Delight is scarcely longer than a letter; Disgust’s a library.

I cannot wait for this presidential election to be done. Watching everyone being so terrible to each other is pretty damn depressing. Prior to this election season, I used to like having both extremes of news channels in my social media news feeds. I want to understand where people are coming from when they have such powerful opinions.

But this election cycle has been outright carnage. In most cases, it’s not the stories themselves, it’s the comments.

The devotees of the respective left and right media channels did their jobs. Dems and Reps are successfully whipped up into angry mobs complete with pitchforks and torches. Fox and CNN/MSNBC barely even have to spin anything any more, they just ring the bell and like clockwork, the Pavlovian response comes from their constituents. You tear each other apart, and ask for seconds.

Think for yourselves, folks. You are all better than this.

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Movie Reviews…

Crimson Peak – visually stunning, pretty decent, the storytelling gets slightly clumsy at points, but good.

I am Not a Serial Killer – this was pretty decent. The acting and story were excellent, got a little weird at the end, but I’ll give it a B+ on effort and concept.

Sully – this was very good. It’s nice when a great story receives a great movie.

Funny/Interesting Links…

doing my best not to cringe

This past week I saw two things that gave me pause. A friend’s daughter at a coffee shop with a Trump sticker on her laptop, and one of my son’s hockey teammates walking out of the locker room wearing a Trump t-shirt.

To be clear, that’s all on me. Folks are allowed to vote and show support for Satan if they so choose. I’m the one that is connecting the dots between the xenophobia and bigotry coming out of Trump’s mouth with a genocide that occured 101 years ago.

The Armenian Genocide.

Why? How could I connect Trump talking shit on Megyn Kelly or Rosie O’Donnell with the slaughter of 1.5 million people? Well, that’s not what I am talking about. His support of banning and labeling people based on their religious affiliation most certainly is. My ancestors were murdered and raped because we were Armenian. Armenians, Greeks, and Asyrians were Christian nations within the Ottoman Empire. They were labeled, rounded up, and killed.

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Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?

Any idea who said that? It was Hitler, describing his plan to “send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language”.

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By definition as an Armenian American, I am middle-eastern. Although I am not a Muslim, my skin is olive-toned. Can you tell by looking at me if I am Muslim? You can’t, no one can. Most have no idea where Armenia even is on a map. Can you tell if my son or daughter are?

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That’s why it stings when I see the support for Trump. I’m working on it, because I know there is something about Trump that reaches his supporters. My assumption is it is fear, but I want to develop the ability to push that anger down and have a conversation.

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Again, I know I am connecting dots, but even the faintest mention of rounding up of any race or religion will always elicit this response from a person that literally has genocide in my blood. This is a bit of the horseshoes and handgrenades rule. Close enough to raise my ire.

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That said, you will not put a label on myself or my children. Never again.

Funny/Interesting Links…

fathom the machine

My discipline has been sucking lately. My diet has sucked. I’ve been good about not missing runs and kettlebells everyday, but I’ve been an absolute dipshit with keeping up on with my Gorilla Workouts. I have been playing my new Reverend religiously (holy shit, I love this guitar). I haven’t been reading. Meditation hasn’t happened in a couple of weeks. I’m OK with that – I equate mediation, guitar playing, and reading as the same effect on me…. i.e. makes me want to beat the shit out of people/things less.

This all might be that nebulous complacency that torments me from time to time, but I kind of want to get the machine humming again.

This quote came across my inbox (thanks, Tim Ferriss)…

“Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike.” – Oscar Wilde

Very timely, right? Maybe something to think about the next time we post something incendiary about Trump/Hillary/Bernie/Flying Spaghetti Monster. I’m not saying be a gigantic pussy and worry about parroting your beliefs with a tenacity unforeseen by mankind. I’m saying give a shit about why someone is being drawn to that candidate you just cannot fathom anyone with whatever you base as the lowest form of education imaginable for a still-fogging-the-mirror voting person. See, it helps to know where folks are coming from in politics. It’s too easy to chalk it up to knee-jerk fear incensed by the media. There is something there and it’s actually a better concept than the whole political correctness that pretty much no one admits to enjoying. That’s how America gets better folks. At least, that is what I believe. Respectful differences of opinion help us find the best solution.

For example, I support ACA/Obamacare. Did you just ball up your fists and get “fucking liberal!” on the tip of your tongue?

Well, here’s why I support parts of that program. See, my wife is an epileptic. Prior to the ACA, the only way she could be insured (at the time I was self-employed and she did not get health insurance through her employer) was for us to purchase a ridiculously expensive insurance plan, pay those premiums for 9 months – WITH NO BENEFITS to her for her to receive any coverage. The metaphor would be being told you have to make car payments for 3/4 of a year until you actually get the car. Obamacare/ACA fixed that for my family. Pre-existing conditions is the only reason I support that program.

That’s it.

Got a better solution that is more fair? I am totally willing to listen. Seriously. You have to include pre-existing conditions in your plan, but I’ll listen. The penalties side of Obamacare don’t make an ounce of sense to me, but I’m also big enough to admit that I do not know enough to really understand the need for those penalties. I don’t have an allegiance to an insurance plan or a political party for that matter. I have an allegiance to my wife and family. Just like you do. It’s all good.

Movie Reviews…

Filmage – a really sweet documentary about the Descendents, one of my favorite bands of all time. The portion about Bill Stevenson’s brain tumor was really great. I had no idea that Bill had gone through all of that, and boy, it sounded pretty harrowing for those around him. Very happy that caffeinated surf beat is still kickin’. “I want to be stereotyped. I want to be classified.”

Funny/Interesting Links…

stay at the table

Right now, our society – more specifically, our country needs to stop focusing on what side of the aisle they stand upon and realize there is a growing problem of historical proportions. Whether you are a card-carrying member of the NRA or a person that believes that handguns should not be owned by any private citizens – we all agree that all of these people dying is bad, right?

If I lost you in that first paragraph, I’m not going to tell you to go away, fuck off, etc. Why? I want you at the table, talking. If you are passionate about this topic, you need to keep your place at the table.

Recently, I’ve been reading How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and I found this the other day…

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Listen, I don’t own a gun and probably never will. I do respect your decision to own one and think with proper regulation, that is lawful for citizens to own a weapon for personal protection or hunting. I’m not smart enough to dictate whether automatic weapons or how many weapons is legitimate. The ugliness I’m seeing on social media on BOTH sides is disheartening to say the least.  Calling each other stupid and drawing these lines in the sand doesn’t force discussion, it builds these walls taller and widens the width of the aisle.

Again, the Carnegie book provided a helpful excerpt…

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Emerson’s quote is cut off a bit…

Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him

I’m not better/smarter than anyone else. Keep talking folks.

Movie Reviews…

Black Mass – thick, slow moving plot that unfurls itself at the audience, very good.

Funny/Interesting Links…

From Bone to Satellite

9450127Yesterday’s events brought a myriad of thoughts and emotions. I’m sure my friends that watch Fox News are crossing their arms, giving a fatherly grumble as they see another bleeding-heart liberal that is going to cite some data from MotherJones, ThinkProgress, or whatever Obama-loving source I can find to tell them why they can’t have their guns any more. Nope.

A quick caveat, I’m not a democrat.

I have voted for Obama proudly twice because I fully support his removal of denying insurance to persons with pre-existing conditions. This affects my family directly (my wife is an epileptic). I do however, vote across party-lines locally. My best friend since I was 5 year old is literally a card-carrying member of the Republican party. He provides me with honest information about local candidates during elections. I refuse to label myself with one party or another, because I feel like voting strictly along party lines is the absolute stupidest thing one can do (besides not voting, of course). I like the idea of having as many options on the table as possible when it comes to decisions. My Dad was wrong about brown vinyl furniture, but he had this idea 100% correct.

You have your opinions and choices that are probably made with your own parameters of what is important to you, and that’s totally fine.

Gun ownership is something that I support. That said, there is a difference between protecting your home, hunting, and mowing people down.

Here’s the basal thing I have with guns in terms of bringing them to a fight/disagreement… it is an outright admittance that, “I may or may not be strong enough to settle this with my fists, but this gun will absolutely increase my chances that I will win.”

I’m not calling you a pussy if you have a gun.

Not at all.

First off, you have a gun… and it doesn’t matter how many burpees and pull-ups I can do – you’re pretty much going to win in a fight. It’s similar to a post I wrote a while ago about runners/cyclists getting irate with people driving. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, the car will win.

Actually, watch this scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey… this is a perfect metaphor…

The gun is an extension of your fist. As is a grenade, mortar, artillery shell, cannon, sword, knife, dagger, stick, or nuclear warhead.

Now, how you use the fist is where the problems can begin. Who gets to have these fists is where the arguing starts. I absolutely do not have the answer. I’m not a smart enough person to be able to tell anyone the way it should be. I do know that we are all fatigued of reading these terrible stories. I want less dead people, let’s start with that ambitious thing on my list of demands.

Funny/Interesting Links…