Monday, December 26, 2005

Our Christmas Presents

One full set up the new computer; a few hours of which were spent on the phone to tech support.

Several read the instruction manual, about the same length as the Bible, that came with the new digital camera

Getting a present with no cords, cables, batteries, memory chips or any other kinds of gizmos.....PRICELESS!!!!!!!

NOTE: The above is most fictional and is just intended to make a point.

So Sayeth The Shack

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Should Rigoberto Alpizar Have Been Shot?

For those not following the news, Rigoberto Alpizar is the man who was shot and killed by air marshalls in Miami yesterday after claiming he had a bomb aboard an airplane. Turns out there was no bomb, he was unarmed, and he actually suffered from mental illness and had not taken his medication. His death is an unfortunate byproduct of the "war on terror". I am sure there will be a big outcry aabout this. Unfortunately, given the exact circumstances, there likely could have been no other outcome. The air marshalls could not tell whether or not the man was bluffing about the bomb. They had no idea about his mental illness. They had no other way of subdoing him without shooting. Perhaps the air marshalls should have some other means of rendering someone unconcious without having to kill them. Shack's opinion: In this particular case, there appeared to be no other choice, especially since he started reaching into the bag that contained the supposed bomb. Nevertheless, it was unfortunate.

More Dangerous Than Iraq?

I received the following via e-mail. It is not my own work and I do not know who to credit it to, but thought it was worth sharing.

Thought for the day:

If you consider that there have been an average of 160,000 troops in
the Iraq theater of operations during the last 22 months, and a total of
2112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000.

The rate in Washington D.C. (among others) is 80.6 per 100,000. That
means that you are about 25% more likely to be shot and killed in our
Nation's Capitol, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in
the nation, than you are in Iraq.

Conclusion: We should immediately pull out of Washington D.C

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Honor Our Veterans

Friday November 11 is Veterans' Day. While many of us do not agree with our nation's foreign policy or with the military operations of the past 4 or 5 decades as well as current military operations, the soldiers and veterans deserve our honor and respect. They have made and continue to make huge sacrifices. In the past they have fought for our freedom and the freedom of other people around the world. More recently, many of us do not know what they are fighting for. While we may disagree with the reasons that they are in battle, they still deserve our support, honor and respect. Our disagreement with policy and military operation should be directed at our political leaders and not at our veterans and current soldiers. It is sad that this day will be no different than any other day of the majority of people in this country. Some government and bank employees will have the day off; the rest will go to work our school as usual and probably think nothing of it. So let's all do something special on Friday. If you know a veteran, thinak him or her for the sacrifices that he or she has made. If you know a family of a currently deployed soldier, do something special for them. And if you disagree with out current military operations, send some letters to out political leaders expressing your displeasure.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Where Are The Grownups?

In the two weeks since a recent football game, there have been letters to the editor in the local newspaper, articles in the same paper, and a thread on the newspaper discussion board, all bemoaning the conduct of the fans both inside and outside of the stadium. Virtually all of the letters and posts indicate that the problem is coming from "not just the college students", but from alumni and other adults as well. The phrase "not just the college students" is itself problematic, because it implies that the majority of the college students spend most of their time drunk off their asses. While this may not be true, it certainly seems as though it is, especially if one spends many evenings downtown. But that is not the subject I wish to address. I instead wish to address that the problem extends to people who should know better. People in their 20s, 30s, even 40s, who are supposed to be responsible, example-setting adults instead acting like overgrown and overage teenagers. This is a trend that I have noticed ever since I came to this town many years ago. Perhaps I had a sheltered childhood, but I recall that when I was a child, children acted like children, and adults were mature, considerate and responsible. Sure they had a good time now and then, but not at the expense of the rights of others. When I came to the university, I was astonished at how the other students acted; vandalizing dorms and apartments, partying noisily with no regard for neighbors, and getting drunk off their asses. After graduation, I noticed that the other "adults" in the area acted pretty much like the students. People who were perhaps students once, then graduated, but never really grew up. So we have a town where a lot of "adults" still act like teenagers. In fact, I think that my own teenagers are more mature and responsible than a lot of adults. I am sure that this is true not only locally, but throughout our nation. We are a "society of immaturity", and today's children have no one to look to for an example because their parents are still children. A week from now, we will see the ultimate display of this adult childishness...Halloween. Once a holiday for children to dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating, it has now become a holiday for adults to dress up in stupid costumes and go out and get drunk off their asses, violating the law as well as other people's rights. Halloween now rivals New Year's as the top drinking holiday; a potentially highly dangerous situation...children trick-or-treating sharing the road with drunk "adult" drivers out partying. Please bring back the grownups. Our society needs some mature leadership.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Capitalists Everywhere

As Hurricane Rita headed toward Texas and hundreds of thousands of evacuees jammed the freeways, A few people on foot plied the freeways filled with nearly-stationary vehicles. They were apparently selling drinks to the motorists stuck in the traffic in the 90-degree weather. I'll bet they were charging a pretty penny for those drinks too, like maybe 10 bucks each? I wonder....
There's always someone around to take advantage of a bad situation and to profit from it.

A Letter To Mom

Dear Mom,

There has been something that I have wanted to tell you for a while now, but have not been able to find the right time or manner in which to do it. On the phone? No. By e-mail? No. Even in person… Well, not with the wife or the kids present. So, this is the best way I can figure out to do it; a good old-fashioned letter. What is it that I want to say? I want to say:

I'M SORRY!!!!!!!!!!!

I'’m sorry for everything that I have done that has upset, disappointed and otherwise annoyed you. I know that you have not approved of some of my decisions and actions in life and that some of them have totally upset you to this very day. Please understand that I have never intended to upset or disappoint you. Most of the things that I have done, including joining the (mormon) church, were my attempts to find my place in life. I know maybe you don't understand this, because you have always had a lot of friends and such, but I have never felt that I fit in anywhere. I have had very few friends throughout my life and I have no close friends at the current time. Mostly, people have either ignored me or seemingly downright hated me (going all the way back to grade school). I never did anything to anyone so I don't know why I was treated the way I was. I finally realized after having some nephews and a son of my own that some of the problem was the way I responded to them, (the other boys my age) but I didn'’t know any better at the time. But even now, in any kind of social situation, people, even those that I know, don'’t usually bother associating with me other than a quick "“hi, how ya doin'’?" I even feel like you would rather spend time with your old cousins and such than with you son and grandchildren (not saying this to make you feel bad or anything; just trying to express my feelings).

I joined the mormon church in an attempt to find a place where I would fit in. Turns out I don'’t fit in there either, but it'’s fine with me if the wife and the kids go. Our daughter, in particular, is active and happy in the youth program and seems to have several good friends. Our son seems to be not so keen on church stuff but at least has a few friends, mostly from school.

I became a meteorologist because it is something that I really enjoy doing. It is certainly not the best paying career one could have after getting a college education, but I think I am better off doing something I enjoy than having more money and doing something that I dislike. Sometimes I feel happier when I am at work than at any other time.

As far as my selection of a mate is concerned; I know that this has been another disappointment from your perspective. It seems that the only girls/women that were ever interested in me were either fat, ugly, stupid, lazy or some combination of these. No pretty, smart girl was ever interested in me to this very day. My first fiancee was smart but not all that good looking, and was more interested in her career and how much money she could make than in our relationship. My wife is neither pretty nor exceptionally smart but she does love me very much.

So I have ended up with a job that I enjoy and a wife and kids that love me. That is what I wanted out of life . Am I happy? Sometimes. Other times I get very depressed and feel like everything I have ever done and every decision I have ever made was wrong. In fact, you almost lost me a few months ago. I was so depressed in early June that if I had had a revolver in the house I might very well have blown my brains out. Instead I drank three-quarters of a bottle of whiskey and pretty much passed out. (Again, there are no intentions here to make you feel bad; this is no fault of yours!!) Note: I am not an alcoholic; I hardly ever drink. My wife keeps urging me to see a psych, but I don'’t have a very high opinion of those guys and I don't want to depend on drugs or some kind of weird therapy to make me feel good. I am much happier again now, especially since we have moved to a place where there are more opportunities for me in the way of physical activity and where I don'’t have to do much driving. (I hate driving). Had to break a lease to do it, but I don'’t think I could have survived another year where we were.

I think that I have written everything that was on my mind that I wanted to tell you. Again, I'’m sorry that I have upset you or been a disappointment; that was not my intention. I love you very much and appreciate everything you have done for me and for us.

Love, Your Son

Monday, September 19, 2005

Great Gas Mileage!!

One of my co-workers rides a bike to work.

He gets great gas mileage: 6 miles to the fart!!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

If I Were Single

Today is the seventeenth anniversary of my wedding. Some married men wonder what things would be like if they had remained single. I can tell you, almost definitely, that if I had remained single, I would either be in prison or dead. Why? Because I have always harbored a great deal of hate and rage within me, as you might be able to tell by reading some earlier posts in this blog. Being married and especially being a parent has blunted some of the hate and rage, but make no mistake, it is still in there. If it were not for being married, the hate and rage would probably have led to me kill one or more people, or to commit some other horrible crime, for which I would likely be in prison...or perhaps I would have been killed by one of my intended victims. So, thinks to my wife (luv ya, honey) and kids (luv ya too), and the responsibility that I feel toward them, I am not in prison, and I am still alive.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Who Stole The Ruby Slippers?

It has been noted that Dorothy's (Wizard of Oz) ruby slippers were recently stolen from a museum. I'll bet the Wicked Witch of the West's cousin took them. This sould be investigated immediately!!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

What A Bargain

Wow! Gas is down to $2.99/gallon!! What a bargain!

Something I'd never thought I'd say about that price just a couple of weeks ago... :)

Monday, September 05, 2005

It Doesn't Affect THEM

Despite the incredible rise in gas prices over the past week and the shortages in various parts of the country...

...plenty of people still drove their gas-sucking RV's to the local my local university to attend the football game at the local university. These are rich alumni and the like with an endless supply of money. I am sure the same thing happened at the other football games over the weekend. These are some of the THEM...the rich people who are not affected by the price of gas.

...Nascar races went on. Another incredible waste of fuel, not only for the cars participating, but also for the spectators traveling to get there.

What will it take for us as a country to change our wasteful ways when it comes to oil? Ten dollar per gallon gas? Twenty dollar per gallon gas?? Or maybe just no gas at all, period. What happened this past week is just a preview of what will eventually happen when the world does run out of oil or when a large-scale war breaks out in the Middle East or with the Arab nations. Let's not wait until it happens. Let's start changing our habits and making preparations now. It is a difficult path, but one that must be taken if we are to survive in the long term. And we need leaders who are courageous enough to help us and guide us along that path.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Send The Refugees To.....

Here are ideas for what we can do with some of the refugees from Hurricane Katrina:

1) Send them to D.C. They could stay at the White House with the First Family and share in some of the niceties.

2) Send them to Crawford, Texas. I hear there is a ranch there with plenty of room!!

Mother Nature-Terrorist

Hurricane Katrina has caused more death, destruction, misery and economic impact in this country than any terrorist attack. I doubt if the terrorists themselves have the means to duplicate such a mess. Nevertheless I am sure that some radical Islamists and Al Quieda people have been laughing and dancing gleefully for the past week.

So Sayeth The Shack

Sounds Like Something I'd Do

From "News of the Weird" in the local newspaper this past Friday...

"...And David Owen Rye, 48, was arrested...for allegedly firing at least 3 bullets into a Toyota Camry in an apartment-house parking lot because its car alarm wouldn't shut off."

Yup...sounds like something I'd do...shoot a car for making too much noise.

Of course, I'd rather shoot a Ford than a Toyota, but....

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Fabric of Humanity

A phrase that I heard a couple of times on the CBS News tonight, in regards to the aftermath of Katrina and the lack of services, was "the fabric of humanity is beginning to fray". Does this mean that the only things that make us "human" is our modern conveniences and services? That without running water and sanitation and the ability to procure food and shelter we become something less than human? That we somehow turn back into animals willing to do anything to ensure our own survival?

I ask would I act if I were ever in that situation? Would I go to any means, including looting or perhaps even murder, to ensure my own survival or that of my family? I cannot truthfully answer that question as I sit here in the comfort of my living room. I would hope that I would continue to act as a civilized human being, but unless I were to actually experience the situation, I cannot say for sure.

By the way I am not putting down anyone who has acted rashly in the wake of this hurricane to ensure their own survival. Just wondering, really, what I would do, and pointing out how dependent we as a society have become on the modern conviences of electricity, transportation and ease of shopping for food and other supplies.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Life is Bad For Us

I am afraid that some of the things that I eat and some of the things that I do increase the chance that I will die at the end of my life.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Quandry of the Moral Pharmacist

In the Sunday, April 24 issue of my local newpaper appeared a column by Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald titled "A moral objection does not give you license to shun job duties". Mr. Pitts starts off giving an example of someone who joins the Army and then refuses, on moral grounds, to kill enemy troops. He then likens this to a pharmacist, on moral grounds, refusing to dispense various forms of birth-control pills. This has been in the news recently. Apparently, the governor of Illinois issued an emergency decaration requiring pharmacies to fill prescriptions for the "morning after pill" after a pharmacist in that state refused to fill such a prescription. I both agree and disagree with various aspects of this situation. First of all, I commend and respect anyone who is willing enough to stand up for their beliefs and values to refuse to kill someone (in the case of the soldier), refuse to perform an abortion, or refuse to dispense birth control pills, including the morning-after pill, or even refusing to work on their sabbath. That being said, I feel that once someone has accepted a job working for someone else, knowing in advance all that that job entails and all that they will be called upon to do, they have given up their right to be selective concerning these sorts of moral issues. This means that anyone who is self-employed, whether as a doctor, pharmacist or whatever, can do whatever they want (within the law). If a pharmacist who owns their own independent drug store does not want to dispense certain medications based on moral grounds, that is OK. If they are closed on the owner's sabbath day, that is OK too. On the other hand, I feel that a pharmacist who works for WalMart, or Eckerd or any other chain must abide by the rules of the company they work for. The rules that they know of when they began their employment. They must fill whatever prescriptions are brought in. The government (as in the case of Illinois) should not need to get involved.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Some Catholics are Hypocritical


With the recent passing of Pope John Paul II, many are wondering what the next Pope will be like. Many are hoping the that next Pope will have less conservative and traditional views on things like birth control, abortion, female priests, homosexualism, etc. I see a basic problem with this kind of thinking. Maybe the next Pope will be more liberal and thus will make some changes in these aspects of church law. But is it God's will for such changes to be made at this time, or is it the will of the people? Excuse me, but I was under the impression that the Pope was God's mouthpiece on earth, and not some kind of political leader that has to be popular with his subjects. I talk about hypocritical Catholics because I hear so many say, "I'm Catholic, but I disagree with this, that and the other thing". Or, "I"m Catholic, but I believe in birth control, or abortion, or whatever". I have said this before and will say it again, I do not think the Catholic Church (or any church, really), is supposed to be a democracy. A church...a real church anyway, is supposed to be run by God or His Spokesman (the Pope...or in the case of the LDS Church, the president and prophet of the church). It is run from the top down, not the bottom up. God commands us, not the other way around. He has not said, to my knowledge, that abortion, or same-sex marraige, or any of these other pressing issues of our time are anymore OK now than they were hundreds or thousands of years ago. To those who say "I'm Catholic, but I disagree with or don't believe whatever", I say would say, "you need to go to confession and then be more willing to follow your church leaders". Now I don't profess to be perfect or anything like that...far from it...I just feel that if someone professes to be a member of a church, that they should be willing to follow its teachings.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Murder, God's Will, or something else?

Terri Schiavo died on Thursday, March 31. Some will say that she was murdered, starved to death deliberately by the removal of her feeding tube. Others will say it was "God's will" that she died at this time. Others will say that it was her time to go and that she would have died than anyway, no matter what. We will never really know...

As far as "God's will" is concerned, I have a lot of problems with that. If God is so great, powerful, loving and just, how can it be his will that so many of his "children" live in such misery, abject poverty, etc while others have everything they need and want. Some are killed violently and at a premature age while others live their whole life. If I were as powerful as God supposedly is, I would make sure that all of my "children" always had everything they needed and were well cared for.

My opinion is that Terri was murdered; starved to death by the removal of her feeding tube. With no food and water, there was no other possible result than death. It is not the same as taking someone off a respirator. Some people on respirators live quite some time after being disconnected.

This is not to say that Terri had much of a "life". Certainly I would not want to live that way and I would not want my family to be going through that. If you feel the same way, make sure that your wishes are made known to your family and that you have a living will.

Friday, March 25, 2005

We Are Being Distracted From What Really Matters

Who in this country decides what is going to be news? How does something like the John Peterson case become a national news story when there are numerous murders on a daily basis in most of our big cities, and none of them make the national news? I'll bet if you or I were murdered, the story and subsequent investigation and trial would not be on "World News Tonight". What about Terri Schiavo? I am sure there are other people on various types of life support around the country that get their "plugs pulled" and we don't hear about them. One evening this week, the Terri Schiavo story took nearly 15 minutes of ABC news. For one person!! What about Michael Jackson or O.J. or the baseball steroid thing? Again, way too much information about things that have little relevance in the overall scheme of things. How about stories that really do matter? On the same night that ABC news spent 15 minutes on Terri Schiavo, they spent no more than one or two minutes on Iraq and what had happened there that many had been killed. What about the situation in Darfour, Sudan? We almost never hear anything about that. What about plans for Iran and North Korea? How many people know that plans have been approved for oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? Yet most people, at least in the office where I work can tell you what happened on "American Idol" or Survivor" or any of the other stupid reality shows or in the Michael Jackson trial or the stupid basketball playoffs. All things that have no importance in the overall scheme of things. Are we afraid to think about or discuss the important things? Are the TV networks afraid to air these things? (maybe their ratings will go down...that's something to really be afraid of!!). We are spending too much time, energy and money on things of little or no importance and not enough where it really counts.

The Oil Price Conspiracy

There are plenty of people getting rich on this oil situation (and I'm not one of them). They are doing it at the expense of the rest of us and driving us into poverty and bankruptcy (not very Christian of them, is it?) Think of this..the stations raise their prices, even when they haven't gotten a new delivery of gasoline. So they are taking gas that they bought at the old lower price and selling it the new higher price, thereby making that much more profit. Also it seems awfully fishy that the price goes up everywhere by the same amount on the same day, as if a decree is issued by some supreme dictator somewhere. Also, notice that the price always goes up they day after a news report about how something is going to cause the price to go up. It is all a conspiracy. There is no competition amount the stations and companies. They know very well that thay have us over a barrel (no pun intended) and are taking us on a wild ride. That refinery blast down in Texas (my condolences to the families of those killed) is probably somewhow part of a conspiracy to drive the prices even higher. The vast majority of us have no choice but to continue to drive (at least back and forth to work and basic grocery shopping) and to pay the higher prices. But that money has to come from somewhere. It will first come from things that we spend money on that are not necessary (what is and isn't necessary differs for each of us). So the overall economy will suffer because of it.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Terri--A Bad Case of Micromanagement

The President and congress have no business getting involved in Terri's situation. They are supposed to be running the country as a whole, not trying to control the life of each and every person. That is the job of lower branches of government. They will never get anything done if they try to control each and every person.

My other problem with all of this is...why are so many people so concerned about this one life, but not about all of the defenseless unborn babies that we kill each year??

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Save Oil, Ban Motorsports

In the past week or so, the price of gas has gone up 10 to 15 cents per gallon. The people on TV tell us that the price increases are due to extremely tight supply and, of course, the volatility in the Middle East. If the supplies are really that tight, then I say that it is time to get rid of motorsports. Nascar, Indy cars, monster trucks, etc, right on down to the local dirt or asphalt tracks that run races on Friday and Saturday nights during the warmer months. All of these racing vehicles must use up huge quantities of fuel. Yes, it is a big industry and it makes someone a lot of money, but at the same time, there are a lot of people who can barely afford to drive to work and must cut other things out of teir budgets (maybe even food) to be able to pay the skyrocketing price of gas. While the deeper issue is our dependency on foreign oil, there are things that can be done now to cut down on how much of it we use. One of those things, I believe, is the complete elimination of motor sports.

So Sayeth The Shack