Puppies At Play

Here’s a few shots (some of the best yet) of my Dexter at play with a few other dogs. I hope you like them as much as I did.

Dexter (in the middle) actually looks semi-graceful in this picture. Who'd a thunk it?

Dexter (in the middle) actually looks semi-graceful in this picture. Who’d a thunk it?

That's how you catch mad air. I wonder if he landed it...

That’s how you catch mad air. I wonder if he landed it…

Dexter is just a tad too slow getting out of the pool. Next time, Buddy.

Dexter is just a tad too slow getting out of the pool. Next time, Buddy.

Let's put our heads together. Two heads are better than one.

Let’s put our heads together. Two heads are better than one.

This shot reminds me of the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy is hanging with her companions, walking down the yellow brick road

This shot reminds me of the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy is hanging with her companions, walking down the yellow brick road

The Boss in the pool

The Boss in the pool

The Answer To Ferguson is Clearly…More Guns

Sometimes I don’t understand American culture or their love of guns. I know not all Americans love guns, but it seems like no matter how many times its citizens are shown that guns equal gun violence, they continue to say the answer is more guns.

For example, I read a blog today that said exactly that:

This is a classic case of people needing more of their second amendment rights.  There is something that happens to everyone when citizens are armed as far as attitude.  Firstly, police handle potential situations far differently.  They don’t feel empowered to just do as they will to stop a situation.  I doubt very much the officer in question would have acted as he did if he though it might be possible that both he men walking could be carrying guns.  Secondly, some of this might have never happened.  Would Brown have gone into the store he robbed and robbed it if he felt the owner, his employees and perhaps some of the shoppers were carrying guns?  Not a chance.  Thugs and bullies thrive in an environments where they can do as they please, a gun is a big NO to you can just do as you please.

So the answer to gun violence: more guns. Also, whether Brown robbed the store or not is irrelevant, since the officer that did the shooting didn’t know about it.

Of course, thinking more guns is the answer flies in the face of reality:

The United States has more guns and gun deaths than any other developed country in the world, researchers found.

A study by two New York City cardiologists found that the U.S. has 88 guns per 100 people and 10 gun-related deaths per 100,000 people — more than any of the other 27 developed countries they studied.

Japan, on the other hand, had only .6 guns per 100 people and .06 gun-related deaths per 100,000 people, making it the country with both the fewest guns per capita and the fewest gun-related deaths.

I know, I know, why let a few statistics get in the way of owning more guns.

Look, if you’re an American and you think citizens don’t own enough guns, you’re clearly not looking at the facts – you already own plenty of guns. There’s nearly a gun per person in the U.S, yet you still struggle with gun violence.

In Ferguson you have police officers that look more like military personnel than law enforcement officers. The first sign of unrest and they’re rolling on you with armored vehicles and sniper rifles cocked and loaded. They have tear gas, automatic weapons, and all sorts of other military toys at their disposal.  Let’s just pretend every citizen in the protest crowd had a gun.

What’s that going to solve? Do you think they should start firing at police? Could you imagine the crack-down that would happen if they did?

This idea that armed Americans could take on the US military if they decided to go crazy is pure fantasy. Your small arms aren’t a match for the highly trained, technologically advanced, well financed US military. Your military spends more per year on war than the next ten countries on that list do combined. Billions and billions of your tax dollars are spent on technology and killing. Your rifle just doesn’t cut it, friend.

Most of your citizens are armed, yet the police force alone in Ferguson (with the newly arrived National Guard) is able to scatter you like leaves on the wind using tear gas alone, not to mention their Long Range Acoustic Devices.

So far we’ve seen an unarmed 18 year old get gunned down in the street; protesters get targeted by those same police, riots, journalists being arrested and tear gassed etc.

Like Jake Tapper said:

“I want you to look at what is going on in Ferguson, Missouri, in downtown America, OK? These are armed police, with semi-automatic rifles, with batons, with shields, many of them dressed for combat. Now why they’re doing this I don’t know, because there is no threat going on here, none that merits this. There is none, OK? Absolutely there have been looters, absolutely over the last nine days there’s been violence, but there is nothing going on on this street right now that merits this scene out of Bagram. Nothing! So if people wonder why the people of Ferguson, Missouri are so upset, this is part of the reason. What is this? This doesn’t make any sense!”

Of course it doesn’t make sense. It also doesn’t make sense to think more guns is the answer. Not only are police able to use military grade force against you, they’re able to violate your rights at will, such as your freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the right to protest. They can make you walk around in circles while protesting to discourage your involvement:

Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson defended the new rule that protesters cannot stand and congregate in one place, saying it would protect community members from criminal elements who were trying to hide in their midst and cause trouble.

They can demand you don’t protest at night, because the time of day you’re protesting should influence your right to protest:

But remaining protesters — chanting “No justice! No curfew!” — refused to leave the area. As five armored tactical vehicles approached the crowd, officers spoke through a loudspeaker: “You are in violation of a state-imposed curfew. You must disperse immediately. Failure to comply, may result in arrest.”

What might have prevented this nightmare from escalating would have been less guns and less gun use. The officer might not have shot Michael Brown if he’d been better trained in the use of force. If the police force didn’t have armored vehicles and military grade hardware, you might see less tear gassing and harassment of journalists:

Journalists found themselves targeted in Ferguson once more on Monday night. Members of the media were again arrested, detained, hit with tear gas and shoved around by officers in the Missouri town, which has erupted in the weeks following the killing of Michael Brown.

I guess those journalists should have been packing.

Arming more people clearly isn’t the answer, in my opinion. Regardless of whether or not the protesters are armed or not, using those arms will only escalate the situation. Even if you believe that every American should own 10, 20, 50 guns, how would that change anything?

Regardless of whether you believe the armed citizens of America could fight and win versus the US military, what would be the cost of doing so?

A lot more bloodshed.

What are your thoughts about the militarization of the police and do you think more guns would solve gun violence?

A Call To Arrest Atheist Bloggers

Earlier this summer, Saudi Arabia decided to freak out at a UN Human Rights council because someone dared to speak up about its frequent human rights abuses:

Yesterday, we got a rare glimpse of how sensitive Saudi Arabia is to its human rights abuses being exposed. At a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council, a representative of my organization, the Center for Inquiry, was repeatedly shouted down by the Saudi representative in an attempt to stop her from delivering our statement condemning its crackdown on free expression and belief, and its persecution of dissidents such as Raif Badawi andWaleed Abu al-Khair.

That wasn’t enough for them – they decided to double-down on the douche-baggery by calling for the arrest of atheist bloggers.

Manama: Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has asked the interior ministry to arrest several people for apostasy and atheism.

The commission did not divulge the number of people whose arrest it requested, but it said that they insulted God and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

It added in a report about its work and achievements that it was coordinating closely with the telecommunication and information technology commission to block and shut down pornographic sites as well as sites that promote apostasy and atheism.

They’ve decided to shut down atheist and pornography sites, and curtail any free expression that the internet might allow. It has dubbed atheist sites as a form of ‘cyber-crime’.

Personally, I think the real crime is a form of theocratic government that seeks to arrest anyone who disagrees with them on religious thought or expression – a regime that employs religious police to hound, intimidate and incarcerate its citizens for merely thinking for themselves.

When someone or something (in this case government and religious authorities) try to shut down conversation by persecuting the other side, you have to wonder which side is afraid of the truth? Which side has the weaker argument – the side willing to talk about what they believe or don’t believe or the side doing everything in their power to incarcerate the other side?

 

Mind Officially Blown

god_made_girlsI wrote a post the other day about modern day feminism. I might have to take everything I said back.  I just found a video of a country song (thanks to Jaclyn Glenn) that is mind blowing in its stupidity and contempt for women.

Don’t believe me?

Here’s a sample of the lyrics:

Somebody’s gotta wear a pretty skirt,
Somebody’s gotta be the one to flirt,
Somebody’s gotta wanna hold his hand so God Made Girls

Yup. That’s why women exist. Someone has to rock that skirt. Guys can’t be trusted to flirt either and holding hands is out of the question, unless you’re a girl.

Now you know – God made girls for some lofty purposes.

Somebody’s gotta make him get dressed up,
Give him a reason to wash that truck,
Somebody’s gotta teach him how to dance,
So God made girls.

Face meet palm.

I never knew I needed a woman to get dressed. I don’t own a truck, either. I guess I’m not a real man.

My wife was happy to learn that God put her here so that I’d wash my vehicle and learn to dance. When she complained, I told her that complaining wasn’t attractive and she wasn’t being breakable enough.

I told her to listen to this vapid song a few more times.

He needed something soft and loud and sweet and proud
But tough enough to break a heart
Something beautiful and breakable that lights up in the dark

I just puked in my mouth a little.

Somebody’s gotta be the one to cry
Somebody’s gotta let him drive
Give him a reason to hold that door so God made girls

Guys can’t cry?

Of course we do. Hell, I’m listening to this song and crying in pain.

Now the next time you’re wondering what’s the purpose to life – why were you put here on planet Earth – you can now comfort yourself with the knowledge that if you’re a female, God made you so that guys would have a reason to open the door and let them sit in the drivers seat. That’s your purpose. That’s why God made girls.

Something that can wake him up and call his bluff and drag his butt to church
Something that is hard to handle
Somethin’ fragile to hold him when he hurts

My wife obviously isn’t fulfilling her God given purpose in life.

She isn’t dragging me to church.

The insane thing is that at the time of this typing, this video has over 8000 likes on YouTube and only 3500 dislikes. If I could dislike this song a million times, I would. Why are people up-voting this piece of crap video and song? Do people not listen to the lyrics?

Jaclyn was right . The song might as well just come out and say it – God made girls for men to use.

Disgusting.

I hope if you’re reading this, you’ll take the time to down-vote this song and video.

Pawlooza!

 

We went to a local festival on the weekend called Pawlooza. If the name doesn’t immediately give it away, it’s a festival for dogs.

It was insanely fun, especially for our Lab, Dexter. There were all kinds of vendors; some sold food for humans and some for dogs; some sold doggy treats and others sold portraits.

There were all kinds of dog shows, such as agility, beauty or talent shows to watch. You could enter your dog in a contest, but we didn’t take part in any of those. What we found extremely entertaining was the leash-free zone. It was huge and it sported a big pond that the dogs could frolic in.

Needless to say, Dexter did insane amounts of frolicking. The little (or not so little guy) just loves to swim. I guess that’s what those webbed feet are for.

We had a hard time getting him out of the leash-free zone, but coffee and time ensured both Steph and I had to use the loo after about an hour. I think Dex was a little upset we didn’t bring some Depends so we could stay longer.

How inconsiderate of us.

photo 1(8)

I think I’m going to stay here all day

photo 1(9)

I may look a bit tuckered, but I’m just getting warmed up

photo 2

If I could only get my hands on a tasty stick, I could coerce these other dogs to follow my lead

photo 3(1)

I think I’ll just trot around this pond

photo 3(5)

On the move!


Why I Don’t Identify as a Feminist

Men-And-Women-Double-Equal-Sign-Gender-EqualityI’ve largely stayed out of the whole pro-feminist/anti-feminist debate until now. It’s a subject that interests me, but I didn’t feel (and still don’t to some degree) that I had enough information about feminism, its goals and what it stood for.

Recently, I read two posts by an atheist- feminist that I follow. You can find those posts here and here. I’ll be quoting from the first linked article to make my points.

However, I sincerely hope you go to those articles at some point and give them a read. Hessian has a very thought provoking blog that I think would be an asset to anyone’s reading list, whether you agree with the articles or not. I generally agree with them, but I find myself disagreeing with many of the posts that deal with feminist issues.

First off, let’s start with the definition of feminism:

1) the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2) organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests
 
By the very definition, I’d probably be classified as a feminist. I do stand for equality and think women should have equal rights. I think both men and women should be concerned with equality. Even on this blog, I’ve written about some of the women’s issues that concern me.
 
However, I don’t want to be labeled as a feminist and let me tell you why.
 
First off, I think feminism (by its very name) deals with only one half of the problem. While feminists may say that they champion equal rights for both sexes, I see very little talk about issues that affect men coming from that movement. In fact, I see a lot of feminists (not all) minimizing issues that face both men and women, and trying to turn those issues into a female only issue.
 
For example, from Hessian’s blog post:
 
From my perspective, the following list comprises the most pressing and talked about issues in the feminist movement at this time: sexual harassment, rape cases or lack thereof, and the teaching of consent as a long term solution for going after rape apologists and victim blaming as damage control. You may be saying “well sure, but that doesn’t cover men’s issues.” For one, men don’t have as many serious life affecting issues facing them as women do, which I will explain in due time.
 
The emphasis is mine.
 
I would beg to differ, and I think this is a prime example of why we can’t deal with issues strictly by whether it’s a male or female issue.
 
Now you might be thinking that I have no grounds to disagree and that Hessian is spot on, but let me share with you a few statistics that clearly show not just women are sexually harassed or assaulted:
 
Last year the National Crime Victimization Survey turned up a remarkable statistic. In asking 40,000 households about rape and sexual violence, the survey uncovered that 38 percent of incidents were against men. The number seemed so high that it prompted researcher Lara Stemple to call the Bureau of Justice Statistics to see if it maybe it had made a mistake, or changed its terminology. After all, in years past men had accounted for somewhere between 5 and 14 percent of rape and sexual violence victims.
 
 
Men and boys are often the victims of the crimes of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape. In fact, in the U.S., about 10% of all victims are male.
 
Even in my personal life, I’ve known men who were sexually harassed in the work place. They’re usually told by their coworkers that they should like it and if they say they don’t like it, they’re told that they must be gay.
 
While rape and sexual harassment certainly do effect women, it isn’t just a woman’s issue, no matter how many feminists say otherwise. Why should we focus on it like it is? I think we should tackle sexual assault and harassment head on, regardless of sex or gender.
 
While the vast majority of physical assaults are carried out by men, I have been a victim of repeated assaults by a woman. I even called the police, who then laughed at me because I was so much bigger than the woman in question. Sure, I could have easily overpowered her, but I refused to do so because I refuse to hit a woman or even give someone the opportunity to claim that I harmed them in some way. I could have held her wrists and prevented her from hitting me, but what if I’d left a bruise or a mark?
 
In that case, I’m likely going to jail and chances are I’m going to live the rest of my life with a criminal record.
 
No thank you.
 
She was never charged and I got a face full of laughter from the police, despite having bruises and red hand marks on my face and neck.
 
Hessian then goes on to discuss the wage gap, male privilege (a nebulous term at best), jobs and educational opportunities. I saw no statistics to back this up, but if there is a problem in these areas, then we should be combating them – not from the perspective of one gender or sex only, but from a human perspective.
 
Then there is this:
 
Moreover, women are considered public objects in our society, we are allowed to freely and openly critique every physical portion of a women and are often expected to. From their body to their clothing to the way they move and present themselves, even the way they talk. One might say men get this to, but anyone who is honestly looking into the issue will admit that it occurs far more regularly to women. For example; how often do men get cat called, or whistled at? Both women and men judge women largely by their physical traits, which is largely not the case for men. As well, this is not an inequality born of nature, but of culture. There are cultures where the above examples are not the case, yet we are mostly blind to this since we were raised with this often overt sexism all around us and deem it normal and expected.
 
Emphasis is again mine, to show where one sex is minimized in favor of the other.
 
So because men don’t get cat-called or whistled at as often as women, they’re never critiqued for their physical proportions. Really?
 
I beg to differ. Here’s a few examples.
 
I got famous because I had excess fat on my body

I got famous because I had excess fat on my body

Only women are portrayed out of proportion in video games

Only women are portrayed out of proportion in video games

Men typically look like this

Men typically look like this

Are you saying that popular culture (movies, TV, video games, cartoons, comics, websites etc) are not flooded by good looking men?

Are you saying that sex sells, no matter the gender or sex being portrayed?

In a perfect world, should men or women be valued more if they’re attractive to the opposite sex?

Of course not. But we’re sexual beings and we like to look at the opposite sex. Women do it just like men do. There are also jerks from either sex/gender. There are jerks everywhere, and I’m all for supporting a culture where men and women don’t have to be sexually harassed in public.

That is, 6-15% percent of men will have clear understanding and communication from their sex partner that they do not consent to having sex and will then have sex with that partner anyway. 6-15% and we are not even talking about cases of ambiguous consent. We are talking about clear cut cases of rape. That means millions of men think that it’s okay, or, at the very least, are not bothered enough to stop themselves.

I don’t think they think it’s okay. They probably know that raping someone is wrong. It’s one of the worst crimes you can do to someone, and just because it happens as frequently as it does, doesn’t mean they think it’s okay. It’s not like men sit around and talk about how OK it is to rape someone. Male rapists are one of the most hated people in our culture. They probably follow close behind child-rapists.

As I showed above, this isn’t a uniquely feminine issue and shouldn’t (in my opinion) be addressed as one. In fact, I think by addressing it from the perspective of just one sex, we’re doing an injustice to the subject because it dismisses or minimizes the impact that rape can have on male victims of rape. Why are we looking at this from just one side? Are male victims of rape and sexual assault less worthy of our attention?

And sure, there might be some group of man-hating feminists out there, but I don’t hear about them, and they certainly don’t make up the majority, or colour the dialogue I see within feminism.

I would seriously have to question your level of listening. I’m not even that well educated about feminism as a whole, yet I’ve clearly seen feminists say and do some pretty heinous things and they definitely do color the discussion. They color it so much that feminism – despite its worthy goal of equality – is facing considerable push-back.

For example:

Are nearly all male students at the University of Maryland “potential rapists”?

Women in a feminist art class here apparently believe so. About 10 of them plastered the campus with fliers last week listing the names of virtually every male student under the heading, “NOTICE: THESE MEN ARE POTENTIAL RAPISTS.”

That’s in the newspaper. I’m pretty sure that colors the discussion and gives feminism as a movement a bad name.

And if you don’t like all that I’ve said, and still have reservations, guess what: you can still be a feminist, and you should be a feminist. Come add your voice to the still open question of how equality should be implemented and how continuing oppression should be addressed. You may be surprised by what you learn, should you choose to listen. And please try not to be a jerk. Then you likely won’t get treated like one in return.

I think modern feminism is a movement that at its core is something to aspire to. I think historically, it has done a lot of good and should be applauded for that. I also think it’s currently rudderless. It doesn’t seem to have clear goals. People who identify as feminists can’t seem to make up their minds about what should be done.

For example, you have some feminists saying the patriarchy objectifies women and strip clubs and pornography personify this. On the other side, you have feminists who say women should be allowed to strip and take part in pornography if they choose.

Which is it?

I see a lot of articles, videos and blog posts about video games, but very few about women being forced to wear a bag in some countries; women not being allowed to drive or join the priesthood; women who are told they’re literally worth half of a man; female circumcision or how some females have acid thrown in their face.

I also see a lack of viable solutions by modern feminism. I see a lot of people talking about the patriarchy or how women get paid less etc, but no solutions. If these issues are so problematic, then what are the solutions? That’s what I’m interested in.

And I personally think the very term ‘feminism’ should get thrown out. Why not use a term that is sex/gender neutral, such as:

  • gender egalitarian
  • equal rights movement
  • humanism (although the argument is usually that humanism already covers something else)

I don’t think tackling an issue from one side is helpful at this point. I think feminism has to change as a movement and I don’t want to associate myself with the modern feminist movement, although I’m all for equal rights for both men and women.

As a closing note, I’d like to leave you with this video, where the hosts of a show named The Talk sat around on National television and made fun of a man who had his penis cut off and thrown in the garbage disposal, because he had the audacity to file for divorce.

If they had been talking about a female who had her clitoris or breasts cut off, I don’t think the hosts or the crowd would have found it so funny. I also don’t think Sharon would have said something as despicable as ‘I think it’s fabulous’.

I find genital mutilation reprehensible – no matter the sex or gender of the person being mutilated.

How Do You Come Up With Blog Ideas?

I’ve always been intrigued by the writing process. Sometimes I’m full of ideas and sometimes I have to put in a little work to get inspired. If you’re into blogging, you probably know what I’m talking about.

So I thought I’d share with you some of the ways I come up with and hold onto ideas for my blog. Most of them are probably common sense but I’ll write about them anyways.

Go ahead.

Go ahead and try to stop me…

There is only evil laughter in your future if you try.

rsz_mr_burns_evil_7487

Books, books the magical books

I read a lot and often those magazines, books, pamphlets etc bring along the inspiration train.

For example, maybe you’ve just read an historical fiction novel and you decide to see what parts of the book are true and which aren’t.

Write about it!

Hell, if the book intrigued you enough to try and figure out which parts are truth and which are fiction, how many more people might feel the way you do? How exciting will that journey for you be and won’t that excitement shine through on your blog?

I know when I’m reading a blog, I love it when the author is passionate about their subject, even if I don’t agree with them. That’s what blogging dreams are made of, baby.

Other blogs, ahoy!

I like writing rebuttal pieces. I read quite a few blogs that would most likely disagree with my own. I do this because it provides insight into how other people think and what sorts of topics I should address.

Besides, engaging with other bloggers is what it’s all about for many of us, right?

What better way of accomplishing that than to read what the blogging community is putting out there and engaging it using your own blog?

There is a lot of great content out there just waiting to be explored. Those other blogs can provide a lot of inspiration for your own blog.

Looking for something to write about?

Get reading some blogs!

images

Notebook in hand, I begin my journey

I daydream a lot. Sometimes I’ll just be sitting there doing my best imitation of a zombie – drool coursing down my chin – when an idea pops into my squishy little head. I know that it will fly right out of there unless I write it down.

If I weren’t such a bozo and a bit more organized, I’d be carrying a notebook around with me. Instead, I often resort to typing the idea in the form of a text message. I don’t send it and my phone saves it as a draft.

Sad right?

Hey, don’t judge me.

Pictures can be a bloggers best friend

Not only can I drool with the best of them, I can be one lazy S.O.B. Sometimes (gasp) I just don’t want to write a lot but I still want to throw a post up.

Not literally. That would be painful. The great white toilet wouldn’t be happy with me either.

But I digress.

Here comes the old cliche of a picture being worth a thousand words.

You can throw some neat photos up, type in a few paragraphs explaining what the *bleep* is going on in them and away you go.

Plus, people like me will adore your blog. Sure, I love written content, but sometimes I  like to soak up some visuals. If you’re still not convinced, I also think it’s a good way to connect with your readers. I know I like learning things about the people I follow. At the very least, a face to go along with the voice is appreciated.

The boob toob

I don’t watch a ton of TV (although I blame Netflix for sucking the life from me some nights) I do sometimes get an idea from that nefarious appliance.

For example, my latest blog post (besides this one, smarty) is the beginning of a conspiracy theory category on my blog. I got that idea from watching a cheesy show on (you guessed it) Netflix that dealt with that subject. I was so engrossed by it, that I decided to work on my own using this blog.

You can always try the news, science shows, religious shows or whatever turns you on.

Go ahead. Give it a try. Just don’t get sucked in too much…

movieposter

Just day to day stuff

If all else fails, try thinking back over your day and find something to write about. Sometimes a post that sounds boring in your head will turn out to be one of your best.

I think the biggest thing is to sit down and get writing. There is no Blog God forcing you to hit the ‘publish’ button. You can always let the post languish in blogger purgatory.

So what are some of the ways you come up with and retain your blog ideas?

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