Thats Great, But…

Home electric use use is down to levels seen back in 2001. Modern appliances, TV’s, air conditioners, CFL’s, and many electronic devices in general use less power to operate than ever. Marking a usage decline that is pretty impressive. Less use of power means less coal burned to make power, which I would think is a good thing.

http://www.abc6.com/story/24328359/home-electricity-use-in-us-falling-to-2001-levels

But…why is it for every gain made in consumption, we see no actual effect from that helping our wallets? Cars get better mileage than ever, but it costs more to drive a vehicle now than it ever has. My light bill certainly hasn’t dropped. In fact they recently just hiked the cost per kilowatt.

Every single gain in effenciency is offset by the consumer cost of that particualr gain. My car gets 3x the mileage of the old gas guzzling tank I used to drive. I also pay 3x the cost per gallon of gas used. We pay considerably more for the cost for electricity that we used to pay, even though we use less of it now than we used to. Hell, I just realized that CFL’s cost around 3x what the old light bulbs do. Who is it exactly that benefits from better effeciency?

 

Every time I strive to be more efficient, and I do, I never see any gain from my efforts. The way I see it the only thing that benefits from better efficiency is A: the environment, and thats great…and B: the corporate fucks that manage to keep their profits at a steady rate despite the fact they are actually delivering less products and services than they used too. I understand operating costs have risen. I understand that there are more people now using these products, creating in general a higher demand. I understand these things, but that does not make me feel any better about this situation, when I am constantly roaming the house looking for lights to turn off, or turning down the thermostat. Or when I carefully plan my outings around the availability of the econo car, instead of having to use my 3/4 ton truck. My wife works in the next town over, we even buy our gas depending on what town the gas is cheaper in. We do everything we possibly can to lower our power/gas consumption and thereby lower our costs, to no avail whatsoever.

There are days I wonder if it is worth the effort. I have come to see modern society as a machine. This machine is geared to grind us up, and squeeze everything it can get out of us, with no mercy or compassion whatsoever. There is no fighting the machine. Got a speeding ticket? Pay the machine. Using less electricity? Doesn’t matter, the machine requires your light bill to remain steady, or go up, there is no going backwards. All hail the machine. Have a car that gets great mileage? Doesn’t matter, the machine for gasoline is the same machine for electricity. Praise the machine. Did you get a raise or was there an increase in minimum wage? Does not matter, the machine will raise its costs to match. Bow to the fucking machine…

Maybe I will feel better tomorrow.

 

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Gay Man Beaten, Robbed, Left To Die In His Store As It Was Set On Fire.

Not even 20 miles from where I live: http://www.wsmv.com/story/24047102/paris-business-owner-found-beaten-marked-with-gay-slur or here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/25/tennessee-healthy-thyme-hate-crime-_n_4337809.html

This is why I am still under a pseudonym, and I’m just a damn left of center, liberal leaning atheist. This part of the country is just full of x-ians with bibles so far up their asses they would have to be surgically removed, and when grouped together they are a real threat to anyone or anything that goes against their supposed bible infused morality. You can bet your last dollar that 90% of these people around here feel like the guy had it coming. In the company of like minded RWCRFM’s (Right Wing Conservative Republican Fundamentalist Morons) they would even say things like “I’d like to shake the hands of those men that did this, what great men.”

RWCRFM’s make me sick. There are so many reasons why religion is detestable. But to use it as a justification for murder and mayhem has got to be at the top of the list. As far as I am concerned the perpetrators of this crime are terrorists. Religious fucking terrorists…

This is where I live…this isn’t across the ocean in some country that ends in “stan”, or some remote African village full of religious wackos, this is right down the road. I look at people like this, or people that would at least support the actions of those that commited this crime on a daily basis. They don’t look all that dangerous at first glance, but what lies beneath are vile creatures that know no sense of empathy, tolerance, or a just moral code. They work in banks, convenience stores, are cops and judges, and little old ladies that wouldn’t swat a fly. They shake your hand and greet you with a hello, and tell you to have a nice day. Oh, unless they have some biblical justification to hate you…then you see the veil of sugary sweetness fall, and their true nature is exposed. This is the kind of monster that religion spawns. These are my neighbors.

Duck Dynasty HooHaw

First let me say this, there is no such thing as reality TV. What is called reality TV is usually based on a few people who sometimes have interestting jobs, or otherwise uninteresting redneck habits, usually both. These people are approached by the cable networks to “star” in reality programs. The people who buy into this gig are given a script to follow, and are often encouraged to engage in or play up some kind of damn drama situations. These episodes are directed and edited in a way the big wigs in the cable co. deem appropriate and voila! You have so called reality TV. Bullshit. Want to know how I know that? I have had one of these interesting jobs for decades, and have to admit some redneck habits for a large portion of my life. Reps from the Discovery channel contacted a friend of mine, they came to town, we drove these guys around in my truck and they shot various scenes and did interviews with guys associated with the job. They created what’s known as a “sizzle reel” which is a teaser to get get the cable companies to bite on the show. The company bit, and they shot a pilot. I wasn’t in the pilot…but I have no hard feelings about that, especially knowing the things I know. I found out from my friends who were in the pilot they had a script to follow. There was the guy with the unruly son, the guy supposedly teaching the new girl that looks cute in tight pants the ropes, and a genuine dumbass redneck or two to do dumbass redneck stuff. Again, no such thing as reality TV. (So far Discovery has yet to air this pilot, for reasons unknown. I hope that someone somewhere finally said “don’t we already have enough stupid redneck TV already?”)

Now my point here, is this Duck Dynasty show is basically a bunch of damn goofy goofs who make duck calls, have a popular “reality” show, and one of them in an interview spouted some hateful anti gay comments. The cable co. involved dropped the guy. I say good. We are at a point socially where we are beginning to respect other people in this country regardless of whether or not they conform to some ideology or another, and it’s about damn time. Gays have the same rights as the rest of us. It isn’t any of my business what consenting adults do in their spare time. It’s none of my business if these people happen to love each other and want to express that love by getting married. It’s non of my damn business, and its certainly none of Mr. Duck Dynasty’s (MDD) business. It apparently is the business of RWCRFM’s (Right Wing Conservative Republican Fundamentalist Morons) all over the country to come to the defense of MDD.

I have seen case after case of RWCRFM’s decrying MDD’s release from the show. I have seen that other cast memebers are threatening to boycott the show. I have seen fricking Sarah Palin on the boob tube spouting some nonsense about MDD’s remarks being ‘the gospel’. Why in the hell is she still relevent in any way? Why in the hell does some 2000 year old book of still hold sway over people today? Why is it every time some idiot spouts some hateful discriminatory remarks, and gets called out on it, the RWCRFM’s all jump up and down thumping those bibles?  

Discrimination against gays, or people of color should not be tolerated. Rushing to defend the actions of someone that crosses that line should be frowned upon, using some religious text as an excuse to discriminate or otherwise abuse anyone that doesn’t fit a certain cults expectations should be against the law, and Sarah Palin should be relegated to the dustbin of obscure misfit quitters, because nothing worth listening to, is the only thing she has to offer. A RWCRFM defined.

 

Legend Of Billy Jack

This time of year, most of the TV shows we keep up with (which aren’t that many) are in between seasons, with the season finales all coming to a close, and now we wait, with little to keep us occupied in those precious moments between supper and bed. So last night flipping through the channels looking for something to watch, I stumbled across the old Billy Jack movie. I was 10 years old when this movie came out, and I went to the theater with a friend of mine and caught it. I may have caught it piece meal a bit here or there since, but never really sat down and watched it all again, till last night.

All I could think was that aged blonde heroine who ran the school, her voice was like a screeching blackboard to my senses,  her delivery is almost as painful, and she has a LOT of dialogue. There were kids that delivered their lines better. The action scenes with Billy Jack while as a kid I thought they were pretty cool, now I can see the cut and paste style that screams cheesy. The storyline however does stand the test of time. I can’t help but root for the underdog in most cases, and fighting against the injustice of racial discrimination, bigotry, and the corruption of politics is one of those things I think most of us can get behind. All far too common circumstances of our human affliction.

At the end of the movie they played a few lines of the song One Tin Soldier Rides Away (The Legend of Billy Jack) I must have heard that song a thousand times as a kid. I remember it being a nifty song with a catchy tune, and had a vague understanding of the story. Now as an adult with a few years of wisdom under my belt, and the beginnings of a spare tire under that same belt, I have a new found sense of appreciation of those lyrics. (I looked them up this morning)

Listen, children, to a story
That was written long ago
About a Kingdom on a mountain
And a valley folk down below

On the mountain was a treasure
Buried deep beneath a stone
And the valley people swore
They’d have it for their very own

Go ahead and hate your neighbor
Go ahead and cheat a friend
Do it in the name of heaven
You can justify it in the end

But there won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgment day
On the bloody morning after
One tin soldier rides away

So the people of the valley
Sent a message up the hill
Asking for the buried treasure
Tons of gold for which they’d kill

Came an answer from the Kingdom
With our brothers, we will share
All the riches of our mountain
All the secrets buried there

Now the valley swore with anger
Mount your horses, draw your swords
And they killed the mountain people
So they won their just rewards

Now stood beside the treasure
On the mountain dark and red
Turned the stone and looked beneath it
Peace on Earth, was all it said

Go ahead and hate your neighbor
Go ahead and cheat a friend
Do it in the name of Heaven
You can justify it in the end

There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgment day
On the bloody morning after
One tin soldier rides away

Go ahead and hate your neighbor
Go ahead and cheat a friend
Do it in the name of heaven
You can justify it in the end

There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgment day
On the bloody morning after
One tin soldier rides away

If those lyrics don’t capture the envious, destructive nature of our species I don’t know what does. The religious justification for the vally folk’s actions really aren’t that subtle, and as I have mentioned before here and there, is some kind of universal constant. Yes as a kid this song inspired me in ways I hadn’t thought of before about the kinds of injustice in the world. Today, as a grown man with a broader understanding of our true nature and the lengths that people will go to, as well as the religious justifications used to rationalize the actions they might take, it brings a tear to my eye. Maybe I’m getting to be an old softie, maybe I know too much…

EDIT: fojap kindly reminded me that the actor who played Billy Jack, Tom Laughlin only recently passed away.  http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/12/17/billy-jack-star-tom-laughlin-dead-82-152756

Also,  just because I was curious I looked up the thing about the trumpets blowing on judgement day. I had always wondered what that meant exactly. Apparently Muslims believe there will be two trumpet blasts on judgement day. The first will kill everyone alive and even in heaven. The second blast will revive them all for some kind of glorious something or other. Once one starts making claims of non existent events in their made up religions, all I can think is it is of no use to argue the color of a leprechauns underwear. Once you go down the road of making stuff up, it all converges into a huge pile of something that carries with it a foul odor. So, I am no closer to getting it now than I was a few minutes ago…I wonder who blows the trumpet? Will the first blast kill them? If not, why not? If yes, who blows the trumpet the second time? Problem with making up stupid shit, it just leads to more stupid questions.

http://spa.qibla.com/issue_view.asp?HD=7&ID=9218&CATE=1410  I didn’t see any x-ian references in my Google search. Not that it matters.

Yes, I’m a Freaky Geeky Something Or Other…

Was driving the kids to school this morning. Observed a nearly perfect full moon on the western horizon, and the sun newly arisen in the east, in perfectly clear and crisp skies. Looking in either direction they were very close to the same height from the horizon. Had a moment there of just…cool. That is all. 🙂

Quote of the Month

Time for another Quote of the Month. I swear since I started doing this, it seems like time flies by, or I am getting old, or something. I had to check my archives to see if I had posted one this month… Lets go with James Madison this time. One of the main men who put pen to our constitution. I have got to see if I can find a way to put the posts in this series in a file somehwere. Anyway, here is James Madison speaking of the “truths” of religion.

“What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society?  In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people.  Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries.  A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.”         – “A Memorial and Remonstrance”, 1785 

If Madison were alive today I suspect our professional creationists would refer to him as: Strident! Militant! I’d say he hit the peg squarely with the hammer. The one thing that stands the test of time, is the is the intent of religion to subvert human liberties in favor of wealth and power.

http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html

 

Four Eyes…How Many Headlamps Do We Need On Cars Anyway?

“Hey four eyes” That was a phrase I heard in my youth. You see I needed glasses by age six. I never considered it an insult, merely a fact that I wore glasses. This is however not the meaning of this creed, no its about the proliferation and rapid expansion of a set of “four eyes” that is really beginning to annoy me. What is this source of my four eyes frustration? Your car, or truck. Yes your automobile, that confligration of steel and rubber and plastic, your personal chariot of transportation.

It seems auto makers these days have decided that two headlights are not enough anymore, that four would somehow be better. I am certain if your vehicle is equipped with four lights instead of two, you must just love your new insight into the world of darkness, I bet you can see really, really well. Unfortunatley for every oncoming automobile you meet, you have just blasted them with your four eyes.

In some ways I was fortunate in my youth. I was the offspring off a truck driving family. I was driving a 13 speed semi when I was 12. Heck the first time I ever drove a car was when the roads were a solid sheet of ice, may have been 10 or 11 at the time I can thank my mother for that (thanks mom). I have been through blizzards and downpours and over the mountain, and back again. Along the way I learned from real professionals, what it takes to do get the job done, as safely as possible, and to perservere through rough times, when often all there was were rough times. I also learned, in no small way, to do what I could, when I could, to help someone in trouble, and have the utmost respect for other drivers on the highway. It is this ingrained expectation for respect that drives my frustration with four eyes. Four eyes flies in the face of respect for oncoming traffic. It is offensive, it is an invasion of privacy, it is an overdose of light, where I have become adapted to the output of my own headlamps (two eyes) It is an affront to respect itself. Indeed, if I ever (and sometimes do) accidently leave my bright lights on and hi-beam a driver, I feel like kicking myself in the rear for being so rude to that person. I feel remorse, and would never knowingly, intentionally do that to another driver, I am sorry…

So, four eyes, how do you feel? I hear you plausible arguments, I can see better, It makes me safer, the car came that way… why shouldn’t I use it? I have heard the term mentioned, driving lights. Driving lights? Really? I dont care what you call it. If your “driving lights” are equal in output to your regular headlamps, you now essentially have 4 headlamps, and…please do not insult my intelligence by trying to argue that these extra lights are “fog lamps”…”fog lamps” are amber, not white.

Or maybe, you will want to argue the “its legal” aspect. By the way I talked to a Trooper, apparently it “is” legal, “as long as the headlamps do not exceed 500 ft” (Tn.) I wonder what kind of mouth breathing moron came up with that one? Im going to tell you right now, it shouldn’t be legal at all. There needs to be legislation to level the field, and keep headlamps on vehicles limited to no more than two and standarize the wattage, before some other dingbat, in an auto manufacturers “brain crunch” for new ideas, stands up and yells “I got it!” “how about six headlights?” “Oh how the public would love their new horseless chariot to have six headlights, instead of merely four” “we can call them…ummm, driving…driving lights”…Good grief, where does it end? (silly as this sounds, it has already happened once apparently since we have four eyes now)

So, what if you have a four eyed car, and all of a sudden feel like maybe…just maybe, I have been being a jackass? Maybe my self centered outlook is a little over the top, maybe I shouldnt be so unconcerned that I have been, and still am, blinding everyone I meet? What can I do to reverse the harm I am doing? I’ll tell you what I would do. I would disable the extra lamps to keep them from coming on with the main lights. If I couldnt figure out how to do it myself, Id take it to a mechanic and have it done. If I could not afford to have a mechanic do the job, I would shoot those extra lights out with a bb gun. Yes…I would. In a heartbeat. I’ll bet the job is as simple as removing the bulbs though, or snipping a wire. Easy fix if you are so inclined. (if you are brave enough to snip the wire, please put some electrical tape on the hot side to keep it from shorting out) Another option is to not buy a car/truck so equipped.

Just for the record, my personal disdain for excessive light on automobiles, also applies to aftermarket “super headlamp replacement lights”. Those headlamps are overpowered in output, and should not be available to some goof who thinks because he/she can see better, that makes it ok to blast the highway with spotlights…I can tell you it is almost like driving into the sun at times when you meet these people on the highways.

High beams. High beams have been around for decades, they make it so we can all see better. They are also easily switched on and off to keep from blinding other people. C’mon man, if it isn’t broke, dont “fix” it. I can only hope if enough people like me, raise enough cain, maybe the the folks who have the power to fix this problem, will pick up on it, climb aboard, and begin the process of making the roads safer at night. I know when I have been been “four eyed” it takes a few moments for my eyes to readapt, and those few moments of distraction/temporary disablement, it all it takes for disaster to strike. The fact is “four eyes” your ability to see better, and which you attribute to safety, actually makes the rest of us, less safe. Irony. It aint something you do to a shirt.

I’ll tell you something else, I have had enough of this shit. If you are approaching me with your four eyes on, or your super duper extra bright, stare into the sun wattage, aftermarket lights, I am going to flash my brights back at you. You probably won’t be able to tell, but I can confirm it here and now, I will be making a hand gesture in your direction as well. I stand 5’11” and run 215 lbs of worked hard my entire life ornery, you don’t like it, let me know.