First World Problems Are Not Problems

February 6, 2013 8:31pm
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It’s ironic that just before watching this myself, I was sort of complaining about having to carry around multiple cell phones … you know, because just one globally connected, pocket-sized computer isn’t enough! 😯

I pretty much felt guilty enough to buy half a dozen portable water filters for people halfway around the world with actual problems on the spot. You should watch it and then give some money, too, because having clean drinking water is definitely more important than getting too many pickles.

Dog Brain FTW

February 5, 2013 11:16pm
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Sometimes I’m actually pretty impressed on just how smart my little puppy really is.

For example, we just got back from our walks that haven’t been nearly as frequent as either of us would like as of late. Nonetheless, she knows all of the signs to look for when we might be going for a walk, and I’m not talking about when I grab her leash. No, Cleo knows that when I grab a certain pair of shorts and go into the bathroom, that that’s a hint, and when she sees me reach for the bottle of talcum powder, that’s a hint.

And when I’m putting on my tennis shoes?! Oh holy christ, that’s most certainly a hint that we’re going on a walk very, very soon!

Today was even a step further yet, though, because I was putting my shoes on at my computer desk, which I’m wont to do, and I couldn’t help but notice that when I focused on just tying my shoes, Cleo behaved herself and waited patiently, but if I’d reach for the keyboard to check Facebook first or something, she’d go nuts and start whining, much like she does pretty much any other time she thinks we’re on our way out the door!

I guess I was impressed that she keyed in on when she knew I was doing something for her … now if I could get her to follow suit for the other signs that we’re going for a walk instead of just whining like crazy until we’re out the door! Then again, I suppose she’s still learning, but it’s still kind of neat to be able to observe that she is learning. 😉

What is humor???

December 3, 2012 1:07pm
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So I guess you could say that I got a little riled up last night by this post, though afterwards I was later tipped off that it was actually intended to be a joke.

The thing is, I’m still not laughing, and the more I thought about it, it got me wondering … is a joke still a joke if you don’t find it funny?

I didn’t intend to make it a philosophical discussion or anything, but humor is definitely a subjective matter and there are certainly types of humor that I don’t personally find funny, but still would qualify them as humor in general. Case in point is pretty much every Tyler Perry movie ever made – I don’t think that kind of humor is funny, but clearly a lot of people do and the man has been very successful with his career, so I have no problem qualifying that as comical even though it doesn’t make me personally laugh.

I guess the issue I take with this and some other political humor that I’ve seen recently is … not only is it just blatantly not true, but it’s an exaggeration of something that’s blatantly not true.

Just looking at the first “reason” on the list – “I voted Democratic because I love the fact that I can now marry whatever I want. I now may marry my Labrador.” Gay marriage has never been about this, even though the folks against it love to paint their slippery slope which results in people being able to marry furniture and farm animals and imaginary friends as a consequence of also allowing men to marry other men and women to marry other women.

Is the reason why I don’t find that funny because it feels like a poke in the face of a serious civil rights issue that seems ridiculous that we even have to fight over it in the first place?

On one hand, I’ve never been one to think that there are really any topics that are truly “off limits” for a good-natured ribbing, but maybe it’s just that it only applies with the right kind of joke. I think that makes sense – I don’t care if you make fun of rape if you make the right kind of joke, but make the wrong one and you end up looking like an asshole.

Then again, I’m sure that there are plenty of rape victims who would strongly argue that no rape joke is an acceptable rape joke … again, it’s very subjective to the individual hearing the joke.

That’s tough for a guy like me who’s supposed to run a humor site that appeals to many different senses of humor because though I’d run a promo for a new Tyler Perry movie or possibly even this hypothetical rape joke, I don’t think I could ever bring myself to share something like Twelve Reasons Why I Voted Democratic as a legitimate humor offering because I guess I can’t help but think that anyone who thinks that is actually funny is an idiot.

A Midnight Birthday Cake for #32

August 25, 2012 12:35am
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Doesn’t it seem a little odd that you typically always end up eating your birthday cake mid-day on your birthday???

Being a night owl myself, I’m honestly a little embarrassed that it took me 32 years to figure this one out, but technically just like how Christmas really starts at 12:01am (assuming you can drag your parents out of bed, which you can’t…), one’s birthday just the same officially kicks off at the stroke of midnight and as such, it’s really just poor resource management to allow a perfectly good cake sit there all morning, afternoon, and possibly even evening long before you finally gather everyone ’round to go through the whole song and dance that ultimately results in your enjoying the chocolaty fruits of becoming another year older and so on and so forth!

Mark my words – this is not a mistake that I will allow myself ever to make again… 😛

P.S. Kudos to my wife for the yummy cake. Note that the toothpicks aren’t necessarily to help the cake ward off predators or anything – if that was the case, then an after pic would certainly show that they failed at that particular goal! I guess they were to keep the cellophane from sticking to the frosting and yanking it all off – also a noble goal, indeed!

Creationism vs. the Kids

August 24, 2012 9:53pm
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“Creationism Is Not Appropriate for Children”

I’ll admit that the title of this video kinda bothers me because I don’t necessarily think that it’s the best way to summarize what Bill is saying, but I still agree with the dialog itself because sad as it may be, it often seems like even merely harboring ideas like creationism tends to hold back society and the last thing future generations need is to find themselves held back by these stubborn beliefs of their forefathers who simply refuse to accept the factual evidence on the wall.

One of the conversations that I have with my wife a lot is how we’ll raise our future children with regards to both honoring and respecting each of our own religious beliefs – namely, she’s a Christian and I’m not. And it’s still troubling to me sometimes because although I have every faith in her that she won’t let my own views be cast to the wayside so that her own can flourish, I feel like I can’t say the same thing for other people who they’re going to eventually encounter, be it at church or school or the grocery store or whatever. An instructor at Sunday School may be less inclined to say, “Yes, what your Dad believes is different from what we believe and that’s ok…” as much as, “Anyone who doesn’t believe what we say is going to hell, blah blah blah…”

I’m all for freedom of speech to express your own beliefs, but what happens when at its core, continuing to harbor absolute, unfounded beliefs like yours is what’s holding back our society from taking another step forward in its evolutionary course?

Is it actually dangerous to have your kids around people of faith like that until they’re old enough to take things at face value and consider the other side of the coin???

Kids are pretty impressionable the younger they get, so what would be the right age to expose children to religion to ensure that they’re able to honestly consider it with an objective view instead of merely parroting what they’re being told by some who refuse to consider anything relating to science or fact in the same realm as the almighty one?

Not Responsible for Damage

August 20, 2012 8:51pm
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I always wonder when I see one of these signs in a parking lot if there’s actually any legal validity to it – as if you can just put up a sign and automatically waive liability on what’s otherwise still your own property.

Same with if you’ve ever seen a big truck hauling rocks or dirt or something – they’ve typically got one of those signs on the back that say something along the lines of “Do not follow closely – XYZ Trucking is not liable for debris that falls from truck…”  and I know that one’s BS because I used to drive a delivery truck for a while and also managed other drivers longer, and I can say quite certainly that there’d be hell to pay if something fell off the back of your truck and hit somebody else in the road!

I mean, I get that the goal in either case is simply in hopes that people will be more careful, whether putting their carts away properly or keeping a safe distance from the big rig on the highway, but still, in a world where someone can break their leg in my backyard and sue me for the inconvenience, I would think that from a legal standpoint the same holds true at a normal business establishment, too!

Is good brushing actually BAD for me???

March 15, 2012 11:38pm
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So I wrote in my humor column this week about the fancy, new toothbrush that my wife and I bought earlier this week, but ironically, it hasn’t all been fun and games … in fact, after actually using it for a couple of days, I’m starting to wonder if it’s possible that in the short term it’s going to do me more harm than good…

Of course, the HUGE caveat to this theory is that historically I’ve really been pretty horrible with regards to taking care of my teeth. I only brush once a day, I never floss, and I’ve been to the dentist exactly once in my adult life. That visit was maybe 2-3 years ago and after an hour of scrutiny and lecturing, I left with a $3,000 repair estimate and just never even bothered going back. And that was with dental insurance!

Well, let me think – I may have actually went back once to fill a single cavity or something, but that was about it. Seriously, the list was atrocious – maybe a dozen cavities of varying degrees, and also a couple of crowns and other things that were really expensive, and of course, when I asked about priorities, he said that the most important things were also the most expensive, so I could just rank them according to price. Needless to say, my budget didn’t exactly jive with that particular logic, so I promptly cast the quote into the garbage and didn’t really give it a second thought.

My concern now, though, is that I’m curious if somehow this awesome, new toothbrush of mine is somehow exacerbating those problem areas in a way that my traditional, half-assed brushing never really affected in the years past. The head of the new brush is very much like the one a dentist uses when he cleans your teeth, or so I vaguely remember, and thus I’m wondering if there’s a chance that it’s somehow irritating my gums that are probably already damaged when it’s down there giving them a deep cleaning that they haven’t felt in years.

The reason that I wonder all of this is because for the last two days, I’ve been fighting a mild headache that just tonight started to hint that it was stemming from around my jaw and throat area. I’m a little swollen down there, just on one side, and so in the back of my head I started wondering, “I wonder if this is a freaking root canal that’s just now coming to light…”

Other than that, I actually really like the toothbrush – it really does feel like it does a better job than I would with those cheapy, vibrating brushes in the past, and I like that it’s rechargeable so I don’t have to worry about the battery dying out a month later. Plus, I have to do less work and it actually tells me when I’m brushing too hard or I’ve stayed in one place too long, so that’s kinda neat! I’m just hoping that this $100 toothbrush doesn’t lead to me having to revisit that $3,000 dental plan to boot…

Recommended by the American Dental Association … crap.  😳

Could I walk the streets a wallet-less man???

January 21, 2012 10:31pm
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I’ve never really been one who was caught up in that whole minimalist, I have too many things lifestyle, however my trip to the Apple store this evening has left me pondering something along those lines that I probably wouldn’t have expected.

I was looking at cases for my iPhone because I’ve had the thing almost a year and still haven’t taken the time to better protect it from my reliable clumsiness, and I ended up settling on this one that also has the intriguing feature of two sleeves on the back to hold credit or ID cards in addition to the phone itself. I bought it initially, thinking that if nothing else it would make quick trips out to the store on weekends easier when I’m often times wearing shorts that simply don’t have back pockets to hold my wallet, but the more I’ve thought about it, I’m actually wondering if I might be able to get away from having to carry my wallet altogether after introducing this thing into my life…

I started going through my wallet in my head, and then later actually emptied its contents out onto my desk, and the truth of the matter is, I don’t really need most of the crap that I carry around with me on a daily basis. Membership cards to businesses that I visit maybe once a month, and some that technically don’t even exist anymore, business cards that look so ratty I’m not sure why I would want to hand them out if I did find myself presented with the opportunity, an old phone card from about ten years ago that probably has about a minute and a half left on it at this point! Why do I carry all of this junk around in my back pocket with me every single day?!

Or more importantly, could I do without to the point where I can boil my life down to only needing two of them so that I can just carry them around in the back of my phone???

I think it might be possible – right now those two cards would be my driver’s license and the main credit card that Sara and I use for all of our daily purchases. All of the membership and frequent buyer cards, I would think, could be kept at home or in my car for easy retrieval when I drive to HoneyBaked Ham for lunch or something – no real need to carry that kind of thing around in my back pocket. For insurance cards and whatnot, I think I want to try taking scans of them and keeping those on my phone, and then keep the actual cards in my backup wallet that I’d just leave in the car. Mind you, I wouldn’t leave actual credit or debit cards in there, but really, if somebody breaks into my car, I think I’ll be a little more worried about the car itself than the fact that they also managed to get away with my Subway Rewards Card that almost had enough for a free foot-long on it, too! 😉

Oh yeah, and as for cash … I rarely ever actually carry it around with me anymore anyways, so on the off-chance that I need it, I’ll have had to plan ahead for it anyways, so I’m not really too concerned about that…

Anyways, it’s an interesting experiment, and I can tell one that might take a little getting used to not only for not carrying around the big, honking wallet that seems to be a rite of passage for most men, but also the idea that my primary ID and credit card will be kinda out in the open to the world as I use my phone on a daily basis … that’s admittedly a little weird, too, but I’m willing to give it a try and see if it’s just a social awkwardness that I’ll get over after a while at this point.

Frankly, as much as I thought the idea of being able to pay for things via our phones was a stupid one years ago, now that I’ve got a much cooler phone that I don’t want to spend five minutes without, the thought of even leaving my credit card behind is a bit tantalizing in a world where all I need is this miniature computer in my pocket wherever I go! I believe that Starbucks and some other retailers are already offering apps that tie your rewards card into your phone, so once credit cards are on board, all we need then are electronic state IDs and I’d be all set to walk around completely clutter free … save the phone itself, that is!

In the meantime, though, I think I’m going to try a few weeks surviving on just the two cards and see how that goes – I’ll post a follow-up later to see if I end up going back to carrying a wallet or if my life then feels sufficiently liberated by no longer being bound to this small stack of trivial plastic and paper cards that I’ve seen fit to carry at my side without question for so long! 😀

Mr. Obama Goes to Disney World

January 17, 2012 10:53pm
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I came across this rather interesting announcement earlier today and frankly, was a little surprised that Disney wasn’t making more of a big deal about it – President Obama will be giving a speech (presumably about new travel policies to support tourism) at the Magic Kingdom on Thursday!

I suppose the more I think about it, it’s actually a rather fine line for Disney to walk, though – on one hand, it’s pretty awesome to be able to play host to the President for just about anything and I know that I for one am looking forward to watching live on Thursday just for the sake of seeing Main Street USA in the background, but at the same time it’s also certainly going to be at the very least mildly inconvenient for anyone who happens to be visiting Walt Disney World this week, particularly if they’re planning on going to the Magic Kingdom that day or are staying at the Contemporary nearby, where apparently there will be staging areas for the press and whatnot. Not only will guests have to contend with the mind-boggling concept of Main Street USA being closed as the primary thoroughfare into the park … something that I’m still trying to wrap my head around myself because funneling tens of thousands of people through backstage areas to keep Main Street clear just seems kinda crazy … but also, keep in mind that guests visiting that day will not have any access to see the President whatsoever, as only those with official press invites from the White House will be permitted at his speech.

To their credit, I do think that Disney has probably done just about all the can, assuming that they weren’t able to give more notice to guests for security purposes or whatever. But they’ve said that letters will go out to everyone staying at the Resort this week, and hours have been extended at pretty much all of the other parks in an attempt to deter folks from visiting the Magic Kingdom altogether that day, so it’s not like they’re just corralling off the streets and saying, “Deal with it…”

I remember a few years ago when President Bush came to Tampa for some big speech or something. I worked in one of the skyscrapers downtown at the time, so I had kind of a bird’s eye view of the whole ordeal, and I’ve got to tell you it seemed a little eerie to look out on the freeway where the Prez would make his exit and see it completely devoid of traffic because the Secret Service had shut it down! Although I have absolutely no desire to fight the insanity Thursday morning, I’d also be kinda curious to see the measures that are put into place between Orlando International Airport and the Magic Kingdom while the President is in transit between the two – just knowing that there will be people allowed in the park at all shows that this might be treated a little differently.

For anyone interested in watching along with me, President Obama’s speech from Main Street USA will air live on Thursday at 12:30pm EST at http://whitehouse.gov/live.

I THINK I’m a good driver! Sort of…

November 11, 2011 6:22pm
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So I came across this interesting new program that my car insurance company (Progressive) is trying out.  Basically, the idea is that they send you a gadget to plug into your car that records your driving habits, then give you a discount for being a safe driver.

In theory, anyways!

I think it’s kind of a neat concept, and I’m not really concerned about the privacy angle that some folks are freaking out about, but I do see a few curious loopholes that may prevent me from actually signing me or my wife up for the service…

  • Some of the examples of things they measure sound suspicious.
    For instance, “driving during peak hours or between midnight and 4am” – while I get that they have data citing that these are the peak times for accidents, not sure if I like the idea of potentially getting penalized for running out to grab a carton of milk after midnight or coming home late from a D&D game.  True, we don’t know how many of those instances need to occur to swing your penalty one way or the other, but frankly I’d probably have been a little more comfortable about it if they had just left this one out altogether!  Ignorance is bliss…Also, while there’s really no way for them to judge if you were technically speeding because they don’t track location, it begs to reason that they could still say that you’re being reckless if you’re going 80 mph, for example, because I don’t think that any freeways in the country have legal limits that high.   And while I may not necessarily drive any faster than that, let’s face it – most freeway traffic tends to float around 10 mph over the legal limit.
  • Your premiums could go up.
    Mind you, only for a couple of states and it’s buried in the Terms and Conditions, but apparently if you live in Rhode Island, they can actually increase your premiums with this same feedback.  Also fishy is that in RI, and also Georgia and South Carolina, a $30 “technology fee” is mentioned for use of the service … which I imagine could negate whatever savings you have coming, depending on your policy!  Definitely important to read the fine print…
  • If it breaks your car, you’re on your own.
    In flipping through other reviews, I did see a few examples of drivers citing malfunctions after installing the tracking device – either a dead battery, burned out alternator, or even the entire electronic dash failing as long as the box was plugged in!  Sure, those are probably the exceptions, but just for the record, there is a mention in the TOS stating that you should be careful about these sorts of things, thus basically waving their liability should anything blow up in your face!

I don’t know – on one hand, if I prove to be an “acceptable driver” via the program, it could mean a discount up to anywhere between $160 – $230 per year (assuming 30%), depending on whether some of the “other insurances” like Uninsured Motorist and PIP actually get the discount.  But on the other hand, my car hasn’t exactly been doing all that great lately, so I’d hate to plug this box in for the potential to score a small discount and in return end up with another $500 worth of repairs!

Also, my wife’s car (ironically 4 years newer than mine) isn’t eligible because it’s a hybrid, which is kind of a bummer because her premiums are more than mine are and the discount would be a lot more lucrative if we both cars were eligible.

Part of me is tempted to order the box just to try it out and see what happens…

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