Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My Democracy Pet Peeve

Lately I find myself being rather annoyed by Politicians, or people in general, who make statements implying that if a majority of our populous agree on something, then it should be so.   Take this example from a article today on CNN:

"If our democracy's working the way it's supposed to and 90% of the American people agree on something, in the wake of a tragedy, you'd think this would not be a heavy lift," an exasperated President Obama said in West Hartford, Connecticut, on Monday.

Consider the fact that the United States is not a Democracy, it's a Republic.  Our founding fathers were fairly particular about this point.  Here are a few quotes that I think represent their opinions on the matter:

"Democracy never lasts long," he noted. "It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself." He insisted, "There was never a democracy that 'did not commit suicide.'" - John Adams

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." - Benjamin Franklin

"When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic." - Benjamin Franklin

I think the last two quotes do the best job of explaining why we wouldn't want to have a majority rule style vote and why the notion of pure Democracy fails.

Now don't mistake my annoyance with any particular stance on the gun debate article above or any other contested political topics, I think there are many things that should be rigorously discussed in our country.  I just think it shows a level of ignorance in our system of government when we say "more then 50% of people agree so lets do it."  Protecting the rights of the minority should always be forefront on our minds.  The majorities hearts may be in the right place but they can still be wrong.  History has shown us that bad things can come from the best of intentions.

Ultimately its's everyones own responsibility to educate themselves on how our system works, but I would sure love to see more politicians take time to help spread that understanding, and spend less time making grandiose statements that further their cause through our collective ignorance.

Monday, December 17, 2012

R.I.P Flinarius

It's with a heavy heart that I say farewell to my World of Warcraft Toon, Flinarius.

He was a Night Elf Warrior, born May 30, 2009 and was deleted today, December 17, 2012.  We had a good run, but for him, the grind is over...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Random Thoughts & Things

I've had several things I want to write about in my head for a while now, but none of them have been epic enough to devote a full solo post to.  Instead, I figured I would just do a quick post and roll through these in no particular order.  Enjoy...

My youngest daughter and I have this routine every morning when I am getting ready for work.  When I go to put my shoes on I always get my shoes and socks and then sit down on the couch to put them on.  My daughter will always come over and pick up the socks first, then hold them out to me and say "please."  I always take them and say "thank you" and then she picks up my shoes and holds them up and says "please" again.  I of course take them and say "thank you" and put them on.  This routine isn't amazing in itself, it's just something that I find fascinating.  I am not sure how it started nor could I tell you how long its been going on.

My friend, Chad Kouse, recently turned me on to the Adam Carolla podcast app.  I had enjoyed watching the Penn & Teller show BullShit, so he was recommending I check out Penn's Sunday School.  I forget what episode I was listening too, or why this came up, but at some point Penn said something that made me think "if I could invite anyone to play a game of poker for fun on night, who would it be?"  I ended up settling on Penn Jillete, Lewis Black, Kevin Smith, Howard Stern, George Takei, and Adam Carolla.  I think Howard would have to be the dealer, and kind of keep the evening rolling.  He's good at keeping the conversations moving and teasing out stories.  I think it would just be really cool to sit there drinking a beer with these guys, playing a few hands of cards, and just listening to them tell stories and joke around.

A few months ago I decided I wanted to smoke a Turkey for Thanksgiving, so I proceeded to look at different wood smokers on the market.  All of them seemed fairly expensive, and not real great looking if you went on the cheap.  I had recalled seeing a episode of Good Eats where Alton Brown was smoking meat in a homemade ceramic smoker, but I wanted something a little bit larger.  Then I stumbled on to the UDS rig, or Ugly Drum Smoker.  This spoke to me on several levels.  It was a DIY project, was totally customizable, and would be big enough to smoke anything my stomach desired!  I took some pictures along the way as I assembled my smoker, and you can check the album out here.  So far I have successfully done several racks of ribs,  2 pork shoulders, and 2 Turkeys.  The first Turkey was my dry run for Thanksgiving as I didn't want to blow it on the big day.  In the end, the final product came out looking pretty good, a "clean bird" :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

An Early Thanksgiving Hamm's

     About 11 or so years ago I was over at my long time friends apartment, when he excitedly handed me a new beer that he had found in the nether recesses of the Kroger beer cooler.  The box was dirty but the beer was cheap so I cracked the can and gave it gulp.  I'll be damned if it wasn't good!  What was this new found magic elixir you ask?  It was Hamm's Premium, a bottom shelf brand sold by Miller.   As it turns out Hamm's had been around since about 1865 as a independent brewing company.  Eventually it was sold to Miller, who discontinued the line at one point.  That "one point" being about 3 months after I was introduced to it.  Eventually it became impossible to find in local stores, and it wasn't long after that it faded from the internet beer inventories as well.  On several occasions I spent some long hours Googling to see if I could find it for sale somewhere, but the search would always end the same... Nothing.   Ultimately, I gave up on looking for it,  it was just gone.

     Fast forward about 6 years from my last search to last week.  My friend Chad Kouse, the same friend from above, and I were on our way to play some Disc Golf when we stopped for some beer at our local Grocery Store.  Chad ran in real quick to get the goods, and when he came back out he laughed as he recounted that there was a 30 pack of Hamm's sitting on the floor next to the beer cooler.  Part of me wanted to dart in to the store and buy it, and part of me thought that was silly, it clearly must have been sitting in the back storage room for the last 6 years so I am sure it would still be there later.  As is tradition, I was wrong.  Later that day I returned and it was no where to be found.  I had since been in that same store several times, and would always wander through the beer section hoping to spot it again, but much like Bigfoot, there was no sighting.  That was until last Sunday, when I begrudgingly went to the store to pick up a few things we needed for dinner.  I figured since I was there I might as well check, and behold there it was!  Sitting atop of stack of Coors, almost hiding in plain sight.  I was so excited that I grabbed the 30 pack and went directly to the checkout, completely neglecting the rest of the shopping list.  The wife was less understanding of that when I showed her the beer, but who cares, I had Hamm's again!

     I still couldn't believe that this case of beer had just been sitting around for years at the store, which lead me to once again Google Hamm's.  As it turns out, a few years ago Miller started selling the beer again in select markets only.  It took about 15 seconds to find a website that showed the current state distribution list.  Ohio isn't officially on the list yet, but I guess they have been doing some select shipments out this way.  So without further ado, behold my case of Hamm's Premium!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Here I am!

   I've never been one to take to social media, and I prided myself on how obscure and difficult it was to find me on the internet.  The idea of having this "thing" that I had to check everyday to see if there was a message waiting that required my response really turned me off to the entire concept.  How many digital distractions did I really want in my life outside of email, Instant Messengers, and occasionally WoW?  So, set in my cynical and judgmental ways I have blissfully ignored all things social... until now.

   Why the change now?  Really there's two reasons that finally swayed me.  Firstly, my life and career all more or less revolve around the IT / Programming industries, so not having my name out there in a age where everyone who's anyone can be found online is a definite hindrance.  We're in a era where having a well matured GitHub profile can be the deciding factor between getting a interview or not, so like it or hate it, you have to at least try.  Secondly, and I think this makes the first reason easier to swallow, almost all of the social media sites have evolved their privacy controls and preferences to the point where you have pretty granular control over any notifications and alerts you might get.  I can very easily setup my Twitter account to never email or pester me, and same with my facebook profile.  It's very easy to go in and really customize it to only notify me if something I truly deem important happens.  It's also important to remember that you don't actually have to check these things everyday if you don't want to. They don't need babysitting, and they won't be sad if you don't visit them.  They are simply tools, that you can use at your discretion and maybe even for your own enjoyment.

   So in summary, if you can control the annoyance level of having a social presence, it really can't hurt to put yourself out there.  Just remember, once you post it, it's probably out there forever, so think before you type and don't drunk post.