Maybe I'm an Asshole After All...

The other day I was watching one of those strange food shows where some guy goes to some exotic place and eats good that most Americans wouldn't. This show happened to be set in Saudi Arabia. During the course of the show, the host explained some of the things that the locals do for fun. Since it's an oil-rich nation, the gasoline costs less than $1 per gallon. Because of this, it is no problem for people to go riding over sand dunes in off-road vehicles.

As I watched this, at first I was outraged to see these people wasting gasoline when it costs so much here. I also felt a little bit hypocritical because I knew for so long that Americans had done the same things.

Then, as I thought about it more, my feelings changed. I realized that these people were using the natural resources of their country for the benefit of their people. If they had the resources to either produce or to purchase what they wanted, then I had no right to say that they could not use those resources in whatever way they saw fit.

Knowing this, I turned my thoughts to my own culture and realized that if Americans have the ability to produce and or buy food products to feed our people, then there is no problem whatsoever if I want to go to McDonald's to buy a hamburger and only eat half of it while there are people in this world that are starving.

Some people would say that there is a difference between gasoline and food, but I say that there is not. If the price of gasoline in America were to double tomorrow, then that would cause so many people here to be unable to afford to go to work. That would then cause them to be unable to purchase food.

If the United States is going to be held morally responsible for the feeding of other nations in the world because we have the ability to grow food, then OPEC nations should be held morally accountable for providing fuel assistance to countries as well.

Or maybe I'm just being an asshole.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 2:15 PM 0 comments  

What's the Big Deal about Creating a Black Hole?


The Large Hadron Collider at CERN was turned on this morning. Some people think that it might create a Black Hole that will swallow up the Earth. I say that's BS. Besides this LHC is old news to anyone who has read "Angels & Demons" by Dan Brown.

Besides, think about it this way. If if does create a black hole that swallows up the Earth, it will start right in the vicinity of France.

If you're still concerned about it, here is a link to the security cameras that they have at CERN.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 7:00 AM 0 comments  

French Taliban?

Before I even get started, let me say now that I am saddened by the death of the 10 French soldiers and I send my sympathies out to their families.

That being said, let's rip into some people...

Outrage has been sparked over a magazine spread in Paris Match magazine that shows Taliban soldiers "wearing French uniforms, helmets and using French assault rifles and walkie-talkies."

Personally, I think this is great. Our enemy is using French equipment? We'll have the whole country subdued by Christmas! Just like the old joke goes: "French rifle for sale. Never fired, dropped once." The person in the picture is holding a French FAMAS rifle.

All I have to say to the Taliban is:

Bon chance!

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 7:00 AM 0 comments  

The Drinking Age.

Recently, some of the presidents of universities and colleges got together to raise a debate on whether the legal age for drinking should be lowered from 21 years to 18 years old. Personally, I think that this is an excellent idea.


American culture has very Puritanical roots that run very deep. It is an indication of the longevity of the ideas that were around at the founding of this country that certain businesses are not legally allowed to operate on Sundays.

Part of this culture is treating alcohol as a taboo and shunning it instead of educating people about it. If people treat alcohol as something mysterious, then it will be a mystery to them. But if we allow people to experience alcohol at younger ages, then it takes away the wonder that it holds.

This, in turn, will lead to more responsible alcohol use. Take, for instance, the data on traffic fatalities from the EU and the United States for the year 2006. The data for the E.U. shows that there were about 40,000 traffic fatalities for 2006. Out of these 10,000 were alcohol related. (About 25%) The data for the U.S. shows that there were a little over 40,000 traffic fatalities for 2006. Out of these 17,602 were alcohol related. (About 41%)

Two similarly developed areas of the world had nearly the same amount of traffic fatalities. The difference is that in the area where alcohol is taboo, the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities is nearly double that of teh area where alcohol is accepted.

The answer is to treat adults like they are adults, but to educate them as well.

As I was reading up on this, I came across a "letter to the editor" in which the writer had several suggestions for alternatives for the college presidents. One of these suggestions was to raise the taxes on alcohol to "contribute to the excess costs of alcohol-related health consequences."

Why is it that for some people the only solution to a problem is to tax it? This course of action is tantamount to me suggesting that the government levy a tax on running shoes to defer the costs of broken ankles and other running-related injuries. The tax will not prevent people from drinking and will disproportionately affect people of lower incomes.

Education, not taxation is the key to safe alcohol consumption.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 7:00 AM 0 comments  

The Snowglobe Effect

I have a good friend who routinely goes through periods where she won't be with this guy that she likes. Then, she'll get back together with him. Everyhting will be nice and happy for a day or so and then she will go back to not being with him.

I call this the snowglobe effect. Every now and then she will shake up her life (i.e. get together with this guy) and things will be nice and happy like the snow swirling in the globe. Then things will settle down and everything goes back to the way it was.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 7:00 AM 0 comments  

NSFW - Hello Kitty Vibrator

WARNING: The links in this article and probably this article itself are NSFW. So, if you're reading this from work, expect a visit from those guys in HR with one of those pieces of pink paper that signify that you're going to have a lot of extra free time on your hands in the immediate future.

So the other day one of my female friends bought a Hello Kitty vibrator. The red one. At first we thought it was a knock off, until we got it to her house and saw the writing on the back that said Copyright Sanrio, Inc.

I understand that some people really like certain characters. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to an unnatural attachment to said character. (Look no further than furry fandom for verification of this.)

The fact that the parent company of the Hello Kitty franchise has gotten on board with this is interesting and slightly disturbing. I know that companies make money by supplying what people want and I support that. I still reserve the right to think that it is strange not only for people to demand this type of product, but for the company to supply it as something more than the ha-ha novelty factor.

For those of you out there who are interested in your own personal "Hello Kitty Vibrating Shoulder Massager" you can purchase it from JList.com. (The same site that I apparently borrowed the above image from.)

Weird. Just plain weird.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 7:00 AM 1 comments  

Get Well Soon, Dalai Lama!

On Thursday, the Dalai Lama was admitted to a hospital in India for stomach discomfort.

His last checkup, performed last month, indicated that he was in "perfect health."

A representative of the Dalai Lama said that he is exhausted from his hectic schedule and that he is fine.

I had the rare privilege of getting to see the Dalai Lama speak at UT Austin on September 20th, 2005. We were about 10 rows back on the stadium floor at the Erwin Center. It was a profound experience for me and one that I will always cherish.

I hope that the Dalai Lama has a speedy recovery and that he is able to return to spreading his message of Compassion, Religious Harmony, and World Peace.

Get well soon, Dalai Lama!

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 8:13 PM 0 comments  

When Recycling Goes Too Far...


OK, I know that recycling is a good thing. I don't think that it should be forced upon people, but I do think that it should be available to people who want to do so. (I used to live in an apartment in a city that did not have a recycling program for it's multi-family properties.) But I also think that sometimes there is a line that needs to be drawn when it comes to recycling. Especially when the product that is being recycled is used condoms.

Once more, China steps into the international spotlight for exposing its own people to unnecessary health risks. Never mind the lead in toys, this time it's herpes in hairbands. The one positive thing that can be said about this is that at least, to the best of our knowledge, none of the used jimmy-hat hairbands have been exported.

What I really want to know is who the hell came up with this idea? Who thought that it would be good to take condoms that people have actually used, as opposed to ones that don't pass QC, and turn them into hairbands?

This is what happens when you get fanatical about something. Even something as good as recycling. Everything in moderation.

All I can say is: Buy American.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 7:00 AM 0 comments  

Don't Nuke Texas

I know that the message that this group is trying to get across with their bumper sticker is urging politicians to not build nuclear power plants in the state of Texas, but the first time that I saw this sticker, I thought that they wanted to drop nuclear bombs on my state.

Granted they didn't want to bomb all of Texas, just the free parts. However, it so happens that all of Texas is free, and therefore I thought that they did want to bomb all of Texas. Honest mistake. But in case I have to say it explicitly:

DON'T NUKE TEXAS!

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 7:00 AM 1 comments  

Knoxville School Shooting was a Hate Crime

On Thursday, August 21st, 2008 Ryan McDonald was shot in the school cafeteria by Jamar Siler. Ryan was white Jamar was not. What I want to know is why the ACLU and none of the major news services are jumping on this for being a hate crime. Everyone who remembers the Jena 6 trials and the ACLU involvement there, should be wondering the same thing.

If hanging nooses in a tree, the incident that started off the race-based fights in Louisiana, is a hate crime, but 6 students of one race ganging up on another student of a different race is not, then surely a student of one race shooting a student of another race has to be.

What dismays me is that if the roles had been reversed, there would be outrage over this. While I understand that there are degrees of difference, please note that I do not condone any of the actions described above, but merely point them out as examples of the hypocrisy espoused by both sides when it comes to race-based legal issues.

I think that these unfortunate incidents highlight a need for a review of hate crime legislation. there needs to be concrete definitions of what is and what is not a hate crime. The double standards on both sides need to be eliminated so that instead of dividing people on these issues, they will bring us together.

Stop prosecuting under hate crime law, those crimes that are not actually hate crimes.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 5:51 PM 0 comments  

It's Called a Business for a Reason...

I have two jobs. One, as a security officer working at a state building. The other, working at a cigar shop inside of Ruta Maya. The cigar shop is a separate business from Ruta Maya. For some reason, certain customers of Ruta Maya seem to think that the prices marked on the products are negotiable.

There is one guy in particular, Shep, who is notorious for this. Furthermore, this guy tries to play all of the employees against one another. He'll say that one employee did something for him, so that means that you should too. He could get a discount if he paid for the $35 membership. (Membership gets you 10% off all purchases plus one free cigar up to $5 for eleven months out of the year and one free cigar up to $10 on your birthday month.)

This has been going on for some time now, but came to a head last night. At 5 minutes until closing time, he comes in, goes to the humidor and looks around. Then he grabs a cigar that costs $5.50 and comes to the counter and asks if I can sell him this cigar for $3. I tell him no. (Taking that much off the price of the cigar wouldn't just eliminate the profit, it would cut into the cost of the cigar.)

Then he tells me that there are no other cigars in the humidor in his price range. I tell him that we still have a particular cigar that he has smoked and that it is $2.99. His response is that we don't have the largest size of that cigar.

I have to admit that the sheer level of stupidity that his argument assaulted me with caused me to be stunned for a few seconds. I stared at him in disbelief. I told him again that I couldn't just take $2.50 off of the price of his cigar.

Next he tells me that one of the other employees sold him one of these cigars at that price because there weren't any of the size he wanted in his price range. (We'll call her D.) At this point I got mad. I told him that since my manager had not told me to give him any discounts, let alone taking nearly 50% off of a cigar, that I couldn't sell him that cigar at that price.

Finally, he said that he was going to call the manager and ask him if I could sell him the cigar at that price. I told him that was fine and turned back to working on pricing cigars.

Needless to say, the manager never called, and the parasite never got his deeply discounted cigar. It's called a business because the goal is to make money. To bastardize a quote from the movie 'Joe Dirt':

This is a business, not a charity. Maybe one day UNICEF will getinto the cigar business...but until then, we're the people to see.

UPDATE (08/201/2008)!!

Yesterday afternoon I told D. about what Shep had said to me and she was taken aback. Apparently she had helped Shep out of kindness and was appalled that he had abused that kindness. Apparently she and her husband had also helped him out once by buying him food. She said that she wasn't going to be doing anything nice for him again.

Then, later that evening, Shep came into the cigar shop trying to pull the same scam. D. told him that she couldn't sell him that cigar at the price that he wanted. She also walked through the humidor with him in order to make suggestions for a different cigar.

When he couldn't find any cigars that met his exacting standards, he got irate and started accusing D of being part of some conspiracy to "price him out of being able to purchase cigars." At this point D. had enough. She told him to get out and not to come back.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 7:17 AM 0 comments  

Watch this space!

I have decided to overhaul this blog. It goes for long periods withou being updated and then is flooded with a deluge of posts. Most of my posts are inspired by current events. Even then, it's only when I really feel like it. So, I'm going to try to start having regular posts. I'm thinking Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

According to my referrer tracker, there are a couple of things that people come to my site looking for. "How to be a Bastard" is one and there are others. I'm going to try to start pre-writing these posts and then posting them on the appropriate days.

I will still post on current events when they occur. I will also include posts from one of my other sites: "Crappy News Network" as I see fit.

In addition to the content overhaul, I'm going to be changing the look of the website.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 12:18 PM 0 comments  

Retardgate

I was going to stay out of the whole 'Tropic Thunder' debate, but then I came across an article by Tim Shriver on CNN.com. Mr. Shriver goes to great lengths to criticize the makers of the movie 'Tropic Thunder', but never once mentions that he has seen the movie himself. In fact, most of his vitriol seems to come from some of the marketing done for the movie.

In another article, representing the other side of the debate, a critic watched the movie to understand where the debated points of the movie fit into the larger context of the movie as a whole. This critic presented a much more informed viewpoint and stated that the film actually lambasted people who exploit the mentally challenged by portraying them in films in order to win awards.

While the article in favor of 'Tropic Thunder' is informative and brings up good points about the effectiveness (in some cases) of the MPAA rating system, it is actually Mr. Shriver's article that is the most interesting and sometimes enlightening on the debate.

For those of you who don't know, Mr. Shriver is the brother of Maria Shriver, who is the wife of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has also been the chairman of the Special Olympics for the past 11 years. This last fact is particularly interesting in light of the debate. Like it or not, Mr. Shriver has made a living off of mentally handicapped people for the past 11 years.

If you think about it logically, Mr. Shriver actually benefits from the mentally challenged not being a part of the greater society. If everyone treated the mentally handicapped like they were just like everyone else, then they would no longer be special. Their would be no Special Olympics because there would be no"special" people to compete in them.

Another interesting little fact that can be found on IMDB.com is how Tim Shriver executive produced the 2005 movie 'The Ringer' which starred Johnny Knoxville as a normal person pretending to be mentally handicapped so that he could compete in the Special Olympics. Apparently Mr. Shriver had no problems with people poking fun at the mentally handicapped as long as he was getting a percentage of the profits.

Furthermore, Mr. Shriver says in his article:

The degrading use of the word "retard" together with the broader humiliation of people with intellectual disabilities in the film goes way too far. When the R-word is casually bandied about and when bumbling, clueless caricatures designed to mimic the behavior of people with intellectual disabilities are on screen, they have an unmistakable outcome: They mock, directly or indirectly, people with intellectual disabilities. They perpetuate the worst stereotypes. They further exclusion and isolation. They are simply mean.
As I have already shown, this position is actually antithetical to Mr. Shrivers benefit, but he must keep up the appearance of being offended at the plight of the mentally challenged. Of particular note is the next to last line where he says that "They [stereotypes] further exclusion and isolation." If you look back at the last 20 major blockbuster movie releases, not one of them even remotely mentions or has an actor who is mentally challenged. Where is Mr. Shriver's outrage at the apparent exclusion of these "special" people by Hollywood?

When a movie finally comes along that actually brings up the issue, Mr. Shriver comes out with guns blazing, wanting us to "ban the r-word." Instead of taking it for what it actually is, the inclusion of people addressing the issue (even in parody form) of mentally challenged people, he wants people to belive that it is actually excluding them.

Furthermore, Mr. Shriver wants to curtail your free speech. I say that this is completely and totally unacceptable. Don't let one man's quest for keeping his job stand in the way of you enjoying yourself at movie that does more for bringing the issue of mental handicaps to the forefront of discussion than Mr. Shriver himself does.

UPDATE 08/25/2008:

I went and saw Tropic Thunder last night. It was great. I'm not normally a Ben Stiller fan, but the movie was very funny. The scene where they say retard lasted only about 2 minutes out of the entire film and they said the word maybe 5 times. Mr. Shriver needs to actually see the movie before he criticizes it.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 8:51 PM 0 comments  

I'm a bastard!

To go along with the "How to be a Bastard" series, I will include anecdotes of being a bastard whenever I can. This weekend, I had the opportunity to be an absolute bastard to the people who were fundraising for D.A.R.E. outside of a Wal-Greens by my house.

What happened is that I stopped by the Wal-Greens to pick up a soda on my way to work at the cigar shop. As I entered the store I saw the two women working the table and quickly ducked inside so that I wouldn't have to deal with whatever it was that they were doing. As I was leaving the store, the younger of the two women (about 25, kinda cute) called me over. She started giving me the spiel about the D.A.R.E. program and asking me if I had been in it. When I told her that they made me go through it when I was in school, she said that I qualified for a D.A.R.E. t-shirt. (It would only cost me a donation of $15 for one or $25 for two.)

Now remember that I work for a cigar shop. I politely explained that my income was derieved through the sale of tobacco products. All of these products contain nicoteine. Nicoteine is a drug. In the form that we sell it, nicoteine has no benefit to the user at all. Therefore, logically I make my money from people abusing a drug and their program runs contrary to my interests of staying gainfully employed.

Both of the women tried to counter my argument by saying that my company only sold tobacco to adults and that their program was for litttle kids. (I decided to leave out any arguments about hooking new smokers when they are young, and stick to how companies do business.) I told the women that the only reason why companies, including mine, don't sell to kids under the age of 18 is because the law forbids us from doing so. If there weren't a lw preventing it, then we would do it.

Apparently these two women thought that every company was guided by something called morals instead of profits because they took my statement to mean that I thought that kids should be allowed to smoke cigarettes (I don't think that anyone should be allowed to smoke cigarettes. Cigars yes, cigarettes no.) and asked em if this was the case. At this point, I decided to have a little bit of fun with them and show how the pro-choice argument can be subverted at the same time. I told both of them that I thought that each person had the right to choose what they do with their body. Apparently this still didn't sink in because they repeated their question of if I thought that kids should be allowed to smoke cigarettes. Again I repeated that I thought that each person should have the right to choose what they want to do with their body.

Since I knew that nothing that I said would change the minds of the two women, I chose to leave at that moment. As I was walking away I heard the older woman say "I think that's the most disturbing thing that I have heard all day." The younger woman replied "I want to cry."

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 8:00 AM 0 comments  

The Olympics

Once again it is time for the Olympics. The idea is that we stop fighting with swords, guns, and bombs and we compete by atheltic means. It is a time of brotherhood. A time of coming together. There is an image used in Visa's campaign with the two atheletes in the number 2 and 3 spots reaching across to touch hands in a gesture of unity.

But we all know what the Olympics really mean:

A GREAT EXCUSE TO RENT 'COOL RUNNINGS' AGAIN!


Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 7:51 AM 0 comments  

Windfall Profits Tax

A lot of talking has been going on about placing a windfall profits tax on large oil companies. Presidential candidate Barack Obama had this up on his website, Barackobama.com as part of his proposed energy policy:


Enact a Windfall Profits Tax on the Top Grossing Oil Companies and Ease the Burden on American Families: The oil industry has profited greatly—over $150 billion in 2007—due to global instability fueled by conflict in Iraq, failing domestic fiscal policies that have weakened the U.S. dollar and skyrocketing global demand resulting from a lack of investment in alternatives. Barack Obama supports imposing a windfall profits penalty on oil selling at or over $80 per barrel. Revenue from the proposal will be invested in a number of measures to reduce the burden of rising prices on families.

The problem with imposing any tax on a company is that the tax will immediately be passed on to the customer. This means that the ultimate goal of saving the consumer money will go right out the window. Another problem with this plan is that it will only cause companies to change their definition of profits. If $80/barrel is the limit, then the only thing that will happen is that companies will charge $79/barrel and have another $30 in associated fees and surcharges. Don’t believe me? Check your cell phone statement. Here is a section from my cell phone bill from Sprint:


Sprint Surcharges $9.44

Sprint Surcharges are rates we choose to collect from you to help defray costs imposed on us. Surcharges are not taxes or amounts we are required to collect from you by law. Surcharges may include: Federal USF, regulatory charges, administrative charges, gross receipts charges, and other charges incurred to recover costs associated with governmental programs. The amounts, and the components used to calculate Surcharge amounts, are subject to change.

Federal-Univ Serv Assess Non-LD $2.42
Texas State-Infrastructure Reimburse $1.30
Texas State-Margin Fee Reimbursement $1.00
Texas State-Univ Serv Assessment $3.77
Administrative Charge $0.75
Regulatory Charge $0.20
--------------
$9.44

If the cell phone companies impose surcharges to “defray costs” that are “associated with governmental programs,” then that means that it doesn’t matter how much the government wants to charge the companies, they will always pass it on to the consumer.

Any student who has had a basic economics course will know that taxing something is the worst way to lower the cost of that item. There are only two ways to lower the cost of an item: raise the supply of that item or lower the demand for it.

Here's a graph from this site to help illustrate my points:


As you can see, the dotted green line represents the supply of a given item while the solid red lines indicate the demand for that item. When the demand for this product increases from D1 to D2, the price of the item increases from P1 to P2. While it is basic economics, this graph is helpful in explaining the situation with oil because OPEC has said that it will not increase production, therefore we have a fairly static supply.
If we were to increase the supply of oil by drilling, it would move the supply line to the right, causing the points where it meets with the demand curve to be lower than they are now. This would cause the price to be lower.
If there is one thing that I want you to take away from all of this, it is:
"Placing a tax on something only increases the price of that item."

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 7:37 AM 0 comments  

How To Be A Bastard: Part 2

Welcome back to our second installment of "How to be a Bastard." The last time I told you to smoke a cigar on the one day that they wanted everyone to quit for the duration of. Today, I'm going to help you be a bastard on the elevator. Now, most of you are probably thinking "How can I be a bastard on the elevator?" It's simple. Be the 'One Floor Rider.' You know that person that is perfectly capable of walking up or down a flight of steps, but chooses instead to wait longer for an elevator and then only go up or down one floor.

Being this type of bastard is particularly annoying/effective during rush periods of the day: when everyone is getting to work, at lunch time, when everyone is leaving work. You just wait for a big group of people to get on the elevator and press the button for the bottom floor, and then you press the button for the next floor down.

To be even more effective, you can do one of several things. Call out the floor number to the designated button pusher. Make them go through the ignominy of pushing the button that will stop the elevator for you and delay them. Also, make sure to carry as little as possible with you whenever you are doing this. You don't want people to think that you have to use the elevator because you are moving something heavy.

Some of the more juvenile people out there might want to try to flatulate quietly before getting off on their floor as some sort of coupe degrace. Don't do that. You want to be a bastard here, not an asshole. Nobody likes assholes.

So, there you have it. Use this handy little technique and you will be a budding little bastard in no time. The glory of it is that you can use it at work, on vacation, anywhere that has three or more floors.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 11:49 AM 0 comments  

In a Quandary

Normally, I whole-heartedly support executions. I think that they should be used more often. Some people just don’t need to live. I could go through the whole ‘social contract’ defense of using the death penalty to remove people who have committed offenses against the rest of the society that they live in, but I’m not. Suffice it to say that I am pro death penalty.

However, yesterday my home state of Texas executed a Mexican national named Jose Ernesto Medellin. Medellin was convicted of being part of a gang rape and then murder of two young women in 1993. The girls were aged 14 and 16. He was 18.

On the one hand, I agree that he should be executed due to the nature of his crimes. He, along with others, violated two young women and then murdered those women. According to reports, he later bragged about the incident. Hearing this makes me irate to no end. There is that vindictive part of me that thinks that not only should he be put to death, but that Texas should go Keyser Söze on him.

But on the other hand, because he is a foreign national, who was not allowed consular access for the trial; it does not bode well for American citizens abroad who may be placed in similar situations. I know that if I were to be accused of violating the law in another country, I would want to be able to contact the American consulate.

I think that the major crux of the quandary for me is the difference in how “justice” is handled in different countries. I believe that Mr. Medellin was given a fairer trial here in the United States than an American in Mexico in the same situation would have been given. I don’t delude myself into thinking that his trial was 100% fair, but I think that it was fair enough. It would be nice if we could always be completely and totally certain of someone’s guilt or innocence, but we can’t. So we have to do the best that we can and try our hardest to be fair.

However, the entire world does not share this mindset with us. In some places, we are guilty because we are American, or because we do not believe their religion, or because we have more money. How then can we expect justice to occur for our people over there? Do we allow other countries to interfere with our legal system, so that we may offer the same protections to our citizens abroad? If so, where is the line drawn? Do we only allow observers? Lawyers for defense? Do we allow foreign governments to file appeals on behalf of their citizens in our courts? Personally I believe the line should be drawn at having foreign lawyers defending their citizens in our courts. Anything more than that would be substantial interference.

There are other issues at play in this case: whether the president can force states to abide by the terms of international treaties and whether or not cases like this should be resolved in the world court. However, I think that the main issue is reciprocity. Do we give consular access to defendants who are receiving better trials here so that we may have consular access to our citizens in places where the quality of trial they are receiving is extremely poor?

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 11:48 AM 0 comments  

Annoying People

You know who really annoys me? The person that really gets under my skin? Those people who are overly chipper in the morning. Its 7:30 and you’re trudging into work at the old cubicle farm, and this person is acting like they’re having a day at the beach. “Hi! How are you? Isn’t this great? Hi! Hi! Hi!” You know those bumper stickers that say “Some people are only alive because it’s illegal to kill them”? These are the people that those bumper stickers refer to.

The problem with these people is that they want you to believe that their enthusiasm is genuine. They want you to believe that they really like everyone. They need for you to believe it. The truth is that most of the time, these are self-serving little sycophants who are working to ingratiate themselves into whatever environment they are in. They have this desperate need to be part of the group without having spent the time or gone through the shared experiences that make a group cohesive.

The main problem that I have with this type of person is the hypocrisy that lies just beneath the surface. When you point out that they don’t need to tell everyone good morning, they tell you that they are a nice person and that you are being rude. The hypocrisy comes in that they tell you in the rudest possible manner.

These people have two faces and the noses on both of them are brown. They should take a lesson from Christianity. The last person who said that they loved everyone got nailed to a tree.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 12:29 PM 0 comments  

My Gum is Epic.


I got a free piece of gum today at the convention that was being held at the building where I work. It was Epic brand gum. I told the lady that gave it to me that I would have to read my copy of The Illiad while I chewed it. She then recommended The Odysey. I would have led with saying that I should read my copy of the Aeneid, but I was pretty sure that was too obscure a reference. It wasn't. We went on to banter back and forth as many obscure epic references as we could. I think I won with Gilgamesh and then with Roland.
(The picture is used without permission from this website.)

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 12:08 PM 0 comments  

Handicapped People Are Assholes!

Okay, so obviously, not all handicapped people are assholes. However, it seems that most of them are. I have a story to illustrate my point. I work at a state building. We have a parking garage. In said parking garage we have about 10 more handicapped spots than we are federally required to have. There are also about another 10 or so in the parking lot for our building. Even with all of these spots, we usually don't have enough handicapped parking to accommodate all of our handicapped employees (including 5 of whom are wheelchair bound) and any handicapped visitors.

This has created a problem for us. Specifically that any of the wheelchair bound employees who need to have a van accessible parking spot, can't get one. So, someone came up with the idea to reserve five of the van accessible spots on the bottom floor of the parking garage for those people who were in wheelchairs. Great idea, huh? Especially seeing as how we had more than we were required to have, right? So, the powers that be changed 5 of the parking spots to reserved and handed out those to the people in wheelchairs. They also had security monitor the spots in the morning and notify people of the change in status of the parking spots. People were livid. From day one there were people bitching about the change. One person even filed filed a civil rights claim against the people in charge of this. (Apparently their civil rights had been violated because they had to use one of the other handicapped parking spots.)

After a couple of weeks, the signs were changed back and the reserved spots went back to being handicapped spots and anybody in a wheelchair got a collective middle finger from anybody else with a blue hanging tag.

I have given this incident some considerable thought and have come to the following conclusion: Political Correctness is to blame for this incident. Hear me out. It used to be that we had gimps, cripples, and lames. But then, somebody got their feelings hurt, and now they are all categorized as handicapped. Even this term has fallen into disfavor with some who prefer the term handi-capable. Take that into account with the belief that everyone should be treated equally and you have people who barely need to use a cane thinking that they are just as needy of a parking space out front as the people who can't use their legs. There are varying degrees of any segment of society, no matter who they are. With that comes the need to treat different people in different manners. As a result of all of this the people who need those spots the most, are the ones getting screwed out of them.

As a side note, I wish to address all of those people who have the disabled parking tags, but aren't in wheelchairs. I, along with many other people, understand that you may have back problems or an ingrown toenial or whatever it is that qualifies you for your special place, but as outside observers, we don't know what you are feeling. Therefore, we can only make judgements based upon what we observe. That being said, if you park in a disabled parking space (even rightfully so) and are fortunate enough not to use a wheelchair, at least limp. That way anyone that sees you will know that there is a reason for you parking there. Otherwise we all just think you're some asshole who is playing the system or has borrowed someone elses tag so that you can park closer. That's all. Just limp.

Oh, and by the way, obesity is not a disability. Fat people shouldn't get handicapped spots. They should have to park at the far end of the lot and actually walk.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 7:07 AM 5 comments  

Texas Lottery


This is funny. Somewhere in Texas, Satanists are really kicking themselves for not playing their favorite number and scores of depressed teenagers who think that they are rebelling by wearing black nail polish and dressing like Marilyn Manson are bemoaning the fact that they are not old enough to play the Lottery. I am holding out for the day that the numbers 0-0-7 come up.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 11:35 AM 0 comments  

Fun with Spam

I know that it has been a while since I last posted, but I just had to share this. Now, I'm no stranger to Spam. I've had an email account since about 1994. I had a Rocketmail account before they were taken over by Yahoo. Heck, I even have a throwaway email account that I give when websites that I know are going to spam me ask me for my email. (Currently their are 2227 messages that the spam filter has caught for that one, and probably about a hudred that it has not caught. All of that being said, I recieved a piece of spam that had quite a disturbing title. See for yourselves:


As you can see, this is one of the many people that want to enlarge various parts of my body. Now I'm not married, but I don't think that if I were that I would want to set my wife on fire. Then again, I know several men who would disagree with me on the point of spousal conflagration.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 8:12 AM 0 comments  

Blogshares

Recently I've gotten back into playing Blogshares. For those of you who don't know, Blogshares is the world's largest online, virtual stock market. The "companies" are blogs. You can buy and sell shares in these companies as well as a whole host of other activities to make yourself some serious fiction dough. Everyone starts out with 500 Blogshare dollars, or B$. From there itis up to you to wheel and deal your way to the top.

I first found out about Blogshares while searching Google for my own blog. Since then, I have become a part of the community. I now have an official role within the game. I am an editor. That means that I am responsible for keeping the help pages and whatever else I find up-to-date and free of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.

Recently changes were implemented with regards to how the system determines the values of the blogs within the Index (Big listing of all the blog in the different industries). With my help and the help of other players, my blog rose to the top blog in the Austin Industry. I just found out tonight that my blog is also the top blog for the Texas Industry as well. :D

This is great news coming on the eve of Texas independence Day (March 2nd).

I highly recommend that anyone who reads this sign up and try out the Blogshares game.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 2:00 AM 1 comments  

You're a retard if you think this makes you independent.

In my never-ceasing effort to point out how monumentally stupid people can be, I presnt to you: Shana Logic.com. While I was tooling around blogs for Blogshares, I came across this little gem. It was an ad on the side of a page, and while I normally dismiss these out of hand, this one caught my eye. The girl was cute, and dressed in that indie, arm-cock wearing, my hair is dyed black because the weight of the world presses down upon me, middle school girl type of way. And she was cute. Then I saw the tag-line for the ad: Shop Indie.

Let's take a minute to review the term, indie. Indie is short for independent. According to the first entry in The Random house Unabridged Dictionary, 2006 ed., independent means: "not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself." Now, if you are buying your "independent" clothing and accessories from a website that says that it is independent and is the front end of a business that mass-produces these items, then you are not independent at all. Most of all you're not even an independent thinker.

There's a common look to most of the people in this "indie" category. That looks is supposed to say, that I don't conform to societies norms or standards. What is really says is that "I want to look like I'm poor." This has been done before. Before they were called indie, hey were called Bohemian. And guess what? They were a bunch of retards too. Dyeing your hair black is not counter-cultural. The ready availability of hair dye in most grocery stores indicates that it's a very common thing. Do you want to know something else? It doesn't matter what type of clothes you are wearing, you're still wearing clothes and that is part of society's norms. Be a real rebel. Walk around your hometown in the winter with no clothes on. Then you really will be going against the norm!

This post is dedicated to all of those retards who think this stuff is cool.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 9:35 AM 1 comments  

Happy New Year.

It is now 2008. January 1st. The old year has passed to make way for the new. We are all reborn for a time as we bask in the possibilities that the new year represents for us. Let us stop and examine the origin of the word January. It comes to us from the ancient Roman god named Janus. Janus was the god of doorways, of beginnings, and of the rising and setting of the sun, usually represented as having one head with two bearded faces back to back, looking in opposite directions. Just as Janus looked backwards into the old year and forward into the new, so too do we reflect on the events that have passed and look forward to the events that are to come.

Have a great year.

Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 12:27 PM 0 comments