Friday, June 29, 2007

Tribute To Summer

I live for the summer months - it's when I want to be outside, get my much needed sunlight, and feel more in touch with the outdoor world. The smells are good, the air has that density to it with the looming thunderstorm, and just the mere moisture in the air is good for the soul. People go outside and do things. They play softball, golf, take walks, just generally do healthy, happy stuff, rather than sit in bars or munch chocolate in front of the TV when it's 20 below outside. The environment is simply better for everyone. Since we don't have a natural fur coat (well, most of us) it's logical to assume that we are designed to live in temperate climates. I just don't get the Eskimos, or those tribes that live in the desert. What are you thinking?

I get completely annoyed when some people, usually fat people, start extolling the virtues of "sweater weather", that is, the autumn months when the weather is "crisp" (hate that term) and it's constantly 51 degrees outside. You know what, fatso? You don't need the sweater. Let your piggish blubber insulate against the chilling, death-laced winds of autumn. Sorry that you can't stand up from a seat without your fat, leaky butt sticking to it, or your monstrous thighs adhering to anything that can't fight back. If summer is too hot for you, then move to Canada. They started a country and nobody showed up, so head on up there - it's always "sweater weather" up there - then in winter, it's "death weather". Have fun fighting the seals for salmon. I'm not a fan of winter, if you couldn't tell.

As a heterosexual male, it's also very nice to see the ladies dressing skimpy during this season. Everything becomes a bit more pleasant, like waiting in line at the store, riding a train, whatever, when there is eye candy involved. Thankfully, most of the time, the unshapely people know better not to dress themselves inappropriately in public, though the occasional Cleopatra (Queen of Denial) pops up, and eyes are easily averted. We can all prevent sight pollution if we keep a little sense of dignity in mind.

Yes, I love the hot humid days, but I also have air conditioning. I understand, and have survived, the true abysmal hell of trying to sleep in a 90 degree room with high humidity and miserable conditions in general. So in a sense, I may be jaded there, but I've played golf in 110 degree heat, pitched a complete game in the same heat, and with enough water, all is fine. Just being sensible about the heat is all it takes to survive. A little sweat never killed anyone. People pay to sit in saunas and steam rooms for this type of cleansing, where during the summer months, mother nature is providing it free of charge.

It's a scientific assertion that the more we are in the sun, the more it positively affects our brains, helps supply vitamins, and is, ultraviolet rays notwithstanding, beneficial. So get out and take a walk. Don't bother complaining when there is the ugliness of winter waiting.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Philosophy Corner : Souls?

Someone engendered a valuable discussion about being alone and keeping away from the toxic nature of those that might be deemed sinful or harmful to maintaining a wholesome, passionate journey through corporeal existence. It made me think about things a bit more than usual. I hate when that happens.

I understand I've written some rather bitter articles regarding religious trust, faith, punishment, fear, and the like. In the end, it seems clear that we're all, as it were, a part of the "god" that we respect. To be succinct, God is our collective energies as we are born - sinless, without temptation, and without selfish principles. As we are born, we all take a little nugget of energy from the collective God/Heaven pool of energy and walk the earth with it, prone to all the pains, tempations, and selfish whims that other beings, who are no longer quite so pure, might have laid before us. As I've said in previous articles, it's a scientific fact that we contain a significant amount of energy through our existence, and by laws of conservation of energy and matter, when we die, our "matter" dissipates and our energy lingers. That energy is what is considered to be the soul - the little chunk of God that we've taken to the earth for ourselves.
Consider this. I think Satan is a characterization of all the evolutional tendencies within us, the selfish zeal for survival, and the conformity to the rational theory that animals survived using the old Darwinian axiom of "survival of the fittest". Satan is the selfish, physical, "dog eat dog" nature in us as organisms. God is the inner energy aspect that seeks collusion with others, longs for a replication of that collective energy pool above known as "Heaven". The ultimate battle on earth is for that selfish, inner animal to succumb to the caring, glowing inner aspect of the energy within us. When two individual's energies mesh in a positive aspect, that's what is deemed "love". Love is merely the meshing of our inner Godly energies without regard for that selfish quest for survival and need to kill or defeat others just for the next meal. Since our own personal portions of energy are pieces of God, when we mesh with another person in a caring way, opposing the selfish Darwinian animal tendencies, that meshing is love, and that substantiates the consistent Biblical notion that "God is Love". If, as I said, God and Heaven are a mass collection of positive energy, and we on earth are able to share that positive energy with another, then we've achieved love - a connection of, well, "God parts".

What do we know so far then? Well, Heaven is a massive pool of positive energy, and is synonymous with the concept of God. Each newborn baby carries a little piece of this energy pool into the world to be tested against evolutionary precepts. Ultimately the goal would be that our unselfish nature and zest for sharing our "love" to other energy bearing individuals would overwhelm the "sin" of animalistic dominance, murder, and deceit. It's our little packets of energy called "souls" versus the physical animal world known as evolution. The energy within us, that is, the soul within us all, has no subscription to a particular religion or dogma - it is part of the great pool of energy that was in force when the material universe was born. I'm not going to delve so deep as to wonder how long our energy pool existed, if it ever didn't exist, or what was here sixty quadrillion centuries ago. Too deep.

Our "souls", or energy packets, have their own characteristics, perhaps thus explaining the notion of reincarnation - that as we were born, our little nibble of energy from the great energy pool might've been from a past human life. Since our packets of energy seem to be recycled, other religious principles of karma and the like make more sense in this context. Looking ahead, there's a goal that this God might seek - that the disparate packets of energy on the earth below might ultimately link into a similar pool of positive energy and that the animalistic tendencies of selfishness are defeated by virtue of all "souls" being joined in an aspect similar to that above.

So to explain ghosts, hauntings, and judgement day... Now remember that I equate a "soul" to that personal packet of energy that each person carries around this big blue marble.
I believe that, with enough saturation and dilution with the animal world, it's possible to lose aspects of the magnetic nature of our energy fields. As mentioned, everyone has an energy field, and it carries magnetic force, to varying degrees. Proven science. But just possibly, by some unexplained means, some people lose their magnetism toward a place, person, or setting, and as such don't have the means to be "reattached" to that global pool of energy above upon death, so they stay among us. Some people, like past home owners that haunt, might have stripped away all their life force or energy to the point that it had all been devoted to the location on earth which hosted their corporeal existences. I tend to think that people can, while on earth, attach their energies toward a particular place or thing, and lose that sense of identity upon death, thus never returning to the vast energy pool above, as it were.

As for the Biblical (and otherwise) ideas of judgement day, it's a bit perplexing at best. Within Christianity, it's a mass reclamation of souls based on their "karma" and good deeds. Again, speaking purely from my energy pool theory, it's certainly feasible that there's an ultimate, wise energy force that is the "boss" of the energy pool, that might decide time is up. Frankly, all the fire in the sky, boiling oceans, and the like are telling me that the "judgement day" is some type of asteroid smashing up the earth. Most of the prophetic descriptions seem to align with such a scientific event. With the earth gone, there would be billions of souls looking for a home, and I can imagine that the determination of which ones can rejoin the great pool of energy in the sky might be subject to actions of the past and the like. I can certainly see that if a singular God created the earth and universe, He would have sent an asteroid flying at us long ago, and the timeline will have been set. At that point there will already be a new earth waiting for our inhabitance, and the entire cycle will start over.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

More Commercials!

Ben Stein for Alaska Seafood
Ok, first of all, I can't imagine any natural "shoe in" for being a representative for selling crab, but I suppose Ben Stein is as good as any. Just a generally haunting scene, as Ben sits adrift some placid, yet remote, body of water while extolling the virtues of Alaska crab and their intrepid fishermen. But when he says "so grab a fork, there's plenty more out there" he's just plain lying. The genius that wrote that line should do some reading about overfishing. How about "go ahead and kill a giant panda, there are plenty more out there..." or "go ahead and farm the amazon, there's plenty of room..." Stupid asses. I have to find out if this commercial comes from the same genius mill as...

The Cave Men!
Do I have to organize a write in campaign to have this tiresome campaign terminated? Protests? Bans? Is this what it will take? I can go there. Geico sucks with this caveman crap. I've complained before, but as long as it continues, I shall continue to complain.
Update (6/2007) : Pleeeeeeeeeeze tell me that ABC isn't really launching a TV show devoted to the cavemen. Pleeeeeeze.

Rachael Ray/Dunkin Donuts
Now Dunkin Donuts is exploiting Rachael Ray's success for radio commercials; sooner or later someone would get to her, like dogs to a carcass. The premise(s) involve Ray being too busy and "on the run" to spend much time saying anything valuable or reasonably promotional for the products in question. Surely she's too busy divorcing her cheating husband and being blandly asexual.

Kudos to Cingular/AT&T commercials characterizing dropped calls. I love them.

They have this irritating commercial in which the customer and worker stupidly open their mouths to project segments of Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock". All to promote the bond previously formed with ITunes. Oooh, you're all about two years late.

US Army
To hell with this campaign. Directly targeted toward parents that don't (logically) want to send their children into the hopeless void of Iraq, and now the recruiting effort claims that the Army will make "real" people out of those that are sent to service. The commercials allege that anybody of college age that doesn't join the army is not as tough or world-ready as those that have. It's misleading advertising and it pisses me off. Don't imply that an intelligent kid will be merely trained and educated in a technical discipline when there is a desperate need for more recruits. The kids that are dumb enough to believe that they'll simply be in a computer center, performing engineering tasks, well, they deserve the consequences of joining up and believing those ridiculous commercials. Your slogan is "There is strong, and there is Army Strong". Oh don't even try. I know people that were imprisoned for years, fought and worked to support a family, battled the streets, etc, and pulled through. These people have been shot in the streets from gang battles, found jobs, raised children, and stayed alive in tough urban environments. Shove your "Army Strong" phrase; I know stronger people. Take that elitist attitude and stick it.

Those Apple people are showing off that new IPhone and it looks sooooooo cool. Damn they done good...

Still Thinking Of A Number
That idiot from is now cocky and performing sequels, like he has established some type of fame. I know I'm not the only person that wants him disemboweled. Think of this number - the date of you being run over by a garbage truck.

Las Vegas Tourism
This whole bit about "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas..." is just stinking of infidelity, hedonism, and rampant benders. Who decided that this was a tactful campaign? Isn't it amusing that the commercials routinely employ women who are apparently married or otherwise involved with a man back home. Certainly, I'm not arbitrarily claiming that men are universally faithful, honest, or predicated toward a domestic, home-based lifestyle. Conversely, why is this tourism bureau trying to lure women (and only women) into jetting off to Las Vegas for naughty excursions, with no regard for honesty or commitment for their respective significant others? It just bespeaks of the message "Hey gals, men are slutty pigs, so get even and come to our town." Very nice message. There are many other attractive aspects of Las Vegas that can be advertised rather than this crude, R-rated pitch. Grow up, kids.

Orville Redenbacher
OH MAN - you just know I wasn't going to let this disaster escape unharmed. The geniuses over there have now created (through makeup and prosthetic magic) a newly animated Orville, long since dead. The first commercial was moronically scripted, as it ended with the fake Orville saying "or my name isn't Orville Redenbacher." Um, it isn't. So they ditched that and patched together another commercial with supposed "bloopers" that was about as funny as plant food. So they shall carry on with this horrible campaign, sans the "or my name isn't" ending. Good luck to them and their tasteless greed for reanimating poor old Orville. I liked it much more when they were playing an old commercial from 1976. Should have stuck with the classics, not a tasteless impersonation of the departed.

Are these guys done now? Have you seen these commercials, where the CIA is pitching for people to apply to their organization for job openings? Does anybody from the public sector want anything to do with something as creepy as this bunch? Promote from within, get some of those military folks who are dying (literally) to get out of Iraq.

I Hate Driving (part two)

So it's been two and a half years since my first "I Hate Driving" entry. I preemptively subtitled it "(part one)" with direct intentions of producing another bowl of keen observations and disparate complaints. Perhaps I drained most of the good material, but let's see what happens.

Gas Prices:
Gas prices are typically ridiculous. It just doesn't pay to drive anywhere. Seeing "$4.00" on a gas station sign is just damn frightening. To make matters worse, I drive a fuel inefficient Mustang, which eats gasoline like, well, a horse. Ok, horses don't eat gasoline (except for the retarded ones) but be a little creative with my similes here. Didn't we send myriad people off to Iraq to die for that country? Can't we tap the two zillion oil wells out there, just as some type of payback for liberating them? Come on already. And the cost of absolutely everything goes up due to that famous phrase "rising fuel costs".

The Cabbers:
Once I was asked to pay homage to those that just don't drive. I call most of them the "cab people". Ever notice that the types of people that take a cab everywhere seem a bit more bossy and managerial than most? One might conclude that they just like ordering a driver around. "Driver, take me home." "Driver, stop here." "Driver, let me vomit in your goat skin man-purse."

Asynchronous Stoplights:
Oh, this one gets to me. I swear that some lousy suburbs and villages, those that thirst for traffic ticket revenue, purposely ensure that a motorist will have to stop at every damn intersection, regardless of the time of day. No cross traffic? So what. Red light. Slick roads? Too bad, red light. I've spent 3 minutes staring at a red light at midnight, waiting for a sensorless traffic light to turn green, even though it's merely the exit to a shopping mall or vacated factory. I truly advocate a need for an unwritten rule of pragmatism here, so that in such cases, moving through a completely deserted intersection would be legal. It should be. Invest in sensors, you cheap idiots.

Now the transportation geniuses have come up with cameras to take a snapshot of a car's license plate if the car appears to run a red light or break a speed limit. Now you, the vehicle's owner, can be ticketed for a moving violation even if another person was driving the car. The insurance related ramifications for a moving violation are sometimes rather harsh, and now you, the car owner, are responsible for any infractions incurred by someone who borrows your car? Stupid, stupid idea. Nice in concept, but try the old fashioned system...pull people over in person, none of this automated garbage.

The Stereo People:
I hate these guys. They have those bassy audio systems that vibrate the entire car, and literally shake all windows and vehicles in a one block radius. Who needs a system this loud and, well, violent? These systems trigger car alarms, seismographs, building alarms, etc. The vibrations are such that a neighboring car can literally shake all my spare change out of my dashboard. I know I've lost paint and hubcaps from my car due to these idiots. May just one of them be deaf by now.

Purple Headlight Guys:
More bozos, similar to the stereo ones. These dopes drive with obnoxiously bright purple headlights (illegal in many states). For what reason, I don't know. It doesn't seem to help anyone, including the driver, who is likely stoned and barely hanging onto the road to begin with.

Flag People:
More dorks that I want to see wrapped around a telephone pole. On various "independence" days, I'll see a bevy of Puerto Rican flags, or Polish flags, or Mexican flags, sticking up from the car as it swerves about its route. It's almost as if they are just driving around to have the little flags wave in the air more. You know what I haven't seen yet? American flags. That either says something about immigrant defiance or true American reserve.

Bike Riders:
Ok, I understand that it's nice to be friendly to the environment and ride a bike to work, the gym, or wherever the yuppies are headed. I also recognize the roads that offer a separate bike lane for those that need it. But when they are assimilating themselves into the "real" traffic and taking up an entire lane, puttering along at 15 miles per hour, it's irritating as hell. Then there are the ones that decide to use the standard left turn lane, as though they were a regular car. You're not a damn car! See? Engine. Vroom vroom. Car. Car go fast. You pedal, ringy dingy honk honk. Get out of the way. Take your little bell, your little basket, your little horn, and get the hell off the road.

Road Construction:
Well, here we go. I'm surprised I didn't whine more before, but what the hell. Here in Chicago, it's a strange, intimate, sweetheart deal between the unions and the city which predicate excessive, often unnecessary projects to fulfill quotas and contracts funded by state and federal governments. While often working in the late hours, I thought I'd be able to skirt the inevitable congestion that is engendered by such extraneous construction. Um, no. Coming home late one night, I noticed the increased frequency of closing lanes for construction during overnight hours. On a local expressway, I saw the sign "right 3 lanes closed ahead". That was consternating to me, as there were only 3 lanes to begin with. Ho ho boy, nothing like a long backup at around midnight.

Stupid Pedestrians:
Why are they always stupid? Maybe that explains why they aren't driving, and I should be grateful. I'll be trying to make a left turn, get the arrow, and dum-dee-dum, dum-dee-dum, dopity doe, limpity doo, some idiot is already crossing the street to which I am attempting to turn. The signal clearly says DON'T WALK. I thought morons were only good at not doing things - so they can't NOT walk? For a few seconds? Invariably, a mild traffic impasse occurs, and I'm left in the middle of the intersection, seeing my left turn arrow disappear, while Otis the drunk finishes his stumble across the street. Just around this point is when the "WALK" sign lights up, and I look like a jerk for driving in front of the sporadic few that actually understand the signs.

The Charity Collectors:
We all know them. They patrol the intersections and off ramps, waiting for cars to stack up at a red light, then pounce upon their prey. It's bad enough to deal with the creepy homeless guys who hold up cardboard signs and nag the unfortunate drivers for cash. But then we have to deal with the "sanctioned" collectors, purportedly representing some legitimate organization, who feel entitled to collect from everyone, lest they be banished to Hades for refusing to donate. Recently I was riding along with a couple guys in a county truck, and this kid strolled up wearing a "Kiwanis Peanut Day" blaze orange vest. He wasn't a part of that organization at all, it turns out - he was representing some ministry and hassling us for money while dishing out these comical "How Do I Get To Heaven" pamphlets with illustrations reminiscent of the comic strip "Drabble". I just wonder how many gangs, shady outfits, and enterprising groups have made hundreds of dollars from trapped motorists by donning a blaze orange vest and appearing to be from a legitimate charity.

Traffic Blockers:
We've seen them enough times. These are the people that are so self-important, they must begin their tenuous left turn by pulling into traffic and blocking everyone, so they can wait for the remaining traffic to clear up and thus complete their turn. I love these people, they have no respect for safety, other people's schedules, or road etiquette. Worse yet, I've seen the situation in which the passenger gets out of the car, stands in the road, and halts all traffic, so the driver may proceed unimpeded and make it to his/her massage therapy appointment.