The thoughts of a writer.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Texas 3X Bigger than Sun

Happy Leap Day!

My 4-year-old son said that Leap Day is when the frogs all come out!

CuTRis Wins Oscar!

And the winner for the best performance for a majority while in the minority being pushed to conform to a minority while still technically being a majority though at the time being in the minority… is CuTRis for his performance in ”My Name is My Name…”


The Right Thing for Who?

I have, from time to time, mentioned my frustrations and observations regarding culture and my experiences with having married into a Hmong family. Over the weekend, I was told by a brother-in-law (who is Hmong but from another family) that having my name changed (this requires a big expensive, time-consuming and labor intensive party) is "the right thing to do." This of course, caused me to respond that I am not changing my name and certainly not letting someone else (in this case my father and mother in-law) pick a Hmong name for me. Then I told him that since the beginning (when I was going to marry my wife), "people" (i.e. Hmong people) have been telling me how I have to do things and I have repeatedly stated that I am not Hmong; and therefore not bound by any of their (many) "rules." Whenever I make this declaration, I get either anger and threats, or as in this case, a face that looks like I just shit on his favorite rug.

So if this name change thing is actually "the right thing to do," who is it right for? Certainly it is not right for me. I am an American who has been an adult for a long time (the name change signifies you are an adult) and I was given my name by my own parents. My name is a very personal thing and it is mine and I don't want to change it. Sorry if this bothers someone and doesn't conform to their rules and cultural traditions—but we are not in Laos, I am not Hmong, I like my name, it was a gift from my mom and dad and I'm not changing it.

Interestingly this came after a "family meeting" (about a separate issue) that I was not at (and want nothing to do with) where the participants spent two hours arguing over what is "the right thing to do!"

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Do Over!

Do Over!
I sure wish we could do that with the presidential election! Not because I want to go through it all over again—but because I really don't like any of the candidates. Why do I always have to vote for the one I dislike the least? And when do we get to have a candidate who represents the hard-working people of middle-America?

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Nice to Be Needed

Though I was on a (annual) business trip, and though in my absence there was (by my wife and young son) a trip to the market that included buying ice cream, and a trip to the mall and eating out, I was told that "we" needed milk just before I went to bed (last night after coming home). Apparently no one can buy milk like dad can. It's nice to be "needed," even if no one actually acknowledges it verbally.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Advice From An Old Lady

While at the grocery store today, I walked past the display of Easter candy. Suddenly an elderly woman said, "Wouldn't it be nice to be a little kid again so someone would give you an Easter basket?" I replied that I have a young son and I get to experience it through him! I told her I bought him a chocolate bunny; but his mom is very anti-sugar and probably won't like it. The woman said, that I should tell her that little kids should have some goodies too! I told her that I can't really tell my wife anything. "Well how did you end up with her?" she asked. I answered, "They're all like that!" Then she said, "No they aren't! You enjoy your son and keep looking and you will find a nice one someday!" I was a little stunned and said, "Well maybe I'll stick it out and hope for the best." Then she looked serious and said, "Just don't lose yourself!" Then I thanked her and said goodbye; because that last part was good advice.


Monday, February 22, 2016

NASA: Music From Far Side of Moon

NASA releases recording of 'outer-space type music' from far side of the moon.

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Kanye $53M in Debt

When I heard that Kanye West was $53M in debt, I couldn't help but think that "it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy!"


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Leave the Past in the Past

Perhaps the most destructive thing a person can do to any long-term personal relationship, is to repeatedly bring up their own version of everything the other person has ever done wrong. Never being able to give up a single unpleasant event whether actual or perceived, will ultimately cause the recipient of this continued emotional assault to remove himself from the relationship. So unless you prefer to be alone, it is wise to leave the past in the past and move on. If you cannot or if you refuse to do so, you will bring misery to yourself and those around you.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Slick Road Brick Head

To the driver who was following me so closely (in the dark) that I couldn't see the headlights on his/her car but I knew it was behind me. Maybe you didn't notice, but the road was pretty slippery in places and I had my son in the backseat of my car. So when we turned off and you started honking as you sped away (presumably because you thought that I was going too slowly), I hope you felt better after honking and "getting it out of your system." I'm very sorry that my responsible driving with a child in my car caused you such an inconvenience. I hope you can see it in your heart to forgive my transgression. You A-Hole.


Monday, February 15, 2016

France Salut!

Merci d'avoir lu.

Friday, February 12, 2016

95% Natural Ingredients

Click on picture 2X to enlarge: Click "back" to go back.

95% Natural Ingredients is good!
Although, feces would be a "natural" ingredient.
But definitely beware of that 5% unnatural ingredient(s)!


Police Stories

I've noticed that a lot of news-stories lately tend to be about police brutality or else police officers being shot. I have to wonder if being under so much scrutiny is in some cases, preventing officers from adequately protecting themselves.

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Three Minutes!

Three minutes! I don't have time to wait for that!

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Are The Best People Being Hired?

Since the primary goal (especially in the public sector) seems to be increasing the number of non-white employees (for example police, teachers and high level positions), are "we" as a society hiring the most qualified people; or are qualifications secondary to racial percentages? If they are, then don't become upset when things are mismanaged and quality is compromised. I've said it before and here it is one more time... If I was hiring someone for a job in a company I owned or represented, why would I not hire the most qualified person—regardless of their skin color? I would be a fool to pass up the best applicant over their demographics. Yet, when this is practiced in reverse, it is called, "affirmative action."

My opinion is that until "we" stop making such a big issue out how many people of a particular group (qualified or not) are in a particular occupation, we will not only not solve the disparity, but we will further perpetuate the issues of poorly trained personnel and poorly managed departments.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What is Time to a Child?

What is time to a child? When you have only experienced a couple of Christmases or a few birthdays, time seems to be infinite and long. That will certainly change with age and perspective. My preschool age son is in the habit of "goofing off" and wasting time; and we are trying to make him understand that wasting time ends up reducing the time available for fun things! But it is a hard lesson when you are four. Last evening I took him swimming at a friend's pool and he kept getting sidetracked and wasting time instead of eating his dinner (which he had to finish before we went swimming). I think I convinced him that if he kept it up, we would not have time to go swimming. But afterward, getting ready for bed took way too long and so did getting up this morning. So he got a lecture from me which made him pout. So I hugged him and told him I love him and we can only see if we fight the same battle again or if he starts to understand. It could, of course, be part of a struggle to exert some control over his surroundings—but to an "old guy" like me, it is frustrating to waste so much time!

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Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Coffee Drive-Thru Line

Whenever I see one of those giant lines at a coffee drive-thru in the morning, I always wonder why someone would choose to do that every day. Is it to save time by not having to make coffee? Is it because the coffee tastes better than if they made it themselves? I agree that sometimes it is worthwhile to pay a professional—but for coffee? I can make excellent coffee at home in minutes with a mug, a funnel and filter, and a coffee grinder and some beans. I can also make a week's worth for the cost of one purchased at a coffee shop. I can only guess that the attraction is not having to make it yourself and having enough time to sit in your car waiting for your coffee so you can text your friends or post a twitter about waiting in line for your coffee.

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Monday, February 08, 2016

Super Bowl 50

Due to a very busy weekend and trying to get everything finished, I must admit that I didn't give Super Bowl 50 as much attention as I have given other NFL championship games. I was hoping on some level that the Carolina Panthers would win simply because they never have. However, I must admit I like Peyton Manning so if he won the big game (again) with the Denver Broncos in his last NFL game, I'm happy for him.

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Friday, February 05, 2016

2 Days to Super Bowl 50


Handy Cultural Translator

It can be interesting, challenging and frustrating dealing with people from another culture. After working in a situation where I was often the minority, and after marrying into a particular Asian culture, I have learned some things. The first is that logic has little to do with it. That's right folks, Spock would be quite out of his element! The second is, that extremely important cultural values and traditions today, might mean little tomorrow—depending on which side of the advantage to be gained, an individual finds him/herself on. Also, women may traditionally have limited power, which means that women can be ruthless in seeking it. Additionally, men will not acknowledge a woman's rights—except when she marries into another family. Another good thing to remember, is that if you are white, you will be wrong no matter what. If you disagree, you are a racist. I'm not saying this is true or accurate, just that this is often the view or tactic used to gain an advantage. Most white people will allow themselves to be pushed into compliance for fear that they will be seen as not politically correct. This label, in today's society, is worse than being labeled an axe murderer. But be forewarned, the result of following every whim of another group is that you will ultimately lose yourself and your identity.
Now then, we move to the translator portion. When he says, "You always have to be controlling and have everything your way!" The translation into a more realistic voice is, "You are making me upset because you are preventing me from being controlling and having my own way!" Likewise if you are told that you must comply or there will be social sanctions—such as the individual may not come to help you when you need it, would actually be more accurately portrayed as , "I'm playing the 'guilt card' and the 'fear card' and I sure hope I get my way—I better make an angry face too!" If she says, "Don't you disrespect my culture!" it really means, "You can't disrespect my culture—only I can disrespect yours!" Once you learn to retain your individuality and your own culture (yes, even white people have a culture), you will be met with periodic and sometimes hostile reactions. But eventually, you will probably be tolerated and hopefully, "tested" less frequently once you are found to be "stubborn and negative;" (i.e. uneasily intimidated and taken advantage of). Vive la différence!

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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Human Exhibit

During our recent trip to the zoo I found the new "Human Exhibit" to be fascinating!

The New Human Exhibit!

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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Snow No!

While following a car on the freeway after yesterday’s big snowfall I marveled that someone could be so dumb as to not brush the snow from the vehicle before driving. Obviously the driver could not see my car behind his/hers with several inches of snow covering the windows. Is safety really that inconvenient?

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Even in the Darkest Places

He was a sick and twisted man. He liked to gossip about the "sins" of others but he didn't see any of his own. He loved his sisters. Maybe he loved them too much. His attraction may have prevented a healthy relationship with a non-related woman. Well that and his inability to be responsible or get a job and earn an income. He slept late. He didn't like to work. He didn’t like to shovel or mow or do much except put pictures on his Facebook; because one day, he might be known as a great artist. He wasn't good at talking. His social skills were sub-par. His motivation nearly nonexistent. He let his parents support him and take care of him; decade after decade. But he still had lots of "advice" for others about marriage and raising children—of which he had done neither. He was talented. He could spot other people’s shortcomings and he was always right! He had computers and smartphones and cameras and Wi-Fi and Netflix and he didn't have to work for it! Obviously he was the smartest guy in the world and everyone else would just have to admit it! After all, he "had the goods on them." This one yelled at his kids. This other one was controlling. This one assaulted his wife. Only the sick and twisted man was "guilt free" because he had no one to do that to except for in-laws or perhaps his elderly parents. Was there a glimmer of something to be learned from his one-way rants? Although he was too cowardly to permit a response to his attacks, and though he blocked communications and hid in his room, he would sit up late at night and unleash his fury at those who made any reference to his irresponsible lifestyle. Ahhh Facebook. The haven of the anti-social. He was right that was for certain. He would always be right. But was there something to be learned from the opposing point-of-view? Even one as one-sided and narrow is his? Perhaps… but eventually one has to separate himself from negative people and mental illness and leave the past in the past. So the other man pressed the delete key and then blocked the email to prevent further cyber-attacks.

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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Happy Groundhog's Day!

FYI - Spring comes every year regardless of what Phil says or who he bites.


Snow Coming

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Trump Comes in Second

Trump comes in second in Iowa. Maybe the GOP will survive afterall.

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