Month: September 2015

Merry New Job Eve…… oh boy

Having the unfortunate luck of having a mild cold on the eve of a new job, I was reflecting last night on my life to this point.  There have been several major milestones in my life that are easily recalled and thought about in vivid detail.  Graduating High School, getting my first real job, getting my first promotion, meeting my future wife and then getting married, buying my first house, having a daughter, etc.  I started thinking about everything as chapters in a book that isn’t finished yet.  I have not had anything earth shattering or life changing compared to anyone else and my book of life would be rather boring honestly.  Anyway, it was interesting none the less.

Thinking about my new job, a deviation from anything in my career thus far, I suddenly started feeling nervous about this new chapter.  I’m prepared, more so than other times, to start this job from day one.  No break in period or kicking the figurative tires.  They need me to start being productive and effective almost immediately.  The thought of trying to figure out my place while at the same time showing I already know my place is a little frightening.  I’ve never had to do that in any previous position I’ve started as I brought experience and knowledge to the table.  That was the reason I got hired.  This job is the first job in my life that I was hired because of my personality and demeanor rather than my technical knowledge or background.  Scary realization time!

What....what the hell?
What….what the hell?

I’m assured by the people soon to be my co-workers that I’m going to be successful at whatever I do.  Do they have to say that?  This is what I’m thinking most of the time when I hear things like that.  I’m my own worst critic and often will beat myself up more than anyone else.  It’s my way of learning from my mistakes, but will unfortunately give a perception to others that is often negative.  I’ve worked on this aspect of my personality for years and have improved, but still tend to head down that rabbit hole.  My biggest fear though is that I won’t be able to keep up the extrovert exterior when I’m at my core an extreme introvert.  Only time will tell in that case I think.

Have my fingers crossed!

Pope out, peace!

Not an overtly religious person, I do respect and acknowledge that religion holds a significant importance for those that have strong faith.  I personally don’t believe that to have strong faith in something necessarily requires you to also be religious or anchor yourself to one particular religion.  I grew up Methodist, which is a progressive faith that is often adaptable to modern society but is rooted to a strong background that goes back to the birth of Christianity.  As I got older though, my faith is now largely based on the fact that I believe there is something there after we pass.  It is not tied to any one religion.

So many religions, who's right?
So many religions, who’s right?

I’m not really sure how many religions there are in the world being practiced today, but based on the graphic above, you have a healthy choice.  I’m still amazed at the fact that a symbol used by two major religions was perverted by the Nazi party leading up to World War II.  A post for a different day 🙂  The common theme among most religions is the fact that not following the teachings of said religion is an indicator that you’re going to be doomed to the “hell” as defined by said religion.  If you logically think about that, we’re all doomed to the “hell” described by every religion that we don’t align with and follow.  I chose to follow my own faith based on my own observations and conversations with faith based friends and family.

Pope Francis in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

As the world already knows, Pope Francis was hanging out in a few cities in the United States this past weekend.  I watched some of the show on television this weekend, but wasn’t moved to the point where I absolutely had to watch.  I have strong opinions about the Catholic religion personally and don’t worry, I’m not going there with this post.  Opinion aside, I do respect Pope Francis quite a lot as he seems to be a very forward thinking and logical individual.  Both qualities I find endearing in other people.  His views on multiple topics have allowed me to respect the man and see past the fact he’s the leader of the Catholic Church.

What's up dude!
What’s up dude!

How can you condemn a man that is so fiercely about the people?  I know I can’t without good conscience.  What rubs me the wrong way with religion in general is how people pervert and rationalize their actions in the name of the God they follow.  It goes back to this post where it shows all it takes is one person to convince a few people before it becomes a mob mentality.  David Koresh is a perfect example of this.  Pope Francis, although progressive, is bound by a tradition set forth centuries ago and walks a tight line between two worlds very carefully.  It’s no wonder the man is so exhausted.

Religion vs. State

I’m sure most of you know about the woman who denied same sex marriage certificates based on her faith.  She’s a public servant meaning that religion (church) and state should not be mixed.  As an elected official, she is bound by the Constitution of the United States, that very clearly explains a separate of church and state.  We fled and ultimately declared independence from a country where religion was closely integrated with state affairs.  How is it that after more than 200 years, we’ve devolved back to what we originally fled from in the first place?

I’m incensed when I hear or see religion being touted by elected officials or candidates in the running for office.  There is no place for it, at least not openly.  Religion is a staple of our lives and I’m OK with that.  What I’m not okay with is the fact that religion has been used recently to justify actions.  Case in point, the woman denying certificates to same sex couples has herself been married and divorced several times.  Her faith is very clear on this and condemns these actions, yet, this same religion is what she uses to justify her actions as a civil servant.  Elected officials who lean on religion as a justification to not do their jobs should be removed.

Tech Monday: 3D Computer Chips

Ok, I’m going to try and keep up with a weekly thing based on one of my core passions:  technology.  I read a lot of techy stuff on the Internet that truly is fascinating and exciting because we’re living the future we dreamed about 25 years ago.  Anyway, here we go.

3D Computer Chips Could Be 1,000 Times Faster Than Existing Ones

Some sort of non-technical background

The CPU (Central Processing Unit) in your fancy thinking box has been of the same fundamental design for almost 50 years now.  The only difference between versions has been smaller components and improved manufacturing techniques of the transistors that make up the core of a CPU.  Murphy’s Law states that “Every 18-24 months technology will get smaller and faster” or something to that affect.  We’re now at a point where that law won’t hold true unless there is development into a new methodology of design and manufacturing.  Below is a picture of current 2D CPU technology, the yellow rectangle indicates the actual footprint of the CPU.  Chip size is dictated by the components required to receive/transmit data from the computer board its connected to.  Intel just released their 5th generation chips by the way 🙂

Intel 4th Gen Core i7
Intel 4th Gen Core i7

Attempt at a non-technical description of 3D CPU’s

A 3D CPU relies on what is called a carbon nano-tube [CNT].  These CNT’s will conduct electricity in the same manner as a standard copper connection making them an ideal application in this case.  A standard CPU, being silicon based, requires 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit to manufacture properly limiting the materials that can be used in its construction.  A CNT processor does not require nearly as much heat allowing for additional materials to be utilized during construction.  In essence manufacturers are able to stack layers, like floors in a building, that connected via small wires.  You can think of those wires as stairwells or elevators in a building.

The ability of the CNT to process data internally without having to reach out to external storage devices as often provides for a massive increase in speed with a significant decrease in power consumption.  As you add more power to the CNT to get closer to that of a standard CPU, speed increases of over 1,000 times are witnessed.  CNT technology is still in early development and prototype units are still large and bulky and inefficient.  As the hurdles associated with manufacturing are solved, the theory is that speeds unattainable with current technology will be realized.  Below is a theoretical design of a possible CNT CPU.

A three-story CNT based CPU
A three-story CNT based CPU

What it means for us

The applications of a CNT 3D CPU are endless.  I can see a CNT designed to match the current processing power of a Core i7 that is only 20% of the size.  A reduction in the CPU leaves more room for a larger battery or a thinner device.  Smartphones are largely size locked due to their screen size, however there is nothing stopping someone from designing a metal chassis for a new phone that is half the thickness of an iPhone 6 (6.9mm or 0.27inches).

A desktop computer with a solid state hard drive could have a boot time of 1-2 seconds from power button push to usability.  That computer could render graphics or crunch large data sets (AutoCAD, graphic design, etc.) in 25% of the time that is currently needed.  It could be packed with environmental sensors that report air quality, humidity, temperature, light levels, operating conditions, etc. all natively without affecting performance for the rest of the system.

The truth here is that we are only limited by our imagination to invent applications of this new technology.  Just watch out for signs that SkyNet is becoming self aware and preparing to take over our world with machines!

To be social or not to be social? That is the question.

I get asked a lot about my social media habits being in the Information Security field.  Generally, they revolve around security and privacy and what I do to keep things protected in a world that seemingly gets hacked all the time.  I see social media as more of a bother than something useful, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a Facebook or LinkedIn account.  I’ve even given Google+ and Twitter a spin just to realize they were a tremendous waste of time.  Being the private person that I am, social media presents a complicated problem that after several years still is not completely understood.


Everyone knows what it is.  Even my Mom has a Facebook [FB] account.  No, I’m not friends with my Mom.  Before you tell me that isn’t a nice thing to do, let me explain first.  I see Facebook as an extension of my circle of personal friends (more acquaintances) only in a digital form.  There isn’t a single person on my friends list that I have not at least got to

Yes, its a real phone!
Yes, its a real phone!

know in person first.  I’ve had a FB account for almost 8 years and only have 89 friends to my name.  I don’t see family fitting into my social life much in the way that you don’t take your Mom or sibling on a date with your wife.  Therefore, I don’t have any family members listed in my friends listing.  I use email and this old school concept called “talking on the phone” because texting infuriates me (that’s another post topic for another day).

FB, for its intent and purpose, is a good model for sharing with people that you normally wouldn’t have contact with except on rare occasions.  One of my friends from high school lives in California and I haven’t seen him in person for about 5 years, but we stay in regular contact via FB.  The problem with FB, especially for younger people, is that it allows a pervasive anti-social behavior pattern to develop.  I’m sure you’ve seen the family out to dinner at a local diner, all with their phones in front of their faces, not talking to each other.  Further observation reveals that the children of the group are in fact texting each other while sitting next to each other.  Personally I see this as disturbing and an ominous trend of the current generation not being able to socialize without an electronic device.


I call this service the Facebook for Business [FBB] as it is catered to the business person to socialize and advertise themselves online to prospective employers and colleagues.  FBB is actually quite useful for my purposes as it provides the work-personal segregation that I fiercely support.  In fact, I would not be moving into a new job on Oct 1st if it weren’t for FBB as the recruiter found my profile and solicited me for the position.

I’ve supported people getting onto LinkedIn countless times in the past several years as I see its value clearly.  The more you detail your work history, obtain recommendations and advertise your accomplishments the easier it is for potential employers and recruiters to find your profile.  FBB requires a finesse to achieve a balance between base and high level detail so that you’re standing out in the crowd.  The fact there isn’t a ridiculous reliance on the social aspect FBB doesn’t have the same issues that FB has.

Social Balance

At the end of the day, you’re going to use social media so that it fits into your life style.  My life style doesn’t support FB, but does support FBB.  Others would see FBB as a waste of time and just another social media account to cultivate and keep up to date.  My use of FB is out of the necessity of keeping in touch with people that hold value in my life; it is NOT a replacement for physical socialization with family and local friends.  I find it to be a necessary evil that I utilize sparingly.  FBB on the other hand, is something that I log onto every day, tweak consistently and ensure is as precise as possible.  For every 9 solicitations from “linked in sharks” there is 1 solid lead that actually pans out to a real offer.  In my case, I was given that real offer.

Tread lightly into social media as it is the largest human experiment in history where no one knows anything about the conclusion.

Individuals are smart, people are stupid

Naked Security: Cyberbullying is worse than face-to-face bullying, teens say


I’ve talked about this before here and here.  It’s a topic I feel VERY strongly about having been bullied through my entire school career.  My daughter, who will be 9 in December, is most likely going to be bullied at some point in her school career as well.  There are some traits I can see will be topics for other children to point out and make fun of.  Both my wife and I are doing our best to raise her with self confidence and instill in her that she can manufacture her own strength.  That is a lesson in life that neither of us had when we were growing up.  We also didn’t have pervasive 24/7 technology driving our bullies over 20 years ago.

So, before anyone gets offended by the title, here is my explanation.  Individuals in this context are normal, intelligent and sane minded people that act on impulses with morality and knowing right from wrong.  They’re able to see a situation or problem, make judgements on the correct course of action, then act on those decisions.  People in this context are just the opposite of an individual.  People refers to a crowd of individuals that have lost the ability to think on their own, they’re following a slightly smarter individual that is empowered by the “people” behind them.  The thoughts and actions of people are justified if more than one person performs the unintelligent or insane action.  Mob mentality is what its referred to as in the news.

Lets steal some stuff then burn it down!
Lets steal some stuff then burn it down!

Explanation done, this same idea holds true online.  The consequences are much much worse however in that individuals that are targeted often are alone.  They feel alone, they are alone, no one is supporting them.  The article at the top goes into some detail, but I think fails in trying to address the root of the problem by using emojis that evoke compassion.  Really?  WTF is that about?  We are so afraid of offending someone or pissing off someone that we end up not being candid and blunt about the true nature of the problem.  Here is my theory.

  • Parents are partially to blame for not monitoring what their kids are doing online.  Growing up it was easy to keep tabs on a child.  Mom screamed out the door and we came running or we were home when the street lights came on.  Trouble, if caught, would easily be communicated.
  • Schools are partially to blame for not being tougher on the kids who do bully.  The schools are bound by ridiculous rules and policies that turn their discipline from a sword into a spork.  No one benefits from that.
  • Kids are partially to blame in that they’re not getting the right life lessons from people around them.  From age 7 to about 15, children are literally soaking up the world like a shop vac sucking water out of a basement.  What they see, do and hear shapes their decision processes for the rest of their lives.
  • Technology is partially to blame due to its pervasive ability to completely take over someones life.  We have, as a society, come to depend on our technology and are starting to lose the ability to function without it.  How many times have you asked someone for a phone number and heard back “it’s in my phone, which I don’t have right now.”

My wife and I are split on the technology front unfortunately.  I’ve had multiple computers and phones for years now due to my fierce separation of work and personal tech.  Work doesn’t need to know what I do on home time.  I don’t carry a phone on Sunday, not because I’m religious or anything, I just need to disconnect one day per week.  It supports my requirement for solitude.  My wife, mother in law, brother, etc. are all the same in their reaction:  “How can we get a hold of you if there’s an emergency?”  My response is always the same:  “The same way you would get a hold of me 20 years ago, leave a message.”  It’s received with mixed reactions.

I want my daughter to be exposed to technology, but on my terms.  I know there is absolutely horrible content on the Internet and I can’t shield her from all of it, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try and watch her activity daily.  My wife gives her the iPod and leaves her alone.  I give her the iPod and want to sit with her and watch what she does.  My wife lets her on the desktop to do math homework and leaves her alone.  I sit with her and watch what she does and helps when needed.  Technology for me is a tool and should be used as such.  You don’t carry around your hammer or wrench 24/7 so why should you carry around your smart phone 24/7?

I’ve digressed unfortunately, such is that of a random mind.  I hope that I’m giving my daughter the sense of safety that she can tell us anything that is bothering her so we can take the most appropriate actions to help her.  I’m aware that our involvement in her life will be more and more unwelcome, but that doesn’t mean that I stop helping her.  It’s just a shift in helping to something indirect rather than direct, such as a meeting with the Principal after hours as I did two weeks ago.  I hope that my daughter never experiences bullying or cyberbullying, but the reality is that she will.

It needs to stop and it starts with awareness and an individual to counter the decision of people.

What’s the deal with “Freshly Pressed” anyway?


I probably visit this page two to three times per week.  I find inspiration to write by reading what others in the blogging community find interesting or note worthy.  I was asked by a close friend which service I use to blog, to which I answered WordPress.  They lit up and asked if I could share my screen name so they could follow me, to which I replied “No.”  I don’t share this with people I know in real life.  After explaining to them why I wouldn’t share, they seemed ok.  Their next question was “have you ever been freshly pressed?” and I again responded “No.”

To be honest, I have no clue how those entries are chosen to be splashed for the millions of WordPress bloggers to read.  Seeing a blog go from two digit followers to three and four digit followers is a scary and daunting thought.  I troll other blogs like a sketchy character in the dark as I’m very picky about who I follow and what I comment on.  I’m not a fan of the “nice post” and “good read” commenters out there as I don’t really think they actually read anything.  Why comment if all you’re going to do is give the electronic version of a thumbs up?  It’s similar to that guy or girl at a party that makes sure to say “Hi” to everyone but ends up leaving the party early because there isn’t any substance to back up the “Hi”.

Liquid Health
Liquid Health

I hear “freshly pressed” and immediately think of something like the juice I’ve been making for months now.  Damn good juice I might add.  My body went through a “what the hell are you putting in me” phase when I first started.  It definitely wasn’t pretty nor did it feel good. I imagine getting freshly pressed on WordPress to be a similar type of situation.  Shocking at first, doesn’t feel good, but after you get used to the idea and the real people stick around its easier to digest and keep up with the comments and posts.  My posting activity has definitely picked up recently as it has been more and more therapeutic to me.  I don’t write for anyone other than myself and that certainly wouldn’t change if I were, someday, to get freshly pressed.

Do I call attention to myself at this point, probably.  Doing a google image search for “freshly pressed” results in a crap load of pictures all related to WordPress.  I found the one below rather comical.  Visiting the blog that had this posted revealed a huge library of posts that were more than a few years old and obviously abandoned.  I wonder if the pressure of being freshly pressed drove them to insanity and forced blog abandonment.


My view on this whole freshly pressed thing is a bit pessimistic.  Although I have expressed wanting to be followed by more people, the other side of the coin has me thinking that it would take some of the wind out of my sails.  Being showcased to so many people would put me front and center on an electronic stage where I’m probably never going to be comfortable and suffer forever from writers block.  I liken my style of writing more to word vomit than anything really cohesive.  I see something I am interested in and decide to write about it.  I appreciate the bloggers that have a weekly thing, I often enjoy looking forward to them as well, however I could probably never keep something like that going for an extended period of time.

Just a random picture of an old timey iron I found interesting
Just a random picture of an old timey iron I found interesting

My philosophy of the “middle finger”

Driving on my way to work this morning, I was minding my own business in the right lane going around the speed limit.  This dude rolls up behind me and starts tailgating me for really no reason.  No one was in the left lane and me being the smart ass I truly am, I took my foot off the gas but did not hit the brake.  Coasting down by 5 MPH, this apparently enraged the guy behind me enough to flip on his high beams.  Still no one in the left lane, I continued to slow down and refused to hit the gas.  He then pulled next to me abruptly, matched my speed, and flipped me off with an amazing display of rage and anger.  I just turned my head, made eye contact then turned back to the road as he sped off down the road nearly taking off my front bumper.

My filter stopped working the day I turned 80 homie!
My filter stopped working the day I turned 80 homie!

What is it with people where they assume they’re better than someone else?  I think he was waiting for me to move out of his way because I didn’t want to go as fast as him.  Not really sure, but perhaps I’m inferior to him because I drive a Ford or he thought his Lexus gave him the right to be an asshole.  Who knows.  I’ve had many occasions in my past where flipping the middle finger was a natural and logically appropriate action, however reactions are varied.  Some just ignore it as I did this morning.  Others are inflamed by the act of being flipped off and become pink skin rage monsters.

I recall one such occasion, several years ago, where I was being tail gated by a motorcycle and he flashed his high beam at me to move over.  Being in the “going 75 in bumper to bumper traffic”, there was little I could do.  Seriously, could he go faster in my spot than he could in the spot behind me?  Anyway, he kept flashing his high beam at me and I finally put the window down and flipped him off.  Probably not the best decision I could make, but he backed off and moved to the lane next to me.  Pulling along side, he then motioned me to pull over so we could have a chat.  Yeah, right, I know what a “chat” means.  I wasn’t in any mood to convince someone that it was a bad idea to start a fight with me.  I kept driving.

This dude, on the motorcycle, managed to get in front of me and then started brake checking.  An idiot, on a motorcycle, is brake checking a 2 ton vehicle going 70-ish MPH down the highway…  Yeah, it really happened.  Again, smartass kicking in, I slowed down a little to put some space between us and then laid on the horn.  I kept on the horn for almost a mile as the people around me figured out why I was doing it.  In the end, he finally flipped me off (driving with one hand at that point) and took off through a break in traffic.

Several miles down the road, seeing police lights, it was the motorcycle driver pulled over getting a ticket for most likely speeding.  Being in the right lane and also a smart ass, I pulled over ahead of him and got out of the car with my hands held out to my sides.  I approached the police officer asking if I could speak with him quickly.  The guy on the motorcycle muttered something to the officer as he started walking towards me.  I proceeded to give the cop the story above, full detail, to which the officer was quite interested.  He scolded me for flipping off the motorcycle guy, but acknowledged that he would most likely have done the same thing if my place.  I’m not sure if he got additional citations, but I’m sure he did.  In the end, I think I won.

I'm crazier than you are, deal with it.
I’m crazier than you are, deal with it.

Microsoft going all-in with Windows 10 strategy

One Windows, many devices
One Windows, many devices

It’s been a bit since I last posted something geeky, and this is a good subject to geek out on I think.  In the last few months, I’ve installed Windows 10 in my laptop (production release) and on my HTC One M8 (pre-production release) and I’m starting to see the strategy come together.  Microsoft has united everything from a small budget phone to a 102″ smart television with a common code core.  What this means is that the core operating system, what makes things work, is unified on every device bring with it an experience unified across multiple platforms.

Comparing my laptop with my mobile, I can see that there is a striking similarity in function and appearance.  There are things I change on my laptop that carry over to my mobile device and vice versa.  This is a fundamental shift in how operating systems should work and a slap in the face to Apple and Google as its a 180 from their current strategies.  Apple has a different OS for the Apple iPhone that doesn’t work on the desktop, which run OSX with some animal name attached.  Google was similar until the latest release of Android, but that really never ran on desktops as Chrome OS was used on those.

Microsoft is all-in with a singular strategy to unite the 1.5 billion desktop OS users with the 3-5 million mobile users currently using Windows Phone.  The idea of the universal application is what is driving all of this to what I hope will be a successful strategy.  The universal application, in a sense, will run on every device running the core Windows 10 operating system transparent to the hardware.  Example:  Facebook application, written once as a universal application, will be the same functional experience on a phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, server.  The only difference between them is the screen size and underlying hardware (some will be faster, some will be slower, etc.)  The bottom line is that what you do one device, won’t need to be done again on any other device.

I personally like the idea of something that is so seamless.  I admit, I’m sort of a fanboy for Microsoft as their products work well for me.  I don’t push them like a minister of a cult and shun non-believers.  Rather, I encourage everyone who listens to just try out alternative products for more than 5 mins at the store.  Make your own decision as to what works well and what doesn’t.  In my own world, Android and Apple don’t work for me as well as Windows does, plain and simple.  I have an Outlook account, OneDrive, Office365, etc.  I’m invested in Microsoft products to the point where it would be hard for me to migrate to anything else.  It was my choice based on research despite my opinions for competing products.  My one peeve with people is that they don’t recognize other products out there.  Not everyone will find an Apple iPhone or latest and greatest Android the answer to their needs.  There are other choices and that is what I stress.

Only time will tell if Microsoft has made a good bet to unify things across all devices or will fail miserably and join the ranks of Amiga, Commodore, RIM/Blackberry, etc.  The future is going to be awesome never the less and I can’t wait!

Why I think American politics suck

It’s only September of 2015, over a year away from the Presidential election in November 2016, and we’re already seeing way too much coverage on the next election daily on the news.  I personally think it is stupid to have this much coverage so early in the race for the White House.  I mean, here’s an interesting statistic that I don’t think most Americans have bothered to digest:

  • Approximately 300 million Americans in the United States in 2008
  • Approximately 150 million bothered to vote in that election
  • 51%, of those 150 million, voted for our current President
  • Do the math.  Approximately 25% of the countries population actually chose our current President

I don’t get it.  There are literally millions of people who complain on Facebook, blogs, forums, news sites, etc. about our current President.  Only approximately a quarter of the country actually chose him.  I won’t indicate who I voted for as it is irrelevant to this conversation.  What I will say though, is that there needs to be an awakening within the American public that voting is not an inconvenience.  It’s one of the many rights that this country was founded upon regardless of its misguided beginnings.  The truth is now its fair for everyone:  1 person = 1 vote.

Really? An 80's movie is being used to symbolize a Presidential campaign?
Really? An 80’s movie is being used to symbolize a Presidential campaign?

It’s crap like the picture above that underscores how laughable American politics have become.  It’s a subject no one wants to bring up in a group of friends.  It’s one of two subjects that polarize people to the point of wanting to throw punches at one another.  Personally, I avoid both politics (1) and religion (2) in most conversations with even like minded people.  I don’t like to get into debates where a differing opinion can alter the course of a friendship.  I reserve my right to not engage as my opinion is exactly that, mine, and no one can sway me without a titanic amount of fact.  I choose not to engage as I just don’t have the energy.

That isn’t to say that I don’t do my own research, online, on my own time and in the privacy of my own head.  I make my decisions based on anything that can be backed up by hard data so I can form my own opinion.  I personally am a Bernie Sanders fan, however there are almost 20 candidates for both Republican and Democrat and over a years worth of data can alter my opinion, or not.  Depends on the facts.  With all of this going on, no one ever will know the true story or all the facts.  It is after all the government we’re talking about here and there are things they think is necessary to keep away from the public.  I get it, national security and all that, but shouldn’t we decide what is and isn’t appropriate for us to consume as individuals?

The real crime though, and I firmly believe in this, is the wealthy “forcing” their agendas on the majority behind the cloaked veil of “lobbyists.”  A true shame of how the system has been warped so much and under such cloak and dagger tactics.  Monsanto, Koch Brothers, the 1%, the list goes on and on.  I’m of the belief that if every American able to vote actually took just 10 minutes per day actually researching some of the crap going on, there would be a fundamental shift in how politics are played in the general arena.

Money is the root of all evil.
Money is the root of all evil.

I saw a commercial just this weekend about the Koch brothers.  Here’s the link to the commercial if you’re interested in puking a little in your throat.  As written on the Business Insider website where I got the link to the video:

Now, the Kochs want to burnish the image of the corporation that created their fortune. The 60-second ad does not show or mention the brothers. Instead, it shows images of hardworking Koch employees and everyday people interacting with products made by Koch industries, from toilet paper to jeans. There’s a strong-use of generic Americana imagery, such as cowboys, welders, and blue-collar workers in hard hats. They all seem to love their jobs. (The Kochs have opposed union rights for such workers.)

The Koch brothers have given so much money to campaigns in the past its hard to separate what they’ve endorsed and what they’ve blocked.  Navigating the lobby waters would drive a sane person insane.  What I don’t get is why we’ve allowed a system to flourish where the super wealthy can get away with everything they do just so they can make more money.  I don’t recall the exact statistic, but it was calculated that Bill Gates was worth almost 90 billion at one point in the past.  If he gave all that money to Jesus Christ, and Jesus spent 1 million per day from birth to present, he wouldn’t be able to spend it all.  That kind of wealth is sickening.

I don’t support pure socialism, please don’t misunderstand me on this.  I believe in more of a socialist/capitalist type of system where everyone pays their fair share based on their income and wealth.  It would take queues from other countries that support National Healthcare, taxes and levies on finite resources (oil, gas, etc.), tax breaks on renewable resources (solar, wind, recyclables, etc.) and an economic structure that supports a moderate share of wealth.  The United States is no where near that sort of structure and in fact laws are catered to the companies that are contributing to the corruption.

We need a reboot of our government, plain and simple.

Be color brave and achieve on your own

MellodyHobsonMellody Hobson: Be color blind or color brave

Having been a TED viewer for a few years now since Jamie Oliver did his documentaries on school cafeteria food in the U.S., this one struck a cord with me.  It’d definitely worth the 15 minutes to watch the whole thing.  I was overly impressed with her ability to convey what she was thinking in a manner that didn’t cause shock and awkwardness, which she explains during her talk.

A friend has posted this to their Facebook page for a clearly different reason than what the talk is actually about.  Their focus was on the two points in the talk.  The first point was her going to a prestigious talk with a colleague and being mistaken for “the help”.  Their second point was focused on the question “When will it be weird to walk into a corporate board room and see all white men?”; a point that took less than 30 seconds to explain and which they were also totally out of context and off base with their comments.

Here is a woman that has faced adversity her entire life, for many reasons I’m sure.  A few she touched on in the talk.  Despite her having to endure this adversity, she has become a successful woman as a Board Chairperson, one of two in the country of Fortune 500 companies.  I personally don’t find that surprising given that I’ve known for years that hard work, perseverance and determination to get what you want always pays off in the long term.  I’ve also long held the belief that if you’re qualified for a position you have as much a chance as anyone else to receive it.  Nothing other than experience and education should be considered but unfortunately that isn’t the world we live in right now.

Prior to the real world, our children are learning that “everyone wins” and you get as many chances to get it right.  Everyone doesn’t win, its a fact of life.  I grew up with the ideal that few win and many lose.  I’m OK with that, I’m stronger for that.  I’d like to know when that changed so drastically that a millennial will cry and complain when they don’t get a job or their friends are hired before them.  The culture that was pressed into them was one of inclusion and winning, but the real world, approximately 80% of their life, is completely the opposite.  Why are we condoning this kind of teaching to our children?  The children that will be running the country in 20-30 years that we’ll, as pre-seniors, rely upon to make decisions on our behalf.

Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School where he gave them 11 rules that weren’t taught to them in school.  These are the same kids that will be looking for jobs and expecting the same type of treatment they had in school.

  1. Life is not fair – get used to it!
  2. The world won’t care about your self-esteem.  The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
  3. You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school.  You won’t be a vice-president with a mobile phone until you earn both.
  4. If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss.
  5. Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity.  Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping:  they called it opportunity.
  6. If you mess up, it’s not your parents fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
  7. Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now.  They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were.  So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
  8. Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT.  In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer.  This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
  9. Life is not divided into semesters.  You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF.  Do that on your own time.
  10. Television is NOT real life.  In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to real jobs.
  11. Be nice to nerds.  Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

Tying this all together, Mellody worked her ass off to get to where she is.  She didn’t have to learn any of the rules above because they didn’t apply to her.  Her Mom was the inspiration she needed to just “know” nothing wasn’t within her reach to achieve.  My views on teaching and the school system are the main reason that I do not have a strong relationship with my only brother.  I’m not willing to accept my daughter learning how NOT to be and struggle for years until she learns these life lessons.

I’m about to embark on a new job in a few weeks that I achieved on my own.  No one helped me, no one gave me a pass.  I worked hard, learned tough lessons and most importantly “lost” a hell of a lot before I started winning.  These kids should listen more to people that know better, instead I witness a 20 something check his mobile phone during an interview I’m conducting.  WTH?