Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Current Politi-SQUIRREL!!

“Hello iPhone my old friend
I’ve come to touch your screen again
I know I touched it oh so recently
I have to see if someone tweeted me
And if there is a new meme for me to look
There on Facebook
I can’t put down my smartphone”
(My apologies to Simon & Garfunkel)

What is it about our smartphones that has us checking them almost continuously?

Now, before you stop reading, please know that this is not an anti-technology rant. I love my smartphone. I’ve gone from a Palm pilot, to a Tungsten T3 (awesome, by the way), to an iPod, to an iPhone 4, to a Lumia Icon (running Windows), to my current Samsung Galaxy S6 (running Android). And rest assured, I’ve loved using all of them. Most of the podcasts I listen to are tech related. I love this shtuff.

What I’m trying to write my way into understanding is our apparent . . . “fascination” is the wrong word . . . obsession(?) with our smartphones. It’s not uncommon to see a whole group of people gathered together, but not actually BE together - you find them all looking down at their phones.

I’m guilty of this as well. I love spending time with my wife. Actually, I don’t consider it “spending time", rather more like “investing time". Yet, more times than I like to acknowledge, we will be at a restaurant (even for breakfast) and find ourselves pulling our phones out to check email or Twitter.


I’m not going to focus on the phenomenon that takes place like I described above. What I am going to focus on is the fact that we do it when alone.

And I don’t think the smartphone is the problem.

To quote Pogo (Walt Kelly): “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

As I mentioned above, I listen to podcasts. All the time. Whether music, technology, humor, or political, there is almost a constant stream of “noise" going into my right ear (which is where I wear my Bluetooth earpiece). I jokingly tell people that I listen to podcasts so that those voices entering my head override the voices that are IN my head.

And that, I believe, is the point. We do not like being alone with our thoughts. Ourselves.

Or possibly, we are afraid of silence.

Whether the input is going in our ears or our eyes, we seem afraid of being without a distraction; almost forcing us to be with ourselves.

As I write this I’m realizing I have to admit: I am too.

I’ve found that without the distractions I go on verbal rants. Alone. While driving my Jeep to work or home. And not just rants: angry, loud rants.

And I hate that.

I hate that I do that. Which, maybe, just maybe, is the very reason I NEED to periodically remove the distractions. For without acknowledging what is bothering me, I can never address, and hopefully change, it.

What about you? What happens when you DO experience silence?

I’m not going to challenge you to put aside the distractions for a week or so, so that you can come to a better understanding of yourself. Hell no. I won’t even challenge myself with that. Those AT&T commercials of a family freaking out without the internet are funny and all, but FORGET THAT!!

What I will challenge you with is to try and be more aware of the distractions that fill your time. Just be more aware of them. And maybe, just maybe, you can say, “Hello darkness, my old friend.”

©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Untitled Unblog Unpost #2

I had an appointment with a new massage therapist yesterday. This lady "beat the crap" out of me - in a good way. My former massage therapist had moved too far away for the number of clients she had in my area, so I had to find a new one.

I had my jaw worked over. It's part of my stress-headache-prevention regiment: monthly deep-tissue massages, daily stretches, a prescription to Zolpidem for those nights when I've had a terrible night sleep the night before, and of course, writing this blog.

Along with my jaw she worked on areas to coincide with what my chiropractor has been adjusting the last week or so. I have an issue with a couple of my lower lumbar periodically getting out of alignment. This not only makes the back sore, but it affects the nerve that runs down the back of my right leg: causing pain, cramping, or numbness/weakness. For those who see me regularly in person may have noticed the occasional cane to compensate for the leg.

Anywho. Because of getting "beat up" pretty good, I have decided to take the week off from writing. This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day here in the good ol' U.S. of A. So regardless of whether or not you are an American, take a moment to reflect on those things you can truly be thankful for from this past year. It may be easier to think of all the crap; think about the good things nonetheless. 

I'm thankful for you folks who read my shtuff. Thanks for being there to keep my head from exploding. You are the duct tape I wrap my skull with. 


©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016

I'm No Political Pundit, But . . .

The 2016 Presidential Election is “finally" over. I put “finally" in quotes, because according to my Twitter feed, it ain’t over yet.

As of today, November 13, 2016, Donald Trump won the election with 290 electoral votes, to Hillary Clinton’s 228. Now, according to the U.S. Constitution, Donald Trump won. But, according to my liberal friends, Hillary Clinton won because she got the most popular votes. They think that the Electoral College should either go away, or that the Electoral College should ignore the states and vote for Hillary Clinton on December 19.

Now, I’m not going to go into a long dissertation on why we have the Electoral College. I may save that for a “It’s Broke . . . Time to Fix It" article. Or, you can just go ahead and read the U.S. Constitution. What I do want to do is hopefully give everyone something to grasp that is positive, and allow everyone to finally move on.

To start, let me remind you that I voted for Gary Johnson. You can go back through some of my recent posts to get an overall picture of why. Let’s just say if you think I voted to spite the parties, you are wrong. If you think I threw my vote away, you are also wrong. If you think that my vote gave your opposing candidate the win, you can stop thinking: you are also wrong.

The reason I voted for Gary Johnson was that, based on his policies and record, I believed he was the best person for the JOB we the people were hiring for. And that’s it in a nutshell.

I say that to make sure you understand that I am NOT a Trump supporter, and I am NOT a Clinton supporter. I’m a registered Independent, so I don’t have a party line to hoe.

I’d like to say this was the nastiest election ever, but from what I’ve read, our earlier Presidential candidates were barrel-scum flingers. And that’s far before our lifetimes. So, nasty elections are nothing new in our history. It’s unfortunate that this process cannot be handled with the same decorum as the Office of the President is supposed to present.

(Maybe that should be a criteria for winning?)

As far as Clinton winning the popular vote is concerned, let’s look at the numbers. More than 40% of registered voters did not participate in this election. You can scream voter intimidation if you want, but the truth is, many people that I talked to felt that neither “major" candidate was worth voting for. (Most people had no idea about any third-party candidates, since their 24/7 news channels gave them so little free advertising, compared to the Republicans and Democrats.) Many people - over 40% - decided not to vote. THAT is a major declaration by the people. Either run a candidate that they would hire for the JOB, or they aren’t voting. Not voting is as much a statement as voting.

As far as voter intimidation is concerned, I’ve never seen it. I’ve been voting in elections since 1984 and I’ve never seen it. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. I’m almost positive it does. If the elections of old were as nasty as this one was, I’m sure voter intimidation took place. I am saying that I’ve never seen it. Maybe that means I’ve lived in areas that are just too wholesome for the practice, or more likely, I’ve lived in areas where the electorate is considered of no value. But this election was filled with screams of Trump supporters intimidating voters. I remember cries over alleged Black Panthers intimidating voters in the previous two elections. So, it either is happening, or the concept gets a lot of press.

So, subtracting the over 40% of voters not participating, the remaining popular votes were almost evenly divided between Clinton and Trump. Clinton DID receive the mathematical majority of popular votes. But since NEITHER candidate was able to break the 48% mark, you need to accept that Clinton was .2% (that’s point two percent) LESS UNPOPULAR than Trump. That’s not a majority, that’s splitting hairs. And if you are making the popular vote your argument, maybe you should just stop.

As a side: If Clinton had won the Electoral College but lost the Popular vote by the same .2%, would liberals be shouting that Trump should have won? Maybe it’s time to stop whining.

As far as the people who did vote for Trump: The media has been harping most of this election that he is a bigot, womanizing, pig (amongst many other derogatory adjectives). Because of this, the same descriptors have been placed upon those who voted for him. This needs to stop, people. Do you honestly believe that the majority of people who voted FOR Trump are bigots? I’m sure you do see in the media (social and otherwise) instances showing this to be true, but like the “man on the street" portions of late night TV shows, those are selected instances for impact. NOT the norm.

I saw two maps of the country showing you what it would look like if certain groups had voted. One was hysterical. It represented what it would look like if 3-year olds had voted (completely covered in crayon scribbles). Look for that one. It was the best!

The other map showed the actual results of this election by counties. The majority of Clinton voters were in urban counties, whereas the majority of Trump voters were in rural counties. Now, the media likes to divide that between educated and uneducated. I like to look at it as if those in urban counties live in their own bubbles. Why? Because maybe, just maybe, those in rural counties cared more about the fact that many are either without jobs (never returned to the workforce since the last recession), or are under employed (making less money, or working in jobs that pay less than they had), than whether or not a trans-gendered person used a certain bathroom (if you look at the stories in the media over the last four years or so, the emphasis on such stories was abnormally high). And it’s not that rural folks are bigots against transgenders, it’s that when it comes to their lives, those folks are a minority of a minority of the population.

Maybe, just maybe, those in the rural communities were tired of being left out.

I say this to tell you that I’ve never talked to ANYONE who said they voted for Trump BECAUSE they were bigots. If you think that is the reason why people vote in elections, maybe you need to go and talk to someone . . . professionally.

So to close:

Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States. If you were electing a President, you have nothing to worry about. If you were electing a King, be afraid. Be very afraid.

©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Still Living in Believeland

The 2016 World Series has come and gone and what a great year of baseball it has been. Unfortunately for some Clevelanders, the loss has almost been debilitating.

It is for those that I write this blog today.

Like I said, the World Series has come and gone. I really doubt I'll ever catch up on the lost sleep over this playoff season. But that is okay. It was well worth it.

Let me first start off by saying, “Congratulations Cubbies! The 108-year streak has ended for you.” And if you are a Chicago diehard, please remember that this is baseball. There is nothing like it. When things are going your way there is nothing like it. When things are not going your way there is nothing like it. Why? Because it is BASEBALL!! And over those last 108 years, you have seen your share of both. So have we in Cleveland. And that is okay. Again, we're talking baseball.

When catcher David Ross hit that home run in the sixth inning, knowing that it was his last career game, I stood up, took off my Indians hat, and congratulated him (followed by a tweet doing the same).  I saw a Chicago double play that had me applauding it was so well executed (almost like a dance).

And I'm an Indians fan.

But that's baseball. And that's okay. You can root-root-root for the home team, but there is no shame in acknowledging when the opposition does something truly . . . baseball.

Would I have preferred that the Indians had won the World Series? You bet. But I'm not depressed. And here is why you shouldn't be either:

If you watched the game on FOX, you know there was no hesitation by the announcers and post-game commentators to tell us of how superior a team the Chicago Cubs were. Every chance they had they reminded us viewers that this team was built to win the series. They were the best in the league. Hell. They were the best to play the game. Even Kyle Schwarber was the reincarnation of Babe Ruth.

Cleveland, on the other hand, was missing two of their starting pitchers and one of their hitters due to injuries. The loss of starters forced coach Terry Francona to do some fancy footwork with rotations to try to give them at least a little rest between turns on the mound. And I'm not going to bring up Trevor Bauer's “Dronegate".

Please understand. Cleveland was supposed to finish towards the bottom of the division. And yet, despite all odds, they made it to the World Series.

And what happened?

It took not only all seven games, but an extra inning for the best team in the league to beat the Cleveland Indians. In that tenth inning Cleveland had the tying run on base, and the winning run at bat. It took two outs, one strike, and some good Chicago infield work to end it.

Don't you understand? Not only were the Cleveland Indians NOT supposed to be in the World Series, the Chicago Cubs should have SWEPT them in the first four games and didn't.

That is why I'm not depressed. That is why I still wear my Indians gear with pride. And that is why I STILL live in Believeland.

So thank you, Cleveland Indians, for a great year of baseball. For all of it. Every pitch, swing, catch, and miss. You have given us a wonderful year. And we can't wait until Opening Day.

©Emittravel 2016