Friday, April 3, 2015

Questions and Control ... and Ten Things Of Thankful

SEE ALL TTOT POSTS HERE!!!!
So, if I was dead, and forty virgins approached me, would the pharmacist be laughing because he was out of Viagra?

Questions ... nonsensical in nature tend to fill my day, especially when nothing is going on and my mind, or what's left of it (after all the drugs my body has enjoyed over the decades) tends to wander.

Which brings up the question, "How does the brain wander when it's inside of an enclosed area atop one's neck?"

Getting older doesn't mean that one has all the answers.  In fact, it just gives a person time to develop more questions.  This is actually quite frustrating as wisdom comes from answers ... or does it?

God, another "chicken or the egg" concept!  "Okay children, what came first, the question or the answer?"

One might argue there would be no question if the answer didn't already exist.  Yet, that would create a debate in the realm of discoveries, and sooner or later someone would bring up scientific discoveries.  Like the "chicken or the egg", I don't think a clear answer exists.

So, what good are questions, anyway?

Well, if you're looking to control a conversation simply ask questions.  You've done it with your kids before, so why not use that principle when dealing with people that are giving you a hard time?  You know the system works.  Right?  So, why would you leave it behind and attempt to create a conflict?  Doesn't make any sense, does it?  Of course not.  And the one thing you pride yourself on is making sense.  Correct?  So, wouldn't utilizing the concept of asking questions to lead the opponent into the corner you wish them to end up (with the answer you wish to receive) make complete sense?

See what I mean?

Instead, people get all uptight and try to play the power game.  Then, someone gets upset and gets defensive.  Next, the other gets upset because of the defensiveness of the other one.  Pretty soon, both are fixed firm and no one gets what they want.  Just like two kids fighting over a video game and getting mad when the parent takes it away to keep them from fighting.  They both lose.

This can be used in all aspects of life.  Whether you're dealing with a spousal disagreement or a raise negotiation, questions can help you achieve your goal.

Try this the next time your spouse wants to do something you'd prefer not to do.

"I completely understand why you'd want to go.  You enjoy events like that, don't you?  Of course, you do.  It gives you a chance to get out and enjoy life a little.  You know I enjoy them, too, don't you?  Of course I do.  And, as long as they're taking place at a time that doesn't inconvenience you or inconvenience me, they're fine.  Right?  Now, you know we've got several things going on over the next few weeks, don't you?  And, you know that if we try to go to all of them, we're going to be tired and edgy.  And, I know I don't like it when you're edgy, and you don't like it when I'm edgy.  Right?  So, let's re-examine our next few weeks, make some tough decisions on what to attend and what to bypass, and spend the rest of the time getting some much needed rest and limit ourselves better so that we don't end up being sorry we pushed ourselves silly?  Fair enough?"

Or, you could simply say this.

"I don't give a damn what you want.  I'm tired and don't feel like going.  You just want to go and talk about everyone that's not there behind their backs anyway.  You always have to have your way, don't you?  Well, damn it, this time we're going to do what I want and stay home.  I don't care if you don't like it or not.  Call your mom if you don't like it.  You tell her every damn thing that goes on here anyway!"

See what I mean?  Divorce anyone?

In closing, I only have one question for you.


"How much wood could a woodchuck chuck
 if a woodchuck could chuck wood, or how much
ground could a groundhog grind if a groundhog
could grind ground?"


Anyway, let's move on to Ten Things of Thankful!

This week, I'm thankful for:


1)  Indiana's Brain Dead Legislature.  

How to you become the biggest state screw-up in the United States?  Come out with a "Freedom" bill that limits freedom!

This has been in the news all week, so I'm not going to go into detail about it.  In fact, I'm going to only examine the "whys" involved with coming up with such a bill.

One, many states already have this on the books, as the United States government came out with theirs in the mid-90's.  Indiana just did an extremely lousy job of writing theirs and giving full explanations. Since racism has been at the forefront of television news for the last couple of years, why not add sexual preferences to the fire and get more people involved in the newscasts that sensationalized this?

Let's be real, small town America is pissed off.  Most have very conservative viewpoints that are Christian based.  Between the Supreme Court, the U.S. Congress, and every lawyer with a bill to pay forcing changes down their throats, small town America feels picked on.  It's like their voices don't matter as long as the ACLU or NAACP gets their way.  Some states are beginning to feel the same way.

Is it right?  Of course not.  But, it's their way of life.  They stay in these areas because they find that most have the same values, attend the same churches, have children that attend the same schools, and enjoy the same county fairs.

These people hear about nativity scenes no longer being acceptable.  They have children that have died in a war with extremists, and they can't even wish people "Merry Christmas" and be politically correct.  Their lives are being changed by others and they feel cheated and wronged.

So, this is their way of fighting back.  Fighting for the lives they once had and want to have again.  They see others as uncaring asses that must have things their own way, and see them taking advantage of the Constitution in ways they feel our forefathers would never have imagined.

Wrong ... in the eyes of so many, but so right in their own.

When there is no tolerance, there will always be conflict and hate.  Perhaps, one day, all the haters will have died off and their offspring will look upon them as the last of the narrow-minded.


So much for being the last person on Earth.


2)  Vengeance of the Dead Mother-In-Law

There's nothing like a mother's love, unless it happens to be a mother's revenge.

74-year-old Stephen Woytack was cleaning up the grave of his deceased mother-in-law last week.  One might guess that the spirit over watching the late cleaning of the Christmas flowers and decorations was somewhat upset as the tombstone fell atop Stephen.  His wife ran to get help, but it arrived much too late.  Stephen had fell to her ire.

So, you'd imagine at least there was peace after death.  Right?

Wrong?

Perhaps Stephen's wife was as vindictive as her mother.  Stephen was buried in a grave right next to her.   On a dark night, one might here a faint voice.


"You schmuck, you never were good enough for my daughter!"


3)  Reject Rejects Rejection Of Reject
Girl applies to Duke University for admission.  Duke rejects girl.  Girl decides to write a letter rejecting Duke's rejection.


Ms. O'Dell demonstrated why Duke rejected her by submitting this letter. (Please notice the misuse of possessive pronoun in the first sentence, as well as other errors and omissions throughout.)  Perhaps, Ms. O'Dell would do best to first decide if her name is "Reece" or "Siobhan" before writing her next letter to the next school that rejects her.

What's sad is that the writer of the article this appeared in made no comment as to any screw-ups in Ms. O'Dell's grammar.  In fact, the writer could only discuss what a hit this letter was becoming on the web, and how much "intestinal fortitude" she displayed in doing this.


God, we're doomed to dumbasses bragging about dumbasses!


4)  Eye Doctor Fails Senator
New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez was charged this week with accepting over a million dollars worth of gifts for an exchange of political favors.

A federal grand jury states that Dr. Salomon Melgen, a wealthy Florida eye doctor, benefited greatly from the favors Menendez provided him.

One might think that an eye doctor would have better vision than to get caught doing this.  Then again, the only thing uncommon about this whole escapade is the fact they got caught.


So much for contacts.


5)  Stern Crapper Rapper
Tom Hanks has a son who believes himself to be a rapper.  So much so that he is living the life of one ... at least, between his meals at Hanks' multi million dollar home.

Howard Stern made some comments about this so called bad boy of rap.  Of course, Chet Hanks didn't like that.  He then utilized Twitter to start an all out attack against Stern.

At first, the tweets looked like this:  "Let me come up on your show b*tch," he wrote. "Come catch this fade ... have me live on the air and we can go pound for pound see who looks like the fool you dried up old c**t."

Then, they grew more threatening.  "Do you have any idea how badly I am going to assault you when I see you... You can't run from me forever knock knees... Listen. One day, maybe tomorrow, maybe 10 years from now, I am going to see you in person, and I am going to hurt you,"
 
I could go on demonstrating just how far a person can go on Twitter, but I believe you get the point.  Obviously, Chet Hanks is seeking publicity and Tom is allowing him to go after it.  Stern isn't saying much as I'm sure he doesn't wish to assist the wannabe thug in any manner.

Perhaps, Chet just needs direction.  Maybe a strong talking to.  Perhaps, even, a vacation on a quiet island just to think things out.


"Hey Wilson, are you busy?"

6)  Raises Blowing In The Wind(sor)?
Windsor Castle employees are ticked off.  They do all they're asked and barely make enough to live.  The average employee makes around $20,000 U.S. equivalency per year.

Walmart averages about the same pay schedule, and is now the number one employer in the United States.

Who said the Queen never learned anything from her U.S. visits?


7)  Cyber War: The Empire Strikes Back!
President Obama created a sanctions package to fight against cyberhackers this week.  It is designed to attack the hackers where it really hurts, and prevent overseas hackers from China and Russia from profiting from cyber theft.


It might work if our opposition ever stops laughing.

8)  Model Doesn't Have Model Behavior ...
                       Only Model Brains!
My wife is blonde.  She isn't the brightest star in the sky.  She admits this, so I must give her credit for having some intelligence.

Charlotte McKinney is the Hardee's / Carl Jr's model that was in the Superbowl commercial banned by many of the affiliates.  Her assets are her boobs, butt, and legs.  Her face is okay, but her head is somewhat empty.

Probably for exposure, she was chosen to be one of the contestants on the current season of Dancing With The Stars.  She exposed plenty, which probably helped her survive a week or two of eliminations.

However, after a week of ignoring practice and living on her cellphone, she was eliminated.  One of the judges, Bruno Tonioli, stated, You’re never going to win the Nobel Prize for Quantum Physics.”

Charlotte took offense.  
PC advocates took offense.  
Good Morning America took offense.


And all those that knew the truth had been spoken 
laughed their asses off.  

Isn't America Wonderful?

9)  Educating the Educators
Eleven public school educators were convicted this week of cheating on programmed testing and class scores.  They falsified exam scores to inflate test results in order to collect bonuses and keep their positions, which brought forth the racketeering charges against them.  Their sentences carry a penalty of up to twenty years of imprisonment.

It is reported that some mumbling took place as they were led away.

"That God D@#&#$, Mother F$#%$#$ Core Math!"

10)  Comment Leavers
Okay, in all seriousness, I love comments.  Whether they're good or bad, I love to read what you've got to say.  Take a few seconds and write down a few notes below.  All comments are answered as quickly as I can get to them and never ignored.



Ciao!




Friday, March 27, 2015

An Evening With The Felines and TTOT !!!!

SEE ALL TTOT POSTS HERE!
I've had two of the worst months in business ever.  I'm frustrated, aggravated, and fighting depression with every step.  My mind is fried.

I have nothing to say.


An inner voice, trained to do battle with the down in the dumps syndrome, says, "Everything will turn around.  It's only a temporary thing.  Put on a smile and stay a while!"


I hate inner voices.


Sit back and envision inner voices coming out of my body, smiling and dancing and saying goofy crap like, "A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.  Think out of the box.  You'll never reach a destination you don't set your sights on.  Walmart is your savings place!"



I Like To Eat Inner Voices!! Bwahahaha!
Then, along, out of nowhere, comes a giant outer voice, grabs them with his long nasty claws and gobbles them up!  

That would teach them.


I didn't stop to purchase anything for dinner.  I should have taken the time to do so, but didn't want to fight the traffic to go to some drive up window and end up getting the wrong order considering my recent run of luck.


There's a frozen pizza in the fridge.  I hate frozen pizzas as they never have enough sauce to get rid of the cardboard taste.  But it's here and I'm here.  Not a lot of choices, unless I develop an urge for canned cat food.



"Yum, Yum, for the tum, tum!"


My wife isn't home.  She left before I got home to spend tonight with my daughter.  That will give me an evening all to myself ... and two cats.  I can imagine the conversation we'll have.



(Faletame)  "Hey, Rich!  What do you say we watch some more college basketball?  That usually perks you up."  

(Me)  "Sounds like a great idea, boy.  I knew I loved you for a reason."  

(Gabriela)  "Well, I don't want to watch anymore basketball.  That's all you've watched as of late.  Basketball, basketball, basketball!  I'd like to take a basketball and jam it up your ... well, a lady doesn't describe such things.  Let's just say it would make hemmoroids seem like sesame seeds."

(Faletame)  "Whatta bitch!"

(Gabriela)  "Yes I am ... or was until I got my tubes tied.  You're the one that got everything cut off, aren't you, Faletame?"

(Faletame)  "Like I said, whatta bitch."

(Me)  "Okay you two, cut it out.  You remind me of the girls when they were young.  Always fighting and such ... enough to drive me crazy at times.  Gabriela, if you're not interested in basketball you can always go into the bedroom and watch Animal Planet."

(Gabriela)  "Sure, get me to leave the room so you two can talk about me behind my tail.  You'd like that, wouldn't you?"

(Me)  "Why are you so paranoid, girl?  You're like a doper at a state police convention.  Haven't I always treated you right?"

(Gabriela)  "Sure you have.  First, you kidnap me and bring me here, against my will, in a cardboard box.  Then, you open the lid and I see this scawny, neutered albino feline trying to block my escape.  And, if that wasn't enough, you start writing about me and naming me "Gabriela, the Demon Cat!"   If you hadn't of stopped writing those stories I'd have shown you just how much of a demon I could be."

(Faletame)  "Whatta bitch!"

(Me)  "Girl, I have no doubt, and I've apologized your previous owner didn't let you know she was sending you away.  She was probably afraid you'd neuter her boyfriend one night while he was sleeping!  Okay, how about I get the portable mini TV and you sit in here watching what you want with the earplugs on?  What'll it be, Puss 'n Boots, again?"

(Gabriela)  "Oh, yeah, like the last time when you fell asleep in your computer chair and I damn near ripped off my ears pulling at those things when I had to go to the litter box.  I should have whizzed right here on the couch or jumped in your lap and let it go so you'd think you wet your pants, but I'm too much of a lady."

(Faletame)  "Whatta bitch!"

(Me)  "Okay, then how about this?  I'll give you a choice of basketball games to choose from right after you two eat.  It's Tuna night!  Yummy, yummy, yummy it's tuna for the tummy!"

(Gabriela)  "Oh God, Faletame, he's talking to us like we're three months old.  I think I'm going to purchase him a Thesaurus for next Christmas just so I don't have to listen to his crap."

(Faletame)  "Whatta bitch!"


... and so the evening will go.  That is ... until Gabriela gets tired of Faletame calling her names and the fight begin!

But, now it's time for 
Ten Things Of Thankful!  

Lizzi and her tribe ... overworked and greatly appreciated ... times ten, or ten times what is appreciated in our lives



Time to get busy!!!

This week I'm thankful for:

1)  Gregg Allman.  
It's not every day you get to see a legend perform.  In fact, the older we get, the fewer there are of them. And, much to the dismay of the audience, there are some that should have quit long ago as their voices have long left the realm of listenable.

Not so with Gregg Allman!

Last Saturday night, at Belterra Casino, Gregg Allman put on one hell of a show.  No, none of the original band members were accompanying him, but the stand in members, or current members of his touring band, if you will, did an excellent job of reminding all of us lucky enough to be present why the Allman Brothers Band is a timeless main act. 

Classic tunes, such as "Statesboro Blues", "Midnight Rider", "Whipping Post", "Melissa and close to a dozen more filled the air for almost two hours.  Yours truly and the rest of the audience was more than thankful for the quality and effort provided.

Thanks, Gregg!  It was a great evening!

2)  Loud Mouth Concert Goers.
Recognizing that concerts are a time to relax and have a good time, one expects to see some that party a little too much at concerts.  That is an expectation that one would be ignorant to deny.


However, I do have a hard time with people that go to concerts to socialize, carrying on long and loud conversations while the act is performing.  I'm thankful that they do it, though, as it proves that some people are far from perfect, courteous, respectful, or even have the common sense to understand that people around them could give a damn about their oh so monumental lives.  

Concerts aren't cheap.  If I wanted to listen to an evening of listening to El Toro Defecation conversation I'd record a week's worth of CSPAN and listen to it all at continuously.  

In other words, if you find yourself being described in the preceding paragraph, the next time you're at a concert and the act is onstage, please "Shut the F**K UP!"

3)  H.J. Heinz & Kraft Foods Merger
Yep, these two food giants are merging this week.  Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Oscar Mayer meats, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, and Heinz Ketchup, just to name a few, will all be manufactured under the same corporate title before long.  This merger will create one of the largest food corporations in the world.  Obviously, the merger will also lend itself to new combinations, I'm sure.  Anyone for Kraft Macaroni & Ketchup?

4)  Collapse of the Universe
Scientists have discovered when the collapse of the universe will take place.  (I know, just something else for you to worry about, right?)


"Okay, I bet $50 on May 5th, 55,042.
Any takers?"
Scientists are calling the opposite of the "Big Bang Theory" the "Collapse Theory."  This will be the time that the universe stops expanding and starts to collapse, bringing everything within it together.  

Envision this.  


First, you have two dips of Vanilla Ice Cream in a dish.  Next, add a cut up Banana.  Then, add chocolate syrup, crushed nuts, a cherry and whipped cream.  Now, drop all of that in a blender and turn it on full blast. 



That's what the universe is going to look like when it collapses.

The scientists are saying this will take place in a few tens of billions of years.  So, if you were planning on skipping your house or car payment this month in lieu of this amazing (?) so-called discovery, you might want to think twice about doing so.  Personally, I'm going to start an office pool, just to see if I can get anyone to give me their money.  Like, any of us will be around to collect ... right?



5)  Rich / Poor Gap.

According to a recent survey, the gap between the rich and poor has substantially widened in 21 major American cities between 2007 and 2013.

Here are the Top Ten
of the most unequal
 of all the cities.

1)  Atlanta, Ga.
2)  San Francisco, Ca.
3)  Boston, Ma.
4)  Miami, Fl.
5)  Washington, D.C.
6)  New York, N.Y.
7)  Dallas, Tx.
8)  Chicago, Il.
9)  Los Angeles, Ca.
10)  Minneapolis, Mn.

 This is very indicative of the diminishing middle class.


Someone's making money 
and it's not most of us!

This tends to bring back stories from a time in history.  "It was the best of times and it was the worst of times.  Madame DeFarge ... sitting with her knitting and singing to the up tempo beat of the guillotine was enjoying the sight of the heads of the rich rolling into the straw basket ... one after one ... as the afternoon sun slowly set in the Western Sky.  There were heads of Democrats and Republicans (once leaders in Congress and Government) followed by CEO's, Sole Proprietors, and Wall Street Thieves of the common man.  The crowd's mood was only saddened as they realized festivities would cease upon the final light of the day.  Still, smiles reappeared when they remembered there were plenty of rich bastards left to continue the festivities for weeks to come.  

Life was good ... better than it had been in years ... unless you were one of the rich.  Yes, one of the rich that had taken advantage of their position to make their employees work holidays, labor endlessly for a bare pittance of what it would take to survive, and ignore the promises they'd made time and time again.  Lies and thievery had to have a consequence.  Now, it was time to pay!"



God, I love a good novel!


6)  House For Sale ... Explosive Pricing!
Okay, let's say you're a renter that has a landlord that wants you out so he could sell a house.  First, he tells everyone how bad they are, then goes and dumps some concrete down the drains, and finally calls the police to claim vandalism.  So, you move out to get away from the looney bastard.  Next thing you know, you're hearing a newscaster talk about a home in which a bomb had been found rigged to a bedroom clothes closet.  The house was the one in which you previously lived and you're being blamed.  If you were that renter, how would you feel?

Or, let's say you're landlord that has some renters that you don't agree with.  They're constantly late in paying rent, the house is filthy, and you're getting to the age you just don't want to mess with them anymore.  You tell them you're giving them notice to move and they go ballistic.  First, you find out they're dropping concrete down the drain so you go to the police.  They make the renters move, but then, one day, you discover a bomb set to explode on the next person that turns on the light in the bedroom clothes closet.  If you were that landlord, how would you feel?


This is all currently happening in Milton, Massachusetts. 

 Why do I have the feeling the answer will become part of 
a reality television show in the near future?


7)  Stars Wars Protected.
"Where's those damn 1,500
 National Guard troops at?"
The Empire is attempting to strike Luke Skywalker's home planet.

Devastation is their goal.

However, the Tunisian Government has sworn to protect Luke's homelands from the evil of the dark side, ISIS.  In fact, they have over 1,500 National Guard troops protecting it.

Yeah, I know, who the hell really cares.  Since ISIS attacks in Tunisia have started recently, Star Wars fans are concerned about the movie sets that were left there being demolished.  You don't hear the uproar from fans often these days, but mess with a Star Wars set and the wrath of the Force will damn you to an eternal death of burning hell.


Isn't it amazing how when historical artifacts were being 
destroyed a few weeks ago these fans were quiet?  
R2D2 can't even figure out this one!


8)  Smell like a Whopper!
If the smell of Burger King's flame broiled whoppers absolutely drives you crazy with desire, you need to be in Japan on April 1st.

Yep, Burger King will be releasing its Whopper scented cologne.

Quantities are limited to only 1,000 bottles, so you've got to get there early, even though the breakfast menu might not be your cup of tea.

Admit it ... you want it, so go get yours before it's too late!


And, if you notice 75 homeless men with napkins tied around their necks following you around town,
 just remember, they only want to smell you.  
The Zombie apocalypse has yet to begin!


9)  Nude Sunbathing Charges Dropped.
A 77 year old Utah man has had charges dropped in a lewdness case involving him sunbathing nude in his backyard.  Seems as though he'd been doing it for years without any problems.  Then, new neighbors moved in that had kids that couldn't keep their eyes from roaming.  Although there was a fence, it was only a chain link one that did nothing to stop their viewing him.  So, charges were filed by the parents.

Okay, here's a 77 year old guy that wants to lay in the sun.  He's done it without problems for years.  Then, these pricks move in and declare themselves to be above such behavior, making him change for them.

I think I'd charge them with being peeping toms!  How dare they look at me enjoying nature with nothing more than what God gave me!  What the hell good are they as parents if their kids don't have anything else to do but look at me nude.  Put the little suckers to work making shoes or sewing clothes for Walmart or something!

Anyway, the judge must have agreed with the old man and that his privacy was also being invaded on by the kids.  Finally, he was released with a clean record by agreeing to wear a one piece bathing suit from now on.


If it were me, that one piece might just be a speedo!

Nosey neighbors!


10)  The Hobbit, Part Three.
(a.k.a. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies)
  Alas, almost forty years after I read this novel, I've witnessed Hollywood's final episode.

My tears are flowing.

I'd forgotten all of those that gave their lives for our little hero.  The adventure had to have an end, and I recognize that I could always go back and watch it in order since the Lord of the Rings trilogy has already been released on film.  Still, I'm saddened by the knowledge that Bilbo is no longer looking for an adventure, and my thirst for a tale of fantasy never before expressed so eloquently is still burning in my throat.

Perhaps, just perhaps, I could begin my own quest.  I could fly to the Middle East, skirt dangerous ISIS commandos, survive dying of thirst in the desert, avoid bombings and bullets from unknown pilots above.  I might meet my maiden of passion.  She would be a beautiful dark haired woman of desire and excitement.  Together we could spy and relay our findings to those fighting the evil that is spreading so quickly.  It could be the fitting final chapter of a life already filled with dangerous, adrenaline junkie adventures and events.

And, then again, I could stay home, enjoy my Diet Cokes, cigarettes, and wait on the last installment of the Hunger Games.




But ... 



then again ...



"Why are you still typing when basketball is on?  
Damn, if you're not gonna watch it, change the channel to something good!
I hate basketball!!!"



"Whatta Bitch!"



Ciao!




Friday, March 20, 2015

Parents, Is It Partially Your Fault Your Child Is Being Bullied?


There's much talk about being bullied.  Most of it shows compassion and outrage.  Some of it gives suggestions on how to handle bullying within.  But where are the ways to handle a bully?

Isn't that just, if not more important to a kid?

There have always been bullies in the world.  They're just in a greater number today.  In the past, we dealt with bullies in a "fire with fire" manner.

Let me explain.

In 1960, there was a second grader named Raymond Hutton  (name changed to protect the guilty).  Now, Raymond made it a habit to inflict pain and misery into the life of first graders.  Imagine, our first recess (yeah, we still had those when I was in school) of our first grade year.  After being cooped up for hours we were finally being allowed to go outside and play. Awaiting us was a boy at least six inches taller than any first grader.  Raymond was not alone as he had acquired all the second grade sadists as his gang of outlaws.  Together, they presented a formidable force to us new kids on the playground.

People were pushed down, new school clothes were torn, and threats made to each of us ... all the while the teacher's head was turned.  It was like Raymond had the same power as Al Capone in that he had paid the teachers to look away as Al had done to the Chicago police and judges.  I'd heard about that on television, but never thought small town, Spencer, Indiana would become the same.

After about a week of Raymond's effort to pester us any way he could I'd had enough.  He had created a boiling point in me that wasn't going to leave on its own.  

I'd watched many movies and television Westerns and Police Dramas where the good guy takes down a bully, so I decided that I needed to do it.  I gathered up most of the boys and girls in the first grade, formed my own gang, and went out to find Raymond!

When he saw me leading my gang, Raymond and his five or six "tough guy" buddies decided to run for it.  You should have seen it.  Seven kids running from about 45 first graders.  We cornered them in an architectual "L"  without an exit.  Then, I called him out.  

"We ain't gonna put up with your crap (a nasty word for a 1st grader in 1960)"  I hollered.

"We're bigger than you" was his reply.

"That don't mean nuthin'.  I got a whole bunch more in my gang than you do in yours" I yelled back.  (Remember, this was first grade.  My grammar had yet to be fine tuned.)

And, that's when it began.  

Raymond rushed at me throwing punches wildly. I hit him a few times and then grabbed at him and pulled him to the ground.  Somehow, I managed to climb atop him and my punches became more accurate.  This was evident from the blood that began to flow out of his mouth.  

Then, it was his turn.  He returned the favor as he hit me in the mouth and caused me to lose a front top tooth.  This incensed me and I went totally ballistic throwing punch after punch.  (Much like Ralphie in The Christmas Story.) I remember the kids in the crowd spurring me on with their yelling that grew louder and louder.  Finally, I remember his fists relaxing and becoming just fingers going up to protect his face.

The teacher came running and broke things up before I could do any major damage.  She escorted both of us to the nurse's office where his busted lip and my lost tooth wound was attended to.  

How cold the water fountain jet felt against the hole where my tooth had been.  My tears and gasps for air soon subsided as I calmed down.  Reality set in.  

I Had Beaten The Bully!  

It was evident that I had done what no one else had attempted to do.  I fit right in with the heroes I'd watched defeat bad guys on television.  Why, even the teacher had let me off for doing so, sending me back to rejoin my class, as she took Raymond to the principal's office.  

And Raymond never bothered me again.

All of the movies and television shows had made a dramatic impact on my life to that point, and they proved the lesson they taught.  Right can overcome wrong, but you've got to stand up and do something about it. You must take the lead and not depend on others to fight your battles.

The only other time I had to get physical was when I was in the 7th grade.  There was this high school kid named Jack Rhompson (Again, a name change.). Jack used to sit behind me and some of the other younger kids on the school bus each day, take his stack of homework books and slam them atop our heads.  Yes, it hurt like helll.  Yes, Jack was bigger than I.  Yes, I got to the point of having had enough ... again. 

I finally called him out, we set up a fight for that afternoon, and I was ready for him.

Jack and I met in an alley.  He had one friend with him and I had one with me.  We raised our arms and clenched our fists in a fighting stance. Over and over we circled each other. Finally, he threw one punch that missed and I hit him in the chest with one of mine.  

It was then that Jack looked at his wristwatch, said, "I don't want to miss the bus.  Do you?"  He turned and started running back to the bus.  

I was shocked.  I'd believed this one to be a major event.  All day, I'd envisioned him beating me up into a bloody mess. Instead, Jack had shown his true colors and ran.  

I swaggered back to the bus knowing that when he'd run, he was running from me!  The rest of the kids on the bus knew it, too.  From that point on, I never got hit on the head with a stack of books again, and neither did anyone else.

So, what did I learn from these experiences?

  1. Sometimes, the only way to beat a bully is to prepare yourself stand up to the bully.
  2. Bullies are really cowards when you even out the odds.
  3. You can allow yourself to be bullied, or you can take action and do something about it.
So, why do we have all the problems with kids being bullied today if it's so simple to handle a bully?


Could it be today's parents?  I know you don't want to agree, but could parents be directly responsible that some kids are committing suicide and some are living a life of misery, instead of standing up to those who attempt to bully them?

That question ought to draw a bunch of flak.


Are today's parents seriously preparing their kids for the real world?

Are they teaching them how to handle adversity, stand up for themselves, or consider what course of action they need to pursue? 

Or, are kids facing these things daily, just as adults do in life, 
but without the necessary training.

Let's look at today's parents, as I've witnessed from reading a multitude of "mommy blogs" and other comments on the web.  

One thing that I've noticed is missing in all of these is any teaching of the children to handle adversity.  There seems to be a false facade being presented to the children of today that life is all roses as long as you pay the bills, have plenty to eat, and have a roof over your head.  This would be fine if it were true.  Unfortunately, it is not.

Oh, there's comments as to discussing sex abusers, kidnappers and murderers, but does the same apply to bullies?  I don't see it being mentioned anywhere.

Instead, I see people writing, "If I ever had someone try to bully my kids I'd go to the school and complain.  That should take care of it."

It doesn't.

In fact, much of what takes place today is done outside of the school's responsibility realm.  Texting, the web, hanging out on the corner ... none of them will be handled by the school administrators.

So, the child, knowing that you can't do anything, and not having any idea as to what to do himself or herself, enters into a state of depression.  Things continue the same, they drop further and further into their pit of despair, and suicides follow.

And the parents blame the bullies instead of sharing the blame, when both are guilty.  It's so much easier to blame the Internet, the kid down the street or even society, instead of taking a look in the mirror and realizing child raising means you prepare the child for real life conflicts.

First, help your children blend in with the rest.  Parents that push their children's outfits to please parents, instead of the child, forget that the child only wants to be one of the crowd, not stand out.  Push them to pursue activities that will allow them to interact with kids their age, instead of standing on the sidelines.  Don't forget to instruct them almost daily on the right and wrong of situations, but don't become "preachy" about it.  

Please, don't restrict your child's efforts to display their own individuality.  We're all different.  That's what makes us what we are.  We just need to expand it with others to provide us with a comfort zone of friends.  This is extremely important to a child.  Loners tend to have dangerous thoughts that grow, where they hold them back knowing they're unacceptable to the group.  Company minimizes time to nuture negativity.  

Now, here's a subject that many will be against.  Why?  Because of the concepts, "Violence breeds violence" and "Fighting never solved anything."

Fighting was the only way I could achieve a winning situation as a child in my two instances of bullying I described, as I found that it was the only thing my bullies understood.  My wit took care of many other instances.  Sometimes laughter will keep the bully at bay.  But, when it came down to dealing with those that fighting was the only way to win, I wasn't going to allow losing, and allowing myself and others to be bullied, to be an option.

Self-defense is something every child should know. Karate classes, or other types of self-defense classes, can build true confidence in a child, as well as protect them in desperate situations. While many look upon physical violence as taboo, those who bully, rape, rob and worse do not.  Please give your child an even chance if they ever have to deal with any of those mentioned.

Fighting should be a last resort.  But, if it comes down to it, I'd prefer my child being able to fight than to run, hide, and consider suicide.  

Have compassion for your children and raise them for real life situations instead of Disney fantasies.  Life is a constant battle, especially in the business world.  Narcissistic bullies thrive there and in almost any career worth having.  Sooner or later, you either learn how to deal with them or learn how to forget your worth.

I have a saying that has served me well over the years.


"There's always a snake in the grass so watch your ass."

Teach your children how to deal with all previously discussed and you can say you've done your best to prepare them.  Leave it up to the school system or other group and you're simply denying your personal accountability.  It's really that simple.


*     *    *    *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
*** I'm well aware that my options are not those chosen by "mind doctors", or those that follow their every word.  I grew tired of what most of them preached years ago when it was proven most of it was experimental suggestions instead of proven fact, or was based on limited studies that were held in slanted surroundings to validate the author's hypothesis.  


Doubt that?  Do some research and see how many publications written on child behavior have been written by those that never had a child.  Seems like a prerequisite is missing there, doesn't it?  Isn't that really like, "I watched cooks on television so now I can tell you how to cook anything you want?"










Friday, March 13, 2015

College Basketball Officiating and Tourney Edition ... and Ten Things Of Thankful!!!

See All Ten Things Of Thankful Posts HERE!!!


NCAA MARCH MADNESS, a phrase copyrighted by CBS and the Turner
Broadcasting, illegal to use in advertising by anyone else, is about to make its meaning clear once again.

For three years, I've watched the NCAA Tournament in a different light.  Instead of concentrating on the games and the actions of the players,

I've concentrated on the officiating.

For years, I was naive, thinking the best team would win.  Then, I started noticing something strange.

A couple of years ago, I took off the month of March from work so that I could watch every game of the tourney.  It was at that time I started noticing patterns in the officiating.  Patterns that normally wouldn't take place, yet, time after time, made their appearance known.  Patterns that meant one thing to those broadcasting the games ... money!

There were several things in common of which these patterns consisted.  Generally, they depended on several like factors: 1) size of team fan base, 2) team geographic area of population, 3) areas of interest concerning fans/conferences, and 4) forecasts of announcers.

In other words, if your team has a national fan base that resides close to big chain stores, is in a conference that draws huge television audiences, and is predicted to win by the announcing staff, chance are they're going to come out on top ... or at least into the final four.

We've actually seen this occur during the regular season many times, but most fail to recognize it as they're so caught up in the action.  Think I'm kidding?  Think again.

Let's say a lower ranked team displays tremendous effort and takes a huge lead on the favorite.  Then, 3-5 minutes before half time, they suddenly have several questionable fouls called on them, have 3 second calls assessed even though the favorite camps in the lane time after time, and are called for traveling and double dribbles that were overlooked by officials the prior 15 minutes.  So, just prior to halftime, the favorite is given a great chance to pull closer.

The second half depends on how both teams start out.  If the underdog ... starts out strong, watch for fouls to be called on their best and strongest players early on.  Otherwise, the game might be called honestly for a while.  If the game is tight with about seven minutes to go, forget it.  The officials will then take over, doing the same things they did the first half, and the favorite will pull out a "tremendous" victory over a "game" opponent.

It plays out that way time and time again.  

I actually made a study of this by using the DVR to record game after game, noting the times and the calls made, and replaying at slow motion to validate the officiating.  Guess what?  I couldn't validate 86% of the calls.

So, what conclusions do I have to conclude from this?  

It's really simple.  It's a known fact that television networks love to make their advertisers happy.  By providing them with the largest group of potential customers for their products, the stations, NCAA, and schools (gaining TV money) all prosper.  As winning team fans look at the grumbling of the underdog teams to be only "sour grapes", nothing is done to make the game more fair for all.

The only ones to lose out are the players and fans that are cheated out of victories.  But, since they consist in lesser numbers than the favorites, it's no big deal.  In fact, for a month or two prior to the tourney, announcers pick the favorites to set the losers up for a future fall, lowering expectations of their fan base.

So, what about the "Cinderella" team?

Broadcasters know that not all the fans love the favorites.  Fans of teams losing early on will have more interest in watching if they keep an element of excitement in the tourney.  Even with the efforts of the officials, there are surprise teams that will beat the odds (and the officials) and pull off an upset.  (Remember, the officials must be careful so as not to draw too much attention to their patterns.  Otherwise, the entire sham would be noticed by more than the few that see it for what it is.)

So, the "Cinderella" favorite will continue as its temporary fan base grows.  Some have maintained deep into the tourney, occasionally even breaking into the Final Four.  Still, in the end, the favorite will be crowned.

So, who do I pick to win this year?  As much as I completely despise the team, I pick the University of Kentucky.  It's the best team that money can buy, for sure.  (Fans in the state comment that it does no more to draw players than any other schools.  However, having been employed by a business some years ago that supplied several players with its product under the names of other people, I would guess that not be the whole story.)

The University of Kentucky has a huge fan base.  They're kind of like the Dallas Cowboys in several ways.  When they're winning, they're America's team.  When they're losing, everyone acts totally disgusted  and game attendance drops dramatically.  Fair weather fans are in surplus, for sure.  Also, they tend to draw more uneducated fans than most other colleges as Kentucky's working population doesn't have much to look forward to in entertainment besides the Wildcats.  (I guess it makes them feel like winners, even though many would be rejected if they applied for admittance to the school.)  Even those that are well off financially buy courtside seats behind the team bench as it is a symbol of economic status.  Unfortunately, if you watch any game held at Rupp Arena, you'll see most of them socializing (some even knitting) as if the game wasn't taking place in front of them.

Still, UK has a huge fan base, is geographically located in the Central U.S. close to many metro areas, and has as coach, John Calipari, who utilizes the "one and done" with enough disregard for his players futures to make him controversial enough to draw national attention.  And, with the University of Louisville down this year, it helps to unite the fans.   So, regardless of the quality of play, you'll see them move on to the championship.

Who are some of the other contenders?  Gonzaga (huge West Coast fan base, especially with most of the West Coast teams not being as strong as usual), Maryland (they have several questionable losses, but they have a huge East Coast fan base even though they're now in the Big Ten Conference), Duke (not a great season but landmark wins for their coach, plus a huge East Coast fan base),and Wisconsin (the Big Ten underdog in fan base, although they will draw from the conference fans wanting to show the Big Ten is still a viable basketball conference).  Cinderella's?  Purdue, LSU, Arkansas, and Notre Dame.

Anyway, I've bored most (and pissed off some) of my regular readers to this point. Just remember to take the emotions out of it and watch the officiating to see if what I stated isn't accurate.  Let's move on!

It's time for 
Ten Things Of Thankful!!!

This week I'm thankful for:

1)  Rape Victim Blamed For Rape
Okay, one of these fine looking men
made the statements in the story you're
reading.  Look at each one of them,
say the statement out loud, and
figure out which ones you'd set free.
What?  None of them?
C'est le Vie!
One of the attackers of a New Delhi girl in 2012 has stated "If she hadn't have fought back she wouldn't have been killed." He also made comments as 1to the fact that her and her boyfriend were out late at night (9 p.m.), she was wearing inviting clothes, and if she had just given in and not fought back she'd be alive today.

I'm thankful for this as it gives you insight of what I've talked about before.  I've discussed the lack of personal accountability in our world today many times.  Perhaps, this is the best example I've found of simply having no clue as to the difference between right and wrong.When a person doesn't recognize that their actions, and only their actions were the reason a person is no longer living on this Earth, then it's time for society to change!

So, ladies, I leave it up to you. Castration (slowly and painfully), torture (naked upon an Army ant mound), Imprisonment (for life), or let him run the one mile long gauntlet of vengeance seeking friends, relatives and acquaintances of the victim.

Anyone need a new group of tenors in their church choir?

2)  Hillary's "Oops!"
I love standing here with a
blank expression on my face.
It feels so normal!
Did I send an email, and if so, did I save it?  Or, did I not send and email, and if so, who didn't I send it to?  I could have, but I didn't, but I only keep one phone for even though I knew better I didn't want to be bothered with a second ... I think.

I haven't followed this as closely as I should have, but it does seem to be a major screw up on the part of a future presidential candidate.  Do we really want someone that is only looking for convenience and excuses to be our next false facade of a leader?  I'm thankful this came out before the election instead of after it.  So, who will you vote for?  I leave that up to you.

Why?  Well, I could go into more detail, but I really don't want to be bothered as I've got other things to write and I don't remember what they are unless I keep my mind on only one thing at a time and in my position, being so important here, it's easier to do if I pay attention to the future instead of worrying about what's happening now, even though it was my fault I didn't before.  

See what I mean?

3)  Oh How, Oh How Do We Kill Them?
We live in one of the few "civilized" countries in the world that executes certain criminals for certain crimes.  Some say it ought to happen more often.  Some say any is too much.  However, as long as it is legal, it will be done ... somehow.

What do I mean?  Well, there seems to be a shortage of drugs in which to humanely execute a person.  We've all heard about the botched up Oklahoma and Arizona executions last year, and other states, fearing lawsuits, don't want to be the next in line to have the same thing happen.

So, what do they do?

Simple, bring out the firing squad!  

Wasn't this a part of history that we
proclaimed deplorable?
Utah has put a bill in front of the Governor to make the firing squad a viable option for executions if the approved drugs are not available.  Other states, Arkansas, Wyoming and Oklahoma have similar bills either approved or pending approval.

I'm thankful that the states are so concerned about the timetables of these executions.  Why keep a killer alive one day longer when bullets are in grand supply?  It's like a line at a supermarket when a price check is needed.  Keep the customers moving by opening another register!

Isn't the "let's keep 'em moving" attitude being still around in this century something we can all be thankful of?

I wonder, "Whatever happened to hanging?"

4)  Lines No Longer Blurred
Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams both made over $5 million each with their hit "Blurred Lines" last year.  However, the family of Marvin Gaye filed a lawsuit claiming they stole the basics for the song from Marvin's hit, "Got To Give It Up."

Stealing music isn't stealing if you don't get caught.  Unfortunately, Robin and Pharrell did.  Now, they'll have to come up with $7 million to pay off the Gaye family.  There really wasn't much doubt as to the result, though.  It's been said that Williams and Thicke wrote and recorded their version in one night.  Of course, it's always faster to copy a novel than to write one.

I have a feeling that Pharrell isn't too "Happy" with the decision. 
 I imagine he'll "Voice" his opinion in the near future.   
(Okay, I'll admit to bad puns.  Where's the rimshot?)

5)  Ferguson Police Chief Resigns
The U.S. Justice Department gave the police officer that shot a gangbanger that was killed in Ferguson a clean slate, but knocked how the police department he worked for operated.  Since then, several officers, a clerk, and now, the Chief of Police, Tom Jackson, are gone.

But, get this.  The primary reason for the negative report came from the fact that the department was "profit driven."  Out of the department's $13 million plus operating budget, over a quarter of it was supposed to come from fines and court fees.

I ask you, "Since when does the Chief of Police dictate where the operating funds for his department will come from?"

Answer:  "He Doesn't!"

Welcome to Ferguson!
Our police department makes
money.  What's yours do?
Obviously, city management is responsible for this.  They set and approve the budgets for all their departments.  It's their civic responsibility.  Then, they ride the managers of those departments endlessly to meet what they set down.  They also put pressure on the local judicial system to make money via fines and such.

Now, in the discrimination arena, three emails were found, out of all correspondences, to be discriminatory.  One sender was fired and the other two have resigned.  Also, the judge that handled the majority of the fines and fees cases from Ferguson has resigned.

As far as more blacks than whites being stopped or pulled over by police, the city's statistics might help to explain why.  The population of the city is 21,111.   65.2% of the population is Black, while only 30.3% of the population is White. (**Citydata.com)  The remainder consists of a mix or Hispanic, Asian, and very few others.  With over a 2 to 1 ratio, an explanation of why more blacks are pulled over might make a little more sense.  But, this wasn't brought out by the news agencies stirring things up, was it?

Ladies and gentlemen, can you say "scapegoat?"

All the city commissioners, board members, and governing body personnel have kept their jobs.  The people that pushed the actions are all safe and employed, where the ones that followed orders are being pushed aside and made examples of.  Once again, money rules and the wealthy get off Scott free.

Of course, this resignation took care of all of
 Ferguson's problems ... or did it? 

6)  Verizon Bids Adieu To Weather Channel
Verizon has said goodbye to the Weather Channel for its FIOS-TV customers.  This shocked the Weather Channel that thought it was in the middle of renewal contract negotiations.  Ask for too much and this is what happens.

Get over it and get over yourself, Weather Channel!  You dropped your roots of telling us what the weather was and started producing shows and series that no one wanted to watch.  Somewhere along the line you thought that people would watch your channel for hours, when ten minutes was all they wanted ... at most.  For God's sake, it's only the weather!

Decades ago, I attended a Meteorological School.  The first day of class, the instructor stated, "Never be afraid to forecast the weather.  You have a 50/50 chance of being right and a 50/50 chance of being wrong.  If you're right, you look like God.  If you're wrong, blame it on God!"

I'm wondering whom your blaming for this?

7)  William Flynn Paroled
In younger days
... manipulated and manipulator.

Tophqimages.com
"Who?" you ask.

William Flynn was the 15-year-old lover of 22-year-old Pamela Smart.  Back in 1990, while another young man held Pamela's husband down, William held a pistol to the head of her husband and pulled the trigger, murdering him.  Why?  According to him, Pamela had told him that she'd break up with him if he didn't.  And, William Flynn was in love.

Twenty plus years later, the parole board has mercy upon him and grants him parole.  He won't be released until June, but has already married while in prison and has a stepdaughter.  He also has earned an electrician's helpers license.

See, if you're in love, everything works out in the end.  That is, except for Smart's husband who is still dead.

(I feel like Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" 
should be playing in the background.)

Awwwwwwwwww!

8)  (Back to Ferguson) Police Officers Shot
So, the Chief of Police resigns, and a rowdy group of protesters still gather.  Why?  Who knows ... maybe most of them don't have to go to work tomorrow and have already received their government assistance checks.  After a while, they decide to break up right in front of the police station.  Two officers assigned outside and are met with gun shots.  One has a bullet enter his cheek and lodge by his ear and the other has a bullet enter the front of his shoulder and leave out the back.
Caution: Strong Profanity
Did you hear the comment, 
"Acknowledgement 9 months ago would 
have kept that from happening?"

Some people will never have any
common sense or common decency!

The justice department cleared the police officer involved, which means that the person shot was completely in the wrong to the point of creating a dangerous self-defense position for that police officer.  This was an investigation spurred on by a Black President and led by a Black Attorney General.  Please stop playing the race card and admit that the young man was a thug (as videos of the convenience store robbery just prior to the incident already show) and accept the fact he brought his own demise upon himself by his actions.  It's time to move on!

However, since you insist on continuing this self pity game, I still say, 
"Close the police department down and let the residents see 
what it's like without one!"  

I'm thankful this happened as this certainly says something about the character of Ferguson's residents, doesn't it?  Instead of facing their opposition face to face, the shooter hides in the shadows and ambushes the officers.  U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called the shooter a "Damn Punk ... A Punk!"

Yep, shut the police department down and let survival of the fittest take over.  When there's only on left, send the police back in to arrest him.  Maybe then the streets of Ferguson will be safe.  We'll all be able to walk with our grandchildren down the streets and smell the sweetness of the neighborhood and relish in the safety the city offers.

Nawwwwwww!!

9)  Grilled Chicken Sandwiches Sales Down 9% in 2014
At least this one adds mayo,
lettuce and tomato so you taste
something!
Restaurant critics are amazed that the sales of grilled chicken sandwiches are down.  Everyone knows that frying is bad for you.  And, yes, hamburgers are also bad for you.  So, why have these offerings dropped in popularity?

According to experts, it's because of advertising.  More hamburgers were advertised last year, so more hamburgers were sold.  That is their explanation.

Mine?  Grilled chicken sandwiches suck!  Most of the time they're bland in taste, get cold, tough and dry too quickly, and usually are setting in a pool of cold water by the time you get ready to eat them.  Dress them up with barbecue sauce if you wish ... they're still gonna suck.

Subway is trying to get the grilled chicken trend going again.  But, according to a local store manager, what are more people ordering?  Meatball sandwiches!  I rest my case.

Where's the beef?

In my tummy, tummy, tummy ... yummy, yummy, yummy!

10)  Eavesdropping Barbie?
No, it's not this one, but be careful,
you never know when Mattel will
start putting chips in all dolls!
There comes a time when research is ridiculous.  In fact, there comes a time when it should be considered completely illegal.

What am I talking about?  Well, there's a new Barbie slated to hit the shelves.  Your child pushes a button and asks it a question.  Barbie, like Apple's Siri, is supposed to respond with an answer.  Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?

Now, here's the good part.  The questions and conversations your child has with this doll are sent to "the cloud" and stored for future review.  Who will be doing the reviewing?  Why, manufacturers, of course!  It is believed they will be able to better find what the children want and make future dolls and toys to take care of those desires.

In other words, you pay to have your kids robbed of their thoughts, ideas, and future dreams.  In the meantime, Mattel's partner, Toy Town, comes up with more and more money making toys.

Privacy groups don't like this, parents that understand what's going to happen don't like this, and kids don't like it, if like their parents, it's explained to them.

What Mattel needs to do is to create new characters called Tattle Tale Trudy and Big Mouth Marvin.  These toys will do the same as the Barbie, but with their names, the kids will be reminded to watch what they say!

And, the 
Kanye West Asshole of the Week Award 
Goes To:

LIL' WAYNE !!!!!

After performing seven songs for a college crowd, rapper Lil' Wayne threw a temper tantrum and stormed off the stage when the DJ played a song that had another rapper on it.

The mature thing to do would have gone with the flow and performed.  At worst, it would have been to stop the show and change the tape. But, in following in the footsteps of Kanye, he let his emotions rule and screwed all those that had purchased tickets to make his tail richer.

Don't you love rappers?  No wonder the prison system is filled with those ignorant enough to have  considered them role models.

"Yo, Yo, 
to prison you will
Go, Go.
Yo"

(And while you're there, 
don't forget to get your teardrop tattoo!)

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

That's it for another week of TTOT!

Ciao!


PS:  For those of you that like sarcasm a little more raw, check out my new blog