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Showing posts from November, 2012

Unreasonable Expectation

I find that quite often people have illogical expectations for the world around them.  One example is Walmart.  Why is Walmart the super corp that it is now?  In large part because people like buying things that are cheap.  They like low prices.  Walmart's "falling prices" campaign works.  People want cheap, cheap products.  But then they act surprised when they find out that Walmart doesn't pay its employees much.  Why is this a surprise?  The pressure to push prices as low as possible means minimizing expenses anywhere they are to be seen.  This includes employees' pay and benefits.  Pay them as little as possible and give them the minimal amount of benefits (which, often, is zero benefits).

I'm not defending Walmart.  In fact, I'm no longer shopping at Walmart until they do treat their employees better, because low prices aren't as important to me as people being paid fairly.  But I do find it ridiculous to want low-low prices like Walmart has and…

Statistics

I always enjoy watching the statistics that Google makes available to me to track my reader base.  It's quite interesting.  I have just hit 75,000 total page views.  I think that's awesome.  In fact, that's more than I ever expected to get in my life when I first started my blog.

The highest single post has consistently been (since the time I posted it) the one where I came out of the closet, entitled Yes, I'm Gay, with just over 700 views.  The second and third were until just recently the posts entitled The Engagement and Puppy Love, wherein I detail how Conrad and I met and got engaged and what falling in love feels like, each with approximately half as many views as "Yes, I'm Gay".  However, in recent months my post entitled Boycott List, wherein I make fun of people who wanted to boycott Oreo for being pro-gay, passed those two up and is now in second place with just over 400 hits.  (It's exciting to me to watch these things happen, so I'm m…

Parable of the English Paper

In 2006, I took an English class and I had to write a paper for my final project.  We got to choose the topic of the paper.  I chose the Iraq War.  When I started writing the paper, I was convinced that George W. Bush was justified in entering the Iraq War.  I sought to prove this in my paper.

I started doing research.  I looked up words like "jus in bello" and "jus ad bellum" that I had never heard before.  I found propaganda sites with extremely disturbing images.  I listened to Have You Forgotten by Darryl Worley and American Soldier by Toby Keith.  I saw the exploitation of human emotion on both sides of the issue.  I saw people using the principle of patriotism and freedom in order to promote the war.  I saw people using horrific, graphic images to tell of how evil the violence is.

But one thing became quite clear as I did all of my research.  I was wrong.  The thing I had set out to prove in my paper was in fact false.  We didn't go into Iraq because th…

Giving of Thanks

Every year on the fourth Thursday of November, I've gathered with family to eat a feast.  When I was young, we would switch between my mom's family and my dad's.  When I got older, we started doing our own dinner.  When Karen and I moved out here to Tennessee, far away from almost all our family, we went to visit my brother in Louisiana (which was still not very close--about 15 hours away).  Two years ago, I did my own dinner here at my house and invited several friends over.  Last year, Conrad and I did our own dinner with just the two of us.  Every year (for as long as I can remember) we've always had at least twice as much food as we've needed, and plenty more than everyone can stuff themselves with.

I've never really stopped and asked myself why we do this.  How is eating a bunch of food an expression of gratitude?  I can understand back in 1621 why the two would coincide.  The very first harvest was plentiful, and they wanted to celebrate by consuming a g…

Reporting

So, Intel and UPS have now cut their funding to the Boy Scouts of America on the basis that their policies are discriminatory.  Namely, they do not allow gay scouts or leaders.  I say kudos to Intel and UPS.  And I hope every other corporation funding them will follow suit (although I think the LDS church will probably increase their funding because they encourage this kind of behavior).  So, I decided to do some Google News searches on BSA and came up with an astonishing (to me, anyway--maybe everyone else has known for a while) revelation.

For decades, the organization has tracked men among its own ranks who have sexually abused the scouts that they work with.  (also here)  My first reaction to this is incredulity at the hypocrisy and irony of the situation.  If a man is honest and admits that he is homosexual, the organization will ban him from service (even just being a volunteer) in their club.  But if he pretends to be straight and secretly takes advantages of the boys in his ca…

High-Intensity Faith

Many people (usually Mormons) have asked me why I focus on Mormonism so much, in my criticism of religion.  The best and most comprehensive answer is that most of the people that I love are Mormon.  If most of my friends and family were Baptists, I would probably criticize Baptists the most.  If they were Scientologists, I would criticize them the most.  I want to encourage people to think critically about their own beliefs, to examine which of their beliefs are true and which are false, to discard the false ones and to retain the true ones.  And now I thank heartily a good friend of my fiancĂ©'s for the work she has done.  Her dissertation has helped me personally understand my own feelings much better, and I believe it will be of much help to me in the future.

I have been criticized for not being scientific enough on this blog.  I will make the disclosure that this blog has never been meant to be a scientific approach to anything.  It is nothing more or less than my own thoughts …

Campaign Reform

Sadly, most of the items that pop up in my newsfeed are now from my liberal friends.  I have to go hunting for the conservative ones.  I think that Penn Jillette speaks wisdom when he says that he likes to hear what people who disagree with him say.  I've seen several of my friends become so radical (far left or far right) that their words seem completely disconnected from reality.  I don't want that to happen to me.

At any rate, one of the main things I'm seeing my liberal friends post today is criticism of rich people funding republican races that failed.  In fact, here's a picture of it.  I agree with the sentiment that this is extremely wasteful and (at least in this case) ultimately futile.  I agree with the arguments that have been posed that this money would be better spent creating actual jobs for the American people--jobs where we actually produce something--rather than funding childish TV ads and giving away free buttons to supporters.

However, I can't …

An Historic Election

Last night, something happened for the first time.  In fact, it happened for the first, second, and (possibly) third times.  Something that before yesterday had never happened before.  The winds of change are blowing for marriage equality.  For the very first time in our nation's history, a ballot measure put to the people's vote concerning gay marriage was approved.  Maine, Maryland, and Washington all had ballot measures asking voters whether gay marriage should be legal.  These measures have passed in Maine and Maryland for sure.  Not enough data has come in from Washington to call the vote at this time, but it is leaning in the direction of approving gay marriage.

What does this mean?  This means there are now eight (9, including Washington) states where gay marriage is now legal.  This means nearly 20% of the United States has decided to take the route of equality for gays.  We are one step closer to being an enlightened, egalitarian society.  But, more than that.  Oppon…

The Uneducated Voter

So, I voted yesterday.  I was surprised there was a long line at the early voting site on my campus.  But, it was good to see that many people voting.  What was really disheartening was something that happened while we were waiting in line.

I thought it was rather considerate of the workers there to have copies of the ballot measures available for us to read while we were waiting in line.  Since I try to be an educated voter, I had already read these measures on Knox County's website.  They were mostly just boring county charter amendments.  However, at the same time it was a discouraging thought that so many people who came to vote probably didn't even know that these ballot measures existed prior to standing in line.  I would not be surprised to learn that some of the people there voting thought that they would only be voting for POTUS and no other office.  However, something far more disheartening happened.

There were two girls in front of me in line.  They glanced at the …