

The other day my friends and I made a last minute trek up to Manhattan, KS to tailgate the football game.  Now I had previously attended the university but dropped out within the first semester due to the forced nature of my enrollment via my mother and step father.  This was my first tailgate of any football game and let me tell you...it was glorious.  Beautiful flocks of college women engulfing the field of dirt, grass and concrete outside the stadium, sporting their Daisy Duke's and ragtag school t-shirts.  It was a sight to behold.

This got me thinking: maybe I should go back to school.  I mean it can't be all bad, right?  Now that the hangover has finally drifted away and life has returned to normal, my day job just doesn't seem to cut it anymore.  Sure it pays well, all things considered, and there's plenty of room for advancement, it just feels like a dead-end.

I've never really had any aspirations or delusions of grandeur until recently, which makes this such an incredibly hard decision.  My opinion of the entire system of "higher learning" is slightly less than optimistic.  I find it incredibly hard to spend the insane amounts of money on books I'll only use for one chapter and general education classes that I'll never use but am still forced to drown myself in for the first two years.

Everyone says that buying a house is the biggest decision of your adult life, but I disagree.  No one thinks to bring up choosing a major in college.  So many people go to school to get a job in a career that pays well.  I can completely understand this way of thinking, but I'm not the type to stay miserable for very long.  I also don't know what I enjoy doing, because most of the jobs I'd be interested in won't hire anyone without a degree, and there's no such thing as an apprenticeship anymore.

Now at the age of 24, I have responsibilities.  I have a car payment, rent, insurance, etc. that require me to have a full-time job.  I work 48 hours a week, there is no time for school unless I can be patient and take a few classes here and there and maybe graduate in my early 30s, then be competing with people 8 years younger than me for entry-level jobs.

This is probably the most frustrated I have ever been in my entire life.  I'm frustrated with the system for putting itself on a pedestal where it absolutely doesn't belong.  Mostly I'm frustrated with myself for not taking advantage of the chance(s) I was given.  Maybe I'll just stay at my current job and climb the ladder, because after all, it is a remarkable company.  Or maybe I'll drop everything, hit the books and you'll find me in a few years as an international businessman for some German automaker.  Only time and banks will tell.

Auf wiedersehen meine Schatzi.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Offense of the Offended Offends Me

The human race, of all things, has become over-regulated so much that it puts pandas to shame.  I'm talking about censorship not only in media, but everyday life.  Political correctness has become a disease in the civilized world.  Now while I say this, I do agree that some things are too radical, too soul-shattering to be talked about or even referenced in any society.  However those instances are few and far between.

Sticks and stones have become flaccid thanks to linguistic shrapnel.  Today we have to be sure to say things that walk the line so as to not offend any specific demographic.  Even then, people will find a way to be made aghast by something as small as a tea kettle enough to boycott an entire company.  Even worse when a CEO shares his personal beliefs and puts them into his business practices.  God forbid people have their own views and opinions and are brave enough to stand up for them in the world of today.

People refuse to understand that words are just that.  Words.  Words mean many different things to many different people.  We have acceptable insults that mean EXACTLY the same thing as curse words in most contexts, yet we can't say the four letter version.  They're too crude, too harsh for the ears of these middle-aged children.

Call me ignorant, fine.  Call me arrogant, congratulations.  It's your right as a human being to try and insult me, to share your opinion of me and mine.  But if we're all of a sudden adding a sense of entitlement to our feelings, we might as well abolish language right now and go back to hitting each other with rocks.  I've been stockpiling them for years in the cave where I apparently live, with my inferior intellect and intolerance of jackassery.

Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Blessed Art Thou Among Sheep

If you have to think you're blessed to have things which others don't, think again.  I'm far from religious, but it is my firm belief that if we are indeed blessed, it's with life and life alone.  Everything beyond that is from our own determination and hard work.  Things are not simply given to us by some magic man in the clouds in return for our worship.  If you want something, work for it.  If you need something, work harder for it.  Don't lie in wait with your eyes closed, muttering words that only yourself will hear.  That solves nothing.

Saying things like "I'm so blessed to have got this new job" in earnest, cause so many questions to come up.  What about the other applicant(s) that really needed that job?  What if one of the applicants were homeless?  Maybe your god doesn't think they deserve it as much as you, even though their family is starving.  If you truly are so blessed to have a one-up on so many other people, why not be humble and share than be a braggart and inform all of Facebookdom of how blessed thou art?

Gods don't have Facebook pages.  They can't see how thankful you are when you post a status proclaiming it.  And when I said 'share', I mean donate your own time and/or money directly to those in need, rather than throw money on a plate to pay the church's mortgage.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My Beef with "Click it or Ticket"

I've heard more ads for "click it or ticket" recently than I ever remember.  This got me thinking....this law is horseshit.  As are a few others (speed cameras) but for now let's just focus on this.  No one other than myself is endangered by my seat belt or lack thereof, so who is the state to protect me from myself?  Not only is the safety provided by a seat belt negligible, they can also do more harm than good in certain situations.  Something like a 5-point racing harness is more safe in most situations, but is not street legal because in the case of a roll-over, you're unable to lean and if the roof caves....you get the idea.

If we have a seat belt law, why is there no mandatory helmet law for motorcycle riders?  The statistics for safety between the two are roughly the same.  They both help in the low speed accidents, but helmets save lives in those cases, whereas seat belts just try to soften the blow of the 200 mph airbag deployment.

Personally, I will always wear my seat belt just for the peace of mind.  But the state, nor the federal government have any right to tell me that it is mandatory.  They're simply using it as a way to generate revenue.  If they truly wanted to keep us safe, we would have little to no freedoms.  Smoking is legal because of all the money the states make, and yet it kills more people in a day than probably an entire year's worth of vehicle accidents.  If you're going to make laws concerning the safety of your citizens and take away our right to endanger ourselves, at least be consistent.