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From a cluttered home office in semi-rural Southwest Oklahoma, to web browsers around the planet, welcome to a different kind of Live Journal.. one that endeavors to entertain, to engage, to sometimes enrage, to enlighten, and generally excite grey matter everywhere.
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Jul. 12th, 2013 @ 05:25 am An Open Question....
Would the Zimmerman murder trial matter nationally in the media if the victim was any race other than black, and the accused was any race other than "white Hispanic?"

For that matter, what's up with idiots and thugs wanting to riot if "the right verdict" isn't rendered by the jury? Why break someone else's stuff based upon something that has ZERO to do with them?

Human beings continue to have the dumb. Ugh.
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itzwicks
Mar. 27th, 2013 @ 10:57 pm And now a word about INFINITY
Forever.

(insert rimshot here)
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itzwicks
Dec. 21st, 2012 @ 07:27 pm Interestingly enough...
This has been quite the year for yours truly. I had hoped to have written more on this side of the social network, but Facebook was the primary recipient of my muses.

Now in my 49th year of existence, I have elected to return to my roots. Don't know yet whether or not to formally retire this LJ and start all over again, or simply give this one a makeover. In any event, should I make the jump, I will let one and all know what the blogging plans eventually become.
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The Doctor Who Christmas special arrives at BBC America in less than a week. Can't wait to see new Who action! :)
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Fiscal cliff? Ha! We've been over it for a while, and we are currently in freefall. The only question is what the landing is going to look like. Methinks it is going to be UGLY.
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Back to writing now...
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itzwicks
Jul. 22nd, 2012 @ 11:00 pm Meanwhile....
Yup, 2012 is a political year. Everyone is out there trying to make the case for this candidate and that cause.

I am no different. As a right of center guy, I will do my best to champion stuff I believe in, but will do so in a way that isn't full of drama or snark. I try to be civil, respectful of those with opposing views, and not be so frigid as to be inflexible to changing my mind about an issue.

Just an FYI for you good people.

My Facebook and Twitter accounts are very active, and I try to look in over here as time permits. If there is anything that you feel merits my attention that I missed, by all means let me know.

Going back to work now. Live like you really mean it folks. ;-)
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itzwicks
Jul. 1st, 2012 @ 11:30 am Musings on the PPACA (aka Obamacare) Debate
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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA, aka Obamacare) is perhaps one of the most deceptively labeled, deceptively marketed, and deceptively authored pieces of legislation ever to be created by a US Congress in the history of the Republic.

Signed into law on March 23, 2010, Vice President Biden couldn’t have spoken truer words when, at the signing ceremony, he told President Obama that it was a “big f*cking deal.”

Why would I label it as deceptive in the first place? Consider the history behind it.

Candidate Obama promised transparency in the creation process, to include allowing the public to see the committee process on CSPAN television. Not only did the televised hearings never happen, but the opposing political party was shut out for the majority of the law creation process as well.

To be clear, the Republican Party was not opposed in the general concepts of healthcare reform, but they were clearly not interested in the Democratic version of it.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelolsi not only reneged on providing adequate time for public review of such historic legislation prior to a final vote (one of the key pledges made when she sought the Speakership) , but she was rather cavalier about the manner of which the voting members of the House would consider the bill.

“We have to pass the health care bill so that you can find out what is in it,” she famously said several weeks prior to its passage.

By the time the bill finally arrived for full consideration, few, if any, of the members of Congress had bothered to read the full contents of the 1,000+ pages involved. Good luck tracking down the individuals who will proudly take credit for authoring the actual legislation in the first place.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) was tasked to make budgetary assumptions about costs and impact based upon projected economic considerations supplied by the proponents of the legislation. These numbers were then used as part of a marketing campaign to sell members of Congress and the general public about the potential financial stability and effectiveness of the bill. But by using suspect numbers and accounting trickery (i.e. front loading the funding six years ahead before the massive operating costs came out), a major fraud was perpetrated upon the American people.

Candidate Obama and many of the Democrats assured all within the sound of their voices that no one making under $250,000 would see their taxes go up in the process of the healthcare reform overhaul. They further assured voters that if they were happy with their current health plans, that they could keep them. But for millions without healthcare, this had the look and feel of a modern day miracle supplied by a Democratic led government that actually cared about their well-being.

The Republicans couldn’t match the pandering. Add to that a war weary public, who wanted to see real change in the political landscape, the Democrats were given their once in a generation opportunity to get their biggest priority done.

The PPACA eventually passed both houses with no voting support from the Republicans. Within months, the law found its way in the courts, challenged by various state governments and private sector legal firms alike, citing overreach of the Commerce Clause section of the Constitution, culminating in a historic Supreme Court decision, affirming its Constitutionality on June 28, 2012.

President Obama vows to defend the law while GOP candidate Mitt Romney promises to repeal it if elected. In what was already a rancorous Presidential election cycle, the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has made Obamacare a chief focal point for many voters and pundits.

The Democrats are now forced to defend what the high court has called a “tax,” while Republicans will be tasked by actual voters to articulate what they would replace the law with to address the healthcare challenges facing the uninsured, especially those individuals with pre-existing conditions.

The two biggest influences in American behavior are now the US Tax Code, and Obamacare.  The party that runs the country will be in the driver seat as to how the citizenry will conduct their lives based upon what the laws say. And should affordable private sector healthcare collapse (as many believe it will due to the overburdening requirements of PPACA), the calls for one-payer healthcare will be deafening.

A quick look across the pond reveals cracks in the financial stability of such propositions in Europe. It isn’t hard to imagine such problems arriving to our own shores sooner rather than later.

*****

How Americans arrived at this point in history can be summarized by the following two waypoints:

  • Too many people are literally divorced from the true costs of life. From food stamps to first aid, growing numbers of citizens are provided free or reduced government managed services paid for by other people, at rates which will be fiscally impossible to sustain for very long.
  • The sheer volumes of politicians who campaign one way, and then govern another, have left a cynical public leery of both lawmakers and politics in general. Exposed human failings on the part of elected officials, political correctness run amok in both mass media and academia, and a dwindling number of Americans intimately familiar with both theory and reality of how government works, also contribute to the apathy (willing and otherwise) of the voting public.

This did not slow down the conclusion made by Chief Justice Roberts in writing for the majority of the SCOTUS: “Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.

That, in a nutshell, is where we are today, thanks to decades upon decades of lawmakers, goaded upon by the citizens who elected, to not just insure equal opportunities, but to ensure equal outcomes regardless of cost. Legislating utopia and perfect human behavior on North American soil (or anywhere else on earth) is impossible as the architects are human, and the beings having to live with said laws are human. Our very nature is both rebellious and non-conforming, proof of which is seen every day in all manner and station of society.

The best we can do is to limit the impact of the statists (those who believe in enabling the power of government first to resolve issues big and small), the socialists (those who believe in harnessing the power of other people’s money to resolve issues big and small), and the busybodies of the Ruling Class of both parties (those who think that they know how to manage our life choices better than ourselves) from our daily lives.

This is a much harder sell than it sounds.

Consider the example of an unemployed single mother with two children (one with Down’s syndrome, the other with irregular heart issues), no formal education to speak of, no participation or financial support from the father of her kids, and no external family members in which to provide her assistance.

What is she supposed to do about healthcare, let alone basic survival for herself and her family?

Or how about the 30-year-old homeless veteran suffering from PTSD and alcoholism, or the 52-year-old music teacher let go from her school district due to budget cuts?

What are they supposed to do about their healthcare needs?

I am citing fictional extreme examples here, but the real world cases out there are far more disturbing. The reality is that the United States simply doesn’t have the money to dole out the kinds of healthcare that is needed to resolve all of the issues of its citizens, even though the country spends more than most nations on the planet.

Resources are finite. At some point, rationing will occur. And when twenty people show up for a heart transplant, and only four are available, it will no longer be about who has the greatest need, but more about who do you know in the system that can help you ahead of everyone else.

Are we all free range Soylent Green waiting for our turn in line at the senior citizen bug zapper when we turn 70? Come to think of it, that would relieve a bit of stress on the Social Security budget.

Something has got to give.

In the short term, the 2012 Presidential election will be a referendum on both Obamacare, and the fiscal direction that the country will be heading on. The differences between the Democrats and the Republicans couldn’t be starker. To say that there is little to no daylight between the two parties would be the height of deluded statements.

A second Obama term would signal a willing permanence to the PPACA, and acceleration to the fiscal abyss. The US Senate, under the stewardship of Senator Harry Reid and a Democratic majority, have yet to pass a single budget, and are in no danger of doing so prior to Election Day. A Romney Presidency, along with Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate, would likely repeal the law, presumably replacing it with one based upon sector solution sets. But the last time that GOP controlled the White House and both houses of Congress, they weren’t exactly known to be the fiscal bastions of constraint, so any missteps this time around would likely spell the end of the Republican Party as a viable national party.

With choices that are wildly different, I suspect that the polls nationwide are going to see higher-than-normal participation rates this fall. If healthcare reform isn’t enough a draw for potential voters to chew on, there are always the issues of national security, the economy, the nomination of at least two more associate justices on the SCOTUS, and much more.

For those who follow history, this election may seem to have a 1980 Carter versus Reagan feel, or even a 1964 Johnson versus Goldwater vibe going on. I beg to differ; I believe that we are staring down a contemporary showdown of 1860 proportions. While there are no literal slaves to speak of, the challenge to freedom and liberty will stir many to the polls.

I honestly pray that there will be no violence when the results of the Obama versus Romney face off are revealed, but there can be no guarantee as to what will happen when one side learns that they lost to the other based upon what the Electoral College number show.

There are people still genuinely angry about the election results of 2000, not fully understanding the mechanics behind the Bush-43 victory, but convinced that the election was stolen from then Vice President Gore. Here is hoping that the final numbers in 2012 leave no room for doubt as to who won and who lost.

The days of sitting on the sidelines of our democratic republic are long gone. If one wishes for a particular outcome, the requirement is to become an activist in said cause, starting with voter registration, and then encouraging like-minded citizens to do the same. The stakes are too high to leave it to others to resolve on their own.

If you have read this far, I thank you for your time and attention. Enjoy your Sunday, folks.

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itzwicks
Mar. 18th, 2012 @ 01:07 pm Food for thought..
The veneer of Western Civilization is far more vulnerable than we can possibly imagine.

When you look at the waves of uncivil discussion and over-the-top hyperbole and discourse (online and elsewhere), one has to wonder how is it that we all manage to keep it all together?

The answer is actually very simple: continuity of the actively enforced rule of law, and the non-breaking food & water supply chain. As long as people are assured that they can get their basic needs met (and that includes the SECURITY that they won't be taken away), then all is well in the world.

But, remove those first two levels of the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs pyramid, and you have sucker punched the first world, sending it back in line with the third, and further.

Your saintly neighbor, the one who bakes those nice pies for you during the holidays, won't have any compunction to slice your throat if it makes the difference between starvation and feeding their kids should the sh*t hit the fan (SHTF) and/or the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI).

Here is what is REALLY bothering me today: this online article from Red State which essentially concludes that the ends justifies the means, ESPECIALLY IF THE OTHER SIDE DOES IT.

http://www.redstate.com/streiff/2012/03/17/fairness-is-for-suckers/


So I join with Dr. Fish in affirming that “fairness” is for suckers and that our first loyalty is to our allies.

Many moons ago, the inestimable Thomas Crown wrote

Should the entire American Left fall over dead tomorrow, I would rejoice, and order pizza to celebrate. They are not my countrymen; they are animals who happen to walk upright and make noises that approximate speech. They are below human. I look forward to seeing each and every one in Hell.

That is my philosophy moving forward from today.


Really? Are we actually going to go down that road of honest-to-God lawbreaking (not peaceful civil disobedience which is done out in the open for all of the world to see) in order to win the next election cycle?

For the record, I am very uneasy with this. No, strike that. I am not willing to go down that path to the Dark Side.

I will not apologize for pointing out evil, double standards, bad behavior, and other forms of insanity from the other side of the aisle, but I will always do it in a civil manner. I'll avoid the personal attack, and I won't sully my name in the tactics of my political opponents.

For me, the trick is to engage the other side, if not the scant undecided, and convince them of the rightness of our argument, and not just snark them on the wrongness of theirs.

This really matters. This is what is going to make the difference between turning the car around while there is still some road left in which to do so, or watching it drive off into the abyss (the Left will do it at 88 mph, while the Ruling Class Right will do at 55 mph).

We have to actively enforce the election laws on the books. We need to be smart and agile enough to make common sense corrections as needed to ensure that the innocent does not get short sheeted on their Constitutional rights. And we absolutely must remain vigilant of foul play from our side, lest we lose the moral high ground.

To borrow a metaphor I once heard on the Mark Davis Show, if you open up a can a Coke, and you see a rotted fish head in it, I assure you, it will be a LONG time, if ever, before you'll want to drink a Coke again.

An aside: if the GOP fails to govern like they advertise in their coming fall campaign, they can be assured that they are finished as a political party, and not just because their brand will be ruined. The Democrats will stack the Supreme Court deck with like minded associates that will make the extinction of their political rivals that much easier to fulfill.

There is a storm coming. And pretty soon, there will be no bystanders, and no civilians, especially if both sides of the political aisle engage in mutually assured destruction just to win elections.

It still spells MAD to me.
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itzwicks
Feb. 22nd, 2012 @ 06:43 am About my Dad

Eugene Martin Wicks is my father. He was born on Tuesday, June 11th, 1935 in the city of Philadelphia, PA. That was 28,015 days ago and approximately 342 miles southeast from where he is today, in the city of Rochester, New York, the place where he will shortly leave this celestial plane.

The world was a very different place, still gripped in economic depression, and with war clouds off in the distance. One could argue that Burton James and Anna Mae Wicks were nuts for bringing yet another child into the world under conditions like that.

Yet still, they did. And, by the way, Eugene was child number 10 of 11.

As a youngster, Eugene was more than a handful. Not quite the model child, he once told me that didn't always do the right thing, was in hanging in a crowd at a very young age that would have put him in jail or worse had outside elements not intervened. Those elements would eventually relocate him across the country to Seattle, Washington, where he would find faith, new hope, and a chance to reset the biography.

I can't speak with detail to my father's high school years, his initial college years, or even his military years of service. The fact that I failed to ask him specific questions about those parts of his life saddens me deeply as I now view them as parts of a library to be forever closed for exploration and discovery.

While serving in the United States Army, a blind date on New Year's Eve 1959 introduced him to one Josephine Elizabeth Hills, of Franklin Louisiana. Within four years, the two were married, and by Christmas 1963, the young couple had a child, the first of six to come.

The world was, again, a different place, filled will Cold War tensions, civil unrest, and societal challenges that would test our nation. Gene and Josie didn't cower in fear of the future, but were bullish about it. When opportunities presented themselves, they took action to take advantage of them for the benefit of their family.

Eugene worked for a time with the Vicks Company, but eventually found his way with Xerox Corporation, where he would work for 33 years in a variety of capacities. Strong in his Catholic faith, Eugene also spent a lot of his free time in the service of the church, participating with parishes of Holy Spirit Church, and St. Rita's, to name a few. Civic organizations also saw his shadow, to include the Knights of Columbus and the Boy Scouts of America.

Education was his passion, and those who know him directly can vouch that he always pushed it with zeal. Not only did he talk the talk, but he walked it as well, earning a Master Degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1992, teaching middle grade children about Catholicism in church, and providing guidance to intercity youths as part of outreach programs sponsored by Xerox. Eugene's focus didn't stop at his front doorstep, but it went inside as well. His tolerance for sloppy performance was low, and he pushed his children to strive for more. At a time when dropout rates for black Americans were on the rise, none of Eugene Wicks' children would ever populate those statistics.

There are so many personal memories that can be told of Eugene as a father. I will do my best to capture as many as I can in some form in the coming days. Memories fade in time, and it would be an even greater loss to future generations yet to be born to not know the man whose bloodline they share.

In recent years, even as his health began to fail him, Eugene never failed to live like he really meant it. Family was always important to him, so he made it a point to participate at family gatherings whenever possible. Even as the people who remember him as a small boy continued to pass on to the next life, Eugene made everyone around him feel much more alive. Throat cancer survival came at the expense of a vocal chord, but he persevered. Parkinson's Disease slowed him down, but he didn't stop. And when his personal thought into physical action became further and further apart, his frustrations may have grew, but there were never any doubt of his intent and his compassion.

Eugene is loved by so many, respected by so many, and will leave a legacy that even he could not begin to imagine. To have had him be an active participant in one's life is a blessing in and of itself. But to be one of his offspring is even more so. I am an okay guy, but Eugene Martin Wicks is the true original.

When they made my father, they broke the mold.

For those of faith, they already know that a homecoming is about to take place, a reunion of the highest order. My father will rejoin the love and comfort of parents he has missed for decades, along with other siblings and dear friends long since passed. I am sure that a good time will be had by all.

But in the meantime, myself, along with my mother Josephine, and my siblings, Deborah Ann, Darryl Vernon, Anna Mae, Thomas Christopher, and Dawn Christina, we are going to miss than man dearly.

We are going to miss his smile, his laugh, his self-assurance, and his can-do attitude. We are going to miss the conversations, his physical presence, and so much more. My mother is, and will remain, a very strong and proud woman, but she is going to hurt for some time to come as she will lose her best friend of nearly 49 years of marriage.

There is a quiet place less than five miles from where I type these words which will become his earthly home. When the finally goodbyes are said, I will return to Oklahoma, heavy in heart, but high in spirit knowing that my father will have departed in peace, fully aware that he made a positive difference for the world he leaves behind.

Prayers, good thoughts, and good wishes are encouraged for my Dad and for the family. There will be some tough days ahead and I know I won't ever be quite the same again.

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itzwicks
Jan. 8th, 2012 @ 12:02 pm Happy New Year!
Taking ownership of one's own life begins with knowing (and accepting) the current landscape for what it is.

What does that REALLY mean, anyway?

It means, for starts, that YOU are literally not the center of the universe. Unless you are a minor child living with legally responsible adults, NOBODY owes you anything. If you sit in a classroom and elect not to apply yourself to the material at hand, that's on you. If you don't respect yourself, don't expect others to respect you. If you don't take chances, don't listen with the intent of understanding what others are trying to convey, take inappropriate shortcuts, and behave as if the world owes you, I assure you, you are going to be disappointed. On a regular basis.

It also means a general acceptance of the things you can not change, versus the things that you can. If you are 34, 4' 11" and 200 lbs, don't expect the NBA to ring your phone off of the hook to secure you a place on the starting roster. If you live in a town in which there is 20%+ unemployment, and you happen to be a part of that statistic, there is a strong probability that gaining decent work may need to begin with a change of location.

Didn't go to college? Well, Michael Dell, Rush Limbaugh, and so many others didn't walk across a stage, but life still managed to turn out well for them. And, check it out: none of them necessarily won the sperm lottery of being born into wealth.

Here's a novel idea: Utilize the resources at hand to build up and shape the future of YOUR desire, rather than the circumstances of today shape that future for you. It starts with a personal inventory of your assets and strengths, and putting them to work for you. Surround yourself with people who are either actively (that's the key part) going in the same direction, or who have already made the journey and are waiting for you at the finish line.

If you find something that gives you passion, pursue it. If you find yourself lacking in imagination, find someone who has it in mass quantities, with plenty to spare. But whatever you do, don't expect your government to actively lend you a hand in a timely manner. They may be obligated to give you the equal opportunity, but that doesn't mean that they are required to give you an equality of outcome. Rinse and repeat.

The sooner you start, the sooner you will get to where you want to go, and you will be in the presence of encouragement, not envy and despair.

* * * * *

Don't have a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or partner? Last time I checked, there were over 7 billion people on the planet, with at least 310 million of them in this part of North America. There are literally plenty of folks to go around, if you are willing to do your due dilligence. But please, DON'T inflict yourself on anyone else until you like yourself enough to share your brains, your brawn, and your heart.

Having "great chemistry" is a fancy way of saying that your exterior finishes are doing the job of keeping the mutual interests of someone else. If you aren't working on building up and/or maintaining the good stuff, how the heck can you expect anyone else to do the same for you?

But it goes beyond the superficial: Your personality is unique and separates YOU from the rest of humanity. Father Time will eventually take away what Mother Nature gave you, but it is your words and actions that will attract and/or repeal people over time, and that clock began ticking downward the moment you popped out of the womb.

I recently posted about the need to keep negative people out of your life. True advice from the heart, folks. While it is okay to have a "Devil's Advocate" of sorts, the person who constantly whines about the suckage of life, while doing nothing to change the conditions to point of "WINNING," well that person needs to be given the pink slip from your presence. Seriously.

* * * * *

It is a brand new year, and so many opportunities await us all. Let us all begin by removing the baggage of years past, and prepare for a shiny future built upon the actions of today. That literally begins with attitude, and follows up with real, consistant action, built upon a foundation of a loving support from family and friends.

Live like you really mean it. Not just for today, but for always.
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itzwicks
Sep. 3rd, 2011 @ 05:22 pm Yes, I am still alive...
I am actually in the middle of a strategic move in more ways than one. The geographic one is going to take a month to complete, but the less obvious ones will take even more time to complete.

Anybody want a postcard from Lawton, Oklahoma? Send me a private email with your snail mail address and I will put one in the post after the Labor Day holiday.

In the meanwhile, be safe out there and live like you really mean it!
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itzwicks
Aug. 7th, 2011 @ 09:58 am Meanwhile back in New York...
Today finds me back in my adopted hometown of Webster, "Where life is worth living."

The place is actually sprawling with stores, businesses, homes, and churches. I am always amazed at how much changed in Monroe County. And I am also surprised as to how much has remained the same. The citizenry here is mostly polite, patient, and patriotic. You can tell that you are on the East Coast by the sound of accents, beachwear, and sensibilities on topics of interest.

And for all of that, in the back of my head, I recall the phrase "you can never go home again."

Overall, the world has changed, and for me, things from the past that I once held dear, don't have the same shine and allure that I once felt so intensely. Call it cynical aging, or something else, but I am just not feeling it like I used to. But I still try to retain the general concepts and understandings of the most basic workings of the how's and the why's, and just apply worldly experience to what I encounter in the here and now.

It isn't so much the specific examples, though I can list them, but the overall "feel" of the things that I have observed in my immediate surroundings since returning to the streets and various surroundings of the places that I had roamed in my youth. There is sometimes a sterility of sorts in the people I encounter that emanates beyond just the lack of familiarity. It could be just me, but I often think otherwise.

No matter what happens, we must all remember that our daily ripples of humanity interacts with others and goes to places far beyond the scope of our awareness. Humility and thoughtfulness still goes a long way.

Before this day ends, I will try to place myself on a Lake Ontario beach in anticipation of Sunday's sunset. There is something majesty yet calming about watching our nearest star making its final curtain call as it dips below the horizon. While some things must come to an end, there is an assurance of sorts that there is always a tomorrow, and with it, new possibilities.

We may not get all the tomorrows we want, but we can certainly make the most of the today's we have in the here and now.

Live like you really mean it, folks.
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itzwicks
Jun. 1st, 2011 @ 09:35 pm Your Weekly Wednesday WTF
Tags:
I want to work where SHE'S working... but only at break time. ;-)

What the heck am I talking about? Clickety here, and then say it with me.. WHAT THE F*CK?!



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The preceding link may make you laugh, cry, freak out, scratch you head in amazement, or yawn in boredom. Click away at your own risk. Really.
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novelling
Apr. 19th, 2011 @ 03:05 am Rules of Engagement in The Great Language War
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This brief essay pertains to the Great Language War of the 21st Century, on whose many landscapes the future existence of Western Civilization is literally taking place. This writer appreciates the value of the reader’s time and attention, so the points raised here will endeavor to be concise, candid, and relevant to the matters at hand. The immediate focus is on the rules of engagement.

Words are assigned distinct meanings, and when used in a specific arraignment can either enhance or muddle the larger case put forth by its proponent in conversation with other parties, like minded or otherwise. Indeed, a conversation can only take place when two or more parties actively engage each other; monologues, sermons, speeches, and the like are what they are, but they are not conversations.

History, as the old saw says, is inevitably written by the victors. A shared perception and acknowledgment of it is very useful when conversations turn to that of a political nature. If the intended end state of such dialogue is consensual compromise (mutual understanding thus becoming a natural by-product), the process is well served by the establishment of a foundation in which definitions are agreed upon by all parties involved.

In a similar vein, cultural literacy is also critical on the part of all participants, as so to keep any and all analogies, contrast, and comparisons to a level that truly keeps things in proportion to the matters being discussed. Hyperbole and understatement, when utilized poorly, too frequently, or dishonestly diminishes their intended impact and makes resolution that much harder to arrive in a timely manner.

Also well served is the willing desire to assign some level of respect to all participants of the conversation involved. Respect, in this case, being defined as the right for the other party or parties to participate in the first place, and to have their case articulated to a degree or level in which understanding is a certainty, and mutual agreement is always a possibility.

Finally, an acknowledgment must be made by all concerned that everyone around the table of conversation is human. That commonality of humanity must never be forgotten, along with its characteristics. The sooner the participants remember the baseline default settings, the better.

When dialogue is no longer possible, and the polar positions are so entrenched as to be immovable, this is usually the point when wars happen. Within our democratic republic, the ballot box is where things are settled. Beyond our shores, on those locations where the peaceful means of resolution do not exist, such things tend to be resolved through brute force in sufficient numbers.

In an effort to retain a tone of civility and consistency, this writer offer these words in the hopes of giving visitors a clear background from which all discussion past, present, and future that originate from this corner sprang from. 

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itzwicks
Apr. 10th, 2011 @ 07:39 pm Some words about language, liberty, and tyranny...
Words mean things, so let's get some definitions on the table right now.

Language - the words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a community.

Liberty - the quality or state of being free; freedom from arbitrary or despotic control; the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges

Tyranny - oppressive power {every form of tyranny over the mind of man — Thomas Jefferson}; especially : oppressive power exerted by government {the tyranny of a police state}


If we can all mutually agree on the above terminology, then we are cleared for continuation of this dialogue.

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We value many things to varying degrees. We love our friends, cherish our families, and take positive stock of the things that routinely make our lives better and worthwhile. If we are gainfully employed, earning a living wage and accumulating enough wealth that may one day sustain us during the years when we are no longer able to actively add to our own retirements, we consider ourselves blessed and among the fortunate. Ditto those of us who were lucky enough to have been born in a family or entered into a relationship in which wealth had already been acquired.

Wealth is just another way to say private property, or assets that are not owned by anyone else other than the individual or individuals. If we value liberty, we value the rights of others, to include ourselves, to pursue as much private property as an individual needs or desires.

Private property isn't accumulated in a vacuum, but in an environment that requires infrastructure and maintenance. The finances required to defend the country, build the roads, staff the emergency services, etc. come directly from the people who actively produce wealth, or from people who are stewards of of wealth previously produced.

Lather, rinse, and repeat.

If we, as a society, wish to have a plethora of extras (libraries, museums, parks, etc.), in addition to the necessities as required by contract, charter, or constitution, it is in our collective best interests to ensure that the conditions exist to facilitate all citizens to actively contribute within their own ambitions and abilities. That requires minimal interference by government, and a demand of accountability and morality by and of the citizenry.

What am I really saying here?

1 - Unless mental illness, physical limitation, or outright laziness is involved, everyone capable of working for their own self interests (to include basic survival) should be able and strongly encouraged to do so.

2 - Those souls incapable of independently providing for themselves should be afforded a "minimal safety net" in order to have their needs attended to. Human morality demands no less than this. Enhancements and upgrades to their quality of living should be dealt with by willing individuals geographically closest to the affected.

3 - The needs of a community are taken care of ahead of the wants. If more is desired, the governing authority should ensure that the output of citizenry contribution exists to support the item in question long after its creation.

4 - A moral people takes care of their own, period. A moral government takes just enough to ensure its basic needs are met, and facilitates the conditions to allow its governed to act morally.

-----

When we interact among ourselves, the resulting conversations are ultimately determined upon shared understanding of language and self interests. If we happen to have to same interests and share a similar world view, the tenor of the discussion is likely to be positive. If, on the other hand, we share neither the same interests nor the same world view, the semantics utilized are going to be considerably different and perhaps a bit more contentious.

If we are to continue to exist as a democratic republic, we all need to first and foremost acknowledge the right for people to believe whatever they wish. Furthermore, if we are to come to a consensus, or at least better understand the other party's argument prior to presenting what we conceive to be the superior conceit, we have to consider both the end state we wish to accomplish and the conditions in which future dialogue is to take place.

Calling the opposition "Nazis," if in fact they are not Nazis, does not advance your cause. Distorting the actions of your political foes only enhances your own intellectual dishonesty. Telling falsehoods and encouraging others to repeat the same (knowing that such statements are lies) makes the originating proponents into immoral beings.

This needs to stop, and stop immediately.

There are very serious problems in our world today that require the attention of competent adults; children need not be involved in the resolution process.Time is not on our side, and the stakes could not be higher. There are certain "truths" that can not be taught quickly, necessitating the need of the smart, not necessarily of the intellectuals:

* The very nature of man can never be totally regulated by law, and we must all accept that.
* People will tend to do things to circumvent the rules when they are complex and over-burdensome to their own self interests.
* The inclusion of middle men inevitably raises the price and extends the time pipeline of all goods and services involved.
* Generosity is a luxury that is more easily and willingly demonstrated after one's own self interests are met.

There are more items than can be listed, but I hope the tenor of my point is made. I can only hope that the sincere lawmakers who understand this outnumber the ones that don't and never will.

-----

There is a fiscal crisis upon us here in the United States that truly threats every American citizen here and abroad, and indirectly impacts the rest of Western Civilization. Solutions are needed and needed quickly, and that includes holding conversations such as the one we are having now.
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itzwicks
Mar. 6th, 2011 @ 02:47 pm Of Rebecca and Of Friendship...
Personal free time - the one resource that we can never have enough of, and is more valuable than any monetary unit could measure.

If I were to use my grandparents (both maternal and paternal) as a potential metric to determine how much time I have left on this mortal coil, I would not be blamed if I were to use A.D. 2043 as my likely expiration date. As this passage is being written on a late winter Sunday in 2011, that leaves me about 32 years of existence remaining between now and the end of my personal history.

The vast majority of my life to date has been encompassed with far more good than bad, and far more happy than sad. I've been responsible for bring in life to the world (directly and indirectly), participated in historic events of a global nature, and made the acquaintance of hundreds of people who have influenced my life as much as I have influenced theirs.

It has been a good run to date, and should that journey of mine be cut abruptly, I would still celebrate the time I had versus expressing emotions of rage and sadness for not being permitted more time on life's path.

One such adventure that I had along the way involved the meeting of a very remarkable couple who spent much of their time in Oklahoma City. While I could flippantly referred to the pair as "Beauty and the Beast," it would be more accurate to describe them as "Queen and her loving consort/King." They were happy, sappy, and very much in love with each other and with life itself. As I told the husband on more than one occasion, "You have truly won life's lottery with her willing love." He'd smile, and of course concur with those sentiments.

It has been more than a day now since my friend Rebecca Brown Ebey has been laid to rest. In the company of her loving spouse Travis, and a plethora of family and friends, she was given a final send off worthy of a cherished loved one. For all that were there, there were far many more who could not attend, myself being in the latter category. But while I was there in spirit, I'll bet anything that there are still people in Rebecca's extended circle of friends who have yet to know of her passing.

How could it be, one might ask?

Over the course of time, the lines of communication can be eroded, not always out of malice, but often by neglect. Daily matters of importance and urgency often drown out the quiet alerts to maintain those bonds forged over the course of days, weeks, months, and years. A childhood friend, a high school classmate, a college sweetheart, a co-worker past or present, and so on and so on, all contributed to the rich tapestry that is one's life. Experiences good and bad make up the summation of that dash between the day we are born and the day that we die.

Life happens, and it happens faster than we realize. A blink passes and we transition from diapers to Depends. Even for the well-meaning, time gets past us and overwhelms us before we can comprehend the full scale and measure of events as they unfold.

One of the biggest personal frustrations I face on a daily basis is effectively communicating to my friends and family past and present as to how much they meant and mean to me. Because of the time I have been on the planet, the amount of people to whom I would willingly acknowledge is far greater than the amount of free time that I have. Add to that the number of souls who would question my intent, misunderstand my motivations, or have otherwise closed the door to future communications (intentional and otherwise), and one can understand if I am a bit on wit's end on the matter.

While not the sole proprietor of all wisdom and knowledge (shocking as that might sound, HA!) , I do know the following:

* The lifelong friendships that I have forged are irreplaceable, period.
* I am thankful each and every day for the blessings that come from fatherhood. And I am proud to be my father's son (and my mother's).
* As the number of people who retain memories of my person as a small child continue to fall, I do my best to keep them at the front of the line of loved ones worthy of priority communication.
* I gain no satisfaction in maintaining grudges, bitter feelings, or frustration in incomplete "closures" from those intimately close to me in my past. Their participation in my life retains the same value regardless of history.
* My sense of priority is sharpened with the passage of time, and I do my best to act accordingly.

Rebecca's life was far too short, but she still managed to cram a whole lot of love and life into the time she had. But imagine how much more richer her life would have been if everyone for whom she touched in a positive way were to interact with her in an orderly basis? Life happens, of course, but for every person who couldn't literally be around her when less than pleasant things happen, there would be others eager and willing to stand in place. It doesn't have to be a physical visit; a telephone call, an email exchange, or a series of IMs or text messages could have also made a difference.

Travis' soul mate may be no longer physically here, but she will always be with us. As long as we remember her, speak her name, and otherwise recall and celebrate the times shared, Rebecca will never be forgotten nor fade into obscurity. She mattered. She matters. She always will matter. And for Travis, you too, will always matter.

In the days to come, there will be moments in which Rebecca's absence will be more overwhelming than the heart can bare. But in her circle of friends and family, a network exists that eagerly awaits the opportunity to share a laugh and comfort a soul. For those who need it, use it when it avails itself, or seek it out proactively. And yes, consider myself to be an extension of that special network.

Our humanity comes at the price of mortality. While our time here is fleeting, our ability to make a difference is not. If one can take the gifts availed to them and positively affect the existence of those who personally matter, it will not only be a very good thing, but also a wondrous way to pay tribute to those whom we love and cherish the most.

For absent friends, we can do no less. Godspeed, Rebecca.

Live like you really mean it, folks.
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itzwicks
Mar. 5th, 2011 @ 12:46 am Nope, neither dead nor dying nor dormant...
For those of you tracking these kind of things, I *have* been doing a LOT of Facebook, but at the expense of the Live Journal. That is actually kind of sad, because I know so many of my pals reside exclusively HERE in this community.

Now that more and more of my younger relatives and co-workers hang out on said Facebook page, it is now time again to return to the place where it all started and regroup. Being the TOTAL me is a bit harder out in the Facebook spotlight, and I loath self censorship of myself. But it doesn't stop there... Making entries and updates to various blogs, communities, and other social networking sites is getting waaaaay too time consuming for moi. So now it is high time for me to crop the excess and stick to the main stuff.

In other news, story telling WILL resume. Apologies for the disruption as I got caught up in some technology issues offline.

Lots to update on, and plenty of stuff to share, so I suppose I should rest up and prepare. In the meanwhile, live like you really mean it folks.
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itzwicks
Jan. 16th, 2011 @ 07:18 pm Whoops..
Story time resumes tomorrow. Meanwhile, I am still processing the events of the past week. The political climate is still a bit toxic and polarizing, but things are not all that different from centuries gone by. At least things aren't outhouse rat insane. Yet.
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itzwicks
Jan. 6th, 2011 @ 08:27 pm Page of Infinity: Chapter 1
Tags:
Happy Thursday, Campers! Time to unleash the first chapter of the book. Questions and comments are always welcome... ;-)

Chapter 1: Eyes Without a FaceCollapse )
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Earth
Jan. 2nd, 2011 @ 11:05 am Page of Infinity: PROLOGUE
Gather up to the hearth, folks. It's serial story tellin' time.

Over the next few months, I will introduce you to you some new characters in a familiar setting, all with the hopes of providing you with some decent entertainment, while getting you all comfortable with my writer's voice.

I will cross post this story over at the Beyond Elsewhere Live Journal community, where I will also offer up some writer's commentary in between segments. The intent is to give readers some behind the scenes views of the writing process, as well as answer questions that might logically come up in the course of putting forth this effort.

If all goes well, this will be a twice weekly roll out. Comments are welcome.

And so, without any further yapping, let's get this thing going...

Page of Infinity - Prologue: At Page's EndCollapse )
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Earth
Jan. 1st, 2011 @ 06:23 pm Happy New Year!
Howdy, and welcome to 2011 (or 1-1-11, as the cool numeric geeksters would say)!

I know, I know, I've spent far too much time away from this community. Time to get back into the swing of things. Let's start with the basics...

My name is Bryan Wicks, and I am the proprietor and sole blogger of this here Live Journal.

For those of you who want to learn a bit more about me, feel free to check out my user profile page, though it might be a bit dated. I'll get around to updating it in the next few weeks. In the meanwhile, I intend to be around for a bit, so be forewarned. ;-)

***

My overall take of 2010? It was progress in the making, certainly a step forward on my personal lifelong journey. More good than bad, more happy than sad, and I am still above ground and breathing, so still counts as a WIN in my book.

Things happen for a reason, as far as I am concerned, and 2011 has too much promise and excitement ahead to dwell on the past. And as an aside, yours truly is looking forward to comparing the overall snapshot of today with that of December 31, 2011.

***

Waaaay back in November, I had posted that I was going to put forth my own take of time travel, featuring a girl and an improbable piece of technology.

Story time (in chapter/serial form) begins tomorrow.
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novelling
Nov. 20th, 2010 @ 11:06 pm Coming Soon..
Tags:
*My* take on time travel, featuring a girl and an improbable piece of technology.
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novelling
Oct. 31st, 2010 @ 03:03 pm itz Halloween.. now what?
Things are getting outright SPOOKY out there.

Lots of drama going on out there in Live Journal land. Good thing we have the various blogs to cover it all. I'll do my best to keep up, but it hasn't been easy to date.

I am sitting here, bifocal glasses within arm's reach, typing these words on a 26" monitor (the better to see with, my dear!), thinking about how to utilize my free time from now to the end of the year.

Can I use some more coin in my bank account? No doubt, but that means taking a second job sooner rather than later so that I can get ahead of the curb on my financial obligations and wishes. Then there is that matter of visiting specific parts of the country before the calendar turns a digit to the year 2011.

2011?! Are we already approaching the new decade so soon? Talk about the quickening occurring before our own eyes!

Okay, enough of the jibber-jabber. I am off to tackle the NaNoWriMo project known as Infinity. Feel free to keep up with it over at the Beyond Elsewhere LJ Community.

Live like you mean it, folks! ;-)
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Moon
Oct. 30th, 2010 @ 12:38 am Nocturnal Musing..
If given a chance to relive a year without any changes or modifications, I would choose 1981 as the year of choice. A lot of interesting things happened to me that year, culminating to that one day in late October when I raised my hand, said an oath, and joined the US Army Reserve at the age of 17.

We live in amazing times now, but that year was pretty special to me. Seeing photos from that period fill me with nostalgia and sadness, but I do cherish those memories so.
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Moon
Oct. 26th, 2010 @ 01:22 am Sleepless in Lawton...
Sitting here in front of my computer when I should be sleeping. I have a three mile run with a co-worker at 0500, and a plethora of minor tasks to accomplish at the office later this morning.

A winning lottery ticket of some substantial size would be nice right about now. ;-)
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Moon
Oct. 24th, 2010 @ 12:17 pm Sail away, away...
Alex Alexander died Friday, and I didn't even know he existed until I read this Time article online.

Moose and squirrel are probably in mourning as we speak. Ditto Boris and Natasha.
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moon rain
Oct. 24th, 2010 @ 09:58 am itz Sunday... now what?
Yup, still alive. ;-)

As we all move through the speed of life, I have found that my online activities have been evolving more subtly than I imagined. I visit a small plethora of sites for hard news and information, another set of URLs for opinion across the blogosphere, and a couple of select locales for music and general entertainment.

I simply have to get on the stick and blog over here a bit more often. Too many pals over here to not keep up with and all.

***

October Surprise Time: So the 2010 World Series will consist of the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants. Interesting. For my money, I hope that the guys from the Lone Star State take it all the way to the end and bring home the top prize. If I had the cash and time, I'd actually go down to Arlington to watch it personally. In the meantime, one would think that the local citizenry is probably going crazy in baseball fever, especially in light of the Dallas Cowboy's current standings in the NFL.

***

ONCE MORE INTO THE BREECH: NaNoWriMo is coming at us fast, and I will once again make a good faith effort to get the job done. The project I am going to be working on this year will be that of a story of girl and her timeship. The intent is to release the whole thing in its entirety on the web as I do it, and then bundle it all up in book form before year's end for those who still like to read material out of paper and such. The secondary purpose is just to get my name out there so that more people become more familiar with my name. A bit of marketing for the bigger literary work ahead. Stay tuned...

***

The BIG Question: While I told myself there was no longer to be any political discussions to be held on this Live Journal, I was still kind of curious to find out about the overall philosophy of my online friends about the rate of taxation.

Surely THAT can't be a topic that is too hot to handle?

Okay, let's wade into those waters for a moment. What statement seems more "fair" to YOU?

a) Everyone should pay taxes to support the baseline level of services we all use on a regular, irregular, or emergency basis. A flat tax rate (everyone pays the same percentage, regardless of income) that ensures all citizens have "skin in the game," and that they will likely be more engaged in the spending habits of their government.

b) Not everyone can directly afford to pay taxes to support the baseline level of services we all use on a regular, irregular, or emergency basis. A progressive tax rate (the more you make, the more you pay) ensures that those of means helps those who can't readily contribute due to economic hardship.

I am sure that there are a multitude of variations to those choices, so feel free to articulate them in the comments section. As you can probably guess, I am a supporter of position "a" if for nothing else that I believe that the more you tax an activity, the more you discourage it.

Of course, your mileage may vary.

***

STAYIN' ALIVE: I survived a spin out on I-44 one mile south of the Elgin exit earlier this month (10-10-10). Thanks to a bit of late night hydro-planing, the rear passenger tire rose up just enough to start a scary spin that made the mini-van an out-of-control billiard ball in search of a wall to bump against. The concrete divide segregating east and westbound traffic served nicely. The vehicle was totaled out, but everyone walked away without injury.

***

Taint H3 News: Speaking of 10-10-10, the Taint Trailin' on the Tens Hash worked out GREAT. We had an awesome attendance, with hashers showing up from as far away as Tulsa, Dallas, and points in between. When the clock struck 10:10, we all drank mimosas en mass to celebrate the once in a lifetime moment. We had a pair of great hash virgins who truly enjoyed themselves. The local hashers were very valuable in helping run the whole shebang, and the gimme bags were to die for. Not surprisingly, ALL of the beer was consumed before the end of the event. I could not have asked for a better outcome. Good times indeed.

***

SAVING TREES: I *know* I would happily use a Kindle if given or purchased. I am just wondering about the wisdom of buying e-books over getting the real thing. Sure, it is easier to carry one's library around, and it takes up far less real estate at home, but I am curious about the digital rights component. Can I port the data to other devices at will (laptop, smart phone, iPad, etc.) or am I stuck with just the device that I happen to download the material to? Furthermore, is there an expiration period when the purchased e-book is rendered unreadable?

The price of a Kindle edition for most books are uniformly about the same, so I don't mind the standard rate fee predictability as it is often less expensive than the paper version. However, not all titles are available for Kindle.

Lastly, I have to ask if it is smarter to just buy an iPad, Android-based tablet, or other type of hardware that does a bit more than just read e-books and magazines. If anyone wants to weigh in on this, I welcome the feedback.

***

If you're on Facebook, and you want to add me for the ride, I am easily found as Bryan Wicks. When I do the Twitter thing, itzWicks works there as well.

***

YouTubery Video Highlights: Playground Love - Air | 1000 Cigarettes - MSTRKRFT | Duke's Travels - Genesis

***

The itzWicks WayBack Machine: February 17, 2008

"Perhaps it is because Danielle Heaney and Nick Cameron don't look in the least alike that they pass so easily for a pair of young lovers no different from any other.

She is a petite, delicate, blue-eyed blonde, while he is a strapping young man with auburn hair and soft brown eyes which never stray for long from her face. They hold hands, they kiss, they stroke each other's arms, they listen attentively to each other. They are totally besotted.

What makes this scene so disturbing, however, is the fact that Danielle and Nick are half brother and sister."


YIKES! So much to process here. The libertarian in me says that the government needs to BUTT OUT and STAY OUT. The latent social conservative in me however says that some limits have to be set, no matter how painful and emotional they may be. Well, at least Mother's Day will be simplified.

Your mileage may vary.

Feel free to read more here.

***

Coffee and oatmeal for breakfast. Some running/jogging later in the morning. A visit to my girls late this afternoon, and perhaps a whole lot of writing and reading until bedtime. That is my day as I envision it, subject to change. Here's hoping that the rest of your weekend is drama free and pleasurable. Never forget to live like you mean it! ;-)
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novelling
Sep. 8th, 2010 @ 11:55 pm Your Weekly Wednesday WTF
Tags: ,
151 MILLION PLUS HITS on YouTube??? Er,huh?

Clickety here and decide for yourself... I'm saying it: What the F*CK?!

-----
The preceding link may make you laugh, cry, freak out, scratch you head in amazement, or yawn in boredom. Click away at your own risk. Really.
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wait a minute
Sep. 6th, 2010 @ 03:14 pm Dreamwidth Account Invite Request
Tags:
Anybody have one to spare?
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itzwicks
Aug. 25th, 2010 @ 11:55 pm Your Weekly Wednesday WTF
C'mon! I thought that we all got over this!! It's been freakin' over 40 years since these guys were on television, and yet certain individuals still can't stop speculating.

*heavy sigh*

Go ahead... clickety here if you must, and then say it with me: WHAT THE F*CK?!

-----
The preceding link may make you laugh, cry, freak out, scratch you head in amazement, or yawn in boredom. Click away at your own risk. Really.
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wait a minute
Aug. 20th, 2010 @ 11:45 pm To The Point...
Tags:
“We need a national conversation about race.”

Um, NO WE DON’T, especially when such talk is only used as a means to beat up on a group of people for whom the only retribution demanded is eventually MORE racism, but in the other direction. This becomes an even louder HELL NO when the referees in such dialogue include Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Enough already!!

Just live your lives in the way that Dr. King described in his 1963 Dream speech. Or not. Your life, your choice, and everything else will come out in the wash. The only caveat is that you are only guaranteed equal opportunities, not equal outcomes.
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itzwicks
Aug. 1st, 2010 @ 08:21 am itz Sunday... now what?
Tags:
New month, new thoughts. By the numbers:

1 - Life has not ceased from a lack of cable/satellite programming. After over two years of not having it, I've managed to survive without incident, though I do miss HGTV, FNC, and a few other select channels.

2 - My MySpace account has been blown out, but I am going to stick with Facebook, Twitter, and Live Journal for the time being as they all serve distinct purposes in my blogging habits.

3 - The debate goes on in my head between getting an Android-based phone (hello mobile hot spots without jail breaking thanks to OS version 2.2) and an Apple iPhone (awesome accessories, multiple apps). AT&T is my current cell provider, so I suppose that makes my choice a bit easier, though I am still lusting over the Motorola Droid X over at Verizon. Thoughts, anyone?

4 - No more politic chatter on this Live Journal. I have moved the discussions elsewhere. Email me (for those who are still interested in such things) and I will tell you specifically where. ;-)

5 - The recently completed Doctor Who season was, IMHO, GREAT! Can't wait for the DVD box set to be released later in the year so that I can enjoy the various episodes at my leisure on the HDTV. In the meanwhile, the newly minted BBC series Sherlock has captured my fancy and I look forward to seeing more of it when I can. Big time thanks to my newest pal Sandy for helping me get some decent entertainment going while I impatiently wait for the Doctor Who Christmas Special.

There is no Number Six (obscure geek reference).

7 - My travels will take me to the east coast at some point this month, namely Virginia, Maryland, New York, and possibly North Carolina. So, if you happen to live in that general region and you fancy a meet up, by all means let me know.

8 - Weight loss is a bit easier when one reduces caloric intake, works differing parts of the body without pattern, monitors quality of food consumed, and maintains a positive attitude. And yes, having a partner or two to help steer one right absolutely contributes to better results.

9 - From the gang that gave the world the Double Rainbow song, here comes the Bed Intruder song! Fear for the republic..

10 - D.I.Y. Meme: What part(s) of your body have yet to be seen by your own naked eyes without aid of a mirror, photograph, etc.?

11 - Fajitas. Best Mexican dinner entree, ever.

12 - I'm no carpenter, and it has been years since I've done any serious landscaping, but I am going to try both again in the next few months as I upgrade my outdoor living space. When I make tangible progress, expect photos of my efforts.

Okay, time for me to get ready to put the local hash trail together for this afternoon. If you happen to be in the Lawton, Oklahoma vicinity, and you want IN, just check out the details here.

Live like you mean it, folks!
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itzwicks
Jul. 4th, 2010 @ 09:49 pm Precious Time
When we wake up each morning, our thoughts sometimes race to what we hope to accomplish during our waking hours, that is, when we are not occupied by such things as employment, school, duties of a mandatory nature, etc.

How often do we actually take a moment and simply be thankful that we got up at all? For that matter, when do we take the time to appreciate the freedoms, the good health, and the gifts that are bestowed to us at any given time?

To be sure, some of what we have is earned the old fashioned way, while other things are a result of biology, charity, and good fortune. Whenever possible, if I think about it, I express gratitude as often as circumstances dictate.

Going back to those waking hours (the older we get, the faster they seem to go), we have finite options and limited time in which to exercise them. Sometimes our priorities are not those of our friends and family, but then again, sometimes some of their choices would not be necessarily our own. But that is just another wrinkle in the power of free will and personal choice.

What YOU do with your spare time is often up to you, and only restricted by will and resources.

If you want to read a book, check out a blog, catch a television show, or otherwise partake in some activity that interests you, assuming that you have the time and capability in which to do so, there is no one or nothing stopping you from doing so. Really.

Realize, however, that your priorities can advertise to the world as to the type of person you are. If that matters to you enough, your actions will reflect your intent accordingly. This goes double to the people you choose to associate with, along with the things you elect NOT to do.

I've made decisions, good and bad, over the course of my 46-plus years on the planet that have come to bite me in the behind, as well as saved it on numerous occasions. I can't undo my past, but my past can influence my future choices.

If you are someone in my real life away from the computer that I designate a "dear friend," you can bet that I will make great efforts to visit when possible (via voice, email, in person, etc.). Should I have a desire that I wish to see fulfilled, I will make choices that will facilitate the completion of said desire, likely at the expense of lesser priorities.

And you can bet that I will always respect the decisions of others who actively elect to do the same.

****

So where am I going with all of this? Simply put, I hold no ill will against anyone who appreciates the brevity of life, and makes choices that will hopefully enhance what remaining time that is left, whether it be 2 minutes or 50 years down the road. You can bet that I always try to do the same.

There is no point is whining over things that one can't change, but there is something to be said for taking action on things one CAN affect directly.

To quote Pat Benatar: "Life is too short, so why waste precious time?"
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Moon
Jul. 4th, 2010 @ 12:13 pm It's Raining Again...
Wow, talk about a wet extended weekend. With no new Doctor Who until Christmas, no epic sci-fi space adventures to follow on television, and no fresh talk radio to get excited about, I suppose I'll stick my nose back into my professional development studies, after my weekly Sunday visit with the girls.

Meanwhile, here is an interesting essay on The American Faith by Doctor Zero.
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moon rain
Jul. 3rd, 2010 @ 11:55 pm Showing one's independence..
Tags:
Liberty: the quality or state of being free.

Tyranny: oppressive power, typically exerted by government.

I'll have more of the former, and far less of the latter, if you don't mind.

****

When I think of Independence Day, I don't just think about the birth of the United States (important, to be sure), but I also think about how blessed I am to have been born on what I truly believe is the greatest country on the planet.

In our short history (234!) the United States has done so much in such a small period of time. Our armed forces have helped liberated millions, our willing generosity has enhanced the lives of millions more. Ours is still the only nation to have put footprints on the moon, brought technology down to the masses, and saved so many lives through life extending medicines and treatments.

To be sure, there are lots of haters out there who are a) jealous of our successes; b) upset by our occasional meddling on their efforts to expand their ideological empires on the unwilling; c) resentful that history unfolded the way that it did.

To such critics, I say "How sad, too bad, now how about a nice steaming cup of STFU?"

Forgive my crudeness, but I am tired of people feeling guilt for things that are beyond their control. Stop it already, and stop it right now. Sure, we're not perfect, but show me a country out there that has it better, done it better, and is, in fact far better than anything we hope to do in our life times. Do that, and I will help pack your bags so that you can catch the next flight out.

Warts and all, America is an awesome country. We're not just an experiment in mob rule with cookies. When it really, really matters, our citizenry comes together, gets it right, and puts the other countries to shame. While there is always room for improvement, at least the USA has mechanisms in place which allows for such.

The document which makes it all possible, the Constitution of the United States, should be heralded as one of the greatest writings of humanity. If we bothered to read it, understand it, and apply it on a regular basis, I suspect that we'd all be a lot better off for it.

God bless the French for backing our play all those centuries ago when it really mattered. I am sure that their ROI has been pretty good since then. And God bless mother England for getting over their mad on and becoming the closest of allies. Along with the rest of the English speaking nations, I'd say we've accomplished quite a lot together.

No apologizing for the blatant swagger in this post, especially on THIS weekend. I love my country, and I proudly wore her uniform for over 20 years of my life. This land I *will* defend, and for those forces (internal and external) that try to wrestle it away from us will find quite the spirited fight on their hands.

Feel free to enjoy the time off with family and friends, get that BBQ grill going, watch the fireworks, and salute the flag when you see the Honor Guards parade throughout the country. Just remember that over two centuries ago, 56 guys signed a piece of paper one hot muggy day that changed the world forever.

It would be nice if we remembered, if only for a moment, what the fuss was all about.
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Bring It ON!
Jul. 2nd, 2010 @ 06:46 pm Personal Updates...
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Nope, still haven't seen Iron Man II, Kick Ass, or any other blockbuster at the theater this year. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed this season's run of Doctor Who, and am looking forward to *finally* catching up on my summer reading.

That is, I look forward to it once I get some mandatory work-related studying done.

***

Facebook. Still on the fence as to what to do with it. I will likely see what kind of tweaks I can make with it that will lend itself to more enthusiastic participation. Time will tell.

***

For those of you who are not aware, I am an Army civilian in the IT field here in Oklahoma. Recently, I received a promotion and further job security that should keep me on track for a second career through 2023 if I elect to do so. Nice to have that option, but as a taxpayer, I pray that our federal government get its financial house in order so that my twilight years won't consist of worrying if the American dollar is worth more as toilet paper versus hard currency of value.

***

Bowling. Camping. Exercising. Hashing. Reading. Sleeping. Visiting. Writing.

I intend to do more of all of the above (as time permits), and less time wasting on things that don't accomplish much or honor my valuable time. Rinsing and repeating.

***

As much as I love my Nissan Frontier truck (my goodness, the adventures we have had these past five years), I suspect that by year's end, I will be trading it in for an SUV or crossover vehicle that gets better fuel mileage (along with being travel friendly) for those cross-country jaunts. At 145,000 on the odometer, and a flurry of mechanical concerns facing me in the not so distant future, I think that the time has come to start looking past my storm gray ride, and grab something else.

My impulse is to either get the Hyundai Santa Fe, a Honda CR-V, or a Ford Escape. I'll likely buy a certified used or program vehicle, unless the rebates are ridiculously irresistible to dismiss. Anyone with better suggestions or comments, feel free to weigh in.

***

No politics tonight. I'll toss some thoughts in a separate post before weekend's end.

Live like you mean it folks, and enjoy your Friday night! ;-)
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itzwicks
Jul. 1st, 2010 @ 11:55 pm Oy...
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Never has a payday come and gone with so much flash and fury in the wallet. Pay this, pay that. Maybe one day, when I have my master financial plans in operation, I will look at the first of the month as just another day of no-stress.

A second job to get ahead (and buy the toys that I want, but can't responsibly purchase) is definitely on the table. I think the Lawton Sam's Club might be hiring locally. Ditto with the local Office Depot. Don't know if I could be a pizza delivery guy without worrying about being robbed or worse.

The sooner I become a published and successful author, the better off I believe I will be. ;-)

***

In the meanwhile, time for a virtual garage sale? For that matter, would anyone want to check out the odds and ends better occupying your side of the modem/Ethernet than mine?
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Moon
Jun. 29th, 2010 @ 12:45 pm Elections have consequences...
When US Supreme Court decisions come down to numbers like 5-4, the next Presidential election cycle is going to become even more critical. Stay informed, and then vote accordingly.
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Bring It ON!
Jun. 27th, 2010 @ 12:13 am For those fortunate souls within driving distance of Lawton on Sunday...
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The Southwest Oklahoma Taint Hash House Harriers will be having a trail run (non-competitive, of course) at 2 p.m. at Elmer Thomas Park. If you've never participated in a hash before, the cost of admission is FREE, with cold beverages and snacks to be provided.

Contact me for directions and more specifics if you want to come out and hang out with half-minds. Just remember NOT to wear new shoes. Just saying. ;-)

On-On!
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itzwicks
Jun. 14th, 2010 @ 06:45 pm Because SOMETIMES, Wednesdays can't wait..
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Yes, there are times when we all have to be team players when it comes to that part of our lives when we are asked to participate in the traditional family group photo.

That's understandable. We all get it.

But beware of the "creative parents" who wish to make the ordinary, a little sumthin' sumthin' special instead. How bad can bad possibly be?

In the words of Warrant Officer Ripley from the Alien movie series: "Let's just go into orbit and nuke the site from space. It's the only way to be sure!"

---
The preceding link may make you laugh, cry, freak out, scratch you head in amazement, or yawn in boredom. Click away at your own risk. Really.
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wait a minute
Jun. 12th, 2010 @ 11:14 am Seen everywhere else, so why not here as well?
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BP Spills Coffee...Collapse )
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sheep!
Jun. 11th, 2010 @ 07:31 pm itz Friday..
What else is there to say, except WOOT, THE WEEKEND IS FINALLY HERE!!!
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animated TARDIS
Jun. 10th, 2010 @ 07:58 am To The Point...
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Before commenting about ANYTHING (issues big and small), remember to *first* consider the default settings of the nature of humanity.
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Earth
Jun. 9th, 2010 @ 07:26 pm Tell me your dreams...
I want, in no small order:

* True wisdom to know when I am making a difference vs spinning my wheels, and when to bug out when the latter is the case.

* Acreage and a pond, preferably with well water, fruit-bearing trees, decent soil, within a twenty minute commute of something resembling civilization, all with my name on it before age 60.

* To be a published novelist, to have a completed a CD of originally produced music, and to have no less than two hours of commercially produced sci-fi video of my own creation available to the masses long before I take that long and final dirt nap.

* To have Aussie sand between my toes on my 50th birthday, and a warm Philly cheese steak in my mouth on my 75th.

* Financial independence for myself, my friends and loved ones, and anyone else whose shadow I will cross in my lifetime (sooner rather than later).

* Continued good health, both physically and spiritually.


*****

Is that too much to ask for? I'm working on it every day, and won't stop until I get there.

What about the rest of you? Feel free to tell me your dreams.
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Moon