Category: Rants

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Journal: July 4, 2016

There’s a much more fun topic at the end of this blog post, but I start with some opining on the state of our democracy…

Today is considered America’s birthday – the date we enacted the Declaration of Independence and became a sovereign, independent, United States of America.

Our desire to stand alone and independent from British rule was largely a financial decision – “taxation without representation” – but had more personal undertones including establishing the freedom to worship (or not) based on your own personal self-interest, not that established for you by the state.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The indictment of British rule which comes next, which makes the case for why separation was needed, is important.  It spells out in detail the many specific ways that the British overlords were not addressing the needs of the people, and specific remedies which had been provided for this.

What it did not do is make some bullshit statements about not being the  1%, or being the 1%, or corruption, or big banks, blah blah blah.

I’m not saying that equality exists – but I also don’t believe we are actively being prevented from achieving it by our government.

  • Could they operate more effectively?  Yes.
  • Does our electoral system support considered, thoughtful choices of how we are represented and the laws we enact?  No.
  • Does everyone have an opportunity to participate?  Largely.
  • Do we participate?  No.  According to the 2014 US Census statistics, 38.5% of the available US population voted (split roughly equally male/female).

We’ve got 60%+ of the US population armchair quarterbacking, likely operating without clear understanding of the issues, and actually defining the disenfranchisement of the population from its governing body.

I wonder about the demographics of the anarchists who show up for the May Day riots with their non-specific bullshit declarations of how they’ve been wronged — are they in the  60% who voted, or the 40% who didn’t?

Beyond the intriguing way we declare our sovereign rights to things yet fail to show up when duty calls,  I think it’s very interesting to think of what a “Declaration of Independence” might read like today, in the era of technology, global connectedness, and broader respect for different people, cultures and religions:

  • I think we understand our interconnectedness more and more each day and thus would not declare “independence” so much as establish better boundaries for our cooperation.
  • I don’t think agreement would have been reached about grandiose statements like “all men are created equal” or “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Rather, I think those clauses, if they made it, would have subclauses which state, “unless you are gay, Muslim, dark skinned,  impoverished, obese, have a disability, are a veteran…”

On a less circumspect note, I’ve become obsessed with home organization.   One challenge I face personally that families likely face is the charging of multiple devices.

I personally carry every day a Surface Pro 4, iPad Pro, iPhone, 2 Androids, 1 Windows Phone.  I also have 6 “internet of things” devices:  a Microsoft Band, a Spire, 4 Meshs.  I also have a GoPro and a Feiyu Gimble.

I think that’s it.  Oh, I also have battery packs that I like to keep charged as I’m often mobile.

At one point, I had a surge protector strip with multiple cords emanating from it with a variety of devices just laying on the floor.

Recently, I created this…my home charging station.  Materials I used:

I used a couple of adhesive “felt pads” to create bumpers within the tray to stop things from sliding and I sewed together a pad for the bottom of the tray to prevent scratching.  This entire unit, including devices, can be unplugged from the wall and taken with me anywhere, just as is.

The cords are neat,, everything has a place, and I can also set my device there when I’m done “interacting” with the world versus keeping it on me all night long.

Food for thought.

What I can tell you absolutely is this:  the more organized I am, and the more forgiving I am when I’m not, the better each day feels.

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Armchair quarterbacks-put up or STFU!

Letter to BMW Corporate Leadership regarding performance management
Letter to Executive Vice President of Customer Care of Comcast regarding proactive customer service

I have little interest in people who armchair quarterback the state of our lives and the ways we interact with each other.

If you see something, say something. Read More

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An open letter to TayTay, Selena, Macklemore, Queen Beyonce and Justin

Ms. Swift, Ms. Gomez, Mr. Haggerty, HRH Beyoncé, Mr. Bieber,

I want to thank you for writing the soundtrack of my life. I am a man of many words. It’s rare I struggle to communicate.

Your music can be heard blaring from the windows of my car or my Alexa almost every moment of every day.

The last moment’s I spent with my father prior to his passing included Ms. Swift’s recent album, I subscribed to Tidal just to addictively listen to Formation, I was one of 500 people at Macklemore’s show when his album dropped and I bought it three times (digital, hardcopy, special edition hard copy).

For each of your tours, I have paid between $300-900 per ticket and have cheered or will cheer for you from the front rows of each performance. I cheered for Justin’s comeback and was there when his show opened, as I will be for Selena and Beyoncé. I spent the evening of a lifetime with my niece and Taylor Swift.

I believe in supporting artists and I believe each of you are true artists.

I’ve never bootlegged your music or skirted payment. Hell, I even pay for porn though I’m told that’s practically unheard of.

Often, I make YouTube videos which incorporate your music…again, as the soundtrack of my life.

In each case, I’ve never claimed any monetization rights, gladly forgoing it and allowing your record management companies to place ads on my videos.

The videos I create are not meant to make me famous, nor do I think anyone will confuse me for you (except Macklemore…that has become part of my life), and I have no desire to see your revenue decline because of my far-less-well known efforts at documenting my own story.

I simply want to include your music in the context of explaining my own life. That’s all.

I very much understand your desire to protect the work you have created. I also want you to continue to add to your great wealth via the revenue you accumulate via nearly every available channel.

All I want is to use your work as the inspiring, motivating, energizing, emotive backdrop it has served during my lifetime, with no interest in making money off of that.

Please consider how you structure your copyright restrictions and let your music be what it was intended to be before you decided money was more important.  Allow those that love your music utilize it to spur their own creativity.

My net worth pales in comparison to yours and I’m not asking for any money through use of your work.  Have the money.

I just want a chance to use it in the context of telling my story, something your copyright restrictions do not allow.




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The Passion: New Orleans

In the age of live-to-broadcast musicals, there has been some shit.

I don’t feel that way at all about Tyler Perry’s The Passion: New Orleans.  Religious or not, beneath the veneer of sometimes over-done acting…well, I thought it really well done and featured some of my favorite all time artists….Trish Yearwood, Michael W Smith…among them.

I was particularly wowed by this version of Demons originally by Imagine Dragons.

This version was performed by Chris Daughtry and Jencarlos.

Today, as we all settle back in to doing absolutely nothing on the night of yet another terror attack, I thought the words particularly prophetic.

I’ve written about our complacency in “standing together” with victims, etc. in the past.  You can read that here: