Happy Freakin' Whatever.

In an effort to be more inclusive of other's religions, I have now resorted to the saying the title of this post during the "Holiday Season."

On a serious note. I sincerely hope that everyone is able to achieve some joy, no matter how small, out of the season. I hope that no matter what our various beliefs are, that we can take this time out of the year to see each other not as being different, but as being the same and that we can spread some peace, hope, and most importantly love during this "Holiday Season."

Gift of Light.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 3:40 PM 1 comments  

Raising awareness of the homeless.

As a foreword, I have recently gotten into photography. I use a Kodak C633 point & shoot digital camera. I also post my photos on Flickr. Recently, I joined a group on Flickr called Vagrants. The purpose of this group is to raise awareness of homelessness around the world.

Here are some of my better shots of the homeless:

Vagrants - I just want a hot dog Vagrants - Back on the street

Vagrants - A portrait of Nobility Vagrants - Trash Picking

Click on any picture for a larger version.

I know that a lot of time panhandlers can be annoying or even frightening. I also know that there are people out there who are preying upon the good nature of others, but there are also people with genuine needs out there. So, please donate to one of these groups, or to your local church.

Homeless Advocacy Project: link
National Coalition for the Homeless link
National Interfaith Hospitality Network (Family Promise) link

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 11:03 AM 1 comments  

Visa: An exercise in marketing B.S.

Visa, who has it's roots in California in the late 1950's, has grown to be one of the largest credit companies in the world. The marketing department of the company has made several commercials. These commercials range from the familiar "VISA. It's everywhere you want to be." to "Life takes VISA." Notice the not-so-subtle transition from VISA saying "Hey we are a credit card that is accepted at a butt-load of places." to "You can't live without us."

However, VISA's latest series of commercials is frankly disturbing. Most of them involve elaborately choreographed routines in which we see an assembly line of people moving around in a cafeteria or some other daily activity. Everything is going along great until one person stops to pay with cash. Everything comes to a screeching halt and all of the customers give the offending payer dirty looks. Even the cashier looks disdainfully at the non-VISA method of payment. Here are some things that need to be said:

  2. Any cashier that looks at you dirty when you pay deserves to be fired.
  3. Visa thinks that you are stupid.

In fact, the only truthful ad that VISA has is their "Flower Shop" ad which depicts the same choreographed routine in which a woman paying with a check disrupts the flow:

Here are some things to remember if you are paying with a check:
  1. Always have the check and your register filled out in advance so that all that you have to fill in is the amount! Spend your time in line filling out the check, not looking at the tabloids.
  2. Have you driver's license or ID number printed on your checks as well as your phone number. Your bank can do this for you, usually for no cost at all.
  3. In addition to #2, if you know that a particular merchant wants you to have the expiration date of your ID on the check, write it on in advance.
The motto "Life takes VISA" indicates a big, messy, corporate wet-dream in which everyone has to pay with credit cards instead of actual money. It has long been a standing theme in Science Fiction literature, movies, and video games that the usual system of money has been replaced with "credits."

There are some people who believe that this is a sign of the End Days of the Apocalypse. According to the book of Revelations, Chapter 13, verses 16 and 17:
16 He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, 17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.
So, it would appear that VISA's supposed goal of a one-world currency composed of credits would actually be a sign of the Apocalypse.

Don't let the media B.S. fool you. Use cash and remember that the best way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 12:34 PM 1 comments  

Church Stuff That Pisses Me Off

What really gets me is that one particular church member. Usually they’re young. They start out in middle school or high school. They attend the youth group every Sunday night. You see them in church every Sunday morning. These are the people that always bright and fucking chipper. They are the ones that will ask you in their best feigned sincerity voice “How was your week? How is school going? Did you get that job that you applied for?” The run you through the usual gauntlet of inane questions to make it seem like they are interested in you. Watch these people outside of the church environment. See how they really treat “the least of these.” Once they get to about college age or have just graduated the hypocrisy gets worse. They will have a conniption fit if you have a beer with dinner on a mission trip, but will go back to their dorm the next week and get plastered with the frat or sorority du jour and then post the pictures on their MySpace page. These are the same people that will say “You shouldn’t do anything in your private life that you wouldn’t do on a mission trip. Like that’s sound advice. There’s got to be a list as long as my arm of things that I wouldn’t do on a mission trip, but that I would do every day. Pay my bills for one. Give my dog a bath for another. But those are inane examples. It would generally be frowned upon to have sex with your wife on a mission trip, but I’ll give it to the missus every day of the week back home.

The problem with these mission trips is that they try to take you out of your everyday, routine life and place you in an environment that is different from the normal so that you can focus on God and Jesus and being a Christian. What they really need to do is the exact opposite. They need to come into your everyday life and work on getting you to focus on all of those things while dealing with the stack of work on your desk, the guy at the drive –through complaining that he ordered the burger with onions and without mayo, the kids screaming constantly at home. That’s where these mission trips need to focus. Mission to the Middle of Your Life. Once the artificial high from your trip to repair broken houses and broken lives in Podunksville, Wherever wears off, you are still left with your broken life. Your broken house. Your broken soul.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 12:07 AM 0 comments