Jo Won it for Joe

“These hearts are wireless, This ain’t no crowd control.”
-Nothing But Thieves, “Wake Up Call

Before the results of the 2020 presidential election, or whatever our definition of “results” is, I wrote an article expressing the disappointment and ignorance of some people who believe supporting a third party is a selfish, wasted vote. With that in mind, Libertarian Jo Jorgensen may have won the election for Joe Biden—even though it was primarily Democrats claiming the choice would be a waste.

A Libertarian strongly believes in individual liberties, free markets and less government among other varying principles. It’s generally a middle-of-the-road party being fiscally conservative and socially liberal, but philosophical priorities widens the gap of which political side a person is more likely to risk abandoning their major party.

Though Libertarianism would seemingly fit the ideology of liberals on the surface, it’s not a system that completely parallels with democratic thought. However, the aforementioned basic assumption created uneasy paranoia within some registered Democrats. It should have been worrying loyal republican supporters, and the argument had already been in place from past presidential elections.

A Libertarian has been on the ballot since 1972. Of those 13 elections there were 11 nominees, four of them being Republican transplants from their respective past seats in public office (Roger MacBride, 1976; Ron Paul, 1988, Bob Barr, 2008; Gary Johnson, 2012 and 2016). The other seven nominees always held or ran for office as Libertarians. The first Libertarian candidate, John Hospers, believed in Objectivism, the system developed by Russian philosopher and radical capitalist Ayn Rand. Hospers was the only Libertarian candidate to ever earn an electoral vote—coincidently, the tally was given by Virginia then-Republican representative Roger MacBride, the subsequent party nominee as noted above.

With this in mind, republican voters were more likely to stray than democratic voters in 2020.     

One important factor to consider of the pending results is voter differential in major battlegrounds. Here’s the rundown of the votes that separated Biden and Donald Trump and the votes Jorgensen received in key swing states Biden claimed, as reported by the Associated Press.

Wisconsin: Difference= 20,547/Jorgensen= 38,492
Pennsylvania: Difference= 68,558/Jorgensen= 78,893
Georgia: Difference= 14,122/Jorgensen= 62,056
Arizona: Difference= 10,377/Jorgensen= 51,465

Those four states combined for 57 electoral votes. If the current totals had swung in the other direction, Trump would have earned 289 electoral votes and a second term. There’s no concrete proof that the votes Jorgensen received were solely from fleeing Republicans, but it promotes an argument beyond the numbers just being coincidental.

Also, some Democrats have claimed that Jorgensen may have taken votes away from Biden, and the polls wouldn’t have been as tight if it wasn’t for her “selfish” supporters. On the contrary, Democrats wouldn’t have been as willing to “waste” a vote in the most unprecedented vital election in history—as advertised by the media. The skeptic desperation and compulsive negativity will never fully be vanquished. A win still isn’t good enough, but just accept it for the time being as the country suffers through the petty legal disputes, childish impracticality and delusional conspiracies of a certain incumbent.

That’s something to think about, however. Is voting for the “lesser of two evils” as some claimed settling for good enough? In an election where it seemed many were voting for a candidate to lose rather than another to win, maybe “good enough” isn’t actually good enough.

As reported in USA Today, Jorgensen said that the election was a wake-up call for both major parties, claiming that if she could get both sides to start acting on their respective platforms and following through on their promises, then she would be very pleased.

Maybe that’s improbable at the moment, unfortunately. Maybe it’s time to actually start taking third-parties, especially Libertarians seriously. They may have cost someone an election in 2020, and if enough voters become more informed, the trend will grow stronger in the future, showcasing our diversity and strengthening our democracy.

Some people may actually like what they discover, and stray from settling for stale conformity.

Jo for President

“Changes, Turn and face the strange.”
-David Bowie, “Changes

I’m not a political person, and don’t like talking about it, but sadly, I have to explain myself, which is a problem in itself.

I’ve been told to vote for Joe Biden just to take away a vote from President Trump, and also that supporting a third party is throwing away a vote. That’s not what voting is about, and the country should be ashamed at their retrograde idea of democracy. That’s why I’m voting for Libertarian candidate Dr. Jo Jorgensen.

I’m an American citizen with the right to vote. Therefore, I would like to exercise my right in the best way that represents my ideology, not by the persuasion of others who hold a desperate obsession with victory—and then anxious hope for retribution. Some interesting first-hand data collected via an accidental social experiment is that when I tell others I’m voting for Jorgensen, democrats tell me I’m wrong to do so while republicans support my decision to vote for whomever I prefer. I felt I was transported to Biazrro World, but I realized the close-minded pretentious former is nervous while the old-fashioned stale latter isn’t threatened.

As a registered Independent, I take time looking into the platforms of both main parties of our political system; I read and listen only to be left unfulfilled and uncertain, trapped in what’s just a cycle of power and bitter opposition until the next wave swallows all that was accomplished by prior administrations. Rinse and repeat.

That may have been an exaggeration, but it appears democracy has plateaued, which creates the possibility of regression. As a response, we play the blame game; no figure is safe from scrutiny from reputable media sources to a pre-teen on social media. Others live in the near and distant pasts and somehow develop a communal cry of impractical entitlement or unrealistic variations of a functioning society. Negativity leads to regression while positivity leads to progression.

Yet, the public continues to be pawns for the government and media. If you’ve studied the history of journalism, one of the constants is that of government meddling in news. However, another similarity that media ages share is that the government somehow reclaims some control of the narrative until a shift happens and power is redirected—until circulation is once again contaminated. We are handcuffed by republican and democratic candidates, and the media essentially picks a team—one side of the scale weighing much more than the other.

I hear people pleading for change all the time, but yet they are conditioned to believe that the only way the country functions is through one party or one other. The key to this is money. Ross Perot, arguably the most notable third-party presidential candidate in history, had billions and his rise had people questioning the norm. Perot received 18.9% of the popular vote in 1992. This isn’t about the money, however, it’s about the chance to be heard (which took money, ironically).

Other notable third-party candidates to gain popularity have been James B. Weaver (8.5% in 1892), Theodore Roosevelt (27.4% in 1912, after his 1904 presidential term), Eugene V. Debs (6.0% in 1912), Robert M. La Follette (16.6% 1924), George Wallace (13.5% in 1968) and John B. Anderson (6.6% in 1980). Now, of course, not all of these candidates promoted the best values (cough, cough, Wallace), but they were a popular third option nonetheless, promoting the fact that we could possibly have a diverse political system—like the first years when no one knew which labels would last quite yet. George Washington was an Independent, and swept the election–twice.

To take a page out of sports franchises, I propose a salary cap for campaigning in order to erase ballooned donations and self-funded races by uber-rich figures and organizations. This could limit respective party representatives from being plastered all over television and social media reminding us how the other guy is just so awful without actually telling us how good they are outside of a tidbit of positivity. Just like voting for someone to lose, slanderous political advertising on state and federal levels to tell us what someone is doing wrong instead of what the approver of the message will do correctly is just backward.

I saw a Facebook post that stated voting for a third party is selfish, and once again that type of ignorance came from a democrat. If I were to respond asking if it would be okay voting for President Trump then the same person would disapprove. So, essentially, the only person I should vote for is Biden? I bet they would also call someone “deplorable” (remember that fun term last election?) if they didn’t vote, think or act like them. Do people not understand the hypocrisy they create when it comes to democracy? Everything is not black and white, and we live in a diverse country with different forms of culture, expression and opinion, which means that representation is impossible to just be two-sided. People are entitled to vote for what they believe in, not what someone else does.

Each voter should agree with at least 75% of issues their favorite candidate proposes. For example, here are points on Jorgensen’s platform that I support:

-COVID-19: Reduce federal regulations on testing and treatments to quickly get to patients, almost making the FDA obsolete.
-HEALTHCARE: We shouldn’t have to shop for insurance. When I looked into Obamacare after being laid off due to COVID-19, I was hounded by over 100 phone calls trying to sell me healthcare in the span of a couple days, and it’s still going on. The irony in this is that I was laid off because of forced medical precautions, but now I’m being forced to have health insurance when I have no money, and if I don’t get the health insurance I will be fined. We should be in charge of our own health dollars and be able to shop for our own care like any other product we search for, which would decrease overall coast as a result.
-GOVERNMENT SPENDING: Block new borrowing, audit the Federal Reserve giving investors accurate market information, decrease spending by eliminating unnecessary departments and balance the government’s checkbook.
-ENVIRONMENT: I’ve been a supporter for clean and efficient nuclear energy for some time now, and also letting states decide what’s best for their landscape, limiting federal responsibilities.
-SOCIAL SECURITY: Actually preserve it instead of just saying it’s there, and allow workers to put their tax dollars (the ones supposed to be going toward Social Security) into individual retirement accounts the government can’t touch.
-TRADE: Limiting tariffs, allowing us more access to the best products, and providing goods of what we do best as a country.
-IMMIGRATION: Repeal entry quotas, shorten waiting times and expand visas. Just make the process easier to enter the country LEGALLY.
-CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Take away VICTIMLESS drug incarcerations and allow substance abuse programs and social workers to handle addiction, and also defund federal involvement (not the police) in state police issues unless requested by said state authorities.
-POVERTY: Eliminating government regulations and allow for more jobs and more affordable costs of living, and also allow more charitable organizations to offer free health clinics, among other services, to help the less fortunate. We need to create opportunities, not limit them through laws.
-TAXES: No income tax. We earned that money, and if we had it, we would spend it, boosting the economy. Also, slashing federal spending means the people will be less taxed. Lastly, make the IRS less intrusive and taxes less complex.
-EDUCATION: Dismantle the Department of Education and leave regulations in the hands of each state. Also, take the federal government out of the student loan business which would allow colleges to provide AFFORDABLE (not free) programs for everyone to pursue. Lastly, putting trades on an even playing field is important because without trade workers, all “educated” people wouldn’t be able to function in daily life.
-NEUTRALITY AND PEACE: Armed, neutral and open to trade and travel. Let’s get out of everyone’s business.    

This can all be found on Jorgensen’s website. A Libertarian won’t win the presidency, but the more votes earned perhaps creates a conversation about other options, and as the percentage of support increases, so does the possibility of getting a third-party candidate on the debate stage. They would have won the first one this year, that’s for sure.

Old white men and money rule the political landscape of this country, and we’re conditioned to believe we only have two options for leadership. Why are so many people unhappy then? Continuing to be sheep to what you’re told to believe is selfish, not thinking freely and exercising your constitutional right for a chance at change.

Instead of demeaning third parties, maybe it’s time to do research, not only on both major parties, but all the candidates, and become a fully informed voter. Many may be surprised that the views of third parties may suit their ideology the best, but it’s on the individual to explore and broaden their political horizons. We can’t advance and change if we’re stuck in an endless cycle of the “lesser of two evils.”

Or we can bring back the old Liberal Republican Party of 1872 and lessen the two parties into one dysfunctional collaboration. Wait, that’s kind of what Congress is at the moment. On second thought, we’re doomed for the foreseeable future.

All Lives

“We didn’t start the fire, no we didn’t light it, but we tried to fight it.”
-Billy Joel, “We Didn’t Start the Fire”

On June 13, Albuquerque Journal staff writer Elise Kaplan posted an article about police brutality and raised yet another call for reform. Her coverage included three specific New Mexico cases, so why did it take George Floyd’s death in Minnesota for New Mexico public officials to start preaching?

As Kaplan stated, in the past year and a half, three men in New Mexico have been killed by officers using forceful restraint: Vicente Villela in February of 2019, Rodney Lynch in August of 2019 and Antonio Valenzuela in February of 2020.

Why are these cases being revisited now when the state had the opportunity to make a national impact with reform when the situations occurred? One reason is politics. It’s an election year; the two main parties remain at war, using the people as pawns to solidify a term. It seems it’s the goal of some to say the right thing at the right time in order to finagle more timely support to claim or maintain a seat. Then what happens? Petty bickering over nastiness, reports and tweets, forgetting about the promises they made concerning the issues that matter the most—until the next reelection when they’re all ears, ideas and proposals.

Another answer could be minority status. “Black Lives Matter” is an international movement, but it seems some people forget to realize that injustice doesn’t stop at just one race. There are New Mexican residents—Hispanic, Native-American and Caucasian—protesting with signs about African-American injustice and boasting their support for the cause on social media, but that’s part of the problem. When Villela, Lynch and Valenzuela met their unwarranted fates, where were all the protesters and demonstrations? These men are of Hispanic and Native-American descent, the two cultures that make the Land of Enchantment one of five majority-minority states, but again, it takes an African-American man nearly 1500 miles away to bring awareness to social injustice when discrimination continues to happen to all races in every community.

These cases didn’t provide enough of a discussion. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanic or Latino citizens make up 18.3 percent of the nation while Black or African-American citizens make up 13.4 percent. Even though African-Americans hold the largest minority status, they don’t hold the largest population of minorities because of the re-classification of how a race is labeled. African-Americans are a racial minority while Hispanics or Latinos are an ethnic minority.

This is how issues become convoluted and overlooked until an atrocious viral act occurs. Why do we need sub-categories to segregate how a specific population is defined? Shouldn’t it be that all lives matter instead of—wait, this sounds familiar.

All lives do matter, except for some, but more specifically, maybe just one—but there’s no validation for a counter claim of racism; the severity of injustice is eons apart (except for one of the one). Many African-Americans have suffered tremendously in this country; they have every right to vocalize their frustration from centuries of persecution that sadly remains relevant.

Still, all lives matter. Not everything is black and white—figuratively and literally. There shouldn’t be levels of racism or sub-categories of culture because separating the segregation even more allows it to exist. If “Black Lives Matter” is a cause for all minorities and cases of racism, then that is one thing, but their website doesn’t specify that, which narrows the scope of social injustice. Racism may harm people of African descent the most here, but reform can’t just be for some because racism can then slip through the cracks of a fractured structure. Bringing equality and liberation to just one race may actually push more hate onto the next, or even create bitter envy from other minorities. Reform needs to happen across the board, hashtags need to be more about the massive picture instead of the big picture, and politicians need to stop making it political and actually do something more productive than just debating over the cause.

We’re privileged to be a front-runner of change, an international influence, but acting in a regressive nature and playing a blame game makes it seem we’re voluntarily demoting ourselves to a lesser status. We can see the effect social injustice has as it trickles disruption into our economy and our personal freedoms we’re so fortunate to have.

We need to talk about it more when it happens in our communities instead of waiting years for the nation to decide what sparks another fire, because if we ignore it, it’s bound to repeat. Don’t make this a convenient cause; don’t make this a trendy situation until next time.

Missing Things

“I spend my time, thinking about you, and it’s almost driving me wild”
-John Waite, “Missing You”

I miss things.

I was doing a local magazine feature on teddy bears, pastel mosaics and messages of hope etched in chalk, and spoke to a neighbor of mine whose home best exemplified optimism—a middle-aged woman with the spirit of a free college coed abroad. It was the first time we interacted in the near-decade being part of this community, and she said she missed being able to hug people the most, even strangers like myself.

I’m not sure if I miss hugs, but I miss life.

I’m a homebody by nature—well, now. Tastes change as you get older and phases drift into recollections. I sit at my computer, conjure up thoughts and create sentences to share with people I don’t know, but strangely this pandemic has connected us more. Well, maybe you and someone else, but we know each other because we’re going through the same situation.

We may not like and miss the same things, though.

I love three things that aren’t people (and that list isn’t much longer): Music, sports and writing. Yes, they are generic interests, but within the vagueness we all find our relative love which makes us commonly unique. That doesn’t make sense. Sure it does.

Music has been a good distraction. I’ve started a challenge that no one else has done or cares to attempt—even all those self-proclaimed music lovers who “can’t live” without melody. I’ve decided to make a playlist, on top of other ongoing playlists, that holds the best 100 songs I’ve ever heard. It’s a lot harder than it sounds (no pun intended). In fact, I have a spillover playlist now even though I guess that’s considered cheating. It’s not the best songs the world has ever heard; it’s the best songs that have had a personal impact from lyrical, musical, meaningful and grandiose perspectives from any or all genres and generations. Some, again if they did partake in the challenge, may feel the pressure to put a track on their list because it’s a hit or they’re supposed to like it because everyone else does. For example, I’m a 90s kid, and grunge and post-grunge rock are my favorite genres, but not one of the grunge powerhouses received a spot on my top 100. Charles & Eddie and Savage Garden did, however. It’s not a bad thing when you surprise yourself.

Okay, to avoid any misguided impressions, here’s this song for balance.

I’ve also been able to compose two more piano pieces during this time—and learn one of my top 100 songs: Phildel’s “Qi.” Music is an escape, one that I can’t fully appreciate when I work or study because I pay too much attention to the notes or lyrics or both of whatever track flows in the background. Dave Sheinin, a reporter for the Washington Post, said, “I’ve never been able to listen to music casually. No matter what else I’m doing, the music is where my ears and my mind drift.” His great perspective piece covered his time as a sportswriter trying to write game stories while the loud speakers offered stadium soundtracks. Ah, sports.

Sports have left a void, and the talking heads have resorted to over-analyzing a long-awaited documentary. Sports have been important to me my entire life as a fan and an athlete. This isn’t about being a jock (which is a term that has mislabeled many people, but that’s a separate post); it’s about what it means to a person. Children can’t watch their role models; fans can’t passionately talk about remember-whens, what-ifs and this-is-the-years; we can’t watch the only show that doesn’t have reruns—we have to rely on reruns now; we can’t witness the brilliance of strategy, the intellect that is required to perform at the highest of levels, and the athletic feats that defy physics or ordinariness; stadiums aren’t full of loud and raucous crowds, one of the only sanctuaries in the world where it doesn’t matter what race, sex, generation or political affiliation you are because you’re all there for the same reason; tears of joy and pain can’t be shared in the exact same moment; and significant bonds between cities and athletes, parents and children, friends and partners have been put on pause. Sports are entertaining, but they’re also emotionally important.

Then again, it is about being a jock. I miss that unmatchable form of exercise, the release of emotions and heightened senses, the strengthening of coordination and health, the progression of the mind, the adaptation to aging and performance, and the physicality. Yes, that’s right, I may not miss hugs, but I miss having an opponent pushing me around and I returning the favor. At least I can write about it I guess.

Writing has not come to a halt; it remains a constant, though motivation is scarce. For example, I wanted to post this weeks ago. I’m obsessed with news updates (as any Master of Journalism would be) and they have served as a distraction. However, it may be the looming uncertainty that sidetracks me more. Then again, writing as a career, especially fiction, questions certainty or stability on a daily basis. I’ve been able to complete a new short story, start two new fiction novels and begun researching and outlining the newest Jack Swift installment. Essentially, I’m creating more content that people don’t know exists. Motivation is scare, indeed.

This is a strange time. Hopefully future generations avoid dealing with such calamity and our new relative normal remains.

For now, we can go on missing things and hope they return—or lose our minds, whichever comes first.

First-Hand Complaints

“Away away, to all that I despise.”
-311, “Flowing”

2017 was interesting to say the least. With all the drama surrounding political and social issues we once again failed to fix a very aggravating problem, one that stretches beyond international borders. You know exactly what I’m talking about: most bathroom faucets still hang too close to the back of the sink.

Some may not consider this an issue, but… well, that’s fair, I really have nothing to argue its importance. However, it’s something to think about, a distraction really from the chaos and differences that haunted our minds and affected our livelihoods.

You may recall a remarkable observation I wrote concerning public restrooms. A reminder was triggered and I thought about the faucet problem while traveling to our nation’s capital this Christmas. The government was on break so I couldn’t present my plight to congress so now you have to deal with my complaints – and I know you have nothing better to do during these passing days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. So, without further ado, what’s the deal with the faucet being so close to the back of the sink when the bowl is so enormous?

I would think it’s an easy fix, but then again, I’m not a plumber – my pants cover my crack on most occasions so I can’t even pass that requirement. I’m just saying if there’s not enough clearance for your hands to avoid banging against the bowl then I think a remodel is something to consider – especially if you’re leaning over this gigantic open space toward the spout in order to wash your hands. This simple suggestion will solve three problems: your hands won’t be crowded, the possibility of embarrassingly hurting your back bending over will be erased, and there will probably be less excess water splashed against the mirror and flooding the counter.

This brings up another question to ponder: why the hell do people wash their hands with such intensity sometimes? It’s like they’re bathing in there, and I can’t find a dry spot to selfishly take up public counter space with the pointless crap I carry. The nerve.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some quality faucets out in this world that have excellent flow-to-hand clearance; you usually find them in kitchens, non-hole-in-the-wall Asian restaurants (the hole-in-the-walls probably don’t have a bathroom and may be a front for something like illegal snooker gambling after hours), or upscale restaurants.

Quick upscale restaurants note: While in DC, the staff would fold your napkin for you after you got up to use the bathroom. I was quite offended for a few seconds; I’m sorry I don’t place my napkin on the table correctly. Also, how unsanitary is that? They’re touching dirty dishes and other dirty napkins and then they touch your napkin and then you put it to your mouth… and you know that some employees probably don’t wash their hands in the restroom as the standard sign orders either out of being rushed, forgetfulness, spite, or maybe because the spout is too damn close to the bowl.

That wasn’t such a quick note after all. I guess the point of all this is that there’s no point to a lot of complaints. Maybe we use this as an example and try not to bitch so much in 2018. Maybe we should just go with the flow.

See what I did there? Faucets, flow. It will come to you. Happy New Year and don’t forget to wash your hands in 2018!

Wasting Sick Time

“I got a feeling, I can’t get over.”
-Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, “Wasting Time”

It has been around two years since I’ve been sick. You would know that if you read Healthy Living For People Too Busy to Care, but I understand you may just be hearing about it now after accidently stumbling upon this site. Good for you, productively wasting time. I, on the other hand, wasn’t the last couple of days.

I know, this is exactly what you didn’t want, another person spreading germs via the internet. Cough cough. Don’t worry, you can take the surgical mask off, because no matter how much you believe the connection is real, it’s not. We’re here to talk about the value of wasting time, and getting over the fact that you don’t have to be productive every second of your life.

As I rested on the couch these last two days, I thought to myself, “How much Law & Order: SVU is too much Law & Order: SVU”?

OLIVIA: Why did you do it?
ME: I don’t know what you’re talking about. You have the wrong guy!
OLIVIA: We found your hair samples on that couch.
ME: The couch is lying. It drugged me with over-the-counter medicine, tempted me with comfort, and forced me on top. It was drunk with power!
OLIVIA: It’s over; we have all we need to put you away for a long time. You’re never going to hurt another couch again.
ME: Nooooooo!
COUCH: Dude, be quiet, I’m trying to sleep.
ME: Sorry, couch. Bad dream.
COUCH: Whatever. And would you get off me? You’re too heavy.
ME: Don’t be mean; I’m sick.
COUCH: Ugh. Get over it already.

I’m the type of person who needs to be doing something, so being out of commission really takes a toll on my mental stability (as you can see). However, when your body is telling you to rest, you need to rest. It’s difficult; I couldn’t move my fingers to write or play the piano, I couldn’t gather enough strength to tidy up the house or go for a walk, and don’t get me started on the struggles of going to the kitchen or bathroom. Whatever this bug was, it had me contained, but unfortunately, that’s kind of a good thing.

As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t been sick in about two years, but catching a cold isn’t the worst thing in the world. Sometimes you just have to let your immune system do its thing and let your body cycle through the illness. Yes, it sucks, but wasting time is relative. I believe that when you’re sick it opens your eyes to how much time you really throw away. You claim, “I could be doing so much right now,” when, in fact, you’re doing exactly what you would be doing if you weren’t sick: sitting on the couch and watching television. My body needed rest and it got it for the most part.

A word of advice to everyone: DO NOT GO ANYWHERE IF YOU’RE SICK. Just like reading the blog, no one gives a shit if you’re not feeling well, and no one is falling for your cry for sympathy. I got sick because one of my co-workers came in everyday last week and complained about how sick they were. Then two of my friends, one being sick and the other inadvertently being a carrier of her boyfriend’s cold, came over to our house on Saturday. Lastly, I went to an 8-year-old’s birthday party at a bowling alley Saturday night – nothing regarding that statement sounds healthy.

What did we learn from this pointless post? Not a damn thing considering it was a big waste of time. To recap: It’s not the end of the world when you get sick so let your body do its thing, and don’t spread your germs just because you want attention. Do it behind the safety of a computer screen.

People Who Exercise

“Now wait a minute, y’all; This dance ain’t for everybody, Only the sexy people.”
-Salt-n-Pepa, “Push It”

That title is a little on the vague side. I know many people exercise in many different ways. Some live at the gym, some take classes every day with little results, some are outdoorsy, some do yoga and Pilates, and some walk from the couch to the refrigerator and back a few times a night – remote or mouse clicking and phone poking have been found to cut a ton of calories. Don’t look that up; it’s not true.

I’m more of a traditionalist: I go to the gym each weekday for some basic lifting and cardio exercises, and then some outdoor activity on the weekends like soccer, volleyball, golf, or skiing (seasonal, duh). It’s a good balance, and yes, there was a time when I was obsessed, but I needed to lose weight and I did… and I’ve maintained it.

PERSON: What the hell do you know?
ME: I published a book on healthy living.
PERSON: So what? I’ve been working out for weeks now!
ME: Cool.
PERSON: That’s right, cool, why don’t you feel my abs?
ME: I don’t want to.
PERSON: Why not? They’re awesome!
ME: Because you’re really sweaty, like awkwardly sweaty, and you’re not an attractive girl, and though you’re abs are awesome, there’s still some good coverage so I couldn’t feel them anyway.
PERSON: You’re just jelly, bro.

I think there needs to be a revolution against the trendy Crossfit-like gyms that are still popping up all over – like weeds and breweries.

PERSON: Let’s go to Crossfit and then get a beer!
ME: I’m just going to get a beer.
PERSON: AHHHHHHH! I’m totally pumped!
ME: Cool.

Anyway, enough of that guy, he’s gone – he sprinted miles and through doors and walls to get to his session, probably kicked a baby somewhere along the way because it was moving too slow. I thought this obsession would fizzle out eventually after everyone ended up getting injured because they break their bodies down at an intense rate with very little recovery time. It was once a theory, then a fact, and now just an ignored statement. People are fixated, even when the workouts turn uber-stupid. I saw an instructor having his clients walk on rocks barefoot outside his converted-warehouse. What the hell is that going to do for anyone? Toughen their feet? Cause an infection? It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of dumb things (I look in the mirror every day). It’s not like we’re in Africa and the only way into the tribe is by walking over burning coals.

I think it’s come down to what are people actually trying to accomplish here? Not everyone can be in the Crossfit games or a Ninja Warrior. I’m not saying it’s not possible, I’m just saying it’s not worth it – literally. I don’t think anyone other than extreme exercise enthusiasts are actually impressed with people working out 16 hours a day and then showing off their abilities on daytime cable television or on a network like USA where the station is immediately switched once someone realizes their rerun of Law & Order: SVU or NCIS isn’t going to be on – all for a couple bucks. In addition, people who aren’t going to be participating in a bodybuilding competition need to stop training like they are. The only thing this is going to get you is some complaints and judgment because you’re hogging the mirror and weights or a lot of requests to help people move. People need to relax!

Listen, everyone can do whatever they want – I have likes that others won’t agree with as well – but I’m just suggesting that there needs to be a balance. You know the Canada Dry commercials with everyone exercising to the point where sweat is being flung all over the room and working so hard at the office that a paper cut or spilled coffee is bound to happen? No? Okay, maybe I watch too much TV, but that’s fine because the end of the commercial advises to relax harder.

I exercise and am outside a lot and I eat healthy, but I also relax and don’t eat healthy and drink beer and whiskey from time to time, and you know what, I still look and feel great. Find a balance, people, before you can’t do anything at all.

Public Restrooms

“Excuse me mister if you please, I gotta go.”
-Robert Earl Keen, “I Gotta Go”

Let’s not talk about all public restrooms here; there’s no reason to bring up disgusting portables with absolutely no lighting at outdoor nighttime concerts or just people peeing freely in parks. In fact, even the facilities specifically built for relief in public areas aren’t sacred anymore. For example, the last time I was in Washington, DC, I used the bathroom next to the reflective pool between the World War II and Lincoln Memorial monuments and saw a homeless man shaving in there. He didn’t say hi back. Probably thought he was better than me. Whatever. We’re going to focus on two places: airports and restaurants.

When traveling, a new airport is part of the experience whether that’s during a layover or upon arrival. You get to explore the below-average food options that are available, people watch and guess who is traveling where and who will be the first to have a nervous breakdown, and of course, use the restroom. I will tell you this: the best airport bathrooms in the nation are at Albuquerque’s International Sunport. I’m not going to be stereotypical and tell you it’s because the city is full of Hispanic people and they’re quite good at certain custodial aspects of buildings, but there could be a connection. Okay, I guess I was stereotypical, but it’s a compliment. If I could use that airport’s bathrooms every day I would – other than my house, they’re probably the cleanest, most comfortable bathrooms around no matter the building. Every other airport is disgusting, but out of necessity, you must fight the lines, clogs, dampness, noises, smells, trash, and faulty motion sensors.

Then there are restaurants. I like to eat, but if you ever found a picture of me you would think that’s hogwash. Mmm, hog, yum. I also enjoy most cuisines and dishes I order – or at least I convince myself that the food is good if I’m going to be overpaying for it. I know that it works both ways and people are picky because they want to make their dining experience worth it, but you have to eat, and it’s not like you’re going to get your money back because they already made the food and your fingers and used fork have been all over it. Maybe a free dessert, but you don’t like the food so what’s that going to do for you? After tricking my mind, I find other ways to be annoying in food establishments – like judging the condition and design of their restrooms. I could have a horrible dinner, but if the bathroom is in extraordinary condition with clean floors and toilets, designer sinks and lighting, and johnny boards with comics or the sports sheet above the urinal, it makes the experience balanced. On the contrary, I could have the most fantastic dish of my life, but if the bathroom has paper towels and unspecified liquid (for whatever reason) on the floor, exposed pipes, and rusted porcelain under a flickering dying florescent, then I might as well just skip out on the bill and drive home (or to the airport). With all this being said, I think we’re all in agreement with the following claim: Asian restaurants have the coolest restrooms – I’m just waiting for there to be coy in the toilet water.

This was a completely pointless post, but we’ll find something to think about. Airport runners and restaurant owners, people are always judging so clean up. Travelers and food patrons, the sign that states, employees must wash their hands, isn’t just for employees. I gotta go.

People and Their Damn Dogs

“I’m gonna tell myself I might not get angry.”
-Baha Men, “Who Let The Dogs Out”

We have a growing issue in America. No, it’s not unimportant stuff like healthcare reform, equality, poverty, or attempting to mend our divided country – it’s people and their damn dogs. They’re everywhere. What ever happened to the days when you could just go to someone’s home, be pestered by an animal that’s cute at first, but its charm wears off after your face is constantly licked and your leg is continuously humped? Or the days when you visit your friends or family and the dog is skittish or unwelcoming, passing gas because of its anxiety, creating an uncomfortable conversation between guest and host? Those moments are still there, so don’t worry, but now they just happen in public places.

I have nothing against dogs; I think they’re cute, I think they’re funny, and I think they serve a great purpose. With that being said, I don’t think it’s necessary that they need to be with their owner every minute of the day. For example: Breweries. It’s bad enough people bring their children to these places, but when the dogs start rolling in, you might as well be drinking at a petting zoo. The children want to play with the animals, the dogs are either too rough or unresponsive to the child’s advances, creating tears and screeching cries from the youngling. Hooray, just what I wanted to hear while trying to enjoy my adult conversation and good overhead music. Now let’s introduce another dog into the equation which doesn’t get along with other breeds. They bark, growl, and tug on their leash, knocking over glasses and moving chairs around in the process. Yippee, another great variable to my rare night out. I don’t know what’s better: that or the dogs becoming overly excited when they see each other, peeing all over the place, and slobbering all over my clothes because there are so many that I’m bound to be close to one. I guess it serves me right for sitting outside on a beautiful summer evening, leaving my beer exposed so a dog’s floating hair can land in my $5 treat and its bad breath and spit can cover by $10 plate of food. I should just go inside, sit in the corner by myself, and avoid human contact so everyone who has a pet can converse freely. Kind of like how a dog would be treated. Interesting.

A quick note: I sympathize with people who need service dogs, but they’ve become as common as a gluten allergy – and just like the mysterious rise regarding the intolerance, I feel that some people may be over-exaggerating their problem.

I get it; it’s hip and trendy. However, bringing your mutt to work definitely needs to stop. I work in a building that has four suites, including ours. We don’t have any pets staining our carpets, but there are 7 (yep, 7, you didn’t read that wrong) amongst the other three offices on a daily basis – and these are very small businesses. If you count the 6 dogs in the two businesses across the street, you have a full on kennel in the industrial area. I just hope one of these poor things doesn’t get run over by a semi during one of the employee’s 10 breaks that are required for their pet to use the bathroom and exercise. They take more breaks than smokers – and people complain about them all the time, especially when their dog is subject to secondhand smoke. That’s why those same whiners just vape inside the office and nauseate their co-workers with their unregulated scented chemicals. Interesting.

It reminds of the story last week about Joey Barge who was told not to wear shorts to the office per company dress code so he decided to show up in a dress the following day. Loser. We get it, it’s hot, but everyone else is obliging to the company’s regulations – which I’m sure this genius agreed upon when he scribbled his signature on the policies and procedures during the hiring process. So not only did he deliberately break his company’s rules, he also disrespected his superiors. For what? To prove a point and get some likes on social media platforms? Big whoop. He should be fired and replaced by one of many other people searching for jobs who are apparently much more intelligent. My point is that we can’t just keep doing whatever the hell we want because it’s ruining many aspects of life; people need to start thinking about the effect their actions have, because it’s a long spiral of distress for many parties.

People tend to believe they’re nicer and more caring than they actually are. We live in a closed-minded, inconsiderate, selfish world full of double standards, and the epidemic continues to spread. I heard horse therapy works for anger and stress. Maybe I will start bringing a horse to the office and ride it to the brewery after.

Doctors and Mechanics

“I just shook the handshake, I just sealed the deal, I’ll try not to let them, Take everything they can steal.”
-MGMT, “The Handskake”

We can go straight for the obvious comparison and conclude that both these professions fix things (so we think). By the way, if you didn’t read the title, we’re talking about doctors and mechanics here. Maybe you should go see a specialist concerning your attention span.

We could also make the other obvious comparison that both rip you off in some way, shape, or form. Mechanics: a figurative rectal exam; doctors: a literal rectal exam – and a prostate check for good measure (for men, of course – for women, the use of a speculum).

Every time I go to the mechanics I’m onto their little tricks. They load you up with free coffee and soda, maybe a stale donut or cold popcorn, and distract you with daytime television which you shouldn’t be interested in, but damn, it’s just too hard to look away from a soap opera like it’s some car accident – maybe I shouldn’t compare something to a car accident while at the mechanics because it’s bad juju – just so they can tinker with your vehicle, lifting it up, fondling it’s undercarriage, violating its private parts, and then deny the fact, tell you the car was asking for it and there’s something wrong with it, not them. I’ve seen enough Law & Order to know what’s really going on here. You molested my car, and now you’re raping me. They make up some cockamamie diagnosis that you just have to trust is true. So, I take great satisfaction in saying that I will not be replacing the air filter. Why do they have so many of those anyway?

Kind of like those little plastic cones doctors stick in your ear. I went for just a consultation once, kind of like a meet and greet because physicians change hospitals more than waitresses change restaurants and finding a new one takes months to make an appointment (or reservation), then another month to build a nice relationship (or for them to know your usual dish after a long drawn-out pathetic attempt at flirtation). What the hell are we talking about here? Anyway, the doctor stuck his thing in my ear (gross) and I didn’t want or need it to be done, but just went along with the situation, and then he charged me $50 like he was doing me a favor. My next appointment involved a recommended physical (reference above paragraph for Law & Order similarities, and also the previous sentence for charges). Unlike mechanics, doctors don’t necessarily tell you what’s wrong, but rather state that you’re fine. However, they have a specific tone when explaining precautionary measures that fill your head with curiosity, intrigue, and paranoia. Your other alternative is to check WebMd which is why you’re at the doctor’s office in the first place because the internet site always gives you the worst case scenario for your symptoms. A cough and stuffy nose? Brain aneurysm. So you agree to some tests which means you agree to fees that will eventually either be paid out of frustration or end up at a collection agency.

Two different sales tactics, but two that work, and both offer the it’s your funeral approach. A mechanic intimidates and forces you to eventually coincidently return out of spite for denying an air filter; a doctor is vague and makes you feel guilty enough about your lifestyle that the stress and worry will eventually land you back in their office and not by choice.

Where does this all stem from you may ask? Even though you didn’t I’m still going to tell you. I received two emails this past week. The first, my mechanic is convinced my car is due for service; and the second, my provider claimed my body is due for service. When did they start doing that anyway? Sounds like someone is in cahoots, and I’m not buying it.

Disclaimer: I’m not saying don’t go to the doctor or mechanic when something is wrong. Or do what you want; what do I care.