Thursday, December 17, 2009

AA is for Quiters!

Well, the title isn't exactly what I'm talking about, but it's close enough.

Before I begin, I would like everyone to read the 12 Steps, directly quoted from the website

"The 12 Steps

1 - We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable
2 - Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God
4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
5 - Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
6 - Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
7 - Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
8 - Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
9 - Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
10 - Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
11 - Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out
12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs"

    Now, it is wonderful that many people have been able to stop abusive drinking, smoking, drug use, or whatever "addiction" it may be by using these steps. However, the problem I have with the program is not the method itself, but rather how it is used through the government.

    If someone is found guilty of drug possession, drunk driving, or some other drug related crime, one of the frequent punishments is the requirement of the guilty to attend a certain amount of AA/NA meetings, with additional sessions if it is found that said person did not successfully participate in the meetings. This is where the problem lies.

    Our legal system requires people to attend meetings that require a belief in a higher power. Now, I have heard people attempt to defend this by quoting the third step, which says "God as we understand God". But what if we don't understand God at all? How could one be expected to follow a program that requires theism if he, Shiva forbid, was an atheist?

    This is, in the most basic of forms, the legal system mandating religion; no one particular religion, granted, but religion in general, and that is still a violation of the rights of Americans.

    People, if you or some one you know is put in this situation, there are plenty of alternatives, plenty of organisations that use the same principles without bringing God into the picture. By the way, if it works without God, why bring him in? Occam would be proud!

    foolish out

    Monday, December 14, 2009

    How Politically Correct Language Alters Understanding and Thought

    "It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought ... should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words." - George Orwell, 1984.

    Language as a Means of Communication:
    How Politically Correct Language Alters Understanding and Thought

    Dr. Noam Chomsky, the renowned linguist and philosopher, once said that if “human language has a function at all it's for expression of thought. So if you just think about your own use of language, a rather small part is used for communication. Much of human language is just used to establish social relations.” (Nancho) Through further reading of Chomsky's discussion on this subject, the reason that he makes the statement about communication being a minimal aspect becomes clear: his definition of the word 'communication'. However, it is interesting to note that Chomsky put such a great emphasis on language as a mode of thought expression and social relation, for it is in these areas that the concept of political correctness comes into play. In terms of language as a mode of expressing one's thoughts, the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis enters the equation. The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis states that language is not simply a mode of communicating our thoughts, but is also the way in which we form our thoughts (Stafford). Politically Correct Language (PCL) attempts to alter language in the most intense of fashions: removing certain words from use. One of the possible consequences of this, though not necessarily to the extreme degree suggested by Whorf, is that our thoughts are altered as well. Addressing Chomsky's second quality of language, its usefulness in the formation of social relations, it is primarily due to this characteristic of language that Politically Correct Language first came into being.  The primary purpose of PCL, to this day, is to minimize the possible offensiveness of certain pieces of our language, and thus improve the qualities of interpersonal communication. These two qualities of Politically Correct Language are not disputed; the questions at hand are what makes something politically (in)correct, is it censorship or something new, whether or not PCL improves our ability to communicate our thoughts, whether it impacts the way we think, and if the attempt to minimize offensiveness within language is worth the consequences inflicted upon the language itself. Politically Correct Language consists of a myriad of euphemisms for certain words and phrases that are otherwise offensive to a significant amount of the community. Several questions, to which there are no clear answers, arise out of this definition: Who determines what is offensive? How many people must be offended before a word is removed from common usage? Where does it end?
    To the first question, the best answer that can be given is that everyone is able to say what is offensive, but those in some form of power determine whether the word or phrase is offensive enough to be altered. It also is interesting to note that words, phrases, and subject matters vary in terms of acceptability depending on the speaker and the subject; a famous example of this is the film “The Producers”. The film, by Mel Brooks, first came onto the scene in the late 60s, not too terribly long after the fall of the Third Reich, and focused around two Jewish producers attempting to cheat their way into wealth by putting on a fictional play known as Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden. Though the film received mixed reviews initially, it is now one of the most well known films and stage musicals. Were this play to have been written by anyone other than Mel Brooks, or another equally well known Jew, it is unlikely that the film would have even made it to screening, let alone to popularity. The story involves a great deal of racial and religious humor, and it makes fun of the most infamous character in the world at the time: Adolf Hitler. However, despite these racy qualities, “The Producers” is not known as politically incorrect, it is not censored; in fact, the year the first version came out, it was praised with many awards, including Academy Awards for Best Writing, Story, and Screenplay, and a Best Actor in a Supporting Role nomination for Gene Wilder. Although the film met with slight resistance, it would appear that the primary reason for this acceptance, is that the person who wrote it was in fact a Jew, which lends credence to the concept that perceived correctness varies depending on the speaker.
    To the question of how many people need be offended before something is deemed taboo,, there is one particular set of phrases that, though they both mean the same thing and are equally offensive, have not been censored in the same fashion: “Billy jewed me down” and “Billy gypped me”. Both of these phrases convey the message that Billy swindled me, and both use a particular ethnic group in order to express this method. The former example, however, is considered extremely politically incorrect, and would likely cost any public official his career, while the latter is still a common phrase in mainstream conversation. An even more interesting detail about the word 'gypped' is that, with a quick perusal of a basic Internet search engine of the word, it appears to be common knowledge that the word is derogatory, but the usage is not diminishing. This evidence furthers the theory that there is a threshold that must be met prior to a word becoming taboo; however, there is room for a second option: the phrase 'gypped' refers to gypsies, who have often had, and still often do have, a negative reputation, and thus the derogatory nature of the phrase takes a back seat to the reputation of the group to whom the phrase refers. Regardless of which theory is the genuine reason, or if it is a combination of the two, it is clear that not all offensive phrases are censored out of the language.
    This leads into the third question previously posed: where does the politically correct path end? This is a question that cannot be effectively answered, because it is quite likely that it will not end,  but it possible to hypothesize where the path will eventually lead. Steven Pinker, an experimental neuro-psychologist, upon examining the way that euphemisms function within language, discussed a concept known as the “Euphemism Treadmill”. The theory quickly summarized is this: a euphemism, or “the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant” (Merriam-Webster), used to replace a taboo word or phrase will, eventually, become taboo itself, requiring yet another substitution to occur. The clearest examples of this treadmill effect fall in the category of disabilities, either mental or physical. For example, “during the 19th and 20th centuries, people with developmental disabilities experienced a range of labels (idiot, imbecile, moron, defective, trainable)” (State Councils on Developmental Disabilities). Since that time, new euphemisms have come into existence, such as crippled, retarded, and disabled, and have been removed from usage just as quickly. 'Handicapped' is still the most widely accepted term for someone who is physically disabled, but that is simply because the suggested substitute, 'differently-abled', was ridiculed as ridiculous and trivializing from its conception, much like another equally absurd suggested substitute, 'handi-capable'. However, as soon as an acceptable substitute is created, 'handicapped' will likely fall into the ranks of outdated euphemisms, to be substituted with another, equally short-lived expression. In attempting to fully answer the question of where this entire process will lead, one must first acknowledge how willing people seem to change their language in order to not seem bigoted through their speech. It is a bit of an exaggeration, but Orwell's “Newspeak” is a good model to hold in mind if one is attempting to see the future that the PCL movement could bring. It obviously will not subvert the communication of thoughts such as freedom and revolution, but perhaps it has the potential to completely eliminate the discussion of race from our accepted vocabulary, or any physical or social differences at all.  The word “minority”, for example, is moving down the treadmill, soon to be replaced by another euphemism. Since it is not truly possible to see where this will end, especially if the Euphemism Treadmill concept holds true, we must refocus our attention on whether the movement could go too far in its attempts.
    Simply put, the answer is yes. The reason it is so simple to answer a question concerning the future is the fact that Politically Correct Language has already gone too far in many cases. Lenora Billings-Harris, a Business Communication Consultant, put out a short list of suggestions that, if followed, will make your speech in the workplace more acceptable and more politically correct. The very first phrase that she addresses is “black sheep”, with a suggested replacement of “outcast” (Billings-Harris). This issue may catch many off-guard, as they may not see why such an obvious replacement is necessary; admittedly, I was much in the same boat. Eventually, however, it became clear that Billings-Harris's reasoning is the word “black” within the phrase. It is here that it becomes obvious that the fear enforced by the Politically Correct Language movement has started to impact the way in which we think. As PCL is concerned with not offending anyone, it is implied that, without PCL, we will inevitably offend one person or another. It is because of this fear that the phrase “black sheep” made it onto Billings-Harris's list. Race and gender are the two most frequent issues dealt with by PCL, to the extent that even mentioning the color black is taboo, even when it has absolutely nothing to do with the color of human skin. The phrase “black sheep” actually comes from the fact that a sheep with the rare, recessive trait of black wool stands out from the herd of white-woolen sheep. Had natural selection worked out differently, the phrase, might be just as accurate if said “blue sheep”; perhaps we could substitute “white crow” instead. This irrational fear of colors within language has made us associate any usage of the word “black” with the Negroid skin tone, any usage of the word “white” with the Caucasoid skin tone. The ironic part is that the one who utters the phrase “black sheep” likely had no thoughts concerning human skin color, while the person who gets offended by the phrase is the one focusing on skin tone, and thus is the more bigoted party. Billings-Harris includes one other example in her list that goes to much the same point, and that is “white lie”. This phrase does not come directly from the concept of skin color, but is “based on the ancient Western idea of polar opposites, represented in popular culture through white meaning good and black its evil antithesis. We have white magic, for example, beneficent magic that’s opposed to the malign black variety....Along the same lines, a white lie is one that lacks evil intent, as opposed to a black lie, which is most certainly malevolent, though normally we don’t bother to specify that lies are evil.” (Quinion) This visual polarity of black and white can be seen within Western art and literature long before any true racial tensions, and thus should be more associated with that concept than with the possible racial implications. These are just two examples of how being overly concerned with political correctness leads to the unnecessary changes that inevitably ignore the history of the word or phrase in question.
    A more modern, technological example of language getting altered due to implications rather than actual meaning, comes in late 2003. At that time, “an unidentified worker spotted a videotape machine carrying devices labeled 'master' and 'slave' and filed a discrimination complaint with the county's Office of Affirmative Action Compliance.” (CNN) Within the technological world, the terms “master” and “slave” refer to a primary and secondary device, and their functional relationship within the system. The complaint filed by the unidentified worker caused quite a ripple, and has lead to a large percentage of technology companies to change the phrases. The interesting part about this case is that the worker filed a “discrimination complaint”, when in fact he was not being discriminated against in any way, when in fact the phrase was referring to two pieces of technology. It cannot be denied that the phrases “master” and “slave” within technology take their titles from the human relationship, but it is certainly not referring to one specific instance of slavery, nor is it intended to put down a particular group of people; it was simply the most accurate way to describe the interaction between the two pieces of technology. The notion of Politically Correct Language and offensiveness has led us, as language users, to see the worst in every aspect of language. This leads into another aspect of the Euphemism Treadmill, specifically the idea that if a word or phrase has both a negative and neutral meaning, the negative meaning will eventually win out and the word will become taboo. The best examples can be found within the animal kingdom, with words such as “ass” and “bitch”; both of these words initially referred to a particular animal, and were also given more negative meanings later. These negative meanings eventually prevailed, becoming the primary usages, and thus the words have become taboo. To close the discussion of whether Politically Correct Language can go to far, I yield to someone far more apt to discuss it than I, George Carlin:

    Because we do think in language. And so the quality of our thoughts and ideas can only be as good as the quality of our language. So maybe some of this patriarchal shit ought to go away....But they take it too far, they take themselves too seriously, they exaggerate. They want me to call that thing in the street a "personhole cover." I think that's taking it a little bit too far! What would you call a ladies' man, a "person's person"? That would make a he-man an "it-person." Little kids would be afraid of the "boogie-person." They'd look up in the sky and see the "person in the moon." Guys would say "come back here and fight like a person," and we'd all sing "For It's a Jolly Good Person," that's the kind of thing you would hear on "Late Night with David Letterperson"!
    (George Carlin, IMDb)

    Politically Correct Language, in its attempt to purge offensive content, often passes the point of usefulness, eventually consuming us so much that we start imagining racism and bigotry where there is none. It is in this fashion that political correctness first starts to influence how we think.
    Upon accepting that Politically Correct Language often goes too far, to the point that it ignores the history and meaning of the phrases that it seeks to alter, we find ourselves stuck with yet another question: how does that impact the quality of our language? In order to answer that question, I will refer back to two previously discussed issues: the language used to describe mental and physical disabilities, and the Billings-Harris list of suggested phrases. It has already been shown that many phrases have been used in the attempt to describe mental disabilities, both in an attempt to make them more accurate and less offensive. However, in our attempt to use less offensive phrases, we have started to negate the earlier attempts at increasing accuracy. One humorous anecdote found on the WebMD web-log, Healthy Children, sums up the issue nicely:

    It was an all too common story in our School Achievement Clinic: 12-year-old Bertie was doing terribly in school and had just failed 6th grade. Her parents believed it was because she was "lazy" and because the school had lousy teachers. On formal testing, Bertie's IQ was in the high 60s, meaning she had scored in the "mild mental retardation" range. So it was no mystery to us why school was so difficult for her. But it was to her parents. "Mentally retarded!?" they exclaimed, incredulously and angrily. "We have known she was developmentally delayed since she was 3 years old, but no one ever said anything about mental retardation."          

    In an attempt to soften our language and minimize offensiveness, we have started to lose the ability to effectively communicate and understand each other. Due to the fact that it is difficult to find any PCL advocates who directly address this issue, it would be interesting to discover when those in favor of PCL feel clarity takes precedence over kindness, or if minimizing offensiveness is always the primary goal. Is there a true difference between the phrases “developmentally delayed” and “mentally retarded”? If there is not, then why do we need two phrases, when people obviously interpret them to mean different things. Other examples of this come from within Lenora Billings-Harris's suggestions. The issue of the “white lie” has been discussed previously, but it is now relevant to examine the suggested substitution: “Lie (Calling it white does not make it okay)”. Billings-Harris suggests that whenever one would use the phrase “white lie”, one should instead simply say “lie”, in an effort not to include any racially offensive language. This attempt destroys the meaning of the phrase and limits its usefulness and limits our ability to understand each other. The intention of the phrase “white lie” is communicate that a lie is “harmless or trivial, frequently one said in order to avoid hurting someone’s feelings” (Quinion). However, the suggested euphemism, “lie” does not communicate this same concept, and thus one would need to say, “John told a harmless, trivial lie, with the intention of avoiding hurting Lauren's feelings,” instead of simply saying, “John told Lauren a white lie.” This is a breakdown in language efficiency and usefulness, all for the purpose of avoiding offensiveness that was not in the phrase to begin with, offensiveness that was superimposed by those with the goal of weeding out bigoted language. Another, more controversial example from within the same list involves the use of the words “bitchy or 'PMSing'”, which Billings-Harris says should be substituted with the word “assertive”. However, once again, the original word and its euphemism communicate entirely different concepts. This is not a defense of the phrase “PMSing”, but the implication of that phrase is not the same as the word “assertive”. One final example of PCL's interference with the effective communication of thought comes from the world of Star Trek, specifically the captain's monologue during the opening sequence. In the original Star Trek, starring William Shatner, the opening monologue ended with the phrase, “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” However, with the next incarnation of Star Trek came a revised version of the opening monologue. In Star Trek: The Next Generation, starring Patrick Stewart, the opening monologue ended with the phrase, “to boldly go where no one has gone before.” The difference between these two endings is subtle, but it manages nonetheless to completely change the meaning of the phrase. In an attempt to minimize offensiveness, the reference to “man” was removed and replaced with “one”, a common solution to this problem within writing. In this case, however, it also alters to literal meaning of the phrase. To say that you are going where “no man has gone before” implies that you will go where no human has ever been; this meaning makes perfect sense in a reality with alien civilizations. On the other hand, saying that you are going where “no one has gone before” implies that no one at all has ever been there, a statement that is not accurate within the reality of Star Trek. The Politically Correct Language movement, however, is less interested in accurate communication of thoughts, feelings, and concepts, and is more interested in using censorship to create a language with no risk of offending anyone.
    The primary reason the the Politically Correct Movement is so effective, and so dangerous, is that it is not mere censorship, but a form of self-censorship. By imposing an arbitrary value system, making users of some words bigoted, and users of other words moral crusaders, we begin to censor our own language, which eventually leads to changing the way that we think. As an example, not too terrible long ago, it was commonplace to be given peanuts on an airplane by a stewardess; this was the word that was used both in conversation and in our thoughts. Eventually, however, that word became taboo and was replaced by the more acceptable “flight attendant”. This change obviously did not happen overnight within the vernacular; instead it was altered by people's catching themselves starting to use the newly outdated word, and then deliberately using the new phrase. Eventually it was no longer an effort, and the new phrase replaced the old word within people's mental vocabulary. The final stage of this is that one no longer sub-vocalizes the word “stewardess” when thinking about the person handing out peanuts or pretzels on an airplane, but instead thinks the phrase “flight attendant”. There are many other examples of this, including “policeman” becoming “police officer” and “mailman” becoming “mail carrier”. If you think about the way you currently mentally voice these occupations and the way you previously did, you will likely realize that the way in which you think about at least one has been influenced by PCL. Interestingly enough, all three of the aforementioned examples involve a euphemism which is longer than the original, implying a slight breakdown in the effectiveness of the language itself: using two words to communicate the same concept that was previously implied with one. Self-censorship starts with simply editing what we say, but eventually it results in altering what we think.
    Many questions have been posed throughout this investigation, and the majority have been answered.  The hypothesis suggested by Whorf and his predecessor, Sapir, does not hold entirely true; it is not true to the extent that Orwell suggested, that without the word for “freedom” one could not think of the concept. However, it is true that the language we use impacts the way that we think, and Politically Correct Language attempts to alter both the way that we speak and the way that we think.    The Political Correctness Movement's effort to reduce offensiveness in expression, often superimposed by those wishing to control our language and ideas, hinders our ability to effectively communicate thoughts, feelings, and concepts through self censorship.

    Thursday, October 15, 2009

    Thank God for Book Burnings! Bring Marshmallows.

    Oh, North Carolina, how you save me from writer's block.

    Well, it's back, folks! That's right, a good old fashioned book-burning. Can't you just smell it? Come on down! Bring your Harry Potter (because it includes satanic magic) and your Golden Compass (because it's anti-Christ). Go out and find a copy of The Origin of Species, since I know good Christians like you wouldn't own a copy (after all, it contradicts the Bible and forwards scientific thinking). Bring your Qur'an and your Bhagavad Gita and, last but certainly not least, all of your Bibles that aren't the King James Version!

    The Amazing Grace Baptist Church in North Carolina is making me all warm and tingly inside with the feeling of nostalgia.

    Okay, sarcasm over.

    This is really happening. These deluded people are actually going to burn books to celebrate Halloween.

    Not only are they going the classic route with burning fantasy books and books by atheist authors and The Origin of Species, which is an absolute must to bring to your next church-sanctioned book-burning, but they are burning Bibles.

    This church is burning all Bibles that aren't the King James Bible, which, naturally, is the only true word of God.

    I wonder if these people know the story behind the King James Bible. In 1603, King James VI, son of Mary, Queen of Scots, came to power. He was viewed to be very liberal, as he strongly disliked the Geneva Bible's use of the word 'tyrant' as a synonym for 'king'.

    The Puritans literally met him halfway on his trip to take the throne so that they could ask him to make some changes, including having no rings exchanged at weddings and no kneeling before Christ. After meeting with a Puritan and Protestant representative, the King James Version was born, basically because James was tired of hearing people complain.

    From the KJB comes some of the most famous phrases, like “Eye for an eye”, “Ye of little faith”, and “Wolf in sheep's clothing”.

    There is nothing better about this version of the Bible, trust me. I have marked up copies of the KJB and a cheap version I was handed by a Gideon on Yom Kippur (Oh, the irony). Both have the same faults. Both of beautiful lines. Both fail in many ways.

    But think about it! These followers of Christ are burning books that attempt to turn people to his (intentionally not capitalized) path. With the amount of internal wars these people fight, its no wonder they can't land a punch in the battle with atheists.

    I'm sure this is exactly what their God wanted. He created us in his image, gave us the ability to create beauty, just so his followers would have well-decorated kindling.

    A book-burning in America.

    Ray Bradbury, cover your ears.

    I just hope Hitler doesn't notice. He might let out a little cheer, where that bastard is buried.

    Just to make it better, I hear that they are actually having a Barbecue afterwards. All I can hope is that they cook the chicken over the embers of free-speech, or at least bring some marshmallows.

    Monday, October 12, 2009

    An Indication That People Suck

    I have proof. Now, not all people are bad, not all people are evil, stupid, ignorant, bigoted, and self-centered, but I have proof that there are a lot of them.

    This story I am about to retell is not terribly new, but I was just reminded of it and felt compelled to prove that people are evil in many ways.

    There is a video game out there known as World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft is described as a "Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game". It involved a lot of people from around the world playing together and to achieve common goals. Often, people realize that they like playing together, and they will form "guilds", which often consist of hundreds of people that can become friends.

    One of these guilds had a member who fell terminally ill, and died. The members of his guild were all very close and were friends and grieved the loss of life in general, and the loss of their friend specifically. All his online-friends decided to have something similar to a memorial for him in the only way that they all could: online, in World of Warcraft.

    Is this idea odd sounding at first? Yes. But it is a genuine attempt to honor the memory of a friend and show him respect. There are good people out there.

    But, that would have been too easy.

    Apparently, news of this event spread through World of Warcraft, and an opposing guild got wind of it.

    So, while the group of friends was gathered to perform their version of a funeral, speaking with each other over an online voice-chat program so they could express their memories of their friend, the opposing guild swept in and interrupted the ceremony by killing all of their characters.

    Let me quickly recap that:

    1. Friend dies
    2. Friends organize to mourn his death
    3. Other people do the digital equivalent of breaking into a funeral and defecating on the corpse
    I can only hope that when these people are grandparents, if, in fact, these poor excuses for human beings should ever be fortunate enough to make it with a member of the opposite sex, and their grandchildren ask what they were like when they were younger, they look back and regret this action.

    But I know they won't. I know they probably forgot about it the next week. And I'm honestly not sure which is worse: the action, or the casual nature with which I am sure it was performed.

    The final detail about this story that I feel you should know is how other people have reacted to it. I first heard about this story from some one who thought it was hilarious, as have most people with whom I have discuss this event. When I question him as to what was so funny, he responded by explaining was geeky and lame the whole idea of the digital lament was.

    How silly of me. I forgot that simply because you believe some one behaved in an odd way, you have the right to ruin his attempt at mourning his friend's death.

    Saturday, September 26, 2009

    Rules for Dining Out

    Okay, people. I work at a restaurant, and it would seem most of you don't get it. You just don't. So, here are some instructions! Please learn them well, and add any that you see fitting.

    • When the host asks, "How are you tonight, folks?", the correct response is something along the lines of, "Fine, how are you?" It is not correct to simply say "Two for dinner" after someone has taken the effort to feign interest in you. Be kind, and fake it back.
    • Do not show up during the dinner rush with a party bigger than six people, without a reservation, and expect to be seated instantly. It won't happen.
    • If you make the choice to go to a smoking restaurant, don't bitch about the smoke. You have free will and can go elsewhere.
    • You take the table the host gives you. Period. Don't ask if you can have that booth instead. If he put you there, it was for a reason.
    • Along this same vein, don't request a four top if you have only two people. You don't need it, but a table coming in later with four people will. Don't be selfish.
    • In general, don't request a table. It screws up server rotation. The food is the same, the company is the same, why do you need that table in the left corner over the table in the right corner?
    • For the love of God, don't change tables in the middle of your meal unless you have a damned fine reason. Most restaurants function in server sections, and it's likely that you will be changing sections. Don't do it.
    • If you choose to sit outside, don't complain about bugs. What do you expect the server to do? Call God and ask him to make the bugs stop bothering you?
    • If you aren't ready to order, say so! Don't say you are ready and then force the server to stand there for three minutes waiting for you to make your decision. The server is busy and doesn't want to have to watch you make your decision that you already indicated you had made.
    • If you say you have four people in your party, don't have more than four show up. It's rude, and often difficult to adjust.
    • Don't ask your server what's in a dish that clearly has the description on the menu, otherwise he will assume you are stupid.
    • Don't try to engage your server in a long discussion when he is obviously busy. His income depends on making people happy, and that includes all the other people he is dealing with, not just you. Remember: we don't really care.
    • Don't flag down your server by waving your check in the air. If the server isn't at your table, there's a reason. They waited on you for the whole meal, you can wait on them for five minutes.
    • Don't ask your server to break a Benjamin if your check is only $13. 
    • Tip at least 18%. The concept of 15% for good service and 20% for great service is outdated. Servers are making almost all of their income off of tips, and need 20% at least to make a dent in their student loans, rent, car payments, etc.
    This is not inclusive all of the rules, but these are some of the ones that, if followed, will make your server not hate you. And that's important.

    Sunday, September 20, 2009

    ACORN and Prositution. How 'bout them nuts?

    Being a liberal, many of my not-so-liberal friends insist on asking me, "Well, what do you think about what's been going on with ACORN?" They say it as if one liberal organization acting poorly shows that all liberal organizations are wrong. Now, I may be attacked here by some who know me well, because this same type of argument is often used to discredit religion. However, to digress slightly, killing people who believe differently is not the same as telling some one how to get away with a crime, and it certainly isn't limited to just one religion that has done this.

    Anyway, back to ACORN. I'm torn.

    On the one hand,. I hope to be a lawyer some day, and thus respect the law, even when it's wrong.

    However, this mistake of some of ACORN's members does not discredit the institution as a whole. The Association of Community Organization for Reform Now (ACORN) fights for better healthcare, lower-income housing and wages, neighborhood safety, voter registration, education, and much more, advocating for the lower end of the financial and social spectrum. The organization's goals are just.

    But, my main qualm with this entire issue with the videos, which were made in a fashion that would make Michael Moore blush, is very different from what I have heard voiced so far. The videos show two activists, pretending to be a pimp and prostitute, getting advice on how to circumvent the law in order to start a brothel.

    I am in no way saying to was right for the ACORN members to give advice as to how to beat the law. However, prior to my getting to my main rant, let me pose a question to those of you who are upset by the video and at ACORN:

    How many times have you been driving, on the street or on the highway, well over the speed limit? Let's say, going 70mph on a 55mph highway. Now, how many times have you been going 70, seen a cop staked out a hundred feet ahead, and pressed on your break to take your speed to a more reasonable level? Do you know what you did every time you did that? You found a way to do something illegal without getting punished. You worked around the law. You circumvented the law.

    And, honestly, more harm has come from speeding than from prostitution: accidents, life-altering injuries, death. However, if you were to ask someone, "How can I speed and not get caught", one of the first things people would say would be to slow down if you see a cop. Actually, most people wouldn't say that, because it's so obvious. But we sell radar devices that help drivers to know when a police officer is around, so that that person can avoid the law. Does this not seem like a double standard to anyone else?

    Now, to my main rant. Though the ACORN members were wrong to give advice as to how to illegally conduct prostitution, I don't feel prostitution should be illegal in the first place. Allow me to make a short list of things that would happen if prostitution were legalized:

    • It would eliminate pimps
    • There would be fewer rapes
    • There would be fewer beatings
    • There would be fewer murders
    • There would be fewer STDs transmitted
    • The entire institution could be taxed
    There would be no pimps, because the pimps are just the drug dealers of sex; the elimination of the pimps eliminates a lot of crime.

    If brothels were legalized nationally, as it is in Nevada, the rapes involved with prostitution would drop sharply. At the moment, the rapes are almost never reported, because that would involve the woman admitting to being a prostitute. This would not be an issue if it were legalized. Not only that, but brothels would have security, just to increase the safety further. This is the same reason that beatings and murders would both decrease.

    As for STDs, the brothels in Nevada are clean and provide contraception (and require it). The prostitutes go through regular tests, from general STD to HIV specific tests.

    Now, the best part, my republican friends: it could all be taxed, both the purchase and the income of the women. And these women make good money, which means good money for the government. As was said once in "Boston Legal" concerning the legalization and taxation of prostitution, "Legalize prostitution. Support our troops."

    Here's the list of bad things that would happen if it were legalized:

    Oh, wait. Nothing bad would happen. It would piss off the religious right, which I almost put on the list of advantages. People would have more sex. How terrible.

    Legalize prostitution, protect women, support sex, support our troops.

    Thursday, September 17, 2009

    Italian/Catholic Joke

    A old Italian woman walks into a Cathedral, kneels, and begins to pray with her rosaries.

    On the level above her, Giovanni and his friend, Mario, see the old woman, and Mario says, “Hey, Giovanni, let's have some fun.” So, Mario calls in a deep voice, “Hello, down there. This is God.”

    The old woman doesn't look up, but instead keeps praying.

    “Hello, down there,” Mario tries again.

    “You don't know how to do it, let me show you how it's done,” Giovanni says. He cups his hands to his mouth and says in a deeper voice, “Hello, down there. This is the voice of God.”

    The old woman looks up and says, “Shut up, I'm talking to your momma.”

    The Creation Museum, part I

    The Museum of Modern Art, The National Museum of Natural History, The National Museum of the American Indian; this is just a short sample of some museums that can be found in The United States. Since a young age, I have been aware of the difference that museums can make in one's life, as I was raised in Saint Louis, where I was graced with several free museums, such as the Saint Louis Art Museum. For this reason, when my father moved to Kentucky, one of the first things I researched was the museums in the area. When typing in the words “Kentucky” and “museum” into my internet's search engine, the second result that came up was “The Creation Museum”.The museum had no website at the time, but it was made clear that it would focus on the origins of life, with fossils, a number of well-known scientists, and exhibits to explain life to younger children. This museum is dedicated to explaining the origins of life and of the universe.

    It has been over two years since I first read about the museum, and I am now returning to see what it has become. Going onto the The Creation Museum's website, the first logical course to learn about the institution is the page entitled “About Us”. The website proclaims proudly “Be prepared to experience history in a completely unprecedented way”. This statement in and of itself derives a number of questions, all of which stem off of the primary question of in what way will the experience be “unprecedented”? Is it because of the research that has been done, the size of the museum, or the special effects of the exhibits?

    The museum seems dedicated to the pursuit of the natural histories, as it supposedly offers “an exceptional fossil collection, and a mineral collection”. An opposition to the claims of a remarkable, historical experience soon becomes visible, as the website discusses how a visitor can “see the scaffolding, smell the freshly-cut timbers in the busy work site of Noah's Ark” and visit the Garden of Eden, where “children play and dinosaurs roam”. These two examples seem provide a contradiction to both the previous statements concerning historical accuracy and even the title of a museum, especially one that wishes to focus on the origins of life. The website even says that it illuminates “the effects of biblical history”. This particular web page is filled with terms that one would not expect in a truly historical museum that intends to discuss life's scientific origins: “sin”, “Creation” “the Bible”, “The Tree of Knowledge”, and “Adam and Eve”.

    The Creation Museum sounds like its focus is on biological history, but it is really about forwarding the Bible's message.

    Those who come to The Creation Museum are expected to have a greater desire for learning about the word of the Bible than the history of the Earth, universe, and of life. Those who attend The Creation Museum are overwhelmingly “New Earth Creationists”, those who believe that the Earth is 6,000 years old, that man was created by God, and that evolution is incorrect. This can be seen by following the links on the “About Us” page of the museum's website. All of the four links lead to a page of the website “Answers in Genesis”; due to the museum's heavy reliance on this organization, it is important to follow those links and see what that reveals.

    It turns out that Ken Ham, founder of The Creation Museum, is also the founder of Answers in Genesis, which reveals where Mr. Ham believes the real answers can be found. Near the top of the page is a picture of Darwin with the words “200 lost years”, attempting to reduce the credibility of Darwin's theory and those which arose from that. Above that is the quotation “Believing it. Defending it. Proclaiming it.” This is the Mission Statement of Answers in Genesis and of The Creation Museum. Any who came to the museum with the intent of learning about life's origins would be disappointed, for the only time evolution is mentioned is in the attempt to discredit it.

    Answers in Genesis's website even encourages its visitors to sign “The Creation Letter Project”, which ends with “We the undersigned affirm the truth of a Biblical, literal 6-day Creation....Evolution is a lie which undermines both Biblical authority and the foundational basis of the Gospel.” Though this statement is not directly on The Creation Museum's website, it is heavily associated with this organization and opens the door widely for Answers in Genesis to push its message.

    In order to determine how much the museum reflects the views of its founder, Mr. Ham, I returned to the museum's homepage. The first thing I noticed that seemed to provide a contradiction was an advertisement for “new biology workshops with Dr. David Menton”, a former Associate Professor Emeritus at Washington University's School of Medicine, a fact which is advertised often on the museum's website. Dr. Menton's workshops are meant to focus on the human anatomy, skeletal structure, and senses.

    On the schedule for events for the museum, along with this workshop, are a number of events concerning Darwin, such as “The Science of Darwin's Evolution” and “The Origin of Species: Was Darwin Right?” At a museum that has exhibits of Noah's Ark and shows “the sacrificial Lamb on the cross”, it is doubtful that Darwin will receive a fair trial. The Creation Museum uses 'big-name' scientists and the advertisements for biological workshops as a facade to make their attempt to preach the Gospel appear scientific.

    An important aspect of any object to consider, especially one like a museum, is the reaction that people end up having to it. While discussing this issue with my father, a substitute teacher at a school district in rural Kentucky, he relayed this story to me. He was discussing dinosaurs with the class and mentioned how long ago a number of them went extinct. A girl raised her hand and said that it was impossible for dinosaurs to have gone extinct millions of years ago, due to the fact that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. The reason that scientists disagree with that fact, according to the grade-schooler, is because they need to make money, and the easiest way to do that is to say something new, even if it means lying with things such as carbon-dating.

    This is the exact reaction that designers of The Creation Museum seems to desire. This can clearly be seen in two ways, even if one were to limit himself to looking at the “About Us” page. First, the catering to children and whole families is apparent on this page due to the number of items they have directly aimed at children, including the ability to “saddle up on our triceratops and have their picture taken with a dinosaur”. This initially appears to be an innocent enough gag, but after remembering that the Garden of Eden exhibit shows children and dinosaurs living next to each other, it becomes clear that this is more than a simple attraction: it is an attempt to reinforce the idea of humans and dinosaurs living together, perhaps to the extent that human rode dinosaurs.

    Another feature that elicits the type of reaction that the grade-schooler had can be seen within the advertisement for the “Dragon Hall Bookstore”. It says that the bookstore includes “technical books (including Bible dictionaries and reference books)”. Typically, when one visits a museum that advertises lectures in biology, including the skeletal structure and nervous system, one would expect that any “technical books” would be along the lines of biological science, not “Bible dictionaries”. By having scientists, “technical books”, and God next to each other, all preaching the same message of Creationism and anti-evolution, the museum elicits a very specific reaction. Those who disagree with the science presented at The Creation Museum are not only presented as wrong, but also anti-God, and thus inherently wrong. The proof for this can be seen back at the parent website, Answers in Genesis.

    In an article discussing Darwin, it is stated that “It has often been assumed that Darwin started off as a Bible-believing Christian who later rejected his faith because of the scientific discoveries he had made. Nothing could be further from the truth.” The entire rest of the article is spent focusing on evidence that Charles Darwin and his father were atheist, thus, in the mind of the author, proving that Darwin was wrong. This is a theme of the museum as a whole, and a reaction that it creates: if someone states something that goes against the Gospel, they are against God, and anyone against God is against the truth. The primary topic that is discussed within the museum is the argument between evolution and creationism, but the principle presented can applied to any scientific debate.

    When one who believes in God is presented with the problem of choosing between God and science, and being forced to chose one, the faith often overrules the science. This is tactic of The Creation Museum; it presents two alternatives: God and science. Often, the option of God is presented alongside pseudoscience, the only purpose of which is to forward the Bible's message or simply to present the image of a scientific institution. The Creation Museum attempts to discredit modern science by giving its viewers the choice between God and science, thus forcing discussion of the Bible into the science class and casting doubt on anything that disputes the Bible, all the while hiding behind a facade  of being a scientific institution.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Charles Darwin film 'too controversial for religious America'

    Good God.

    Really? Really, America?

    A film on Darwin's life is too contraversial, and thus won't be shown in America?

    I will not get into the whole evolution vs. Creationism problem right now, but I will say this: according to a Gallop poll, 39% of Americans believe in evolution. Discuss.

    foolish out, for now.

    Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    Who Hates the First Amendment More? Lefties or Righties?

    This issue is one that we often hear, framed more in the way of a statement rather than a question, and one that has particular importance to me. The First Amendment is my favorite Amendment: I would put in on the list of the modern Wonders of the World; I would build a church devoted to it and become a member of First Amendmentism.

    But far too often is this amendment limited.

    Now, I framed this issue by way of a question rather than a statement, due to the fact that both sides have had some issues with it: graphic language in music, violence in movies and video games, etc. Both sides seem to agree that those are bad, for some reason, which I am sure I will rant about later. But, the question still remains: who hates it more?

    In an attempt to answer this, I will offer some anecdotal evidence.

    I recently moved back into college, an experience which I hope never again to tackle singlehandedly. Anyway, in the process, when going to pickup my computer from home, I encountered a large protest group gathered outside the offices of our state's senators. They had signs like "Leave My Healthcare Alone" and the infamous "Don't Tread on Me".

    Opposite this group, on a matching patch of grass separated by a U-Turn route, were ten to fifteen other individuals, dressed up like the Monopoly Man.

    So, seeing as how I have a hard time passing up opportunities such as this, I rushed over to the local Walgreens, which luckily was only five minutes away, picked up a large piece of poster-board and a permanent marker, and began to write my sign.

    I quickly drove back to near where the protest was happening, parked in a slightly shady part of the neighborhood, and, literally, ran over.

    Slightly out of breath, I crossed the road to the anti-reform camp, and asked politely, "Mind if I join you?"

    "Come on in!" "Welcome!" "How's it going?" Quite a polite bunch.

    I then faced the politicians' office and held up my sign:

    "We have absolutely no idea what we're talking about."

    I was standing in front of the majority of the protesters, so it took them a while to notice, by which I mean fifteen seconds. Soon, I was getting shoved, jeered, and had a woman attempt to cover my sign with her sign (luckily, she was only about 5' 2").

    In response to these jeers, I quoted my right to "peacefully assemble", to which the little woman responded that her covering up my sign was doing the exact same thing.

    I had not been standing there for more than thirty seconds before a man standing next to me called over the police who were standing nearby.

    "Could you please make him move to the other side of the street?"


    "Get a move on," the officer said. "Just follow the rules," the guy behind me said.

    The rules? Separate but equal protesting? Why did I need to be separated from these people? I had no intention of getting violent, no means of becoming violent, and certainly no chance of success when outnumbered 150-1 with police standing nearby. Who was going to get violent?

    I didn't "get a move on". I repeated my right provided to me by the First Amendment. I had no intention of getting violent, but I did intend on assembling. This is my favorite part.

    While I was attempting to settle my disagreement with the police officer, one of the people standing behind me, a "righty", pushed me. He pushed me hard enough to send me stumbling into the street, not twenty yards away from an incoming vehicle.

    Had that driver been sending a text message, or had I fallen completely, I could have died.

    After dusting myself and watching the police officer send the man away from the protest, I joined the other counter-protesters across the street, who were dressed as millionaires in an ironic depiction of the opposition's view (to quote one of their signs, "I have my healthcare, I don't care if you do").

    During my stint on this side of the street, a woman came over and told us how wrong our views were. We listened, disagreed, and provided our reasons. She stayed until she left of her own free will.

    We had to be separated because our views would have resulted in violence against us. According to the police officer that I spoke to later, it was their only way of guaranteeing the peace.

    During the Vietnam War, protesters gathered to express their opinion the violence and killings. These protesters were called un-American, were refused employment, were told to "love it or leave it". This was from the Right-Wing.

    Does the left side of the aisle have its fair share of attempts to undermine freedom of speech? Yes. Have college students been bawdy at conservative speeches? Yes.

    Have those conservative speakers still been allowed to speak? Yes. Were they pushed in front of cars? No. Were they called un-American? No. Were the told to "love it or leave it"? No.

    I will not answer my own title question. I will simply submit my evidence. The answer should seem clear. If it doesn't, please voice it.

    foolish out.

    All The Foolish People

    Monday, September 14, 2009

    Socialism, Barack Obama, and the Easter Bunny

    Not too terribly long ago, I was driving down the road and saw a large group of people standing outside of a small shop, large yellow flags in their hands reading “Don't Tread On Me”.

    I had an appointment to keep, so I kept on driving. When I came to the corner of that very same street, I saw a man, on stilts, dressed as Uncle Sam and holding a sign directing people to the “Tea Party”. I am bright enough to make the connection between the two things that I had seen in quick succession.

    But I had an appointment to keep, so I decided to keep driving. But something started to eat at me about the whole situation, so I turned the car around and searched for a parking spot for five minutes.

    I eventually got out of the car with my sunglasses on, for it was a bright summer day. I walked to where I had previously seen the large group of people, which was now even larger.

    At first I simply observed, reading the signs that people were holding and looking at the people themselves. Eventually I leaned over to the gentleman standing next to me and said, “I'm just here as an observer, so what are we protesting exactly?”

    A few of the people standing near the gentlemen chuckled, and he responded, “Last week, when we were protesting, the union we were speaking out against got violent with us, so that's why we're here today.”

    That is perfectly reasonable.

    “If you're here protesting the violence of a union, why does that guy have a sign that says 'Yes to Capitalism, No to Socialism'?” It seemed a valid question.

    “Well,” the gentleman responded, “that's what we were protesting last week.”

    I nodded. “Okay, so what exactly are you protesting this week?”


    Okay, I now understood what was really going on.

    “So,” I asked, steeling myself, “what exactly is wrong with Socialism?”

    The gentleman with whom I was speaking, in addition to those around him, all laughed at me as if I were a child that was confused as to why the toy phone didn't call anyone but Elmo. “You tell me,” he responded.

    This irritated me. I asked him to defend his position, or ostensibly his position, and instead he was asking me to do it for him.

    “Okay, well, Medicare, public schools, taxes, and the GI Bill are all quite Socialist --” I was interrupted before I could finish.

    “Medicare is bunk,” he exclaimed, as if that answered anything.

    “All right, well what about public schools, then?”

    Again, that smug laugh. “Well, you tell me how you think public school are doing.” This drew a laugh from his comrades.

    Again, he did not answer my bloody question.

    “Even at their worst,” I said, calmly, “they provide the opportunity for children to get an education who might not otherwise have had the chance. There are also many cases in which public schools are more successful than private schools.”

    They simply laughed.

    I wondered whether they had attended private or public schools.

    “What about the GI Bill?” I asked.

    They had no idea what it was, and I did not have the patience to explain it to them.
    This is, to the best of my memory, and accurate representation of what occurred at that road-side protest.

    This is, to the best of my knowledge, representative of the majority of people who call out 'Socialist' whenever they see Obama.

    Our governmental system takes advantage of many of the successful aspects of Socialism, of which there are a few. Much in the same way does it use Capitalism, for our economic system is not pure Capitalism. A system founded on one precept alone is bound to fail.

    We humans, as organisms, have evolved (fact), and so have our political and economic systems. Initially there were the absolute systems, such as Monarchies and pure Democracies. However, eventually people began to use what worked from each system, and thus they evolved into concepts such as Constitutional Monarchies. Our economic system works in the same way.

    A little interesting fact concerning Capitalism and Socialism involved Obama's proposition for a Public Option in terms of Health Care. An inordinate amount of people feel, or have told that they should feel, that this is Socialist. But perhaps a little information will help to clear up this issue.

    Capitalism requires competition, hearkening back, once more, to evolution. With competition, the successful and best suited to survive will continue on, getting stronger and better and smarter. With President Obama's Public Option, this competition would once more be entered into the equation of health insurance.

    For so long, at least since the early 20th century, the major health care insurers have no had a great deal of competition, and thus have no always had to provide the best, because people would either get insurance from their job, from them, or from no one.

    Now, if Obama's plan were to be put into action, all Americans would be required to get health insurance. This can involve keeping their current plan, buying a new one from a privately owned insurance company, getting worker's insurance, or taking advantage of the public option.

    With one of the choices being affordable and backed by the United States Government, the privately owned companies are going to have to shed some weight if they want to survive: get rid of the unnecessary charges, ditch the regulations such as denying coverage to those with preexisting conditions and dumping people after they develop a serious condition. With these changes, health insurance companies will be cheaper, more efficient, and more fair, or they will fail.

    This is Capitalism, not Socialism.

    Now, it feels like I'm forgetting something...oh, yes! The Easter Bunny! Well, that's simply to say that if after reading all this, and getting any sort of formal education, you still believe Barack Obama is a Socialist, then you might as well believe that I am the Easter Bunny. You're just as correct.

    foolish out.

    Sunday, September 13, 2009

    FailFest, 2009

    This week, thousands of protesters gathered at the nation's capital in order to, according to their own testimony, protest the Obama Administration's actions in general and the fact that the government is too large for their taste. A number of people carried protest signs, many brought their children, pets, and lawn chairs. It was more like a carnival than an organized protest.

    Allow me to explain why I describe this as a "FailFest", and say that it is perhaps the largest one of the year, not counting Jonas Brothers concerts.

    Starting from the top: the protest of the Obama Administration's actions. What are they protesting? The increase in scientific funding, or perhaps the fact that detainees that had previously been determined to be held without trial for life will now get the chance to challenge their sentence, or maybe the significant steps that he has taken towards saving our economy from crumbling to the ground.

    Ah, I remember now, many of them said that they are protesting the large amount of government funding. I remember hearing an interview with one teenager who said something along the lines of "You only have a successful economy if you are taking in more than you are spending."

    Now, by the time Bush left office, we had a national deficit. If I'm not mistaken, that means that you have spent more than you were taking in. Where were these protesters then? I know that people were protesting Bush's actions, but it was not these people. The majority of these protesters were okay with Bush spending enormous amounts of money on useless wars, but are somehow against Obama doing it in order to stabilize our country's economy.

    Want another interesting fact? Do you know what causes a recession? **looks both ways** People not spending enough money. That's right. All of you who heard about the failing economy and so decided to stash your money underneath your mattress (I am not using this as a figure of speech; people actually did this) worsened our economy. The only way to get us out of this problem is to stimulate the economy. You know how we do that? I'll give you a hint: it doesn't involve a French Tickler. You spend money.

    Something else that no one really mentions: the major items that Obama has spent money on have not resulted in a single death. No innocents were killed when he increased funding to our economy; no American soldiers had to go fight and die in order to stimulate our economy.

    Now, some more issues with this little protest: the signs. A number of the signs included the "TEA Party" thing, which some people say stands for "Taxed Enough Already". I want to know how many of these people are in the upper 5% of the economic ladder. Because 95% of Americans have lower taxes, but most don't notice. Unlike previous attempts, it didn't come in the form of a single lump sum, but rather small increases on paychecks. Now, why did Obama do it this way? Well, when you hand someone a $5,000 check, a lot of people will go out and buy a flat-screen TV or a car, which is great. But when people get an additional $10 a week or month, even if they don't notice it, it lets them pay for their groceries, put some more away for a child's college fund, and pay for health insurance. This is the smart way to help people sort out their lives.

    Another issue I have with the "TEA Party" slogan is the reference to the Boston Tea Party, which was due to the fact that the people were taxed without representation. However, the American people (with one small exception) have representation. We elect the state and national levels of Congress, and the president. Simply because the person you like didn't win does not mean you don't have representation. So, unless these people live in Washington, DC, their claim is bunk.

    This does not even begin to scratch the surface as to why these people fail, but it is the most my heart can take right now. If I offended you, good. Write back with a well thought out reply, and see if you can avoid insults any stronger than the one I used, which, unless I am mistaken, was limited to saying that these people 'fail'.

    General Statements and Goals

    Thank you, whoever you are, for reading this. Herein lies my warnings about what this blog will be:

    1. Offensive to someone
    2. Thoughtful
    3. Equal Opportunity
    4. Encouraging of intelligent conversation
    5. Uncensored (by which I mean cursing is allowed)
    6. At times will include random acts of stupidity, both on my part and on that of others
    7. An area for creative expression, including short stories and poetry
    8. Intolerant of useless hatred of people, due to their gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. Please, if you're going to insult some one, do it creatively: "You son of a motherless goat", for example.
    This list, naturally, does not include everything that I intend for this blog to be. Upon first starting, it will mostly be about my views on politics, people, and life, however, if all goes according to plan, it will eventually become more about you, the participant.

    I have very few requests of those who wish to respond to my blogs and the comments left therein, but here is one that I do have: please avoid text message style acronyms, by which I mean 'lol', 'omg', 'g2g', etc. May I suggest an alternative to the all too common 'lol' with a substitution of 'hahaha'. It's more honest, after all.

    If you post on this blog with an obviously thoughtless post, or useless in terms of the conversation ("You're wrong"), do not be surprised if I do something about this.

    Anyway, welcome to All The Foolish People. I am one of them, and so are you.