April 21, 2009

Being Remembered

"Don't get too high on a bottle,
"Get right with the Man, son.
"Fight your fights, find a grace,
"And all the things that you can change,
"And help somebody if you can.
"And get right with the Man."

— Van Zant, from Get Right with the Man

Buona sera.
No, I'm not going to go on about the passing of my father and my oldest brother again. Yes, I'm going to go on about how we're remembered.

Some of the things I've been reading and hearing lately have been coming together. Naturally, because of my experiences in recent months, I've been thinking about how I hope I'm remembered. My crew will remember me as a strict disciplinarian, but I hope they know that I'm that way because I want them to survive. Also, I hope they've learned a few things from me that they can apply to their lives. And I hope they remember the jokes and fun times.

With this thinking going on, my old buddy Neil has had some bad times lately. His father-in-law is a mean old man, to be blunt. (To be further blunt, his mother-in-law has the IQ of a cucumber, doddering around, open mouthed and saying, "Hah?") But Neil tells me that his wife has stories about being beaten, the old man's overall meanness, extreme selfishness and overall childishness. Sure, most people want to be the center of attention, and maybe brag a little, but this guy has to be adored around the clock.

Neil's father-in-law is old, in poor health and mostly crippled. When Neil's wife's aunt died, he asked his wife if she would have kind words to say at her father's funeral. She was unable to think of anything.

I associate with people on both sides of the law, so I've learned a few things. Most of them I won't tell you. But people in the Families, like Gambino and Genovese, will tell you that they would like to be loved, but fear lasts longer than love. (This was brought out in A Bronx Tale, by the way. Watch it in front of the kiddies and they'll learn some new words that you'd rather they didn't learn just yet.) In their "business", fear is an essential component of respect.

By the way, another expression those people use that was popularized by the Corleones is, "It's only business, it's nothing personal." That's a cazzo's excuse for treating someone like merda. If you're on the receiving end of some kind of business — whether it's criminal, corporate, government or whatever — yes, it is personal.

The fear capacity of Neil's father-in-law is mostly diminished in Neil's wife, and has never had an effect on Neil. But I've noticed from hearing about the old man and knowing about people like Gambino that fear fades. When respect is rooted in fear, then there's not much respect left over when the fear is gone. This old man never generated love, either giving or receiving. And the fear that by which he ruled his family has mostly evaporated.

How rich you were, how powerful, how you sold your soul to a company to be successful in your business, what kind of car you owned, all are all going to fade (especially if you were ruthless and worked through fear, intimidation and bullying). They certainly do not impress God. When we show kindness to others, do good for others, help out someone in need, develop our spiritual values, show love in general — those things are fondly remembered. And I do believe that they count in the next life.

I hope I'm building something worthwhile that will last after I'm gone.

March 24, 2009

Losing Trust

Buon giorno. I have talked to you about gaining and building trust. Today, I'm going to go in the opposite direction: How we lose trust. And in that negative, I'll make it positive. Trust me.

I need to point out something fundamental. Different people will have their own experiences and "emotional baggage" or psychological scars that they bring into a situation. Someone that has been hurt and betrayed often and/or deeply will be less likely to be trusting. For instance, I am very suspicious of people at the top of The Organization because of harsh experiences that I've had. (I'm also suspicious of that guy hanging around outside, wearing the dark glasses and a long coat, but never mind about that now.)

The opposite is true as well, that if someone has had successful experiences with trust will be more willing to trust again.

When someone wants to be trusted, they can be in for a disappointment when that trust is not forthcoming. You can demand trust all you want, but it won't help. Why? Because trust has to be earned. Slowly.

"Can you give examples, Cowboy Bob?"

Soitenly. Let me pick on one of the guys in my crew, Tommy the Knocker. Tommy wants to be trusted. We'll say that Tommy has climbed up my trust ladder. Then he lost my trust again. What did Tommy do that was so bad?

First of all, he lied to me. When I ask people what they consider the first item to ruin trust, they usually come up with "lies". This is not difficult. Lying not only takes away someone's ability to make a choice, it is demeaning and insulting. Further, if Tommy lies to me, it implies that he either has something to hide, or that he doesn't trust me, either. His loss, I'm a trustworthy guy.

Second, he lied to other people. When I see Tommy lying to other people (unless he's doing it on my instructions), my suspicions kick in and I wonder if he's lied to me. Then, I wonder if he is willing to lie to me in the future. Watching how someone relates to others gives you insight into their overall character, and you may find out what a true weasel he can be, capice?

Third, he stole something. Lying and stealing are evil twin brothers. If it was from me, that's very bad. If it was from someone else, the above principle applies, and I wonder when he's stolen from me, or if he's going to steal later.

Fourth, he wouldn't stand up for me. I want loyalty from my crew. And I give loyalty. As I've said before, I'm not casual about friendship and I treat it like a commitment. If you're loyal to me, I'm loyal to you. And I think most people feel that way.

Fifth, he used manipulating behavior. My articles on control freaks get quite a few visits, and I hope they help some people. Anyway, I know quite well about manipulating behavior. It involves lying, shading the truth, hiding the truth, using emotional influence to obtain obedience — it's subtle and insidious. It's difficult to put into words, but those who have experienced it know what I'm talking about. People who pull that stuff on me, or on my friends, lose trust points with me.

Sixth, he cheated me. First, it was at cards and shooting dice. Then, he tampered with the books. After that, he borrowed my car without permission, and didn't even have the good graces to fill the tank again.

Addendum: I was so excited about doing this article that I left something out: Seventh, he hangs out with people that lack good character values. In other words, these people lie, cheat, ridicule, steal, manipulate, burn down empty warehouses, don't tip their waiters and waitresses for good service or whatever else. If your friends and associates are lacking in character, they're likely to bring you down. After all, people with good character are dragged down; you seldom hear about someone with bad character being pulled up. Bad company corrupts good morals, you know.

I've been lied to and stolen from by The Organization. Then they have the nerve to tell me to act "with integrity and honesty", and to work harder. But it's difficult to give trust and respect when I've been stabbed in the back. At least, I can gauge my trust levels with my own crew. Even thought I'm picking on Tommy, I know he's a stand-up guy and would even take a bullet for me. (Nicky would also, and he shoots back very well.)

Just remember that the old adages about trust are true, that it takes a long time to build it up, but trust can be destroyed very quickly. And people remember when they've been lied to, stolen from, betrayed, cheated, hung around people with low character, and watched someone's lack of character.

Build up your own integrity and rise above that nonsense, willya?

March 19, 2009

Hey, Britain!

Buon giorno. Although I haven't had Earl Grey tea in a few days (I've been renewing my acquaintance with the Daniels Brothers, Charlie and Jack), I'm disappointed in the American "leadership".

To say that giving back the bust of Winston Churchill (someone that I have personally admired for decades), given to the United States in a gesture of solidarity after the September 11 attacks by murderous cowards is in poor taste is an understatement. Listen, Britain, I didn't vote for the guy that just gave you a rude gesture. Millions of us did not vote for him. And I bet even more are appalled at the rudeness given in the White House to the Prime Minister.

When Tony Blair was the Prime Minister, I sent him a letter. There is a song that is popular here that says, "God bless the USA". And I told him my feeling is, in addition to the USA, "God bless the UK!". So, please don't hold the actions of a weasel that is a closet Muslim, intent on destroying this country, against the real people here. Some of us do have a bit of class.

Great Britain, I thank you for your friendship and support through the years. When we have real leaders, I want this to continue. I want it very much. And I want to visit you again. So, even if the so-called "leader" of the USA is a rude sod, please don't hold that against the rest of us. The people want to be friends. And it's not just because my favourite programmes and musicians are British, that's incidental.

March 3, 2009

Hate Me If You Want To

Buon giorno. I've been thinking about love and hate. No, not the big deal stuff that will answer the questions that philosophers have asked for thousands of years. Rather, why am I loved or hated when I write things? I think it's because people have a shallow response to the viewpoints of others. They'll love me if I write things that they agree with, and hate me if I go the opposite way to their viewpoints. People are emotionally vested in their viewpoints, and I have been known to discuss some hot-button topics.
  • When I write about the flaws of evolution, I get hate "mail". I think it's because I'm challenging the Darwinian orthodoxy, and they don't want to admit that their anti-God approaches may be wrong.
  • My unapologetic, admittedly emotional, politically Conservative views are sometimes inflammatory, but they, too, challenge entrenched Liberalism.
  • I have discussed the historical accuracy of the Gospels regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • When I wrote about the silliness of conspiracy theories, I received a hateful diatribe that I did not want to subject my readers to.
  • Even writing about my favorite browser, Firefox, has brought me some hate mail!
I don't want to be too long in this, so I'll stop that list.

Listen, if you want to hate me, fine, I can give you plenty of other reasons: I have more girlfriends than you, make more money than you, listen to music you don't like, have the respect and fear of criminals and government agents, I think ethnic jokes are funny, and more.

"A long time ago, I made me a rule. I let people do what they want to do."
— Hondo Lane (John Wayne)

If you want to hate me, I can't stop you. But my suggestion is to drop the emotional involvement over something that should be discussed intellectually. Disagree all you want. I can respect honest disagreement, especially if there is support for your viewpoint. Or, you can simply say, "I disagree and don't want to discuss it further". Fine. No hate, or love, in that, but at least it's a mature approach.

As Toby Keith sings, "Hate me if you want to, love me if you can". It's a challenge to love me. Are you up to the challenge? The truth is, I don't care if people hate me for what I say. There's nothing I can do about it except hope that they grow up enough to be able to carry on a rational discussion.

February 25, 2009

Streng Verboten Part 2

Edited for wording 9-21-2012

Guten tag, again. If you missed our last episode, you can read Part 1 here, or scoll down if it's on the same Web page at the moment.

Within hours, I received some venom-enriched hate mail that proves what I'm saying about the intolerance and emotionalism of Darwinists. It was a personal attack, including my religious beliefs (which is pretty low of them), but there was no "religion" in my previous article!

Evolutionism as a world view has led to a host of problems. It has led to a loss of faith because people chose to believe in the philosophy of evolution. “Survival of the fittest” is a frequent excuse for economic and social injustices. It leads to a liberal view of euthanasia and abortion. Eugenics, the sterilization and extermination of the “unfit” people of the world fits Darwinism. Marxism is hard-core Darwinism applied politically.

So is Nazism. Hitler was a devout Darwinist, and thought that he was doing the world a favor by eliminating the unfit and building a perfect race. He wanted to apply Darwinism to society, and “create the new man”.

I’m not saying that evolutionists are Marxists or Nazis, don’t misunderstand me. I’m saying that those philosophies go hand-in-hand with Darwinsim.

With this prevailing viewpoint comes the suppression of scientific freedom (“You cannot believe in or promote Intelligent Design”), and is not only growing, but dominating rational thought in society today. We get evolution crammed down our throats at every turn. Watch a science channel and it is spouted as absolute fact, with none of the flaws presented. And yet, there is no “equal time” for those of us who want to present Intelligent Design as a valid scientific alternative.

Evolutionists actually want to eradicate Intelligent Design. I have had discussions in person and online with people who belive it's their duty to eliminate "religion" from public life. Amazing. If they cannot have religion completely removed, they want to “put it in its proper place” so it won’t bother anyone. Richard “Daffy” Dawkins hates any concept of God, and wants to see him eliminated. (Dawkins is a lousy philosopher.) It's not that the evidence is nonexistent for Intelligent Design. Instead, evolutionists are unwilling to believe the evidence (or even allow a presentation of it) because it threatens their world view.

Too bad that common sense is not scientific, because I feel that I have to put my own observations, questions and sensibilities on the shelf in order to believe in the blind, gibbering, mad god of random chance and natural selection; evolution is intellectual castration.

America, with it’s Judeo-Christian ethic, has a long history of helping the helpless and the oppressed. We have charities for medical purposes, for housing, for feeding the hungry. We help victims of natural and political disasters all around the world. What if we say, “Tough rocks, Roland? Survival of the fittest, so you can just die so the strong can continue”?

The logical conclusions of Darwinism are alarming. The discussions of scientific alternatives are strongly forbidden.

Addendum April 28, 2009: Thomas Brewton has a chilling reminder of how this comes together in modern society and politics. Click here.

There may be a Part 3 to this, I'm not sure yet. If there is, it will be about the logical fallacies that I encounter when dealing with evolutionists.

Streng Verboten Part 1

Edited for wording 9-21-2012

Guten tag. I've just gone through Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed for the second time, and I'm glad I bought the DVD. The first time through, I had to walk away because the logical conclusion of what the movie presented was very upsetting. I'm not much of a fan of documentaries, but this one sings a song that I've been doing for many years. It shows the flaws of the philosophies of evolution, and the discrimination of the scientific establishment against anyone that dares run against their orthodoxy and say that maybe, just perhaps, Intelligent Design (I.D.) should be considered an alternative explanation of the facts.

Some of what I'm writing now is a repeat of previous postings. Get over it, because it's important, capice?

Important point: Defining the term “evolution” is the gradual development of life over vast periods of time, with transitional forms leading to completely new species of life. I am not talking about microevolution, which leads to small changes and adaptations. Also, there is some disagreement about creation science. Many creationists will use science to explain things in the Bible, but are fully able to present a strictly scientific framework for their views without invoking anything religious. In this way, both the creationist and the proponent of ID can work in a similar manner, exhibiting just the science (no room to for someone to use that ridiculous "GodDidIt" accusation).

Nobody is quibbling about facts.
A fact is a fact. It's the interpretations of facts that have the disagreements. You show me a fossil. Great. It's a fossil. You tell me that it was formed over millions of years and is evidence for evolution, and I'll laugh in your face and say that there are other possible explanations. You show me a drawing of archeopteryx. Then you say that archeopteryx is a transitional form, and I'll give you a scientific slapdown because you're being ideological and out of touch, because "Archie" has been reclassified as a true bird. Your starting point, your world view, influences your interpretations of evidence. Let’s be honest here. Scientists are human, even though many want you to believe that they’re somehow superior to us mere mortals, they interpret facts according to their biases and presuppositions.

Evolution is not science.
It is a philosophy of the interpretation of facts. In the same way, Intelligent Design is not science, either. Now, hear me out! Both approaches have to take existing facts and interpret them. It annoys the sap out of me when evolutionists get all uppity and say that “creationists and ID proponents are not scientists”. Yes, they are. Just because they do not agree with your worldview does not disqualifiy their credentials, capice? They have their credentials from accredited schools, just like their Darwin-loving counterparts. F’rinstance, creationist astronomer Don DeYoung did not get his Ph.D. from “Billy Bob’s Backwater Bible Barn”, he went to “real” schools. Hey, Don, I still have the autographed book!

Intelligent Design and creationism are ridiculed, misunderstood and flat-out maligned. I do not come across many believers in evolutionism that have examined the evidence for I.D. and the abundant evidence against evolution. Evolutionists are arrogantly biased in their assertions that they are right, and anybody has a grain of sense cannot argue with them. But true science will pursue any line of questioning and follow the evidence to wherever it leads.

Evolutionists jealously guard their philosophies and make excuses. They do not examine the flaws in their own theories except to make excuses. Listen to some of their nonsense, and you’ll hear a great deal of “maybe”, “could have”, “perhaps”, “nobody really knows”, and yet they insist that evolution is true and is to believed without question. Guesswork, speculation — but Intelligent Design is still wrong in their minds. (Edit: March 3, 2009. Look at the guesswork and speculation in this article.) Daring to suggest that evolution has flaws is strictly forbidden. If any scientists dare to question the religious orthodoxy of Darwinism, they risk losing their jobs and are blacklisted.

Ironically, many of the greatest scientists were believers, and many were Creationists.


February 23, 2009

Trust in the Business World

Trust in the business world. In a word, fuggedaboudit. Or, to borrow from Tony Montana, "What, are you nuts?"

I've learned from my own experiences, from the experiences of co-workers and from simply reading articles that trust is not something you give away freely. You have to be slow and sparing when you give trust in the worlds of government, espionage, counterespionage, organized crime and big business. All of these have elements in common in their organizational structures and interactions.

Trust has to be earned, and it has to be earned slowly. I trust some members of my crew more than others. Some of them, I trust with my life. But guess what? I do not trust anyone one hundred percent! That is "thinking" with emotions, frankly. And in my businesses, you can't let emotions interfere.

"Can I trust anyone at all, Uncle Bob?"

It depends on how much you want to survive (literally or professionally). If you're not interested in friendship at the work place, you have to play rough. If you want to stay at the bottom and just get a paycheck, you can be more willing to trust people and take greater chances. If you get burned, I hope you learn from your mistakes. You have to learn who to trust in the first place. Then, you have to determine how much trust you can safely give.

When you're at the bottom of the feeding chain, you cannot believe someone higher up that says, "Speak freely, you can trust me". Yeah, sure, Cupcake. I made that mistake once. Once. Never again. The more "important" someone is, the more dangerous they are because they've probably sold their souls to the company; you can be thrown under the bus, as they say, along with your entire family, then your organs sold on the black market — if it'll make Joe Superior look good to his own superiors. You have to keep your guard up and your trap shut. Watch, listen and learn.

The immediate supervisor can probably be trusted more than the person one level up. If you get a good feeling and have good experiences, you can open up a little to them. Carefully. I know some people that I'm giving more trust to than I would normally give because I trust my inner voice and my experiences. Still playing it safe, though, but not quite as much as I normally would.

Also, you have to be on guard against co-workers. They'll steal your ideas or take credit for your successes, so make sure that you get the credit that's due before you open your mouth. That pal in the next cubicle may have sent you a sympathy card when your goldfish died, but can stab you in the back to get that promotion that you deserve. Watch, listen and learn.

Of course, if someone is in a different department or does not affect you directly, that gives you more leeway than otherwise. I mouth off to the guy in shipping and I know he won't rat me out to my superiors. What, you thought I ran the entire company myself? Nope. Just my own crew.

You can gauge your trust by giving a little and seeing what happens. If your trust is betrayed in a small thing, you know you can never trust that individual in something of importance. At least, not right away. If you feel that you can try again, feel free and let a little bit of trust go and see if it's justified. Then, back off and see if you can give a little more trust, a little more information.

The guys at the top? Don't even think about trusting them. Their souls have been sold, remember? If you're heard by them at all (perhaps like a gnat buzzing in their ears), you'll be either used and discarded, or forgotten.

So, play it safe in your business trust levels. Give and take. Act slowly. Know who to trust, and how much.

You can trust me, I can't hurt you.

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