President Trump – Week 1

Below are 22 things President Trump has done during his first week in office. I am not including things his cabinet members, advisers, and surrogates have said and/or done during this week because I’m only interested in the what the President himself is doing. While the people he surrounds himself with, and who claim to speak for him, are a window into who President Trump actually is and how he will govern, there is no better way to REALLY know him than to list out everything the man actually does. I’m also not including actions others have taken in response to President Trump (the Women’s March, government senior management resignations, etc.). So, without further preamble, here are 22 things President Donald Trump has done during his first week in office.

  1. Signed an Executive Order aimed at rolling back the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The order instructs the Secretary of Health and Human Services and heads of other departments to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from [and] delay” requirements of the Obamacare law.
  2. Announced a new, and potentially illegal, national policy of taking the national resources of sovereign nations (for example, keeping Iraq’s oil)
  3. Signed the “Border Security” executive order stating that Congress will allot federal funds (taxpayer dollars) for the immediate construction of a southern border wall. It includes plans to increase the number of border patrol agents by 5,000 and construct more detention facilities, and outlines a broad crackdown on immigrants who cross the southern border.
  4. Insulted the nation’s third largest trade partner by insisting Mexico would pay for the aforementioned wall despite Mexico’s refusal to do so. This has led to strained relations with our southern neighbor, the first sign being the canceled meeting at the end of January.
  5. Issued executive orders to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal negotiations.
  6. Escalated tension between Israel and Palestine by beginning discussions to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
  7. Has signaled a change in policy regarding the use of torture during interrogations, directly at odds with longstanding international rules and regulations on the treatment of prisoners, potentially putting the US Military in a position of having to refuse to follow a direct order from the President.
  8. Signaled a shift in the Justice Department’s civil rights efforts when it requested a delay in the lawsuit over a Texas law requiring voters to present certain types of government-issued IDs.
  9. Halted a reduction to the annual mortgage insurance premiums borrowers pay when taking out government-backed home loans, increasing mortgage payments for thousands of homeowners.
  10. Signed three executive orders to benefit oil pipelines, including the completion of the highly controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, and remove Obama environmental protections. Noteworthy is the fact that President Trump may be personally profiting from the pipeline.
  11. Reinstated the 1984 Mexico City Policy which bans U.S. support to foreign organizations that offer abortion or abortion counseling to women.
  12. Ordered a hiring freeze on nearly all government workers, including thousands of highly skilled scientists, engineers nurses, and veterans.
  13. Announced his intention to renegotiate, or end, NAFTA.
  14. Targeted “Sanctuary Cities” by signing an Executive Order that bans giving federal funds to jurisdictions that “willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States.”
  15. Put gag orders on multiple government agencies and removed vital internet content, including scientific studies pertaining to climate change.
  16. Announced he is preparing to sign an executive order to block the entry of refugees from war-torn Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Yemen.
  17. Ordered agencies to freeze new regulations, giving the new administration time to review them (nearly every new President does this).
  18. Announced his intention to let his son-in-law play a prominent role in his administration, potentially putting him at odds with anti-nepotism laws.
  19. Proposed, and then quickly rescinded, imposing a 20% tax on Mexican made products sold in America.
  20. Announced he will ask for a “major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time).”
  21. Regardless of the hypocrisy, President Trump continues to use a private, unsecured cell phone, while many of his staffers use private email servers.
  22. He still refuses to release his tax returns.

Orange Nation


Tomorrow may very well go down in history books as the true beginning of the unraveling of the United States of America. While you might believe I’m being hyperbolic in my declaration of doom, I respectfully disagree. In fact, I’m trying my best to be as calm as possible. Oh, you might want to point out that America has weathered crises before; The Civil War, the Great Depression, WWI, WWII, the Cold War, and the Cuban Missile Crisis to name just a few. And yes, the country may have been even more starkly divided in times past than it is now but, and this is important, never before has there been an American President-Elect as ill-prepared for the presidency as Donald J. Trump.

Regardless of how you might personally feel about the man himself, whether you voted for him, against his opponent, for one of his opponents, or for no one at all; it doesn’t matter. Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States. And THAT should worry EVERYONE. And it’s not because he’s a thin-skinned, sexist, narcissistic, rude, bombastic, aggressive, obnoxious, lying, buffoon. That’s not really debatable because he has shown over and over and over again, through tweets, speeches, and interviews, that he is all of those things and PROUD of it. And despite all his flaws, the hard truth is that enough people in enough important districts in enough important States were willing to ignore all his negatives and vote for him. So, yes. Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States.

And no, this isn’t a “not my President” moment.

However, it must be noted that never before in American history has there ever been a President-Elect like Donald Trump. Not only is he frighteningly, WILLFULLY ignorant of nearly EVERY facet of the unimaginably huge bureaucracy he will soon be in charge of, but he’s actively and AGGRESSIVELY attacking the people he should be relying upon for help and guidance. Attacking political enemies is one thing, attacking the press can perhaps be overlooked by his supporters, but attacking the very agencies he’s now supposed lead? Belittling and antagonizing the science and intelligence agencies he’ll need to rely on for unbiased, up-to-the-second, top-secret information? How can even his supporters not feel a little uneasy? If he doesn’t trust anyone in the government now, before he’s receiving the truly scary, life-or-death, wrong-decision-and-the-world-ends reports, who will he trust and when will he trust them? Where will he get the information he needs to make the important decisions the President needs to make every day? His gut? Twitter? Putin?

But, you say, he’s a billionaire, a successful businessman. He must be smart enough to run the country, right?

Wrong. Dangerously, foolishly, horribly wrong.

There are a myriad of reasons that type of thinking is wrong, and nearly all have been hashed to death for the last two years all over the web by nearly every media outlet in America. I won’t even bother to use the usual talking points of his many bankruptcies, poor business decisions or even his failed businesses and fake school to make my point. Instead, I’ll try something a little easier to understand.

Let me give you a hypothetical that will hopefully illustrate what I mean. Let’s say you’re a big fan of flight simulator games. Let’s also say that you’re a huge fan of one of the top players in the world. Let’s also say that player becomes so proud of his flight simulation skills that he decides to get his adoring fans (you) to demand that NASA let him fly the space shuttle. Caving in to massive public pressure, NASA not only agrees, but allows him to fly a shuttle that will carry a payload of 25 armed nuclear warheads. You and millions of other fans cheer him on for taking on, and “beating” NASA and it’s silly rules. Not wanting the mission to fail, NASA tries to help our flight simulator hero prepare for the awesome responsibility of flying such a dangerous mission by offering him private lessons and all the studying materials he could ever need. But our hero not only refuses their help, he actively and publicly mocks and ridicules them for even trying. To make matters even worse, our intrepid hero then chooses a flight and ground crew with absolutely no experience in the positions he gives them. The mechanics he brings in have never even changed the oil in their car. The scientists he hires are “smart” people suggested to him by his sponsors. His head of mission control is his manager. When people in the press point out that he should really study for the upcoming flight and maybe think about hiring people with some actual experience, he just insults the reporters and bans them from future press conferences. When other, more experienced shuttle pilots, control and ground crew personnel voice their concern, he cries that they’re treating him unfairly because he’s going to be the best pilot ever and they’re all just jealous. Then, word gets out that your hero may have won his flight simulation matches because the referees were influenced by a third party and that maybe he’s not quite as successful as people thought…

Now, no matter how much of a fan you might be of this person, and no matter how great he may or may not be at playing flight simulator games, can you honestly say you’d be comfortable letting him fly a nuclear shuttle?

The point is, just because a person is good at one thing does not mean they have ANY aptitude at all in something else. Even if that something else seems superficially similar to their own area of expertise. Especially if that something is VASTLY more complicated than the thing that person is supposedly good at. And even more especially if that person refuses all advice and assistance offered by experts at that new thing.

And this is just the tiniest scratch on the very tip of all the things I see and feel when I think about our President-Elect. As I said before, this goes way, WAY, beyond my personal feelings. Sure, we’ve had Presidents who weren’t very smart before. And of course, some Presidents of the past have done things for selfish reasons, or passed bad laws, or been lousy human beings. But at the very least, all of them, ALL of them, surrounded themselves with smart people who knew what they were doing and had experience in the roles they were cast. And that’s because those past Presidents, no matter how personally incompetent, mentally challenged, or downright evil they may have actually been, NONE of them were truly willing to destroy the country. Each and every one of them believed what they were doing was best for their country. So at the very least, previous generations of the American public that may have opposed their Presidents policies could rest easy knowing that as bad as things might have seemed to them at the time, the Executive branch of the government wouldn’t really destroy America in a fit of anger over an imagined insult.

The question now is; does anyone have 100% confidence that the same will hold true after Donald J. Trump is sworn in tomorrow?

The End Is Nigh

I don’t recognize America anymore.

There is an old saying, wrongfully attributed as being a Chinese curse, that goes, “May you live in interesting times.” It’s meant to be read as ironic, the implication being that uninteresting times are peaceful and boring, while interesting times are full of turmoil and conflict. Well, no matter what you may think of the outcome of last night’s election, I think we can all agree that we’re now living in interesting times. And while I am personally horrified at the prospects that I see ahead of us here in America, there is no denying the fact that last night Donald Trump became the next president-elect of the United States of America.

I still can’t believe it.

I know a lot of you are thinking, “Get over it. Don’t be so melodramatic. The people have spoken and he’s the president, but this isn’t a dictatorship. There are checks and balances in place that will keep him from doing anything truly horrendous. And if he’s a bad president in four years we can put somebody else in office. It’s really not such a big deal.”

To you I respectfully say, “You’re wrong.”

Last night America elected into the highest office of the land the most hateful, racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, and spiteful candidate ever to run for president. A man whose presidential platform centered around the alienation, vilification, and deportation of a vast swath of people who he calls rapists, drug dealers, and murderers. This is a man who belittled, bullied, and insulted his way to the top of the Republican ticket using hate speech to incite enough anger in his followers that he could point them at whatever target he wished and they would willfully, gleefully attack. Mexicans, Muslims, African-Americans, women, the media, his political opponents, and even his supposed political allies. No one was spared. His entire candidacy is based on inciting fear and stoking the fires of anger towards minorities in the general population. And historically, people who depend on vilification of a subset of their citizenry in order to win public approval and lead their country have had to follow through with their threats and promises or face the wrath of the masses themselves. So, I fully expect the wall to be built, and for people of color to be shipped “back to their country” regardless of how many generations they’ve lived in America.

I hope I’m wrong, I really do. But these are the things that will keep me awake at night for the next four years.

The seething anger that many Americans, myself included, have felt towards the political leaders of this country over the last 20 or more years has led to this. For years and years now, so very many years, we the people have been forced to choose between two political parties that have forgotten who their constituents are, and who, once in office, conveniently forget the promises they made to get to that office. By doing that over and over again, time after time, year after year, election after election, the ruling class in Washington has made it clear that there is no longer such a thing as a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

And so, entered Donald Trump.

He realized before anyone else that there was just enough fear, anger, and hate to be found in the electorate, that if a charismatic leader could capture it, that person had a very good chance of winning the presidency. Here was somebody who saw the people that felt forgotten by their party. He heard them when others turned a deaf ear. He said the things they wanted to hear and promised to supply all the things they thought they wanted. But unlike everyone else seeking their votes, Donald Trump didn’t speak down to them. He spoke in a way they understood without using political correctness or Washington doublespeak.

And the people ate it up.

Now he’s the president. The man who praised the leadership styles of Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Saddam Hussein will now get a chance to lead. The man who personally insulted his political rivals, vilified immigrants, ridiculed vets, mocked women, and endorsed violence against his political opponents will try to unify America. The man who couldn’t be bothered to prepare for presidential debates, who has bankrupted 4 businesses, who has lied to and cheated his business partners, bankers, and employees, will oversee the most complex and most powerful economic power in the world. The man who doesn’t know what nuclear triad means, who has suggested that North Korea and Japan should have nuclear weapons, and who believes that Crimea already belongs to Russia will now be commander in chief. Since World War II, every military engagement authorized by Congress has been under the leadership of a Republican president. The Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, the war in Afghanistan, and the Iraq war were all initiated by Republican presidents. That even includes the Lebanon crisis of 1958 and the multinational force in Lebanon in 1983. Donald Trump has made it clear that he is willing to start fights with anyone who he feels has insulted him, and he has shown no ability to control his emotions whenever he has been attacked. And now he, and he alone, has access to the nuclear codes.

This scares me so much I can barely breathe.

This morning I woke up with no idea how I was going to face my children for the next four years. How do I teach them that bullying is bad when a bully has won the White House? How can I expect them to study and learn, to use facts and figures to back up their arguments, when making up facts, spouting lies, and glorifying unpreparedness can win you the presidency? How can I expect them to be nice, to respect the thoughts and feelings of others, when they can just point to our new president and say, “He doesn’t so why should I?”

I honestly don’t know what I’ll say, I just hope I won’t burst out in tears.

So, to those who now live with me in Trumpland, I urge you to be prepared. Be prepared to see more hate crimes and violence against minorities on your TVs, because our next president has endorsed and encouraged such behavior. Be prepared for more earthquakes in Oklahoma, a neutered EPA, and fewer and smaller protected national parks, because our next president has made it clear that conservation of the environment doesn’t matter. Be prepared for the rights of the LGBT community, minorities, and women to be set back dozens of years, because our next president has been consistent in his degradation of them throughout his candidacy. Be prepared for our international allies to distance themselves from us, and for the countries we currently vilify to become our new best friends, because our next president has shown no understanding of the intricacies of international politics. Be prepared for economic disparity greater than we’ve seen in recent memory, because our next president believes losing money or bankrupting a business is perfectly acceptable as long as his own finances remain safe. And America, be prepared for war, because our next president has made it very clear that his idea of diplomacy is to bully, insult, and frighten his opponents.

Be prepared, America. The monster we thought we defeated has stepped back out into the light, but this time, instead of fighting it we’ve greeted it with open arms.


I was going to write a long and drawn out post explaining what SOPA and PIPA are, why enacting them into law would fundamentally change the internet for Americans in a distressingly negative way, and what you could do to make your opposition heard AND counted. However, this infographic combined with this one-sheet breakdown from EFF and this easily digestible website from Google do the job much better than I could have on my own.

So, here’s what you can do right now to stop these two poorly written and ultimately draconian bills from becoming law.

The Simple, Fast and Easy method:
Go to Google’s Anti-SOPA/PIPA site, fill out the form on the right and click “Sign the Petition”.

The Slightly More Involved Method:
1) Look up your senator to find out if he/she supports or opposes.

2) Click on your appropriate representative’s photo or name to get their contact information.

3) Print out the following on a piece of actual paper, sign it and physically mail it to your Senator.

I am writing to you as a voter in your district. I urge you to oppose S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act. The PROTECT IP Act is dangerous, ineffective, and short-sighted. It does not deserve floor consideration. I also urge my representative to vote “no” on SOPA, the corresponding House bill.

Over the coming days you’ll be hearing from the many businesses, advocacy organizations, and ordinary Americans who oppose this legislation because of the myriad ways in which it will stifle free speech and innovation. We hope you’ll take our concerns to heart and oppose this legislation by voting “no” on cloture.

4) Share this post with EVERYONE you know so they can add their voice to the opposition of SOPA/PIPA.

Political Anger Management

I am sick and tired of politics in my country.

Over the last 12 or so years, something’s been bothering me about the political system in America and I’m finally at the point that I can’t keep silent anymore. You see, I’ve been wondering why We The People keep electing self-selected, career politicians into office instead of searching for and electing the people who are best suited for the job of actually running the country. The politicians have made it VERY clear via their actions and history that the only thing that can possibly motivate them to actually do their jobs is the threat of losing power, or the promise of acquiring MORE power. In the rare instances that an elected official has a clear and workable plan for doing something that the majority of the country wants done (whatever that thing might be) other elected officials will do their very best to thwart that plan for the sole purpose of pandering to a tiny but vocal select minority of people to whom they are beholden, or from whom they wish to curry favor.

Why do We The People stand for this?

Where does it state that We The People can only elect someone to office from the pool of choices handed to us by those ALREADY in power? Isn’t there a write-in candidate section on the ballot? Why can’t We The People, who now have nearly unfettered and unregulated access to the great knowledge dispenser known as the internet, find someone the majority of us can agree would actually do their job and write that name in on the ballot? A single website, where anyone can be nominated by anyone, followed by a Wikipedia-like vetting of those candidates, and a constant online poll to narrow the pool down to a manageable number, seems like a FAR better way to discover viable candidates than the current method of… Well, of what? How, exactly are the current crop of candidates selected? Does anyone know? As far as I can tell, people simply declare their intention to run and wait for whichever party they’re a part of to bless their campaign. If no blessing is forthcoming, the self-proclaimed candidate just vanishes in a network news cycle.

Or worse, they become a political commentator on basic cable.

Look, it is my personal opinion that ANYONE who actively seeks an elected position in a capacity higher than that of Mayor is someone that should NOT be elected into office. I believe that term limits should be implemented across ALL facets of the government and that Senators and Representatives should be forced to relinquish control of their cushy jobs every set number of years, never to return to that post as long as they shall live. And I also believe that We The People need to change our government because it is a sure bet that our government will not change on its own. I’m not saying I have any answers; I’m not that smart, savvy or intelligent. What I am though is angry. Angry about the economy, angry about jobs and angry about taxes. In fact, where it concerns politics, I’m angry about just about everything. And, based on everything I’ve been reading and hearing out there for the last 12 years, I don’t think I’m alone.

So, isn’t it about time We The People did something constructive with all our anger?

Why can’t We The People create a political revolution whereby ALL current elected officials are removed from office and we hold another election where ANYONE, regardless of political party affiliation, can run? Technology should have made vetting political candidates easier, it should have made the entire political process more transparent and accessible, but it hasn’t. The internet should have made it possible for ANYONE to run for office, yet we are still faced with the same two political parties who keep propping up candidates who will be beholden to their party and the special interest lobbyists who cater to their party. The parties themselves are becoming more and more polarized, more and more vitriolic and extreme and just plain crazy. They pander to the extremist fringe of their constituents, the foaming-at-the-mouth, die-hard, take-no-prisoner believers which is leaving more and more people in the middle, who are level-headed and willing to make concessions or compromises in order to do what is best for the country as a whole, disenfranchised and without a political voice. To some, what I’m suggesting sounds like a new political party, but to even mention introducing a new party into the political process would mean ridicule and derision, because that would be a “waste of a vote.”

Well, why the hell is that?

Who says We The People can’t nominate people from completely OUTSIDE the current political system who are willing to do what needs to be done to fix our broken country, rather than a career, party-line patsy who is only willing to do whatever it takes to keep their job? There are economists, scientists, philosophers, educators, Nobel Peace Prize laureates and a multitude of others who would be far better suited to steer the U.S. out of the hole our two party system has put us in than the career politicians we currently have running the country. If you’re being hired to do a certain job then it shouldn’t matter what political party you belong to as long as you’re qualified to do the job. Does it matter if your mechanic is a Democrat or a Republican as long as he can fix your car? I know it seems radical, but with the current Occupy Wall Street demonstrations taking place around the country, how hard would it REALLY be to get write-in candidates onto the ballot for 2012? What are the REAL barriers stopping We The People from finding a single person to run for President that 52% of the 99% can stand behind and actually believe in? Why can’t We The People ignore the noise and blustered posturing of the talking heads on TV and elect a write-in candidate of our own choosing who DOESN’T have any ties to the broken, caustic, polarized and self-serving political machines in Washington?

And what the hell is stopping us from doing all this RIGHT NOW?!

ebook Rant #7

I want an ebook reader.

In an average week I read 2 books, 5 magazines and about 100,000 words on various websites, blogs and message boards. I like reading but I really hate carrying around all the books I want to read, especially when I’m traveling. With all the weight restrictions on planes nowadays, I’m lucky to fit a hardcover book into my carry-on for each business trip I take. And if the trip is cross country or overseas, I have to force myself to read slowly so I don’t finish the book before I land and be forced to listen to my seatmate snore in her sleep.

Note to lady in 32F, next time get a nasal strip or I will shove Cheetos up your nose.

Now, you may be wondering why I don’t just buy an ebook reader like the Kindle and be done with my Geekish whining. Well, I’ll tell you why I haven’t bought one yet; cost. Not the cost of the ebook reader, but the cost of the ebooks that I’d put onto the reader. Most ebooks cost anywhere from $5 to $15 each, which might seem reasonable at first glance, but I beg to differ. You see, where a physical book has inherent costs associated with its design, construction and distribution, an ebook has none of those same costs. There’s no reason why an ebook should cost as much as a physical paperback other than to prop up an outdated publishing business model that, due to the advent of the internet, is no longer relevant. If there’s no longer a physical book that needs to be designed, created, warehoused, shipped, stored and displayed then why are we still being asked to pay for those costs?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that at some point in the near future the current cost structure of contemporary publishing will fail, and a new structure will rise in its place. Hopefully one that is far more consumer oriented, perhaps similar to the iTunes structure of $.99 per song. Imagine how many more books you’d be willing to buy if they cost $.99 each. How often has someone said, “There’s this book I’m reading that I know you’d love.” But you never buy it because at $24.99 it’s not worth your money to find out if your friend was right? If you could buy the book for a dollar, right then and there when your friend mentioned it, would you hesitate?

I know I wouldn’t.

Or, how about a club-like, subscription structure? Imagine if Amazon opened up an iBrary where, for $14.99 a month ($100 a year), you could download and read all the books in their entire ebook catalog. If you let your subscription lapse then all the books are removed from your device. However, for an added fee of say $5, you could “own” that ebook and even if your subscription lapses it would remain on your ebook reader and/or backed up on your computer.

That sounds pretty good to me.

Unfortunately, right now ebooks are being treated like the proverbial red-headed step-child of the publishing world. I truly believe the publishing world is scared out of their collective minds about what ebooks might do to their businesses. Just last week Macmillan strong-armed Amazon into hiking the price of their e-books from around $10 to between $13 and $15 depending on the title. Why they think this is a good idea is beyond me, but it does make me hesitant to buy a Kindle or any ebook reader right now. Why spend the money on the reader and ebooks when buying paperbacks and/or used costs less? In fact, I defy any representative of any publishing house to explain to me why the cost of an ebook appears to need to be higher than the cost of a brand new physical hardcopy of a paperback book. How can it possibly cost more to upload a single file to a central database than it does to design, create and bind a physical book, store it in a warehouse, ship it and display it in a bookstore?

Until I have an answer, or until the price of ebooks become more realistic, I’m think I’m going to have to stick with paper.

Kindle Lust

I want one.

I’m a voracious reader. I love reading and when I’m not otherwise busy I can easily read two or three books a week. I also read a lot of magazines, blogs, news sites and the like. All of which is just to explain why I’m so much in lust with the idea of having hundreds or thousands of books avaibale at my fingertips in a single, light and portable device like the Amazon Kindle. It would be so awesome for someone who is constantly traveling to have all the books they want to read for the next few months in such a portable device. And if something came out that you wanted to read you can buy it and start reading it in minutes! Want to read the latest best seller? buy it and in 2 minutes you’re reading it!


But i can’t justify owning it because of the way I would want to use it. You see, I read a lot when I travel. The problem is that I want to be able to read on airplanes during takeoff and landings… which is exactly the times that I’m not allowed to use any electronic devices! Once the plane is airborn I usually take out my Archos 605 and watch a couple of movies so reading during the flight isn’t something I normally do. But the 20 minutes before takeoff and landing when I can’t use the Archos and would love to read something…? That’s exactly when the Kindle would be most welcome, and is precisely the time the airlines refuse to allow me to use it.

But still, I want one!

Cell Phone Phever

I need a new cell phone.

Not that there’s anything wrong with my current phone. It still makes and receives calls fine, but that’s really ALL it does. And since it doesn’t do anything else it’s just not… what’s the word? Oh yeah, cool. Actually, my phone is the antithesis of cool. It’s anti-cool. If I were single, my cell phone would be one of the top three things that would frighten the ladies away and keep me single forever. The other two things being my face and whatever that sixth sense is women have that warns them when a desperate loser is approaching so they can fire up their snide remark generators and cut men down to size before they can even say hello. It’s like some crazy superpower. In fact, I believe most women should be wearing tights under their party dresses and have alter-egos called “Soul Crusher” or “The Crimson Slasher” so, when they unknowingly destroy some poor schmo who idolizes them, that guy could don tights of his own and become her arch-nemesis. That way when she punched his lights out during another one of his failed attempts to take over the world he could pretend she liked him enough to make skin-on-skin contact, which would make his stay in the super villain jail more enjoyable.

Why are you looking at me like that?

Anywaste, back to my phone issues. I’ve been holding out on getting a new phone because I’ve never been impressed with any phone enough to use it as more than a phone. I mean, honestly. In the past, cell phones with extra “features” like web browsing or email or video have sucked. No, I take that back. Saying they sucked is a harsh insult to the term “suck”. The hyped up, media- and web-enabled cell phones of old were some of the worst pieces of consumer junk ever foisted upon the general public by the uncaring wireless cartels. None of them really did what they claimed to be able to do and most of them managed to fail at the most important aspect of being a cell phone; making and receiving calls.

But then the JesusPhone was born.

I don’t think I need to pontificate about the iPhone, enough people out there already do that and better than I would, but the point I’m trying to make is that the iPhone put all the other established players to shame. It did everything people wanted their tiny, portable communications devices to do (except copy and paste) and even made decent phone calls. But, just to prove that even the mighty Apple wasn’t immune to the idiocy of corporate greed, they went and screwed everything up by signing an exclusive distribution deal with AT&T.


If Apple had had the gonads to simply sell the iPhone, unlocked and available for any network to use, then nearly everyone and their mother would have one by now. As it is, they chose to partner with a single wireless provider, albeit the one with the largest customer base in the U.S., which automatically means those without AT&T service can’t use the JesusPhone to make a call. And in case you aren’t getting my little hints, I’m not on AT&T. I don’t want to be on AT&T. In fact, I might even go so far as to say I hate AT&T.

And I suspect the feeling is mutual.

So, for me, the iPhone isn’t an option as a replacement for my aging, crappy JudasPhone which means I need to look elsewhere for a new phone. Being the Geek that I am, I did a ton of research last year and came to the conclusion that the right phone for me would be the then forthcoming Blackberry Bold which according to rumors would be available soon to the dreaded AT&T but then loosed upon the rest of the carriers by the beginning of 2009. When the Bold was released the reviews were fantastic, people declared it to be on par with the iPhone, and my lust for it grew ever more profound. I waited patiently for it’s imminent release on my carrier of choice, checking all the cell phone sites at least once a week for updates and through all this I was assured that the Bold was coming soon. For three months now I’ve been patiently waiting to discover the release date of the Bold for Verizon and now, finally, I have a somewhat reliable date from a mostly reliable source. And that date is, “Sometime in May. Maybe even June.”

Oh cruel fate, how I do loathe you.

Face Time

So, I’m on Facebook now.

And after a few weeks I still don’t comprehend the appeal of any of these social network sites. Why would anyone want to “friend” someone they lost touch with 20 years ago? Seriously, if you lost touch with someone long ago don’t you think there was a reason? Maybe you’ve forgotten how much you hated their egotistical, self-centered view of the world. Perhaps they did something horrible to a friend of yours and you stopped taking their calls. Hell, maybe they just have bad body odor. Whatever the reason was, you stopped keeping in touch and now, after all this time has passed and your lives have been going fine without each other, you’re suddenly interested in them again?

I call bull.

I think I’ve got a valid working hypothesis for why these sites are so popular, and it goes a little something like this… every person is the star of the movie in their own head and believes that all the people they once knew MUST be missing them something fierce. Face it, if you’re on Facebook you probably have 50+ “friends” half of which you don’t really know or care about knowing but still want to be “friends” with because… well, why exactly? Why do people feel the need to “know” all these people online that they would only speak to once in their lives in real life? There are people I know who think it’s awesome that they’ve been able to get back in touch with their first love, who’s now twice divorced and living in a trailer park, even though they haven’t thought about them in 25 years. I also have some friends who are actively searching for people just to compare their lives and make themselves feel better about the choices they’ve made since losing touch with that old flame or professor who told them they’d never amount to anything.

What’s the point in that?

Honestly, I can’t understand the draw of reestablishing contact with the very same people you actively, or passively, lost touch with in the past. Are there a few people I’d like to “catch up with” from my past? Of course. But I’m man enough to admit that the ONLY reason I’d want to know what they were doing would be to compare my life to theirs and make sure that I was in a better place than they so I could go to sleep at night with a smile on my face knowing that I made the right choice in leaving them behind. And if they were doing better than I? I’d cut them off and lose touch again in a heartbeat. I mean, who needs a constant reminder that you made a mistake? Shallow? Yep. Sad? Uh-huh.

The deep down honest truth? You betcha.

I’ve been told that even though I don’t “get” it now, I would if I were willing to use my real name on Facebook and started reaching out to my current friends. That way I could finally start using Facebook the way it was meant to be used, to keep in touch with the people I care about and to see what they’re doing every minute of every day via their status updates/news feed/wall. Of course, once you have more than 20 or so friends you begin to get news overload and have to start filtering out some people which kind of defeats the whole purpose. Then there’s all the little “pokes”, “tags”, “polls” and other junk people send you. It just seems to me that after a very short while it would all become more and more like noise rather than anything useful. Maybe I’m just jaded, or perhaps I’m too much of a paranoid individual, but I really don’t understand the appeal of divulging my REAL personal information in the hopes of being virtually popular with people I already know in real life, and/or with people I’ve purposefully forgotten in real life.

But hey, maybe it’s just me.

Maybe I’m just too old, or boring, or stupid to understand the obvious appeal of these social networking websites. These close-walled gardens of friendly stalkers and ego-mirrors. They’ve certainly been around long enough to have died if they were going to die, but here they are still going strong. I blame it on all the lonely people with nothing better to do than constantly check their “walls” and update the world about how their last Starbucks coffee wasn’t nearly as good as the one from yesterday even though the girl behind the counter is still the cutest coffee barrister in a 50-mile radius. Of course, all this might come off a little silly seeing as how I’m a Blogger and all. But the truth is that a blogger can be anonymous to strangers but known to friends which allows a certain kind of freedom to express yourself. The social networking sites however, don’t really work unless you are using your real name which is great if you’re only interested in finding “friends” or if you don’t care about your privacy, but really sucks for those of us who don’t want all the people we no longer care to know to find us. Honestly, do you want your 8th grade Spanish teacher to contact you again and remind you how much you sucked at Spanish? Which reminds me, my Jr. high school Spanish teacher flunked me 5 semesters in a row.

Mr. Brown, you suck!

Forget It Geek…

It’s Chinatown.

Word to the wise. If you desperately need to lay down in a quiet place because you firmly believe you’ll kill someone if you don’t stop the exceedingly painful sleep deprivation headache you have, don’t even think about trying to lay down in your hotel room if it’s anywhere near San Francisco’s Chinatown. Especially during Chinese New Year. OMG, I hate fireworks.

Happy New Year, now STFU!