Friday, August 22, 2014

Flame Suit On...

What other business or organization on Earth feels justified in being violent and vitriolic to this extent, simply because someone decided to use their competition instead of them?

How would you feel if the local Cadillac dealer attacked Ms. Lakshmi in similar fashion because she decided to buy a Lincoln?  Or if a local construction company did the same because she hired their competitor to remodel her restaurant?  To call her a whore and threaten to break her face because she decided to use the competition?

Why have we become so accustomed to, and accepting of, the violent, vitiriolic actions of labor unions?  Especially when you consider that all they are is a business organization in competition in the market, who sometimes gets outbid by their competitors?

Why do union people feel like they are entitled to other people’s money?  Why aren’t their demands to be hired at higher prices when other, less expensive alternatives exist, considered nothing more than that – entitlement to another’s money? 

Imagine your local Cadillac dealer calling you a filthy whore and threatening to smash your face in because you bought a less expensive Lincoln.  Imagine the entitlement one must have to consider you to be bound to pay more for the same service, because they say so. 

What other organization can act this way and survive? 

The answer, dear reader, comes stark and obvious upon further thought: No other legal organization is allowed to act this way.  The only other organizations that do are all on the shady side of the law.  Organized crime. 

I call it like I see it, and when people in labor unions act like this, I can come to no other conclusion.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Stress test went okay.  Apparently I’m not tolerating my anti-arrhythmic drugs very well, so the doc wants me to get off of them ASAP.  Which means surgery ASAP. 

Going in for another MRI tomorrow, for which they are planning to sedate me, because they want my heart to be beating as slowly as possible, and I’m claustrophobic, so keeping my heart rate down while shoved into a tiny tube is sort of hard without medicinal intervention. 

Apparently, they want the MRI for something to do with the surgery.  The surgery is on September 15th

Irony of ironies, the anti-arrhythmic drugs are actually causing an arrhythmia.  Something about elongating my QRS or something like that, which is apparently concerning since it indicates that the drug might be causing toxicity.  They are also making me tired.  So, so wretchedly tired and fatigued that I find it hard to get out of bed in the morning, and function during the day. 

I’m also depressed.  I realized that last night, too.  I’ve battled with depression occasionally in my life, but I’m afraid I’ve got a big one coming.  Maybe it’s already here.  I was cooking dinner last night and almost broke into tears over nothing.  Literally nothing.  I wasn’t even having trouble opening a jar or anything.  Just standing there, fresh off of an argument with a subcontractor who is not honoring his contractual obligations to my project, cooking dinner for my family, and this big sob just attacked me out of nowhere.  I managed to bottle it up and told Mrs. Goober that I’d just burned myself, no big deal, that’s why I “gasped”.    

I hope like hell that I can keep this from sticking around. 

I’m going to ask for the rest of the day off and go home for a while, to see if I can’t get my head straight.  Because right now I have no business trying to do business.  

On ISIS and War

Tam tweets to make her opinion known on the whole “ISIS beheading an American on video and threatening to do another one if we don’t comply with their demands” thing.
"We don't negotiate with terrorists!" - President Bill Pullman
Source: IMDB
Look, I’m about as anti-war as they come (not pacifist, that’s another matter entirely).  My personal opinion is that the last war that the US got involved in that we had any business being involved in was the war against Japan in the ‘40s.  You could probably convince me that the Taliban-smashing effort in Afghanistan was just, but was then tarnished by a subsequent ten-year “nation building” effort that was entirely folly. Not that it wasn't with good intentions, or a noble attempt to reduce suffering, but you can't force a western government on a people that don't want one.  

Throughout history, many people have been kept from
voting at gunpoint.  We Americans now like
to FORCE people to vote at gunpoint.  Because
that's okay, or something.
But even my anti-war ass looks at ISIS’ brutal, animalistic beheading of an American prisoner/kidnapping victim, and threat to do another if we don’t bow to their will, as about the most clear-cut causus belli imaginable.  I would whole-heartedly support any effort that the United States Government chooses to implement in response, as long as the goal of that response is the complete and total destruction of everything even peripherally related to ISIS.

Figure out a way to minimize collateral damage, first, maybe...

As commenter Kristophr put it on Tam’s blog:

If punishing barbarians that kill it’s citizens is not part of a government’s duty, then what is a government even for?  

My Painstaking Analysis of the Ferguson Shooting...

Everybody needs to just shut up and wait until the facts come out in court. Anything occurring prior to that is rank speculation and rumor-mongering, which is doing none of us any good at all.

Enough said.  

Friday, August 15, 2014

I'm With Stupid...

Cardiac appointment today at 11:30.  I’ll find out today when my surgery is going to be, and how invasive it will be. 

I heard rumors that maybe it would not be open-heart surgery, since they think they can get to the mass from inside, via catheterization.  Here’s hoping…  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Heart Update

So I’ve been sort of absent, more than usual.  I don’t follow the “post every day” rule of blogging that many do, mainly because if I did, it would become too much to handle and I would stop doing it.  So I don’t worry if I don’t post every day, but I try to post regularly at least, and I’ve been falling down on that duty recently, for good reason. 

You’ll recall that I’ve had some issues with my heart recently.  I had a second echocardiogram done on the advice of my doctor, and they found a mass on my heart. 

Scariest two weeks of my life, waiting for the results of that MRI, let me tell you. 

Looks like I have a malformation on my heart.  So no tumor, no malignancy, which is good. 

But I get to have heart surgery soon to remove it.  Which is scary. 

I’ve been busy dealing with that and trying to be a strong father and good husband in the midst of it all, and so I’ve allowed the blog to languish.  I won’t apologize, since I would hope that any of you would do the same under the same circumstances, but I will put this out there by way of explaining what’s going on.  

"The Giver" Movie

I heard that “The Giver” is being made into a movie. 

I’ve always been told that this book has a right-wing political bent, in that it impeaches the far extreme “straw man” utopian leftist view of the world, in much the same way as Ayn Rand’s “Anthem,” where the leftist view of equality is taken to the extreme of “sameness.” 

In the story “Anthem,” Rand doesn’t even allow her characters to understand the meaning of the terms “I” or “me,” and her characters refer to themselves, even in the singular, as “we,” in much the same way as the Borg of Star Trek (which, by the by, was meant as another impeachment of the far extreme of leftist equality). 

I don’t recall that the people in the story “The Giver” referred to themselves as “we”, but the societies are very similar.  Grey, boring, unremarkable, and safe from pain and suffering in every way.  People are assigned children to raise, told what job they will do, given living quarters according to the wishes of the government, and they accept this without issue.  Universal surveillance is, well, universal.  Even private homes have two-way intercoms to ensure that no one breaks the rules.  No one is allowed too much choice, so every choice is reduced to a select few “non-choices.”  I always picture the non-choices to be things like “do you want a coke, or a pepsi?” when I was reading the book.  You know, the kind of choice that makes you think you had a choice, but really was a false choice, since you have no other option than to drink a cola flavored sugar drink of the government’s choosing, with two options of said drink to choose from.  Basically, life is completely equal in every way.  “Sameness” is the name of the game.  Everyone is provided with what they need, and no one questions that.  Everyone goes along with it.  No one questions.  No one wants more.  It appears to be an honest to God Utopia at first.

Which is why I didn’t like the story. 

I think I was 12 years old when I read it, and the whole time I kept thinking “There is no fucking way in hell that human beings would allow themselves to live in such a society voluntarily.”   Even as a child that young, I recognized that in order to get sentient adult human beings to live in such a society without constantly drugging them (soma, anyone?) that the only way to do that would to be via boots on throats, guns on every corner, and an informant network five layers deep.  Such a society would require fear, repression, gulags, and black-bags, because human beings, in an un-drugged and normal state, would never, ever choose to live in such a manner. 

So I didn’t see it as an solid impeachment of the leftist extreme at all.  I saw it as a possible endorsement, because it starts from the basic premise that such a society could work at all, which any half-way intelligent person can easily see that it would not.  Ever.  Not even for a few weeks, before it fell apart when somebody didn’t toe the line. 

All it would take is one murderer to cause suffering, and the Utopia would fall apart.  One guy to get pissed t his wife and strike her.  One guy that said “fuck this, I don’t want to live in this apartment” and the utopia would have to become a repressive tyranny in order to survive.  Does anyone really think that out of a population as large as that in  “The Giver” that there wouldn’t be one dude who threw up his arms, said “FUCK THIS!” and started rebelling against the system?  Not even one?

Such a society would absolutely DEMAND an iron fisted rule to survive.  It wouldn’t be a utopia, it would be a prison.  A concentration camp. 

By the end of the book, the society is shown to be more evil than it originally appeared to be, sure, but the thing is that the people in the society don’t know that.  They aren’t afraid of it.  They aren’t conforming to this grayness and lack of choice out of fear.  They’re doing it because every single person in that society chooses to.  Such a thing would never be possible, and so the entire premise of the book is fatally flawed, at least to me.