freedom of speech

Freedom of speech. The first amendment. What does the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution actually say ... and mean?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

CONGRESS shall make no law. Congress. That means the government. That means that the U.S. GOVERNMENT, and ONLY the government, shall not interfere with/abridge your freedom of speech. This does not apply to any private organization or person, only to the government. That means that you have no freedom of speech when it comes to corporations, companies, the workplace, the INTERNET, your cell phone service and other private entities. OMG! Hmm. I don't know about you but I never realized that before. Since I was old enough to walk and talk I thought we Americans had freedom of speech ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE.

Turns out we don't.


It appears that our freedom of speech in America is NOT guaranteed, except as it applies to the government. Freedom of speech protection apparently does not apply to the private sector. That being the case, when we are out and about should we start watching what we say, who we say it to, and where we say it? Apparently.




billboard for a dream



I had a dream. A weird dream. I do not understand why I had the dream, it made no sense.

I dreamt that I was trying to access Billboard.com on my computer and could not access the website.

Billboard is a leading big time music publication. I have no real life reason, or interest, in going to Billboard.com.

In my dream my computer was working fine and I could access other sites but, for some unknown reason, I was having trouble going to billboard.com and was frustrated because, for some unknown reason, it was important that I go to billboard.com. In my dream accessing Billboard was an ongoing money making proposition for me (I don't know why) and that day this access was worth $4,000. Yet, for some unknown reason, I was unable to gain access to the site. There was no error message, my browser(s) simply could not access the website. I kept trying, with the same result. Then I woke up.

This was a weird dream. I never go to billboard.com. I have no reason to go to billboard.com. I am not in the music business. I don't write songs; books and blogs yes, songs, no. I don't know any performers or agents or managers or record company staff in the big time music business. Normally I don't even LISTEN to music! Why am I dreaming about being unable to access Billboard.com?

A dream is supposed to reflect our emotions or outside influences. It's our brain absorbing, understanding and filing stuff, in it's own "language". I can understand dreaming about not accessing something, maybe I'm feeling blocked, shut out of something (I can't imagine what) but Billboard.com, a music business website? Where did THAT come from? So why did I have a weird dream about being unable to access the Billboard website? I have no idea. Any thoughts?




I do not speak tech



I read the following report in the tech section of Google News ... and didn't understand one word!

From boingboing.net:

"The fun-lovin' hackers at Adafruit banged together this teensy weensy MAME cabinet over a weekend; it's more of a kludge than a project, and they didn't document the build in its entirety, meaning that making your own is a challenge that the Fruits have thrown down before you.

The idea came about while discussing a gaming “bonnet” — a small accessory board precisely fitted to the Raspberry Pi Zero form-factor — which would include a few basic controls and a tiny monochrome OLED display.



Yes, techies have their own language. Kludge? Bonnet? Form-factor? MAME? MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (whatever THAT is). I never heard of these terms but then again I'm old, non-technical, speak and write traditional English and live in the real world, on the planet Earth.

And in case you don't know, Adafruit Industries is not a food company. According to Wikipedia it's an open-source hardware company based in New York City. It was founded by Limor Fried in 2005, in her Massachusetts Institute of Technology dorm room. She is a former MIT hacker and an engineer. Her goal was to create the best place online for learning electronics and making the best designed products for makers of all ages and skill levels. Adafruit has expanded offerings to include tools, equipment and electronics that Limor personally selects, tests and approves before going in to the Adafruit store. Limor was the first female engineer on the cover of WIRED magazine.

Here is a photo of Limor Fried:

She's the one on the left

And here is what a Adefruit miniature MAME Cabinet looks like:





to be a painter



Lately I have been having a daydream. What's the daydream? The daydream is that I would love to be an artist painter.

Being an artist appeals to me. Being a painter appeals to me. The colors, the images, the light, the shapes, the creativity, the vision put on canvas. I would love to be a painter, to create art, art which hopefully would sell in art galleries for tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, or millions, of dollars per painting. Not to mention the groupies I could have. Ah, what a life that would be. Sitting in front of an easel, indoors and sometimes outdoors, bringing forth art, bringing forth creative artistic magical moments with paint and brush. Magical hours and days of high expectation, high frustration and high satisfaction. Me in sync with the easel, creating art.

I would love to be a painter. A good painter. A great painter. So why don't I become a painter? Because I can't paint. I know little or nothing about how to paint. When I was in kindergarten, we had art class and we used to paint and draw. I was lousy at it. In fact, even with crayons, I couldn't color within the lines. I still can't color within the lines. At a young age I quickly gave up the idea and the appeal of being an artist painter. Now strangely, a lifetime later, I have the daydream, the fantasy, of being a painter. I do not know why. Yes, I could try it, I could become a artist painter. Yes, I could buy the paints, brushes, canvas - and maybe take some classes - but in my heart I know it would not be a good experience. I would be a lousy painter and it would not make me happy. For me, being an artist painter is a daydream, a fantasy, no doubt just a temporary longing, a passing desire. Every dream need not be pursued, only the ones that don't go away. Perhaps I will lovingly and longingly keep the fantasy of being an artist painter - and stick to writing.

They say "a picture is worth a thousand words". Maybe the reverse is true. Maybe a thousand words is worth a picture.




too hot coffee



My coffee is too hot and I can't figure out why.

I add a little vanilla ice cream to my coffee when I have coffee at home. I have 2-3 cups a day. I add Dreyer's Slow Churned Classic Vanilla ice cream. It has less fat and less sugar than the regular vanilla ice cream. I know, adding ice cream to your coffee sounds a bit weird but the vanilla ice cream adds flavor, makes it creamier, like cafe au lait, and immediately makes the coffee cool enough to start drinking without waiting until it cools off on its own. I enjoy coffee at home that way. Yes, I know, it's not trendy. And it's not Starbucks. And it doesn't cost $5 a cup. I've been doing it that way for decades and it works great, at least for me. At least it worked until now. The last 1.5 quart container of this ice cream I bought does not cool off my coffee immediately when I add it. For the past several days, when I add my usual amount of this ice cream, my coffee has been too hot to drink immediately. The ice cream does not instantly cool it off enough to drink it, like it used to do. How could cold ice cream not be cold enough? I checked my freezer and it's working fine, everything in there is cold, if not rock solid and frozen, including my ice cream. Why is my Dreyer's Slow Churned Classic Vanilla suddenly not cold enough to immediately cool off my coffee so I can drink it?

I am not a food chemist so I don't know why this ice cream no longer quickly cools my coffee when I add it. It's a mystery. An annoying mystery. It used to work perfectly, this ice cream would cool my coffee enough to drink it immediately. Now it doesn't. I use the same amount of ice cream in my coffee as I always have. I use the same cup for my morning coffee (yes, I wash it). And my spoons are the same size they have always been. And I have used the exact same jar of instant coffee for weeks. And water boils at the same temperature as it always has, 212 degrees Fahrenheit, 100 degrees Celsius. It isn't the coffee, the cup, the boiling water or the spoon, it's gotta be the ice cream. Now I have to wait a few extra minutes for my coffee to be less hot - or risk burning my lips, tongue, mouth and/or throat. Now I have to wait an extra five minutes in the morning in order to drink my coffee, wake up, and face the world. Hey, I'm busy, and sleepy, I don't want to have to wait! And, no, I don't want to put an ice cube in my coffee.

I do not know what happened. Suddenly, the ice cream doesn't work? It doesn't cool my coffee? And I had the same problem with another flavor: Dreyer's Slow Churned French Vanilla. Could Dreyer's have added or removed or changed a basic component of their ice cream, the cooling component? Is their ice cream no longer cold? I don't know, that seems impossible, impossible yet possibly true. All I know is that if something ain't broke, don't fix it! That includes my morning coffee.




will strippers become hookers?



stealing her hard earned money

The State of Louisiana has raised the legal age for exotic dancers from 18 to 21. Why? To combat sex trafficking.

Is this law a good idea? Let's see. Among other things, the law will prevent many female high school graduates from going to college, as the law would prevent 18, 19, 20 year-old females from becoming even a part time exotic dancer. Thus, the law may have the unintended consequence of preventing young women of legal age (18) from earning enough money to afford college.

The state is being sued on the law, for discrimination. In a federal lawsuit, the dancers say the law violates the First Amendment by denying them freedom of expression, and violates the Constitution's equal protection clause by unfairly targeting women.

How so? They say the law's definition of strip club performers as "entertainers whose breasts or buttocks are exposed to view" fails to prohibit the same conduct by male strippers who are between the ages of 18 and 21. Hey, fair and equal means fair and equal, right?

One plaintiff says she has witnessed pimps and prostitutes trying to use the new law in a New Orleans strip club to "recruit entertainers who are now lawfully employed, but who will lose their jobs as a result of the Act."

Another plaintiff, identified as an 18-year-old LSU student, says other dancers under 21 have told her they plan to switch to prostitution once they can no longer dance.



Once again, politicians and bureaucrats, in trying to make things better, will make things worse. Congratulations, Louisiana, in combating sex trafficking this law will probably create more used and abused and exploited young women. This law will rob women, age 18-20, of an excellent job opportunity and a lucrative career and a way to pay for college. And will motivate 18-20 year-old female strippers to turn into hookers and call girls and sex workers. With this law the State of Louisiana is taking away a young woman's right to earn a legal living as an 18-20 year-old exotic dancer. Thus the state may, in reality, be helping to create more hookers and more illegal prostitution. And more abused and exploited and sex trafficked young women. And that helps young women, how?

This law is a bad idea. Repeal it.




A ban on pressure cookers



cooking up a bomb?

Terrorists seem to like making bombs out of pressure cookers. I understand that maybe it's because pressure cookers have a tight seal and apparently that makes for a good bomb. I wouldn't know. In any event, using "liberal logic", if pressure cookers are being used to create violence and death then let's ban pressure cookers! Yes, it's just like the gun issue. Let's treat pressure cookers the same as guns. People use guns to kill people so we should ban guns. People use pressure cookers to kill people so we should ban pressure cookers!

Plus, unlike guns, Americans have no Constitutional right to own a pressure cooker. So taking away people's pressure cookers should be a lot easier.

Let's ban pressure cookers! Let's take away your pressure cooker! C'mon, nobody really needs to own a pressure cooker. And, if you do use a pressure cooker, you need to change your eating habits and stop using a pressure cooker - it's the least you can do to save lives! Thanks to a-hole terrorists pressure cookers are dangerous! Pressure cookers harm others! Ban pressure cookers! Or, at the very minimum, make it difficult to get a pressure cooker and make people get a license to own one. And make a law that says people have to keep their pressure cooker at home locked up in a "pressure cooker safe". And make sure they can't legally carry a concealed pressure cooker in public.

Yeah, that'll work. Banning guns will make America safer from criminals. Banning pressure cookers will make America safer from terrorists. Yeah, sure it will. No more pressure cookers, no more terrorism!

And I don't even mind if America DOES ban pressure cookers - because I don't cook!



Yes, this entry, a ban on pressure cookers, is satire. I'm kidding. Or not.




Microsoft sucks again!



It never loads, it just sits there spinning

So I got a Microsoft Windows 10 update (KB318), an update that didn't download. For 3 hours the download was stuck at 45%. I searched online for a fix. The fix was too complicated for a non professional non-geek (me). I phoned Microsoft tech support and, after being on hold for 15 minutes, I finally got a live person - in India. It was difficult to understand his heavily accented English. He told me that perhaps the problem was that the servers were very busy due to everyone downloading the update. Like it's OUR fault! I responded, "Get more servers."

The tech took control of my computer remotely and, one-and-a-half hours later, the update was finally downloaded (manually, by him) and was finally installed on my computer. Exhausted and annoyed, I thanked Microsoft for wasting 1.5 hours of my time and hung up, finally able to start my day online.


Why doesn't stuff work like it's supposed to? Why does this happen? Why does this happen all too often? A Windows 10 update that gets stuck and doesn't download? WHY? WHY should we non-technical, non-geek consumers have to suffer the lost time and frustration of things that don't work? Why is the tech industry incompetent - and arrogant about being incompetent? WHY don't they make stuff that works, WHY don't they launch products that work properly in the first place? WHY are there annoying bugs in practically every electronic device product we buy? WHY should we non-geek consumers be forced to become technologically savvy, become tech engineers? I am not handy. I don't fix my own car, why should I have to fix my electronic devices, especially n-e-w electronic devices? Especially new electronic devices that don't work right when launched. Or updates that get stuck and don't download.

As for my update that wouldn't download, it's not MY job to download and install automatic Windows updates, Microsoft, it's YOUR job!

Also read Happy Anniversary, Microsoft. You suck!




what's your intention?



When driving a vehicle and there's other vehicles around you, if you want to make a turn, or make a lane change, please use your freaking turn signal!

Other drivers (like me) need to know that you intend to make a turn, right or left, so we can safely accommodate you, and not smash into your ass. Whenever you are going to make a turn, let other drivers (behind and in front of you) know, by using your turn signal. I am not a mind reader, I don't know that you are about to make a turn unless you let me know.

You are piloting a potentially deadly 4,000 pound vehicle. Please let everyone know what you intend to do with it. Be smart - use your turn signal! Unless you prefer that we smash into you.

In traffic, making a turn without using your turn signal is downright dangerous. Using your turn signal is common safety. And common courtesy. And common sense. Use it! Make it a habit.




they never ask me



They never ask for MY opinion

There are lots of opinion polls. There are opinion polls for everything. Poll topics include every aspect of society - elections, sex, food, pets, entertainment, hobbies and habits - name any subject and some organization is probably taking a poll on it. So why don't they ever poll ME? I never get polled. I never get a phone call or an email or online questionnaire or ANY invitation asking for my opinions on ANY topic reflecting the society in which I live. I'm part of society, why don't they ever ask MY opinion? I have lots of opinions, lots of beliefs, and lots of time to answer questions on a societal survey. Why don't the major polling organizations, like Gallup Poll, Harris Poll, Pew Research, and Nielsen (hey, I watch TV too!) ever poll ME? Every week (every day?) they poll thousands of people all across the nation. They never poll me. I have never been polled by a major polling organization, on any topic. Hey, I would enjoy making my opinions known for the record. I would like to be part of "public opinion". I DESERVE to be asked for my opinion on a subject. Yet I never am. I never get polled. Nobody calls me and asks who am I going to vote for - or why. Nobody ever calls and asks me if I believe in man-made global warming. Nobody calls me and asks if I think people who don't have celiac disease but eat only gluten-free food are malnourishing themselves.

Nobody ever polls me. There's thousands of polls being taken, on thousands of topics, and I never get to give my opinion on any of them. That makes me feel left out. I feel isolated and ignored. I feel like my opinion doesn't matter - and isn't being counted. Because it's NOT. Well, I've had enough! My opinion DOES matter! And that's why I write this blog.




drinking causes cancer



Drinking is the new smoking

From metro.co.uk

"It looks like alcohol is the new tobacco, with a study finding that it causes as many as seven different types of cancer.

Researchers found there was more than a coincidental link between alcohol and the disease, and that incidence was so high it was unlikely to be explained by something else.

Writing in the journal Addiction, Jennie Connor, from the University of Otago in New Zealand, said alcohol is estimated to have caused around half a million deaths from cancer in 2012 alone – or 5.8% of cancer deaths worldwide.

Drinking was linked to cancer of the mouth and throat, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, bowel and breast, even in people who drink low to moderate amounts.

‘There is strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer at seven sites [of the body], and probably others,’ Connor said. According to current evidence, there is no safe level of drinking when it comes to cancer – although the risks for some types of cancer go down when people stop drinking.



OMG! Here's ANOTHER thing that kills you - drinking. We were recently told by medical science that a couple of drinks a night was good for your heart. Now they tell us that, if you drink, you'll die. Now they tell us that if you drink, your heart might be healthy but you'll die of cancer in 7 different parts of your body??? Now, alcohol is the new smoking?

Seems like everything we do, or eat, or drink, kills us. Can't we have ANY fun?




Forced Previews



gimme my fast forward

OK, this is a pet peeve. It's not a major thing, just a minor irritating annoyance. It has to do with renting movies.

It was a summer Saturday night. The new TV season had not started yet. There was nothing on TV that wasn't a rerun, or was something I had no interest in watching. I get like 200 channels on my cable and there was nothing on that was worth watching. So I decided to rent a DVD movie. At Redbox. I drove to the Redbox kiosk, selected a movie I thought might be worth seeing, and drove home.

At home, I put the movie in my VCR, started the movie and sat back, hoping to be entertained. But before I got to the main entertainment I had to sit through endless previews, previews of movies I had yet to rent. And, as it turned out, would never want to rent. My remote control would not fast forward through the previews. The DVD had somehow disabled the fast forward function on my remote! What? Yes. I was FORCED to sit through at least 7 previews, 20 minutes of previews of horrible movies I did not want to see - ever - and would not want to see ANY of them - even if they were free! 20 minutes of forced previews? Hey, the average attention span of humans is like 8 seconds! No fast forward? I was annoyed. And bored. And forced to wait endlessly, forced to sit through preview after preview of lousy movies, waiting for the main movie to start.

As a consumer, I paid to rent the movie. I did NOT, however, pay to be forced to watch a bunch of previews for lousy movies. And, as for disabling my remote so I could not fast forward through the previews, that's just outrageously arrogant - and evil. Whoever thought disabling a consumer's fast forward button on their remote and forcing them to sit through 30 minutes of previews (they are ads!) was a good idea? Who's brilliant idea is that? The movie studio? The movie producer? Redbox? I don't know and I don't care, I don't like it! And, as a result, I may NEVER rent a movie again. And anyway, most movies today are not very good and not worth watching, let alone renting. It ain't worth it.

I have premium channels HBO and Showtime and Netflix. I'll just wait for all the newer movies to eventually come to those premium channels. No commercials. And I'll continue to pay to watch Netflix, which has no commercial interruptions either. Instead of renting movies I will continue to do the other things happily. Unless or until those other sources insert forced ads and endless previews into the TV shows and movies they offer.

Several months later, I am sticking to my guns and have still not rented a movie. Not one.