Boycott…the world!

Quick question; off the top of your head, how many “boycott” requests have you seen in the last five years? I’m guessing the number is quite large because it’s the #1 knee-jerk reaction. If I stop doing ____, they’ll have to notice and change their evil and incorrect methods! They must! They shall! And they will if I just “vote with my feet”.

And when you did “vote with your feet”, seven hermits in Thailand synchronized their timepieces, returned to their huts, and at 11:23PM the following day, they farted in the solitude…if it had even that much impact.

Seriously folks, boycott is powerful, but only in certain circumstances. If you’re talking about the only grocer in a town of 28 people, and the head of one household with three kids boycotts, then the grocer has lost five consumers. 17.85 % of the customer base. He’ll sell 17.85 % less bread, 17.85 % less Froot Loops, and 17.85 % less Mac’n’cheez. This means at the end of the week, his books will come up 17.85 % short of the performance seen last week.

Take money out of it, let’s simplify it. Think…ping pong balls. Every person who goes to his store this week puts a ping pong ball in a box. End of week, the balls are returned to their rightful owner and the process begins again. In this scenario, you might actually notice that there’s not as many ping pong balls in the box as there was last week. The absence of 5 ping pong balls, it’s a lot. This is the effect of boycott in a specific circumstance. With a town of 28 people, 5 people not using his store might be noticed…provided there is no pass-thru traffic.

Now, let’s look at…Starbucks, for example. Almost 25,000 locations, 19 Billion revenue in 2015, quarter million employees, and no real sign it’s going to go bad instantly for them. In short, they’re in good position. So…let’s say they make a rule against…baseball caps. It upsets many, so let’s drop that b-bomb on ’em and boycott ’em.

Let’s say that in their locations, the overall average is…150 customers a day. It’s lowball, but let’s roll with it. We’ll counter this lowball by rounding up the locations to an even 25,000. The result is a 3,750,000 average daily customer figure total. For a seven day week, we have a result of 26,250,000. Per week, that’s how many customers go to Starbucks in our scenario; twenty-six and one quarter million people liked them some fancy java that week.

But no! No! No! No! Because of their Nazi Fascist Baseball cap rule, I’m gonna tell….um….TEN THOUSAND PEOPLE! And they’ll all boycott ’cause I’m the bees knees and people shiv a git about what I say! And That dastardly Commie place Starbucks, they’re gonna lose ten thousand customers!

And one of the hermits farted a quarter-second longer than all the other hermits, but with slightly less volume due to the additional duration.

Let’s pong this. You’ve got 26,250,000 ping pong balls in one place. Yeah, just try to imagine 26 (and another quarter) million ping pong balls in one place. Now, because of some hat rule protest, take away 10,000. Now there are 26,240,000 ping pong balls. Would you notice? Hell, would Rainman have noticed?

I…really doubt it. And I really doubt Starbucks would either. If you just took the money that the chain made in that week, piled it up, and subtracted the amount they’d lose from those ten thousand customers, they still wouldn’t notice. The sheer volume greatly outshines any small deduction to the point where your protest is lost in the noise.

Here’s the deal. Boycotts work…on a small scale. If you can tell enough people to boycott something, you might make the powers in charge take notice. If you’re a single voice in the mass, even without your voice the mass still exists. If your voice is small, you may not be heard at all over the mass, and whether it is there or not matters little. If you’re trying to make a huge entity change, a boycott is kind of like peeing on yourself in wintertime; you notice, and it feels nice and warm, but nobody else is aware of the warmth and even if you tell them they’re unlikely to believe you about the beneficial warmth.

And…let’s be honest. If you’re throwing a party at your house and I don’t like you or your party, the best thing I could possibly do for you is not come! I’m a simple man but if I’m throwin’ a party, I don’t want no naysayers there. I don’t want no wet blankets. I want everybody there to be in the mood to party hard at my party! You don’t approve? Then please, boycott me, ’cause I don’t need your noise in the midst of my rockin’ party! You being home while I’m getting’ my party on, that’s fine because I am throwin’ a party and I only want party-goers to go to my parties!

How better to disrupt my party? Don’t boycott. Show up, but don’t participate. Be in my space, but ignore my proceedings. Be there, but don’t be part of my party. Do your thing. Wear a t-shirt that’s neon electric green, and all your fellow protesters wear it. Chant things that have nothing to do with my party. Get all your fellow protesters to sing a wholly irrelevant song for the entire duration of my party. Loudly and proudly singin’ “Jimmy Crack Corn and I Don’t Care” at the top of your lungs. Smuggle in vuvuzela and blow ’em until your lungs bleed!

Right now, there’s a big fuff about the NFL and people are calling for boycott and all that, unknowingly asking protesters to make the NFL stronger with their absence. Making the stadiums perhaps weaker in number, but stronger in allegiance, fewer people, but more room for those loyal to the brand. Seems silly to me, really. They’re not going to notice a few dollars missing, I’d imagine employees scam as much if not more than a boycott would cost, but they’d sure notice a thousand people blowing those stupid-loud horns for the entire duration of every game. No microphone being able to pick up anything without picking up those horns blowing and at some point people figuring out that those horns are there for a simple reason; protest. Better still commentators having to acknowledge to the viewing audience why it sounds like a South Africa soccer game in the good ol’ US of A.

Sometimes, boycotting works. Sometimes though, you’re just helping the entity gain strength by condensing the loyalty and leaving them more room to do whatever they do. How better to improve a party than to figure out how to make all the people stay home if they don’t support you or your party? Boycott works on paper, but on paper is one of very few places it does work.

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Football and Sensible Risk.

In many ways, I’m like Forrest Gump. I am not a smart man, but I know what risk is. I know if a jobsite requires you to wear steel-toe boots, there’s probably a likelihood of things falling on your feet. If a jobsite requires you to bring gloves, there’s probably a likelihood of things being rough on your hands.

Why then, can a football player be handed shoulder pads, a helmet, and a mouthpiece, and be surprised and befuddled by getting injured? Today, a player (JJ Russell-Memphis) got laid out for a few minutes on the football field and within minutes everyone was in favor of furthering all possible safety rules and even suggesting ejection for the guy who hit him.

I saw the hit…Sorry to say it, but I’ve seen people get stacked up harder on Black Friday and both of those people were ladies in their late 50s. Shoulder to chest, kid’s head whipped. Yes, it could not have happened if the rules were adjusted to a two-hand-touch configuration. It also could not have happened had Mr. Russell done just about any of two hundred common exercises to strengthen the neck. Those are exercises I’d recommend for any football player.

Here’s the deal-don’t ask me how I know, but an average human head weighs between 8 and 12 pounds. Typical football helmet with bars weighs between 4 and 8 pounds. This means you’ll have between 12 and 20 pounds extended at the end of 7 bones that aren’t even connected mechanically with each other or to the skull! If those neck muscles are not strong, the added weight of the football helmet, it can be bad. “Bad” like…”helmeted player tackled at the ten yard line, helmeted head rolled to the thirty yard line” bad. The…bad kind of bad.

Yes, the concussion injury situation in the NFL is bad. Yes, Junior Seau shot himself. Yes, people with histories of concussions have done some horribly bad things. Chris Benoit, totally did horrible things…Just like Bundy, who as far as I know was never concussed repeatedly. Just like Gacy, who as far as I know was never concussed repeatedly. Just like Dahmer, who as far as I know was never concussed repeatedly. If you look through history at people and body counts…the number one constant is people killing people. All other elements do not compute.

I’m not the guy who claims to be a scientist or an expert, but people do lousy miserable things to each other every day. This is because there are a lot of people who are lousy miserable individuals. It doesn’t mean they’ve been hit on the head too frequently. It doesn’t mean they took too many risks in their leisure time. It doesn’t mean they took too many risks at work.

Newsflash, people have killed others, killed themselves, and killed others and then themselves for a long, long time. Probably did long before Gridiron Football was invented in the late 19th Century. Don’t quote me on that, but Wikipedia’s list of serial killers before 1900, it’s got a lot listed.

Rule #1; People Suck.

Rule #2; Football is a game.

Rule #3; Despite whether a person has ever played football, they still probably suck.

Rule #4; If you ever wonder what could possess someone to do something bad…refer to Rule #1.

Rule #5; If you have to wear a helmet for the game you want to play, maybe find out how strong your neck is.

Rule #6; When in doubt, if you want to play a game and it requires pads and a helmet, maybe you should analyze your tolerance for impact and general durability. Jack Youngblood played the entire playoffs and a Super Bowl, and the Pro Bowl, all with a broken left fibula. You got a mediocre hit and slept for a while. May I suggest…Photography club? Glee club? Band? Alcoholism?

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The Circularity of Social Media.

This will come as a surprise to very few, but it is of interest on a few levels. The first point of view which is surprise to absolutely no one is that we humans are a simple group to figure out. We intensely like one thing above all else: the unquestionable pleasure of being entirely and totally agreed with.

It really doesn’t really matter about what, if someone says something, and the dumbest bastard to ever live, the one person that the speaker could not stand and despised to his very core…if the dumb bastard said “I totally agree”…the speaker’s opinion of the dumb gentleman would brighten, at least momentarily. This is human nature. We like to be agreed with and we especially enjoy it when multiple points of our opinions are agreed with at one time.

Social Media is a classical example of this, but it’s hardly the only place. Thing is, back before “social media” in the days of the internet message boards, still it became a love fest and those who agreed with the right people (genuinely or just as a facade) had a better time than the outliers. In my own tenure as a forum owner and administrator, I found myself gravitating toward people who, shock of all shocks, agreed with me more oft than they disagreed. The guys I was bumping skulls with on a regular basis, they could “get away” with far less, they could stray much less outside the rules, they could wander much less off-topic, and had to toe a much finer line.

This does not mean I was a “bad” admin, it just means that I was in the same trap many have been in: I like it when people agree and like many forum admins I liked members of the forum who agreed with me most of all. If you look at most forums that are still alive today, every one of them will have two distinct groups: the kiss-asses and the renegades. Yeah, a third group exists, the group of people who occupy the middleground, but this group is usually occupied by a rotating group of members. Once they are courted and wooed by one of the other groups, they decide whether they pucker up or stir the pot.

Facebook, Twitter, those places are no different. I am a reader of several groups, and my friends are readers in many groups. The funny part is, every single group tends to be is own circular forum. A circular cavern where a shout thrown always is repeated by the echoes. Egos stroked with vigor, and very few dissenting voices.

The dissenting voices-I confess, they’re the best part. I like displays of intelligence, always have, and nothing lets you peek into the intellect of the individuals like someone who really digs into them and makes them have to think about what they like, believe, think, and agree with. Not the blanket-type of disagree, but the well thought out but intelligently delivered dissent. Not the “I hate old cars, they kill our planet!” tripe, but the “I had a ’68 Chevelle from ’69-’80, fastest most exhilarating machine I ever drove, but man, that thing liked the fuel. I don’t go as fast in my Mazda, but I go farther.”

That kind of dissent…it’s tricky. It’s badmouthing the old iron, but it’s not as…outwardly unpalatable. The speaker portrays themselves as a fellow muscle machine owner, but then comes in with all this BS Mazda praise. It’s…the thinkin’ man’s dissent. It requires a response more well-thought and clever than “You suck!” or “Cubic Inches for Quarter Miles!”

Despite the temporary annoyance of the dissenting view, it really does make the group stronger. It helps everybody to really consider why they think they way they think, to consider other elements of the argument, and to really hash out their opinions. Usually this is done person by person, internally.

Perhaps one guy has a problem with…new cars. Well, the dissenting voice did not state the year model of his Mazda, and the company was founded in 1920. His Mazda could be as old as any “muscle beast”. One guy has a problem with slow cars? Some Mazda’s can clear a 0-60 in 6.5 seconds like child’s play. Maybe they have an issue with “Foreign” muscle? Well, new Charger’s are manufactured in Canada, but the new “Hellcat” has tongues wagging and drooling. And, of course, if the guy used to have a ’68 Chevelle for 11 years, he knows cars…but now he’s rockin’ a Mazda. Maybe that Mazda’s got some merit besides just 40MPG? Maybe it’s got a little sparkle there that others have missed due to their prejudice?

Maybe, the circularity of social media is actually a benefit? Beyond all the kiss-ass pandering and preaching to the choir, maybe down deep, there’s an actual benefit to the group as a whole? Besides just dealing with individuals of similar opinions, maybe in a way these groups and little cliques are actually beneficial beyond the superficial?

Perhaps. But as I have clearly demonstrated, only with the addition of intelligent dissent. A lone, sophisticated voice in the shadows that helps the group think and analyze, grow, and learn.

I’m a simple man. If I can teach one fool a lesson that makes him less foolish…if I can speak from the shadows and make others think before they shout me down…if I can offer a fool a reason to open his mind…then my dissent has not been in vain.

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A solution for the oft-encountered problem.

I’ve basically figured out the secret: if you’re speaking of or in reference to someone of a different race, 99% of the time it doesn’t matter what you’re saying, it’s going to be called a racist statement by someone. Even if your statement is true, (which is obviously the worst kind of statement) it’s still “racist” because…well, I dunno why, it’s just racist because…it’s racist. And, if you don’t think so, apparently you’re racist because you don’t think it’s racist.

I love how this society works. After all these years of enlightenment and discovery, still some people lack the basic intelligence to form a competent argument. It’s far easier to revert back to a few buzzwords that are sure to generate the appropriate response. Why bother thinking of a legitimate reason to discredit someone when you can easily just smear your opponent using basic knee-jerk tactics?

Here’s the story, Sparky. I’m me. If you don’t like me, either you do not know me and do not have the proper perspective to make a judgment one way or the other, or you know me well enough to dislike me based on legitimate and genuine reasons far, far deeper than opinions on pigment. Nobody I know dislikes me because of racism. Either they hate me based on a genuine reason, or they don’t know me well enough to know why they would hate me but they just do because, presumably, they have some sort of developmental issue that made them grow up to be a dumbass.

Race has no part in it. Yes, I have met black people who aren’t worth the effort it would take to smack ’em. Yes, I’ve met white people who aren’t worth the effort to smack them too! This is the nature of humans: Most of ’em suck and they don’t even know it. Race has so little to do with it that it really is a weak accusation. People are like cheap guitars in that they may look nice but when it comes down to it and you need ’em to perform, when you turn the volume up and put ’em to the test they disappoint on multiple levels. I can think of a few white people I know of who, in my estimation, fall greatly short of an acceptable level of usefulness. I know some white people whose very existence is an annoyance to me on multiple levels. You want to know the neat thing? I know fewer black people who I feel the same way about! Of all the people on this planet who get me riled on a regular basis…all of ’em are white folks, and I’m white too!

I grow weary of the racism accusation because about 95% of the time it’s used, it’s misused. News flash, disagreeing with someone doesn’t mean they are racist, it means you dislike their opinion. Opinions are pretty much translucent, neither black nor white. People are, opinions aren’t. Sorry to say it, but just because you disagree with someone, that doesn’t always mean they’re wrong either. It’s possible, very possible actually, that both you and the person you disagree with are wrong. There could be some wildcat third party who actually knows what they’re talking about, and you’re just talk, talk, talking about something that you’re holding by the wrong end. A cow and a goat can be talking about a dog, but neither will have the depth of understanding that a dog would about the dog’s situation. If you’re the goat talking about the dog, that could make you a jackass and that’s not even biologically possible!

I propose the following;

  1. Just because you disagree with a statement, this does not make the statement or the person racist. It can make them wrong, but it doesn’t automatically make them racist.

  2. If the sole basis of your argument is based on the idea that a statement you disagree with has been delivered by a racist…you are hereby deemed to have no valid argument without genuine and legitimate proof to support your allegation of racism. As is the norm, proof of guilt must be provided beyond the shadow of a doubt by the accuser.

  3. If you are proven not to have provided sufficient proof of legitimate racism, then by your failure to prove it satisfactorily, your very accusation of racism can be used as direct evidence of your own racism by default. Sorry folks, but when you rassle with a pig, sometimes you get a little muddy. If you’re going to accuse any and everyone of racism, then the underlying sentiment must stand that YOU are racist because that was the first thought you had and most people tend to think first about what interests them most. If I show an environmentalist a picture of a fallen tree, they will think first of the sorrow of the oxygen the planet won’t get. A furniture maker shown the very same fallen tree will think first of the lumber the log would yield.

  4. If you’re a suspected racist due to you alleging racism in someone else, you will be placed in a Salem Style trial. Your neck will be trapped in a guillotine, and the blade dropped. If you are a racist, then the power of your racism will protect you and the blade will bounce off your neck, leaving you unharmed. You will then be wrapped with three hundredweight of chains and thrown in the river. If you are not racist then you must be a race-baiter and the blade of the guillotine will simply slice your head cleanly off.

In the words of Pharaoh Ramses II (played by Yul Brynner in the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille classic “The Ten Commandments”) “So let it be written. So let it be done.”

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Inventions and Backtracking.

The world is an odd place, with odd concepts.

Technology grew and improved to the point where, in 1837, a company designed a business called “telegraphy” that would allow people to to transmit short messages over long distances.

Then came the telephone, the internet, then the cellular device.

Eventually, the cellular device grew and improved to the point where, in 2006, a company designed a business called “twitter” that would allow people to to transmit short messages over long distances.

Am I the only person who’s expecting to see a new big game hunting tool called “the club” for sale in all the sporting goods stores soon?

How, one wonders, does the world improve if all we do is find new ways to do what’s already been done? 45 years ago a concept was broached in a movie called “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”. The concept was an intriguing one; use a device here to dematerialize an object and rematerialize it elsewhere with another device. This technology still eludes, but we have managed wireless communication of short messages…a technology that had been perfected by the mid 1890s and was in use famously the night Titanic sank in 1912…

Here’s a novel concept; instead of reinventing that which has had its time, invent new concepts that can have their time. Don’t worry about transmitting 140 characters! Transmit pizza! Invent a method where I can purchase a device the size of a microwave, I can call your company and order a pizza, and within minutes, it materializes inside that device! I’d be thrilled to have it done in just fifteen minutes or it’s free!

I can think of a method. The device you purchase for your home is like a revolver, with several “chambers”. Instead of loading bullets, load components. This one’s got the dough, this one the tomato sauce, this one the cheese, this one the pepperoni. You call, order your pizza, they send orders electronically to your device, your pizza is made, in fifteen or twenty minutes you open it and take out your piping hot pizza.

Yes, of course, there are major stumbling blocks, like having to eat 20 pizzas before the makings spoil…but at least I’m trying to think of new ideas. So many, they’re stuck on just finding new ways to do old things.

Here’s the deal, folks; without new ideas, there are no new things. Without new things, there are no new motivations. Without new motivations, we might as well hang it up and stop improving at all. Let complacency and comfort in the current situation become the new rule of thumb.

The problem is, we’ve gotten to where we are because of people who saw a problem and thought of ways to solve it, new ways. Jonas Salk did not come up with his new vaccine in 1955 by sitting around inventing crutches, wheelchairs, and leg braces.

The future will be improved for future generations by new creations, not by finding novel solutions to replace novel solutions. When people were riding motorized skateboards, that was not made substantially different with the invention of hoverboard that uses two wheels and an internal gyro to translate forward and backwards lean into “turn motor backwards” and “turn motor forwards”. It was merely recreating an existing system with a novel twist. Novelty is not the same as innovation.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like everything that can be invented, has been invented. It’s easy to forget that people probably thought the same thing the week before Johannes Gutenberg set up his workshop in Strasbourg…in 1440.

Never give up. Never stop digging. Never stop thinking. Never stop dreaming. Stop tweeting, start creating. If Christopher Columbus had been on Twitter, he’d never have had a town in Ohio named after him. Keep on trying ’til somebody tells you to stop wasting your time, then try twice as hard ’cause you might be onto something good!

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Morality versus Legality.

In my Facebook feed there was a story yesterday. Basically this person came to understand their neighbor was abusing their dog and in result to that, the person stole the dog. Not “I borrowed the dog”, not “I brought the dog in while the owner was at work”, not “I reported the animal abuse to authorities and pursued it to the bloody end, resulting in the owner being arrested, had the dog confiscated, and I adopted him”. Just…admitted openly that they stole the dog. Admitted it in those exact words.

I am of the mindset that animal abuse is a really bad thing. I like the idea of animal abusers being arrested and sent to prison for abusing animals.

In the same vein though, one wrong does not justify a second wrong. Dude’s abusing his dog, that’s bad. You *stealing* his dog because of abuses you failed to even document is shady as hell. Even one shred of evidence that supports the allegation, that helps. A picture of the dog outside in direct sunlight with a timestamp on the picture…that’ll work. You show me a picture of a dog chained in direct sunlight at noon, and you show me a corresponding screen grab from a website like Weather Underground to show it was a hundred and five, I’ll personally do guerrilla photography to verify your claims and compile as evidence.

As of right now, 303 people are fully supportive of this and have commented to the effect of “I’d do the same”. This…is insane. I get it, it’s an animal lover group, so this shouldn’t be so shocking, but at the same time I find it very negative as a personality trait in many, many people.

Let me try to explain my mindset on this. What *you* consider abusive…may not really be abusive. There is a dog owner I know of who sets their dog a place at the table and at mealtimes will put the dog on the table. In preparation for that mealtime, they will have cooked a secondary meal specifically and solely for the dog (his name is Freckles, by the way. Cute dog) and this is considered perfectly normal. In her mind, anything less is unacceptable. So, the idea of a dog being fed on the floor, to her, would be abusive. Perhaps feeding generic dog food with unknown ingredients might be abusive. Yet, the world around countless millions of dogs are fed regular old dog food in a bowl on the floor. There are probably dogs that have won Best in Show at Westminster that get fed ordinary dog food in a bowl on the floor.

Does this mean that she has the right to go to any of those dog-owner homes and take their dog?

First, without any evidence that abuses were committed, to me this is a simple admission of a felony. It’s theft. If the dog has a monetary value, more so. By monetary value I mean…the German Shepherd Dog that won Westminster this year. Bettin’…bred to another GSD with the right bloodlines, puppies with a little training can be worth $5,000 to $8,000 easily. Let’s assume this abusive owner paid that much for the dog*. The cost of keeping their investment healthy costs. The expense of entering shows costs. The expense of feed costs. The animal, if shown correctly, can be worth tens of thousands of dollars just in upkeep alone, not counting the value of future puppies. If you steal that dog, you’re stealing something with value. *: Without any evidence for or against, we have no way to know whether this dog was kept in the lap of luxury and had thousands per month spent in maintenance and comforts. It could have been a show winner, but thanks to a knee-jerk dog-napping, we really don’t know.

Ah, but it was probably just a regular old “bark, crap, sleep, eat, bark, crap, sleep, eat, bark” dog. Doesn’t matter. Really doesn’t. You go steal a dog, yeah, he could be your run of the mill mutt, but you do not know this as a fact. If you do know that it’s a pedigreed dog then we’ve made a breakthrough because now it would be like a thief casing a store before robbing it, it only serves to make it look more like you were looking for an “abused” dog to steal and you opted for the dog you could breed for a fortune if you could make your theft somehow legal after the fact.

If you don’t have proof there was abuse, then in the eyes of the law you are a THIEF. What you did is THEFT, and you’ll probably get more jail time for it than the abuser. And let’s be honest, you should get jail time for being a common thief. Even with a ton of documentation, no court in the world would say “Oh, so he made the dog pee on grass? Well hell, let’s just dismiss this case and I’ll send the original owner to prison, enjoy your dog.” No. Even with evidence, it’s theft. Without evidence, it’s still theft.

People, just because it is wrong in your world view…that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It could mean it’s wrong, but let’s be honest… lots of people have wacked out nutjob screwball world views. What one owner might consider “abusive” might be 100% legal and not actually abusive.

Let’s take this a step further. Let’s dehumanize the property, which is what the dog in question was; PROPERTY. I, TJ Fritts, do not believe you are taking appropriate care of your car. Due to this, I’m going to steal it, bring it home, and take care of it appropriately.

You’d call the cops because I’d be stealing your car. There are laws about car theft because car theft is bad. Dog is the same principle.

Just because something is “wrong” in your mind, that doesn’t mean it’s really wrong. I’m pretty sure that you can find somebody to demonize damn near anything. In any event, you can’t just act on your morals regardless of all else. There’s a process in place to deal with animal abusers, it’s called the legal system. You do your due diligence, you find your evidence, you present it to authorities, and you keep pestering them until something gets done. If nothing gets done, maybe you need to calm the hell down and join reality with the rest of us.

In that dog-thief’s world, they are deserving of praise and prestige whilst the original owner of the dog is deserving of scorn and hatred.

In my world, both are deserving of handcuffs and jail time. Three hots and a cot, and maybe they learn how this world works. Not cool to abuse dogs. Not cool to steal things just because you want to either. If you let somebody steal a dog, next it will be “You haven’t replaced your roof in two whole years…I’m taking your house, you’ve got until 5PM today to pack your shit and get gone…but not the $6,000 86-inch big screen TV. You’ve been mistreating it horribly and I can’t wait to watch Star Wars on it, it’ll feel like I’m at the theater.”

Just because you think something is right, that doesn’t automatically make it right. Just because you think something is wrong, that doesn’t automatically make it wrong. Those 300+ commenters, they’re why I am very glad to have lots of stuff, but none of it of very high value; less stuff for them to presume I’m “mistreating” badly enough that they need to “liberate” it. Betcha a dollar the mutt in question wasn’t one of those dogs that looked like hell reheated in the microwave and dumber than a fifty pound bag of wet hair. You could park my GEO anywhere with the keys in the ignition, the windows rolled down, and the engine running, it would have been there when you came back to it because it looked like and was a complete piece of shit. I know you could do that. You could park it anywhere with keys in the ignition, windows down, engine runnin’, and it’d be there when you came back…

Trust me, I tried to get that thing stolen. I didn’t want it and unfortunately nobody else wanted it either.

 

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The Great Questions in Life.

There are times when questions course through my mind like wildfires in a dry forest…

How truly desperate and hungry must the guy have been to discover honey? I mean, it’s not like a peach, hanging on a tree limb and at most you have to maybe climb a few feet, it’s *honey*, product of the honey *bee*. Bees, for those from the inner city, are creatures who know how to do three things: make honey, sting idiots, and chew bubble gum. They’ve never had the money for bubble gum, and they get bored making honey and look for alternative activities at any and every opportunity.

Guy must’ve been pretty doggone hungry to just say “Hell with it, I’ll eat them bees if they get in my way, but I want whatever they’re making.”

Some foods, I can kind of understand. Like…Milk. That baby calf ran over and did somethin’ to that dangly bit of her mom’s undercarriage, and I’ve seen her eat nothing…I’m betting there’s some form of viable nourishment beyond that which could be had by simply eating the calf or her mom. I shall endeavor to attempt to try this magic elixir.

Admittedly, guy probably learned a great deal about the difference between “cow” and “bull” using similar logic, but that could be classified simply as helping to ensure the bull sees his human handler as a beneficial thing to keep around. Probably kept the first cattleman from getting hurt and run over so much.

Honey…that’s a puzzler. Same with mushrooms. There’s like forty kajillion kinds of mushrooms, but there’s only a handful of ’em you can eat and survive to eat tomorrow. Some, they’re a little more potent, maybe have a bit more kick than the “simply edible” ones, but still, they’re edible.

There’s a whole lot…you can eat ’em once. If you like the taste you might eat two or three that first time…but you aint gonna have the chance to eat two or three of ’em tomorrow. Shoot, might be some, you wouldn’t get to enjoy the third one today ’cause the first one today killed you while you were eating the second one.

Even that could be bad in its own way. Suppose there’s a little hollow somewhere back then, and this fella finds himself a few pretty little white mushrooms. Picks ’em up, but the sun’s shining down pretty hot right there, he decides to walk up the side of the hollow, over the top of the hill, and sit in the shade to eat these…”things” he’s found. Well, he slurps one and it don’t taste bad, but it don’t taste good. In any event, he’s dead in five minutes. Kerklunk. Nobody knew he was going out to pick up things off the ground and eat them, so nobody knows what to be looking for. He don’t come home that day. The folks in his village, they just reckon he came to some misfortune with some bees or somethin’, figure he’s gone.

Next day, this other fella, (not the original fella, original fella died, probably the mushrooms…or bees…or bees in the mushroom.) he sees a little white somethin’ on the ground, wanders over, picks ’em, sun’s beating down, goes up the hill, eat ’em in the shade. Finds a dead dude, but it’s not like everybody had a ballpoint pin on ’em to make a note like “Don’t eat the little white things on the other side of the hill, they’re bad for ya.”

Second fella sees the first fella but since he’s been dead a while, aint no sense to rush, I’ll eat my little white things first and then go tell everybody I found him and it looks like bees got him after all. Five minutes and he’s dead too.

Do you know how many people could have died from eating the same little patch of mushrooms, tryin’ ’em, and dyin’ before anybody saw that idiot #47 ate that little white thing and died two minutes later…maybe should tell somebody? Even in groups, you find somethin it’s only polite to share with your friends. Coulda killed folks by the dozen that way before anybody said “Nah, I just invented me a corn dog, I’m full.” and then discovered that as the only fella in the bunch who didn’t eat, he’s also the only one that didn’t die. Even then, you’d have to take a few back and do tests to make sure. How wouldja like to be in *that* survey panel? “Okay, we got this thing to eat here, and we’ll pay you a dollar if you’ll eat it and tell us exactly what you think of it. But…we… we only pay after you’ve eaten it…we’ll invent the concept of banking and mail you a check after we invent the mail too.” (Actually, easier way would be to find a fella talking to a pretty girl. Walk up to ‘im and say “Only a REAL man could eat five of these. They taste bad, and only a real he-man could eat five of ’em…” He’d eat the ass out of a month-dead elephant if it’d impress a pretty girl. Most men would.)

Lotsa stuff today, you have to really think hard about how we’d discovered that idea. Yogurt. “Ohhh, you think that cow boob juice is good? Well you just wait ’til it’s been fermenting for a while, after you’ve warmed the milk, and added germs to it!” … Okay, guy comes up to that recipe eventually… yogurt’s pretty good, but I’m curious what the hell he was *trying* to make? I’m picturing this dude standin’ there stirring a cauldron of rotten cow boob juice over a fire going “That damn Ronny, asked Sarah out to the spring jubilee dance knowin’ I had feelin’s for her. I’ll fix him good! I’m gonna let this cow boob juice simmer a while. Them germs I put in, it’ll give him the runs so bad he can’t dance with her. He’ll be dancin’ with the latrine out behind the dancehall, that’s where he’ll be dancin’. Probably kill ‘im. Suits me fine too…”

Cheese… Same dude. “The germified cow boob juice mix didn’t quite work out as planned even though it’s become my #1 seller…so let’s leave out the germs, let’s put in some…baby cow stomach juice instead. Then, for next spring’s Spring Jubilee dance… if that Ronny asks Sarah out again, I’ll just wad it up in some kind of cloth and when the dance starts in a year, I’ll just put some of that on a cracker…soon as I invent ’em, and I’ll make him eat one! That’ll teach that no good Ronny!”

Booze. Think about whiskey. I’m going to take this hog feed that’s went bad, I’m going to put it in a kettle even though it’s stinkin’ loudly, I’m going to then boil it, but not hard enough to get it to boil, just…boil some of it, and then when steam comes off, I’m gonna drink it! Oh, well probably I should filter it, get impurities out of it. Then I’m gonna drink it… Think about the alcohol distillation process and ask yourself how the process was discovered including all those steps.

Just think about ordinary wine. “I was watching the trash over there (reminds me, I need to invent the TV soon, borin’ as hell here) and I saw that housefly sip of that juice, and he took off flying weird, a swoopin’ and weavin’… I wonder if I was to drink some of that rotten fruit juice-I’ll rename it if I like it-if I was to drink some of that rotten fruit juice, would I be able to fly crooked and weavy too?”

Worcestershire sauce…”I’m gonna take these anchovies, onions, garlic, lemons, pickles, couple ol’ socks, the hooker down the road’s underwear…I’ll put ’em in a pot. Add…vinegar, molasses, sugar, salt, spices, little dirt, some old person’s dandruff, few dog hairs…cook it all together. Then, I’m gonna try it!” Guy tries it, it’s absolutely…well, you heard the recipe… “That tastes like hell…I’ll put it in a barrel and check on it after it’s rotted for a few months, that might make it better.”

Folks always lament how the “old days were the good days and the old ways were the better ways”…I’m not so sure. I like knowing that toilet paper is the best tool for the work it does, rather than experimenting with holly leaves, oak leaves, pine cones, and the ever popular poison ivy and poison oak leaves. I like the benefit of products *after* the “wunder whut” stages where the entire process was guided by somebody standing there goin’ “Hmmm, wunder whut it’d do to put some…vinegar in the ice cream batch?”

The modern era isn’t perfect, but at least most of the dumber ideas have already been discovered and discredited. Now all we have to be wary of are new dumb ideas.

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