Armchair Quarterbacks

There has been a running joke in the family since the Wife and I got together. The joke is that our televisions are broken, they won’t tune a channel that has a sporting event on it. Neither of us has any real interest in sports.

My father watched every football game that was broadcast back when I was a kid. There was also only one TV set in the house (dating myself, I’m sure) so if I wanted to watch TV, I had to watch what dad was watching. …And it was generally sports. I never had any interest in the game, but after several years of being forced to watch football, I got a pretty good grasp of what was going on. I can carry on a conversation with those who have a sports affliction similar to my father’s, so most people don’t realize that I can’t stand watching sports on TV (in fact can’t stand most sports at all) and would rather be doing anything else.

As an aside, the Wife used to get into role-playing games in college. One of them was a fantasy football type game, played with teams and their current stats. She always enjoyed picking the Seattle Seahawks as her team, because they had the best stats. She generally won the game because the major drawback for the Seahawks, the tendency to choke in a clinch, didn’t affect the gameplay.

For as long as we’ve made the joke concerning broken television sets, we’ve commented that “if the Seahawks ever got in the Superbowl, we’d have to watch it”.

I’m watching a football game this Sunday. I blame the Wife for this.


Editor’s note. The Seahawks were robbed (please note the lack of emphasis in that statement) I don’t think I’ve seen a worse case of officiating in the entire time I’ve watched TV football. Granted, it’s hard to remember. Sports Illustrated remembers that game differently. They, of course, don’t even point out the fact that the Steelers stole the game from the Seahawks. Doesn’t even rate a mention early in the article.

The talking heads have been complaining about officials not knowing which way was up all year long, now I know why. Having to watch the Steelers celebrate a win they didn’t earn reminded me of why I don’t watch football in the first place. Glad that’s behind me.

It was nice to see Namath and the other MVP’s on the field again. Other than that, the entire game was a waste of our time to watch and simply underscored why our TVs are broken and won’t play sports programs on them.

Featured image from Bleacher Report. No, the game was not fixed. This doesn’t change the fact that the game sucked.

Dry Cleaning Conspiracy

Clothes that can’t be washed in water, when the world’s surface is covered by 71% water; when the body that it goes on is 60% water; when on any given day in the averge human’s life, water can fall right out of the sky onto the clothing he is wearing (well, unless you’ve been living in Austin lately, that is. What a drought) what else would you call it?

Yes, I put the dry cleaning into the washer again, so what?


Editor’s note. This is a repeating problem in the Steele household. Dry cleaning tossed into the laundry as if the launderer can be expected to check labels before washing. He clearly can’t be expected to check labels. Don’t buy dry clean only clothing, that is the solution. Do not, repeat, do not blame the person who washes the clothes. Not if you want him to keep washing the clothes.

Generation Cusp Humor Conundrum

When I was reading Knappster today I ran across a reference to all the new buzzwords that the corporate geeks have come up with in the last few years. When the Wife was working for Dell, I remember a good many of those being spoken with a straight face.

Yeah, them Gen-Xers are funny, and I tend to think of myself as a Gen-X rather than as a Boomer (when I think about the meaningless labels that get affixed to indefinable groups of people that happen to have been born in particular years, that is) Having been born in the early sixties, I get the pick of which group I want to be in, since the generations that they claim to represent overlap in those years.

My wife, on the other hand, thinks of herself as a Boomer. Her parents grew up in the depression and didn’t have children until late in life; so she tends to see herself as being part of the post-war (that would be WWII for the knee biters out there) boom generation. It makes no difference when I explain to her that we were in grade school during the summer of love, she wants to be a Boomer.

Just so long as she doesn’t ask me to give up my unearned X-er angst, I won’t point out to her that women’s lib and tie-dye both had their time already (and it’s over. The women won, OK?) and I guess we’ll continue to agree to disagree on the subject.

These days I feel about as old as a Boomer should feel (at least in my estimation) Especially when visiting a site like I Was Your Age Twice (which I have been, for quite a few people out there, and that number grows daily) and laughing my head off at a good bit of the content there.

Gen-X I may be, but I can still rant with the best of them older farts.

Postscript

I have now lived long enough that infants born in the last years of Gen-X can be happy about being on the cusp of the next generation, which I understand they are calling Millennials. They are happy to be able to claim either generation as theirs, or neither if it suits them. Well isn’t that precious?

Allusionist 39: Generation What?

Which are you: Millennial, Generation X, Baby Boomer, Silent Generation, an impressively young-looking Arthurian? Or are you an individual who refuses to be labelled?

I will soon be seeing the third generation since the spawn emerged, and they are getting old enough to complain about the state of the world getting worse since they were children. I am beginning to understand how this can get tiring to witness.

It’s Called Philosophy

This was an open letter to a local talk show that was being guest hosted by a local state representative (whose opinions I generally agree with, but not that day) a state representative who kept wondering, on air, how anyone could get by without religion to shape their moral fibre, and what a shame it was that the importance of religion in American society was failing, since we are a christian nation after all. three guesses what set me off in the first place. Bet you don’t need two of them.


The word you are struggling to find is ‘philosophy’. Philosophy, even amongst the religious, is where morals come from. I say this as an Objectivist, Americans ignore the importance of establishing and maintaining a personal philosophy at their own peril.

It is the short-cutters, the people who turn to religion and superstition to answer their metaphysical questions, those people are to blame for the degradation of the morals in our society, not a lack of faith or prayer in schools or whatever imagined slight the Christian Right wants to whine about today.

Contrary to popular opinion, the founders where not christians, they were Deists.

From EarlyAmerica.com:

The Founding Fathers, also, rarely practiced Christian orthodoxy. Although they supported the free exercise of any religion, they understood the dangers of religion. Most of them believed in deism and attended Freemasonry lodges. According to John J. Robinson, “Freemasonry had been a powerful force for religious freedom.” Freemasons took seriously the principle that men should worship according to their own conscious. Masonry welcomed anyone from any religion or non-religion, as long as they believed in a Supreme Being. Washington, Franklin, Hancock, Hamilton, Lafayette, and many others accepted Freemasonry.

One of the most religious men in the continental congress was John Adams, and he was a Unitarian.

This is my answer to the question you posed. I only wish I could have called in to set you right in your confusion. Religion is a curse that will betray America to ruin, and that very soon. Philosophy needs to be taught to children as a part of their school curriculum. It is every bit as important as the 3 “R’s”. (so does economics need to be taught, but that is a different subject) Only with the mental tools for judging and abiding by morals of their own will our children be able to stop the moral decline that this country is in.

I too had to turn off the program today. One more holier than thou phone caller trying to tell me how I needed to go to church would have sent me over the edge.


These days I just point people who ask these types of questions to the study published in the Journal of Religion and Society titled Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies, that shows the impact of fervent religious belief on society as a whole is negative. Don’t know what else needs to be said on the subject of how we can get by without religion. We might be better off without it.

Postscript

I wish the founders had all been deists as I erroneously claim above. We’d be better off now if they had been. The blight of Christainist dogma would not have been inculcated into our social psyche if three quarters of the founders hadn’t been adherents to various flavors of christianity that have since evolved into evangelicalism and the Prosperity Gospel.

My error doesn’t mean that the US is a christian nation. The point that is first and foremost in my mind is that there is no thing called christian that all christians can agree on and want enforced as the religion that everyone should follow. You can thank the protestants for that social benefit. If they hadn’t broke from the mother church we would probably still all be Catholics and subject to papal dictates.

This was the first of a repetition of encounters with average people who seemed baffled by the fact that other people do just fine without church or religion to guide them. It’s almost as if they’ve never done any moral thinking for themselves. Perhaps they should give it a try. They might discover that their religion didn’t invent the concept of morality. (This article as it appeared on Blogspot)

Mid-Life Crisis? Not Yet.

Stated flatly at lunch today:

Not jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, no bungee jumping, not letting someone cut on my eyes and reshape them with lasers (Lasik) just so I can ‘look cool’ without glasses. After lunch one of my buddies jumped on a motorcycle and tooled out of the parking lot. Make that item number four: distinct preference for four wheels and a solid cage of steel around my personal space, thank you so much.

So much for that mid-life crisis at least so far. The wife on the other hand is deep into hers. She’s been wanting a mini so bad that she’s already designed hers at the site. She insists that our recent purchase of a Kia proves that I’m not being truthful. We’ll see. I wonder if it’s contagious?

Professions

Started ranting with the wife about technical jobs…

Ranting with not ranting at? It’s like an argument concert. She rants, I agree and rant, she responds with a loud denouement of whatever. Life around here can be quite different, really. Quite different, when you realize that she’s the truly technical one. The hardware junky that builds things. I’m just her one and only flunky that keeps the software running.

…and what they pay these days. Most of the places that advertise computer assistance/repair services pay no better than the places where the sum total of knowledge required to do the job is to be able to say “do you want fries with that?” We’ve gotten most of our business from people who have first called a number they heard advertised; and then after *insert business name here* made the problem worse, they did some searching and found us. We’d love to be the first ones that get called; but we just don’t work that cheaply, and shouldn’t be expected to.

What’s out of sync is that we don’t charge any more than *insert business name here* (less in fact) it’s just that as sole proprietors we pocket the full hourly charge for ourselves, like any real professional would.

And then I started off on a tangent. Specialized knowledge. That’s what makes a profession what it is. Imagine what it was like back when houses first started getting electricity. You already had plumbing, most likely. But this electrical stuff was all new. Someone who understood electricity and its rules would be highly valued. What followed would be decades of hard learning for all involved, with more and more people getting experience in the field. At some point, common knowledge of the basic rules of electricity made it seem like any old idiot could go out and wire a house and fiddle with electrical current. But that isn’t the case. Electricians still exist, and some of us still rely on them. Idiots get fried every year because they think they know about electricity. This isn’t that hard is probably the last thought they had.

While you won’t kill yourself trying to do some of the more technical jobs for yourself, when you realize that you’ve just turned your very expensive computer into a paper weight, you might wish you were dead.

No, I don’t think we need the government to step in now and start setting standards for a computer profession. I haven’t noticed that it’s done anything for any of the other professions out there including architecture. I just think it’s a shame that you’d pay a plumber an hourly wage that an attorney might charge, to handle the mystical plumbing problem you’re having, but computer problems are a different matter? You want fries with that?

The Clutter Bug

There has to be such a creature. I can’t think of any other explanation.

I’m pretty sure they came across the border in a banana shipment (or something like that) and that they come from at least three different regions. I’m pretty sure the place is called “Slobovnia” (what else would it be called?) The ones from Lower Slobovnia leave clutter in the floor areas. The ones from Upper Slobovnia leave clutter in the empty spaces above the floor.

Then there are the ones from Central Slobovnia, the most common kind (at least around here) because there is clutter all over the fucking place.

How do I know there are bugs responsible for the clutter? Well, I know it isn’t me, and when I ask the rest of the family “who made this mess?” No one did it.

It’s gotta be the bugs.

Now I just need to find a good exterminator that doesn’t laugh when I describe the problem.

Discrimination

Having ranted on English not being the language of the US, you might find it weird that I would have a problem with non-English speakers in retail positions that require you to converse with the public.

But I do.

While I don’t think that people should be forced to learn English, I think it’s stupid to hire people who can’t speak the common language of an area for a job that requires speaking to the average customer; nor do I buy that this is discrimination in a way that is prosecutable.

I walked into an unnamed fast food joint the other day and found myself arguing with the manager (who happened to be black) about his crew’s inability to speak English sufficiently well to get a simple burger order right. He stated that “we aren’t allowed to discriminate in our hiring practices.” He couldn’t figure out why I found that funny.

Discrimination
is selecting something from a larger group of something, based on chosen attributes. That’s it. If a business picks one person to work for them, from a group larger than one person, then they are practicing discrimination in making that selection. They practice discrimination against the smelly, the ugly, the untrustworthy, etc. I would like to suggest that they add ability to converse clearly in English to the list of important requirements for hiring.

Having been fired from my only stint at a fast food restaurant for necking with my girlfriend in the mop room when I was 17, hormonal and stupid (and would sooner work on a hog farm than work in fast food again) I can understand how hard it is to get even average people to do the work at one of these places. But I don’t do business with people I can’t converse with, and there are other places that know how to make a Texas burger properly without my having to explain it to them.

…in whatever language they speak.

Righteous Indignation

I’ve been meaning to write this one for awhile. I dragged myself out to vote November Eighth. I do this every time an election rolls around, not because I think my vote will be counted properly (another rant in the making) and not because I think it will change anything (most of the issues go the other direction by hefty majorities. I blame it on education) I do it because it gives me a license to bitch when the will of the majority goes awry. As it has in the past. As it will this time around too.

With the passage of Prop. 2 here in Texas, the majority has officially endorsed the end of “equality before the law”. What do I mean by that? Quite simply, they have stated that certain individuals have more rights than others, according to law. That if you cohabitate with ‘A’ member of the opposite sex, you can declare what you have a ‘marriage’, and claim the privilege that come along with it. Things like tax exemptions, health insurance coverage for ‘family members’, etc. Things not available to people who happen to cohabitate with any number of other people (no matter what sex they are) for whatever reason. Prop. 2 writes into the Texas Constitution that a household formed of one man and one woman has rights that others in the state don’t have, setting up preferential treatment for a specific portion of the population. Some of us (and since I’m one of the special people who happens to cohabitate with a woman, I’m one of ‘us’. Go figure) have more rights than others, and it’s written right into the ‘law of the land’. Equal before the law? Not any more.

How dare they put their faith above everything else? “Marriage is Sacred” they say. Then why can it be performed by a judge? It’s just another contractual arrangement now, no matter what it was in ancient times. If they wanted to retain the ‘sacred’ rites of marriage, then they should never have allowed the government to take part in the rites at all. It should only be performed in a church.

Back at the dawn of the internet, I used to spend time arguing on various forums on CompuServe (back when I was simply known as 71613,115@compuserve.com, before AOL bought the company and gutted it of its hardware) on the Gay and Lesbian forum I had several arguments with well intentioned people who were convinced that they needed special laws to protect them. I only ceased arguing with them when they provided proof that they were still persecuted in modern day America. I ceased to argue with them, but my views have not changed. There should not be ‘special’ laws for any group in America. Not for Gays, not for Women, not for Minorities; and most definitely not for ‘Marriage’.

I was and still am outraged at this, especially in light of the ‘straight’ majority in Texas having now added one more misbegotten and meaningless amendment to the Texas constitution (a document that with each passing election shouts its need for complete replacement. Just try reading it sometime) that will most likely backfire as have most of the ones before it. And I really hope it does. Just waiting for that case that opens the can of worms. “What do you mean, no marriages are ‘legal’ in the state of Texas? How could that be?”

Death Warmed Over

I’ve always found language (and it’s butchering) interesting. The Wife walks in the house the other day,

“I feel bad, I feel real bad. I feel like death warmed over, y’know?”

She has a college degree in English, and she talks like this. What is the value of education? And what does this mean? For the life of me, I’m sitting there wondering to myself, what is it like to feel like death warmed over? The British say “death warmed up” but that just brings the image of a hot corpse to mind. Not very entertaining, that.

But, “death warmed over” could be something like death leftovers, perhaps. The box for the last dead guy’s coffin. The trash from somebody else’s mourners; already wet tissues and crumpled programs with somebody else’s name on them. Wilted flowers not deemed good enough to transport to the gravesite. The empty bottles and food trays from the ‘really great wake’ that somebody else had.

Death leftovers. Yeah, I don’t think I want to feel that bad.