Thursday, December 9, 2010

Starting Over? No, you're not.

I keep reading people posting that they are upset because they are starting over. Maybe they lost a few pounds before and gained it back, or they started strong but have lost their motivation and stalled. 

I've been thinking about it, though, and I think they are all wrong when they say, "I'm starting over." I don't think that's true at all. I'll explain. 

As an example, imagine that someone said that you had to go back to high school and repeat all of those courses. Yes, you would be sitting in the same rooms and hearing the same lectures and taking the same tests, but YOU would definitely not be the same person you were back then. Your maturity and life's experiences would completely alter the experience. 

Or what if you had to take your drivers license road test again? Sure, you have to do all the same things as the first time you took the test, but your confidence and experience would make the whole thing much easier. 

It's the same with your journey to a healthier lifestyle. You are not the person you were in the past. You have suffered setbacks and enjoyed successes, all of which helped you grow and mature and become the different person you are right this moment. 

So don't beat yourself up with the, "oh, look, I'm starting over again and don't think I can do it." Because while it may have been something the old you could not stick with, the NEW you is stronger, smarter, wiser, and better equipped for the challenge. 

You can do it. The person you are right now, right this very moment, can do it. So stop looking backwards and focus all the energy on the path ahead of you. 

 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy 235th Birthday, Marines.

Today is the 235th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.

Today, I honor those who came before me, for they created and built the Marine Corps that I joined.

I honor those I served with, for they were the very life and breath of me while I was on Active Duty.

I honor those who served after me and those who serve even now, for they ensure the very future of our Marine Corps and our nation.

And I honor those "absent companions," those Marines who live now only in our hearts. May their service and dedication always inspire us to greatness.

Semper Fidelis, my Marine Corps Brothers and Sisters.


The wonderful love of a beautiful maid, the love of a staunch true man,
The love of a baby, unafraid, have existed since time began.
But the greatest of loves, the quintessence of loves,
Even greater than that of a mother,
Is the tender, passionate, infinite love, of one drunken Marine for another.

Monday, November 1, 2010

John and the Rocky Horror Picture Show

Here I am in Denver, being part of the entertainment before the start of the show.

Gif Created on Make A Gif

Yep. If there's a good time to be had, count me in!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Things I Wish Someone Had Said To Me

My co-worker has joined 24 Hour Fitness and signed on to Spark People. I’m happy for her, because those are the same two actions that started me on my own journey to a healthier lifestyle. 

Talking with her about her first steps has me thinking about my own. And that has prompted me to write this blog entry, “Things I Wish Someone Had Said To Me.” So here, in no specific order, is my list. 

*** Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. Yes, there are professionals who can teach you the perfect way to train, to workout, to eat, to cook, etc. And one day, you may want that sort of expertise. But starting out, it can be overwhelming. Just remember that no matter what you are doing to improve your health, it totally beats the nothing that you used to do. 

*** Don’t waste energy hating yesterday. Yes, you could already have that perfect body if you had started training ten years ago. But you could also have wasted another ten sitting on the couch. Instead of beating yourself up for not acting sooner, be grateful you have the sense to start now. 

*** You are not alone. No matter where you are on your journey, there are others ahead, alongside, and behind you. You are surrounded by people dealing with the same problems and struggles. So reach out. And let others reach out to you. 

*** Weight loss is not an exact science. Yes, it’s a matter of burning off more calories than you take in, but it isn’t as easy as a math formula. Our bodies are so complex and there are so many variables. You may work like crazy and gain a pound, then slack off and drop two pounds. It can’t be about chasing a number on a scale. Eat healthy, be active, and repeat consistently. The weight will come off. 

*** Celebrate the victories. Drinking enough water every day for a week is a reason to be proud. So is choosing an apple over a candy bar or a brisk walk instead of junk food and a nap. There are so many things you can do on this journey to a healthier you, why not celebrate every single one of them? 

*** Use Spark People. Make buddies, join teams and challenges, and let the Spark Points guide you through every cool part of the website. There is so much great information here and the encouragement and the motivation can make the difference between sticking with it or quitting. 

There are more that I would say, of course, but these are the basics. So what about you? If this list was mandatory reading for anyone starting out, what am I missing? What helpful advice do YOU wish someone had given you? 


(Originally posted on SparkPeople.com)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

There's No Crying On The Treadmill.

Well, apparently, I missed that memo, because today I most certainly was crying on the treadmill. 

First, some background. I grew up skinny and stayed that way through my school years and the Marine Corps. And then I started adding a couple of pounds every year and somehow, fifteen years passed and forty pounds stayed. 

In 2006, I got myself back to the gym and lost a total of twenty-seven pounds. I was a healthy and happy 183 pounds and was feeling great. I was even running, working myself up to a record 6.71 miles in sixty minutes. Life was good. Then, in early 2007, I was diagnosed with adult whooping cough (pertussis) and was out on disability for nearly two months. My workouts all came to a halt, as did my recreational scuba diving and bike riding. It was literally all I could do to breath while walking, let alone while doing anything else. 

And the weight started to come back. Even after I recovered, I stayed trapped in that "poor me" slump. I didn't want to work out. I didn't care if I ate right. My eating habits were terrible, my weekends were spent out drinking and inhaling crappy junk food, and there was absolutely no exercise. 

By this past January, I had gained back all I had lost plus another ten pounds. At 43 years old, I was at a lifetime high weight of 220 pounds and wondering what was going on with my life. I looked in the mirror and saw a stranger there. I looked at photos and couldn't believe I was that person. I was fat, terribly unhappy, and feeling like a complete slug. 

Enter Spark People. I had joined a year earlier but didn't really get involved with the site. But I came back to it and decided to give it a real shot. I started tracking my food intake and was shocked to learn just how many calories I was eating every day. I used the Spark Points as a guide to lead me around the different areas of the site. I read and then participated in message boards. I joined Spark Teams. And I started making Spark Buddies. The more involved I got, the more I wanted to stay involved. 

My interest and commitment fluctuated through the first half of the year. I lost the same ten pounds again and again, never staying disciplined enough to lose it for good. I let work distract me, thinking that I didn't have the time and energy to focus on both. But I was mistaken. It was only when I put myself and my health first that I truly had the energy required to do all of the other things I needed to do. 

In late June, I decided to make a complete commitment to myself and my own wellbeing. I set myself up on a regimented 30 Day Kick Start program, monitoring every bite I ate, forgoing all junk food and alcohol, and working out every day. I was 212 pounds and laser-focused on getting under 200. Turns out, it didn't take thirty days. It took about three weeks for me to hit the magic number and enter 1-derland. And it felt amazing. 

For the rest of July and all of August, I was consistent with my workouts and my healthy eating. The pounds continued to come off and I got down to 187.5 by the first week of September. I had lost over thirty pounds and it was finally showing. Friends and family complimented me on my success. Co-workers noticed the changes. Everything was going great. I was working out two to three hours a day, And then, suddenly, getting up for the gym was harder and harder. I felt burnt out, like I had given all that I could. I decided I could coast for a while. I stopped working out, only running three times over three weeks. I still ate fairly well, though I let myself eat fast food more often. I was maintaining, hovering between 188 and 193. 

I let myself have the time off. And I don't feel guilty or like a failure. I wanted time off from the gym and I took it. I wanted to sleep in and I did. I wanted different things and I let myself have them. And through it all, I ate well enough that my weight remained fairly constant. But I knew that it was temporary. Weighing in the high 180's is not where I want to be. 

And so, I'm once again focused. What I want is to feel strong and lean and fast. And that will only come if I am willing to work at it. So far this month, I have been spot on. I'm back at the gym, mixing up my cardio, and feeling in the groove. And today... well... today was my biggest challenge yet. I decided that today would be my long run day to see what I could do. I challenged myself to double my longest run. I was confident that I could run a 10k in less than an hour. Yep, I was going to run faster than six ten-minute miles. 

I stepped on the treadmill determined to make it. I started out strong, completing the 5k in just under thirty minutes. So far, so good. And after that, I knew I was more than halfway through and I was not going to let anything stop me. At mile five, I was surprised to hear myself with an out loud, "yes!" that startled my running neighbors. And at the six mile mark, it happened. 

It caught me by surprise, in fact. One moment I was running, listening to my music and thinking, "sweet, I'm almost done!" And the next thing I knew, there were tears welling up in my eyes. I was so happy, so proud of myself, so top-of-the-world for setting a specific goal and not quitting. And then I was laughing out loud at myself and my own emotional overload. 

So yes, folks, there is crying on the treadmill. And I don't apologize for it and I certainly am not embarrassed by it. For me, it's proof that I can still be surprised by my own accomplishments. I can still rattle my own cage and shake things up. 

I'm alive. And I'm not slowing down. 

Me, after my run. I blame the goofy smile on all the endorphins. 

 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The State of the Body

It's been three months since I started my "build a better body" regimen. And this is a visual display of how I'm doing:

[caption id="attachment_1636" align="alignnone" width="1024" caption="The me I used to be and the me I am today."][/caption]

Friday, August 6, 2010

Conceited, much?

This is my current Spark People and Facebook status: 

"San Diego John is packing a gym bag for after work today. Because we both know, all this sexy doesn't just happen." 

I posted it this morning on my way out the door, and by the time I got to work, I had a message from a "friend" who said, in her oh-I'm-just-looking-out-for-you snotty sort of way, "I know that you are being funny, but other people might read it as you being conceited. I would want to know it was being read that way so I could delete it." 

Very passive-aggressive, huh? Play the friend and pretend that you are looking out for my best interests, yet still get to call me conceited, tell me I should change my status, and criticize me for being confident. 

My response to my "friend"? "Thanks for the heads-up, but I won't be changing my status. Like the old saying goes, those who don't understand me won't be swayed by an explanation and those who do don't need one." 

I tell myself things like "yeah, I'm all that today," because I need to hear it. And I deserve to hear it. And why the heck not? What is the point of beating myself up by focusing on my extra pounds, or my height (darn you, 5'8"!), or any of a dozen other criticisms? None of those make me feel better, none of those improve my attitude, and none of those make me more enjoyable to be around. 

Instead, I'll focus on all that is fantastic about me. I am rockin' my 501 jeans today, I'm feeling strong and healthy, and I'm smiling at everyone I see because I'm in a good mood. And heck yeah, all that is sexy, indeed. 

So if you're wondering if your posts and your status updates read as you being too full of yourself, stop. It's your status. It's your blog. They are your message board posts. Why on earth not use those as opportunities to celebrate and cheer and enjoy who you are?! 

Let other people be responsible for what they choose to read. If they don't like it, tell them I suggest they learn to *skim and scroll*. 

You just keep pumping yourself up any way, any time, and at every moment possible. You deserve it!


(Originally posted on SparkPeople.com) 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bobbie Laid The Blues On Me

I'm that guy. I admit it. I have mad crushes on many people. And I love being star-struck. I am so impressed by songwriters and singers and playwrights and actors who can reach deep into my soul and leave me breathless. And in my life, I have been fortunate enough to meet several such people. Years ago, I sat face-to-face with Janis Ian and interviewed her for the San Diego Gay & Lesbian Times. (You can read that interview here.)

And now, I have Facebook to thank for bringing many of these artists even closer. Are we real life friends? No, not really. But through the power of the web, I have been able to say thank you to artists who have given me so many hours of joy. Whether the songs made me laugh, dance, or cry, they still touched me and I'm never quite the same after hearing them.

My newest crush that has reached out to me? The beautiful and talented Bobbie Cryner. As crazy as it is for me to believe, I understand that not everyone knows this artist. She is an amazing singer, songwriter who has yet to receive the commercial acclaim she so richly deserves. Really, what's not to love about tracks like these?



















And this song written for Trisha Yearwood:







Recently, I found her on Facebook. I sent her a friend request, not really expecting she would accept. And when she did, I assumed it was an assistant or fan club manager running her page. Nope. It was the one and only Bobbie Cryner. Seriously, how cool is that?

And today, I received a message back from Miss Cryner thanking me for being a fan. There was a bit more to the note, but the details are just for me. I'm just bragging and showing off a bit, and sharing with everyone how cool I think this woman is. And soon, when her new CD comes out and she finally breaks huge across radio, I'll be the guy telling everyone, "I knew her when! I knew her when!"

Thank you, Bobbie Cryner, for two CDs of music that have been played more times than I can count. You keep making music and I'll keep buying it... and shouting out loud about it to all my friends.

John

P.S. To my friends who are wandering if I have gone completely round the bend with a celebrity crush, don't worry. Just remember the last time you saw a movie, or a play, or heard a song, and thought to yourself, "man, that is serious talent." That is what Bobbie Cryner is to me, and I am happily starstruck by anyone who brings that much joy to so many.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Seriously, what is with the attitude?

I've been getting a lot of positive feedback from my fellow Spark Buddies about my attitude, so I thought I would take a moment to blog about it. 

First, what I'm not. I'm not walking around everyday like a medicated mannequin. I'm not Pollyanna, deluded into thinking that life is all kittens and rainbows. And I'm not immune to the frustrations, obstacles and problems of life. 

Like everyone else, I am subject to the stresses and strains of everyday living. I am struggling to keep a business open, employees working, and income coming in to my own checking account. I worry about paying my bills, keeping my home, and taking care of my family's day-to-day needs. And I am a bundle of nerves everytime I try to lock down my future employment plans. In other words, I have issues. 

But as much as those things can keep me awake at night, I make a conscious choice that they will not control my life. I don't bury my head like an ostrich and ignore them, but I don't let them consume me, either. I take the time to evaluate what is happening, identify any actions I can take to influence outcomes, and then do what I can do. 

Beyond that, though, I do not waste time worrying about things outside of my control. I ask myself, "is there anything I can do to control what is happening?" If there is, I do it. If not, my worrying only increases my stress levels. It saps my energy and tears at everything I am. I am short with family and friends, unpleasant at work, and generally not fun to be around. And who the heck wants to be that guy? 

So who am I and how do I keep a positive attitude? I'm an optimist. I believe that when all is said and done, life is truly a joy and a blessing. And everyday I am reminded of that. I am loved beyond anything I ever dreamed I could be. I have friends that would move time and tide to help me if I had need for it. And I am fortunate enough to have days filled with reasons to laugh and live and share and feel and experience. As trite as it sounds, life is good and I never want to forget that. 

And when I falter? Yes I have days that overwhelm me. There are times when my own fears and weaknesses obscure the good, when I can only see the problems. How do I get through those times? One choice, one decision, one moment at a time. I find one thing, one good and positive thing, and I cling to it like a life raft to carry me through. 

How does that play out here at Spark People? Simple. When I am feeling discouraged about my weight, or I am tired of a scale that won't move, or I feel frustrated with my body or my food or my workouts, I log in to Spark People and go right to the "Panic! Button" message forum. No, I don't post a request for help, though I certainly may someday. Instead, I start reading what others have posted. I look for opportunities to reach out to people who need a boost. I'm no expert (I'm talking about you, amazing Coach Nancy!), so I don't offer advice beyond my comfort level. But I can offer support and encouragement. I can remind them that success is inevitable if they stick with the basics, they deserve to be happy in their journeys, and they are surrounded by Spark Buddies who want them to be successful. 

And the most important part for me is that the more I encourage others, the more I feel encouraged myself. It's impossible to stand up and cheer for someone else and still feel down. (Ever see a gloomy cheerleader? Not likely). As simple and naive as it sounds, the truth is that helping others is the best way to help yourself. 

Wow. That was a lot of writing this morning. I didn't intend to write so much, but I feel very passionate about this topic. If I had a magic wand and could make one change for everyone, it would be to help them see beyond their worries and fears and view their full potential, instead. There is so much more to each of us and our lives than just our daily struggles. 

I matter. Each of you matter. We are all valuable and our lives have meaning. It is only when we believe those words that we stop existing and begin truly living. 

(Originally posted at SparkPeople.com.)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Junk Food For The Mind.

I've been spending a lot of time lately monitoring what I am eating. I read nutrition labels, watch for serving counts, and pay attention to portion control. It's important that I take in the good stuff and skip the bad. 

So why do I let so much other bad stuff into my system? Why do I spend time reading about trashy celebrities and hateful television hosts and ranting politicians? Why do I bother reading articles about Hollywood feuds and racist rants? 

It's junk food for the mind. And I don't need it. It does nothing for me, and in fact, I think it poisons my mind a little bit more everyday. So I'm going to be more mindful of what I allow in. 

Don't get me wrong. I'm not going to put myself in Pollyanna City, pretending that all is wonderful in the world and that nothing bad is happening. That's not reality. But I am going to eliminate the silly and wasteful consumption of useless information. 

For example, as a former Active Duty Marine, I'm always mindful of the situations in Afghanistan and Iraq. In fact, just yesterday afternoon I was honored to see a friend receive his second Bronze Star for illustrious and brave courage under combat fire. And because of my connections to the war, I see stories like this, read them carefully, and say a prayer for those lost and for those who loved and cared for them. 
_____________ 

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Eight American troops were killed in a series of attacks in southern Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday as Taliban militants pushed back against an effort to secure the volatile region. 
_____________ 

But there are other stories that I no longer need to read. I don't care if Bristol Palin is engaged, if Lindsay Lohan goes to jail, or if Mel Gibson goes on another drunken, racist rant. I don't care what happens to Roman Polanski, the Kardashians or a single Real Housewife of Any City. 

Enough with the mental junk food. Being healthy is more than just about the body. It's about the mind and the spirit, too. And this guy is going to start truly caring for myself by being way more careful about how I fuel myself mentally, emotionally and spiritually. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Podcasts, iTunes and Universities

Anyone else taking advantage of the iTunes/University partnerships? Right now, I'm downloading Stanford University's "The American Founders and their World (HIST151)" course. These are the audio lectures:

  1. Jefferson, Madison and the Problem of Slavery in an Empire of Liberty

  2. How Radical was the Revolution and how Reactionary was the Constitution?

  3. When Abigail and John met George and Charlotte, or, The American Rebellion Viewed from London

  4. Washington's Frontier and Hamilton's Marketplace: Visions of Post-Revolutionary Greatness


Each lecture is approx 2 hours, and they whole thing is free to anyone with an iTunes account... also free. They're pretty cool, and courses are available in nearly every subject. There are audio and video presentations, depending on the course.

Am I the only one listening to these?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Q: When Is Quitting Not Quitting?

A: When it is just another step on the road to continual improvement.

I started a 30 Day Challenge twenty-one days ago. I'm not doing it anymore. How is that not quitting?

One, because I already met my goal of losing thirteen pounds and getting under 200. Two, because my trainer cautioned me that after three weeks of solid cardio, my body was adjusting to it and needs a change. And three, because I'm already planning my next mini-challenge.

The old me was far more rigid. Sign up for thirty days and you do thirty days or else you're a failure. But that mindset is more a problem than a solution. Why would I want to continue doing a program that (a) has already delivered the hoped for results and (b) isn't the most effective use of my training time?

So now what? I'm enjoying a couple of days off from physical training (but still eating right and tracking my calories!) while I create my next challenge. I'm adding weight training to my cardio workouts to get the most out of my time in the gym. I'm thinking a two week period is enough to get into the routine, then I will get measurements and set up a longer-term goal.

And one other change... no more daily weigh-ins. I had my reasons for doing that before, but going forward, once a week is plenty. I'm not chasing a number on the scale, I am pursuing long-term fitness results.

I'm excited. I feel like I successfully completed my challenge because I lost the weight, I got back into a healthy routine, and I refocused myself on fitness and health. These are all very good things, indeed.

Here I go again. And I can't wait.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hooray for me! I won the lottery!

I did, right? I mean, I got this email and everything...

YAHOO LOTTERY RESULTS 2010







YAHOO INTERNET LOTTERY




CONGRATULATIONS!

Yahoo!! International Lottery Organization

Bangkok Branch Office

Address: 3 Sukhumvit Lane

Bangkok 10400 Thailand

Yahoo! Mail announces you as one of the 25 lucky winners in the ongoing 10 Years Yahoo lottery Award of the New Year Held this month.

All 25 winning email addresses were randomly selected from a batch of 50,000,000 international emails each from Canada, Australia, United States, Asia, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Oceania as part of our international promotions program which is conducted annually, consequently, you have been approved for a total pay out of ONE MILLION UNITED STATE DOLLARS ( $1, 000. 000.00USD).

This Lottery was promoted and sponsored by a conglomerate of some multinational companies as part of their social responsibility to the citizens in the communities where they have operational base.

Further more your details (e-mail address) falls within our Bangkok representative office in Bangkok Thailand, as indicated in your play coupon and your prize of ( $1, 000.000.00USD) will be released to you from this regional branch office in Bangkok Thailand.

Your fund is now deposited with our Bank/Security Bangkok Bank of Thailand and insured in your name. Due to mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep this award from public notice until your claim has been processed, and your winning Cheque have being sent to you or remitted to your account, as this is part of our security protocol, to avoid double claiming and unwarranted taking of advantage of this program by participants, as has happened in the past.

HOW TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE

These are your identification numbers.

Ticket number.....................154-12872774-09

Serial number.......................21370-7

Lucky number...................27-50-23-94-66-40

Ref number...................Y.TILB/6362362114/26

To begin your lottery claims, Please contact our Yahoo Lottery Co-ordinator as follows,

Name: Dr.Sammuel Boon-Mee

Email: ylottery60@yahoo.com.hk

Tel: +668-1692-0653

You are to send the completed verification form below to the co-ordinator whose email address is given above so that you will be advised on what to do to get your prize money. Congratulations once more!!

1. FULL NAME

2. COUNTRY OF ORIGIN

3. PRESENT ADRESS.

4. DATE OF BIRTH

5. OCCUPATION

6. TELEPHONE NUMBER

7. SEX

8. FAX NUMBER

9. MARITAL STATUS

10. WINNING NUMBER, BATCH NUMBER AND LOTTO NUMBER.

Remember, all prize money must be claimed not later than one month time. Any claim not made by this date (within one month) will be returned to HER MAJESTYS DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY. And also be informed that 10% of your lottery winning belongs to (THE PROMOTIONS COMPANY). Because they are the company that bought your ticket and played the lottery in your name.

Note also that this 10% will be remitted after you have received your winnings prize, because the money is insured in your name already.

NOTE: In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please remember to quote your reference and batch numbers in all correspondences with us, Furthermore, should there be any change of address, please do inform our Co-ordinator as soon as possible. Yahoo lottery is a free service that does not require you to be a Yahoo! Registered user.

An original copy of your lucky winning ticket and your deposit certificate will be sent to you by Administrative Remittance Operation Manager of Bangkok Bank Of Thailand.

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

Once again from all members of our staff and thank you for being a part of our International Promotions program.

Monday, June 28, 2010

10 Truths I Wish I’d Known Sooner

You know those things you wish you wrote? Well, here's another one for me to add to my list. These are fantastic lessons that, yes, I wish I had learned earlier in my own life. You can find the original article by Amy Bloom here at Real Simple.
1. Events reveal people’s characters; they don’t determine them. Not everyone with divorced parents has terrible relationships. If two people are hit by a bus and crippled for life, one will become a bitter shut-in; the other, the kind of warm, outgoing person (cheerful despite everything) whom everyone loves to be with. It’s not about the bus, and a dreadful childhood is no excuse. You have the chance to be the person you wish to be, until you die.

2. Lying, by omission or commission, is a bad idea. I cannot shake my dependency on the white lie, because I was brought up to be nice. And I’ve never figured out the nice way to say, “I’d rather stick a fork in my eye than come to your house for dinner.” But the meaningful lie, the kind that involves being untruthful or deceitful about important stuff to those you love, is like poison. Telling the truth hurts, but it doesn’t kill. Lying kills love.

3. Sex always give you an answer, although not necessarily the one you want. It’s possible to have very good sex, a few times, with a person who shouldn’t be in your life at all. Have fun, and hide your wallet and your BlackBerry. On the other hand, it’s unlikely that a grown man, however nice, will become much, much better in bed than he was the first five times you slept with him. And if you sleep with a man who is unkind to you, there will be more of that; long after the sex is humdrum, the cruelty will be vivid.

4. Most talents are transferable. If you can raise toddlers and teenagers with relative calm, you can be a CEO. If you’re a good driver, you can probably steer a cab, fly a plane, captain a boat. My years as a waitress―serving food to demanding people in a high-stress environment without losing my temper―served me equally well as a mother, a wife, and a short-order cook for my family. And if you have the teaching gene, you can teach anything. (I mean it. All you have to do is be one lesson ahead of your students. Sole meunière, Latin and Greek, algebra―you can teach it!)

5. Fashion fades; style is eternal. Not only do you not have to wear torn jeans, a barely-there tank top, and a fedora, but you probably shouldn’t. The point of fashion is to indulge briefly in something fun. The point of style is to have one―whether that’s a sheath and spike heels or slouchy jeans and your husband’s T-shirt―and it should last you a lifetime. All you have to do is think you deserve to look and feel your best and spend some time figuring out how to do it. Don’t know? Find a woman whose style you admire and ask for a little advice.

6. You can’t fake love. Staying in a love relationship when love is not what you feel isn’t likely to end well. If you know that what you crave is security/disposable income/child care and not the person next to you in bed, do the right thing. It’s true that one can learn to love someone over time and often through difficult circumstances. But unless the two of you agree to wait until you’re old and all the storms have passed, in the hope that love will kick in, it’s better to bail sooner rather than later.

7. Mean doesn’t go away. Some people get better looking with age; some don’t. Some people soften; some toughen up. Mean streaks tend not to disappear. A person who demeans and belittles you and speaks of you with contempt to others is probably going to be that way for years. The first time it happens, take note. The second time, take your coat and go.

8. No one’s perfect. I knew that I wasn’t perfect; I just didn’t realize that this also applied to the people I fell in love with. The object of your affection will always turn out to have huge and varied faults. The smart thing is not to look for someone flawless (which is why Elizabeth Taylor married eight times), but to look for someone whose mix of strengths and liabilities appeals to you (which is why she married Richard Burton twice).

9. Ask for help. It’s possible you’ll get turned down. It’s even more likely that you’ll feel vulnerable and exposed. Do it anyway, especially if you are the helpful sort yourself. Those of us who like to offer assistance and hate to take any are depriving other people of the opportunity to be generous and kind; we are also blinding ourselves to the reality of mutual dependence. You wouldn’t wear pink hot pants and pretend they were flattering. Don’t pretend you don’t need help.

10. Keep your eye on the prize and your hand on the plow. It’s easy to lose sight of what you want, especially if you haven’t gotten it. I know it’s less work to put the wish away, to pretend that the wish itself has disappeared. But it’s important to know what your prize is, because that is part of who you are. Whether it’s financial stability, two children, a collection of poetry, or a happy marriage, take Winston Churchill’s advice and never give in. Never give in. Never give in.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I gained a pound?! Oh, my gosh! AAAaaaaahahhhhh!

I weighed myself this morning, as I am doing every morning during my 30 Day Challenge, and I discovered I gained a pound from yesterday. I went from 207 to 208. Yes, despite being perfect with workouts and eating, my weight increased.

So what? It doesn't mean anything. I'm still focused on my challenge, still working out the same each day, and still making healthy food choices. Gaining a pound in one day means absolutely nothing, and it certainly has no impact on my actions or attitude.

Why am I blogging about it, then? Because this 30 Day Challenge is about more than losing weight. It is about reestablishing my confidence in my ability to make a plan and see it through. I know that sometimes, with any plan, there are setbacks. There are unexpected obstacles. There are moments where quitting seems the thing to do. And it's okay to feel like quitting. But it is not okay to actually quit.

So I am capturing every moment of this challenge, the highs and the lows, as a reminder to my future self that I can do any damn thing I put my mind to.

Go me!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thoughts on my 30 Day Challenge

I went to sleep last night at 9:30 and slept right through until 4:00 this morning. Wide awake, I hopped out of bed and headed to the gym. Knocked out 90 mins on the bike (33 miles) and another 30 mins on the treadmill (1.75 miles). Now, I'm at the office and bouncing off the walls with energy and motivation. It's going to be a good day, indeed.

Things I've learned so far? The trick is to be prepared. As soon as I get home from work, I unpack and re-pack my gym bag. When the alarm goes off (if I ever slept that long, anyway), I'm ready to go without delay. After I work out, I hang my clothes and my towel in my car so they can dry and air out during the day. Then, right after work, I'm ready to go again. No delays and no excuses.

I have also learned that an iPad and a subscription to NetFlix are invaluable if you are going to spend any time on the bike at the gym. So far I have only watched old episodes of "Bones," but it makes the time fly by. It's about 42 minutes per episode, so I start my hour by watching that and then I switch to upbeat music videos for the last 20 mins.

Things I already know but haven't dealt with yet? My weight loss. I was 212 on Monday morning, 210 on Tuesday, 209 on Wednesday, and 208 this morning. Obviously, that can't continue. I won't drop a pound or two every single day. My body is going to react to the reduced calorie intake and the greatly increased physical activity and start to hang on to every bit of fat it can. I know this. I am prepared to work through it and not freak out. I might go days without losing a pound. Heck, I might even gain weight in the interim. I know it. It will bother me, but I will not let it derail me from my goals.

I also know that I will not be able to do 2-3 hours at the gym every single day. My goal is to work out at least one hour per day, so I am telling myself right now that I will NOT feel like a failure if I just go and ride the bike for an hour. My over-achiever nature cannot beat me up if I do just enough to meet the goal one day. It will happen, I know. I'll accept it as a natural part of making huge changes, ride it out, and get right back the next day for more.

And most importantly, I know that I am entirely too dependent on the affirmation and support of others. I accept this as part of who I am. And that's why I posted about my 30 Day Challenge on my blog yesterday. If you are reading this, thank you. I appreciate your interest and your support. And you are invited to cheer me on when I do well and push me should I falter.

I can do this. The 30 Day Challenge is going to be more than just a quick-start to my physical fitness. It is going to be my own proof to myself that I am capable of setting goals and working hard to reach them.

And onward I go!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

John's 30 Day Challenge

I'll be honest. I'm a "lots of energy upfront" guy who quickly loses interest or motivation. I struggle with taking a good idea and seeing it through to completion. And with physical fitness and a lifestyle change, that sort of stop-and-start undermines success. So, here I am with a plan.

I'm calling it my own 30 Day Challenge. The idea behind it is simple. I can do anything for 30 days. I just need to clearly define my goals.

For 30 days, I will get to the gym for at least one hour of cardio each day. It can be running, elliptical, or the bike, but it has to be every day and it has to be a minimum of an hour.

For 30 days, I will use the Spark People Nutrition Tracker to record my food intake.

For 30 days, I will drink at least 8 glasses of water each day.

For 30 days, I will not drink caffeine after 5pm.

For 30 days, I will not drink alcohol. The empty calories are bad enough, but when drinking, I often make poor eating choices.

For 30 days, I will eat portion controlled, nutritious meals.

For 30 days, I will get enough sleep to allow my body to recover from each day's exercise. I will not stay up too late. I need at least 6 hours each night.

For 30 days, I will make myself a priority. I will reset my attitude on physical fitness and health, and I will emerge on the other side of this with a renewed sense of accomplishment and a seriously improved attitude.

For 30 days, I will remember what it feels like to be the best person I am.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Consequences You Sow

As often happens for me, leading a charmed life and all, words and messages come to me just as I need them. Apparently, today is to be no exception.

I've just enjoyed a fantastic few days with my extended Marine Corps family, and this morning I discover this in my email courtesy of the Daily OM:

June 15, 2010
The Consequences You Sow
Action And Effect


Every action you take has a cause and effect. The influence we wield is infinite.


All motive and action affects the cosmos in some way. The principle of cause and effect is the truth that allows us to change ourselves and the world around us for the better. However, this same universal law is also at work when change is not at the forefront of our minds. Our intentions flow forever outward in the form of energy, affecting both the people closest to us and billions of individuals we will likely never meet. For this reason, we should strive always to speak, think, and behave with great thoughtfulness and compassion. The virtues we choose to embody can inspire joy and integrity in the lives of countless people, whether we touch their existence directly or not.


The influence we wield is infinite. In an effort to internalize our conscious understanding of the nature of cause and effect, we can never truly know how our thoughts, emotions, words, or actions will manifest themselves on the larger universal stage because it is likely that the furthest-reaching effects will fall outside the range of our perception. We can only look to the guidance of our conscience, which will help us determine whether each of our choices is contributing to humanity's illumination or setting the stage for unintended troubles. When we are in doubt, we need only remember that the cultivation of altruism inevitably leads to a harvest of goodwill and grace. Motivated by a sincere desire to spread goodness, we will be naturally drawn to those choices that will help us express our commitment to universal well-being.


Nothing you do, however minor or mundane, is ever exempt from the rules of cause and effect. From the moment of your birth, you have served as an agent of change, setting forces beyond your comprehension into motion across the surface of the earth and beyond. You can exert conscious control over this transformative energy simply by examining your intentions and endeavoring always to promote peace, positive energy, and passion in your ideas and actions. While you may never fully comprehend the extent of your purposefully heartfelt influence, you can rest assured that it will be universally felt.



Clearly, in another time and place, I must have done something amazing. And whatever those actions were, they still echo through my life and return as the wonderful people I still call friends today. And I will strive to remember that my actions have consequences, my choices impact others, and I have the power to influence others. Knowing all of that, I will make every effort to only use my powers for good. Because ultimately, all of that good returns to me many times over.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

You Can't Make This Stuff Up.

It's from Salon and definitely worth passing on:
Congrats to Rush Limbaugh on his fourth traditional marriage.

Rush Limbaugh, October 6, 2009:

Look, we found another Obama oddball. Obama's nominee to become commissioner for the equal opportunity employment commission is Chai Feldblum. She's an outspoken gay rights activist, Georgetown University law professor, and she has praised polygamy and contended that traditional marriage should not have privileged status.


MSMDC News, yesterday:

Conservative radio man Rush Limbaugh is taking a fourth stab at marriage with a weekend wedding to Kathryn Rogers, an events coordinator 26 years his junior, according to various reports. Limbaugh, 59, will reportedly marry the 33-year-old Rogers at his Palm Beach compound. . . . The childless Limbaugh's first two marriages were over by the time he rose to national prominence. His third wedding, to Marta Fitzgerald in 1994, was officiated by his friend, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. They divorced in 2004. Before beginning his courtship with Rogers in 2007, Limbaugh was romantically linked to then-CNN anchor Daryn Kagan.


So as Newt Gingrich does while standing next to his third wife (who, as was true for Gingrich's second wife, was previously known as his "adulterous mistress"), Rush Limbaugh will now crusade for Traditional Marriage with his fourth wife (and counting) at his side.  As is so often the case, the Traditional Marriage movement is led by people who discard their wives and get new, younger replacements the way most people change underwear.  That's how so many Americans sit on their sofas next to their second and third spouses, with their step-children and half-siblings surrounding them, and explain -- without any recognition of the irony -- that they're against same-sex marriage because they believe the law should only recognize Traditional Marriages.  And it's how Rush Limbaugh can hide from his followers that, by demanding state recognition for his fourth "marriage," he himself  believes "that traditional marriage should not have privileged status."  As usual, all of the actual rules of Traditional Marriage are casually discarded when it comes to the law (all that dreary, annoying stuff about "till death do us part" and "in sickness and in health" and "for as long as we both shall live") and the only one that's maintained is the one that is easy and cost-free for most Traditional Marriage proponents people to fulfill (the one about needing "a man and a woman").

As the gay Wired writer Steve Silberman wrote yesterday:  "Between them, Gingrich and Limbaugh have had 7 marriages. And they want to abolish my one."  On that note, The Boston Globe highlights how this Traditional Marriage hypocrisy is not merely vile in its own right, but breeds serious oppression for countless Americans, as it reports on the harrowing experience of an American citizen who has been barred from living in the U.S. with his foreign national same-sex spouse (as a result ofthe Defense of Marriage Act's ban on granting the same federal rights to same-sex couples which opposite-sex couples are entitled to receive, such as immigration rights).  The latest "marriages" of Gingrich and Limbaugh (as well as their 5th, 6th, and 7th ones which, if history is any guide, will take place as soon as their most recent "wives" age a bit) will receive the full panoply of rights under American law, while -- as a result of this twisted, self-serving definition of "Traditional Marriage" -- gay Americans are denied all such rights even for their first marriages.

Why I Love Texts From Last Night

Because they make me laugh. And sometimes, that's reason enough to love something.

(409): We're listening to the crystal method and doing bong hits for jesus


(1-409): How are you texting me from 1998?


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

From the 'Why Didn't I Think of This?!" Department'

It's a wall outlet with USB ports built in. No more wall adapters needed. And it's made right here in the USA.  How cool is this?!

Illegals Granted Social Security

Or, as I prefer to think of it: The Final Nail In The Coffin of Common Sense In America
The Senate voted yesterday to allow illegal aliens to collect Social Security benefits based on past illegal employment -- even if the job was obtained through forged or stolen documents.

"There was a felony they were committing, and now they can't be prosecuted. That sounds like amnesty to me," said Sen. John Ensign, the Nevada Republican who offered the amendment yesterday to strip out those provisions of the immigration reform bill. "It just boggles the mind how people could be against this amendment."

The Ensign amendment was defeated on a 50-49 vote.

"We all know that millions of undocumented immigrants pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for years and sometimes decades while they work to contribute to our economy," said Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican.

"The Ensign amendment would undermine the work of these people by preventing lawfully present immigrant workers from claiming Social Security benefits that they earned before they were authorized to work in our community," he said. "If this amendment were enacted, the nest egg that these immigrants have worked hard for would be taken from them and their families."

Mr. Ensign was among 44 Republicans and five Democrats who voted to block such payouts.

"It makes no sense to reward millions of illegal immigrants for criminal behavior while our Social Security system is already in crisis," said Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican. "Why in the world would we endorse this criminal activity with federal benefits? The Senate missed a big opportunity to improve this bill, and I doubt American seniors will be pleased with the result."

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, said it would be unfair to deny illegals the benefits.

"We should not steal their funds or empty their Social Security accounts," he said. "That is not fair. It does not reward their hard work or their financial contributions. It violates the trust that underlies the Social Security Trust Fund."

Unbelievable. Come to this country illegally, engage in identity theft and/or fraud, and then be rewarded. What kind of nonsense is that?

And John McCain's opinion?
"We all know that millions of undocumented immigrants pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for years and sometimes decades while they work to contribute to our economy," said Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican.

"The Ensign amendment would undermine the work of these people by preventing lawfully present immigrant workers from claiming Social Security benefits that they earned before they were authorized to work in our community," he said. "If this amendment were enacted, the nest egg that these immigrants have worked hard for would be taken from them and their families."

They were not authorized to work in this country. What part of that is confusing?!

This is fiscal and social nonsense. Every single Senator who voted "Yes" to this should be voted out at the very next opportunity.

Monday, May 24, 2010

First Post via The iPad

This is my first blog post via the iPad. So far, this app has crashed twice. Not a great start. But I blame the program and not the hardware.

(Come on, you had to know that I wouldn't blame the iPad, no matter the problem.)

Will I use this to post? Maybe. It's just as easy to post via email. But for moderating and managing the blog, yeah, this might be helpful. We'll see.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's Everybody Draw Mohammad Day.

And I can't explain it any better than Greta Christina has already done:

This is my drawing of Mohammad.
Greta drawing Mohammad

I wish I were a better artist, and could draw something other than a stick figure. But I actually kind of like its purity. If a simple, entirely undistinguished, smiling stick figure with the word "Mohammad" above it can be so offensive as to earn me a possible death sentence... that makes the whole silly idea seem even sillier. And I like the fact that it's a photo of my hand actually making the drawing. Gives it a certain punch, I think.

Today is Everybody Draw Mohammad Day: an event in which people around the world... well, draw Mohammad. We're deliberately violating the Muslim law against creating images of the prophet Mohammad -- a law that some radical Muslim extremists are attempting to enforce with violence and death threats. On everyone. Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Draw-Mohammad-PromoActually, strike that. It is a law that some radical Muslim extremists are successfully enforcing with violence and death threats. Everybody Draw Mohammad Day was instigated by Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris, after Comedy Central cut a portion of a South Park episode following a death threat from a radical Muslim group. And this is hardly an isolated incident: when the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten ran the cartoons of Mohammad that sparked violent protests around the world, many news publications declined to publish the cartoons in question, despite their obvious newsworthiness. Many newspapers still won't publish them. And when this self-censorship happens, the Muslim law against drawing Mohammad has successfully been enforced.

Today, along with hundreds of people (hopefully more), I'm drawing Mohammad.

I want to explain why.

That's more or less what I'm doing today. I realize that.

I'm doing it because, in some cases, offending people's sensibilities is, in and of itself, a valid point. And this is one of those instances.

The idea that the rules of a religion ought to apply to people who don't follow that religion? It's flatly absurd. As Hemant Mehta of Friendly Atheist so brilliantly pointed out, "You never hear about Hindus walking into McDonald's and telling the manager they're not allowed to use beef products anymore. If they did, we would laugh it off. We'd say that's absurd because non-Hindus don't have to follow their rules."

But that's exactly what these radical Muslim extremists are doing. Despite the fact that they will happily violate the Hindu rule against eating beef, or the Orthodox Jewish rule against interfaith marriage, or the Yazidi rule against wearing the color blue, they nevertheless feel that it is their right, and indeed their duty, to enforce the Muslim rule against drawing Mohammad -- even on people who aren't Muslim. Using violence, and threats of death.

Mohammad cartoons-thumbAnd it is not possible to effectively protest this by simply saying, "This is wrong." The only way to effectively protest this is by violating the damn rule. If we all wring our hands and say, "Oh, yes, this is terrible, how dare these terrorists use violence and death threats to enforce their religious rules on people who don't share them" -- and still nobody will break the damn rule because we're afraid they'll hurt or kill us -- then their terror tactics will have worked.

I'm drawing Mohammad to send a message to Muslim extremists -- and other religious extremists -- that their terror tactics will not work.

I'm drawing Mohammad to reject out of hand the attempt to make criticism of Islam -- or of any other religion, for that matter -- off-limits, simply out of fear of violence.

I'm drawing Mohammad because many people feel comfortable critiquing, or poking fun of, or indeed commenting on, any other religion... but avoid doing any of this with Islam, for fear of violent retribution. And I refuse to allow myself to be extorted in that way.

And, perhaps most importantly of all, I'm drawing Mohammad to spread the target around... so there are so many people drawing Mohammad, the terrorists can't possibly go after all of us.

InfidelThis is a point made by Ayaan Hirsi-Ali -- former Muslim, current atheist, target of a fatwa for her outspoken blasphemous criticism and defiance of Islam. In a piece she wrote about the South Park/ Comedy Central incident -- and about the seriousness of the death threats against the show's creators -- she asked, "So what can be done to help Mr. Parker and Mr. Stone?" And she answered, in part, "Do stories of Muhammad where his image is shown as much as possible. These stories do not have to be negative or insulting, they just need to spread the risk. The aim is to confront hypersensitive Muslims with more targets than they can possibly contend with."

That's the point.

And there is no way to make that point without actually violating this rule.

Perhaps you think that going out of your way to offend a cherished tenet of people's religious beliefs is... well, offensive. Hurtful. Perhaps you think that secular groups and others organizing "Draw Mohammad" protests are engaging in anti-Muslim or anti-Arab marginalization. Perhaps you think that deliberately breaking another religion's sacred rule, with the sole and stated purpose of breaking that rule, is a form of religious bigotry. Or even just childish jerkitude. A lot of people think that: moderate Muslims, and others.

To them, I say... well, Claudia commenting at Friendly Atheist said it way better than I could, and I'm just going to quote her: "The day drawing a bloody stick figure isn't something you have to do while looking over your shoulder. The day cartoonists don't have to build panic rooms in their homes (!!) for a rough picture of a dog with a mans head. The day dozens of people don't die (again !!) because of some cartoons. On that day, I will agree that the secular group is just being immature and hurtful."

Is it hurtful to deliberately poke people's sore spots with a stick, just for the sake of doing it? Yes. I don't think it's a very nice thing to do, and I don't generally do it.

But is it far, far more hurtful -- not only to certain individuals, but to every individual in the world, and to society as a whole -- to use violence and death threats to frighten people away from criticizing your religion, and to force obedience to your religious views on the entire human race?

By a thousand orders of magnitude, yes.

And in this case, the only way to oppose the latter is to engage in the former.

There's something I want to say here: words that keep brimming up in my head and won't shut up. I'm reluctant to write them down; I cringe a bit at the thought of posting them; they've become such a cliche that it's embarrassing to even think them. I never imagined that I'd say these words as anything other than a joke. I never imagined I would say them with any sort of sincerity or passion.

But if we don't draw Mohammad, the terrorists win.

*

Atheist-cartoonI don't normally go out of my way to offend people's religious sensibilities. I'm perfectly willing to do so, obviously: most of what I write here offends somebody's religious sensibilities, and of course I know that most of my atheist writing is deeply offensive to many religious believers, simply because it is atheist. But offending people's religious sensibilities, while it's something I'm willing to do, is secondary. It's a side effect of the fact that I'm making some point. It's rarely the point itself. I rarely offend people's religious sensibilities just for the sake of it, simply because people find it offensive.So here's mine:



Monday, May 10, 2010

Don't Be Proud of Your Ignorance

Obama: iPad, Xbox Turn Information Into A 'Distraction'

HAMPTON, Va. -- President Barack Obama, addressing graduates at historically black Hampton University on Sunday, said that it is the responsibility of all Americans to offer every child the type of education that will make them competitive in an economy in which just a high school diploma is no longer enough.

Moreover, Obama said, the era of iPads and Xboxes had turned information into a diversion that was imposing new strains on democracy.

"You're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank that high on the truth meter," he told the students. "And with iPods and iPads, and Xboxes and PlayStations -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it's putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy."

(Continues at link)

Obviously, as anyone who has read my recent posts knows, I am a huge fan of the iPad. So yes, I'm a bit biased here. But this sort of celebrated ignorance on the part of the President is disappointing.

His near-boastful admission of ignorance reads to me like the people in the early 90's who would say, "oh, I don't even know how to turn a computer on," and sound somewhat proud of that fact. It's no crime nor sin to not have complete control of all technology, but to brag about what you do not know seems stupid to me.  And if he really doesn't know how to use an iPod, why would he give one to the Queen of England?

But to the bigger allegation, that these devices are distractions or, worse still, peddlers of disinformation, I would remind the President that the same has been said of every media format since the beginning of time. Surely the first cave wall drawing depicted one man's interpretation of an event rather than an unbiased telling of it. Unfortunately, at the time, there were very few choices for alternative media.

The delivery system is not the problem here. And blaming the messenger does nothing to address the real issues. In fact, the President's clumsy speech should have stressed the need for critical thinking, not been an example of the lack of it. Perhaps the President should have been in my meeting with my IT Manager, who told me that he had read more news in the first week with his iPad than he had in the entire month prior. And maybe the President should utilize the amazing new apps designed exclusively for the iPad that provide more than just text for any news story. They also include links to source material and other related stories, so I can verify data and read it in the context of other relevant data.

I expect better. I certainly expect a President who knows better than to demonize technology.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mad Men and Marines

Tonight, Ric and I start Mad Men, Season Two. I expect we'll burn through all thirteen episodes by Sunday evening.

Despite that distraction, I will take the time to write about my experience yesterday at My friend's retirement ceremony. It was truly amazing.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Open-Mind Challenge

Blame my friend, Tony. It's his fault that I am embarking on a new challenge. I'm reading Glenn Beck's book, "Arguing With Idiots."

I say it's his fault because he is directly responsible. He appealed to my vanity and said that, as he was reading and agreeing with things in the book, he kept thinking, "that sounds like something Hulsey would say."

What could I do? I promised him I would read it and share my opinion with him. And then, me being me, I decided that sharing my opinion with everybody via my blog and Facebook was much more my style.

So, I'm starting to read it tonight. I'm going to keep an open mind and give an honest assessment of the book. And if I like it, I may even film a clip of myself tearing up a little as a tribute to Glenn.

Okay, I tease. I tease. But I really will keep an open mind and give it a fair chance. Wish me luck.

Random Question

Why is it the less someone has to say, the louder they insist on saying it?

Monday, May 3, 2010

I'm a changed man.

I held out as long as I could. But once the iPod Classic came out with a 160 gig drive, I had to have it. And once I bought my first Apple product, I was a goner. And now, with the iPad? Well, I'm a changed man. I love, love, love this new toy. I think the whole world should have them. I want my Grandfather to get one so he can finally get on Facebook. I want my Aunt Sue to get one so she will web surf and email while watching her old movies. I want everyone I know to get one so they will understand why I am going crazy over mine.

I'm a changed man. I heart Apple and I heart this iPad. There, I admitted it. And it didn't hurt that bad.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Arizona Law is Already Working

Anyone else read this article?
New Arizona law forcing hard choices on migrants


(Reuters) - With Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants looming, Guatemalan Samuel Roldan is swapping the family's battered Chevy Suburban, which he feels marks them out as low-income migrants, for a smarter, more corporate-looking Nissan.

"When you have an old car (covered) with stickers for a Spanish-language radio station ... it's only logical that they will think you are Hispanic and you don't have papers," Roldan said.

Roldan is among an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants in the Mexico border state carefully weighing their options on Monday, three days after Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the United States' toughest immigration measure into law.

Slated to take effect 90 days after the current legislative session adjourns, the measure backed by Republicans in the state legislature requires state and local police to determine if people are in the country illegally. Critics of the law say it is a mandate for racial profiling.

The law, which also makes it a crime to transport illegal immigrants and to hire day laborers off the street, has sent a jolt through the undocumented workforce in the state, the principal corridor for illegal migrants entering from Mexico.

Some like Roldan, 34, who has a steady job as a warehouse worker and three U.S.-born daughters in Phoenix schools, plan to stay put, lower their profile and wait to see how the law will affect them.

Others, like Mexican day laborer Jesus Aguilar, 52, say the measure leaves them few options but to leave Arizona and try their luck elsewhere.

"Since the law says that people hiring undocumented day laborers will get fined, no-one wants to (hire) us," said Aguilar, who early on Monday was among some two dozen migrants touting for landscaping and building work at a day labor site in north Phoenix.

"We are thinking of going to Utah or New Mexico ... Here it is just too racist," he added.

'CREATE HAVOC'

The law has raised fears that Hispanics will be racially profiled and police will actively hunt down illegal immigrants, who are estimated to number about 10.8 million in the nation and are the backbone of the shadow economy.

It is also expected to spark a legal challenge and has become a hot issue in the run-up to the mid-term congressional elections in November, when Democrats will defend their majorities in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

The new Arizona state law seeks to "discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens and economic activity" in the desert state, and Hispanic activists say it is already having a marked impact.

"What is a father to do if, in 90 days, they can be stopped by any police officer and questioned ... when their family is at home and their kids in school?" said Elias Bermudez, the founder of Phoenix nonprofit Immigrants Without Borders.

"That's going to create havoc, so a lot of them are saying, 'Look, before they pick me up, I'd rather leave the state of Arizona either to another state or back home,'" he added.

Migrants who spoke to Reuters on Monday said they would bide their time and see how the law is implemented in the next weeks and months before making their moves.

During that time, Roldan said he and his wife Gladys would stay home as much as possible, to further minimize their exposure to police, and would decide later whether to move to another state.

"We have already got some boxes ready ... so we are prepared," he added.

For Mexican day laborer Rodolfo Espinoza, meanwhile, it was simply time to go back home to work as a fisherman on the Pacific coast of northwest Mexico, where he has a wife and four children.

"This new law gives us no other option than to leave ... I'm going back to Mexico, where I feel more comfortable," he added.

Some people I know are linking to it to explain their opposition to the Arizona law. Honestly, I don't get understand that at all, because if anything, the article shows that the law is needed and is already working. Let's review, shall we?

Some like Roldan, 34, who has a steady job as a warehouse worker and three U.S.-born daughters in Phoenix schools, plan to stay put, lower their profile and wait to see how the law will affect them.



The man is here illegally. And he's working in a warehouse. So how is his employer paying taxes and reporting his income? He is committing identity theft or he has fraudulently obtained a social security number of his own. Either way, it's a crime.

"Since the law says that people hiring undocumented day laborers will get fined, no-one wants to (hire) us," said Aguilar, who early on Monday was among some two dozen migrants touting for landscaping and building work at a day labor site in north Phoenix.



No one wants to hire you? Good. Hiring illegals and paying them cash off the books is a crime, and it sounds like the law is having its intended effect.

"We are thinking of going to Utah or New Mexico ... Here it is just too racist," he added.



No, it isn't racist. It's the law. And it's long been the law, only no one was enforcing it.

"That's going to create havoc, so a lot of them are saying, 'Look, before they pick me up, I'd rather leave the state of Arizona either to another state or back home,'" he added.



Again, this is exactly the intent of the law. So I'd say it's already working.

For Mexican day laborer Rodolfo Espinoza, meanwhile, it was simply time to go back home to work as a fisherman on the Pacific coast of northwest Mexico, where he has a wife and four children.


"This new law gives us no other option than to leave ... I'm going back to Mexico, where I feel more comfortable," he added.



Yep. It's working.