My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Entry for August 30, 2007

Celebrity, political, sport scandals seem to be all of the headlines lately and I feel the need to explain a few things to all of you out there who don’t understand how these things can happen to these people. Now I know, if anyone should know should know how far they can fall you would think it would be people in high places; yet time and again they plummet. Whether it’s Michael Vick, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Swaggart, or the recent hilarity of the soon to be ex-Senator Daniel Craig, they all seem to not know any better.

So lets back up a bit and ask ourselves what leads a person under intense public scrutiny to imagine that they can get away with unacceptable behavior?

This is actually quite easy. As public figures rise in power, influence, and fame people who want to share in that spotlight may help them around the rules that govern all of our daily lives. Or to put it simply, these people who surround the rich, powerful, and famous tell them that they are special. They give them everything, whenever they ask for it. So eventually they break the rules because the rules just aren’t there for them anymore. Psychiatrists call the process leading up to this belief “acquired narcissism”.

It happens when someone gradually starts believing that they are not like everyone else. This can be more pronounced in politicians because they believe that since they serve the public, have given countless time, hours, years of their lives, they now deserve a break when it comes to their comfort and desires.

To make matters worse, our whole society reinforces this. We learn not to challenge our bosses, even when we think that they are doing something wrong because we fear being punished or cut out of the rewards. We are all guilty of reinforcing bad behavior, which, when compounded on the same person over time, will almost always lead to them believing that they are special. From children to the President, everyone can be convinced by the people around them that the rules don’t apply to them. And as long as those people around them keep their actions quiet, they are right.

So special people do play by special rules and don’t expect to be caught, until they actually are. At which time they find out that no one is that special and that we all must live in the same world and play by the same rules. Moral of the story: always consider yourself special enough to think that you are one in a million, because with 6.75 Trillion people on Earth it means there are almost 7,000 other people just as special as you. That’s just special enough to feel good about yourself, but not arrogant enough to believe your own hype.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Are Most Antigay Republicans Gay?

Republican Idaho Senator Larry Craig, who flamboyantly endorsed Idaho's successful anti-gay constitutional amendment which banned gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships in his state, was recently arrested and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after he tries to solicit sex in a men’s bathroom at a Minnesota airport. Now humorous as this is, these stories are way too common. Whether it is evangelical preacher Ted Haggard’s militant stance on homosexuality before being found having had homosexual sex while using crystal meth with a male prostitute or Glenn Murphy Jr., who was the president of the Young Republican National Federation until it was found out that he lowered the pants of a young employee while he was sleeping and tried to give him oral sex, really begs the question, “Are most antigay Republicans gay?”.

It seems that every time one of these guys comes out with an antigay agenda, they’re eventually found out to be gay. Now I would like to point out that many politicians have succumbed to irony’s cruel humor. The best example I can think of is Strom Thurmond, who ran on a segregationist platform for president while fathering a child with a black woman. You would think that before anyone could get elected in this country they would have to pass through a Senatorial Irony Committee to check for obvious future hilarity. Anyone with an extreme stance on anything would be forced to submit to several tests to find out if they were involved or may soon become involved in the very thing that they propose to hate. Unfortunately, no such thing exists. Maybe if one did we would find out which activist antigay Republican was going to be found out next. Personally, my bet is on Senator, and 2008 presidential candidate, Sam Brownback. He has always run on a high-profile platform against gay marriage, porn and abortion -- which according to the custom of the current batch of Republicans, means that he is most likely gay, addicted to porn, and has had a couple past relationships that he would like to forget. Am I wrong? Maybe, but I have a feeling that you wouldn’t take me up on that bet.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

There is no War on Terror

First of all let me say that you cannot win a war unless it is against a proper noun. Terrorism, poverty, drugs are just regular nouns and are too ill-defined and unorganized to fight with. You can, of course, announce that you are going to fight against anything, but unless you have a concrete enemy (such as German in the early 1940s) you cannot win.

So that begs the question, why is our president constantly touting this War on Terror as a real war? To being with we must realize that any time that the country is at war, the President and Executive Branch as tremendous powers. So when we are in a state of constant war, the powers of the Executive Branch and its President will slowly and naturally expand to allow for more and more powers so that the President has more and more weapons at his disposal to win the war. Stay at war long enough and the Executive Branch will have amassed enough power control the other branches of government unchecked.

Or to quote from Orwell’s 1984 - "The very word 'war', therefore, has become misleading. It would probably be accurate to say that by becoming continuous, war has ceased to exist. ... therefore War is Peace."

This comes in contrast to how it is being sold in reference to 9-11. What the Executive Branch has done is attempt to draw a line from 9-11 to all terror, as if all terror is connected with 9-11. Unfortunately, the world is not that simple. One small group of radical Islamic extremists named al-Qaeda, and headed by Osama bin Laden, attacked us. We retaliated by invading Afghanistan because that is where they were hiding and the government in control of that country was not able to give them to us. Failing to capture bin Laden, and failing to really damage the internal structure or power of al-Qaeda, and with other factors best known only to the Executive Branch, we then invaded Iraq under bad pretenses and extremely faulty intelligence.

In order to invaded Iraq, the pretense that Iraq held weapons of mass destruction was used and Congress declared an Authorized Use of Force against Iraq. This Authorized Use of Force is the same declaration that we used in both the Korean War and the Vietnam War, yet the Administration of the Executive is working very hard to not to call this current conflict the Iraq War -- even though all previous conflicts declared under the Authorized Use of Force were called a War with the country that it was declared upon.

What will history call this War? More than likely, we will all one day call it the Iraq War and not the War on Terror. So I encourage all of you to step ahead of the curve and refer to this war in its future tense. Maybe once we admit that we are at war with a particular country, we can work towards an actual concrete goal in Iraq and bring our troops home. I think that all of us prefer solid objectives based in reality to the current indefinite goal of just continuous war against an enemy that cannot be beat.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Who wants a snack?

I have a friend who is trying to lose weight for a quickly approaching wedding. She is the maid of honor and will be seeing people she has not seen since graduating college almost a decade ago. To do this she has cut down on the size of her meals, started exercising, and is now eating better. This is why when I saw her today staring woefully into her Cinnamon Dolce Frappuccino I asked her how her diet was going. Without looking up I heard a weak, “I don’t understand. I’ve done everything and I haven’t lost a pound”.

With this I said, “Well, you’re having a dessert as a snack”.

She looked up, smiled, and said, “No Brian, this is just a coffee”.

So I turned, walked slowly over to the cafĂ© and returned with one of the Starbucks nutritional guides. Her Cinnamon Dolce Frappuccino was 490 calories, 50 less than a Big Mac. To which I again replied, “You are having a dessert as a snack”.

Again she looked down woefully into her Cinnamon Dolce Frappuccino, but this time I think that she understood.

Now I am the last person to ever give health advice. I eat copious quantities of most everything -- its part of my whole philosophy to devour life. So I have a few extra pounds, but I’m comfortable with who I am.

That being said, you people out there need to be honest with that you eat. My wife, Kela, loves these cheap granola bars that we buy at a local grocery store. These seemly healthy snacks have over 120 calories, or about the same as three strips of bacon. A 22oz coke, a favorite snack of most people, comes in with almost 300 calories -- the same as four macadamia nut cookies from Subway.

So listen people, if you want a snack, have an apple. If you want dessert, eat a dessert. But don’t try to fool yourself into thinking your dessert snack is at all healthy.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Environment is Cool!!!

While watching one of the infotainment channels today I caught a story about how a designer, named Anya Hindmarch, has designed a canvas bag that reads: “I’m not a plastic bag”. Needless to say, this brilliant bag is being snapped up by all of the ecofriendly people out there in consumer world. All of the important activists are supporting this bag and it is currently selling on eBay for upwards of $50. Never have I seen a bag so incredible in all of my life.

Well that is, except for the ones that my wife and I have been using for our groceries for the last several years. But in all fairness, most of them don’t have such an important message on them. Come to think if it most of them don’t have anything written on them at all. Up until now we had no idea that in order to be ecoconscious we had to advertise it in a language so simple that it could be understood by a mentally handicapped Australian wombat. Frankly, I don’t know how we missed it. How could we have been so selfish to quietly do our part without telling the world how ecocool we were?

That is why I, Brian Hamilton, have decided to tell the world that I too am ecofriendly. To do so I plan on purchasing the largest vehicle on the market to pull as 20 foot advertising sign trailer that reads “I Love the Environment”. I will then drive this vehicle in heavy traffic for long hours during the hottest parts of the day for maximum exposure. Only then will people understand how passionate I am about saving the environment.

Am I upset that others might try to use my environmental love to market a product to people who are just trying to look trendy and will discard it the second something else shiny is worn by a celebrity? No, because I know that ecopeople are here to stay -- that is, as long as we can each get one of those bags.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Few Words about the Impending Impeachment Proceedings

Our Constitution does two very powerful things; it both lays down the fundamental laws of the country and establishes the three branches of government. The Legislative branch makes the law, the Executive branch executes the law, and the Judicial branch interprets the law. This natural balance created a check to each branch that was to keep any one branch from becoming too powerful. The most important thing that we as a country can do is to make sure that this system remains in check. Almost every single one of our laws, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, right to bear arms… were designed with the intent of empowering the people with the ability to keep the branches of power fairly equal with one another.

That is why the upcoming impeachment is so important. The reach of the Executive branch has never been more powerful, and it did not get that way by following the rules of the Constitution. To use a metaphor: When George Washington cut down the cherry tree he used the wood to make a small box and in that box the president puts his powers. Over the years we’ve taken things out and put things in, but on January 20, 2009 if George Bush and Dick Cheney are not appropriately held to account for what they’ve added to the box, this administration will hand over a box with more powers then any president has ever had -- more powers then the Founders could have imagined. That box may be handed to Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Barack Obama, or any number of other potential presidents and whoever gets it is not going to give away the power that they’ve inherited. The only way that we take power out of that box is to punish George Bush and Dick Cheney now so that the next president cannot govern as they have.

The Founders of our country made six separate references to impeachment in the Constitution. They wanted us to know the power of impeachment, use the power of impeachment, and planned for impeachment to keep us strong. It is time to start impeachment hearings and regain the balance that once made our country strong.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Modern Female Empowerment is Bullshit

Standing in a bookstore I overhear two well dressed, mid-thirties, successful looking, short haired, long-skirt laden ladies standing in the fitness isle perusing a book called The Art of Pole Dancing: A Spin-by-Spin Guide and heard the following conversation (we’ll call one of them Tiffany and the Christi):

Christi: Yeah, so I’ve been doing it for Jeff for a couple of weeks now.

Tiffany: Oh my God, REALLY?

Christi: Absolutely, its sooooo empowering. I’ve never felt more in control of our relationship. It’s like, when I start dancing, I’m the one who is the boss and he has to sit there and pay full attention.

Tiffany Wow, so if I pole dance for Steve you think that I could take control of him? Do you think it would empower me too?

Christi: Oh yeah, I was watching TV, I think it was on Oprah or something, and they were talking about how we need to empower ourselves more in life. And I think that my dancing empowers me because I feel beautiful and strong when I do it and because Jeff does whatever I say!

Tiffany: I never really know what people mean when talk about empowerment.

Christi: I think it means when a women feels powerful and can do whatever she wants.

Tiffany: Thank God for women’s lib, my mother and grandmother were awesome. Ok, I’m buying the book. Mom, here comes Tiffany's empowerment!

That is when I realized that the feminism of the 60’s and 70’s has been co-opted by the newly redefined female empowerment of today. Empowerment is now being marketed as anything that makes a woman feel good or gets her noticed by others. New shampoos brag about how strong and shiny they make your hair, good makeup gives you confidence, and the vehicle that you drive gives you recognition as an important person with money. All of this pseudo-empowerment is done while constantly bombarding women with juxtaposing and equally persuasive advertisements about body image to reinforce the notion that the females primary role is as a passive sex object to be gazed upon by whoever chooses. Not only did the two women I overheard in the bookstore actually believe that empowerment means getting control over whoever you want by making yourself a pretty piece of meat, but they also thought that it was what their foremothers had intended when they fought for equality.

So please humor me for a minute and let me explain something to all of the women out there who are not still shaking your head in abject disbelief over those two individual’s comments:

True feminism is about absolute equality between the sexes. Empowerment is that ability to act upon that equality. Yes, that means that you can dance around a poll if you so choose, but it also means that you knowingly are taking a subservient position to please someone else at your own expense. You are nothing more then an amusement for someone else. Your power exists only because they give it you. If you forget that part, or choose to ignore it, you will no longer have the power to choose whether or not you want to be submissive because it will be automatically assigned to you.

So please, for the love of my mother’s and her mother’s generation, do not throw out everything they worked so hard for because your man shuts up for a moment and makes you feel pretty.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Entry for August 05, 2007

I had a conversation this weekend with a female friend that really surprised me. We were talking body types and she was dumping on herself for the same reason that all women dump on themselves, because they don’t weigh 90lbs. Now I will never understand why women can’t see this, but no straight man wants a woman built like that. Fashion magazines, supermodels, and clothes designers are generally either gay men or unhappy women. So why on earth would any straight woman believe that that goal of 90lbs is what straight men want? Furthermore, if you think that you need to be 90lbs to feel good about yourself, who the hell are you really trying to please and why?

So here, for all of the women, let me explain what I, a straight male, look for when judging a woman on just physical beauty: Smile, healthy physique, face, and above all else, curves. I want to know you are a woman. A 90 pound rail thin girl looks like a 14 year old boy to me and is, thus, not attractive. So you have a couple of extra pounds? Good, the last thing that any man wants is someone perfect. Perfect people must beget other perfect people. And frankly, I don’t have time, energy, or drive to keep up with that.