Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

FaceBook, Social Media or Government Agency?

I recently had my faceBook account deleted, it seems that I’m not allowed to use the name Felonious Monk because it is not my “real” name. When they (facebook) asked me to confirm my real name by uploading documentation (birth certificate, driver’s license, state ID or even a utility bill with my name on it) I declined and let them delete my account (even though I’m sure they already know my real name).

My first thought was “it’s a social media site and not a government agency”, then that small part of me that loves a good conspiracy theory started putting things together.

It occurred to me that like a good magician the government utilizes the art of misdirection, getting you to look at left hand when they don’t want you to see what the right hand is doing. With all the attention the N S A has been getting about collecting data, and the legality of wire taps and just about everything else that they do. How they denied to their own people that Area 51 existed even after they signed a treaty allowing the Soviet Union to fly satellites over it. For years we have been hearing about the government monitoring, calls emails and collecting data on us and we were outraged (some more than others). But, facebook has over a billion members, all willing joined, and clicked “accept” multiple times (and most have no idea what they agreed to), we seem happy as long as we get some little convenience or we are content to play that game. We even use facebook to sign into other sites, no need for a warrant or worry about international laws since we all agreed to share everything, truly a global network made for collecting personal data.

I’m not the only one that has noticed some strange things happening while on facebook. I’ve heard several stories that are similar to one of mine. I went to a local grocery store (Cub) and it has one of those cards (like many stores) where you can earn rewards or load coupons onto it, so when you swipe your card it uses the coupons or collects points towards some reward. Well I bought a jar of chicken flavored baby food (something I never buy, a one time purchase). I never did any kind of internet search but sure enough that evening when I got online and checked my facebook page and there it was an advertisement for…you guessed it…baby food.

Remembering the movie (The Social Network) about Mark Zuckerberg and how facebook got started and how those around him that helped start facebook were more or less “removed” one way or another, it all started looking like some “evil” government plot. Making Mark Zuckerberg the face of the largest, most intrusive spy agency the world has every known.

Guess I’ll have to live life without facebook, since Felonious Monk isn’t my “real” name, it’s just the name I use on this site, along with sites like goodreads, bubblesws, reverbnation and just about every other site I use including google+. So if you want to find me or friend me look me up on google+ or email me at my Gmail account Felonious.M (it’s not that I don’t think google isn’t a government agency, but at least it lets me use the name I want).

I’m not really a conspiracy theorist but it feels like there is enough evidence surrounding facebook (and other social media) to make even a skeptic like me think twice. But then again I could be spreading a little misdirection for some agency that, as far as you know, doesn’t even exist.

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Good Riddance Swear Jar (Hello Elegance)

Awhile back (before Christmas) I was in a store and I overheard a conversation between a customer and the cashier. I was surprised how many times I heard the word sh*t used by both of them. Waiting for a bus I heard a couple guys standing outside a restaurant (one of them worked there not sure about the other one) and the part of their conversation I overheard consisted of: G-d bleep that mother bleep John is the most laid back bleeper in this whole bleeping town. On the bus on the way home, I heard several more words (F-word, N-word, B-word, and a few others).

I don’t consider myself a prude when it comes to foul language but there are times when it should be avoided: if you are representing a business or company, in mixed company (any situation that you don’t know everyone present) or in front of children. (as with any “rules” I’m sure there are exceptions).

We (Deb and I) were thinking that maybe certain words were slipping into our causal conversations. Like many other people, we thought about using a cuss jar (every time you swear you have to put money in the jar). Problem with a cuss jar is that you don’t carry it about with you all day and by the time you get home you can’t remember if you should toss in a quarter or your whole paycheck…

So we came up with a better solution than a jar (that is never around when you need it). We call it the ELEGANT SOLUTION. We simply let friends and family know that if they catch us using an offensive word all they have to do is say ELEGANCE and upon hearing that word we have to rephrase the entire sentence that contained the offending word. It’s that simple, seems everyone enjoys saying elegance. We do have exceptions that we can call to keep from rephrasing, example: stubbing my toe on the coffee table, or the guy really was an A$$H*LE! (as long as it wasn’t in front of kids).

We have been doing this for a few months now and we have noticed a few things, we catch ourselves (often before an offense has been made, and we don’t really swear as much as we thought (or it’s become so casual that we never catch it).

When someone says elegance we don’t have rephrase the sentence using big, fancy or sophisticated words, we just have to lose the offending word or words. The whole idea is just to get you to thinking about what you are saying.

So good riddance swear jar and hello elegance.

A Trip To The Circus

Last Saturday (10/22/11) we (Deb and I) took our 3 year old great nephew (Riley) to the Shrine Circus. There were many parts of the circus that were enjoyable and a few that were not. Riley, like most kids, liked everything about it, except a couple of the “scary” clowns until we explained that they were just people with makeup on (a fact that makes clowns no less scary to me).

When we arrived at the Circus the first thing we got to see were protesters, telling us how the circus taught cruelty (I wanted to join them). Before the show got started they had elephant rides, pony rides, and a couple of those blow up bounce houses for the kids to play in, for a fee (before the show started, intermission, and after the show). We bought Riley an ice cone and a light sword to wave around, good thing. Before they dimmed the lights the announcer made sure to remind all the kids that to be part of the (light) show they would need one of the lighted souvenir to wave around (which we thought was a bit tacky).

There were only 3 acts (not including the rides) that used wild animals (tigers and elephants). The first act was the tiger tamer and for some reason whenever I see a lone man (with a whip) in a cage with 7 tigers, I find myself pulling for the tigers. As for the act itself it was pretty much what one would expect, man with whip makes tigers run around and jump through hoops (including a flaming hoop), not impressive and could have been left out or replaced with some other type of act. Another act, featured the star elephant. We got to see him walk on a barrel from one platform to another platform, stand on his front legs, do tricks while on a narrow plank, play a couple instruments, and skip around the center ring. The kids got involved when the elephant sat down, banged on a table and refused to do any tricks until he got a treat (all part of the act), kids laughed and cheered for the elephant. For me the sight of seeing an elephant made to skip was truly a sad event. The last act with wild animals was when several elephants came out with with their riders (scantily dressed women). The elephants danced around, stood on their hind legs while placing their front legs on the backs of the elephant in front of them, the usual. Again I feel these acts could have been replaced and not only would the circus not lose anything but they easily could have gained.

There were several acts that were enjoyable: the stunt BMX bike rider doing his tricks, the motorcycles, human cannonball, the woman doing tricks on the ropes (rings and bars/swings), and even the clowns were funny (well for the most part).

The dog acts were amusing and fun to watch, the kids seem to enjoy them as well. As a former dog owner I didn’t mind watching the dog acts, I know how much dogs enjoyed working and pleasing their owners.

On a side note: the women up in the air doing the tricks on the ropes (rings and swings), if you replaced the rope with a pole (a simple change), suddenly it’s not so family oriented entertainment is it?

As far as the circus goes I think we can find better and more rewarding ways to spend time with Riley. Maybe next year we’ll join the protesters.

Click to Give

Click to give is a website that was recently recommended to me by a friend. After checking it out and joining, I’m recommending it to you  http://www.clicktogive.com?ref=40715

How it works: You select which cause you would like to help. Click the ‘Click to Give’ button (only one click a day). That click is registered and every dollar made by the advertising goes directly to that charity.  You will get points added to your account, those points can be redeemed for free merchandise. Among the merchandise there are other ways to help, for example: 200 points will feed 3 abandoned pets for a week.

I have joined a couple other websites that make it easy to do some good. Care2 (http://www.care2.com)  also has a click to donate section along with interesting stories on news, politics, health and other topics. There is also a place to sign petitions, or make your own, and it does all of this at no cost to you. While at Care2 you can earn butterfly points which you can donate to causes of your choice (I plant trees).

I’m also a member of SocialVibe, (http://www.socialvibe.com/?r=638493)  a site where you pick a charity and do activities and share those activities with others to raise money for your cause. You may have noticed the badge on the right side of this blog, feel free to click to help my cause and to get an idea of the type of activities that need to be done and shared to help your cause.

Another fun/educational site that helps the World Food Program is the free rice site (http://www.freerice.com). You answer multiple choice questions and every correct answer earns 10 grains of rice.

I urge everyone to join a site like those mentioned in this post.  The amount of time you spend at them is up to you. It only takes a moment to do a daily click or at a site like Care2 you can spend more time reading articles, taking polls or making/signing petitions.

The accumulative  affect of that minute it takes for us to click a button can save a life and change the world.  Go ahead and give a click.

Rollworthy Blog Exchange

If you have a wordpress blog, and you would like to generate more traffic for you blog, then you should checkout rollworthy. Rollworthy is a free blog exchange. You can exchange your blog or other links if you would like. The more people you invite the more links and exchanges you can make. You will need an invitation to join. Click the following link to set up your free account http://www.rollworthy.com/?ent=156 Activation should only take a week or two. While you wait for you account to activate you can send out invitations so you can earn more exchanges and the ability to add more sites.

Blaming BP

Since the oil spill started in the Gulf of Mexico (months ago) the outrage against BP has grown rampant. The public has found out that BP has been lax in safety and that the organization in charge of watching over oil production has been letting oil companies get away with just about anything they want.

BP has also done what they could to down play the spill, from under estimating the amount of oil gushing into the gulf to trying to control the images and information the public gets to see and hear. Unfortunately our government has been little help, except to BP.

There have been calls for boycotts and calls to plug the leak with BP executives, and other well placed acts of knee jerk anger. Over time it has come to light that boycotting isn’t as easy as it sounds. Most BP gas stations are owned by citizens who bought a franchise from BP and BP oil is in many more products than just gas. If everyone did stop buying oil from BP and they were to go out of business, who would pay to clean up the mess?

To those who bought a BP franchise, I say, business is a gamble and you backed a loser. So stop complaining that the boycott is hurting you. Instead call up BP and complain that their operating practices are hurting your business and they need to change.

To those who have vowed to boycott BP, I say, broaden your attack and cut back on all oil usage. Include not buying bottle water,until they start using petroleum free bottles, call the company and tell them how you feel. Most important, call your representatives and tell them it’s time for clean renewable energy.

Every President since Nixon (at least) has said it’s time to reduce our dependence on oil. Unfortunately our representatives are in the pocket of oil companies and seem unwilling to change.

I have done my research and have sent emails (and signed petitions) letting my representatives how I feel and if they don’t change they won’t get my vote!

Here is a site where you can get a partial list of items made with petroleum

http://www.ranken-energy.com/Products%20from%20Petroleum.htm

Make a Change!

Peeing In The Shower…

I shall blame Buddy Hackett for bringing this act to my attention. When I was about 17 I heard a stand-up routine, where part of the joke that Buddy was telling had the line “She was so high class she steps out of the shower to pee.” It was at that moment my brain crashed trying to figure out who pees in the shower? Maybe it’s because for the first 10-11 years of my life I only taken baths and I learned to pee before I got in the tub (peeing in the bath is NOT OK).

I’ve heard people say it’s no big deal and they are probably right, I mean the water is running and the drain that it’s going down hooks into the same drain as the toilet. I’ve also heard that peeing in the shower will kill bacteria that can cause foot fungus, I don’t know how true that is or if it’s just an excuse to make it sound acceptable.

Most places that I have lived, I’ve actually had to pass the toilet to get to the shower. The few places that I lived where you didn’t actually have to pass the former to get to the latter, it still wasn’t out of my way to stop, and stopping was always a good idea since I know the affect that running water (and getting wet) has on the human body. So unless your bathroom is really big or your house has a truly horrible floor plan there is no reason not to make a stop on your way to the shower.

On the other hand not making that stop and using the shower can save a flush which saves water and in this day and age that’s a good thing. Right?