Before we begin this week’s flag stop on the insanity express, I would like to review a touch of classic literature with everyone. Kudos if you can pull the quote quickly from your memories of high school:
[The name] That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet…
I bring this quotation of Shakespeare, with slight modification, to bring illustration to a point. Whatever word we choose to call something, be it as sweet sounding as a rose, or “that damn flower that makes my nose run,” a rose is still a flowering plant, of many different shades and colors, that provides us with a scent, of which many people find pleasant. The name or description we choose is honestly not of importance, the plant’s nature will not change.
I bring this concept to light in examine two events, occurring literally hours from each other, of names that we inter as “hateful,” “close-minded,” or “cruel.” I am referring to both Kobe Bryant’s use of “faggot” to a referee during a play-off game, and Lady Gaga’s use of “retarded” in regards to a comparison of her most recent work to Madonna’s lexicon of music.
Now, before we continue, I would like it noted for the record that both individuals have apologized in their own way (Kobe with a PSA, and Lady Gaga through an interview,) that is not the concern I wish to put forth. The concern is this; that we, as a society, have put so much into words, into names, into adjectives. A person swears, for the most part, it’s no big deal, but if a person uses a racial, sexual, or other such term, it is the end of the world, and public service announcements are needed to mend the damaged psyche of the nation. True, we expect our “leaders,” [read: celebrities], to hold a higher ground, to never make a mistake, to always do what society expects of them, correct? Here is the dilemma, and it is two-fold. One, we expect our aforementioned national leaders to be held to a standard that we, the average United States citizen do not hold. How often, have we used “…that is so gay!” or “…quit being retarded…” Obviously neither of those are in reference to a personal sexual choice, or an antiquated medical term for mental capacity, however, we still use it. Why do we still use it? Because, readers, we know that words can hurt, and using these words, whether we want to or not, provide us with the ability to hurt the “hurt before we are hurt” through these words. This is human nature, readers; we desire to hurt when we perceive the change to be hurt, feel entrapped, et cetera, et cetera. This is a difficult nature to change, as it is as hard-wired into our existence as eating, breathing, or the desire to replicate. So what can be done? I come to the second part of the dilemma.
The second point is HOW we feel about words. Take a minute to refer to the quote I listed above, and yes, it is Romeo and Juliet. If you remembered, high school was not all for naught. If you had to Google it, well, it happens. Returning to my point, we, as a culture put a lot of stock into words, for pretty much the above-mentioned reasons. Words hurt, and on a basic level, we want to hurt each other, so we can be seen as better, while someone is less. If you are in mental or physical pain, I must not be, so let me hurt you before you hurt me. What if we could simply remove this weapon from the arsenal of hurting methods? Simply put, what if we realize that words are just that, words, and they can only damage us, IF WE LET THEM. Remember the old taunt from grade school?
“Sticks and stones may break my bones…names and words don’t hurt me…”
Now, speaking as someone who was bullied in grade and middle school (most of us were, to some degree,) this is not an adage that is easy to bring into the psyche of living day to day. We let those words hurt, because we care more about what people think about us, rather than what we think about ourselves. If we are gay, homosexual, or whatever adjective is your personal modifier, then so be it. What I think about this should not matter. If we are cognitively impaired (the current medical term replacing mental retardation,) then we are. When I worked with individuals of this nature (some of the happiest days of my life,) they knew they were not “the same” in that capacity. Yet all they wanted was to be treated the same. If we can take the usage of words and realize when they are said, that they are just that, WORDS, than they lose their effect. I am still a rose, no matter what you call me, and if I do not let you affect who I am when you call me a “stupid flower,” well, then my life will be better.
Readers, I hope you take this to heart whenever you are reading this. Words are only mono/polysyllabic utterances until we give them edges. We need to dull them, so when they are uttered, we do not look at the words and cry, “foul!” but rather shake our heads and just move one. When we can do this, name calling will stop. At least, this is what we were told in grade school, right? Let’s try this one small step, and see if it works.
Good morning, readers. Before I begin this week’s trip on the insanity express, a quick review of government, focusing on the bill of rights…
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The part I want you all to hold in your minds is the point of “reasonable cause.” But, Chris, why the lesson in something we all know about? Good question and here is the reason why. That’s right readers; Michigan Police now have the ability to search your smart phones for where you have been, with whom you have spoken, and what data you have sent. When are they able to perform this invasion? For the potential simple offense of a traffic stop, be it reckless driving or a lack of a seatbelt. Now why is this issue an issue, Chris? I have nothing to fear from the police; they are only looking out for my best interests. Before I touch on their safe-guarding our “best interests” I return to the question of “probable cause” which is defined as:
[…][F]acts or evidence that would make a reasonable person believe that a crime or wrong doing has been, is being, or will be committed.
Now that is well, and fine. It does appear, however, probable cause appears to have left the minds of the Michigan Police in these routine stops. Before we continue, let’s evolve our clarification of “probable cause.” If I am demonstrating strange behavior, during such a aforementioned stop, it is well within a police officer’s realm to ask me to search my vehicle. If I match a description of an alleged burglar, robber, or other perpetrator of crime, I may be searched and checked. I may be even searched for “looking suspicious,” such as if I were standing in front of a jewelry store, peering in at one in the morning. This is mostly well, and fine, however, searching my smart phone for places I have been when no reasonable suspicion of a crime, well that takes the fourth amendment, spits on it and throws it away.
(A hypothetical device, the Michigan State police did not return any comments to electronic and phone attempts to contact)
But, Chris, if I have nothing to hide, why not provide my phone for them to search, as they are acting in “good faith?” That is a question of choice to assist or resist. We CAN provide every piece of our personal lives to the police without any reserve. Here is the catch, readers. If you HAVE committed a crime, or the evidence can be shaped to demonstrate your involvement in a crime, you can, and will be arrested. Hypothetically, you were in the vicinity of a BAE (breaking and entering), thanks to the information taken from your searched phone, and you match the description of the person fleeing the scene. It would now appear that a web of circumstantial evidence is over you, and the searching of your phone, placing you physically near the scene, well, that might be the final string of that net as the handcuffs are shackled on your wrists. While a situation of this nature has yet been brought to bear on an actual criminal case, we have to assume that the search might be seen as admissible. If so, searches of this nature will be allowed to continue, what is next? Perhaps this could lead to the random searching of our email, and other online communications? Oh wait…don’t think that does not already happen, readers.
But Chris, I want our country to be able to track potential threats to our nation, and I am willing to give that small part of my freedom away! Good for you, and I really mean that. This is not just about you, however, readers, it is about precedence. Once YOU give away one small part of our collective freedom, and precedence has been set, well, it is always easier to go downhill than up.
So, now that this search method potentially exists, and I have on good faith it does (lack of statement leads me to think SOMETHING is there,) what should we do? Resist by refusing your phone? I agree, but probable cause can be found in a blink of an eye, dear readers, one blink of an eye. Make the police officer unhappy, well, we all know the authority law enforcement have avaibable at their disposal. What needs to happen is, as a collective voice, stand up and say NO to irrational probable cause, and NO to devices that are able to track where you have been. That means, removing or disabling ALL GPS technology from our phones, or at the very least have the ability to disable it form the firmware as well as the software without rendering the phone unusable. Or even more simply, quit using so much technology on your person! I remember such an uproar concerning the potential tracking of our computer usage when the Pentium III came forward, oh here it is.
I leave you with this, readers, as I end this trip on the insanity express. Resistance is our given right as US citizens, and the more freedom we give away, even in the name of “protecting” other freedoms, well, I can remember a group of persons in Europe that gave away small chunks of freedoms, bit by bit by bit from 1935 to 1940. First, we can lose or national citizen status, then where we can live, whom we can marry, and then finally our right to exist. Extreme, yes, but when one right is removed, all rights are able to perish. Let it not begin with this!
So, readers while you are eagerly awaiting this week’s main Insanity…here is a little poll to let YOU direct where this blog will be going. ..
Good morning readers. I was taking a few minutes on Facebook, looking over some of the posts from friends and friends of friends when I came across a post of a post concerning some “issues” brought forth by a drive-up associate who works at a local quick-service eating establishment. Now, some of his complaints are valid, and I express this in my rebuttal. Some, however, well, please read ahead. Ever had horrible service, because of one of these complaints, tell me about it!
(The associate’s comments are in italics, and are taken verbatim from “Things Drive Thru Customers DO wrong, and some TIPS on the DONTS,” posted on Facebook on by Jon Boyd on Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 8:28pm. No editing, other than cutting and pasting, has occurred.)
1. Exact change is nice, but DONT count it at the window, our speed of service to you and our other customers in line suffers
- Exact change is great, especially when we are, many times given the wrong change back. We understand you are graded on service, but we would like our money back correctly.
2. DONT ask “”is there “insert sacue name here” in the bag?””, if you havent asked for it, dont be surprised when the answer is no
- We would like to be OFFERED the sauce ahead of time, and frequently we are not anymore. We understand that you are busy, and cutting costs, but please extend us, the paying customer, and this courtesy.
3. If you order a combo, dont just say i want #w/e and then add other things to your order, im not a mind reader WHAT STUPID DRINK DO YOU WANT, i cant default you pepsi…. oh but if i could
- We sometimes DO say what drink we want, you should LISTEN for it.
4. IF i politely ask you to give me a second dont SIGH loudly and say “ok” in a snobby tone, im only one person trying to multitask A LOT, give me a break
- We understand you are busy, but some of us have a short amount of time for lunch, so we are also trying to multi-task. As to the polite, politeness should ALWAYS be forthcoming while providing customer service, no matter how “stressed” you may feel.
5. DONT ADD THINGS AT THE WINDOW, just dont do it, once if you forget fine but dont be a repeat offender
- Adding things at the window is wrong, and throws off your time, I am sorry for any of us who do this. If we screw up and forget something, we should go inside.
6. Dont say I want a burrito….. comon.. thats like asking for ICE CREAM at baskin robbins, Please be specific
- Many of us do not realize that there are more types of burritos than ice cream flavors, or are in a hurry (see #4.)
7. If i ask you if the order on the screen is correct, answer with a yes or a no, DONT SAY “Sure”, that means you didnt look… maybe i should add some stuff…
- USE YOUR D*** SCREEN and maybe I would look at it! Nothing annoys me off more as a customer than to have the screen right there, and it not being used (yes I am talking about you McDonald’s in LaPorte on Weller and 35…HATE that store!)
8. When were in the process of completing your order at the speaker DONT DRIVE OFF. If the screen wasnt right, and you get the wrong stuff its YOUR fault, plus its just rude
- As to driving off…well, see #4 and #7.
9. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE DONT BE ON YOUR CELL PHONE!! EVER!! ITS RUDE!! RUDE!!! RUDE!!! RUDE!!! RUDE!!! sadly its mostly only women that are guilty of this but men arent innocent
- Cell phone usage is rude, and again, for any of my following consumers of your product, I am sorry.
10. Have your FREAKING MONEY READY when you get to the window, we get judged on our speed of service, if it sucks cause you take forever that reflects on us SADLY, and its your fault, also stopping halfway thru the drive line doesnt
- BE READY for our money when we arrive at the window. I can more than count on multiple hands the times I have had to wait because you are “busy” (AKA talking to an associate) when I am patiently holding my googolplex of coins for you to count (see #11)
11. DONT HAND ME 2935928347582 pennies dimes nickles quarters or w/e and expect me to say “OH ITS OK” cause deep down ITS NOT
- Ever had a day when the ATM is like the lottery, and you lost. Yea, so have I, and I, also am hungry on those days. I am sorry that you do not want my googolplex of coins (read the number you wrote.) DEAL WITH IT!
12. Cards are quicker than cash 90% of the time. YOU dont have to count anything, you can have it ready when you get to the drive thru, AND all i have to do is push a button and swipe
- Of course cards are quicker, but some families SHARE one debit card to keep spending down, and use cash. This is still legal, correct? I mean, cash is still tender? And as a cashier myself, I think I just have to push a few more buttons for cash, a button less for correct change…oh wait, you don’t like correct change because it lowers your average…
13. While it is appreciated that you dont speed talk your order, I dont need to take your hand and walk you thru it, you know what you want dont wait for me to ask, anything else… after the 10th time its old, and the menu board tells you what comes in / with what.
- Yes, people should learn to read. Now, when menu items change of a frequent basis, and I do not eat at your establishment, OR YOU DROP SOMETHING without telling anyone, lo and behold it might take me a few minutes to find it on your new “friendlier” board. DEAL WITH IT!
14. Which leads me to 14, READ THE MENU, its there for a reason, DONT ASK WHAT COMES IN THE BOX MEAL when it clearly says it on the menu. THERES EVEN A PICTURES FOR SPECIAL PEOPLE
- Be careful about saying pictures are there for “special people” some of us who are dyslexic, color-blind, and worn out from dealing with our own jobs take a few minutes. I am special, my father told me this every day! Oh, and I LOVE the fact that some eating establishments have a sign that say “picture and Braille menus available.” Irony?
15. If you cant find something on the menu, ask, DONT COME THRU THE DRIVE THRU IF YOU ARE ILLITERATE
- See #14, especially the last sentence. Oh, and I have two BA’s and a good amount of my graduate work completed…what about you?
16. SPEAK AT NORMAL LEVELS, I cant hear you order from your trunk and SCREAMING RAPE MAKES MY EARS BLEED
- What, I can’t hear you, your speaker sounds like a blown-out 1978 Nova with a 400 watt sound system installed…you want me to do what with my dog?!? Oh you want me to pull forward….ok. Also, please do not drop your slang while waiting on me, Use the singular of a word only when it pertains to the singular, and not as a shortening of the plural (translation its FIFTY CENTS NOT FIFTY CENT.)
17. IF you ask me to HOLD and then are ready to order DONT ask me if im STILL THERE….. no i went to the grocery store while you were waiting… theres no way id ever stay in my “BOX” and wait for you…. really??
- I am sorry to ask “Are you still there?” From your previous comments, you might be multi-tasking, and this is a great thing, from a supervisor’s standpoint. Now, if you place me on hold while you are dealing with the previous customer’s order, or whatever, please do it NICELY, and TELL ME what you are doing. I have a short amount of time for lunch, and usually four or five things to do on it. Now, that isn’t so hard, is it?
18. After you get your food DONT take 20956720975 minutes more to look it all over before you leave, you are killing our speed of service and making everyone behind you wait… Simply pull up and park, if there is an error come in and well fix it
- Get my order correct, and I would not have to check it. More times than not, when I special order something, due to my wife and daughter’s allergies to sauces, it is on there. If special orders are an annoyance, please tell me ahead of time, and I will be more than happy to go somewhere else and call your store’s owner, I usually skip managers at this point. (Yes, I am that jerk off who does that…it’s called CUSTOMER SERVICE.) Also, you would not believe the number of times that a standard “combo” order is missing something…French fries, cini twists, what have you. Thus, I check EACH AND EVERY TIME before I pull forward. Now, coming inside to have my order fixed is an entire blog for another week…
19. NO we dont WANT your TRASH from your car, ITS UNSANITARY, do you dump your garbage at home on your kitchen counter??
- We should NEVER ask you to take our garbage, who knows what stuff is in there, so please have your garbage can emptied so we can empty ours. If this is a bother, please do not have them.
20. Odering 10 different fast food items and getting a LARGE OR XTRA LARGE DIET POP isnt making up for anything, YOURE not fooling ANYONE
- Hmmm…so we are insulting our eating habits? Ever occur to you that we are ordering for a family, and I am out of soda at home to wash the taste of 30% beef out of my mouth? No, ok, just checking…
Now, here are just a few follow-up comments that I felt needed expressing…
For the above rudeness that we as customers do cause (cell phones, not being ready for our items) I am very VERY sorry. Nothing is ruder than someone treating you like you are not important enough to stop your conversation. This goes both ways, however, please do not forget this.
- When I come to your establishment to purchase an item, or items, it is with the thought that, while you are “under the gun” to make times, a part of customer service is expected. As a customer, I would like to be waited on promptly, with courtesy, and have my order correct. Laugh at whatever I order after I leave, I have no control over that, but remember this; I am a supervisor myself, with a limited amount of time. I have been in your shoes, and thus I know exactly what is needed to make your life suck as an associate, and if you piss me off by not doing your job, I’ll piss off your manager, owner or corporate, whatever is needed to get my problem fixed. Thank you, come again.
Welcome back, readers to another week of crazy-train smashes galore. In fact, there are so many that choosing just one simply cannot be done, so let’s get started.
First and foremost, the ongoing budget fiasco. The stopgap is in place until the end of this week, but rather than accepting the compromise that would prevent the same shut-down crisis we were in last week, members of both parties are just saying “no!” Tea party reactionaries, and dyed-in-the cloth liberals are both agreeing to disagree, marking the first time both such groups have agreed on something since the famous 2010 Ordering of the Deep Dish, and we know how rare that is…
So, what should be done? Ever been a part of a family “disagreement” on where to go to dinner, or vacation? Instead of Disney World or Cedar Pointe, just go to the lake, it’s not popular but it gets the job done. Can’t agree on Chinese or pizza? Go the dollar route at McD’s. It’s not what either side wants, but it will keep things running. Neither group wants accept the other’s cuts, but a middle ground is what we need right now. Next year, well we can deal with it halfway into physical year 2012; it’s more fun that way.
Secondly, we have the GOP, announcing, well, nothing. In truth, the best they can offer is their continual attempts to outdo each other in doing everything but plan a way for us to get out of this continuing mess. Between Mitt Romney’s “skinny jeans” stuffing and Donald Trump sparring with Bill Cosby (of all people!) while he continues the search for the Holy Grail of Obama’s birth certificate, can one candidate offer an idea of what needs to be done? Maybe there is some hope with Newt Gingrich…nah…just watch your proms; I hear he is looking for a new wife…
I understand no one wants to throw their hat in the ring, the others will tear them asunder verbally, and politically (remember the 1992 pre-election insanity that led us to the nomination and election of William Clinton.) Here is where I want to derail the craziness for a moment; we need a plan, and be it Obama or whomever survives the GOP Rumble Royal, that needs to be the focus, not who looks the best in jeans. And, Mitt, FYI, it isn’t you.
Now, the continuing earth quakes in Japan, and the nuclear disaster that is quickly evolving. As of this writing, three more aftershocks have rocked that nation, bringing the already crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant to a level on par with that of Chernobyl. There is nothing witty or funny than can be said about this, and my prayers and thoughts are with the people of this nation. What I do want to comment about is twofold; if a fraction of this disaster had occurred in New York, Los Angeles, or New Orleans, widespread rioting, looting, and general insanity would grip our news. Yet, all of Tokyo simply queues up, and waits. Why is this? What does the Japanese government, with Tokyo consisting of a population density over double of our largest cities, do differently? Nothing; relief is slow in coming, but there is no rioting. What Japan has that we do not is HONOR. They realize that help is coming, yet they do not have the sense of entitlement that pervades our national consciousness. Perhaps there is an after affect of allowing generations of welfare families to exist?
The second point is simple from an economic standpoint. As the aftershocks made their effects known on the world markets, the upsurge in crude oil prices, thankfully, blinked for a moment. Here is my question; will it take natural disasters to get the oil prices to come down? Does a world population center have to be rocked to its core, structurally, economically, and socially so that the absolute greed of speculators is brought down? Unfortunately, I think that this might be the only way. What I challenge, you, readers, are to find a way to break this stranglehold. We should not have to hope for a disaster in another nation so that our gas prices do not crack $5.00 a gallon, and we have to contemplate eating for a day, or fueling the car (a 96 Saturn, for anyone who is interested) so we can work.
Finally, readers, I end this week on a lighter note. One of Air France’s Airbus A380 jetliners, the largest airplane in the world, had a slight boo-boo when it hit a Comair CRJ-700, and spun it 90 degrees while taxiing for take-off at JFK airport. All I have to say about this is there is a bright spot to this event; I heard they saved 15% by switching to that lizard insurance place…take a look:
Well, we are just under eighteen hours until the anticipated government shut down, and let’s see what is happening. The Republicans, well they will not give up their billions of cuts, and the Democrats will not consider cutting more than they plan. So, since there is no middle ground, it’s time for baseball analogies, readers. The bases are loaded, and the opposing team, be it a new recession, a depression, China calling the loan, whatever evil you choose, are pushing for the squeeze play. Our pitching staff, the team we put in there will just not make it happen. So what should we do? Let’s call in the closer.
Obama, who has kept himself “intentionally aloof” throughout this entire process, has now stated that he has been working with lawmakers throughout this entire process, and only because it looks like nothing will get done is he taking a larger, more upfront, posture. So, we really aren’t calling in a closer we know can get the job done, he is calling in himself, using the eleventh hour to push through ideas that, while not palatable to either side, “will get things done”. Never mind that he had an entire year last year, with a Democratically-controlled House and Senate, to propose budgets and have them migrate through the proper channels, readers, no, now it appears he will use his knuckleball pitching to push through what he sees as the “best way to get things done.” Has he done this before? The passing of “Obama-care” is an excellent example. But let’s not digress…
Some people work well under pressure, all you have to do is look at the number of all-nighters I pulled during high school, college, but when it comes to the preservation of an already fragile economy, perhaps back-door economic dealings to demonstrate a savior posture is perhaps not the best route to take. But we are past that, so what should be done? We NEED something, we NEED our soldiers paid, we need to keep functioning as a government, or that dirty world, CONFIDENCE, will erode. Back pay will not be forthcoming, as Rep. Jim Moran (Virginia) has stated in an interview. True, major services on the home front would continue, but this is small comfort, as a week-long, or God forbid, a month-long shut down of “nonessential” services will trickle down.
Let’s hope that this impasse can be fixed, that Obama, the self-appointed closer, will get this done. We should have never been in this mess, but let’s get out of it. Then we can step forward, in the direction that the public demanded in November. But let’s get out of this inning first, please.
Well, this is my first attempt at writing my thoughts on the world in general, and how I see that direction of said world is going. Probably going to tick people off, but hey, so what else is new? Anyways, here goes…and anyone who is reading this…thanks for sharing the insanity!