Monday, October 31, 2011

All Hallo's Saint's Day Eve

Happy Halloween everyone.

That being said, ever wonder why we wish others a 'happy' Halloween? Halloween, although nothing like we see today originated along with ancient religions and belief systems. Pagans celebrated Halloween as a day where the dead walked among the living.

The concept of wearing scary costumes came from a need to scare away evil spirits, not other trick or treaters.

I find it amazing that Halloween did not become the fun-filled night of debaucherous deities until Americans got hold of it, and twisted age-old traditions into a party.

Well ... that's not entirely true. The act of giving candy actually came out of attempts to end the Halloween event by the Catholic Church. Yes folks, All Saints day was an invention by the church to pull those nasty pagans away from their October 31st ritual. It is no surprise that All Saints day is on November first.

The original act of giving was for those living to give gifts to their dead ancestors.

I could go on forever on this, and other holidays but instead I'll leave those wanting more to this site:

Halloween on the History Channel

For those that don't wrapped around the axle on all the secret history surrounding everything like I do, have a great Halloween, and remember to honor all those saints tomorrow.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Teary-Eyed Goodbye

Yes folks, it is with much regret that I inform you that I've left the last bastion of my childish ways behind. What does this mean, you ask?

No, I'm not quitting my blog. That's one bastion of childishness I'll never leave behind. I mean, come on, a man has to have some form of childish release, right?

Sadly, I've given up my gas-guzzling, overpowered, statement of male over-compensation truck, for a more sensible vehicle.

Some of you might remember way back when I posted about my truck (okay, I just looked, and never posted about it here). It was a beautiful beast, with over five hundred horsepower viper motor, twenty-two inch aluminum alloy rims wrapped in big fat pirelli scorpion rubber, and a wing in the back to hold the back end down at high speeds.

I've now moved on to the more sensible, if not as fast, Chevrolet Impala. I bought the 2005 base model. I must say, the ride is luxurious and I've gone from less that fourteen miles per gallon using premium to over twenty mile per gallon using regular. I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to fill the entire gas tank without the pump shutting off. Yeah, it used to take me two tries to fill my truck because the pump would cut off at seventy-five dollars.

So, I don't feel like I've gone backwards in my choice of transportation. I've just moved on to something different. I've had some very different vehicles in my lifetime.

Here's a list of some of them (in no particular order.)

1964 Volkswagen Beetle, I also own another I made into a Baja Bug.

1960 Chevy Corvair. A great car despite Ralph Nader's opinion.

1973 Subaru GL. I couldn't kill this car ... and believe me, I tried.

1970 Chevy El Camino. Mine did NOT look as good as the picture above, but I loved that car.

1965 Buick Skylark. The first car I ever owned. Paid $400 for it. Have many special memories of that car.

I've got a thing for Volkwagens and the flat four engine in particular. And, no, I did not paint a peace sign on it.

Traded my 1970 El Camino for this Ford E200 Econoline van. One of the stupidest things I ever did.

Of course, I've also owned a 1985 Ford F100 truck with no air conditioning. At least it had an automatic transmission. I've also owned a little GMC Sonoma pickup truck. It was great except that it would get stuck on nearly level ground if you threw in the slightest amount of sand.

Can't think of what else I might have owned at one time or another. Oh yeah. I do remember driving an old chevy sprint (later to become the Geo Metro) that had three cylinders and no air conditioning. That car will make an appearance in my first mystery crime novel (whenever it gets finished.)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ants and Birds

I know most of you must be thinking to yourself, "what the heck was that title all about?" But, I assure you, I"m going somewhere with this.

My son recently returned from overseas and spent some time at home before going to his new duty assignment. Of course, no trip home would be complete without buying some new clothes. My son picked out a new shirt in about five minutes, and was done. I looked, halfheartedly, then declared I didn't see anything I liked. My wife loaded up on numerous 'potential' outfits, and went to the dressing room to try them on.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. I've had to return clothes before because I did not try them on, but somehow, I still never learn.

Anyway, while waiting, my son breaks out his new Apple phone and hands it to me. On his phone was a simple little video game called "Angry Birds." It looked rather stupid but I thought I would give it a try as I had some time to kill. Withing five minutes, I was addicted, and did not want to give him his phone back. Who would have thought that such a simple game could be so fun.

I later realized that this game is such a phenomenon that one can find little stuffed angry birds in the store. Much to my surprise, their will soon be a movie out featuring all the characters in the angry birds game. I wonder if those little pigs wearing the combat helmets will be in the movie too.

Well, next thing you know, my son gave my his old ipod touch when he left. I asked him what the thing was all about and he told me the ipod touch was like the iPhone without the phone. The explanation did little for me since I don't even own a smart phone. I was led to believe that my phone was 'smart' when I bought it, but that was before this new generation of smart phone was invented. Now, the company I use was quick to tell me that my phone is a multimedia phone, NOT a smart phone.

It took me about three weeks to figure out the ipod touch thing. I now realize what an 'app' is, and have joined the millions of other Americans searching for the perfect app (usually a game.) I have not yet summoned the courage to actually pay for an app but I did download a cute little game called "Ant Smasher" for my ipod touch. The concept of the game is simple: squish ants, and other bugs, before they can reach the picnic goodies pictured at the bottom of the screen. Of course one must be careful not to squish the bee, lest they get stung. The game is highly addictive.

I'm sure that, today alone, I lost at least two good hours of writing time playing silly games on my Son's old ipod touch. I surely spent enough time that I had to charge the thing twice. But it was fun.

So, I say that these smart devices and their apps can be a great way to pass the time when one is, say, waiting at the dentist's office, but human nature simply precludes actually using the things to actually increase productivity. I think that, in order to do that, one might need to find an app that limits the amount of time one can spend using apps on smart phones.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Occupy This

It is not often I feel so strongly about something that I am willing to stick my neck out there. Especially, when I live in an area so highly populated with others having an ax to grind.

For nearly the last month, we've all watched the coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests on the news, on twitter, and all the social networking sites. Many people have taken sides on the issue, and it appears, battle lines are being drawn.

New Occupy (insert location here) protests have since sprung up in many major cities throughout our great United States.

But, what is this movement (or revolution, as some see it) all about?

The motto that those within this movement chose to adopt is: We are the 99%. What, exactly do these protesters mean by this? Basically, the top 1% of our nation's population accounts for 22.8% of earned income wages for the entire nation. The other 99% account for the other 78% of wages earned.

This is where I begin to rant.

First off, this top 1% are those citizens with more than $410,000.00 of annual income shown on their taxes. Here's the kicker. This 1% accounts for more than 40% of all income taxes paid. Nearly 50% of our country's citizens pay no taxes.

That's right, this top 1%, or those folks we like to call rich people, provide nearly half the revenues to our government in annual income taxes.

The next issue I have with this movement is that they do not seem to have any solid reasoning for demonstrating outside of wanting further wealth redistribution. In other words, the bulk of their demands include having their student loans paid, and extending social programs without expectation of employment.

I've seen countless websites comparing the Occupy Wall Street movement with the Tea Party movement. This implies that this movement has some political basis. While I do wish the Tea Party movement would apply more to all political parties, it remains a generally conservative movement, which limits its affect to Republicans.

Those participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement seem to want increased social programs and government intervention that might take from those dirty rich folks and provide better for the poor. Now, let me ask you one question. If our government increases taxes on the rich to the point they are no longer rich, who will provide the government with 40% of their revenues? Will it be the middle class, who currently make up the bulk of the remaining 60% of revenue? Soon they will have nothing left to give, and our government will no longer have the means to provide for the nearly 50% of our population currently not paying taxes.

It seems so simple, but there are so many that have succumbed to this society of entitlement we've created for ourselves.

One of the things those in the Occupy Wall Street movement have right, is their anger at Wall Street, or rather, some of the corrupt CEO's and other business leaders that used taxpayer money for their retirement pensions and lavish vacations, while their businesses crumbled around them.

Many of those within the movement argue that none of those business leaders find themselves in jail, while protesters are being hauled off to the hoos cow by the hundreds. To that I must unfortunately say, those CEO's did not break the law. What they've done may be immoral, but it was not illegal.

These business people simply took the money given to them by the United States Government, and used it as they saw fit. The Government gave no mandate with the billions they gave away. That, my friends, is exactly why Government should not venture into the business of saving businesses. Government is Government: Business is Business. The two have always been, and will always be, like oil and water.

These businesses did exactly the same thing that most Americans did. Remember that stimulus given to Joe taxpayer recently? I might ask, how many of you that received this money used this money to boost our economy? How many of you, instead, used it to pay bills, or saved it because of future uncertainty?

How many of you gave that money back to the Government? I didn't think so. Yet these are the same people that now occupy the streets of our cities with the strong mandate that our Government should give them more.

America was founded on principles of religious and economic freedom. Our forefathers gave their blood - their lives to free our colonists from Government oppression. Now, those marching in the streets are asking for it, oppression, I mean. Of course, you must understand that I see many of our social programs such as welfare, as a form of oppression.

The reasoning? Shortly after a person finds themself in need of one of these programs, they often realize that it has become economically unwise to actually find work for fear of suddenly losing all the benefits they are currently receiving. One of the many flaws of these programs is that it is a kind of all or nothing system. If a person finds work, their benefits are suddenly cut, and they are forced to either remain under-employed, or simply quit and go back on subsistence.

This is not a problem brought on by the current administration, or something caused by the last administration. All political parties share equally in this blunder. Just like all parties share equally in our immigration problem. But that's another story.

Yes, we live in a capitalistic society. Businesses do everything they can to increase profits, while government regulates just how far they can go in pursuit of those profits. That's the way it works. That rich guy in your town is not some evildoer. That rich person is someone who is likely paying more than their fair share of taxes (read your taxes) providing you with a job, and supporting our government.

Let me leave with this. Many say that the Occupy Wall Street movement is grass roots, with no leader. In fact, this movement was propagated by a Canadian organization that is anti-capitalism and publishes a magazine called Adbusters. Think about that. This entire movement was spawned from a foreign country with a desire to reduce capitalism and increase socialism.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Change of Venue

My posts have been rather sketchy lately. Some of you may even be wondering, "What the heck is going on with this guy?"

Truth is, I've had a slew of changes this year. Changes in health, relationships, work, and my own writing desires. Most of you know that I've written under a pen name for nearly the last year. Some of you may have been missing some of my other quirky writings in the areas of speculative fiction, crime and mystery, and even silly satire.

Although I will continue to write under my pen name, and one will still be able to find stories of paranormal fantasy, urban fantasy, and even some romantic suspense under that name, I will begin to limit the amount of pure erotica written. It is not some sudden moral enlightenment or religious realization that prompts this action; rather, it is simply a matter of time.

Time is the most precious of all commodities. I know I speak of time as a commodity, but that is simply a metaphor. Time cannot be bought, sold, or otherwise, controlled. Time is a free thing given to everyone. Of course, we must realize that time is not distributed equally to everyone.

I struggle constantly with the concept of time ... or lack thereof. I think this stems back to my youth, when time held no consequence for me. There was a time when time had no power over me. I honestly never thought I would ever be in the position to accumulate the benefit of having lived over a great period of time. I now realize that I must utilize the time I have to the best of my abilities.

Much has happened this year. I've learned how to write short sexy stories and sold some books, but I've neglected my longer works as I succumbed to the addiction of instant gratification through online book sales. I've trudged through increasing health and relationship issues that come with time, and even found myself the victim of an online stalker. Now, it is time to write what I enjoy--a good story.

Some of the old timers here may remember when I would occasionally post stories ideas or excerpts. This will return as I rekindle my mystery/crime story involving my beloved main character, Kat McKendry. Yes folks, Kat needs to get her story told, and solve some crimes in and around her small town in the Southeast.

Stay tuned ... more to come.