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Friday, August 20, 2010

A Response to the NYC Mosque Debate.

As a people, we seem to have a problem learning from past mistakes. In a time when our natural resources are in peril, our infrastructure is crumbling, people are looking for gainful employment, the poor are looking for food, the middle class is dying and are taking the jobs normally held by teens who are entering the workforce, we have taken upon ourselves to find someone to blame.

Rather than using the energy of great thought, inventiveness and ingenuity to improve the quality of life for our citizenry and all future generations we have reverted into scared little children following the loudest parent we can find on TV, Radio and the Internet.

Yes, The Cordoba Community Center will have an independently run Mosque. It will also have a inter-faith chapel, a swimming pool, gym, basketball court, meeting rooms for organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous, a restaurant and culinary school, art studio space, a library, reading room, and child care.

The name given to the Cordoba Community Center couldn't be more appropriate. It is named after Córdoba, Spain from the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries. During this period, The Muslim City of Cordoba was a city of intercultural peace, enlightenment, scholarship and science when the Spanish city was the undisputed global center of cultural advancement. This city of 400,000 residents had remarkable achievements in mathematics, medicine, science, language, scholarship, the arts and classical studies.

It ended as politics took over, splitting the city and overrun by the forces of King Ferdinand III of Castile, during the Spanish Reconquista. What followed was the Spanish Inquisition that expelled, converted, tortured and killed both Jews and Muslims alike. Not since the Roman rule of Caligula had hate ruled supreme and human dignity been so trounced. All in the name of God.

Sadly, the United States has not learned from previous mistakes of other countries. Even as we won our independence from England, we still enslaved a people who were brought to this country against their will. We also continued to methodically remove natives by force from their ancestral land, moving them, in most cases, hundreds of miles away and placed them in Reservations, many of whom are today living in poverty. In 1942, right after Pearl Harbor, people who looked more like the enemy than "us" were removed from their homes and businesses and placed in War Relocation Camps. 62% of these people were citizens of the US.

We as a people have a great capacity to hate. We hate people because of their color, their religion, their perceived differences from our own. We take it to the extreme. We take our eye off of what we really should be looking at because it is simply easier to complain than to contemplate; easier to muddle through rather than educate, both ourselves and our children; easier to condemn rather than to absolve.

The solution to our problems can be found, but fighting among ourselves is not one of them. If a group of people of Anglo-Saxon descent, who had attended the same church as Timothy McVeigh, wanted to open a community center next to the site of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, OK and got all the government approvals to do it, do you think there would be such an upheaval as we have now in this mid-term election season?

Does such a group exist? Have they actually opened such a center? If you plan to look this up after reading this, then YOU are part of the problem. Finding this information is not finding your neighbor a job. It is not removing the oil from the gulf. It is not feeding the displaced tribes of America. It is not housing and feeding the working poor. It is not paving the roads, which some states are now 'un-paving roads' because they cannot afford the upkeep. It is not solving any problem except your need to blame someone. Yet another untapped chance to hate.

(Originally posted on my Facebook page August 18, 2010)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

FPL: The Saga Continues

Florida Light & Power (FPL) came by today to install a new meter. These new meters will allow FPL to read the meter over the City-wide Wi-Fi system that Hollywood implemented a couple of years ago. So now, our taxes are paying for a remote system for not only the city to read our water meters, but now private business to use it to read our electric meters.

You think that is saving us money? Not hardly. Electricity rates are going up. I guess it is to pay for all those new meters and to pay for the Wi-Fi systems to read it in places where there is no city-wide Wi-Fi systems. I guess now, there are also more jobs lost as meter readers lose jobs in a job market that is now topping 20%.

Isn't it rich.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Today's Person of Interest

Casimir Funk (1884–1967) was a Poland-born U.S. biochemist. He showed that a number of diseases, including scurvy, rickets, beriberi, and pellagra, were each caused by the deficiency of a particular dietary component. He coined the term vitamins for the chemicals concerned.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Forgotten Holiday

Today is Flag Day.

Flag Day is what I call the forgotten holiday. For the most part, there are no sales, school is over for the summer, so no child in the country has been looking forward to a break in classes. You can ask an average American what day is Flag Day and I would say most would just give you a blank stare. Of course, you could also ask people "What day does New Year's Day fall on?" and you would get the same 'deer caught in the headlights' look.

How sad.

I remember growing up in Fredericksburg, VA and how the streets downtown on National Holidays were lined with Old Glory to celebrate our strength and unity. These flags were not these piss-ant flags you can keep in your pocket or purse or that you see on auto antennas, but they were full-sized flags on metal poles that were place in specially concreted holes on the edge of the sidewalks. A slight breeze would whip hundreds of flags to engulf the sidewalk with Red, White & Blue that would swell the pride in even the hardest of hearts.

When the need for national pride couldn't be more important as now, what a wonderful day to display pride in our flag: A warm (if not downright hot) summer's day to celebrate the freedoms that we as US citizens enjoy. This day should also signal the time to stop and hear the battle cry for fighting in unity; to engage and solve the problems that we as a country now face.

With two wars, financial and job-front problems, the BP disaster in the gulf, the oil spill in Utah, the storms and flash floods that have killed so many this past weekend, the desperate need for national pride has never been so essential to get these and other emergencies taken care of.

We can do it. We've done it before. Through meticulous preparation and using American ingenuity and perseverance, Old Glory will lead the way as we will continue our legacy of problem solving, innovation, prosperity and good will.

Fighting the fb habit

I didn't realize it had been so long since I've blogged. Why?

Well ....

I have found that Facebook (fb) is very addicting ... to the point where too much time on fb is causing much distraction when trying to get important things done around the house and other important goals that I'm trying to reach.

Realizing this, I've decided to take a break for a few weeks to break myself from going to fb for 2+ hours at a time for four to five times a day; And instead get other things done.

I'm calling it my "Summer Break from fb" and will only last a couple of weeks, but long enough to break that habit of reaching for the mouse and logging into fb when I really need to be doing something important.

I need to learn NOT to use fb as a procrastination tool, but as a connection to family and friends, both old and new.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Life Direction Goals

For the last 20 years, at the beginning of each decade, I have taken 2-3 weeks to get away and re-evaluate my life and set goals for the next 10 years. I'm a little late with this as I usually start the process in November of the year before the decade begins. I have been thinking about not doing it this year, since I do not have, nor can I afford professional help who has, in previous decades, guided me through the process.

I decided that this time of true reflection and deciding where to go from here is still important, as it has guided me through a lot of hard times within the last decade which was one of the hardest.

It kept me focused through three tough deaths: My Father in 2002; My Mother in 2004; and my best friend of 30+ years in 2006. During this time I also lost three friends I went to High School with, nine good friends to aids, my roommate from a Doctor's error in medication Rx, and two loving pets. I had to claim bankruptcy when my business went south in 2003.

My social life has also taken an unforeseen change. The first part of the decade was working on my High School Class' website and 30th reunion, a labor of love. At the beginning of the decade I went out... even though I had to force myself, I did go out to Bingo 2-3 times a week, partied at the bar and had friends come over for morning coffee or for evening dinners followed by cards/board games. Now, all of that has been replaced digitally: Pogo, Facebook, Twitter and Blogging.

Ten years ago, I was using my computer for email, chatting with family and friends not living in town, researching and making my living on it. Now, except for chatting with friends and researching, I do not do any of that. While these activities may be fine, I feel stagnate and useless.

So, here I am, left at my own devices at home, alone, to decide whether to curl up and die, or face the world and do something new. I've decided the latter.

The process calls for me to be frankly honest with myself and to exclude all outside distractions that may superimpose negative feelings or ideas into my evaluation and goal setting. It also calls for me to set ten(10) goals for the coming 10 years. These goals must be more than just resolutions that people set forward for themselves every New Year's Day and once broken are not visited until the following year. They must be challenging, knowledge building while reaching each goal and ultimately rewarding when completed. The best part of any goal is the learning process along the way.

Everything you do in this evaluation must be handwritten on real paper and kept until the next decade. They must be available, but put in a safe place in case you move. You cannot change them once they are set. All worksheets and lists are private and should never be shown to anyone. A goal, while private, can be shown to someone, if it helps you keep focused on the goal and assists you in reaching the goal, however, no one but you should know the entire list.

The time starts when I wake up tomorrow, January 29, 2010.

Monday, January 25, 2010

South Beach: Whopper and a beer

A new Burger King restaurant model will open in Miami Beach's South Beach in mid-February. The Whopper Bar will feature the usual BK fare plus Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors beers served in special designed aluminum bottles to keep them extra cold.

A Whopper combo with a beer will cost roughly $2 more than the same combo with a soda; Sorry, no free refills.

Don't expect a Whopper Bar to come to your neighborhood any time soon. Regular Burger Kings across the nation will not be retro-fitted with this high-end features.

If you find your self in Germany, Burger Kings have been selling beer for years; In Singapore and Venezuela, Whopper Bars have already opened.

Should the South Beach Whopper Bar become a success, could NYC be next? -- Maybe.

USA Today Story

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Simpsons turn 20

I have just watch a special on the long-time FOX show, The Simpsons. This special, while I guess was on regular TV, is presented here with just six 30-second ad spots and was very good. The 43-minute special celebrates the lives of people all over the world who have enjoyed this show through the years.

Happy Aniversary, The Simpson's!

The Simpsons Anniversary Special: In 3-D! On Ice!

Blooms of Plunkett

Blooms of Plunkett
A Banana tree in the backyard in full bloom