Sunday, May 21, 2017

Cruelty Is Not Entertainment


I saw this today and it struck a chord. It was an NPR story about Peta celebrating the closing of the Ringling Brothers Circus.
I am not an animal activist or a vegan or even a peacenik but I do try and treat others with some respect and care, including our furry neighbors. I’ve had a few critters in my life and have tried to understand and provide the best for their lives shared with me. I’ve been a hardy beef lover but the taste just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I find myself shopping the natural aisle and by passing the butcher. I have my own political thoughts but believe others have their own opinions.
I don’t believe in what I see as a basis for entertainment today.
Beyond the cruelty to our animal friends, who on one hand treat kindly as pets and then abuse as sport or murder them for sustenance or trophies, we entertain ourselves with our obsession to treat each other so badly.
The past election and reactions of social media has confirmed we are not a very nice species. In reflection we have always enjoyed being cruel to each other. Through our history we have entertained ourselves with the suffering of others.
Maybe a lack of empathy or education or just outright anger we tend to make movies and write books and perform physical feats that may and often provide harm to others.
At the end of the day we wipe the blood off and walk away appreciated that it didn’t happen to us. There is no thought of the affects of our words or actions against another.
I went to the circus once. I remember sitting on folding bleachers with the smell of sawdust, stale popcorn and animal waste filling the air. Barkers kept distracting the action with promises of thrills but I found it boring. Why would any sensible person want to walk across on a thin wire? Why would anyone but an idiotic person want to walk into a cage of wild cats that were large enough and powerful enough to kill and eat you while we all watched? Why would small people be so humiliated to wear crazy outfits and do stupid slapstick to the laughter of the crowd? Why would people pay to see animals perform unnatural acts to amaze the observer?
Not a saint, I’ve been on both sides of the subject but perhaps with age I’ve decided to avoid acts of cruelty and try to restrain from responding to stupidity or bigotry or whatever kind of ‘try’ that comes along.
So the Ringling Brothers Circus is gone but there are other events that pitch animals and humans against each other and the humans will always win. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Hello? Hello??


Well it happened? My phone died?
Sorry, I can’t take your calls because my phone died.
It wasn’t a horrible death of dropping into a toilet or smashing it under the wheel of an 18-wheeler, but it just gave up a long and faithful life.
Back in 2009 I had two cell phones and wanted to consolidate and eliminate, as was the mood of the time.
So since there was no long AT&T, I went into a Verizon store and stated my problem. Get rid of one line and update the other to a new number. Much computer clicking and telephone calls and paperwork and I walked out with one flip cell phone, two old obsolete phones and a pile of paperwork and a huge bill.
I found a barbershop that said they recycled old phones to military so I donated.
Now I had to figure out this new phone. Seemed simple enough but there was a book, in several languages, about the size of the Bible that did step by step plans of programming in contacts, pictures, games, sounds, etc. Luckily the type was small so I skipped most of it and just learned how to turn it on and turn it off.
And when contractors would ask for my phone number I had to think because I never called myself.
The landline had been gone for years but the wire still connected to the house, like the abandoned Continental Cable line.
So this little flip phone became a constant companion. One of the three things I carried everyday. I realized a cell phone was handy since I was out and about on my bike and could be reached if needed.
A few years in I realized I didn’t get that many calls and I didn’t call anyone so the cell phone became a balance weight that was slipped into my pocket every morning and taken out before sleep. The phone would stay on until I heard that beep that the battery was low.
Recent years I’ve shut down the phone at night and start it up in the morning for the battery kept showing signs of weakness. After three calls the battery would quit. Sometimes the battery would quit in the middle of a call. Sorry.
Though the phone had several options of a camera, video, Internet connection, music storage, texting and whatever other toys included; I never used them. I did take one photo of a tree cut down but it had to be downloaded to a removable card then placed into another device to plug in a USB so the computer could recognize it and download it. It was old technology.
Back to the story after the back-story, I walk into the same store I went to years ago and declared “I have a dead phone.”
Naturally I’d done my Internet homework to look at options and made my decision on what I wanted. Could I be swayed by all the glitz and the glamour? Did I need a GPS to know where I was or where I was going? Did I need to capture every event and send it out to the world hoping someone would comment? Did I need to carry around music that was better than what was floating around in my head?
After scraping of the hieroglyphs from the old phone the two Indian (PC, I assume by their accent and appearance so not profiling) employees found a piece of hardware similar to what I had and started making phone calls and computer connections to the master company of V to get me readjusted and upgraded to the new decade.
A pleasant and productive and fairly fast transaction I left with a brand spanking new phone that was just like my ole warhorse with similar features and the same pad layout. Now it is time to reprogram in contacts and delete trash already loaded on it. It did pick up my messaging and call waiting with only minor changes.
“Hello? Hello?? No, I don’t need any auto insurance unless you buy me a car, thank you.”

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Accused


You see them everyday; on your local or national television news or on the social media. Someone is accused of committing a no-no and their picture is posted for all to see.
Some of these people have been indicted and proven guilty by the legal system and their image will help citizens to be on alert of these villains among us.
Others maybe accused of doing a bad thing and this image will label them as a criminal.
Might be your coach accused of being a pedophile or your co-worker accused of embezzling or your priest accused of domestic violence, the image and the charge will stick with them.
A suspect of a crime maybe charged without any existence of evidence.

To be accused is to be charge with an offense or a crime.
An accusation is: charge, indict, arraign, summons, cite, impeach, condemn, criticize, denounce, blame, inculpate, hold accountable, blame, censure, reproach, criminate, charge, indict, impeach, arraign etc.

Alleged accusations are suspicions without proof.
To confirm a connection with a crime there is need for evidence, proof, confirmation, verification, collaboration, and affirmation.
During investigation into the matter it maybe that this person is involved in complicity or vicarious but did not instigate the crime.
And if, after due process, the accused is found ‘no guilty’ do we forget? Legally false accusations can be absolved or exonerated.

Then what?

The coach will have to move because parents will always be suspicious. The co-worker will have lost their job and benefits. The priest will lose the congregation and have to move to a missionary if not defrocking.

While it is easy to accuse, there are consequences.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Branded




How do you identify yourself?
Tall or short?
White or black?
Man or woman?
Red or blue?
Do you use a title or label given to you by employment to define your identify?
Do you state your identify as an association with another person?
Do you define your indentify by what organizations or groups you pay dues to?
Do you indentify yourself by your faith?

Your identity is your ‘brand’.

Branding is a set of marketing and communication methods that help to distinguish a company or products from competitors, aiming to create a lasting impression in the minds of customers. The key components that form a brand’s toolbox include a brand’s identity, brand communication (such as by logos and trademarks), brand awareness, brand loyalty, and various branding (brand management) strategies.
Brand equity is the measurable totality of a brand’s worth and is validated by assessing the effectiveness of these branding components. As markets become increasingly dynamic and fluctuating, brand equity is a marketing technique to increase customer satisfaction and customer loyalty, with side effects like reduced price sensitivity. A brand is in essence a promise to its customers of they can expect from their products, as well as emotional benefits. When a customer is familiar with a brand, or favors it incomparably to its competitors, this is when a corporation has reached a high level of brand equity.
Many companies believe that there is often little to differentiate between several types of products in the 21st century, and therefore branding is one of a few remaining forms of product differentiation.
In accounting, a brand defined as an intangible asset is often the most valuable asset on a corporation’s balance sheet. Brand owners manage their brands carefully to create shareholder value, and brand valuation is an important management technique that ascribes a money value to a brand, and allows marketing investment to be managed to maximize shareholder value. Although only acquired brands appear on a company’s balance sheet, the notion of putting a value on a brand forces marketing leaders to be focused on long term stewardship of the brand and managing for value.
A concept brand is a brand that is associated with an abstract concept, like breast cancer awareness or environmentalism, rather than a specific product, service, or business.

You name is your first brand. Your name introduces your family as a legacy of your forefathers and a unique identifier of gender. Your name is not a tattoo and can be changed like companies that rebrand.
Your outer appearance (packaging) identifies without knowing a name. Hairstyle, fashion, transportation and even physical positioning can categorize your identity to others who make assumptions on your aura. Your appearance immediately projects a brand that can create presumptions including wealth, romance, intelligence or even danger.
The best thing about life is you can change your brand. It is as simple as a new suit and a haircut. You can upgrade your brand. You can downgrade your brand.
It may depend on your audience or experiences in life itself.
If you want to logo your brand, you can get a monogram. It is very stylish and highly popular on signet rings, letterheads and yachting jackets. You can put your monogram on your silverware, napkins, and your car or even get a tattoo but you might want to change your initials later.
Your brand will stick with you over time but old friends might not understand it has changed. They will remember you by your old brand and have to be introduced to the new you.

What is your brand (identity) worth to you?

Maybe your identity is misunderstood or misrepresented to other’s preconceived perceptions? As simple as a profile can be hacked, an identity can become gossip, bullying, graffiti or manipulated without your permission.
Search the Internet and see how many of ‘You’ are out there. Maybe you are not there? You better check your résumé and see if you really exist.

With the flood of information (true or fake) a comment or suggestion or third-hand comment could alter an identity. The possibility of (but not proven) criminal activity or divisive thought could change your brand without a chance for a debate or rebuttal. Our microwave mentality is quick to judge.
If you identity is stolen, what will you do? Become another person?
Change names, locations, credit cards, social security, appearance, jobs, transportation, children?, eating habits, sleeping schedules are all possibilities but your essence will not. Unlike the witness protection program there is only one ‘You’.
Doppelgangers can sound like you or have a similar appearance or even act more like you and you do, but in the morning you make your decisions, you reap the rewards and pay the consequences for your actions and at night have no excuses.
Others can carry your brand like merchandise. Your brand, no matter how misconstrued or convoluted, can turn dreams into nightmares.
Warning: Your brand will not wash off.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Reboot

What would happen if it all went off?
No telephones, no Internet, no television, no nothing.
What will you do?
Turn on the microwave and nothing. Throw the light switch and nothing. Turn up the air conditioner and nothing.
What will you do?
Somehow we have this false faith that after we were presented with wonders like electricity and Internet and satellite phones that they will always be there at our beckoned call.
We have the belief we are entitled to power and air and transportation and abundance of food and water and sunshine and rain and yet we have no control over any of it.
If we go to the grocery and the shelves are empty?
What will you do?
If we go to the filling station and the pumps are dry?
What will you do?
If the rain doesn’t come and the forests start to burn?
What will you do?
Our previous society will fall apart. Mayhem will become panic, which will become anarchy.
Perhaps recent events teach us how quickly life could change.
And there is no insurance clause for a global disaster.
Politicians and lawyers and governmental rules won’t matter when medical care has vanished.
Hold tight to your family for when tribes struggle for the last remaining scraps of hope, family might be the only support you have.
Or it is time to reboot?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

New Shoes


Shoes seem to be the most important article of clothing. Those things you wear everyday, just like your underwear, have become a ‘fashion statement’. And the old Buster Browns have gotten expensive.
It seems the fine tooling of leather and laces have gone across the waters and now those mammoth container ships bring boxes and boxes of rubber bottomed shoes that slip on or lace up with minimum expertise and maximum price tag.
Well let me tell you about shoes. I’ve done a lot of walking in my years and I’ve worn out a bunch of different styles and sizes and know a thing or two about shoes.
When I say ‘walking’ I mean while the rest of you were learning and the relying on driving to deliver you from place to place, I was hoofing it. Yes, I tried the mobile machines but that didn’t work out for me.
Luckily I lived within the boundaries of a neighborhood that had sidewalks and was open all night. I walked to school. I walked to work. I walked my dates and always had a distance requirement. Miles and miles and miles of pounding cement without a thought of my poor little feet, but it was the way to wander.
After the motor vehicle fiasco, I turned to the two-wheel transportation to rest my toes. I had learned that walking five miles barefoot on summer sidewalks was not good for the feet, so I had to wear shoes.
Shoes went from every style of army boots, penny loafers, Beatle boots, tennis shoes, earth shoes, slippers and dress polished shoes. Whatever the style of tie or suit coat or trouser changed with the fads, the shoes were just what were available.
Where they comfortable for long walks? Not exactly but I did find some of the soles that worked for walking long distances as apposed to playing basketball or walking on a sailboat or dancing.
And as the story goes, I went out today to buy new shoes.
Now I must admit I am not much of a shopper but I walked in and started to look at the styles and the soles and the sizes. Most of all the sizes mattered.
It seems my footsies have grown bigger than I had remembered. That means I used to stuff my feet into smaller shoes because I thought that was the size I was suppose to wear. Ouch! Yeah, but you get use to it.
Ask any woman who wears heels.
So getting back to the story of searching for new shoes, I wandered into that 2 for 1 shoe places but tried to stay with the ‘famous’ brands and checked the soles and also the arch support. Remember to check the arch support.
Find some right sizes, check the weight (summer is coming) and hopefully the soles will last at least through the summer I walked to the counter and presented my choices.
The shoe lady opened the boxes and checked to see that both shoes were the same size and there was a left shoe and a right shoe. Who knew?
No I didn’t try them on before purchase (Miller & Rhoades nightmares) and I waited for the guy to get off the phone while standing in front of what I was looking at (just like the grocery store) and worried about the old dude who was just wandering around (just like the grocery store) yet I walked out with my big cardboard boxes of rubber soled freshness for my tootsies.
Now to throw away old worn out friends and fill the recycle can.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

It’s All About The Sex


People always wonder what life is about?
It is easy.
It’s all about the sex.
Forget all that stuff about the meaning of life and the meaningful accomplishments and educational teachings and scientific surprises and cultural wonders; we are all here for the sex.
There must be some reason why we have different plumbing?
Procreation?
We are placed on this blue marble in space to make more of us.
It is all we are good at and it feels good.
It is all we are interested in.
Don’t think so? Take a look around you.
Advertising is based on sex. Television and movies are based around sex. Books are read for sex. Even the Bible is titillated with sex.
Fashion? Sex. Celebrities? Sex. Scantily clad girls at sporting events? Sex. Motels? Sex. Bars? Sex. Porn? Sex obviously and very popular.
From the beginning our different bodies were kept apart until we found the sex. It was never the purpose of procreation but expanding the population was just a consequence of sex.
Deviations to the accepted morals have always been part of our sex. All the gender swapping and transitions and whatever else we do with our bodies has been in the shadows not discussed in polite company but enjoyed by all.
Sex can shame or be used as a weapon. Sex is a rite of passage but has emotional and physical repercussions.
Relax. It is inevitable.