Thursday, December 29, 2011

By the content of their character

When Martin Luther King Jr. said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character," it was a pivotal moment in history--or should've been. The greatness of that one line transcends time, and yet millions of Americans cannot discard the racial divide that has plagued us for so long.

There are groups such as the Black Caucus, and other groups associated with Black Americans. There are Latino groups, such as La Raza. There are many, many different groups all aligned with one race or another. Why? Why do we have to keep dividing each other by the color of our skin instead of only judging each other by the way we act and the things we say?

This isn't a game. This isn't like elementary school when the teacher asked the girls to line up along one wall, and the boys to line up against the other, opposite wall. Why do we have to keep acting the child, instead of the grownup? 

Those searching for would-be terrorists are asked not to profile, because profiling sometimes puts more emphasis on one set of physical characteristics (skin color) than another.  Yet many of those same people who ask for profiling to be abandoned as a tactic for discovering terrorists, huddle in groups of their own racial type, and fail to meld into society, not as a latino, arab, asian, or black, but as an American. E pluribus unum--from one many. Skin color should only be used as a description of what a person looks like for either solving crimes, or helping to find someone who is lost.

The fact is, King's dream may be fading as those who most prospered by it are forgetting its importance. If racial divisiveness continues, we can never be a united nation. Can we just forget about the color of our skin and think of each other as the human race instead?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Taking a break from the novel

I don’t feel like working on my novel today. I think it’s because I feel rushed. I have to get ready in about 20-25 minutes, in order to hit the gym before work. For this reason, I’m writing a blog entry instead of working on my novel. I’m looking forward to the day when I can have more time to just relax and write. That should happen in about three months from now when I no longer have to be on the overtime list–at least for a few months. I may have to be on the list for the last three months of the year, but that should put an end to it for good, as we’re only a year and a half away from having our house paid off.

That will be so great to have the house paid off. I’ve been looking forward to that for a long, long time. We have sacrificed in many ways doing upkeep and buying things many of the Joneses have bought. We have tried to stay out of debt, only getting in debt for much needed cars, at least for the last ten years or so. Soon, if all goes well, we won’t even need to get into debt for cars when we need them.

I’m not sure though that we did everything right. I know we tried to be frugal for the most part, but there were splurges. Actually, I think there have to be some splurges–some surprises and rewards for all the hard work from time to time. Otherwise, depression and drudgery can set in.

So really, I kind of needed to take a break from trying to squeeze in a half hour of working on the novel. Actually, it’s going pretty well. It’s my second book and I’ve basically rewritten it through about 38,000 words. I’ll need to at least double that in order for it to have a chance of selling. That’s okay though–the story is far from over. I have many more scenes to add, and an exciting conclusion. I hope when it’s finished, and if I sell it, that you’ll take the time to read Last Stand at Cibola. It is a work of my heart. It’s a fantasy set in the Old West, full of Hopi mysticism and magic. I’ll let you know when it’s available.

As for my already completed novel, I think I’m going to go through it once more and think of a new title for it, as the title I have for it now I’m not satisfied with. I’m looking to publish that too, but maybe as an e-book. I really just need to get some cover art for it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

America and the Reconquista

I think most of the people coming here illegally from Mexico are trying to escape a bad government, and horrible living conditions. There are some evil people coming as well, that is true. I believe though, that most are fleeing evil.

So, I wonder, if they are fleeing evil, do they want it to follow them? In Pat Buchanan’s book, Suicide of a Superpower, he cites stats that show a majority of Mexicans, even to the second generation, would like to Mexicanize America. I can’t help but wonder, if they’ve really thought it through. Here they are, fleeing corruption, discouraged by the lack of opportunity, only to show up and want to change the United States to be like that?

Not that America isn’t becoming more like that anyway. The corruption in politics has come more and more into the light, and Americans feel powerless in many ways to do anything to change the status quo. Frankly, we don’t need people here who only want to take advantage of the system, live off of welfare, and try to destroy the last vestiges of the idea of America.

I like people who aren’t like that. I like people who want to come here because they love liberty, and because they know that working hard and giving your best yields the best results. So, for those who come here and want those kinds of things, I could be persuaded that they should stay, at least, that they should be given the opportunity to apply for citizenship. For those who want to live off the public dole, who want to commit crimes, who think it’s okay to drive drunk and kill people, who want to trash America and Americans, and who want to reconquista their former lands–well, I have no good words to say for you. Go away. There is no place for you here. Take the drug cartel people and throw them out of the country, forcibly if necessary, maybe even have them break rocks for a few years first.

But let’s preserve the idea of America first. Without the idea, the last remains will escape us, like sand in a whirlwind.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A friend of mine died yesterday

A friend of mine died yesterday. Charlie Workman, who would’ve been 91 next month passed after many years of health trouble. I’ve known him for probably more than twenty years, and I’ve been his home teacher for maybe fifteen of those years. I really got to know him and love him. Charlie used to tell us about his life as a young boy. Born in Manila, Utah, he lost his mother at the age of five, and was shuffled around from family to family who raised him. He lived through the heart of the Great Depression, served in the Merchant Marines in World War 2, and worked a variety of manual labor jobs throughout his life. He was fond of recalling his experiences about working for the railroad, and in fact had a model train set attached to a board in his garage that he could lower with a crank. He got rid of that several years ago. He told us of one time when he was working for a refinery and the part of it that he was working on exploded and he was miraculously preserved from death.
He spent time in his later life working for the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s department. He loved his motorcycle and could be seen riding around the streets of our neighborhood until old age and health kept him from doing that anymore. Those who saw him thought it was Santa Claus riding a motorcycle.
I remember the times when he would drive up in front of my house in his truck, when I was working outside and would stop and chat for several minutes. As his age and time caught up with him, he needed to get something to help him get around when he went to stores, and he was excited to tell me about his scooter and the lift for it that he had added to the bed of his truck. Eventually, he had stop driving that as well.
As he got older, I began trying to help out more with his yard, especially snow shoveling in the winter time. At first, I tried to be sneaky, doing it in the wee hours when they were asleep, so as not to get caught. Eventually, he caught me at it and chided me for doing it. He was a man of pride and didn’t like to think he needed help. I kept it up though and eventually, he came to appreciate it openly.
He loved his family and took great pride in many of his kids and grandkids. He missed those who had died before him. He had a great heart, and though opinionated, and though he could be prejudiced and cantankerous, he was a good man and will be missed. I have lost a great friend this year, but on the other side, his loved ones are waiting. It will be a great reunion.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A guy tried to get me to fight him today

So I began my first mail delivery of the day stopping as I usually do at 7-11, which is the first stop on my route. Trying to be courteous to those whose cars were parked in front of the store, I parked in front of two empty stalls. No sooner had I turned off the engine, than I heard a honk. I looked to my left and a guy was trying to get me to move so he could pull into one of the empty stalls that I had parked in front of. I gestured to another empty stall down the way and went in and made my delivery. When I came out he was swearing at me: "You blankety-blank think you can take up the entire blankety-blank parking lot."

I should've just let it drop and ignored him, but I couldn't. I didn't like his attitude, and I didn't like his assumption. I had intentionally avoided causing inconvenience to the people already parked there. As I passed him, I spoke up: "Up yours," I said. And continued to my truck.

That was when he turned around and challenged me to a fight. Okay, I kind of wanted to kick his butt, but I didn't think it was worth losing my job over, which would've happened had I engaged in a fight with him. So I just told him to get lost and drove away.

I'm feeling kind of bad about it though. The guy was a jerk and all, but I shouldn't have escallated the situation. I'm sorry that happened.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Penn State death threats

As more and more details of the Grand Jury Testimony in the Penn State child abuse case come out, those of us with any sense of decency are rightly appalled and angered at what took place. Allegedly, Mike McQuery, who has been identified as the graduate student who first caught former defensive coach, Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing a 10 year old boy in the showers, has received multiple death threats in regards to his failure to do something more, like attack Sandusky, or immediately call the police. Sadly, it appears that there have been other death threats made to McQuery, from angered fans who are furious that he did anything at all that led to the firing of Head Coach Joe Paterno. That, my friends, is appalling. That there are actually people out there walking around that put the career of Paterno above the safety of children is simply too terrible to contemplate.
Frankly, McQuery was negligent in not directly attacking and trying to stop the incident when it first occurred. Anyone with children can understand the fury a parent would have at his lack of appropriate action. As Jim Rome put it (and I'm paraphrasing here), "McQueary was 28 years old and 6'5" and Sandusky was 58". He could have and should have done something. It doesn't warrant death threats though. If anything, the death threats should be against Sandusky. As a parent (now grandparent) myself, nothing infuriates me more than someone wanting to hurt my children and grandchildren--or anybody else's for that matter.
Of course, the threats against McQueary for getting Joe Paterno fired are from morons and cretins of the lowest order. These are the kind of people who put sports and winning above all else and make head coaches their personal gods.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Editing Cibola

I'm back at it again with a fury. Rather, a sputtering fury, but a fury none the less. I've been going through my old novel Showdown at Cibola and trying to get back into the flow through editing what I had already written extensively. It seems to be working. Already it's at nearly 27,000 words, which is about one third of the total length it will end up needing to be in order to get published.

On a related note, I'm thinking of publishing my novel, Dome World (I'm also trying to think of a better title) on Smash Words. I've never published anything in e-book form, so it's finding the time to learn the ropes that's the difficult part for me. I guess the main thing is getting someone to do cover art.

I'm finding some time to do this--maybe 30 to 40 minutes, in the mornings before heading off to the gym and from there to work. At 30-40 minutes it's going slower than I would like, but I think it's good to just plug away with whatever time one has. Hopefully, I can soon dedicate some time in the evenings as well to work on this stuff.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The U.S. Owns the Moon

So, this argument is a natural progression from the "we were here first" argument put forth by Native Americans. Logically, since they were here first, the land was "stolen" from them. But as an extension of this logic, the Moon belongs to the U.S. on the same basis. The United States owns the moon. So there.

All that being said, I think it's rather ridiculous to assume that because the native peoples were displaced by the Europeans in North America, that it was the first time such a thing has ever happened on this planet. People have been pushed out, conquered, assimilated, and replaced throughout the history of humankind. To the victor go the spoils, as the saying goes, and it's been that way as long as life has existed.

The U.S. Government Needs a New Agency: The People Protection Agency

Today I'm advocating for a new governmental agency. Yes, I know--that's more government intrusion. However, I'm advocating for a People Protection Agency. This agency would have specific powers, namely, to grab all regulations passed by the EPA by the throat, and stomp them into the ground until they're dead. Well maybe not all of them. My proposal would be to have this new agency oversee the EPA and toss out any law that causes harm to people. For example, an EPA statute that protected an endangered form of snail, would be jettisoned if people were losing jobs because of that statute. My reasoning is simple. Most individuals believe that human beings were the final stop on the evolutionary chain, making man the highest order of animal. It stands to reason that the highest form needs to do whatever it takes to survive. Losing ones livelihood because of a snail, fish, or insect, or any number of lower forms of life, is detrimental to the survival of the species. Therefore, I'm recommending that such an agency be created--to stop the over regulation and red tape associated with protecting endangered species, and that the highest form of life on the chain be given top priority when it comes to survival.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Writing to be writing

I'm writing here in my blog because to day I'm avoiding writing. In other words, I'm writing to avoid writing. The writing I'm avoiding is my novel, Last Stand at Cibola. The reason I'm avoiding working on my book, is because this morning the furnace went out and I spent all my time replacing the thermocouple, and now it still won't light, so I'm giving it ten minutes and trying it again. Basically, I can't really get into my novel writing in that short of a period of time--at least, I'm telling myself that. The reality is probably different, but as the saying goes, perception is reality. I'm going to try and find some extra time this evening to work on the book.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

On taxing the "rich"

When I've posted links on Facebook, at least in the last several months, several of them have been about President Obama's plan to tax the "wealthiest" among us. Repeatedly in speeches, the president has made references to making sure that "millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share". Several of the links I've referenced to in my Facebook postings have been about how the wealthiest Americans are already paying the lion's share of taxes in America. Here's an example of one of those links:
The answer is simple: those whom Obama considers rich, already pay more than the rest of us, both in total dollars, and in tax rates. But why should that matter? In this time of economic disaster, shouldn't they be asked to pay even more? The answer, again quite simply, is no. Here's why.

Those who earn over $200,000 per year, which seems to be the income level that Obama begins thinking of them as "millionaires", include the vast majority of employers. Entrepreneurs, most of whom are taxed at an individual rate, do most of the hiring in America. The question then becomes, will they still hire as many people if their bills (including taxes) are higher? It's a question that must be asked because it's highly relevant to the discussion. Let's take the average citizen as an example. Let's say Joe Johnson is humming along, happily earning $50,000 per year, buying things as needed, and sometimes as wanted. He's really got his eye on a nice fishing boat, selling for about $5000. Now Joe's a good saver, and has saved most of the money to purchase the boat, but then the unthinkable happens---he loses his job. Try as he might, he can't find a job that pays as well as the job he had before and he winds up at a job paying $42,000 per year. Suddenly the extra he had for paying off the rest of the boat is needed for basic necessities: food, house payment, gas for his car. He decides to put off buying the boat, although he really still wants it.

In the same way Joe has decided not to purchase the boat, employers must make decisions on whether or not to hire future employees. If their bills increase, they have less money with which to do this. At a time in which our unemployment rate is very high, to decide to increase taxes on those who do the hiring is foolish at best. Even President Obama has said this in the past. Obama says you don't raise taxes in a recession

Another reason for not raising taxes, on the rich or anyone else, is that it reduces the incentive to stop the outrageous spending. If I'm getting $1000 more per month, as an individual, am I going to be more likely to spend, or less? I think the answer is clear.  And that's even more problematic when the money you're receiving is a gift from someone else. Someone once said that it's always easy to spend someone else's money, and it is. Frankly, as a citizen, I don't trust my government to spend my money wisely. Remember, these are the same people who spent $400 for a hammer and something like $1000 for a toilet seat. Do we really want them collecting and spending more of our money for wasteful things like this? I'd rather stop the inflow and make them reduce the outflow.

All that being said, there's nothing wrong with asking those who have the means to contribute more. Warren Buffet and some others who have a lot of means have said that they don't pay enough in taxes. Fine. They can cut checks and send them in to pay more. It's easy to do. They should put their money where their collective mouths are. Frankly, I'd rather see them contributing to the Food Bank, or the homeless shelters, or any number of privately owned charities that actually do more with less money than our federal government. I'd rather see them going around helping individuals and families, than sending in more money to be squandered by government agencies.

The bottom line is, heaping more taxes on job providers doesn't help in an ailing economy. Cutting spending does. Asking people who have the means  to voluntarily help their neighbors goes much further than any increase in taxes ever could. Remember what Ronald Reagan once said: "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money". Think about it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I am an American

I am an American and yesterday was September 11th. For one brief span of time ten years ago, nearly everyone came together in unity. As a nation, we had been attacked. As a people, we seemed in that moment to become united. Sadly, that has drifted away. The liberals fight the conservatives, and politics is a cess pool of invective–civility has fled like animals fleeing from a forest fire. We think it has not always been like that.

I will not forget 9/11. I won’t forget the planes plowing into the towers of the World Trade Center, nor the horror of watching bodies jump or fall from the windows. I won’t forget the heroism of the firefighters, and others, who devotedly continued on trying to save as many as possible, even as the buildings collapsed on top of them. How can one ever forget that?

But there’s another thing I won’t forget. I won’t forget how we came together as a people, united, caring and loving. Determined. I won’t forget how we are all much more alike than we are different. And I would like to think that no matter how you believe, whether you agree with me or not on any number of topics of vital interest, that I would bust down a door to pull you out if need be. For the common cause that unites us all, is freedom and liberty, the sense that humanity matters and people’s opinions are valuable, that the rights of an individual are vital to the continued liberty, and even humanity of us all. I am an American. We are Americans.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The rich and taxes

So the basic supply-side economist will say that if you raise taxes on the rich, they will create less jobs. The counterargument to that is that trickle-down approaches to the economy have never worked, and that the stinking, evil rich don't create jobs even when their taxes are lowered. They instead pocket the money and make themselves richer.
Don't buy it.
Take the case of the late Larry Miller,  former owner of the Utah Jazz. Before Miller owned the Jazz, he was a car dealer, with several dealerships. But he hadn't begun with several. He began with one. As he became more successful, he added dealerships, which added jobs. In time, he bought into the Utah Jazz, and eventually became full owner of the Jazz. Under his ownership, the Jazz became more successful, which created more wealthy for Miller, but also created more job opportunities.
Miller continued his holdings as he bought into other enterprises, like the Salt Lake Stingers (now the Bees), and the Larry Miller Sports Park. All of these created more jobs.
Now, some would say that he would have done the same, even if taxes were raised. Maybe. We don't know. What we do know is this: Larry Miller continued to create jobs instead of lining his own pockets as he grew richer. Yes, he became wealthier, but his wealth helped out normal people who needed work. This is the exact opposite of what the anti-supply-side supporters will tell you. They have argued with me that the rich don't create more jobs, they just line their pockets. Larry Miller is proof that they are wrong.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Old Yeller

This past week I watched Old Yeller for maybe the 4th or 5th time in my life. What a wonderful story of friendship, growing up, and taking responsibility. Near the end, after Travis has had to put his dog down and he and his pa are sitting there talking to each other, there is a great statement made by the pa. I don't have the book in front of me but he says to Travis: "Now and then, for no good reason, life will haul off and knock a man flat." And then he goes on to say that, and I'm paraphrasing here, "life has good times too. And if we spend all our good times thinking about the bad, then it all becomes bad". I really like to look at life that way, and I thank Fred Gipson, author of Old Yeller for the lesson he continues to give me long after his death.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

How I've lost 7 pounds since Christmas

As someone who has always wanted to be healthy, in order to do the things I love to do, I spend a bit of time every once in a while searching the web for a better exercise program. I have thus created my own program from various sources, and if it can be useful to others, that's great. That's why I posted it here. Granted, this method isn't for everyone...maybe it's not even for me in the long run. One thing's for sure, it works. I have been able to lose weight and become more fit at the same time, and that's important to me.

Mondays: On Mondays I have to be to work a half hour earlier, so I do one of my easier workouts. I get on the treadmill and run at a fairly easy pace for a while, then I speed it up incrementally, like up a tenth every four to five minutes. I do this for 40-45 minutes with the goal to use up at least 500 calories, according to the treadmill instrument panel. Depending on the treadmill--there are some made by different companies at the Kearns Oquirrh Park Fitness Center--I either burn 500+ or 600+. I imagine the real total is somewhere in between.

Tuesdays: I begin again on the treadmill, running gently for five minutes to get warmed up. Then I jack up the pace, going from about a 9:30 mile pace to about an 8 minute per mile pace for about a minute. I slow back down, but not quite to the 9:30 pace, maybe 9:20 or so for four minutes, and then run 1 minute at about 7:50. I keep this up, each time slowing down but slowing down a little bit less, and speeding up a little bit more, until I've used up 600 calories. Then I go to part B of Tuesdays workout when I do a variety of pushups, found here: . After that I do two sets of bench dips, and two sets of any kind of triceps exercise. Sometimes my interval training changes to a slower pace but with a steep incline, changing the incline every four minutes instead of changing the pace. It adds variety when I'm feeling like not doing my workout.

Wednesdays: Once again I'm on the treadmill, this time to run at a comfortable pace for the entire time, not too fast, not too slow...more of a recovery day, so I try to keep it slow enough that I could still talk if I wanted to, without getting out of breath. Since Wednesdays are my arm and back workout, I then move to the machine and do two sets of 12  bent "V" rowing, with 100 lbs. Then, because I'm having trouble with my left elbow and biceps tendons, I do two sets of 12 on the lat pull-down machine with 60 pounds. Then I do two sets of 12 curls with the curl bar at 45 pounds. So much for the easy day! When I really need a break, I eliminate all the cardio on Wednesdays, but I haven't done that in February because it's fitness month at the gym and I'm trying to go every day except Sundays. The 12 reps is just what I'm on now. I'm building from 10, trying to make it to 15, but going up a little at a time.

 Thursdays: This is another killer day! It begins with ten minutes of a warm up jog on the treadmill. Then I walk around and stretch for a few minutes getting real loose. After that I do M100s, which you can see here: M100s . BTW, I cannot do 100 without stopping. The most I've been able to do without at least stopping for a few seconds is about 34. So, when I get to that point, I walk to the next corner in the basketball court area, and go again until I can't do any more, on and on moving to another corner until I complete the 100. After that I go back into the treadmill area and try to get my 600 calories burned off (I estimate the M100s burn off about 200, but I have no way of knowing how accurate that estimate is). Then I do a variety of abdominal exercises that I don't know the names of, except one is called "Roman Chair Situps". Then I'm done. I was so worn out after Wednesday this past week that I abandoned the M100s and instead did an extra interval workout.

Fridays: By Friday, I really need an easier workout so, like Wednesday, I run at a fairly easy pace for 45 minutes. Then I do two sets of leg press with 200 pounds, two sets of lunges with each leg, two sets of 20 calf raises, two sets of leg extensions, and two of leg curls. Then Friday is done.

Saturday: The gym opens at 7 on Saturday and I have to be to work at 8. So I do a five minute warm up run, and then do a race pace 5k on the treadmill. That's it and the week is done I can go on to Sunday when I

REST!!! It's not enough rest, but it's REST!!

For my diet, I just try to eat healthfully, avoiding red meats more than I used to, eating less goodies, eating Clif Bars to supplement my diet. More bananas for potassium etc. Yes, I still eat desserts, but I keep it under control. That's about it. I'm needing a break, so after next week I'll do an easy week, and hopefully be back to killing it by the next week.

I hope this has helped anyone looking for an exercise program. In a perfect world, I would definitely recommend alternating this with an easier week, as far as the treadmill stuff goes.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Utah Bear Trial: Questions that affect us all

This week the trial began in the case of the Ives family who lost their son to a bear last year versus the U.S. Forest Service. Sad though it is that this family lost their son, it brings up two questions in my mind that must be answered. Number one is, who has responsibility for the death of the boy? And number two is, should the parents be suing?

So, who has the responsibility? First of all, the family does. As the Forest Service claims, there are signs everywhere reminding people that bears frequent the area, and to use precautions necessary for such an area. That being said, the area in which the people were camping was in particular danger–increased danger, because a bear had been in the very campground earlier in the day on which Samuel Ives was dragged from the tent and killed. This specific danger required specific warnings.

Here’s an example of why. Suppose that on your street in your neighborhood a known child molester had been spotted earlier that day trying to get a kid into a car. Now, suppose that nobody let the families living on that street know about the incident. Suppose further that your child was abducted and killed by this creep. What if you then found out that the police had known about the molester trying to pick up another kid earlier that day, and didn’t bother to tell anyone. Would not the authorities share the blame for what happened for not warning the people about a specific threat in the area? Sure, they could use the excuse that there are always bad guys out there, and people need to be vigilant all the time. They could say that. But there are times when people need to be more vigilant than at other times.

Like the anecdotal child molester story, the bear incident shows that in this case, more stringent warnings should’ve been given. And who should they have been given by? The people who knew what had happened earlier in the day–the U.S. Forest Service.

That brings us to question two: Should the family be suing? My initial response is yes. That’s the only way the Forest Service will do things differently when confronted by a similar situation in the future. On the other hand, maybe the things they do differently will effect large numbers of people, like closing whole canyons down because a bear has been seen–just to avoid potential law suits. And another thing that bothers me about suing, is that it comes out of taxpayer’s pockets. Granted, there are a bunch of things that my money goes for via the Feds that I don’t like, that I probably don’t like much more than giving this poor family who has lost a son some money.

It’s a complicated question with no easy answers. Now that it’s in court, I’m not even sure that I hope they win the lawsuit. I’d like to see the Forest Service admit they should’ve done more to warn people, but I don’t want to see more and more people suing for incidents such as this.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Questions of Life

The questions of life...why are we really here? Obviously, I have my own thoughts on this. For many years of my youth, I struggled with various opinions and theories, flitting this way and that like some kind of bird that had lost its bearings. It’s not easy being sure about things in life. What I became more sure of as time went by is that things matter. What a person does effects not only himself, but those around him. When I act, there is a reaction, and it’s not always what I intend it to be.

Funny, but people can change over time, without a really good explanation as to why, or at least, maybe we don’t know what happened in their life to make them change. That can make it difficult for those of us trying to understand why that person changed. Was there an event that triggered it? Was it the influence of persuasive friends or mentors? Did they just drift because they weren’t sure about things, finding themselves much further off course than they had originally intended?

I ask myself this knowing that when some people reject God, they not only become ambivalent towards believers, but eventually come to despise them. Atheists, who don’t believe in God, many times make it a large part of their lives to convince, or at times, even force people to not worship the God they believe in. Why is this? Could it be that some become atheists because of their trials, and can’t believe that a loving God would’ve put them in this situation, therefore making it easy to rail against the God they once believed in, or at least tried to believe in? That’s really the only way to explain the irrational hatred of believers by non-believers.

I pity those who have lost their way. I hope for a change in them. It bothers me to see such railings against people whose desires are basically good—Christians want to love others, and serve them. They want to be good and moral people. Yet we often fail in these attempts because mortal weaknesses get in the way. Mortal weaknesses also plague atheists, but since they profess no beliefs, they are not failures at living up to them.

I wonder, who is better off, the man who has ideals and tries to live up to them, but fails often, or the man who has no ideals to live up to, and thus never fails to live up to any because he doesn’t believe in any. For example, a guy might believe that it’s wrong to lie, and then find himself doing just that for fear of telling someone the truth. He has failed, true, in not lying, but perhaps he has lived a higher ideal, like not hurting someone’s feelings. Who can know? On the other hand, a guy who has made no such goals as to not lie, has not failed at anything if he lies. Kind of like, if I don’t plan on exercising, I haven’t failed when I don’t do so. The other guy who made an exercise plan and failed to strictly follow it has failed. He may have exercised only five days of the week instead of six. Yet which person is better off really? The guy who exercised some, but not up to his goal, or the guy who never had the goal, and never exercised?

Well, I’m drifting. Needless to say, there’s a lot that goes into life. But let’s not get off track for the wrong reasons. If we don’t make an exercise plan ourselves, let’s not rail against those who have the compunction to do so, for the bigger failure is not the guy who takes a day off from his plan once in a while, but the person who never makes the plan in the first place.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Aaarrgghhh! My computer is down!

I have so much to say and less than ten minutes to say it. My computer went down at the end of last week and I'm rushing--using the library computer to make this post, check my e-mail, and a whole bunch of stuff--all on my half hour lunch. I've got another computer on order from Best Buy, but I don't know how long it's going to take to get here--they estimate January 29-February 5--so I'm not able to do as I'm used to doing. We're just too dependent upon these machines! Needless to say, I won't get my world changing post posted today, but maybe soon.

I'm not really sure what went wrong with my desktop, only I was having a lot of problems with freezing, and trying to fix them caused more problems until I'm where I'm at now...computerless.

But on the bright side, I've practiced my guitar a whole lot more, and got a lot more reading in, so there is that.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Goal: Reducing body fat

In researching the optimal way in which to lose body fat, I've found a couple of  important facts. First of all, it's the total calories you burn through exercise, or through a reduction in intake, that are important, not the kind of calories. In the past, many have suggested that by exercising aerobically at low-intensity, one could enter a "fat-burning zone", while exercising at a more intense rate would put a person out of the fat-burning zone, and into the carb-burning zone. Research has not proven this to be true.

Simply put, less calories in and more calories out is what creates fat loss.

The argument persists between low to moderate intensity workouts versus high intensity workouts. Which is better? The answer is, both can be productive at reducing fat. There is a simple equation that illustrates what I'm trying to say, and that is, the higher intensity exercise a person can safely maintain for as long as the person can maintain it will burn the most calories. So if you're time is limited, a high-intensity cardio workout for 20 minutes, may be the equivalent of a moderately intense 30-40 minute workout--at least as far a burning calories goes.

An excellent article on the subject can be found here:

The bottom line is, to lose fat effectively, you need to exercise at a pace that you can continue doing 5-6 days a week for  the rest of your life. Increasing duration or intensity will speed up the overall fat burned during any one particular session of exercise. Once fat-loss goals have been reached, you can generally back off a bit on the total amount of exercise.

Key also in this is diet. My best advice is this: Avoid fast foods, eat desserts sparingly, get enough protein in your diet in a form other than red meat, eat a lot of veggies. Also, choose good snacks to eat throughout the day, and that doesn't mean Oreos or Twinkies!

Good luck on making your fitness goals in 2011! I'm right there with ya.