I was digging through old photos to scan in for Throwback Thursday when I was reminded that my best friend, Bill Owen, was killed 12 years ago yesterday. It’s been three years since I last posted a memorial to him so I thought I was past due for taking a moment to remember a man who I’d known for over 20 years and who was like a brother to me. There are still things that will bring him to mind from time to time like a movie trailer for something the two of us would’ve been excited to see or a new video game I know he would’ve loved to play. Every now and then I still dream about him. He stuck with me through thick and thin and never hesitated to tell me when I was being an asshole. I will miss him for the rest of my life.
This is the photo that reminded me of this sad event. It’s from one of my daughter’s birthday parties in the mid-1990’s. He’s sitting with his then wife, whose name I don’t recall how to spell properly so I’m not going to try. He’s happy and that’s a great way to remember him.
I’ll be 48 this year and I still don’t understand any poem more complex than the ones about that fellow from Nantucket.
That’s all I wanted to say.
I checked the SEB Podcast archive this morning and realized that it’s been almost three years since the last one (May 8, 2012) which is really weird because it totally doesn’t feel like it’s been three years. So I rang up Dave Hill of ***Dave Does the Blog fame, who has traditionally been my co-host on the podcast, and asked him if he was interested in getting back into it. He agreed it was about damned time we did another one and so we’re figuring out what our weekends look like to try and get one in the can soon.
Three years is a long time and these days all the cool kids are doing their podcasts via Google Hangouts so you can see the people who are talking and Dave suggested we try that route for our next outing. I thought that was a good idea even though my current desktop placement is in my basement and my current backdrop consists of a shitload of boxes full of crap from the last time we moved that we never got around to unpacking (which is probably for the best considering I’ll probably be moving this May). So my first task will be rigging up something to hide the ungodly mess that would otherwise be visible behind me.
Traditionally we’ve asked the readers of our respective blogs to submit any topics they’d like us to chat about. I’ll be honest, with as infrequent as my blogging has been lately I don’t know if there’s enough interested parties to make suggestions, but if you’re still checking in here and have something you’d like to hear us express our semi-informed opinions on you can either leave a comment on this entry or send me an email and let us know.
Yes, this is an attempt to get back into blogging/podcasting more often. Something I’ve been meaning to do for awhile. This year may also be the year that I finally get around to trying my hand at vlogging, something else I’ve been kicking around for years. Though right now I’ll be happy if I just manage to get back into blogging a couple times a week at a minimum.
Joe Hanson over at the It’s OK To Be Smart YouTube channel has a great video on vaccines and why it’s important to get them for yourself and your kids:
The rise of the anti-vaxers has resulted in the resurgence of diseases we had all but eradicated and a lot of people are going to suffer needlessly and die because of it if the trend continues.
Right now it’s measles and whooping cough which are bad enough, but there’s a very real danger that polio could make a return. We had it on the ropes world-wide until last year when it appeared to be on the rise in several countries. With today’s ease of travel that could make an American outbreak just a plane ride away.
You don’t have to look very hard to see that science literacy in America is pretty dismal, but it’s still disheartening when a new survey is released showing that it’s even worse than you thought.
Quarter of Americans Convinced Sun Revolves Around Earth, Survey Finds – ABC News.
A survey of 2,200 people that was released Friday revealed some alarming truths about the state of science education across the country, with many failing to an answer even the most basic astronomy and science questions, according to a release about the survey.
Out of nine questions in the survey, participants scored an average 6.5.
Only 39 percent answered correctly with “true” when asked if “The universe began with a huge explosion,” while only 48 percent knew that “Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals,” according to the statement.
It’s hard to estimate how much of this ignorance is willful because it conflicts with religious belief. It boggles the mind that in 2015 less than half of Americans understand and/or accept the theory of evolution.
Worse, most folks don’t think science is worthy of increased government spending:
Asked whether there needed to be more government funding for science, 30 percent said there should be.
These weren’t difficult questions. Anyone who made it through high school should be able to answer them without difficulty. A good part of the reason America has risen to the position its in is because of our mastery of science and the benefits that come with it.
I suppose we could chalk this up to the topics not being something that most folks deal with day to day, but they seem like the sort of thing you’d know just by paying a little attention to what’s going on around you.
A woman by the name of Margurite Dawn Haragan of Boise has taken a novel approach to converting a Jewish lady to Christianity. Instead of wasting hours giving testimony and preaching from the Good Book, she opted for the more expedient approach of simply beating the shit out of the poor woman until she agreed to convert:
Prosecutors: Jewish woman beaten, harassed in conversion attempt.
“The defendant was banging on the front window yelling at her that she better believe in Jesus and she was not going to leave until she did believe in Jesus,” Ada County Prosecutor Dave Rothcheck said. He said the victim, identified in court only as “A.G.,” opened her door to tell Haragan to leave and to write down her license plate number.
That’s when the suspect slapped her in the face and dragged her to the ground by her hair, Roscheck said.
“The defendant began kicking the victim in the stomach and thigh area,” he said. “During this time the defendant was screaming at the victim that she better accept Jesus or she would not let up.”
Eventually the victim did agree to convert to Christianity and, true to her word, Haragan stopped stomping on the victim’s neck and let her go. Despite her success, Harragan has since been arrested and is facing two counts of malicious harassment that will be considered a felony due to it being considered a hate crime. She’s facing up to 5 years in prison for each count and is cooling her jets in jail thanks to a $100,000 bond.
But it’s all worth it because she managed to save at least one soul from going to Hell for believing in a false religion. I’m sure Jesus will have a special reward for her once she makes it to Heaven.
Look at that. Nearly a whole month since I posted my Happy New Year message and the only other blog post was the one about my cat I put up earlier today. While I made it a point not to make any New Year’s resolutions, I did have every intention of blogging more frequently. Considering this will be only my third entry for this month it’s probably best that I hadn’t made it an actual resolution.
So what the hell have I been up to? Well, work has been a little nuts because The Automotive Company I work for decided it could save some money by switching the company we host our Exchange servers at. This meant migrating the email of all of the employees worldwide from one third-party provider to another and while I wasn’t involved with anyone outside of my office, there was still plenty to do here with our 150+ employees. That took up a fair chunk of my days over the past couple of weeks. Plus the usual catching up from the 3 week vacation I took at the end of the year.
Beyond that, it’s mostly been business as usual around the Jenkins house. We did make the decision to “cut the cord” and drop the TV part of our AT&T U-Verse service as the budget is very tight and it knocked $110 off of our bill. We still have U-Verse Internet and we’re relying on Amazon Prime and Hulu+ for our TV watching these days. Signing up for Hulu+ runs about $8 a month, but that’s a far cry from the $110 we were paying for U-Verse TV. We’re still able to catch up with most of the shows we watched regularly with the exception of stuff on CBS as that network doesn’t offer next-day viewing of its series on Hulu+. At some point we’ll pick up an indoor antennae to catch stuff over the air.
My daughter had a going away party last Sunday as she is set to move to Florida this weekend to pursue her dream of working for Walt Disney World. She graduated from Grand Valley with a theater degree and wants to build a career at the House of Mouse. She’s starting off in the Disney college internship program again for the first 6 months and hopes to transition to a permanent position within that time frame. I am more than a little apprehensive about her moving so far away in part because it will make it very difficult to help in an emergency and it was hard enough to see her when she lived in Grand Rapids and this is a lot further away than that. At the same time I’m very proud that she seems to have her shit together at an age when I was still stumbling around trying to figure out what I wanted to do and had a 2 year-old daughter to worry about. I will miss her terribly, but I couldn’t be happier for her.
Health-wise I’m doing OK at the moment. My weight is hovering between 285 and 288, but that’s down from the 299 I was last year. I’m not walking much at the moment due to winter being in full force, but I’m getting out on the days when it’s not quite so ball shrinkingly cold. I need to get back in to see the doctor at some point to get an idea of where my sugar and cholesterol levels are at, but they’d been in a downward trend the last couple times I went in so with any luck I’m still improving there.
I need to start thinking about finding a new place to live soon as our lease is up at the end of April and I doubt we’re going to be able to afford another hike in rent. I’d love to stay in Ann Arbor, but I doubt we’ll be able to do so without moving into some less than desirable apartments. Hell, I’d love to buy a house, but that’s definitely not in the cards as we no longer have anything close to a down payment on hand. I have no idea where we’re going to end up and it’s resulting in some sleepless nights. I really need to figure out my best-selling book idea so I can suddenly find myself fabulously wealthy.
That’s what I’ve been up to, what about you guys?
Our emergency backup cat, Jasper, gets really upset whenever someone sneezes in his presence. Normally he’s not very vocal, but he’ll bitch up a storm if you sneeze and he’ll grumble if you sniffle. I’ve been trying to catch this on video for some time now and I’ve finally got a little footage of it, though he’s much more subdued than usual in this clip.
He’s hard to hear in this, but you can see he’s vocalizing and getting annoyed with my sniffles. At the end he’s figured out that I’m faking my sneezes to get him to react.
There have been occasions where I’ve been in the basement and sneezed and he’s run down the stairs from the main floor just to bitch at me about sneezing. He also tends to get upset when I get frustrated with a video game and let a cuss word fly. It’s hard to catch it on video because by the time I realize I’m about to sneeze I’ve already done so and the moment has passed. I’ll try to get a better clip in the future.
It’s a brand spanking new year! A time for hope, optimism, and resolutions to be better people that we’ll break before the month is over. I stopped making new year resolutions long ago because I’m a terrible person and have little hope of ever maintaining them, but when I did try to make promises I knew I couldn’t keep I’d often resolve to have a higher opinion of my fellow man.
Then I’d go on Twitter and see tweets like this:
And my resolution would be broken instantly. You can’t have a worldwide population of 7,285,099,800 (as of two seconds ago) and not have a few folks out there who are, to put it politely, clueless about certain things like the age of the world. In case you thought David was an isolated case, well, nope:
There’s tons more of these tweets out there and it’s clear that many of them are meant to be jokes or are simply attempts at getting retweeted for the attention it’ll garner them. (Some folks will take whatever Twitter fame they can get no matter how stupid it makes them look.) The ones I posted above I couldn’t confirm for certain weren’t jokes, but there wasn’t anything to indicate that they were. Indubitably there are certainly some folks out there who are this clueless and the fact that it’s often difficult to tell the jokers from the serious ones makes the number of folks who really think this is true uncomfortably large for maintaining faith in mankind.
In short, my cynicism is pumped up yet again. There’s a part of me that hopes that all of these folks are just yanking our collective chain and no one really thinks the Earth is a mere 2015 years old, but given how common lazy thinking is I’m sure that there are some out there who do. On the bright side, it gives me something to blog about in the new year.
Whatever. Have a happy one anyway.