Saturday, September 10, 2016

Hillary Clinton's "Basket of Deplorables" or: The Shame of Judging Our Fellow Americans.

This is an editorial on the recent "Basket of Deplorables" comment made by Hillary Clinton referencing supporters of Donald Trump. This isn't intended as an explanation of what happened in detail. If you're not aware of the situation, you can read about it here and here.

A great number of left wing commentators and pundits are saying that Hillary Clinton's "Basket of Deplorables" remark didn't go far enough. In essence, these mouthpieces and Clinton surrogates believe that MORE than half of Trump's supporters are racists and villainous miscreants.
I'm a moderate independent with zero love for either the Democrats or Republicans, so I have no problems with calling it like I see it.
Hillary Clinton is full of fluffy, glitter-laced unicorn crap.
You know who supports Trump? People that don't trust the federal government (and rightfully so). People that don't want to give a corrupt criminal organization more of their hard-earned money. People that are tired of being told what they can and can't do within the bounds of their own home and with their own property. People that don't want to be taken advantage of by Uncle Sam. These people have every reason to feel the way they do. It has nothing to do with hating people of different skin tones. It has nothing to do with xenophobic nationalism. It definitely has nothing to do with wanting to spread hate and fear.
Most importantly, there are people like me that flat-out refuse to support a dishonest, untrustworthy war criminal like Hillary Clinton... no matter how 'progressive' and 'thoughtful' she claims to be. Trump is the only viable agent of change to a large number of our fellow Americans. Not because he's likable or altruistic, but because he's simply an alternative to the status quo -- more corruption, more death, more greed, more destruction of the American dream.
Sure, I'll be the first to admit that Trump can be a blustering, egotistical, inarticulate jerk. And yet, at least Trump isn't Hillary Clinton. For many of our fellow Americans, that's the 'lesser of two evils' in this election cycle. Shame on you (and those big-mouthed pundits) for looking down on that decision. Shame on you for judging our fellow citizens who are just trying to make the best of a bad situation. Most of all, shame on you for ignoring reality. Hillary Clinton is perhaps the most slippery and nefarious politician I've known in my lifetime. I'd say her husband Bill is worse, but Hillary actually took steps to cover up the crimes he committed and silence the women he violated. She's revolting in every capacity. Hillary Clinton is a traitor to humanity, all in the pursuit of money and power.
Trump might be a pompous braggart, but at least he hasn't made direct decisions that have gotten people slaughtered. As far as I'm concerned, the American men and women in that "Basket of Deplorables" have made the right call.

Monday, August 29, 2016

My Journey To Losing 100 Pounds.

When we last spoke, I left you with a cliffhanger concerning watermelons. And then, like a fleeting phantom in the night...

I was gone.

It's been approximately two and a half months since I published a blog article. Many of my dedicated readers probably wondered where I got off to. What happened? Well, here's the story.

Nearly all of my life, I have been overweight. Food became a coping mechanism for stress early in my youth. When I was sad, I ate. When I was angry, I ate. When I was depressed, I ate even more! Entering first grade as a child, I ballooned up and got husky (a term that just oozes 1980's nostalgia). During my middle school years, I weighed in the ballpark of 250 pounds. I started high school at 275 pounds. By the time I graduated in June of 2000, I was a whopping 303 pounds.

Over the course of the following decade, I continued to eat myself to death. Between 2011 and 2012, I topped out at an astounding 343 pounds. My late teens and twenties were an emotionally tumultuous period, and it showed in a very tangible way. I wore my emotions on my sleeve... and on my gut, back, shoulders, arms, legs and ass.

In August of 2013, I decided enough was enough and began a journey to better health. There's no coincidence that my physical health began to improve parallel with my mental health. I started writing this blog to heal emotionally and spiritually. As I let go of the internal baggage holding me back, so too did I relinquish the very physical baggage weighing me down.

Over the past three years, I've transformed myself on the inside and on the outside. Today, I write to you a healthier man, a happier man...

a man that weighs 100 pounds lighter.

When I first started my weight loss, I never even imagined I'd lose this much weight. I thought I'd get twenty or thirty pounds off and call it a day. I just assumed I was meant to be a big guy the rest of my life. Just getting to 300 pounds was an achievement in my book.

But... I kept going. I'm not sure why, but I just kept going. I developed a sense of willpower which I didn't have ever before. Luckily, I also had a partner in Crystal who supported me at every step of the way. When I was weak, she was there to carry me along. I can't thank her enough.

These past few months, I pushed extra hard to hit my goal -- lose 100 pounds by the end of August. To focus on that goal, I stepped away from writing. Very literally, I needed some me time.

Today, I weigh 243 pounds.

Thankfully, I don't have a lot of extra skin sagging and drooping all over me. I contribute this to losing the weight responsibly and at a reasonable pace. I didn't take any weight loss supplements or magic pills. No surgery was involved, nor any fad diets. I didn't follow the silly rapid weight loss plans that you see on The Biggest Loser (which is why so many of those contestants put the weight right back on).

I feel deflated.

Unfortunately, I still have a big head... but that's something I was blessed with at birth... probably not going anywhere.

I ate right. I controlled my portions. I exercised. I used my willpower to know what not to eat. It's as simple as that.

I know I'm still overweight, but at least I'm able to live a somewhat normal life. I can climb mountains. I can hike trails. I can run without passing out. Heck, I'm moderately cute and attractive (okay, that's a slight stretch). Most importantly, I'm not going to stop. I'd like to get to 220 pounds and see how I look. If I still have some extra pudge, maybe 200 pounds is my finish line. I just don't know yet. Either way, I've done something most people can not say they have ever done. For once, I'm proud of myself.

So what's the takeaway from all of this?

If a schmuck like me can lose a ton of weight, so can you. Just let it go.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Interesting Facts About Watermelon.

A square watermelon? Don't worry, I explain below.

I (not so) graciously consumed a slice of watermelon earlier. It was quite delicious and definitely satisfying. Accordingly, I figured hey... why not drop some watermelon facts on my audience? Nothing hot and heavy here for you to process this evening, just some cool facts about a cool fruit... and a vegetable?

  • Yes, watermelons are both a fruit and a vegetable. They grow from a seed, making them a fruit. And yet, they are within the same family of vegetables as pumpkins, squash and cucumbers. The watermelon is a trans-food substance! How progressive!
  • The wild watermelon, which looks much different than the watermelon we typical eat, originated in southern Africa.
  • A watermelon is 92% water, making it a natural thirst quencher and great for your kidneys.
  • Watermelons also contain high amounts of manganese, Vitamin C, Vitamins B1 and B6, Vitamin A and potassium.
  • Watermelons are also packed with electrolytes, making them a much better choice for consumption over sugar-filled energy and athletic drinks.
  • Most of the world's watermelons are grown in China.
  • In China, the rind of the watermelon is eaten like a stir-fried vegetable.
  • Japan has the strangest watermelons of all. You can purchase higher-end square watermelons, which are seen as fashionable. How do the farmers do it? They grow the watermelons in square glass containers, in which the melons gradually take on the shape. We really need these in the USA!
  • The heaviest watermelon ever recorded was nearly 270 pounds.
  • You can carve a watermelon just like a pumpkin at Halloween. When you light it with a candle, the red interior takes on the spooky appearance of blood! I did this as a child many times and can verify that it works.
And now, for you viewing pleasure (and just because it's my blog and I can do what I want), here is a video of an exploding watermelon!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Draw Something: Chomper Ghost

I'll always give The Real Ghostbusters cartoon from the '80s credit for being inventive with their weekly creatures of fright and terror. Much of the time, the ghosts were meant to be silly or simply visually memorable. In the vein of those classic animated creatures, I decided to doodle a simple ghost design... something just as likely to be released in the accompanying action figure series as well. Just imagine this slimey fella with a button activated biting feature. CHOMP!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

In Plane Site.

I'm pregnant with your child.
Oozing bags of puss are weeping from my fingertips.
D.B. Cooper is my real name.
I own not one, not two, but three magic bullets.
The Bermuda Triangle is where I found Jimmy Hoffa.
My left foot has seven toes.
Oranges make me sneeze official Nickelodeon slime.
When I was seven, I conquered Mars with a pencil.
Green is really a futuristic camouflage to hide two dimensional butt pirates.
I can walk on water, but only when it's really cold.
There's a colony of stranded alien cow-probers in my tool shed.
Stonehenge is just a fancy toilet for druids.
Not only have I found Atlantis, but I sold it to mermaids.
Yes, I know mermaids.
Roswell was a cover up for an all-night rave hosted by DJ Boomin' Truman.
The Lost Roanoke Colony just got bored and went to play golf.
I like to play croquet at Redpath Mansion.
Drive-in theaters were invented by lazy, perverted slashers.
Your mom called; she wants you to meet your real father.
Numbers stations are where I find all of my best recipes.
Once in a lifetime you'll take a road to nowhere and find a psycho killer.
I always tell the truth when I'm lying.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Random Suds Review: Wells Banana Bread Beer.

Time to review an import. That's right... our random review this time around will be Wells Banana Bread Beer. Brewed by the UK based Charles Wells Brewing Company (aka Wells & Young's Brewing Company), it's a favorite of the British beer-drinking populace. It is 5.2% Alc. by volume and created with fair trade bananas as part of the brewing process. As such, it supposedly has a remarkable flavor not normally experienced in an adult beverage. Is it true or just a bunch of hocus pocus? I'm going to find out.

As with all of my reviews, I will taste test the beer at two different temperatures -- cold and at room temperature. Here we go!

  • Very strong banana odor upon pouring it into the glass.
  • Light fizz.
  • No head to speak of.
  • Initial taste revealed a bold, but not overpowering banana flavor.
  • No bitterness at all to speak of.
  • The background of the flavor profile is both nutty and bread-like, as one would hope.
  • Much to my pleasure, the beer is not overly sweet or artificial tasting.
  • Quite enjoyable and easy to drink!
At Room Temperature:
  • Has developed a slight amount of bitterness, but nothing terrible.
  • The bread-like nature has become more emboldened.
  • The fizz has completely dissipated.
  • As to the flavor, the banana has mellowed and isn't as fruity.
  • Still perfectly acceptable to drink warm, just not as good as when cold.
And there you have it! A flavorful imported beer with an awesome taste. If you like banana bread, or just bananas, you will enjoy this beer from Charles Wells. Look for Wells Banana Bread Beer at your local specialty beer and wine retailer!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Crystal's Tips For Improving Baseball.

Crystal and I went to a Greensboro Grasshoppers minor league baseball game this evening. If you weren't already aware, I'm a massive baseball fan. Baseball truly is America's past time. Forget basketball or football... baseball is where it's at.

On the other hand, Crystal finds baseball to be dreadfully boring and a waste of time.

While watching the game, I had Crystal compose a list of ways to improve the sport for bored viewers like herself. As such, she gets credit for tonight's article. I'm merely the messenger. And now...

Crystal's Tips For Improving Baseball!

  • Fights - Let the players beat each other senseless, as they do in hockey.
  • Throwing money - Shoot coins at the fans, or onto the field.
  • Put obstacles on the field - Barb wire, mud pits, swinging chainsaws, etc. The more dangerous the better!
  • Rubber bullets - Give the players pistols to fire the non-lethal projectiles at opposing players.
  • Spiked balls - They'll make someone fielding a ball think twice about catching it! If the fans are lucky, the players will often catch the spiked ball with their face.
  • Flaming mascots - light them on fire and have them run a race around the bases!
  • Free ice cream for the fans - Sprinkles are absolutely mandatory.
  • Just not be a sport - Seriously, stop playing baseball. It sucks.
And finally, the number one tip that made me burst with laughter as we watched behind home plate...
  • Refunds for boredom - A full refund... every game, every time.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

When I Was Really Fat: Ramen Noodles.

Earlier today while grocery shopping, I took notice of the ramen noodles on a random aisle and thought to myself...

"Boy, I sure do miss eating those."

You see, I haven't eaten ramen noodles in a very long time. Since I got my crap together and started losing weight in 2013, I've cut out all of the terrible food in my life and dropped 82 pounds. Ramen noodles were a priority target on my hit list. This got me to thinking... what a great little nugget of awesomeness to use as inspiration for an article series! And here we have, bursting with all of its lofty lipid glory...


When I was really fat, I would eat four packages of ramen noodles at a time. I would prepare the ramen as normal in a giant pot, taking care not to over-boil the noodles. Once the noodles were ready, I'd drain them from their soup liquid and put them in a large bowl. Now, here's where things got a little bit wacky. I'd put the noodles in the freezer to sit for five or ten minutes. This would not decrease the temperature of the still hot noodles too much. But, what it would do was make the noodles sticky and tacky. Thereby, they were perfect to eat with chopsticks. Oh boy, were they delicious. And yet, I failed to recognize the harm I was doing to myself. Four packages of ramen noodles equates to over 1,500 calories! That's more calories in one meal than what I eat in an entire day now! Even worse, all that ramen had over 7,000 mg of sodium and over 200 carbohydrates. What a terrible, terrible meal to put into your body. And yet, when I was at my fattest, I was doing that two or three times a week. It's a miracle I didn't die of a heart attack.

So, what do you think? Want to hear more stories about the most absurd food I would eat when I was really fat? Trust me... this ramen story is only the tip of the iceberg! I find these tales both comical and sad, but it's great to get it off of my chest. Drop a comment and let me know.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A Visit From Horace's Duskywing.

Whilst sitting on my back patio just a short moment ago, this affable little moth landed on my stomach. It didn't seem frightened of me, so I let it sit there. Much to my surprise, the moth continued to remain there for what seemed like an eternity. Somehow, I'd found a new buddy today. As the wind would randomly pick up and bluster against the tiny winged wonder, it would desperately grasp for my shirt and hang on tight. Using my hands, I cupped around the moth to provide shelter from the wind so it could rest. For a moment, it was safe and seemed thankful.

After doing some research, I discovered that is wasn't a moth at all! This was in fact a Horace's Duskywing (Erynnis horatius), a skipper-type butterfly from the family Hesperiidae. Its habitat ranges from the New England region south along the east coast. It also has spread as far west as Texas and New Mexico. By no means is the Horace's Duskywing endangered; their population is quite healthy and vivacious. Based upon the color pattern on its wings, I was able to determine that this specimen was a male. Most likely, this fellow was born in early spring. Yet, the sad part of this encounter soon set in... with tattered wings and it being the month of June, this Duskywing was probably tired and about to pass away. I was deeply saddened.

As I watched the insect rest there on my stomach and hold still, I wondered as to what the butterfly must think of me. Surely, it could see what I looked like. Was it not afraid of my immense size? Why would it think I was safe to land upon? Much less, to let me cup my large hands around its small stature? That's a measure of trust I wouldn't expect from nature.

I was sad to see it eventually go, but I hope it lives just a little while longer to enjoy the last few days of the passing Spring.

Monday, June 6, 2016

5 Tips For Being A Real American!

There sure are a lot of wimps out in the world today. I look around and wonder... what happened to my 'Murica?! Rest assured, I've got it all figured out. Immigrants aren't the problem. The media isn't the problem. Hell, politicians aren't even the problem. So what is the problem?

We've gotten too damn soft.

As such, here's a quick tutorial on how to be a real American!

Tip #1: Always wear a tank top. This applies to chicks just as much as dudes. Show your guns as much as virtually possible. Big guns. Little guns. Guns with crappy tribal tattoos. Guns with droopy armpit fat. SHOW 'EM! Bonus GI Joe points for accompanying side-boob or wicked scars. Bonus Bonus points for actually carrying a gun with your guns.

Tip #2: Use exclamation points at the end of every sentence! Doesn't matter what you're talking about! Grandma's dying of tuberculosis! You lost your foot in a freak lawnmower accident! You scored an 80 on your math final and passed the class with relative ease! It burns when I pee! You're an American, so everything you say is obviously important! Ex!clam!!!!atio!!ns!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tip #3: Break the rules. See what I just did there? I broke my own rule from the previous tip. Rules are for sheep willing to do whatever they're told. Don't be a sheep. Wait, screw that... be a sheep. Breaking the rules is cool.

Tip #4: Everything is better with hot sauce. Quit letting your tongue be a limp coward. Put hot sauce on your eggs, tacos and fish. Douse it over your mashed potatoes and broccoli. Hell, you're not even livin' if you haven't placed a fat ol' drop of hot sauce in your favorite cocktail. Burn that mother up! See that baby up there drinking the hot sauce straight? Yeah, 100% commander-in-chief material. I'm gonna write in 'Bad Ass Toddler' for President.

Tip #5: Condoms are for foreigners. You've got the blood of Uncle Sam pulsating through every pore in your body. As such, you need to spread your freedom-lovin' genetics as much as virtually possible. Making babies is quintessentially American. You get a fetus! You get a fetus! You get a fetus! Point, aim and fire your flag-flyin' baby maker at every womb or flesh salami that'll allow you to. Sure, you might catch the HIV (rhymes with give) or some other disgusting case of crotch rot, but that's the price you pay to live in the greatest god damn country on Earth. Your genitals might fall off, but your patriotism will live on forever!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Draw Something: Punk Duck

Ducks are already pretty bad-ass. This duck is bad-asser-er. Is that even a word? It is now. BAM!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Upside To A Lost Cause.

Gulls fly overhead, silently mocking.
Sitting along the boardwalk, sand between my toes.
A cold receiver on the pay phone around the corner.
Anticipation is dreadful.
Disappointment is worse.
Being strung along is a funny thing.
You're not going anywhere, that much is guaranteed.
Hope finally eclipsed by acceptance of the truth.
A tryst no more; an assassination of sincerity.
Curiously, the pit stops along the way are your pittance.
Cafes and bowling alleys.
Malls and movie theaters.
Amber sunsets on the ocean.
Talking and dancing their troubles away.
Total structural collapse just below the surface.
All they've got is right now.
Tomorrow is just an eight-letter word for never.
We're all fighting a war that can't be won.
Some of us can luckily see through the fog.
Every unanswered call a hushed gift delivered in secrecy.
When there's nothing left to lose, you've got everything to gain.
Starting with today.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Roll For... Sewing?



Thursday, June 2, 2016

How Much Caffeine Is In A Cup Of Tea?

When most people think about measuring caffeine, they regularly use coffee (yuck, can't stand the stuff) as the universal measuring stick. Me, I'm a solid tea drinker. Breakfast, lunch, dinner... any time of the day is tea time for me. And yet, I never feel like I'm tweaking out or having a caffeine rush when I ingest tea. I've long known how much caffeine is in a cup of tea, but for the betterment of mankind...

...and to spread a little bit of 'Oh wow, cool' knowledge...

How much caffeine is in a cup of tea?

Well, the answer is surprising, but it'll all make sense by the time I finish explaining it.

When measured in their dry form, tea leaves actually contain more caffeine per gram than coffee grounds. And yet, it takes many less leaves to produce a single cup of tea. If you were to make an 8 ounce cup of tea, you would use approximately 2 grams of tea leaves to steep in the water. For the same size cup of coffee, you would need 10 grams of coffee grounds. As such, the increased supply of coffee grounds means more caffeine is brewed into the beverage. The final tally? That 8 ounce cup of tea has approximately 40 milligrams of caffeine. The 8 ounce cup of coffee has roughly 105 milligrams of caffeine. That's nearly three times as much! Coffee wins the caffeine race by a landslide.

Now, let's take this one step farther. The amount of caffeine in a cup of tea is also influenced by a few different factors. The location of the leaves on a tea plant helps to determine their caffeine content; younger leaves near the top have more. Also, steeping a tea bag longer in a cup of hot water also releases more caffeine. Generally, you should steep a tea bag for at least four to five minutes for optimum flavor. Finally, the type of tea you use also dictates how much caffeine you take in. White and green teas have less caffeine. Oolong tea has a moderate amount. Black tea has the most.

The chemical structure of Caffeine.

Also take note -- the antioxidants in tea slow down the caffeine absorption process in your body. As such, the caffeine is used at a much more gradual rate, meaning you don't experience an energy crash at the end. The caffeine will stay with you longer and have a more prolonged, less severe effect.

And there you have it! All you would ever want to know about caffeine in relation to tea. Doesn't this make you want to have a cup? I know I do!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Five Surprising Uses For Rubber Bands.

We all love rubber bands. They're great to shoot at a classmate or office buddy. They can hold your pens and pencils together. You can put one on your wrist to remind you of something. And yet, here are five more ideas for using a rubber band that you probably would have never considered.

Rest assured, there will be nothing perverted on this list.

Removing a stripped screw. Just press a thick rubber band over the stripped screw head, then insert your screw driver. The extra tension created by the rubber should get it turning.

Turning slick pages. This is a great trick for cashiers, bank tellers or people that deal with a lot of paperwork. The rubber helps to create the necessary friction to turn paper easily.

Marking drinks at a party. Throwing a party and everyone has the same cup? Mark those cups with colored rubber bands and no one will mistakenly drink after someone else.

Keeping cabinet doors closed. Have a child or pet that likes to dig in your cabinets? A rubber band will help keep those doors shut and the contents inside secure.

Using as a bookmark. A rubber band can make it easier to find your place. Much less, it prevents the damaged that can be caused by a bulky or metal bookmark.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

When Cats Attack!

Cats are not to be trusted. Sure, they're cute and fluffy and full of playfulness... but they have a dark side.

A side that wants to eat your face.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Celebrating The Jack Of All Trades.

What do all of the following have in common?

MacGyver, of the classic eponymous TV show.

A crow, one of nature's most ingenious creatures.

Roger Smith from 'American Dad!'.

The red mage from 'Final Fantasy'.

Mike Rowe, star of 'Dirty Jobs'.

Painter, inventor, writer, scientist and poet Leonardo da Vinci.

Each and every one of these is a highly adaptable Jack of all trades. They are able to do a lot of things reasonably well, more so than the common person or being. And yet, none are considered experts in any particular field. Their success stems from an ability to do many tasks and perform multiple skills proficiently, thereby granting them great value for their flexible utility. Concurrently, they also possess the ability to pick up new talents and hold an interest in a diverse range of subjects. In short, a jack of all trades is the personification of a Swiss Army knife.

I want to take the opportunity with today's article to celebrate the jack of all trades. Often chided as negligible or untalented in our culture, the truth couldn't be more different. Jacks of all trades are highly important within our society. They can complete a multitude of jobs without difficulty. Their malleability allows for transitions between different areas of work that most people simply couldn't pull off. Most importantly, when life has you backed in a corner and you're facing utter defeat or even death, the jack of all trades is the man or woman you want to have your back. They're the best defense against the worst-case scenario. Their resourcefulness is their key to victory.

As I've grown older, I have come to accept the fact that I'm a jack of all trades, however unlikely I initially thought I would be. When I was a younger man, I assumed I was destined to just be an artist. A jack of all trades? Humph! That was just a loser whom couldn't do anything right. Then I discovered I could cook. Then I was a medic. After that, a banker. Later on, I realized I could write reasonably well. Heap on a load of interests so diverse that I couldn't even begin to list them all here. Yeah... a jack of all trades for sure. As time went on, I started to cherish my versatility and ultimately embrace it. Of course, I'm not the best at any one particular thing, but I'm pretty darn good at a lot of things. I'm not going to write the greatest novel ever written. I'm not going to discover the cure to cancer. I won't ever win an Olympic medal. Nor am I going to draw the most realistic portrait ever put to paper.

But you know what? When the going gets tough, I'll survive. I'll make sure those around me make it through the night. And then... I'll cook breakfast.

So remember, folks. Support your local jack of all trades. Give them your business. Thank them for their uncanny knack for doing just about anything. And, if you discover you're a jack of all trades, don't fight it. You're more significant than you realize.

This guy gets me.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Draw Something: The Wrong Angel

Many of us ask for the help of angels.

What if the wrong angel showed up, though?

A fate cloaked in scarlet. Contracts signed in blood and sealed with a kiss. A vision not quite clear, breaking from the darkness. It overtakes you, leading you through rotten fields where no map can guide you home.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Boxer And The Bear.

A child and cub born side by side
Bushy eared and eyes thrown wide
Parents thought no harm to fear
Brothers helpless as a dear
Growl and cry and play all day
Never apart would they stray
Each drank milk and slept a lot
Decide the cuter one could not
Up they grew so far so fast
Each day bigger than the last
Cub turned bear, boy turned man
Time blew by the years they span
Too large to call the indoors home
An outside pen the bear did roam
Boy became quite strong and tough
A boxer skilled and really buff
The fighter loved his fuzzy friend
Not foreseeing childhood's end
Defenses down the boxer screams
Tears he wept in soggy streams
Brother bear he took a bite
Off the boxer's face of fright
Soon to be the beast's cuisine
Death delivered unforseen
What he failed to comprehend
Bears are wild to the end
As boxer faded to the light
Truth revealed with every bite
All a bear can be is all its born to do
Eat fish and squirrels and me and you

Friday, May 27, 2016

Why The $15 Minimum Wage Doesn't Work.

Historically, skilled laborers would go on strike -- welders, steel workers, mechanics and so on. Now, unskilled workers that flip burgers and work cash registers all day think they should strike, too.

As a follow up to my article yesterday, I want to extrapolate further as to the insane nature of a $15 minimum wage, especially in regard to unskilled service industry workers. The arbitrary nature of such a number ultimately detracts from the economy, causing more unemployment and greater competition between unskilled workers. It's something I've spoke about more than once. A big thank you goes out to my brother James for sharing the following video with me. In this video, Don Boudreaux, a highly-regarded economist at George Mason University, explains the pitfalls of the 'Fight for $15' movement and why such a financial policy simply doesn't work. I encourage you all to watch. You just might learn something.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Waitresses... At McDonald's?

Earlier this month on May 12, I wrote about the forthcoming automation at Wendy's restaurants. This is a cost saving measure to counter the ridiculous demands by employees to be paid $15 an hour. Obviously, if the price of staffing goes up, a business must find a more reasonable method of administering their product to offset the increased overhead expense. Long story short... here come the robots.

Today, McDonald’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook spoke to shareholders at the company’s annual meeting. He expanded upon the notion of kiosks and other robotic methods of serving customers, as well as their potential use in the house that Ronald McDonald built. Easterbrook said:
“I don’t see it being a risk to job elimination... Ultimately we’re in the service business. We will always have an important human element.”
Easterbrook further explained that any automation that takes place inside their restaurants would largely result in employees being shifted from the kitchen to the dining room area in a service capacity. Essentially, if you carefully read between the lines, the CEO is forecasting a major shift in what kind of employees will be hired by the company. So, what will that new status be?

They'll be waiters and waitresses. And what do waitresses make per hour? On average, less than $3.

Think about this for a moment. McDonald's employees will no longer flip burgers or bake apple pie crisps. Those jobs will be fully automated by machines. Instead, they'll bring customers more food and water, much like any other sit-down restaurant. As such, those employees will be compensated as waitresses, whom are legally allowed to be paid much less than the standard minimum wage. Customers will then tip these employees, thereby absorbing the increased cost of doing business.

In no simpler set of words, McDonald's shall put the burden onto its customers, at the same time paying less wages to their staff and making more profit. This is a classic win-win scenario.

Mark you calendars, my friends. I'm calling it now. At some point in the near future, you'll see waiters and waitresses at McDonald's.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Just Floating.

Earlier this evening, I took my first dip in the pool for the year. The water was brisk to say the least. Yet, the days are getting longer and the water a little bit warmer with each passing sunrise. It's nice to sit back, relax and just float for a moment. Sometimes, not doing anything is the best decision you can make. With quiet repose comes perspective. That, my friends, is something we can all use a little bit more of.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Well Hello There American Toad!

Last month, I wrote about the discovery of a common Fowler Toad living in my back yard. It was certainly a welcomed sight; I'm always eager to invite as much biodiversity as possible into my landscape. With all the dozens of species of birds that live in my yard, also having a cute little toad was quite delightful. Today, I was lucky yet again.

While mowing the grass around my garden area, I happened upon this stout American toad (Anaxyrus americanus). Sure, it's just a toad you might say. And yet, this specimen was hefty, roughly the size of my palm. I didn't want to touch it for fear of stressing it out, but I did guide the toad towards a more inviting residence within a garden bed filled with Asiatic lilies. There, it would be safe from my mower. I took note of the area surrounding the American toad. All around were various insects and worms, of which one was crawling out in the open nearby. I suspect the toad was hunting for some lunch. Who can blame him? I'm certain he found a tasty earthworm or grub to snack on while resting among the lilies.

The American toad is a certified success story within the animal kingdom. It has spread all over the North American continent, ranging from the Atlantic coast to the Midwest, then northwards into Canada. They're of the hardy and resilient sort, easily adaptable to almost any environment -- flatlands, forests, mountains, open fields, brush-filled areas and yes, even back yards. With a secure hunting ground for food and a stable hibernation area for the cold winter months, the American toad can live a long and happy life. The oldest known American toad lived well into her thirties. Typical though, an American toad can easily live for 5 - 15 years in the wild, with life expectancy much longer in a healthy captive environment.

Just think... the toad I met today may have lived in my yard longer than I've owned my home.  Perhaps the toad looks at me and thinks "gee, who is this guy on my property?"