Saturday, December 31, 2011

10 Things that will NEVER be fair

Fair, what a concept.  First I think it would be fair to go over a couple of definitions of fair.  The definition of fair is behavior in accordance with the rules.  The popular definition is that all will be treated the same way in the same manner.   In that way, I'll list a few things that just aren't fair.

10. Life - Ok, lets just get this one out of the way first.  This has been said by parents to children since time began.  The consistent reply to every young persons wail of 'That's not fair!'  Nothing about life is fair, and yet life follows cause and effect and we must deal with it as best we can.  Everything else that follows is defacto contained within life, but we hear this one so often that I had to mention it.

9. Talent - I'm good at a few things but I'm not great at any of them.  I can not think of one thing that I am better at than anyone I know.  I know other people that are very likely better than anyone THEY know at certain things.  After a while I came to realize that there is really no such thing as Talent.  Instead there is interest and drive.  If you work at anything long and hard enough then you will be as good as you can be at that thing.  It may not be possible that you can be the best ever at anything.  Some other people may have better faculties to expand their interests further than you can.  So if they work at it just as long as you do, they will be better when the limits of your mind and body have been met.  No fair.  I have to take solace in the fact that no matter what it is you are good at, there is only one person on the earth at any one time that can be the BEST at it.  Out of billions of people, it COULD be you, but it probably isn't.

8.  Luck - Lady luck is a capricious wench.  I have considered myself both lucky and unlucky as most have.  I think for some reason this is more about how you view the circumstances of your life.  When I look at things on an piece by piece basis I think I'm not lucky at all.  If there is a random element in a game that will determine if I win or lose, I will more often remember the times that things didn't pan out for me.  I still believe that the distribution of random numbers is still statistically straight and all things even out.  On the other hand on a more macro basis I consider myself very lucky,.  I have a great family, I have a great job, I live within my means and I have hobbies I enjoy and am able to do (this blog among them).  How much more lucky do I need to be?!  No fair indeed.  Have you ever noticed that not only is Luck a lady, but it's a Lady that sings when everything is over?  hmmm...

7.  Produce. - This little game we play at the Grocery store is pretty interesting.  When we pick out fruits and vegetables we look at the color, we poke and prod and we try to find the best bits that are available, but the skin of the fruit doesn't necessarily tell us if its good.  Sometimes you get the best looking apple that is just pithy and sour.  No fair!

6.  Technology - This is a horribly unfair thing in life that has really only afflicted us with it's crooked dealings recently.  It seems that every time we buy and learn new technology it gets replaced with something 'better'.  The one I had, well that's no longer really useful at all.  Even though 3 years ago it was the peak of it's advancement.  Just once I'd like to be able to use some technology until it wears out instead of have to replace it because it's simply no longer useful.  No fair!

5.  People - We are taught from a young age to share and play fair for the most part.  The truth is, people are inherently unfair in their tastes.  Lets look at pop music v.s. any specific music that you tend to like.  Pop music is universally decried as crap by people and yet it is what sells the most.  Meanwhile the 'good' music you like is there only because of the bullheadedness of the artists.  Of course we are talking about individual taste.  On a more difficult note people often lie cheat and steal.  It's who we are.  We are unfair.  Hopefully, we try individually to be more fair and thereby make the world a little better place.

4.  Traffic Fines - This isn't universal, but Traffic tickets don't really seem to be fair at several points during their application.  Depending on the infraction it seems that the law is being applied unfairly at the start.  Some people always get the ticket and some people get out of the ticket.  Then you get this arbitrary fee based on your infraction based on the city you are in.  This is not fair because the money you need to pay may or may not be a deterrent to the law you've broken.  Lets take speeding.  I speed.  You speed.  We all speed.  Some people don't and they usually clog traffic with their constant law adherence.  When we get a ticket the fee will remain the same for everyone that broke the law.  Well if I'm a millionaire paying a 250$ fine is not much more than an annoyance.  If i'm a single mother of 4, that ticket is going to really hurt.  So what we are saying by our traffic penalties is that we want to keep the poor safe?  I guess that's noble, though inadvertently so.   Some states and countries actually make your speeding ticket a percentage of your income.  now THAT would hurt in the same fashion no matter who you are.  But it's still no fair.

3.  Cellphones - These aren't fair to people with fat fingers.

2.  Rebates - I hate rebates, they are very unfair.  For those of you that have shopping done for you, a rebate is a way to discount a product, but not really.  You buy something at full price and then you take the rebate certificate and study it.  After careful study, you will find that you need Proof of purchase as well as your receipt (another proof of purchase) and a picture of the store that you bought it from.  A picture of you opening the product so we can see that it was used and not resold on ebay.  A link to ebay with that item at the time you sent in the rebate showing that you didn't sell the item on ebay.  A ridiculously large manila envelope with environmentally friendly adhesive in which to post all of these items.  THEN,  send all of these things in to the rebate fulfillment department that is usually somewhere in New Mexico postmarked no later than 15 days but not before 7 days from the date on your receipt.  Between 4 and 20 weeks you can expect your rebate to be denied for some reason.  The most likely reason being that they didn't want to pay it in the first place and now it's too late to try to get your money so you will hopefully give up.  Otherwise, you will get your 4 dollar rebate on that crate of facial tissues.

1.  Working for the man - If you are self employed, just think of this as a top 9 list.  If you work for someone though, you should understand that as good as the company is that you are working for, they are paying you less than the money they make from your services.  Sometimes a LOT less.  There are those that would argue that since you have the security of a regular paycheck, you will accept less in payment.  That would be true if your job were TRULY secure.  The last 5 years have shown us that no job is particularly secure.

A new year dawns.  I really can't believe I've written this blog for as long as I have, but reading the last couple of entries, it seems to be rather apparent.  Keep reading!  tell your friends!  Thanks!!!  And Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

10 things Christmas Isn't

Ho ho here we are again.  A year has past and now we are quickly approaching the penultimate holiday of the year.  For some reason I've always considered New Years to be a part of the prior year. That's probably just me or maybe it was just an excuse to use the word penultimate.  As an adult, a lot of things change, certainly Christmas. This year I'm going to look at what Christmas probably isn't.  Please note that this list is more of an observation of what Christmas isn't for a lot of people and not just me.  These things do not necessarily fall in common with my own experience.  I still like Christmas.

10. Genuine - Christmas is a lot like Disneyland.  It's got a lot of attractive things about it that aren't really true.  Since this whole list is about what X-mas isn't this would probably be obvious.  But it's a little more than that.  When you are a kid, Christmas is a different place all together.  It's full of delights both vulgar and sublime.  As you become an adult, you realize that Christmas has sold out to everything everywhere.  It's used as the shill to get you to part with some of your hard earned cash.  It started with Coke and that new fangled Santa Clause that we now see as the advertising icon of the Holiday.  But it's more than that.  I don't think there is a Christmas carol that hasn't been re purposed for the sale of goods and services.  I don't blame people for trying to make a buck, but still.

9.  Charitable - Ok Mark, now you're just being snarky.  Christmas is the most charitable time of year!  Yes it is, but with that it becomes the least.  You see.  Once again there are times that we encouraged to give and donate through some money grubbing enterprise that would like you to remember them and their product as you donate.  Even under the guise of giving to the needy we give our money to those who are looking to profit from the season.  There are areas of Christmas that appear to be charitable, but really should be all year round and not just for Christmas.  Look at it this way, there are people that are chronically hungry all year round.  Giving them a feast on Christmas might not be as charitable as giving them a sandwich over a longer period of time.  On this wise, I would point out my own wife, who is one of the most charitable people I know.  Her willingness to help is extraordinary.  My willingness to help is usually much more pedestrian unfortunately.

8.  A particularly happy time for people - I remember hearing that there are more suicides around the holidays.  I don't really know if that's true and I don't really care.  I do know that for many people, the holidays just underscore their loneliness.  Now lets turn to the family.  If you are an adult at Christmas, it's a time that increases pressure for you to either go into debt, or find extra funds for the holidays.  Charity and warm feelings don't grow on trees you know.  Bottom line, it takes effort to be happy.  Happy doesn't just happen to you.  If you don't go to the trouble, you probably won't be happy.  The season doesn't really matter, it just accentuates it.  Not really my own feeling, I still like it, I just know it's out there.

7.  WARM - Unless you live in the southern hemisphere, Christmas means cold.  It is the solstice after all.  Now if you are giddy and all into the holiday, you actually welcome the cold, it's fun and it reminds you that Christmas is coming and all the fun that it is!  Or it just reminds you that things are going to get a lot more cold before they get warmer.  This isn't a bad thing as you approach the equator.  I remember living in Arkansas and sure it would get colder, but it wasn't a big deal.  You just hoped it was cold enough to stop school from molding your brain for just one day.  This of course holds no weight at all in Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa.  It's probably the hottest time of the year for them.  Which just adds to the weirdness.

6.  Productive - The effort you put into your holiday is usually subtracted from the amount of effort you put into work.  This isn't always true.  Some people don't have the luxury to relax their productive intensity during the holiday, but it does seem the month of longer lunches, extended time off and office slacking in general.  This time of year is really less productive because the time that you normally would spend on the projects of your life, you are now spending in merriment.  Now before I get the arguments of 'hey what's wrong with a little merriment?' Heaven knows that I'm the first to make that argument.  I'm simply saying that Christmas is not really a time of great productivity not only because of the holiday, but because when it gets cold we get less motivated to move.

5.  An entitlement program - The meaning of Christmas is not to become an entitlement program.  What I mean by this is when kids say things like 'Well if you get me that, that can be my Christmas'.  This presupposes that they not only will be getting something, but it needs to be within a certain range of value.  Christmas spirit could not be further from that sentiment.  I will refer you to my gift giving blog entry for more of an idea of what gift giving is about in my opinion.

4.  Peaceful - We wish peace, but with all of the extra things that are happening in our lives, there is likely not a less peaceful time of year.  If you doubt my supposition, just go hang out at a Walmart on black Friday.  The 4 horsemen wouldn't go in there.  They would put off Armageddon to some time in February.

3.  A Surprise - As Children, Christmas is a time of surprise overload.  everything is strange and awesome.  As an adult you understand that someone has to set up those surprises.  That realization is at it's most stark when you are building your kids first bike and you flashback to the first BIG gift you got from Santa (mom and dad) and why mom and dad seemed to be so tired.  It all makes sense but you wouldn't trade any of it.  Besides. there are really very few surprises that are welcome as an adult.

2.  Helpful for weight loss - Man people on a diet are a noisy whining bunch.  So if you are on a diet like I am, you look forward to Christmas with dread and excitement.  I don't fool myself into thinking that I will be staying on my diet during the holidays.  On the other hand, I don't want to loose the ground that I've gained through diligent caloric concentration. Nothing that is created as a holiday treat is good for you.  If it is good for you, it sucks. The meals around Christmas are more or less Thanksgiving minus.  This doesn't bring into account the people dropping off holiday goodies for you to eat as well.  No wonder Santa looks the way he does.  I guess nobody claims Christmas is helpful for weight loss, but sometimes it's hard to come up with 10 things.

1.  It's not the actual Birthday Of Jesus - Now I don't know this for CERTAIN, but since the holiday itself was a nod to pagans I would assume that the actual birthday came about at a different time.  For some people this is a really big deal, so I will not mention the MANY dates that are attributed to Jesus' birth and there are a bunch of them.  I will only say that the Christmas card with the camels walking across a snow covered desert might not have been accurate on several counts.

Don't get me wrong, Christmas is still a lot of fun and I love the holiday.  Just trying to come up with something different for the holidays.

As a special holiday gift to you:

Sometimes the best thing about Christmas is goofy kids.

I wish all the best of the season and a happy new year.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

10 ways to utilize pancakes

I'm not a fan of Pancakes.  I am, on the other hand, a fan of crepes.  Pretentious?  possibly.  Elitist? Maybe.  For some reason I just don't like how puffy Pancakes are.  I can't eat more than 2.  Crepes on the other hand I could eat for a really long time.  YUMMMMM.  They are the same you say?  Clearly not.  But I don't mean to malign the poor pancake.  There are many uses for them.  Wait, I've got 10 right here!

10.  Concrete patch.  -  Yeah, the weather can be trouble.  Especially when you are in a temperate zone.  All that hot and cold going on really plays hob with the concrete and asphalt.  It's only a matter of time before potholes show up.  Whip up a batch of Pancakes and Bingo!  Smooooooth Drivin.

9.  Frisbee - How could this not happen?  Easy to throw, easy to catch, doesn't hurt if you miss and it hits you in the head.

8.  Simulated Eclipse - Hold up that bready breakfast against the sun and you can see the corona.  Perfect for picture taking.  Afterward add maple syrup and your corona block becomes a filling snack.

7.  Movie Manhole Cover - Remember in Superman II?  Those wierd disco clad goons from the negative zone broke out (thanks to an errant nuclear blast) to terrorize earth?  In one scene the bad chick (Ursula) chucked a manhole cover at Supes (The Late Christopher Reeves) and he got plowed.  Of course that cover wasn't real.  It was probably Styrofoam.  Well, pancakes are more biodegradable.

6. Invading Pancakes! - Speaking of movies.  apparently MOST sightings of UFO phenomenon are in fact linked to fraud.  GASP!  I really find that hard to believe.  But if you want to pile on.  Spray paint a pancake silver and chuck it while your friend takes a few pictures.  It will be so organic looking that all the fancy computerized analysis will not know what to think!  Congratulations, you have perpetrated the first flapjack based fraud.

5. Oil Spill?  No Problem - Have you noticed that pancakes don't let syrup pour over it until it is completely saturated?  I rest my case.  Those pancakes on TV don't count.  A.  that's not really syrup, B. Those aren't really pancakes. 

4. Coasters! - Unsightly rings on that coffee table be gone!  whip up a batch of smallish pancakes and laminate em! Well I'm sure you could make something like that out of some resin.  But in a pinch...maybe?  I guess not.

3.Cheap dinner meal.  -  So you've got a bunch of people coming over?  Whip up a batch of pancakes and bang.  They will be full in moments and you will not have to part with much green.  Unless of course you are offering REAL maple syrup.  YIKES that is some expensive stuff.  Of course you could just go with the traditional pancake for!

2. Makeup for those fearing age.  - Everyone talks about pancake makeup.  I've never actually been exposed to much makeup.  So after doing some research, a pancake makeup is a foundation that covers like a coat of paint and is used for covering blemishes and more importantly Tattoos!  consequently it is completely NOT edible. 

1.  A serving plate for Bacon - Bacon is one of the great meats ever to be found in nature.  I'll probably come up with a bacon themed blog.  Many times pancakes are the bridesmaid to this meaty bride, and ever would it be so.  so how about a plate that looks like a pancake that you put your bacon on?  Perfect.

It has become obvious that this blog is getting harder to write.

See ya in 15.