Monday, August 24, 2009

Atheist Scum: American Society's True Colors

The Following Post Contains The Thoughts and Opinions of Myself and Is, In No Way, Meant To Offend Anyone or Discriminate Against Anyone Based Upon Religion, Race, Creed or Nationality. I Have Done My Best To Avoid Making Any Statements Which May Lead To This. That Being Said, This Is A Touchy Subject and That, In Itself, May Offend Some. I Have Gone To Great Lengths To Keep This Blog In Line With Blogger's Terms of Service and Conduct. You Continue To Read At Your Own Risk.

This post may seem to rattle on and on (they may all seem that way) but I just want people to know what lead me into this lifestyle. I'm very sharing of who I am and what makes me who I am today and, because of that, I can ramble on and on for hours.

Did you know that in a 2006 nationwide poll by the University of Minnesota, researchers found that despite an increasing acceptance of religious diversity, atheists were generally distrusted by other Americans, who rated them below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in "sharing their vision of American society"? Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry. Penny Edgell, the lead researcher in this study and an associate sociology professor, said, “Our findings seem to rest on a view of atheists as self-interested individuals who are not concerned with the common good.”

Back up a few years to another study and you'll see that from 1990 to 2008, the number of atheists (and/or those claiming no religion, agnostic, humanist, etc) jumped from 8% in 1990 to between 15 and 16.1% in 2008. Yet another study done by The Barna Group, found that "they tend to be more educated, more affluent and more likely to be male and unmarried than those with active faith" and 1 in 4 adults between the ages of 18 and 22 describe themselves as having no faith. One in every four!

Okay, enough about studies now. When I was growing up (some would argue this has yet to occur) my parents didn't run a religious household. Neither did they run an anti-religious household. They left it up to us (four kids) to find, follow and research religion and God ourselves. Out of the four of us, none have ever been to jail or have ever committed a crime, none have drug problems, none are alcoholics and all are generally considered to be pretty good people. We all found God in our own time and in our own way.

I was around 14 or so when I first paid attention to any talk about God as far as following religion, from a friend. I had, for as long as I could remember, believed in God, but believing and following the teachings of any religion had never even entered into my mind. I began to attend church. I still remember the name of it: Windsor Park Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. I met some great people there and felt good about myself.

It was through that church that I was baptized and, eventually, "saved". Admittedly, when I was saved, I was asking the youth minister about what exactly "being saved" meant. He explained it to me and basically talked me into doing it right then. So, I followed what he said, word for word, and was then saved. A few months later, the youth group was invited to a church camp with many other church groups from around the state (Texas) attending. I remember meeting a girl there. Her name was Cindy and she was all I thought about the whole time I was at that camp. The services and other assorted activities were merely background. Cindy was so pretty and I remember I was sitting next to her in an auditorium a few days later when a sort of "call to be saved" session started happening. I have no idea why, but I started bawling. It was then that I realized I hadn't really been saved before and was about to again...for the final time. I attribute the tears to the overwhelming feeling of doing something good and so powerful for myself.

Another thing I remember about ol' Cindy was a discussion we had after camp was over, via snail mail. The Internet wasn't around yet. I had told her a band I was very into at the time and loved everything they put out. That band was Ratt. I even included a photo of the band from their fan club mailer. A week or so later I received her reply and was surprised to read her basically "going off" on me for daring to send a photo of a group of "Satan-worshippers". That was the last time I heard from Cindy and it was then that I realized the power religion and/or belief in God has over some people.

That was my first taste of judgment by a religious person. In the many years since, I've seen much, much more. Now, let me make clear that the religious are not the only judgmental people I've met, but in my experience, they have been the most harshly judgmental. I understand that all groups (religious, atheists, etc) have extremists and take their devotion, or lack thereof, to levels that shock even their own kind, but it has been the religious, Christian primarily, that I've seen be the most cruel to one another. Not all Christians, just a lot of them. I have witnessed in my 12 or so years on the Internet, many Christians berating each other for not being "True Christians". It seems to be a competition with some of them. That being said, I've also seen atheists claim that others weren't a "real" atheist.

Other things that put a bad taste in my mouth about religion were a "friend" and an admissions counselor.

The "friend" that attributed to my growing disdain for religion was a guy who used his religion, spirituality and knowledge of the Bible as a weapon. A weapon that thrust forward the automatic assumption that he should be trusted and that he was a great person, through and through. This man turned out to be a compulsive liar and thought the Earth revolved around him. He could lie as easily as state his name.

The Admissions Counselor was a guy, I believe his name was Robert, for the University of Phoenix Online. I, being on disability for severe anxiety and some other issues, got interested in designing, creating and maintaining web pages. I had an average-to-above-average knowledge of HTML. However, I soon realized that web sites were being created, in whole or in part, in other programming languages such as CGI Scripting, PHP, etc. I was being left in the dust as far as methods and being competitive in the web design field. Well, I shared this with the admissions counselor and my desire to become more up to date with my methods and to learn these programming languages. He, almost immediately, had just the course schedule for me. As we spoke and he did his thing, he went on and on about how spiritual and religious he was. Going so far as to say he was going to be becoming an ordained minister soon, he made sure to include some reference to God, religion, etc in every comment and answer thereafter. He was clearly using it as a method to gain my trust...or, at the very least, strengthen it.

Long story short...well, not so short, is it? Is anything I post ever short? I was so proud of myself. I had taken a step forward in trying to better myself and spitting in the face of my anxiety disorder that limited me so. I was kickin' butt and taking names in the courses. They had little...well, no....they had nothing to do with programming languages or anything of the sort, but I figured, "Meh. So these are the throw-away crap courses ya gotta take to get to the real one". It got to the third course before I started struggling and, again, realized, "This stuff has zero, zilch, nada to do with anything even remotely programming languages!" I started asking my fellow classmates what their goals and future plans were and all of them...every last one of them, said they were doing Business Administration. My jaw dropped and I was devastated.

I sunk in my chair and just sat there stunned. It had become blindingly clear that I had been flat-out LIED to just to "earn my business." Sadly and very reluctantly, I dropped out. During the "exit interview" I mentioned to the guy (completely different guy) how disappointed in myself I was but also that I felt I had been deceived merely to get me to sign up. He sounded truly sympathetic, not just like it was his job to hear me out. I casually mentioned the admissions counselor's name and the guy's response floored me. "Yeah. You're the third person today that's leaving because of being put in the wrong courses and all of you were admitted by 'Robert'," he said. My disappointment turned, at least partially, into anger. It was eventually forgotten. Forgotten until sometime in 2006 when a federal student loan for my attendance with this online excuse for a college was now being garnished from my Social Security Disability check showed up in my bank account and was $50 short. After looking and looking for any reasons for this, I finally called the Social Security Administration to find out what was going on. It turns out I had received some $1500 student loan from the government for use at the University of Phoenix Online and it was payback time. Since then, they've taken my two economic stimulus checks and the last cost of living allowance increase given to those on Social Security. I never saw a dime of them and they're now garnishing my disability check for $96 a month for something I would have been fully willing to pay for if I hadn't been lied to.

It was in 2006 that I opened the door that I had, for my entire life, kept sealed shut and didn't dare even approach; the door to doubt. Let me interrupt myself here to explain that I truly believe most who aren't raised atheist but turn that way, probably do so not through negative happenings but through those happenings allowing the seed to be planted. The "door" being given a second look. It's the negative happenings, for me, that made me feel just a little less guilty for even considering doubts. They are not why I reached the decision that I did.

I, quite literally, took time and just sat there and thought. I analyzed everything about me and everything about my beliefs. I guess you could say I was having a heart-to-heart with myself. (Let me remind you that these are/were my thoughts to myself and are not meant to mock or offend others) I came to the realization that this whole "God thing" was a load of crap. Thoughts like, "Worship my father and live by his word or burn for eternity" and "...but you have free will," etc were running rampant throughout my head. Yes, I realize this is a major, major over-generalization and both leaves a lot out and says my thoughts pretty harshly, but they were my thoughts. For over a year I struggled with my changing/changed beliefs and remained in the atheist "closet" the entire time.

I began to think of how I would "defend myself" to believers - young and old and how, if the opportunity presented itself, I would debate or explain. I began to think of questions that many, many people ask:

  • Why do churches full of people worshipping God, get struck by lightning and burn to the ground, killing all inside?
  • Why did all those people have to die on 9/11?
  • Why do babies die?
  • Why do good people die suffering deaths?
  • Why are there people out there starving and their crops dying?
  • Why are there over 150 religions with over 100 million followers if only one can be right?
  • Why are there over 133,000 different variations of Christianity alone?
I could go on forever, but these are some of the things and types of thoughts that go through a doubter's mind. I imagine it goes through a lot of believers' minds as well. Please, with all due respect, don't try and answer these questions. I've heard it all. I honestly believe many, many Christians are what one fellow I saw in a video refer to as "seat belt Christians"...those who believe "just in case". Just in case there is a God. You've seen them, know them and a lot of you are them. You rarely, if ever, attend church. You've never even flipped through a Bible. You drink, cuss, lust and overindulge. You're also sometimes referred to as Agnostic. Yeah. You. You're exactly what I called myself from the age of 14 to 37-38. As a matter of fact, when researching lists of atheists, you'll often find agnostics right there with them.

I used to be the first to say, "Don't curse God for the things you don't have until you've thanked Him for what you do have". I have always, always "done unto others as I'd have them do unto me". Long before I knew what God and religion were. I don't have all of the Ten Commandments committed to memory, as I'd bet many of you don't. I thought I did until I quizzed myself. (I always choke under pressure) The bottom line is, religion and the belief in a higher being and consequences after death for things done in life, can lead people to do very, very beautiful, meaningful and fulfilling things. It does not, however, mean only believers do good and meaningful things. We're not the devil and outcasts society has made us to be.

Ironically enough, being saved or finding God is sometimes referred to as "seeing the light". Many atheists feel like that's what they now have done. Just a different light. I hope this has shed at least some light on the issue of atheism and atheists for you. We're just like you. We just choose a different belief system....or lack thereof. Good does not necessarily have to mean God.

I'll leave you with a partial list of famous or celebrity atheists: It's long but many names may surprise you.
  • Andy Rooney (60 Minutes)
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Barry Manilow
  • Woody Allen
  • Lance Armstrong
  • Isaac Asimov (Science fiction writer)
  • Warren Buffett (investor, businessman and philanthropist)
  • Rodney Dangerfield
  • Jodie Foster
  • Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft)
  • Gene Roddenberry (creator of Star Trek)
  • Katherine Hepburn
  • Jamie Hyneman (Mythbusters)
  • Penn & Teller (both of them)
  • Billy Joel
  • Bruce Lee
  • Jack Nicholson
  • Eddie Izzard (comedian)
  • Keanu Reeves
  • Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple Computer)
  • Frank Zappa
  • Phil Donahue (former talk show host)
  • Ray Romano (comedian)
  • Albert Einstein
  • Ernest Hemingway (author)
  • Napoleon (French Emperor)
  • Mark Twain (author and humorist)
  • Alfred Hitchcock (filmmaker and producer)
  • Charlie Chaplin
  • David Bowie (British musician)
  • Many many Nobel Prize winners
Until next time...

I have implemented a new commenting system. Sadly, in doing so, I inadvertently lost all comments made prior to December 28, 2011. My deepest apologies to those this adversely affected. If it's any consolation, it makes my blog here look pretty darn unvisited over the years.
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    Wednesday, August 19, 2009

    Suicide: The End of the Line

    This is never an easy subject to talk about, but I have some opinions that I'm gonna make known. Many of you likely know someone or know of someone who has chosen to take their own life. Many see it as a poor soul no longer able to cope and ending the hurt. The rest of you see it as the final selfish act of an individual who thought of no one but themselves. It is to the latter of you that I make this post.

    Back in high school, I remember hearing of a fellow student that had killed himself and heard a teacher say to some students who were discussing it with him, "That is the single most selfish thing he could have done!". It was then that I realized that my views differ from some...maybe even a majority. It took everything I had in me not to light into this teacher with both proverbial barrels. It's my belief that anyone who says something like that, upon learning someone took their own life, has never been through the hell it takes to even consider it. I have.

    It should be noted that, according to The World Health Organization, over one million people commit suicide each year. It's one of the leading causes of death for teenagers and adults under the age of 35. There is still 10 to 20 million attempts that do not produce a fatal result every year. I found it interesting that in the Western world, males die much more often by means of suicide than do females, although females attempt suicide more often.

    Granted, some deal with crisis better than others. I'll be the first to admit I'm not exactly known for my strengths of dealing with stress, hurt and more. However, I do consider myself of pretty darn sound mind. Thoughts of suicide can present themselves to people of all ages. I remember my first thought of it was around the age of 14 or so. I don't remember the situation(s) that made these thoughts arise, but they were pretty serious to me at the time, and "at that time" is what matters. When I was trying to remember that first time, it reminded me of the story of Megan Mejer. This poor girl was the victim of something that wasn't around in my days at her age; cyber-bullying. She was just 13 years old and was the target of Lori Drew. A twisted, sadistic mother of one of Megan's former friends. Ms. Drew, along with one of her employees, created a fake MySpace account and posed as a 16-year old boy named Josh Evans. Ms. Drew and others had access to this account and used it solely to gather information on Megan to use later in humiliating her. All of this occurred because Megan had supposedly spread gossip about the woman's daughter.

    Megan found this boy attractive and they exchanged messages constantly. The "boy" claimed to have just moved to the area and didn't even have a phone number yet. Megan's family started seeing her spirits lifted. She suffered from depression normally, so this was likely some comfort for them. Eventually, the messages from "Josh" began to change tone. On October 15, 2006, Megan received a message that said, "I don't know if I want to be friends with you anymore because I've heard that you are not very nice to your friends". Megan replied and similar messages were sent back and forth. Megan decided to tell her mother about all of this and it caused an argument between them because of some of the vulgar language Megan had used in her replies and because she hadn't logged off when her mother had told her to. Megan then ran to her room. The last message from "Josh" was, "Everybody in O'Fallon [Megan had attended 7th grade in O'Fallon Missouri] knows how you are. You are a bad person and everybody hates you. Have a shitty rest of your life. The world would be a better place without you.
    " Megan replied, "You're the kind of boy a girl would kill herself over." She was found hanging by the neck in her closet 20 minutes later. Ms. Drew has since been indicted on three counts of accessing protected computers without authorization to obtain information to inflict emotional distress, and one count of criminal conspiracy. She was found guilty on three lesser charges (reduced from felonies to misdemeanors by the jury) on November 26, 2008. The jury was deadlocked on the fourth federal charge of criminal conspiracy. The case has caused several jurisdictions to consider legislation prohibiting harassment over the Internet.

    My point for including that story was not only because it touched and saddened me, but to emphasize that suicide is not confined to an age group. It knows no limits. Be it escape from sorrow, from the law, from bullies, from being a burden or a multitude of other things, it is a huge problem and both the young and old resort to it.

    Now, before I continue, some of you may be saying, "Talking about suicide and attempting it is just a cry for attention or help." Well, you'd be right at least 50% of the time. However, until you've been in the mindset of wanting to end it all, you won't know which yours turns out to be...or what theirs was.

    Since my first thoughts of it back when I was 14, it has come and gone many times. Some times more seriously than others. One would assume that, at a higher age, more rational thought would take over and anything resembling suicide would go by the waste side. Well, it didn't and it hasn't. In 2006, after going through a divorce, losing a home to foreclosure, going on social security disability for an anxiety disorder and coming within hours of being homeless, I gave up. Between my feelings of uselessness in society's eyes and the utter failure I felt I'd become, I could cope no longer.

    I found myself lying in bed at night with absolutely nothing but the many different ways I could kill myself, running through my head. Tears flowing, some of the most horrid methods entered my mind. "I have swords! I could fashion some kind of contraption with weights to plunge them into my heart" or "Wait! I live near train tracks! Quick! Painless! That's it!" Some hours later, I fell asleep. I awoke remarkably calm and quite literally resigned to the fact that I was going to die that day. I lived with my (twin) brother at that time and I had become so outwardly depressed that each and every time I left the house, he tried his best to prepare himself for the fact I may not be coming back. Yes, he had tried and tried to change my ways of thinking every time this kind of thing came up, but he knew he couldn't stop me short of calling the police or tying me down. By trying to put myself in his shoes, I assume he didn't call the police because of how it may make things worse for me...if not only emotionally.

    Anyway, later that day, the tears started flowing again and I finally rose up and walked out the door. There were train tracks not 100 yards away from the house that we rented. Wiping my eyes enough to see where I was going, I headed that way. In no time, I was there. I walked along the side of the tracks just waiting for that fateful sound. A few minutes later, I heard it. As the train's horn grew louder and louder, I cried harder and harder. I knew I was about to make my own twin brother's life a living hell. I hoped he wouldn't find me, that some stranger would. I couldn't figure out who to care most about....them or me. It was then that the train was now there. I made one step toward it then froze, dropped and bawled harder than I ever had. I was now crying harder because, 1) "Why do I always have to care so fucking much about everyone else?!?" 2) "I'm so lame I don't even have the balls to do this!" and many other reasons. I had already felt like a failure in life and now failed at having the courage to end it.

    I went to the small park very nearby, sat at a picnic table, laid my head down and cried myself to sleep. I don't know how long I slept and it's irrelevant. When I awoke, I headed home all cried out. Somber, but sans tears, I slowly walked home. I don't remember much else about that day but a few days later, I found myself depressed yet again but, surprising even myself, not crying. I was hurting just as bad, but not a tear fell. Again, the thoughts entered my mind. "You obviously don't have the courage for something so messy, so what now?" I asked myself. I was surprised at how calm I was while thinking of such a serious thing. I believe it was because I had again resigned myself to the fact that I was going to die. I didn't know right when or the exact method, but knew it would be by my own hand. After a considerably short time thinking about it, I decided I was going to strangle myself. I took the long, strong, laces out of my boots from my Army days, laid on the bed, got comfortable and lay there. My eyes open but not looking at anything specific. I don't even remember what was going through my head at that exact moment, but I assume I was trying to come to grips with what I was about to do.

    As I lay there, I found myself twisting the two laces together as I stared off into space. I remember letting out a heavy sigh, lifting my head slightly, wrapping the laces around my neck then through themselves, laying my head back down, swallowing and then pulling the laces tight. The bedroom light was on and the door was closed. The fan was the only sound in the room now. As each moment passed, I would consciously pull the laces even tighter. I remember thinking, "I never realized these laces were so long." They were partially wrapped around my hands and once around my neck. My arms were laying to my sides on the bed. Each time I got the nerve, I'd pull them tighter.

    I, after what seemed like 5 minutes, but more likely one, started to notice the changes happening to me. My face felt extremely tight and flush...much like when you're upside down, but multiplied a few times. My vision started to fade in and out and I remember thinking, "Wow! I'm actually doing this! I'm actually going to die soon!" As my vision darkened more and more, I took note of how the sound of the fan in the room was changing. It was now silencing and loudening in rhythm with my now-slowing heartbeat. Silent, loud...silent...loud....... ......silent...................... ...loud. "I'm actually dying!" I remember thinking again. The sounds changing and my vision fading, I told myself that this was taking too long. I regripped the ends of the laces and prepared to pull as tight as my strength could muster. As I did, the laces shot out of my left hand. I quickly pulled back on them again, half sad and half angry at the thought of having to "start this whole process over". I never did get the laces as tight as I had the first time and eventually started to cry, released them, turned onto my side and cried myself to sleep.

    The next day, I remember my brother and I were looking for something to eat in the kitchen and I muttered, "I tried". Not hearing me, he said, "Hmmm?" A little louder, I said, "I tried last night". He said, "Tried wha...", turned around and saw my face and knew exactly what I was referring to. He hugged me. I had tears in my eyes but wasn't crying per se. I don't remember much else about that day but do remember that night I was watching TV and was alone in the house. My brother, I assumed, was out in the garage doing his woodworking hobby. Then there came a knock at the door. It was an odd knock. It didn't sound like knuckles, it sounded like a flashli.... "No. No way!" I thought. I opened the door and there stood three police officers. In a very calm and reassuring manner, one officer said, "Are you Cliff?" I said I was. "Cliff, I understand you're not doing too well, buddy. What's goin' on with you?" he asked. I don't remember how I answered, if at all. After a short pause he asked me to step outside. It was then that I saw my brother. He, my sister and her husband and kids were standing at the street in the background. The officer asked me to turn around, spread my feet and interlace my fingers behind my head. "I just need to make sure you don't have anything that you can hurt yourself with, okay Cliff?" In just above a whisper, I replied, "Yeah". I had a pocket knife and some nail clippers that they took from me and then let go and asked me some more questions.

    I don't remember his or my own words after that, but I do remember that some sort of "victim counselor" came out and talked for a short bit but, because it had been more than so-and-so hours, he couldn't force me to go anywhere. Eventually, law enforcement left. They had given my knife and nail clippers to my brother. Then me, my brother, sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew, went into the house. I don't remember much about that either except my niece hugging me with tears in her eyes and, at some point, me going to get the laces and handing them to my brother-in-law. The rest is kind of a blur.

    Since then, I have thought of suicide again, but not as seriously. Seriously, but not as imminent. I guess you could say I've wanted to die many times since then but haven't attempted it. I've done a lot of crying over these years since then and have made myself physically ill at times from it. I have come to know some very special people in that time and one of them, I actually talked out of suicide. Ironic, huh? Her friendship and mine is impenetrable and will hopefully last forever. I'm on medication for depression now but it only does so well being that much of my depression is situational rather than chemical. The medication takes the edge off of it, I guess you could say.

    As per usual, my post is long-winded and seemingly never ending. I do that when pouring my heart out. Therapeutic? I don't know. Informative? I can only hope so. My point for writing this was to open the eyes of some and simply explain to others. Please know that suicide can be a very, very deep hurt that all rational thought loses out to. If a loved one of yours took their own life, please don't see them as selfish. See them as at wits end and knowing how very hard it is to deal with the "Who's gonna find me?", the "How will this affect so-and-so" makes it all that much harder and if they still went through with it, I can assure you it was no easy undertaking.

    I admire any of you who have ever let it run through your mind and pushed it out. Please just remember, people deal with crisis in different ways and some are stronger than others. Please don't harp on what they did to you or other loved ones but see and remember the good times you and they had together. They would want that. More than anything, at that time, they would want nothing more.

    Until next time...

    I have implemented a new commenting system. Sadly, in doing so, I inadvertently lost all comments made prior to December 28, 2011. My deepest apologies to those this adversely affected. If it's any consolation, it makes my blog here look pretty darn unvisited over the years.
    If this article is still online, I'll still reply to any and all comments that warrant it. Never feel like an article you view here is too old to bother with. Comments are always welcomed!
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    Monday, August 3, 2009

    Stupid Products: Are You Serious?

    Most of you don't know me but, if ya did, you'd know I absolutely despise having my intelligence insulted. My first real memory of realizing this was some time in the 90's. I was watching TV with my (then) wife and a commercial for either a detergent or a deodorant came on. It featured a technological marvel. This gadget, however, was not the product being sold...just the one insulting our intelligence.

    There was a shirt lying there neatly with its sleeves out to the side and into the frame comes this hand holding what looked like a white stick with a handle and a blinking red light at its tip. The angst started when the red light was painfully, obviously inserted via editing after filming. Anyway, it was an "odor detector" and it was being held at one armpit of the shirt, then the other. To prove their product worked, the side without the featured product made the red light flicker faster and a beep-beep-beep sound. Much faster and more annoying than it was on the other armpit.

    These people actually expected us to believe this thing could differentiate between a fresh armpit-of-a-shirt and one that had odor. I immediately lost my mind both laughing my ass off and looking nauseous. I don't remember what I said, exactly, but it was likely something like, "Oh give me a #@!*%^$ BREAK!". From that day forward, I have very little patience for the company or the product if its advertisers deem it necessary to treat me like I still believe in Santa Claus.

    And why is it a seemingly simple task becomes nearly impossible when a product comes out? It may have been this product that is coming to mind when I think of this, but I'm not sure. Regardless, it was indeed a can opener of some sort and the woman trying to open a can the ol' hand crank way shouldn't be in a kitchen much less working such complex machinery. She had sauce flying everywhere and when trying to retrieve the now-detached can lid, instead of trying to get a finger under an edge, she plunged her finger into its contents, up to her second knuckle. She also had apparent trouble holding the can down in one place. Sigh....I digress.

    I rambled on about that to go into the fact that there are so many idiotic products out there and their accompanying infomercials I will sometimes actually sit and watch just to laugh at them. I surf some odd sites, as you may have already noticed, and in doing so I come across some interesting (if not creepy) people. They find links to the weirdest things and seem to make a game out of finding the most ridiculous, yet real, products out there. Doing this from memory, I didn't have as much luck as I'd hoped I would, but found 3 products. Some you may have heard of, one or two, perhaps not.
    • The Snuggie: This is an "invention" that has parodies out the ying-yang now and is basically, what they call, a blanket with sleeves. They want $19.95 USD for this thing. Thank me later. I'm gonna save you some money! Grab your extra large uncle's XXL bathrobe, lay it on the bed with the front toward you, put your arms thru the sleeves and voila! You're all set! (Some models even have an included belt for those days ya just wanna cinch that puppy up...bathrobes, I mean. Not the Snuggie).

    • The Kush: Starting at the low, low price of $38.95 USD, this baby helps your poor women out there with boobs that keep you awake. This amazing and profound product even claims to help avoid cleavage wrinkles! Yes! That's right! You too can forget those long nights awake worrying about the wrinkles your gigantic breasticles cause. Aaaaaand, here's my idea: (Concept and design copyright 2009 - CliffyTX. All rights reserved) Grab a room-temperature 12 ounce can, for best results use non-carbonated beverage, and tuck that lil devil between your lovelies and snooze your cares away. The best part? If ya get thirsty during the night? Pop that bad boy open! Comes with a straw. Who loves ya more than me, heh? Can too hard? Well, try my handy, dandy large roll of ace bandage! Act now, and I'll include a partial roll of toilet paper! (Extra absorbent for those heavy-drool nights)

    • Comfort Wipe: This directly from their site: (My emphasis and comments in bold) For over a hundred years we've been using toilet tissues the same old way. Now there's a better way with the extended reach and comfortable to use Comfort Wipe™. It grabs and holds the toilet tissue in perfect postions (Yes...they spelled it this way) so you can easily wipe yourself. When you're done, just dispense the soiled tissue right in the toilet with the press of a button. (Isn't pushing a button much more hassle-free than that pesky ol' opening-of the-hand routine?) Comfort Wipe™ extends your reach a full 18" while the anotomical (Yep. Their spelling again) design follows the contours of your body for perfect cleaning. (It's the end of the line for the trusty shower) It's perfect for everyone, especially if you have trouble easily reaching because of physical limitations (i.e. Your butt looks like two full-grown adult raccoons fighting in a burlap sack) such as bad shoulder or other mobility litimations (I promise. These are all their doing. I oughtta hit 'em up for an editing/proofreading job!). Now you'll never have to touch a dirty toilet tissue!

    I would have liked to have found more, and could have easily with the plethora of them out there, but my computer was/is running low on memory and to be quite honest, I didn't want to steal all the same old lists that others had taken the time to research and provide. I tend to write a lot when I get to posting so maybe it's best that I stop here. ;o)

    Until next time...

    I have implemented a new commenting system. Sadly, in doing so, I inadvertently lost all comments made prior to December 28, 2011. My deepest apologies to those this adversely affected. If it's any consolation, it makes my blog here look pretty darn unvisited over the years.
    If this article is still online, I'll still reply to any and all comments that warrant it. Never feel like an article you view here is too old to bother with. Comments are always welcomed!
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    Saturday, August 1, 2009

    Over-Protection: Society in Panic Mode

    I touched on this in my July 30 post but wanted to spend a little more time on it now. It seems, it's obvious that society has hit the panic button since my younger days. When I was a kid, when I messed up bad enough, I got spankings. Many of you probably have as well. The majority of us are fine and suffered no lasting effects from it. For the sake of this article, I mean spankings here and there, not continuously or overall abuse. Society today has over-compensated for those of us that have vowed, "I'll never do that to my child!".

    Today, if you so much as raise your voice to your child in public, you risk having the police called on you. Let's face it, unless you fall to the ground sobbing and explain to your child that your behavior hurts your feelings in some way to make them feel guilt, time out does not work. Sure, for minor things maybe, but not lying, stealing, cheating, profanity, etc. I firmly believe, and have to assume because I have no children, that if you sat your child down and had a true, sincere heart-to-heart with them and take the time to explain why it upset you, why it's wrong and why they shouldn't do it again, that it will make an impact on their behavior. If your talk has no effect and/or the behavior happens again and again then, damn it, they need a swat on the ass. I discuss discipline with any women that I may become serious with when it's been determined that we'll live together and marry. It's important to wait until I'm invited into the subject, but I believe it's a very important one.

    Now, on to another facet of over-sensitivity in society today. Remember seeing your dad/uncle/grandfather (hopefully not all the same person or you have much deeper issues) toss a baby a foot or so into the air and catch him/her? When a little older, going out in the yard, taking the child by both hands and swinging them around and around? Well, I saw a video today of a woman in Alabama who apparently had one of these (or something similar...may be just a backpack strap or something) attached to her child and was slowly sliiiiiiiiiiding him across the floor. The kid was completely relaxed and likely having an absolute ball. Well, she's now in jail without bail and charged with felony first-degree cruelty to children. Any of the above scenarios I mentioned would now, in all probability, land you in the same boat. I present the video for your inspection:

    Does the woman look upset and and at wits end? Hardly! She was having a day out with her child and having fun with the lil rugrat and is now in jail for it. It seems some staff and fellow customers at the store observed this and someone called it in. It should be noted that the child had marks on his neck from it, but that hardly adds up to abuse. You get marks from clenching your hand too long, from leaning against a table's doesn't mean you were hitting someone or slamming into a table. Although I may very well be wrong in my take on this video, the core issue still stands true and we've become so sensitive to children that they can no longer have fun, be made to mind or deal with defeat. I believe it's going to affect their adult lives if over-done and they're sheltered from absolutely everything. It's sad really. Sure, some of you are saying, "Yeah! Okay! 'Some pooooor child is gonna be a basket case when he's older because he wasn't beat!!!'". That's taking my statement, and this article, a little too far. Regardless, in the end, your opinion is yours and mine is mine. I just chose to make mine public. Here's hoping your child grows up fine and becomes very successful and never needs a therapist.

    Until next time...
    I have implemented a new commenting system. Sadly, in doing so, I inadvertently lost all comments made prior to December 28, 2011. My deepest apologies to those this adversely affected. If it's any consolation, it makes my blog here look pretty darn unvisited over the years.
    If this article is still online, I'll still reply to any and all comments that warrant it. Never feel like an article you view here is too old to bother with. Comments are always welcomed!
    Scroll down to comment
    If you attempt to comment and it fails or you see an error message, please email me immediately.