Ummm.. ok..

Someone asked me recently to summerize myself here. And I can tell you , it is so difficult to provide a self-summary, but I don't trust my friends to provide one. They might tell you about that time with the... err... never mind. (Shut up Joy.. no soup for you)

Anyway, I'm an ordinary bloke with quite a number of interests (did I hear someone in the background mumble: dilettante? If you mean that in its most positive sense, then yes I am.. otherwise, the exit is to your left.. Thank you for coming)

I was born (YEAH Baby), I came (it is how I got here), I saw (there *pointing*), I laughed (a lot), I cried (some), I have hated (damn you Tony!!!) and have loved (singing Sandy)

My accomplishments have been in tune with some of my desires.. I've made mistakes (blasted Worldcom), and have succeeded in places I've never imagined. (hehe, sorry, what was that again?)

In essence, I'm human for all my faults, strengths, inadequacies, accomplishments, failures, and successes, I'm just me. (Scary huh?)

Take from that what you will.

As you may have noticed from this blog, travel is IMPORTANT to me. I have had the fortune and pleasure of visiting/exploring/living on a pretty good chunk of this planet (Mostly through Asia, but also through Europe, both of the poles, all throughout North America, quite a few places in South America, Morocco and Johannesburg). I feel its important to mention this because, as my friends have joked, travel is my lover and spouse. So I suppose I am "taken" in this particular context. *smile*

Another little point (they just keep coming up don't they?) I should mention that my friends provided the descriptive words above. Such wonderful friends I have... now if you will excuse me, I have to go "discuss" something with them. *picking up my bat*

Well, fair readers I am back..

Yes, I threw a party and no one came... *sniff*.

Oh well.

Suffice to say, it has been an interesting few months, but I will hit the highlights:

  1. Being absorbed by the evil empire (those of you who know me are aware of who this virulent presence is).
  2. Work (like there was a choice in this)
  3. Travel (Ditto. Its my therapy dammit!)
  4. Finished my move from 142nd Street o 42nd Street (from west to east)

Now that I've gotten all the preliminaries out of the way, I have to vent a little:

All in all, pretty unadventurous... My father and I were discussing some rather interesting topics and one that struck me as rather amusing is how society has changed in the past few decades. We have gone from a fairly open (if racially biased), fairly literate (always a few stragglers on this one), and pretty responsible group of people to a extremely distrustful (still racially biased, but now add on gender biased as well on both sides, and I will come back to this in a moment with examples), almost illiterate (I find it is getting harder and harder to find people in my daily interactions who actually READ), irresponsible group of people.

(Stop rubbing that gun and let me explain)

Openness (lets get the big one out of the way)

For openness, much of this is due to fear. Fear of their economic situation, fear of their neighbours (which is being fostered in my opinion by the government in an effort to distract people, but that is a topic for another time). Not too long ago, even for one of my limited age (I'm a child of the 70's) more people were actually willing engage in banter (and for a person travelling, its important to me… how else do I get my jollies? Ikea is forever out of stock on them) now I am met with a wall of silence. Am I a fed or a priest because I get that one too (Father Doc *shaking head*) I don’t think I look like one, but I get that all the time. I don't know if that is a complement or a criticism on my dress. People have in essence become extremely distrustful of each other and everyone around them and it’s a closed loop. (I fear you -> you fear me - we fear them, they fear us -> they fear me -> I fear you, etc...).

As I said before, I blame much of this on government, but I also blame it on the zealots of various types. Pick your flavour, I don't care, the behaviour is pretty much all the same. I will also add that with regards to gender and race, we have performed a little about face. Society has flipped from a patriarchal (kind but indifferent to women) society to a pseudo matriarchal one that demonizes men (and in some twisted way, is still somewhat indifferent to women). A particular pet peeve of mine is this notion of education for the young. It pains me greatly to see this major push on women's education without any thought towards men's education at all. Right now, pick any subject, any topic, any sector, go to our good friends at Google and do a search on it, I promise you will find at least 2 groups dedicated to getting women in that group. So what do you have? You have the government saying "Discrimination and exclusion based on gender is against the law" (i.e.: no men's studies") and at the same time you have groups that actively seek members of a specific gender (and by extension excluding members of the opposite gender) for the benefit of the group dynamic. (Sounds just a teensy bit hypocritical don't you think?) It does not strike me as aiming for equality so much as aiming for retribution (and to my knowledge revenge has never been objective). Equality would say, remove the gender element completely and focus on *wait for it* EDUCATION. Not what group is getting it, but making sure that ALL children have access to it. I don't want my daughter (assuming I have one) feeling left out because she is not able to go to a tech school (if she WANTS to, not because some statistic says there are not "enough" women there), but I don't want my son (assuming I have one) getting railroaded by a system that essentially says "You had your turn, now get off, let suzi go" All that does is supplant one set of inequalities with another and sadly this new round is not just socially enforced.

Also related to this topic of openness is one of my major peeves, civility. Its been declining for a while with everyone proclaiming "freedom" while they gut their neighbour(s) (interesting that the same proclaimers of freedom are the same ones that are so quick to give up their freedom.. and forgetting that once its given, it is extremely difficult to get back.. but I digress). I fail to see how a modicum of thought for one's neighbour and simple respect for their rights is "impinging my rights". It’s annoying to realize that these people just don't understand a basic principle. If you don't want it done to you, then stop doing it to them. Or for the theologians among us: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Matthew 7:14)". I don't do some things around people because I feel it’s not fair. Why blast my music to half the neighbourhood? Yes, I CAN do it, but that doesn't mean I SHOULD do it... (Yes, I'm talking to you people on 141st street... Geez.. the headaches). Just because I CAN chain smoke in a restaurant, does not mean that I SHOULD do it with the fact that at least half the crowd may be NON-SMOKERS. (Granted, if a non-smoker walks into a cigar shop and expects everyone to stop, then they are the fool. I can think of many other examples as I am sure you can too. But it just really irks me to see such behaviour. A little respect for others is all I ask... Trust me; it can go a long way if everyone does it.

Someone once quipped that "Chivalry was sick, but feminism killed it". I used to not believe that, but I have to say, I am considering calling homicide with an anonymous tip or two. Example #1 (1 year ago): Coming out of Brooks Brothers in Downtown Manhattan. I as I almost always do (these days I am more skittish and you will see why in a bit) hold the door for the patron behind me. (See my rant about civility above). The women I held the door for completely freaked out and called me everything from a "male chauvinistic pig" to a "lecher who was just trying to get in her pants". Now first, anyone that knows me can pretty much vouch for the fact that I am as close to a eunuch as possible without getting a certain thing removed. (In my case if you are interested, it has cobwebs on it from lack of use). And second, my holding the door was simple courtesy. It has nothing to do with gender or anything else. If the person behind me was a man, woman, leprechaun, or a KKK member (though on that last one, my walking pace would be much closer to a sprint than my usual jogging pace) I would do the same. Well, things escalated, and wonders upon wonders; I get called to the police station over this. I have never in my life set foot in one for anything other than work of visiting friends (I have friends in various police forces around the world and my job takes me to many different work venues). So as you can imagine, I am pretty much saying to myself.. WTF? Well, pretty much the only thing that saved me was the statement from several of the store personnel, the video tape from the store, and 20 characters witnesses (including from the NYPD themselves) that made this whole thing blow over.. time out of my life: 39 hours. Potential damage: SERIOUS loss of reputation. Now I know many of you will say, well, gee, that’s an isolated incident. And there are nut jobs all over. Well, I would normally say yes... but considering that this same problem (to a lesser degree) has happened 10 times, not to mention this happening to many of my friends who have a similar social bent, as well as several of my female friends saying "Don't hold the door for me, its derogatory" has me asking.. What the heck does holding the door for someone have to do with any derogatory behaviour? Someone Please give me a clue on this one because I am lost. I have many more examples, but I tire of this section so let me move on.

Illiteracy - What?.. no bookie for you?

I am finding more and more people simply don't WANT to read. Oh, they can... and will if necessary (work, school, that McDonalds’ menu, etc...) But it is truly sad and very self-damaging. I know this is not a minority (yet) but I worry because it is this same group of non-readers that are the ones complaining to father (i.e.: the government) about what to have and what not to have in the library, or what not to print. And let me be clear about this. I don't mean simply looking at words. Any monkey with at least one good eye can do that. (and if it can do braille then skip the good eye part) I mean COMPREHENSION. I mean (where applicable) application of the data before them. I won't sit here and proselytize the virtues of reading and what happens when a society as a whole is stunted intellectually... *cough* the Romans *cough* the Greeks... Blasted cold.. Anyway... more has been written (ah haa!!) on that topic than care to put here, and certainly in a more eloquent fashion by people more gifted than little me. Let me just say.. DO IT!!.. 'nuff said. (And while we are on the subject of literacy and peeves.. PLEASE STOP SCREWING AROUND WITH THE LANGUAGE. SPELL OUT THE DAMN WORD AND STOP THIS PHONICS CRAP!! There, that felt better.

Responsibility - Muhahahhaha... the deceptively simple one.
I know I am in the minority here when I say this, but to me, honour is important to me. It is something I strive for in all facets of my life. To bring honour and respect to my family. I don't mean this in the more traditional English sense, I mean this more in the traditional Japanese sense. To me, that means that I am accountable for all my actions, (large and small; seen and unseen) and that I am bound to correct them where possible or seek obeisance (or restitution) to those I have wronged. The point I am driving here is that one must be responsible for their actions. Far too often I hear everything from "They caused this" (no one can cause you to do something you have not already decided to do) to "The devil made me do it" (have you looked in a mirror lately?) to its not my fault. From what I have seen... That "act of god" line pretty much only covers about maybe 3 - 5% of our daily life. The rest dear reader is on your shoulder. Far too often I hear of reproductive parents (and I will make a VERY clear line here because it doesn't take much but an egg, some sperm and about 2 - 5 minutes of one's time to make a baby (assuming you just want the kid and with no fun) It takes YEARS to be a parent. And granted, I am not one, but I have been a VERY involved uncle for my nephew and two nieces.. trust me, even on my side, its work, and I'm JUST the uncle) complaining to the government about little Johnny and Jane playing video games, reading porn, watching movies, listening to rush Limbaugh. May I ask one question of these would-be criers of protection? Why aren't you doing YOUR job? It is not the government’s job to police the libraries. It is not the government’s job to instil morality in your child. It is not the government’s job to prevent little Johnny or Jane from watching/listening/reading subject matter that YOU find objectionable. It is... (Say it with me) YOUR JOB!! It is foolish that companies are being sued because someone else made a mod that displays pixelated porn (i.e.: non-live people) in a game that is already borderline in my humble opinion). (oh sure, we can blow up a house, shoot 90 cops, curse until the devil himself says "God...enough!" but show a little T&A and some Sim's doing the nasty GIF and all of a sudden its a hunt for their heads). It is moronic that companies are spending trillions (that's right folks, the "T" word) of dollars on legal protection and warning labels because some moron of a parent doesn't have the sense to say to little Johnny or Jane "No". It is unbelievable that schools are becoming prisons essentially for children because their parents claim "I don't have the time" (blasted, make time) And all of this can be traced back people who simply do not wish to admit that "I was wrong", "I screwed up", "it is my fault". Parent A does not want to admit that they should have kept an eye on little Jane while their friend/co-worker/lover/drug dealer/whatever was over, so when little Jane drowns, they sue the pool company for not making it "safe" (its bloody water ok? What… you will blame god because the ocean is there? I would love to see the court case on that). Parent B refuses to admit that they should be monitoring their child's internet activities and learning right along with them about proper socializing. And when little Johnny gets mailed back to them in pieces, they want to sue the internet provider and the PC manufacturer for not putting little warning labels on things and telling them this could happen. (Would you let your child walk alone in a dark alley near the subway tracks? No? Then why would you let them do the electronics equivalent? I'm sure that if little Johnny brought home "Ted" his new best friend (a 45 year old knife holding nutter, you would be beating him back with the family car and dialling 911 before you can say "You have mail!") so again, why would you allow them to bring home the equiv. (And yes, I know I an focusing here on parents for a bit.. it is because much of these oppressive laws (and it is a shame that these are laws) that are being churned out are due to these people that scream family values while doing absolutely NOTHING of value for their family).

It seems that this people are unwilling to take any responsibility for their actions and so they run to Poppa (i.e.: the government) who then sets the rules so that they feel nice and safe. Let me ask you some questions:

If you were with someone that took no responsibility for their actions; every decision, every action that was initiated by you was met with them saying "its up to you", how long would it be before you simply stopped asking and just did it. If they didn't want it, then its their own fault.

Assuming you were that person that kept saying "it’s up to you", once you have given away (through words and deed) your ability to choose, what right have you to complain when eventually (and I promise you, it will happen) decisions are being made for you and you don't like them?