Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Bernie or Bust - Trump's Terrible But Hillary's Worse?

I would rather have Donald Trump as president than Hillary Clinton, and no I'm not kidding!

I've told a few different people this and every time they look at me like I have a second head growing out of my neck. Immediately they ask incredulously, "So you're voting for Trump if Hillary wins the nomination!?!?" Uh...no. But I'm also not bastardizing my vote for a woman who is certain to continue the subversive oppression she, her family, and her friends have guided the Democratic party to support over the past 30 years. I'm voting Bernie Sanders for President NO MATTER who wins the primary. I believe that he (BY FAR) is the best candidate for President, and I'm not the type to vote for the lesser of two evils just because they have the best chance of winning (according to who?). Further, I believe the notion Hillary is favored is simply because her friends (read: millionaire/billionaire club) control the conversation through their media outlets and super pacs, and that Bernie Sanders, due to his ability to rally liberals and independents alike, has the best chance of winning against a Republican counterpart . Those nuts have gone so far off into their own bigotry that self-respecting, intelligent Republicans must want nothing to do with them (this is an assumption, but I mean really, any republican that isn't lying to themselves must cringe at all of this hate rhetoric, right Jeb?)

When I consider this election's place in history, it will say a lot about the path this country takes going forward. As things look today, we have 3 front runners for nomination in the two parties: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

Bernie Sanders - If Bernie Sanders wins, it will further embolden progressives nationwide, priming for an extremely disappointing congress to see massive turnover in the 2018 mid-terms. Bernie, building off what the Obama administration has done, will continue to urge individuals to demand change instead of solely relying on the legislative process. He will try to redistribute our tax dollars from death (war, prisons, pharmaceuticals, fossil fuels) to life (healthcare, infrastructure, education). He will likely succeed in some areas and fail in others, but that will depend on how beholden to corporate interests the Democratic party remains. If he's able to overturn Citizen's United, however, that will go down as one of the most equalizing pieces of legislation ever and will help neutralize the corporate governing class. As a result of Bernie's policies, the general populous will be smarter, healthier, and better employed.

Donald Trump - If Donald Trump wins the Presidency, and he's serious about his rhetoric, he'll likely try to build a massive wall against Mexico (because that worked so well for the USSR) and go to war with Iraq/Iran/ISIL AND North Korea. He'll cut top tier tax rates, arrest undocumented immigrants (and documented ones), outlaw gay marriage, increase incarceration rates, deregulate everything, and just basically shit on everyone that's not wealthy. Just like after George W. Bush stole two elections, the country of progressives will come out and vote for a progressive champion like Elizabeth Warren. It will represent the fluctuations over the fight for power between the wealthy elite and the masses. It will also invigorate the flows to the ballots at mid-terms to transition congress. Supreme Court appointment(s) would be the major long-term risk here.

Hillary Clinton - While I believe Trump would be a greater harm to this country in the short term, for long-term destruction look to Ms. Hillary for that one. Michelle Alexander, Cornel West, and Amanda Girard have already penned wonderful breakdowns of why both Hillary AND Bill Clinton have been bad news for black folks, so I won't rehash all of that here. But it's important to realize what is happening in the Democratic Party. While they speak about having liberal, progressive aims, in practice they're getting massive donations from Wall St., Big Pharma, Private Prisons, Fossil Fuels, etc., and legislating so that these massive companies and wealthy individuals can continue to profit off of our economy while not contributing their fair share into it (outsourcing, tax evasion, etc.). This is why Hillary Clinton is so dangerous. She will fool a large portion of of the country into thinking she's working for them while she's really just working for the benefits of a few. It's the same goal as the Republicans have, just cloaked in progressive rhetoric. Our country has been part of the fervor growing world-wide against corporate/wealthy control. Occupy Wall St. and the Tea Party were both formed as a result of the Western World's banking-led economic recession and distrust in our Government's allegiances. Hillary, a long time supporter of all things corporate, is capitalizing off of the successes of President Obama (the same guy she ran a dirty campaign against 8 years ago) and Bernie Sanders amongst progressives, and trying to shape herself as one. Unfortunately for her, we have the internet for all that. But if she wins, I fear that the fire that is pushing us to elect someone like Bernie Sanders will be smothered in complacency for at least the next 4-8 years of her presidency (and possibly longer if this rejuvenates the Republican Party). We will fall back into the same traps that Democrats set up for us in the 90s to create an astoundingly large prison population, pockets of warring activities all over the world (much caused by forced regime change), deregulation of banking, etc. Complacency has been our greatest barrier to self-determination for decades since the Hippies, Panthers, Freedom Fighters, et al last fought for our freedom, and a Hillary Clinton presidency will just be another in the line to exacerbate that. The progressives and independents will be dejected by knowing the closest thing we have to a "liberal machine" is still beholden to corporatist establishment ideals, and the rest of the party (the ones ok with the new democratic party) will feel confident having voted in the first black President followed up by the first woman President, and will fall back into complacency, just like Democrats tend to do at mid-terms, priming us for yet another oppressive, regressionist Republican Congress.

All-in-all, it comes down to if you're going to believe a corrupt media when they tell you who to vote for. Are you going to continue the cycle of destructive, corrupt, complacent, subversive political appointments because the opponent is too scary? Or are you going to tell both sides of the coin that we're done falling for their shit. We've figured out the game: Heads they win, Tails we lose. This time, though, are you gonna flip their coin again or will you bring your own?

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Mind And Addiction

I just finished the second half of a #StuffedAvocado I brought home from the restaurant on Tuesday night. After finishing the last morsel, I said aloud to myself, "that was SO good!" And I think about how that's my reaction every time.

20-30 minutes before finishing my lunch I found myself resigning to the fact that I'm not gonna go out in the snow for food even though I "feel like I want something with bread in it, and I don't really want a stuffed avo right now..."

I've been cutting out sweets from my life lately, but I constantly find my mind telling me how much I want a snack.

The more research I do into the food that I eat, the more I learn about things like pleasure centers, chemical receptors, and the functionality of the brain. It's public knowledge so it's easy to come across wide swaths of analysis on the data, and after a time, you find your research intertwining with drug research. It's natural for it to take this course since so many drugs are chemicals synthesized from plant matter: Cocaine from Coca; Heroin, Opium and Morphine from Poppey; Aspirin from Willow.

When I was in high school I read Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle." A story about life for immigrants in a big city around the turn of the 20th century working in meat processing plants in Chicago. It harkened back to learning about Robber Barons - the industrial giants who forced slave-wages/conditions on the masses by controlling oligopolies in their industries through financially leveraging politicians to control public policy.

I remembered that throughout history it has been shown that corporate and public interests are often not aligned. In a capitalist society the main goal of a corporation is to run as efficiently, and thereby as profitably, as possible. This means that if the head of a corporation is ONLY concerned with fulfilling their duty to the company, when a subject arises that is good for the company but bad for anyone (or everyone) else, they will choose in favor of the company. For example: if a food company is researching plant matter and finds out that adding a certain kind of sugar to their batter will trigger chemical receptors in the brain that control cravings and thereby make the consumer crave it once they've tried it, but that same sugar does not metabolize properly and turns rapidly into fatty tissue, the food company exec will move forward with the added sugar so as to protect the profitability of the company, despite the negative effects of the product.

So as I finished my stuffed avocado, I thought back to how certain I was that I wanted some bread, maybe a snack, and that my avocado wouldn't be satisfying. I sat, overwhelmed with a feeling of satisfaction from my meal, trying to remember this feeling so I could start to reprogram my synapses. It's amazing the hold these foods have on me. I can physically feel the craving, but as I continue to acknowledge them I believe they'll continue to be undone.

Monday, December 2, 2013

M seeking W seeking M

From September 30, 2013
DLIH Original Post

Dating advice is like a sphincter, everyone has one but no one else wants to hear it. That being said, I’ve been asked to provide you with my own little brand of finger-farts so bear with me. I’ve dated a few women in my life - some for years, some for days, some for a couple hours - and in that time I’ve come to certain conclusions as they pertain to well know axioms. “Opposites attract, NEVER date someone that’s just like you, it’s bound to fail.” This is an old one that people seem to adhere to, despite the obvious limitations in and of itself. Hollywood friggin loves it. The Odd Couple, Along Came Polly, all the 90’s “you can’t turn the geek into the prom queen” movies, and countless others throughout time center around this premise alone. Hell, even Jesus fell for it with Mary Magdalene. In real life, Penny doesn’t even consider considering Leonard… well, that is until his research allows him to spin off from the university to create a super-powered something or other that he sells to (Insert Big Company Here) for XX millions of dollars. It’s not because Leonard is a short and non-typically-handsome-looking (read: ugly…well, Hollywood ugly), it’s because they have nothing in common. I mean, we all know ugly people date attractive people all the time, we see them at school, in the street, every morning when we wake up if you’re Blue Ivy…but if you have nothing in common with someone, how could you spend significant amounts of time with them? There’s another old proverb that tends to be used often and pretty much amounts to the diametric opposite to “Opposites Attract” and I think this is where things truly lie: Birds of a feather flock together. There have even been studies to test this theory, and (SPOILER ALERT) people of similar personalities prefer each other over people with different personalities. And this isn’t just a romantic thing, people tend to become friends with others of similar personality. I mean, logically it just makes sense. And the funny thing is, similarity in personality traits doesn’t just predict initial attractiveness, it’s also a good indicator of future happiness and marital stability. So when you’re out at the bar unsuccessfully try to hide the obsessive way you’re trying to rub the water mark in the wood into oblivion, I’d suggest you not give your number to the guy that didn’t brush his hair, has spaghetti sauce on a shirt that is misbuttoned, and just picked food out of his teeth with someone else’s used straw and instead go for the guy at the other end of the bar who’s unsuccessfully trying to hide the obsessive way he’s picking at the label that just won’t come off his beer. (for more on this, visit www.psychologicalscience.org/media/myths/myth_27.cfm)

“If you want to know what she’s going to look like in 20 years, just look at her mom/grandma.” This one is a funny one, but it is half true. It’s funny because we (men) try so hard to simplify things. In this case it’s a simplification that’s A) vain, B) wildly lazy and C) basic. The way this should go is by simply adding, “or dad/grandpa” to the end of it. If you paid one ounce of attention to Biology class in 9th grade (or are an adult that isn’t void of brain activity) then you’d know that, save a few dominant traits here and there, we are made up of ½ mom and ½ dad. Therefore, if you’re dating a girl whose mom is 5’5” shaped like a pear, dad is 6’1” shaped like a pencil, and is 5’11” shaped like a palm tree, chances are she won’t be “pearing out” in 20 years. I imagine this is the case for men as well, but I’ve never cared enough to think about it…so…

“The way to a man’s heart is though the kitchen and the bedroom.” This one is just true. If you aren’t sure you’ve got him in your clutches then this is a great way to solidify your position. It works on women too. Now, I’m not saying this is all it takes, but if you’ve already determined that you’re of similar personalities and you’re attracted to their parents…hold on, what?...then laying it down in the bedroom and in the kitchen is like the scotch guard for the couch that is your relationship.

Pascal is an experienced “woman dater” and has had sex with at least 4 and ½ women in his life. His life experiences have been studied by real scientists and it has been determined that he is what is known as “the average guy” so when he writes about stuff it can be assumed that it is par for the course with all other guys. He is the author of such works as: this article ; my last article; my next article; The Gettysburg Address

Intro To...The Dreaded Wedding Speech

From April 21, 2013
DLIH Original Post

Last summer my sister asked me to give a congratulatory speech at her wedding. It was a request that I honestly forgot about until the day before was at the same time honored and feared. When I was going through the process I wanted to stay true to myself so I tried to keep the mood light. The majority of the development took place in my head; I had no interest in altering a speech from the internet. If you’re really busy like I was having trouble figuring out where to start, however, those databases are the easy way out a good way to see what other people have done, what their tone was, etcetera. Just don’t forget that the couple wants to hear from you, if they wanted to hear from someone else, they would have asked someone else. Remember, though, this doesn’t have to be the Gettysburg Address. I tried to think of how my sister had changed now that she was getting married. Her entire life she had just been my mean older sister. I thought of how all of a sudden she was happy all the time. Over time I realized these were aspects I could draw from. This perspective would be a bit deprecating to my sister (that’s expected from her little brother, right?), but would show how her wife had made her a happier person. It would allow me to toss a couple jokes into the mix, as I am wont to do, and would strike home with everyone that knew my sister when she was younger. Remembering how she used to be, everyone could then think about their own personal moment. That time when my sister made them chuckle. When she made them shake their head, or when she made them break down on the floor in fits of laughter. That time she got drunk and smacked the mailing list out of the girl’s hand at that concert. I wanted to tie her life as it was - into her life as it is, and will be. This was where I began to speak of my relationship with my sister-in-law. This was more-so spoken to her than to everyone else. A couple of days The day before heading upstate to start wedding activities, I took out a pad and began to put my thoughts on paper. I tried to think as if I was just talking to a couple of friends about why I was excited to see my sister getting married. Hell, I had been gushing about it for months anyway, I was an old pro at it by now. I ended up tossing a couple of iterations before coming up with something I liked. It was light, excited, and short. I hate long-winded speeches when I’m waiting to get drunk congratulate the newlyweds. I made sure to remind people why we were there and ended it with an invitation to drink. A few laughs, the clinking of glass, and a walk back to my seat and it was over. In all, it ended up being successful because I spoke from my heart and tried to stay true to who I was. And I kept it short. There’s nothing worse than having to pretend to like someone’s boring speech as they drone on for 10 minutes.

Intro To...The Super Bowl Party

From January 27, 2013
DLIH Original Post

Super Bowl Sunday, this year, will be on February 3rd. 32 teams tried, and 30 teams failed, to get to this last game of the season. While I’m disappointed my New England Patriots didn’t show up for the second half of the AFC Championship game – the game that determined which team from the AFC (there are two conferences in the NFL: NFC and AFC) would make it to the Super Bowl – the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers are both damn good teams and we should be in for a treat. If you’re not really sure how to conduct yourself at a Super Bowl party, I have a few tips for you.

Don’t ever stand in front of the TV. Ever. If you have to walk in front of it to get somewhere, hasten your pace and try to position yourself in an uncomfortable, Quasimodo-esque, hunched position to show that the last thing you want to do is make people miss the commercial. Keep in mind I say commercial because if you try to walk in front of the screen when the game is on, you’re liable to get shot.

Speaking of commercials, if you somehow don’t already know, the Super Bowl is as much for the game as it is for the advertising. This year, the average cost for a 30-second commercial slot went for $4 Million. Compare this to $1 Million for an Olympics slot, $500k for the same slot on Sunday Night Football and $142k overall on average. It was here that all the best commercials of the last 20 years have been debuted. Remember the “Bud”-“Weise”-“Errrr” frogs? Super Bowl. Tiny-Vader uses the force to start dad’s car? Super Bowl. 1984styled Apple Computer commercial? Super Bowl. So don’t go out of your way trying to see them all, but it’s ok to sit and watch, they can be pretty good.

Now, you’re there to watch the game, of course, so the best way to do this is by rooting for one of the teams. It doesn’t matter how you choose who to root for. You can root for the team everyone is going for, or the one nobody is going for. Pick the uniform you like the most, but by picking a team you will find yourself more engrossed in the game. It will also get you interacting with everyone else. You can rib the other team’s fans and celebrate with yours.

Bring something to the party. Generally, a 6-pack will suffice, but everyone loves when the one guy with the amazing guac shows up. If you have a great recipe for a casserole, or artichoke dip, this is an ideal time to bring it out. One year, my buddy’s girlfriend brought peanut butter brownies…I need to find out where she is these days.

Most importantly, though, is pace yourself. Some parties start around noon but the game doesn’t even start until 6:30. If you start taking shots at 1:30 you might find yourself under the table and dreaming by kickoff. Try to stick to beer, if you can, and spread your drinks out with water/juice/food. It always sucks when you don’t even remember what happened in the game, so stay classy, San Diego, and remember that you have work the next day.

Lastly, If your team wins the big game and you end up at the celebration parade, don’t be this chick…

Intro To...Your Work Holiday Party

From December 16, 2012
DLIH Original Post

The most important thing you must remember about your holiday party is that, while this might be, in theory, your party, that’s still your boss standing in the corner. I was talking to a buddy the other day, and he was recounting a story from a holiday party from a couple years ago. He was working for a large corporation that had a lot of recent grads in its ranks. One guy decided that, it being the holiday party and all, he would not worry about how much he was drinking. At the end of the night…well, his night at least, he was seen body-surfing down the escalator face first…not on purpose. I’ve never met you before, but I’ll make a bet you don’t want to be that guy.

So yes, this party is your party. The holiday party, at least in its original intent, is supposed to be a celebration to reward employees for their hard work. Have fun, this may be the only gift your company gives you. Chat with your coworkers, get to know their partners, in general, socialize. This is a great opportunity to get to know the people you work with, outside of work hours. Your days are so filled with your normal routine, you might not get time to ask about who they really are. This is your chance. Depending on your boss, you might also be celebrating with some of your company’s closer clients. A holiday party is a great chance for your boss to make deeper connections with clients. You can schmooze too, but this is a party. If you’re going about talking business all night, everyone’s going to think you’re super boring and they won’t want to invite you out next time. Clients, who are using this as a nice chance to relax will resent you for wasting their night. Or, if you use this time to rail on your bosses, word will get back and you’ll lose your job. Don’t be afraid to chat, but remember that you have been drinking, most likely, so don’t get too personal. Alcohol does amazing things to your decision making ability and getting to know your coworkers and clients more intimately is a great opportunity to say something off color or insulting. Depending on who you say it to, this could also be a great opportunity to lose your job. To thine own self be true, Polonius says. I say you also have to know yourself. Know what your drink limit is, and stay well away from that. Since drinking can make you do things out of character, and this is an event where all your bosses are absorbing every move you make, just don’t over-do it and make yourself look like someone they’d probably rather not have at the next company function. This also goes into another side effect of alcohol: flirtiness. No matter what level you are in the company, you don’t want to be seen as the creepy guy from HR, or the slut from accounting. For guys, sexual indiscretions can be a quick trip to unemployment, or even a court room. For girls, they often end in sullied reputations and a diminishing trust of decision making abilities. Either way, just remember that this is a work event (no, I can’t say it enough times), not a night club. The decisions you make are being seen by everyone.

Take advantage of your holiday party, it should be a fun time you share with your coworkers to celebrate all the hard work you’ve put in over the last 12 months. It’s a time to strengthen your bond with them and their families. This is an opportunity for your bosses to see you in a new light, and you might even make a good impression on some of your higher-ups and clients. Just remember that this is still a work event so conduct yourself as such. Have fun, just not too much fun, and have a happy holiday.