A couple things have inspired this post: First, the bye week has made it seem like an eternity since the Cougars of BYU have taken the field and I have a bunch of Cougar Blue bottled up inside me and it needs to go somewhere or there will be an explosion. And Paula hates messes. Second, BYU's football team is now entrenched in the top 10 in every poll - funny how against Washington they block a PAT and win, then drop in the polls but they don't even take the field last week and jump up three or four spots...gotta love the pollsters.
This post isn't to discuss how BYU would do in a BCS game (certainly they'd lose no worse than Ohio State has the past 2 years) or how valid their ranking is (3 top 10 teams losing to unranked opponents last week). All that is subjective. Detractors and apologists would all have valid points on the topic, I'm sure.
One thing with winning is that the press comes calling, especially when said team is an underdog (speaking of BYU's position as a non-BC$ school). And with the press comes greater scrutiny, visibility and exposure to the world. This can be unnerving because whoever does the talking suddenly becomes the face of the organization - a visible representation of the acronym by which the entity will be recognized across the nation. The weightiness of this representation is multiplied significantly when the organization also portrays a faith. So it is at BYU.
And as a died-in-the-wool Cougar fan, I'm thrilled that this face is that of Bronco Mendenhall.
Reading the words of Mendenhall in a newspaper column can paint the picture of a man full of hubris as he talks about the standards, aspirations and goals of BYU football. Such was the reaction of many when the motto for the 2008-2009 season was revealed: "Quest for Perfection". Comments and message boards are like train wrecks - a gruesome, ugly affair but difficult to turn away from - and scattered through the wreckage was the derission towards Mendenhall and this motto.
But to read is different then to hear or to see. (Any doubt about this, one just needs to go back through the comments on this blog for evidence.) Between the antenna-like picture on The Mtn and other media outlets, listening to Mendenhall explain his philosophies about coaching at BYU and the goals and aspirations he has for his team is interesting to say the least. His approach to the game of football at BYU isn't close to any other program - granted, this is partially out of necessity - and it's refreshing to listen to.
Mendenhall was on the Jim Rome radio show and the interview was very cool. Here is the link for your enjoyment.
This is a link to an interview Bronco did on a Seattle radio station before the Washington game.
Anyway, whether or not you are a BYU fan, hopefully you can appreciate the integrity and well-grounded nature of the man who is at the helm of Cougars of BYU.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
A couple things have inspired this post: First, the bye week has made it seem like an eternity since the Cougars of BYU have taken the field and I have a bunch of Cougar Blue bottled up inside me and it needs to go somewhere or there will be an explosion. And Paula hates messes. Second, BYU's football team is now entrenched in the top 10 in every poll - funny how against Washington they block a PAT and win, then drop in the polls but they don't even take the field last week and jump up three or four spots...gotta love the pollsters.
Monday, September 22, 2008
I’ve been a dad for a little over a year now. While that may not qualify me to write books concerning fatherhood or have my own talk show on the matter it does provide me with knowledge – knowledge I didn’t have a year ago.
It’s incredible, really, the things that being a father does to you.
I find myself caught up in a desire to protect and shelter the tiny creation (of which I was an integral part) from anything that would cause those perfect brown eyes to rim with tears from slipping and scraping a knee as she masters walking today; or the breaking of a heart caused by cruel and thoughtless words muttered in derision by some stupid prepubescent boy down the road; or the catty and diabolical scheming of teenage girls when the edict of the popular minority has decided to ostracize or tear down.
Perhaps my angst would be different if I were the father of a boy; perhaps it would stay the same. Silly as it is to find my mind wander five, ten, and fifteen years in the future, the instant in which the twelve months prior have passed before me makes those coming years ever so relevant now.
Greater even than these anxieties – which cross my mind only on occasion – are the joyous moments of the now: the smile and squeal which greets when opening her door after a nap; the pitter patter of little feet racing around the kitchen during hide-n-seek; the intense babbling of words not known yet expected to be understood. Prior to that Tuesday afternoon at , I had no idea the ability to love someone or something else so perfectly and resolutely was within my capacity. Even now it surprises me.
So, between the angst of future events unknown and unseen and the elation found in the trivial happenings of today, I count being a father as the greatest privilege to have ever come my way.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I'd be remiss if I failed to mention my Cougars of BYU. As many of you know, I am a big fan of the Cougars and an advocate for all their program stands for. One of the reasons I love BYU football is because of what it embodies: a group of athletes who are not the premier at their position, but are individuals who are good people. While I'm not ignorant to the errant ways of some, as a whole I believe these football players are honest, moral and good people; I would go as far as to say there isn't another football team in the nation that espouses the virtues of the BYU Cougars. Find me a team that presents a spiritual devotional every Friday night before their game on Saturday, whether at home or away; find me a coach (not local law enforcement) that requires regular community service participation.
The consequence of such standards is that it prevents the elite athletes from attending BYU. Nothing against the Mark Sanchez's, Beanie Wells, Knowshon Moreno's and Michael Crabtree's of the game, but there's no way they'd go to BYU even if they were in a BCS Conference going 11-2. No alcohol after the game? No sex? No Starbucks? No chance. So, BYU competes with below average athletes with above average morals. And sometimes that translates to a mark in the 'L' column. Such is the trade-off. And a trade-off I'm happy to make.
However, in recent years it seems moral fortitude and athletic ability have converged to produce the nations longest winning streak, the 2nd leading receiver in the nation, a QB 3rd in YPG, % and TD's, and a scoring summary (against a BCS team who knocked of a ranked BCS team their previous game) that is rarely seen. It's something to rise and shout about.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Don't forget to become a Cyber Commoron! (see previous post)
The powers-that-be at
All of you know of my love for the club. There’s nothing that brings me more joy that slipping into some pleather and rollin’ up onto the scene with the bass-line thumpin’ in the Camry. Clubbin’ is my happy place. For me and other members of the Hip-Hip Generation, Cynthia McKinney (C-Mak, as we call her) is our girl.
“Cynthia McKinney is a strong advocate, mentor and supporter of the Hip-Hop community. Her unique popularity among the members of the Hip-Hop generation and young people across the
has made her a trusted voice on behalf of producers, retailers and consumers of Hip-Hop entertainment.” Posted on her website before losing seat in Congress United States of America
This fact alone is sufficient means for me to vote for C-Mak. Of course, there might be some who are not members of the HHG who need more reasons cast their vote for C-Mak come November. Here are some that might help:
- C-Mak is an expert on race-relations. Skirted the metal detectors on Capital Hill but did not wear the pin required to identify her as a Congresswoman. When the security guard stopped her by grabbing her shoulder after repeatedly calling after her to stop, she punched him. In a move learned from our greatest ambassadors for racial peace (Jesse Jackson, Harry Belafonte, Louis Farrakhan, Jeremiah Wright), she said chalked up the incident to racial profiling. Some may see this as divisive but I see it as resourceful. See, when Crazy Hugo Chavez, or Putin’s puppet President (alliteration), are starting up some ruckus with us, she’ll play break out the race/gender cards and BAM! the ACLU will be all over those guys! No one can beat the ACLU. Crisis averted.
- The woman knows how to run an effective, clean campaign. In 1996 when she called her opponent’s supporters "holdovers from the Civil War days" and "a ragtag group of neo-Confederates", even though the guy was Jewish. And there was that other time in 2000 when she wrote “Gore's Negro tolerance level has never been too high. I've never known him to have more than one black person around him at any given time” even though Mr. Internet’s campaign manager was black. The best example of her graciousness in defeat was expressed by her father after her loss in 2002: A reporter asked Billy McKinney about his daughter's use of an old endorsement from former
mayor Andrew Young. Such endorsements were worthless, Papa McKinney replied, because "Jews have bought everybody. Jews." Atlanta
- C-Mak is intimately involved with the War on Terror, as illustrated by the fact her list of campaign donors while a Congresswoman included both terrorist sympathizers like Abdurahman Alamoudi, the former executive director of the American Muslim Council, and actual terrorists like former college professor Sami Al-Arian. Don’t think this isn’t a strength; it means she already has an in with the terrorists and we all know they’d never let anything happen to their own – except for those guys they strap with explosives and send into areas with large amounts of people.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Cyber Commorancy has gone under the cyber knife and I've changed the look. The mantra I'm operating under is "Simpler is better" and since I don't post a ton of pics (leave that to Paula) the overall desire is to make the reading of the blog a bit easier. Hopefully this works.
Additionally, on the right-hand column there are a couple new things:
- I've gone through and labeled all my posts so that they are sorted by topic. Most are self explanitory, though some are random; I'll have to hone the process over time. I'm sure some are miscategorized and others could have different labels applied, but I have neither the time nor the inclination to go through almost 200 posts and get it right everytime. So if there are some posts with the wrong label, let me know.
- I've added this feature that Blogger calls 'Followers'. I changed the heading to "Cyber Commorons", which is based on a comment by Zach and which I am referred to on Natalie's blog, because 'Followers' is lame. I don't think this is a tracking thing, like if you visit it automatically adds you. From what I can tell you have to add yourself. If you want to become a Cyber Commoron, just click on Follow this blog and that should do it. Due to my giant ego, if this ends up getting no love I will remove it. But if there's a lot of people who want to become Cyber Commorons then maybe I can make t-shirts and we can all ride around like a cyber gang! Woohoo!
- I don't really follow a lot of blogs - rather, only the blogs of people I know. Paula has a list of like a million people she keeps tabs on, as do other people related to her, and probably countless others. I don't have a problem with that - when I find out people are reading my rants I think it's cool. Keep on lurkin'. Anyway, Paula's been trying to get me to read this blog by someone she and Nat knew from school and I was like 'yeah yeah yeah....' and didn't bother until Monday-ish. Now I find myself checking it out regularly. chalk one up for Paula.I enjoy the topics, the writing style and comments readers leave. To get to the point, the new link on the sidebar is Salt H2O. Check it out - don't forget to read the comments.
Monday, September 08, 2008
Well, summer is over and so should my lack of blogging come to an end. I just realized that from June to August I only posted three times. Dang. Ridiculous. What can I say - life got/is busy and the blog became last place on the priority list. And I work in front of a computer all day, so after work I have very little desire to get back in front of a computer monitor.
How about the political landscape? Wild, wild stuff. I've thought many times about posting some talking points concerning who I will vote for and why...I mean, it's not a mystery since I'm morally, socially and economically conservative. But one of these days I'll tell you why I'm voting for Cynthia McKinney and why she is the person who should be leading our country in these trying times. I just haven't had the energy for that 2000 word rant. I'll leave that to this blog Paula directed me to.
Why haven't I had the energy? Two things, really. One is college football. The season is young but it is here and I love it. My Cougars are 2-0 after a win over the Washington Huskies in Seattle; unfortunately, the fact that our QB had a 75% completion rate for almost 350 yards and our RB picked up over 130 yards on the ground or that our TE still leads the nation in receiving after 2 weeks or that our special teams blocked the game tying (not winning) PAT. The focus by the pundits is on the correct call of a crap rule. If you want to read an entertaining and totally bias blog, go to this blog by Adam. He's a Florida and SEC homer and rags on the non-BCS schools, but I like Adam so I'm directing traffic.
The second reason I'm usually spent is because I arise every morning to teach a religion class. It's true. Let me give a little bit of a rundown about what's going on.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is run by a lay ministry - no one gets paid. Not the Bishop in charge of the congregation, not the Stake President who is in charge of 6-10 congregations, not the Sunday School teacher...no one. These people are called from the general membership of the Church to serve. I've been asked to serve in a number of callings through the years. Anyway, I'd been teaching the 14-15 year old Sunday School class for a few months when I was asked to teach Seminary. Seminary is a class for high school aged students to attend daily before school. Each year a different book of scripture is the topic - this year is the New Testament. So, every morning I get up around 5am, shower, throw on a shirt and tie and go teach Seminary from a little after 6 to just before 7.
I get a lot of sympathetic looks and comments from people, but I really enjoy it. Why? Well, first of all you spend a lot of time studying which has been very beneficial; of the 14 potential students (I teach freshman and sophomores) on the roll, I have 12 out regularly and that's pretty impressive. Early morning seminary is not for the faint of heart and I give props to the kids for showing up every day and staying awake.
There are my weak excuses for not blogging more. If anyone still reads this thing.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
I appreciate the words of encouragement and advice from those who commented on my last post concerning the debate I was having in my mind as to whether or not purchase a television that was actually bigger than the clock hanging in our living room.
There were several comments by Anonymous; the first one sounded like it could be my mother - making the crack about food storage. But then I figured she'd sign her name, so it was some other motherly figure looking out for my little family. Much appreciated...or in the tongue of my wife's ancestors - Muchos Gracias. (BTW, food storage - got it covered.)
The wittiest of all comments was also my Anonymous #2 - buy a smaller clock. Very, very good. Don't be scared to ID yourself next time - this is a safe space for witty retorts.
Well, here's the result of my decision....
Friday, August 01, 2008
Apparently it’s time to post. I’ve been informed it’s coming up on two months since the last one and that it’s unacceptable. Is there an excuse for such length between posts?
Probably more than one.
Seriously, the reason there hasn’t been a post is because I don’t feel like it. The thought of posting has crossed my mind on occasion, but there’s always a reason not to.
- Witty exchanges have been, well, I don’t know. It is definitely possible that all my wit has been used up. Gone. I’m not even 30 yet and the well is dry. A shame.
- The plenty going on politically, but frankly I don’t have the energy right now to post about why voting for Barak is less appealing to me than the loss of an appendage (nothing big – a skin tag, pinky toe or both arms and legs), though not as unappealing as what the Reverend Jackson would remove from Barak.
- We’ve had some cool recent adventures, with the Rockband party and the trip out west for Rachell’s wedding and vacation, but Paula’s pretty much covered those with a lot of pics and it would just be rehashing. And if a picture is worth 1000 words…well, it’d be a really long post.
- I’m sports fan, but this is the worst time of the year for sports. June-Aug makes me feel like I’m in a proctologists waiting role and the only magazines available are AARP The Magazine and CosmoGIRL!: agonizing anticipation w/ nothing fill the gaps.
There you have it. I got nothing. Let’s be honest – this post is nothing but blog fodder – a stop gap until something better comes along, like our two presidential candidates.
I’ll tell you what it is, the travesty that is being plainly manifest in this shot, the obvious black hole of justice that screams at me like a banshee within the quiet walls of my living room: our clock is larger than the TV! This is not an illusion and has nothing to do with depth or distance or the UN. It's science.
O, Justice, where art thou? Thy blindfold doth cause deceit at mine expense!
An opportunity has been presented to right this wrong. I can acquire a large TV at an incredibly low price – seriously, 51 inches of
Friday, June 13, 2008
After such an intense couple weeks of posting, I had to take a break and gather myself. Apparently I’ve been gathered, because here’s another post. Hooray. And as is my M.O. after a some PTO, this is probably gonna end up long and random.
It’s summer in
When I was but a youth, there was an ongoing struggle in my home between the forces of good and evil. Okay, not really, but there was a struggle over the television. My mother wasn’t a fan and my dad was (I take after dad here); during these years, sometimes the TV would end up on sabbatical in the attic for a few weeks. Anyhow, during one such break when I was 10 or so dad started reading these books to Nathan and I – the Shannara books by Terry Brooks. These aren’t little kid books either. But we loved them. We’d lay on the floor and listen as dad read for a couple hours at a time, until we fell asleep, and then we’d resume the next night. We ended going through the original trilogy in this manner – 1191 pages.
So real were the characters and so attached I became to them that I remember actually crying twice: once in the first book when Hendel died after he and Menion Leah had thwarted a secret attack at Tyrsis; the other was Helt sacrificing himself in the gear house to keep the gate shut.
Two weeks ago I finished the trilogy again. Dad sent the 25th anniversary edition to us boys. Excellent, excellent, excellent books – the classic battle of good versus evil, right versus wrong. Some people would say those battles don’t exist anymore. I just think the darkness is better disguised. Regardless, I commend these to anyone who is looking for a good read. Though don't tell my wife you're reading them because you'll be labeled "nerd".
I went through and organized my CD’s recently. I seem to do this once a year because what happens is Paula and I get our music mixed up and pretty soon all I have in my case is Michael Buble (pronounced ‘Bubble”), some hip-hop junk and Jim Brickman. Anyway, while sorting I came across a bunch of compilations that took me back; I’ve grouped them by timeline – not so much when the CD was purchased or made, but rather the memories they create invoke. The titles are profound and deep with meaning - I'm not sure if I can decipher them, but here are some highlights (featured songs from actual CD):
High School 1994-1998: (Volumes 1-3). Spacehog, Nirvana, Better than Ezra, Seven Mary Three, Third Eye Blind, Reel Big Fish, Dogs Eye View, and even one Backstreet boys song. All the good stuff (and stupid stuff) that was popular during those formidable years. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about high school anymore, but these tracks bring it all back – the best 6 years of my life.
Fall 2002: Ltrain’s PV 58 Mix. Lifehouse, Fuel, lots of 3 Doors Down and even some rap (shout out to T-boz w/ Welcome 2
I’m Angry. Linkin Park, Disturbed, Papa Roach, Puddle of Mud and such. For those times when things weren’t panning out right – or when we were going snowboarding. Nerf, Cackifer, Slam and I each had a copy. I think the Nerf’s was titled “Girls are Gay”. But we weren’t bitter.
TFTL. What is this acronym? In the interest of absolute candor, I abashedly admit “Tunes for the Ladies”. This was a little something called mood music, my friends. As you laugh, I remind you the Buck had a bench seat, which means no pesky center console, so…yeah.
Memorial Day AZ Campout 2004. Somehow a CD that starts with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, ends with
This little poem is to the rhythm of "Jack and Jill":
Lydia climbed up the stairs,
Mom and Dad, they were so proud.
When Lydia fell down the stairs,
Mom, she screamed; Dad, he cursed; both felt awful for the rest of the day and Lydia never had to cry for anything the rest of the day because she was super-indulged the rest of the day to ease the parental guilt.
I guess that last line doesn't rhyme. 14 stairs. Apparently she can get her cute, chubby little fingers in the crack of a door, open it up and zip on through; I was working, Paula was getting a recipe off the net and there it was. But she's super tough (kids seem to be) and after a 4-oz bottle, she was smiling and crawling again.
Gates have now been firmly established in the Roberts household.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
First things first: thanks to all who shared their insights/thoughts/concerns/opinions on the government assistance posts. If nothing else, it seems those who hadn't thought about it before now are and those who have might think a little more. 12 people have taken the poll in the upper left hand corner of this page and it seems 3 people have moved to the right of the line and none have defected to the dark side. Not a bad result as we celebrate Memorial Day and honor those who have died protecting the liberty which allows for such dialog.
Also, it has become apparent there should be a way for those want to carry on a dialog but not for the world to see; so, I've created an email account: Cyber.Commorancy@gmail.com. If you go to View My Complete Profile under About me, there's a link that says Email and that'll work too.
We had a good Memorial Day - thanks to the Cashman clan for their hospitality towards the Roberts fam. The highlight of my day was putting my own spin on Lydia's hair. She has a lot of it and for the first time I took advantage of it. As I was styling her hair, we started talking about when Beckett visited and Linds spiked his hair and it was cool. I mentioned to Lydia that Beckett might be a little jealous of all this spikeable hair.
She said she doubted he'd be jealous, just impressed, though most her Roberts uncles might be jealous of all her spikeable hair.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Opinions concerning food stamps/Medicaid/WIC exceed those of piercing the ears of babies and the joy of Xboxing as expressed by Capt. Von Trapp. Who knew? The post also registered the best name-calling comment ever: I'm a Cyber Commoron. Well played. Even Hyrum Steed can’t top that. (Natalie, you could use that as the link for my blog!)
In the midst of writing the previous post it was apparent a follow up post would be needed; Paula emphasized this as the comments piled up, concerned about the brash approach and potential ramifications amongst friends and associates. The comments (if you haven’t read them all, I highly encourage you to) were insightful and branched out from food stamps, engendering questions – which comments, by the way, are much appreciated – regarding other forms of government welfare.
Ames Family and Anonymous: no worries about arguing. I see nothing wrong with an honest one. Today’s world treats the expression of a firm opinion or argument as taboo because it might offend; hence, many important topics aren’t discussed at depth and we sojourn on in shallow, meaningless drivel. Dissenting (sincere) comments are more than welcome. Just another reason I’ll always allow anonymous comments, never go private or delete a comment (unless it’s crude, vulgar, or damages my ego).
Now, on with the show.
The use of Medicaid and WIC (Women, Infants, Children) usage when young and in school was mentioned several times. I’ll give my opinion on each separately, starting with Medicaid/Medicare.
Health insurance provided by universities are generally expensive and what is covered still puts a lot back on the individual; in case of emergency you could be staring at a $10k-plus bill. Those types of bills are no fun when it’s for something you plan on, much less when it’s unexpected.
That being said, my thoughts about Medicaid are the same as food stamps. My reasoning for placing the two together is because they are built upon the same premise –it is acceptable for Party C to take (forcefully) from Party A and distribute to Party B as C feels appropriate. The fundamental approach of the system is a corrupt (meaning “to alter from the original or correct form or version”) form of welfare or charity and my its very nature encourages abuse.
An indulgent personal experience.
Shortly before being married I had an emergency appendectomy. I had no insurance, was recent college grad and had been working for about 3 months (I was a contract employee and expensive health care was my only option, which I opted out of); much to my chagrin, the hospital bill and associated fees were in excess of $22,000. I didn’t qualify for government aid because I had a job, which I thought ironic since every paycheck had money taken from me for Medicare/Medicaid. Many stressful days, letters, phone calls and negotiations later I ended up with bills totaling just under $5k.
I had the best intentions to stay debt free – never had one once of debt up to that point and not because of mommy and daddy’s pocketbook – but a service was rendered in which my life was saved. What right did I have to expect someone else to foot this bill? Or to have the doctors and nurses to eat it just because I wasn’t planning on it? Nope. I’m not entitled to that just because I exist and happen to be honest. So it was necessary to do some footwork and work the bill down and then pay it.
Serious introspection would show misplaced priorities. Some people are willing to take on debt for furniture; many will take on the beast when purchasing a vehicle; I know of no one who paid (their own) cash for their first home. None of these things are essential to our survival. So why is our expectation to have the government prevent us from debt when our lives are preserved with surgery or medical intervention or when a beautiful child comes into this world? Should we only go into debt for what we want, not what we need? Such expectations are naive and indulgent.
Regarding WIC…toss it in with the other two. Or place it gently with them. Either way that is where it belongs, for the premise upon which means are provided is corrupt and encourages abuse. Instead of going to and expecting our government to fund the bill, how about family? Parents, brothers and sisters. If there is not sufficient in these resources, what about the church? Having served as the Executive Secretary in our last ward, I know first hand that food orders and assistance is provided. Generously provided.
While serving in this position, there were many who asked for help when they were spending money on cable TV, movies, eating out, clothing from places other than Goodwill or DI, pet food, etc…and were hesitant to give up these things to make ends meet. It’s would be like me refusing to give up my Xbox Live membership while there are bills I can’t pay. It’s self-centered and arrogant.
I’ll have to disagree with Zach’s (tongue-in-cheek) comment – the Constitution makes no provision for keeping up with the Jones’s. Nor should it. When entitlement of comfortable living becomes our norm, stripped away is choice and accountability, replace with the chain of bondage to our provider. Sounds like the plan of someone a long, long time ago. And we know how that ended. There’s only one Provider I want to be indebted to for my existence.
And there your have it: my opinions regarding government assistance.
Let it be clear I have no problem with charity or welfare when administered correctly. Careful reading of both posts will reveal no opposition of giving/getting help. Never. I get significant tax breaks with of the percentage of my income that goes to charity. I’m not bragging or trying to be self-righteous. It just needs to be clear I give and give without compulsion.
What makes me Stampin’ Mad is the pseudo-charity created by compulsory means – forcing A to give to C, who then decides how it will be used for B. True, honest, sincere welfare is created by individuals who want and are willing to give, not forced to. In this way both the giver and receiver are blessed temporally and spiritually. And this charity does exist. (Some examples.)
Here’s the real question:
Why turn to government for assistance? Why turn to a source that cares and knows nothing about you instead of turning to those with our best interests at heart and love us? Probably because government is faceless; the government won’t see us sitting outside the bishop’s office and leaving with a food order; because we don’t have to face the government at family events.
Speaking personally, it requires a lot of humility to approach those who know me best and love me with my hand out for help, admitting that I’m not making it my own. Something faceless and removed is easier because there is no connection, no bond. But maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, if this gets any longer no one will read it.
In summation, those commenting who have used Medicaid or WIC, I don’t think you’re manipulative or lazy. I wanna make that clear. If you were, I think there’d of been CURSING IN
My hope is everyone will reexamine where we go for help and what the cost is. When we go to those who give willingly, the only thing we surrender is our pride and vanity; when we go to that which gives through force, we lose our freedom and our agency. Is it even possible a system that forcefully takes from one to redistribute to another can be good and moral? Hopefully, if situations arise in the future where help is needed, this corrupt system will not be the source we turn to.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Time for a little ragin’ about the welfare/social state of our nation Readers beware: you are entering a logic and reason zone: check your emotional, bleeding-heart ways at the door. Buckle up, kids. It's gonna be bumpy
The AP released a news article about the plight of individuals who use food stamps as a means to feed themselves are having problems because the price of food is going up. The article starts by featuring Danielle Brown, a single mother of two (ages 1 and 3), who says “Ain’t got no food left, the kids are probably hungry” as she shops with her new allotment on the first of the month. She reports that the money for food ran out two weeks ago.
This is tragic – I mean, what meager, insufficient amount of money are we, the tax-payers, giving to this woman so that it is gone after just two weeks. $100? $150? $200 at the most, right? Wrong. Danielle Brown gets $312 a month. For food. And she blows it in just 2 weeks. I’m not very good at math, but if we say Danielle needs money for four weeks of food a month, then she apparently deserves $624 to feed herself and two child under 5 years old!
Also featured is Lynda Wheeler, another single mother with a 14 year old son and a 2 year old daughter are in a similar pickle – running out of money by the 15th – with $281 a month. So Lynda needs $562 a month, apparently. Here’s a picture of Lynda buying packaged meals at One Stop Food & Liquors. A couple observations:
- Lynda doesn't look like she ran out of food 2 weeks ago
- If you are running out of money (or someone else’s, in this case), why buy instant/pre-cooked dinners?
- Going out on a limb that One Stop Food and Liquors isn’t the best place to get a deal on groceries.
This is ri-goshdarn-diculous. The real kicker, what really gets under my skin is that the attitude is not one of thanks or appreciation. I'd be ecstatic if someone gave me $300 a month for food. But none of that here. Somehow, because they breathe, they are entitled to have other people supply for their needs. And they need more.
Heaven forbid a person has to get up off their obese behind, get out the door and
I’m about to make a statement – a broad, insensitive, generalizing, stereotyping statement. So, if you are nervous, please navigate away from this and come back in a week or so when something else is posted. Here it goes:
No self-respecting person who is not disabled, physically or mentally, should rely on our government to provide for their daily needs. Those who do are leaching, lazy and dishonest people who have no moral fiber, no pride in themselves and no sense of self worth.
I will never – never – walk down that road.
For those who now (if you didn’t before) think I’m arrogant and condescending, let me legitimize your thought: You’re an idiot. Now you have just cause to believe I’m arrogant and condescending.
The reason I will never accept government money for my daily needs is because if I do, I am condoning the act of taking by force (taxes) the property (money) of another to supply for my needs. I would be saying I am entitled to your money while you are not. Why? Because I’m alive, that’s why.
Someone tell me that's not arrogant and condescending.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
About three weeks ago Paula and I watched The Sound of Music. I realize this admission challenges my masculinity, but before any smart comments are left, I have two things to say: first, I'd rather be known as one who watches The Sound of Music than The Hills or similar dross; second, it was a Sunday and in the Roberts household we try to keep it mellow on the Sabbath. Growing up, movies such as The Sound of Music or The Ten Commandments where the only approved television viewing and as I’ve reached adulthood, I’ve tried to maintain a level of television abstinence on Sunday, though occasionally there's been digression - particularly during football season.
Anyway, there’s this song on there called Edelweiss and it’s nice, though incidentally it is not German or Austrian in origin and was only written for the movie. Here are the lyrics:
Every morning you greet me
Small and white,
clean and bright
You look happy to meet me.
Blossom of snow
may you bloom and grow,
Bloom and grow forever.
Bless my homeland forever.
Now, many of you might be wondering “Why is he posting this?” That’s good, because the plan was to lure you in with this off-the-wall intro.
The other week my Xbox 360 was returned – a moment of great joy in my life as it has been out of commission for a few months. It was a glorious moment and I have been enjoying the sound of music that meets my ears every time I turn it on. (You Xboxer’s know the sound of which I speak.)
As I’ve reflected on our reunion, my mind drifts to Captain Von Trapp and I raise my off pitch voice with his rich baritone in tribute to my special small and white emblem of joy:
My X-Box, My X-Box,
In the evenings you greet me.
Square and white,
Clean and bright
You look happy to meet me.
Hours of fun
Under moon or sun,
I could play forever.
My X-Box, my X-Box,
May my thumbs tire never.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
A whopping 16 people had the time or the inclination to let their opinions be known on this little corner of the world (wide web) regarding the preference of a Democratic or Republican (not talking political parties here) form of government. I appreciate your votes and the candor in some of the comments I’ve received over the past couple of posts. Dave, Nerf and Shantay – appreciate your thoughts and questions on the subject.
Paula said this post is too long and no one will read it. I bristled at that comment, and rebutted by quoting
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
There’s always time to play Xbox, watch stupid reality shows, read silly, fluffy books and whatever other frivolous things we do, but not to think and carry on dialogue about our rights. Much to my chagrin, Paula is right. (Not that I mind her being right, I just wish I could put more stock in us as Americans.) So, I’ve decided to break this down like I did the super-post at the end of February/first of March: This introductory post will house links to each section of my discourse on the difference between a Republic and a Democracy, and why I feel a Republic is infinitely superior to a democracy as a form of government.
While these posts won’t be as wildly popular and acclaimed as the previous – and more frivolous – one, I feel it necessary to make some mention of a couple things:
is (or was designed to be) United States
Fundamental differences between a Republic and a Democracy
Our Founding Fathers’ view
What the purpose of government should be (according to me)
Before proceeding, I feel that to add some clout to the arguments I’m going to make, I need to address my paragraph about MTV’s “The Hills” in the post in which the poll originated. First, I think this show is just plain ridiculous and annoying. I LOATHE it… LOATHE IT! The intimate knowledge of the show and its characters I displayed is simply a cut and paste job from the website, with a change in narrative from 3rd to 1st person. Hopefully I can now be taken a bit more seriously.
Like the ugly duckling not knowing if he was a swan, or the Sharpton/Jackson hordes not sure if Barak is black, there is confusion regarding what form of government the
The framers who literally offered their lives to establish a government that would preserve individual liberty (more on this later) framed a Republic. There you go kids, we (are supposed to) live in a Republic – specifically a
A democratic (again, the form of government, not the party) form of government is a ‘Rule by Omnipotent Majority’ in which the rights of the minority do not exist. This is true whether it be a Direct Democracy, or a Representative Democracy.
In the direct type all decisions are reached by a majority vote (of at least half-plus-one). Under a Representative Democracy the people elect representatives to the national legislature and it functions by a similar vote of at least half-plus-one in making all legislative decisions. In either form the majority has absolute power.
Law is whatever the government determines it to be. The restraint is upon the individual instead of government. Rights are privileges and permissions granted by government and can be rescinded by government because the governing body is that of the majority.
Freedom in a democracy is contingent on the people knowing what freedom is and consistent application of it; if the people – more specifically if the majority – don’t know and understand this, a democracy becomes as oppressive as a dictatorship or monarchy.
A republican (still talking about government, not party) form of government is a constitutionally limited government of the representative type, created by a written Constitution which is adopted by the people and changeable (from its original meaning) by them only by its amendment. An important aspect (and what separates it from a democracy) of a republic is that it is designed to strictly control the majority and protect the God-given rights and liberties of the individual.
Law is whatever the charter or constitution determines it to be, and not subject to majority vote (though to ratification). Restraint is upon the government instead of the individual. Rights are not seen as privileges or permissions granted by government and cannot be rescinded by government.
Republics tend to be free, not because of elections by citizens but because they are bound by a constitution or charter, which limits the power of the governing body. That people vote for representatives has nothing to do with freedom. It is the logical rationality of the constitution and people’s willingness to live by said constitution that maintains freedom.
Those men who revolutionized government in the late 18th century were vehemently opposed to the idea of democracy because when a man has power he inevitably becomes corrupt; the same is true of the majority. James Madison knew this and pointed it out in The Federalist:
"As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust: So there are other qualities in human nature, which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence. Republican government (that of a Republic) presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form. Were the pictures which have been drawn by the political jealousy of some among us, faithful likenesses of the human character, the inference would be that there is not sufficient virtue among men for self government; and that nothing less than the chains of despotism can restrain them from destroying and devouring one another." (Emphasis added.)
So, to decipher the big words and break it down 21st century style, on the one hand we should be suspicious of man because of his inclination to immoral actions; on the other hand, the is much about man that is good. A Republican government takes into account both sides more than any other type of government because it takes into account that men, by nature, crave power and is incapable of governing themselves without restraint.
While democracy is an effective tool in ridding a people of a more evil and crushing regime, it is a means to opening the door to a free flow of thought rather than an end for governance. This is because a Democracy is nothing more than a tyrannical form of government, except instead of one man and his ilk issuing decrees and stripping away individual liberty it is the tyranny of the majority trampling the freedoms of the minority under foot. Said John Adams:
"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."
Government is a tool for protecting individual liberty. That is all. It should not ever grant liberty or rights because it DOES NOT HAVE THE POWER TO. It was understood during the inception of this country and should be understood now that our individual rights – life, liberty and the pursuit (not the guarantee) of happiness – are unalienable. That's my interpretation of Thomas Jefferson's assertion:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”
John Adams expounded upon this notion:
“You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe."Only the Supreme Being to which the founding fathers looked has the ability to grant rights and liberties - not Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid, not John McCain or George Bush. The Constitution never even hints that government is a granter of rights. It is not. It is the protector of rights.
On this premise, I assert a Republican form of government is infinitely preferable because it has the tools to protect liberties of the individual while withstanding the swirling tide of opinion and subjective truth. A Democratic form of government is less desirable because it does not have tools to protect individual liberties or withstand the swirling tide of opinion and subjective truth; for whatever the majority determines is right is right and can be made law, even when it imposes unfair and unjust burdens upon the individual.
Therefore, at the risk of sounding sanctimonious, I reiterate by a pledge of allegiance to the REPUBLIC as one nation under God (for the rights guaranteed us by the Constitution are not granted by man, but by Him; for if granted by man they can be taken away by man) to protect and preserve the liberty and justice for the individual, which individual embodies the whole.Great articles:
Are we a Republic or a Democracy?
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Here’s a random mess of thoughts from my mind. Proceed with caution.
Poll, not pole: My site has been visited 96 times since I posted the Republic vs Democracy question, but only 10 people have done anything with the poll, which closes at the end of the day. There are probably several double hits in that number (maybe even triple?), so we’ll say maybe 50 unique visitors in the past week, making it a fifth who have an opinion on the matter. I think it is an accurate representation of how people:
- Don’t have a basic knowledge of government
- Don’t care about government
- Think government is stewpud.
And I think all three reasons are why we let the government do pretty much whatever it wants with very little accountability.
Anyway, once the results are tallied, I’ll post my opinion. Dave made a very informed comment, so if you have any questions read it.
Tasteless: I surprised Paula with a trip to the outlet malls on Saturday; apparently we overpaid Countrywide and got a check in the mail, so it was a guilt free shopping day for her and stress free one for me. I like those days. Melissa, having been abandoned by her entire family for the weekend, volunteered to take
Before we left the shopping smorgasbord, I decided to grab a snack at this place called Harry and David for the drive home. I decided on some Wasabi Peas. They were delicious and hot, which was exactly what I was going for; unfortunately there were some negative side effects.
First, they were addicting so I overindulged, which in part led to the second and more damning (literally, not just looking for a reason to curse) consequence: My taste buds are done. Seriously. Sunday I had absolutely no taste – coffee cake for breakfast, bread, apricot chicken, spearmint gum – none of it did a thing. Monday, same story different day; yesterday I began to get a little taste back at the tip and very back of my tongue. Everything is tasteless. I feel like Kramer in the Seinfeld episode with the Mackinaw peaches after he spends time in the fumigated apartment. An excellent diet tool, yes; a miserable existence, for sure.
Harvard: It was the Nerf’s birthday last week, so happy birthday. Speaking of which, he was accepted to
What up, Holmes?: Disclaimer: In no way do I hold a candle – nay, not even a match – to Natalie’s blog-sleuthing skills. In fact (I’ll probably have my site shutdown for revealing this, but such is the price of freedom) she was recently contacted by the Pentagon because she found Osama bin Laden via her blog surfing. Apparently he has a Facebook page also. But I digress…
Anyway, I stumbled onto a college friend’s blog via the
Do I know you?: Seriously, this is the INTERNET. If you don’t want people to be in your business, why are you posting anything on it at all? It's like celebrities being upset when people photograph them. Just don’t be dumb with the info you put there. Like your address, or where you work or your social security number. Seriously people, if you only want family and close friends to know what’s going on, that’s why Al Gore invented email. I have Google Analytics on tracking traffic on my site and I get hits all the time from cities I have no friends or family in. And these people aren’t the one and done ones either.
So, taking a chapter from Brother Obama, I am going to have the audacity to hope that we, as bloggers, can change. As a token of good will, I’m going to give a shout out to frequent visitors whose names I do not know:
Illinois (Chicago-area): Do not let the windiness of your fair city keep you away. PS – I love your hotdogs.
There are many other anonymous readers scattered across this great land, from sea to shining sea, and may you all feel welcome and safe in the knowledge Cyber Commorancy will never go private.
But if you steal my identity or try and hurt my family, I will hunt you down and inflict pain upon you until you wish your were at the receiving end of my
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Hey all. Just a quick post as I'm looking for some feedback.
It's election time (as you likely know unless you live in a cave or spend all your time watching 'The Hills' and have had your IQ reduced to that of a gnat) and as such I've decided to ask my three readers a political question:
"Would you prefer to live in a Democracy or a Republic?"
I know this was short, but I gotta go. 'The Hills' is about to come on and I want to know if there's any fallout from Heidi showing up at GOA when Lauren was there. I agree with Spencer - I refuse to feel bad for Heidi and I don't want to hear about her trips to clubs... especially ones that involve Lauren.
Monday, April 14, 2008
A New Jedi
With the Emperor and his minions having been destroyed, a season of peace has come and with it, the rise of the New Republic; still, an undercurrent stirs. As the Jedi try and keep this evil subdued, it becomes apparent the need for a new Jedi Master - one that will vanquish the Dark Side once and for all...Who is this new Jedi...
...Sworn to destroy all who pledge allegiance to the Dark Side?
She is Lydi-won-Kanobi...
And she is very powerful.
"I pity da fool who chooses the Dark Side!"
Monday, March 17, 2008
I looked out this morning and the sun was gone - especially since switching from EST to
I've given up listening to FM radio here in
Well, this morning I was listening to the news for my traffic reports and wasn't too impressed; same story different day and who needs that on a Monday? Fortunately, I’d grabbed my cd's from Paula's car on Saturday and rifled through them and put one in. A smile found its way onto my lips and I lost myself in a familiar song, I closed my eyes and I slipped away.
If I’ve paraphrased Papa
In a tribute to this song that has set my day off on a good note, in spite of a pre-5AM awakening, I give you - performed by Sacred Heart’s very own air band, Cool Cats, (Turk on vocals, Ted on lead guitar, Delivery Guy on drums, Janitor on bass) in one of the greatest renditions ever – More Than A Feeling.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Not much has been going on the past couple weeks - work on the house has slowed a bit, not that for a lack of things to do but more to just sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor for a week or two. I have a list of things to get done by the end of the month before Nerf, Lindz and Beckett get here, but it's fairly minor. I did purchase a pair of nice shovels at The Home Depot so I can start to clean the exterior as the weather is shaping up. Good times; chance to work on the farmer's tan.
Last Saturday only a couple hours was spent on the house, after which Paula gave her blessing for me to participate in frivolous guy-time activities. I went over to Greg's where we started up Nitemare Symfony, currently doing shows throughout
Speaking of Paula, it was our anniversary this week - Round 2 of a lot of rounds. So far we're both still standing, so that's good. We managed to pick up a house, a daughter, some frequent flyer miles and a couple pounds this second half of this year of marriage, so we were pretty busy. But busy is good; keeps Paula out of mischief. She can really wear me out sometimes - forgetting to do the little things, wasting time gaming and forcing me to go to scary movies - so being busy has slowed her down a bit. She goes to bed at a decent hour now, not staying up till all hours of the night gaming online with teenagers and 40 year old men living with their mothers. Sometimes it's like there are two kids I'm trying to raise and I wonder if she’ll ever help me clean up after dinner. But I love her anyway, and she makes me laugh, so it's cool.
But, moving back to Earth from Bizarro World…
I’ve known I wanted to put a post up in commemoration of two years as The Roberts Family, but I haven’t really known what to say. I reviewed last year’s anniversary post and it was pretty good. I could have probably reposted it, changed a couple things and it would have worked for this year. But that’s sorta weak. And I’m not one to be sensitive, or rather put the sensitivity I may have on display for the world. It’s a conundrum.
As I’ve been thinking about our marriage, it’s led me down some interesting trails of thought – not only about our marriage but relationships in general. Reflecting on why I love Paula and what makes our marriage work, I can’t help but chuckle at the uniqueness of it. A perfect example is how Paula was cool with me being gone from to hanging out with Greg; there are a lot of wives who would not have let that happen, or at least not without making their husband feel like the world’s worst. It’s like how we go to the movies theater together but buy tickets for different movies once we get there. She’ll go and watch Becoming Jane while I check out Live Free Or Die Hard.
I'm a big-picture kind of guy - I can see things from a large, long-range view and work from that vantage point to accomplish a task. The little details, however, I am not good at. Not at all. If I can't set up the bill pay online so it's automatic, there will definitely be months where we get a double bill. Finding things around the house is hard for me - not because I have a bad memory, but the thing is usually small and I just miss it.
Conversely, Paula is detail-oriented. She is uber-organized and our house is always spotless; everything has a place and everything in its place; lists abound. People tease her about it (myself included) but make no mistake - if there's something that needs to be done that has a lot of moving parts, Paula gets the phone call. It's not a glamorous talent but is one that our household could go without. Now that Paula's learning Quicken, we'll never get our phone disconnected because I forgot to pay it (it happened - twice) and we are going to save over $600 a year in car insurance because she's so good at the details. When it comes to matters on the home front, I can honestly say I have no worries
As I was reflecting on our differences I was surprised how many things we differ on. I thought we had a ton in common – and we do; the list is easily as long of things we have in common – but there is a lot we are different on, or the one has a strength that is the other's weak point. It ends up being quite a complimentary pairing:
Paula: Details/Current needs
Paula: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
As you can see, the balance is uncanny.
In previous relationships, I was always doing 'sweet' things - writing flowery prose, elaborate gifts, driving hundreds (even thousands) of miles for the other half of the relationship. I don't do that now - I don't think I've ever written a poem or the like for Paula. And it doesn't have anything to do with my affections for her, because I love her far more then anyone else - look at the lengths I went to even be in a position to date her (quit job, ended relationship, moved to different state, etc...)
The reason I did those things before was because I was putting everything I could into the relationship and it wasn't enough, so I had to put more in to sustain it. In every one of those relationships, my emotional bank account became overdrawn and the relationship would crumble and end.
I never feel like I have to give more than I can with Paula; sure, there’s times when more is required of me (or vice versa) and we have to dig into some emotional savings, but it’s the exception, not the rule. It’s an incredible and reassuring feeling to know your best is enough for your other half – whether in business, friendship or marriage, the principal remains the same – and that your shortcomings will be accounted for and forgiven as long as you keep trying. If one person is always making all the effort to keep the relationship together, or one is making constant demands with little return, the relationship will crumble and end.