Listen to yourselves sometimes…

Dear Close-Minded Woman that pissed me off this week,

Perception is reality. 22% of the worlds population believes in Islam. It’s the worship of a single deity, with that deity’s word outlined in the Qur’an, and the teachings of a prophet named Mohammed. I could just as easily compare it to the Bible, God, and Moses just like my buddy did, and be quite satisfied in being correct…at least until we get into a more detailed description of the religion.

SO…maybe…just maybe…the next time someone greets you with a blessing you should be gracious enough not to act like someone just put a hex on you.

There is this knee-jerk reaction people have when engaging religions not their own that is usually uninformed, uneducated, and almost purely instinctual…almost fight or flight. That is explainable. The possibility that one may be right and the other wrong triggers a fight or flight reaction, most of the time verbally where a person spouts off whatever they can come up with in a few seconds and hide behind their faith in the argument…or worse. When in reality (personally I think religion is a horrible burden on spirituality, being now a tool for business and politic), they are both mutually destructive to one another and will continue to teach at least a small portion of their congregation that the other is the evil one.

The only end to this was to remove religious rule, and we did it.

What scares me most is that some people actually think that adapting the US government into any degree of Christian theocracy would actually protect us.

Separation of Church and State protects us. It has allowed our country to flourish where many other nations have fallen or been turned over in civil war nightmares. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ….” and Article VI specifies that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

I completely understand feeling threatened by belief systems other than your own. I actually understand the feeling more than most. I just don’t understand the need to attack others beliefs to justify your own. Disproving someone else’s religion doesn’t make you right, it makes you a judge where none is necessary.

-Tony

NO…I am NOT a Muslim. I just cant stand religious bullies.



Masterpiece Theatre Part I

Masterpiece Theatre Part I
by Marianas Trench

When I was a kid you couldn’t get me to stop singing The Beatles and Queen. So much that I actually got in trouble a fair amount for singing in class, even on field trips…I just wouldn’t shut up ;) I think that maybe people had a clue then. Here I am decades later and still practicing songs when I know no one listens ;) Every time I hear this song play I get that same sly grin I had in those days long ago when I was about to start singing regardless of who was listening…or anyone who didn’t want to hear it ;)

It’s so funny because my best friend’s kid is just like that too and I’m not allowed to tell him I would get in loads of trouble for singing all the time.

First it comes on quiet creeping slow.
Clever words and phrases always stain,
I remain so lost and buried under everything
that i need when all i want is you.

I’ve been here so very long and every word
is calculated, never questioned or debated
All these practised poses, I could wreck it if i had
to but i’m the wreck so what would that do.
My masterpiece will fall apart;
it was over before the start

If I burn out and slip away.
If this is just a part I portray and
this is just a part I portray
You’re beautiful can I hide in you awhile.
but this is just a part I portray
and this is just a part I portray

They keep mostly to themselves;
don’t make a sound in case they hear you,
It only hurts me to be near you.
Keep those tired eyes closed careful follow my instruction
and i will show you self-destruction.
This Masterpiece is only mine, entirely guilty by design

If i burn out and slip away.
If this is just a part I portray and
this is just the part I portray
You’re beautiful can I hide in you awhile.
this is just a part I portray,
can I hide in you awhile.

I just can’t let, let it out
oh I just can’t let it out
I just can’t let, let it out
oh I just can’t let it out
I just can’t let, let it out
oh I just can’t let it out

if this is just a part I portray,
You’re beautiful can I hide in you awhile,
You’re beautiful, if this just a part I portray,
if this is just a part I portray,
I don’t know how it got this way



Little rant for the evening…

Good evening readers. (In this case “readers” is the term I casually use to act like I actually have “readers” when in fact…I am simply writing to myself a bit to vent.)

so.

It is absolutely amazing how loopy you can get when you’re tired, sick, and have taken a sizable shot of Nyquil to have an easier evening.

Well…when I say “you” I obviously mean “me”…unless…umm…nevermind.

So…in case you didn’t see my tweet, you should all google “askew” so you can see what its like for me every day.

Not the “askew” part per se, just the googling. I am asked to “google” things on a professional level so often that you might honestly wonder how I actually got into all this. Which was simple. A decade or so ago, I use to keep a journal. Shortly after a violent break up with the restaurant industry I started keeping my journals in electronic format. LiveJournal, then C2…at one time I was even using phpbb. Until finally after a gazillion hosts and many many blog platforms later…Wordpress won me over. Of course I am a great big dork. Mainly because every one in a while I have to say ‘Tony is a dork’ in my posts so that I come up on the search engines properly…that is…by searching for ‘Tony is a Dork’ you might still find me.

I did mention I am a little loopy. Mainly sleep deprivation of the “under-a-day” kind. We used to call that “wedging” – if you were awake for so long that you started feeling drunk…yeah thats wedging.

Luke the Cat - TonyTown.comAnyhow. I should probably introduce you to my assistant blogger, Luke.

Luke the cat is a little bundle of insane cat whoopass that you all know kittens to be.

He is lovable all the time. He plays with absolutely everything. His favorite toy is a straw, which you can use to make him climb up anything, including innocent roomies that dont realize that a spastic kitten is about to climb them like their life depended on it. He also feels my sandals are mice in disguise and attacks them regularly. And when he gets tired he gets absolutely adorable by climbing up my back without notice so he can curl up on my shoulder while I am typing. (Not joking…he really doesnt care what I am doing, when he wants to sleep he meows twice and if I havent picked him up he climbs on his own.

So yeah. I am really tired now, even the cat is passed out, and I just realized I wrote about nothing on my blog, so I’m fired and tired for the evening. You guys have a great one and hopefully my next post will have something remotely umm…relevant…in it eh?

Night!

-Tony (and his assistant Luke)



Counting the Hours

By My Digital Summer


I think that far too many of us are far too passive about what we’re doing to ourselves as a society. It’s like we’re a mile away from driving off a cliff but everyone wants to act like we can’t hit the breaks. I used to loath the idea of moving to more rural areas, and now it seems like thats the smartest thing I could consider. Weird eh? Then I stop being so gloomy and realize this song would be SO perfect to play at the beginning of “The Walking Dead.” Yep. Me. ;)

No streets to cry at night
For change to come about
We’ve finally worn out our welcome

And we plague the cities with disease
And we breed too many mouths to feed
It’s no surprise I’d like to see it all wash away

So let the story drop
With infinite power
Yet I’ll stand strong
Just counting the hours
Like nothing’s wrong
While the city’s devoured
The storm rolls on, in these final hours

It’s too late despite our regrets
We deserve everything we get
And I cant wait for the rain
I invite the earthquakes to hurricanes
And I love the moments just like this
Where the walls come down, and the chaos hits
There’s nothing like an apocalypse to open your eyes

So let the story drop
With infinite power
Yet I’ll stand strong
Just counting the hours
Like nothing’s wrong
While the city’s devoured
The storm rolls on, in these final hours

In these final hours

(Let it destroy everything)
(Don’t wanna save anything)

And I don’t care
If I watch the ocean swallow everything
I welcome the change
I’m so sick of this complete ignorance
Don’t care who survives
Cause I’ll be fine.

So let the story drop
With infinite power
Yet I’ll stand strong
Just counting the hours
Like nothing’s wrong
While the city’s devoured
The storm rolls on, in these final hours

(Let it destroy everything)
In these final hours
(Don’t wanna save anything)
Just let the storm keep raging on and on
It goes on and on
Rages on and on
In these final hours.



I’ll walk away from Facebook for supporting CISPA.

You all know I am incredibly big on freedom of information and the U.S. government really seems to be drinking some cybercrackpot’s kool-aid again. Because here we are again and it hasnt even been a year.

As it happens, the next incarnation of SOPA, called CISPA (the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) is slowly creeping up on Capitol Hill.

…and once again, only a fraction of the proposed legislation has the interests of the American people behind it.

The rest of that legislation is geared toward holding companies blameless and granting them permission to submit personal data to the government without court order. This includes texts, email, private messages via social media…essentially most of the communications mediums we use privately are now suddenly available to the big business to use.

The Young Turks presented a very good explanation of the legislation and point out some incredibly important details that you should be aware of.

http://cyberspying.eff.org/

If you want to read an overabundance of views and peoples’ reactions and opinions on the matter, I STRONGLY suggest you check out The Debate Club because of the raw amount of information present. I will also point out that for some inexplicable reason the only people promoting this are those representing big business.

Essentially it comes down to this. Facebook doesn’t want to get in trouble for giving the government carte blanc to their information. Neither does Twitter. Now any other corporation. However that’s apparently where that sense of importance ends. As long as they arent held liable for invading our privacy, they simply stop considering it an invasion of privacy.

And thus we come to this little tidbit…

Nothing you say or do online should ever be considered secure, safe, or private. You can take all the precautions you want, but the bottom line is that the government will never back down from making online activity fully trackable and accessible. A worse turn will be it impact this has on free speech. Too many people have been conditioned to fear first and question freedoms after their lost. This legislation will allow companies to attempt to silence individuals without proof or due process.

Lame.

So, that’s basically where I draw the line. I will publish 100% from my blog and own my own information and only promote forums where privacy is respected, not just alluded to.

Here’s my idea. Omit the 60% of the bill that allows private companies to be privy to our information and remove the guarantees of non-liability. I bet these companies work one hell of a lot harder to clean up their content rather than simply saying “not my fault!”

-Tony

m4s0n501


Shrooms! (Mushrooms Stuffed Full of Yum)

I’ve been REALLY craptastic about posting to the blog, I know it. No excuses here…luckily this blog was never a part of my livelyhood and the only people to yell at me about it are on twitter (and Amazon – apparently they have some sort of *rule* about their paid authors actually writing…go figure).

Anyhow…it’s time for some really awesome foodstuff, I’ve been coming up with more and more really original recipes lately. I’ve gotten some pretty awesome reviews of my mushrooms, straight out of Tony’s Kitchen!

Real Simple.

So Simple this almost isn’t a real blog post, but here it goes.

INGREDIENTS

Fresh white (champaign) Mushrooms - Stuffed Mushrooms - Tonytown.comMushrooms (8-16oz)
These are those regular white mushrooms you find int the produce areas of the grocery store, you can find better ones if you really want to go all the way, and if you really want to impress your favorite vegetarian, you can opt to go with portabellas and top them with the stuffing, tastes frickin AWESOME.



Black and Green Olives - Stuffed Mushrooms - Tonytown.comBlack Olives (6oz)
If you want cheap and fast, just get black minced olives in a can. If you prefer fresher (I do – always) find yourself a decent olive bar (usually only found in decent grocery stores) and get your fill. Be prepared to pay far too much for fresh olives though..it’s almost silly.



A fresh white onion - Stuffed Mushrooms - Tonytown.com1 Large White Onion (6-10ounces at least)
Green onion really won’t work too well in this, and purple onions don’t mince as well, as I like, so I usually opt for the white onions on this. I’ve run into a couple people that didn’t like onions, but didn’t even bat an eyelash at chowing down on these stuffed mushrooms, so unless they are allergic, I encourage people to try them before acting like you’re asking them to try castor oil ;)


Balls of Mozzarella Chesse - Stuffed Mushrooms - Tonytown.comMozzarella Cheese (8-16oz)
Finely shredded Moz is awesome. If you get fresher blocks it will make an incredible difference on the taste. If you have a Vegan in the group, you can substitute real Moz for Dairy-Free Mozzarella by Daiya Foods.

PREP

1. Preheat your oven to about 400 degrees (Fahrenheit).

2. Break the stems out of the mushrooms. I usually slice the stems for use in other sauces etc. No use in wasting good ingredients!

3. Mince the onion, the olives and the Moz. If you have a good processor you can mince this all at the same time until you have a fine paste. Otherwise, mince until you are comfy with the consistencies and mix them thoroughly together.

4. Treat the mushrooms like little bowls and you want to fill them up with the mixed stuffing. until they are overflowing by about 1/8 of an inch.

5. Place the mushrooms in a non-stick roasting pan. You only need to give them about a half inch space between so you should be able to fit quite a few in the pan.

COOKINS

Place the pan full of goodness into the preheated oven, and set your timer for 25 minutes.

NOTES
1. If you like your mushrooms’ texture to be more steamed than baked, you can easily pour a thin layer of water into the bottom of the roasting pan. About 1/4-3/8 of an inch of water will serve to effectively give you more juicy mushrooms.
2. If you opt for the Vegan Friendly version, please note that the Dairy-Free Mozzarella by Daiya Foods takes longer to melt so you may have to leave the Shrooms in the oven a bit longer. ;)



Politicians, Debates and Schrödinger’s Cat

I just thought of something, if politicians were prohibited from alluding to a scenario involving Schrödinger’s Cat -metaphorically or otherwise- it might actually save the world economy a ton of money and time spent in syndication, thus disallowing them to pander fears and ideas that exist only by those same politicians’ own descriptions.
Schrödinger's CatIf you didn’t understand what I said:

    1.Please go find out about Schrödinger’s Cat.
    2.Understand the application of this theory to modern political asshattery in the media.
    3.Watch the debates again.

or as an alternative you can:

Drink more Kool-Aid.

Anyhow, it occurred to me tonight, that buried within most of the rhetoric and banter between candidates in the GOP debates, these guys directly allude to Schrödinger’s Cat in one form or another.

…My example is as follows:

…Pandering to the idea that the cat is dead and might still bite and scratch you…or maybe…the cat’s alive and out to steal your freedom as soon as it’s released. Worse still, the idea that someone actually KNEW there was a cat in the box AND gave it poison. Is that person criminal? How do we charge them?

…you have to remember…no one knows if the poison even affected the cat. Yet…we’re going to allow ourselves to be guided on a crazy journey of how beautiful this poor little cat was and how we wish it were still alive…

…then we’ll be guided into how we’ll hold responsible the horrible man that put that poor cat through such a horrible ordeal.

…then the media will make it worse by sensationalizing the state of the box that poor poor cat was imprisoned in.

…then we find out that some country that we have a some strategic or financial interest in supplied the poison.

…by the time the politicians are finished inspiring us and protecting our national interest in the cat…billions of dollars are allocated and we’re going to stop that country from ever poisoning cats again. Because that’s what they are. Cat killers.

…it gets worse. we are informed that an small extremist group of fanatics (who it so happens don’t even know what a cat is but believe the U.S. to be responsible for all the problems that arose from poison boxes) intend to place cats in boxes across the U.S. and poison them. With a fervor that shakes the world economy and eventually accounts for a truly scary portion of the national deficit, we eliminate and destabilize those horrible cat killers.

In the last ten years since things have become REALLY crazy and scary, the loss of innocent life in the last decade makes me saddens me to the bone, the effect of profiteering at the expense of our economy has sliced my income in half and even then, there are a lot of people here far worse off than I am, and yet the politicians got their salary increase and kept their benefits while the people they likely misrepresent to satisfy special interests and lobbies start to become a little more aware of the practice.

…and now comes the time where we have the opportunity to decide on which leader will be most capable in making sure the box is never opened again, the poison is never produced again, and the cats never die.

After repeatedly making laws that serve the big business and the financial block, we begin to realize that we have far more to fear and distrust in those who represent us in the government. All the candidates are either viewed as proven failures, proven liars, proven crooks, proven loons, even worse…proven inexperience.

…debates rage between potential leaders regarding the dead cat, the unclean box, and looming threat of yet another poison.

…we are told we have to remember what’s happened historically with cats, boxes, and poisons, and that the party that wants to make antidotes for the poison just in case isn’t a priority because the cats all of a sudden are jumping into boxes. Worse still, we’ve found out that a nation that hasn’t attacked another nation in hundreds of years suddenly hates Geiger counters.

And so the debates are still going now. They are getting more and more poignant and the candidates are fighting already, the tasteless commercials depicting candidates as faithless lunatic crooks are in full swing. Again, we begin to loose faith as we realize that the current electoral, media coverage, and campaign system will not allow the US to rally behind a single leader ever again…even if they deserve it.

The worst thing of all. For the last umpteen years, we’ve had to listen to politicians earning a living and invariably stressing information about a cat that never existed, a box that we never owned, a poison that actually was never created, and lastly a Geiger counter that was never really necessary.

Maybe you’ll get it. This isn’t about which GOP candidate can beat Obama in an election (if that’s even possible coming election time). This isn’t about all the dirt you see in commercials and advertizements. It’s not about who’s got some truly radical ideas (in every sense of the word).

I think it’s more about your own priorities after you’ve managed to filter out all the crap they’ve been feeding you about the idea of Schrödinger’s Cat.

Thus ends my rant for the evening.

For everyone returning to my site after everyone on the internet got a 12-24 hour taste of what kind of effect SOPA/PIPA will have on the US-based netizens, you can find a VERY clear and descriptive article on what SOPA and PIPA are on Wikipedia. So far the very best (and maybe the most objective) description of what the bill is about.

Take care and good night.

-Tony

PS – Ignoring the lines starting with … will serve as a shining example of what I was trying to point out.



Why you should always tip…

Why you should tip your servers...A friend’s post got me on the subject, and I have soooo many friends and loved ones that have a dog in this hunt I’m just going to say it.

Stiffing or shorting tipped personnel is like asking for service and then refusing to pay for it. From a server’s point of view…you just stole from them.

The service industry minimum wage for tipped personnel is 2.13 an hour.

$2.13 PER HOUR!

The national standard % for tips right now is 18%. Not 5% for pizza guys and 15% for servers…it’s 18%. As a professional courtesy, service personnel usually tip each other much more, usually at least 20-25% or even more. This courtesy in many cases is the only reason some service professionals can claim a reasonable income.

…because everyone else thinks someone else will take care of them.

So tip your service.

Most restaurants never allow overtime so these servers make less than $90 a week unless they get a tip from you. Not tipping under the premise that they are already making enough is a shit poor excuse and is one of the biggest reasons turnover in the restaurant industries is crap. So now when you short or stiff your server you’re hurting the restaurant too.

I’ll take it a step further. In most restaurants and hotels (and even pizza delivery), significant portions of the tips go to personnel other than your server. usually 1-5% of a servers sales will go to wine/bar/buss/etc. Now if you stiff or short the service, you’re actually costing the server money.

Next step. Large group gratuities. Next time you get “grat’ed” don’t get your feathers in a ruffle. The reason restaurants do the is because if your party spends hundreds/thousands of dollars on the check and your split-check requesting idiocy allowed half the party to stiff on their tabs, it is very likely that the server may not claim to have made enough to cover the difference in minimum wage. This will cause problems for the restaurant because the restaurant is required to cover the difference if the server hasn’t shown to have made enough to clear minimum wage. They don’t care that the server didn’t make what they wanted to, they only care about making sure they don’t have wage insurance claims filed because the IRS absolutely loves seeing those records…because the IRS considers it a sure sign that “someone” is misreporting their income.

Now before you decide to say that not all hospitality concepts pay minimum. I’ll go ahead and say this, I’ve worked for about 10 different major restaurant groups in almost every capacity. Of those, only one paid above minimum wage, but then only for experienced servers. Now the real statistic…of the hundreds of concepts out there, only about 3-5% provide compensation past minimum wage…EVER. Annual salary increases don’t happen for tipped personnel.

If you base your tip on the quality of the food, you’re effectively blaming your paper boy for the crappy articles in your newspaper. While some concepts allow the servers a modicum of control over the food that comes out to their tables, most do not. Your best bet is just to make sure the server repeats your order back to you, because thats all the control they actually have on your food as well. The same occurs for drink service as well.

So when you decide it’s okay to not tip, here’s what your really doing:
*Insuring the servers income is sub standard and even sub minimum
*Increasing turnover in a business
*Costing the restaurant mucho $$ because of turnover for the job
*You will likely always get “grat’ed” on large groups
*Damaging the restaurant industry as they will just raise the price of their food to cover the profit margin…or worse, employ inexperience and/or unqualified people to server you to replace the ones that got fed up when you stiff or shorted them.
*You’ve probably punished a server for a problem they didn’t have much control over.

This all said, this little rant is mainly just to give people an idea of why all the craptastic ideas about why they shouldn’t tip properly is slowly eroding a good industry, because the restaurants are making more money from it and the level of service and professionalism coming from once-great hospitality concepts is slowly getting destroyed.

So…if you have a question about this subject please fire away, I love educating people on this stuff.

/Rant over.

-Tony

UPDATE

Unfortunately, someone that trolls restaurant service/hospitality industry articles and regurgitates content via comments decided to post about 7 pages of comments last night and after a significant amount of research (including calling Yahoo and other Website owners) I found that this person has been trolling forums and regurgitating the same article content for quite some time and actually using indexed comments as a method of getting self promotion on their own written articles as well.

After finding that this person had been equally as aggressive on multiple other service-based forums and blogs (and in most cases banned), I have removed their material and all links to my website. In addition, because these comments are in many ways identical to the comments posted on other venues, I’m going to treat them as a comment spammer. In a future article I will be sure to cite the submitted content as prime examples of deplorably ill-thought and incredibly jaded ‘opportunistic’ netiquette and hopefully this will help said person to understand that their point of view, while certainly relevant, was presented in such poor taste that they could only be regarded as a troll looking for a fight rather than a contributor to an intelligent discussion.

I would like to note that I do NOT subscribe to censoring comments lightly, but once I saw that the same content had been posted multiple times in other websites, that was a crossed line. If you have something to say, say it but don’t post a ton of pages of comments/content used in other sites and expect to retain any shred of credibility with me.



No. More. Stupid. – Wikileaks and Dead Animals

NOTE: Somehow this never got published and I found it while traipsing the jungle of unfinished entries in my journal. While it is dated I don’t liek the idea that I didn’t put this on the site. So enjoy! -Tony 8/16/2012

WikiLeaks isn’t the problem.

Assange isn’t the problem.

The government classifies far too much information, and the information that is actually extremely sensitive isn’t guarded well enough. But that doesn’t matter, because Assange is a scapegoat. Let me ask you something.

If your HOA was deliberately turning a blind eye to its largest contributor because of the money they contribute by constantly ignoring disturbingly illegal activities in the neighborhood, would you hang your next door neighbor, who is in the exact same situation you are, when that neighbor gives all the incriminating information about those activities to the media?

I don’t bloody think so…although you may want to spank them for the inconvenience.

It’s simply astounding. Julian Assange is being sensationalized by the media. The media has made the Wikileaks agenda so much more successful than any one man could have. I daresay he’s also being completely misrepresented by the governments he’s blowing the whistle on. Another point I’d like to make is that the Wikileaks organization is not being treated properly, due process is only being followed where there is direct public scrutiny.

Coming full circle, the media isn’t giving much info on the actual leaks…its just focusing on how evil Wikileaks is and hype. At first it really seemed like the news organizations were in it to go through the documents and out everyone who’d been playing dirty. This is entertainment at its best people…what are we doing about it? The governments…specifically big banking, stopped giving Wikileaks to accept payments via Visa, MasterCard, etc. Governments tried to actually freeze Wikileaks accounts, even though there was no government action ordering that it happen (and there still isn’t).

Let me throw you a curve ball. Wikileaks isn’t anywhere near as “rogue” as you think. Before releasing the information, they consulted with a large number of the worlds largest news organizations to recruit help in making sure the wrong information wasn’t released…you know…the stuff that will get people killed kind of stuff. NOW EVERYONE FORGET YOU JUST READ THAT, so you can go on about your wonderful day thinking that Wikileaks is criminally negligent in allowing this information to be released.

Instead of addressing the very large number of examples of poor candor and decidedly unprofessional monologues…our tax dollars are going into focusing on the owner of WikiLeaks…like he wrote all these things about all these countries.

Please don’t get me wrong. I understand the need for national security…but Mr. Assange didn’t steal the documents, and he’s not bound by US law. He’s just the front-man for Wiki-Leaks.

Assange didn’t leak the information. The US military did. Wikileaks is just another media outlet, the only difference is that people pay more attention to Wikileaks than the hundreds of thousands of blogging and conspiracy theory sites that publish the same ideas and data.

And by the way, the sensationalism has caused some of the WikiLeaks crew to start OpenLeaks. Another venue for people to submit leaks to the media anonymously. Don’t be mad at them, the media allowed them to get the backing for it. The same media putting Assange on the boxtop instead of all that juicy material that was leaked.

Wikileaks Til Ya Puke via Google News Feed

The Shy Is Not Falling!

I just have to get this out there.
I know there were tons of mass animal deaths. I don’t even buy into the whole “fireworks” theory that the birds were frightened by fireworks and flew off head first into the ground.
Maybe in an instance or two, but not all of those instances in three different areas.
But I cant stress this enough. The sky isn’t falling.

Our awareness of world events and is getting more and more…well…acute. As with any experience, as we become accustomed to those experiences I am sure we’ll remain a tidbit more calm about them even though the severity of the situation may be critical. If you truly feel the sky is falling, do something about it. I am not talking about any radical action that would endanger anything, but look for a viable answer, and run with it. There are some REALLY smart people out the that need your help in solving these crises.

That said, I’ve been watching the news, and been reading a FEKTON of documentation on this stuff. Mass animal deaths have been occurring for a long time, with documented events going back more than a hundred years. The USGS has actually been tracking mass animal death for decades, and so does the CDC. Between the two, they apply a body of knowledge incredibly more suited to sift fact from fiction in these matters, and thankfully, unlike the media, they aren’t in the habit of scaring the shit out of us civilians without some credence.

What I think we should all do is what we’ve already been doing. Be more aware. Know where to report news when you see it, and be more responsible when discussing these things so that you don’t start a scare. There is NOTHING wrong about feeling something is important or and there certainly isn’t anything wrong in helping resolve these events, but causing panic and unrest is the media’s forte, not yours. As individuals please try to exhibit some sense when you decide to talk about this.

If you look at the really cool Google Map of animal deaths (linked below), you will notice that there have been a bunch, and if you research them you’ll see a number of them have already been explained. As a species, we ourselves are doing so many things to contribute to this that the numbers are just heartbreaking. For every new method we find to live without destroying our planet, there are a hundred poor choices made for us that hurt the environment. Awareness in a huge factor. As in being aware we can expect at least some people will change their course.

Here is the Google News link for the animal deaths in the news.



In the Army…almost!

Something you might not know about me…I was in the Army…for about two days.

The Story…

Believe it or not…I was recruited and sworn into the Army at age 16 to become a Russian linguist. At the time, this was a DREAM job for me in so many ways, they weren’t just paying for school on the GI…I had a full ride for 6 years of school and OCS when I signed on for 8 years (all this was in writing).

Of course, this is ME…so nothing really goes as planned. Just two days after swearing in, a quack of a contract surgeon that wasn’t even a part of the MEPS staff examined my knee (required for anyone joining that had an arthroscopic surgery in the previous year), and determined that my kneecap was too loose for service in the military…thus permanently disqualifying me from service.

If you’d known me at the time, you’d know how bad a call this was on the doctors part.

This was a really pivotal point for me…because up until this point I had a plan, and it included a paid-for masters degree and an extra $60k sign-on for my first 8 years and made OCS mandatory. This wasn’t just school, it was a guaranteed career with some serious career opportunities available when I was done. When I found out I wasn’t going to be able to serve…it had an incredibly negative effect on me. I couldn’t do what i thought I was supposed to be doing. Never you mind that I was already physically capable of all the physical training requirements, and nevermind that I’d aced all their tests. I was mad because I wasn’t ever going to get to serve in the manner I thought I was supposed to.

…and it’s always been something I felt everyone should do, myself included.

Being the all or nothing sort of guy I am…I wouldn’t even speak to my recruiter again. He fought and fought hard for me, apparently he went pretty for up to get the ruling changed…so much that it actually took him six months to get my status changed contingent on my willingness to re-enlist, but by then I’d already slipped down into the craziness that was my senior year and was bent on getting a full ride to some obscure college as far from everything local as possible.

It was when I found that my aptitude for learning saved me, and I learned that I could enjoy life without it needing to be rigid.

Eventually, I learned that it was their loss, not mine.

Anyhow…thus ends the day’s journal. ;)

-T