June 9, 2009

Blame God

Buona sera. Today's rant is a bit different. It's from the heart (I do have one despite what my ex will tell you), there are no hard facts — but some reasoning.

Lemme 'splain, Lucy. I'm going to connect my conclusions with my observations, and I'm going to show a bit of "two can play at that game".

Due to circumstances that I will not discuss, I had to watch some of a soap opera. (To be politically correct, "daytime drama". To be honest, "waste of time".) But I have to give some credit to the actors, actresses, writers and director because the cast was doing quite well in looking like the infant on the show really was in imminent danger of dying from a virulent disease. I almost wanted to reach out and comfort the sobbing babes.

One scene set off a mental chain reaction for me. She was in a hospital chapel and saying to God, "Is this what you want? What are you doing? Spare the child" and that sort of thing. Well, that sort of reaction has bothered me for years. I cannot believe in, and I do not find Scriptural support for, the idea that God causes illnesses to teach you, or someone else, a lesson. Perhaps that can be inferred in the Bible with some isolated cases, but it's not a general rule.

I'm going to interject that people say some amazingly stupid things when a child dies. They want to be comforting, and sometimes they want to look like they're full of wisdom. Yes, I can get along with "He's in a better place". Stuff like "God wanted one more angel, so he took your baby up to Heaven..." I have to walk away! Besides, angels are not dead people, capice?

Now I'm going to tie this in with a conversation I had with Tommy the Knocker. The conversation was more civil that it looks on the screen, and he was playing Devil's Advocate to help give me a mental workout. And no, I'm not going to pretend that I have all the answers. But I do have some of the answers, and also offer alternatives to what some people say. No way am I going to make this an extended theological treatise!

TK: If God made everything, why is there death and disease?

Me: Everything was perfect at first. There were physical consequences to the sin of Adam and Eve. That "free will" thing has a lot of responsibility. We are the created beings, we cannot fully understand the creator.

TK: People want God to stop the suffering because he's supposed to be all-powerful and all-loving. That's why the woman in the show was crying and praying that way.

Me: We make demands of the creator of the universe and expect him to be a cosmic Santa Claus; if we don't get everything we want, the way we want it, when we want it, we think he doesn't care or isn't even real.

TK: If there was a God, he could stop all illness, war, evil and all that. So there must not be a God.

Me: You can also say that the results of (blank) election prove that there is no God. It's always amazed me that people want to blame God or assume he's not real. But the facts also add up the other way: The existence of all the evils that you see in the world are evidence that there is a Satan and his minions. The Bible tells about him, too, you know. And I think the existence of Satan should be obvious if someone bothers to think.

TK: Give another answer for evil in the world adding up to belief in "no God".

Me: People with this narrow view forget all the good that has happened, even in our daily lives. Little things count, and there are big things...ever hear of St. Jude's Children's Hospital? World Vision? Samaritan's Purse? Good old Salvation Army? Bright Hope International? Church specific, denomination specific on the local level? Or other research and medical outfits? Those were started by Christians. "You know them by their fruits", and Christians have been doing good for others for centuries. Sure, there are Jewish organizations as well, I don't want to claim a monopoly. But I don't know of Muslims doing anything for those outside of their religion. Hey, have you ever known of an atheist organization that did anything for anyone? Maybe atheists are good people, but they don't have history on their side for doing good deeds.

OK, that's enough. My point is that the "evil in the world" is a biased world view, and there is plenty of evidence for people doing good in God's name. Evil does not rule. Yes, there is suffering and sickness. We try to overcome it, and I believe that God inspires people to discover cures and advances in medicine. But remember, the created cannot fully understand the creator. No, it's not a cop-out, it's the truth.

Back to the usual snarkiness and sarcasm later.

June 5, 2009

Western Digital Disaster

Buon giorno. First, I wanted to say that I had a "rodeo visitor" the other day. I call it that because he only lasted eight seconds.

Time for some thunder today, since yours truly is very angry indeed. This has been going on for a while, and now I'm going to let it out.

A few months ago, I purchased a 500 mb "My Book Essential" by Western Digital. (Cowboys usually like westerns, right?) It's an external hard drive that runs through the USB. These are a great idea: Back up your regular hard drive, install a second operating system, store all of that music that you downloaded illegally, store all of that music that you purchased legally, save the scanned photos of your ancestors, hide pictures you don't want your kids to see in an encrypted partition next to the government secrets you're hiding, store whatever you have downloaded or created over the years. I say again that it's a great idea.

It's a great idea until it fails, that is. Then all of your precious work and everything you've collected is not available. The problem is, you were trusting a product to work. You wanted it to be there for a long time, and maybe give some indication that it was nearing the end of its life cycle.

That's what Western Digital did to me. One day, it simply did not come on. Sure, it was getting power. I could tell by the insistent flashing of the light. Following all of the suggestions on their site and also using my own vast experience, I still came up zero.

I lost data. Lots of it. But it could have been worse if I wasn't double-backing with my portable Toshiba hard drive! Yes, some was lost forever. Western Digital has "partners" that will help you recover data from one of these pieces of merda, but the price is very high. If I had lost everything, I may have considered it. Briefly.

"Gosh, Uncle Bob, any company can have a product go bad!"

Do you really think I don't know that? It's why I did my other backup. But the thing that I'm so furious about is their total lack of customer service. These stronzos were sent two e-mails, and they have a promise to get back to you in one business day. They never got back to me at all. (That's when I went out and bought Seagate's "Free Agent" external hard drive. Hope that works better than this one did.) Now dig this: They sent me a customer satisfaction survey! Ohhhhhh, yes, I let them have it in there. But you know those things are a joke, because there was no response.

A few days ago, I went through the process again and really let them have it. I demanded a refund, not an exchange, because I replaced the hard drive. Those cafones never answered, so I'm using my small electronic corner of justice here to expose them and tell people stay away from Western Digital products. They betray your trust, and they do not stand behind their products.

Hal the Hacker wants to use my old hard drive for target practice. Maybe I'll let him, he needs the practice more than Lela, Nicky and the others.

June 3, 2009

Angry Women

First of all, I want to say that there seem to be quite a few people in Arab-type countries that don't seem to like women. They wind up hitting my article called "Man Bad, Woman Good" when they are searching with terms like "bad women" and so forth. I bet they're disappointed!

Anyway, quite a few of my articles come about from discussions that I have. This one happened at bed time. (No, I'm not giving you her name.) And I'm sure that there will be people that get angry with what I say here. It's the truth as I see it.

There are many American women that simply wind up hating men. They get angry and confused.

"Where does the anger and confusion come from, Cowboy Bob?"

Several sources. One of the main sources is the modern femi-Nazi movement. These are leftovers from the "women's liberation" movement that began in the 1960s. On the surface, it was "equal pay for equal work". But the broader (heh!) perspective was based on ideology. Not only was it "men are evil, so let's hate men, sisters", but it was hardcore liberal victimization.

Another source is the liberal media that keeps propagating the hatred for men. The proper term is misandry. You hear about "deadbeat dads", child abuse, domestic violence and so much more. But the truth is very different.

  • Fathers have to pay exorbitant child support payments. Sixty six percent of the "deadbeats" are at or below poverty level, and have to choose between eating and paying.
  • Non-custodial mothers are twenty percent more likely to default on support payments than men.
  • Although there are exceptions, the courts are overwhelmingly biased in favor of women. Not only in divorce and child support, but look what happens when a woman has sex with an underage boy as opposed to when a man has sex with an underage girl: He goes to prison for years, she gets media attention and a slap on the wrist.
  • Spousal abuse and domestic violence against men is very high, but not reported.
  • Violence in lesbian relationships at least at the same level as heterosexual relationships.
  • Women's shelters actually discriminate against boys, and are often simply palaces of liberal propaganda and are not true to their stated purpose.
Just try to find this in the liberal media. It doesn't exist there, only in reality and special sites.

I want to go further. There are some lesbian relationships that I know of personally and have read about. I'm not talking about a fling or experimentation. Rather, it seems to me that many women become bitter and confused, and embrace (heh!) lesbianism because they have had failed heterosexual relationships. So, they take themselves off the market; they want to punish males by making themselves unavailable (in many cases, it's no loss, believe me). Yes, there are some that have made an honest lifestyle choice. (Addendum: And some is simply perversion. Unfortunately, it starts young. Click here.) I'm bothered by the others, however, because they're confused by hatred and propaganda.

Another point to consider is that women enter into those relationships to be shocking, daring or "naughty". Bad motive. You can catch STDs from women, so you're taking a risk just because you want attention.

Perhaps that is why so many lesbian relationships are abusive. They are confused, angry and bitter. They do not really know what they want. When a woman moves from one abusive relationship to another (and I don't care if she's a lesbian or not), serious self-examination is in order. And she is probably in need of a good mental health professional.

Similar to something I have stated before, don't hate me because I'm a man. If you want to hate me, find better reasons.

These are just observations. I do not have much wisdom to offer these women. Well, one thing: Ask yourself what you really want, and be honest with yourself. But blaming and hating men for all of the ills that you have experienced (or imagine that you have experienced) is not hurting the male gender. And it's certainly not realistic, capice?

Addendum: How Feminism Hurts Women

May 27, 2009

Bandwagon Convictions

Buon giorno. I was having a discussion with a co-worker from a sister agency, and that discussion sparked some thoughts that simply cascaded in my mind. And now, you're about to reap the benefits of that process. Consider yourselves fortunate.

I believe that personal opinions can be "seasonal". They are not real because they only last for a season, and are not true convictions based on thought, experience and the heart. The easiest example of this was the disastrous attitude of, "Let's vote for the half black guy! Yeah! He's different! And the old white guy is more of the same. CNN and the New York Times told me so." That was simply jumping on the popular bandwagon, and I did not find many people who could find any actual substance in B. Hussein Obama.

On a slightly aside note, I think one reason that I've been doing the cowboy thing is that those values (integrity, honesty, faith, standing for something in the first place, etc.) have always been inside me. Now I'm bringing enthusiasm for cowboy values to the forefront because my interest in, and fondness for, those things has grown.

Another seasonal bandwagon conviction is atheism. The popularity of it rises and falls over the years, and it seems to stem from rebellion instead of an honest conviction. After all, if it was an honest intellectual choice, you would not have the venomous arrogant atheists that seek to destroy the faith of those who believe in a higher power. Of course, it doesn't help that colleges are hotbeds of atheism and liberalism. Kids are not being taught how to think (that is, with logic and problem-solving skills). Instead, they're being taught what to think.

I have stated that Liberalism is a position based on lack of morality, and that liberal theology, atheism and so forth gravitate towards Liberalism. Conservatives tend to believe in God and attend church. (Or, at least they believe what their churches stand for.) But the vehemence and violence between the two positions is almost always directed from Liberals toward Conservatives. That is, the vitriol and actual physical violence almost always flows one way. As far as I'm concerned, it's a symptom of the Liberal belief system. And that belief system does not have a solid foundation that brings confidence, comfort, consistency, sanity and joy to its adherents.

And now, Leftists are lecturing us about morality. Huh? They have no basis for it, and everything is situational or relative for them. They want to appear moral to the rest of us (and they act like they are somehow "better" than us). I suspect it's to deceive the more conservative people in the population. Once deceived, they can have more power in future elections.

One way that you can spot these "convictions" of passing fancy are the rabid enthusiasm of the people that proclaim them. They get rambunctious and unwilling to show consideration to an opposing viewpoint, so it's best to simply let them blow off steam. If they still believe what they're saying or doing later (and sometimes, it may take a couple of years), then you may want to think that they're honest.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with enthusiasm. It's just that it is often uninformed and poorly thought out.

In the meantime, know what and why you believe and keep strong in your own faith. Don't be deceived, capice?

May 13, 2009

Some Questions for Atheists

No time for gay banter, I'm simply going to launch.

I would like to know something. What foundation do atheists have for their morality? (I'm not talking to the arrogant atheists that simply want to destroy the faith of others and prove that they're so much smarter than the rest of us. This is for honest atheists that are capable of rational dialogue.) Since you believe that there is no God, what is your basis for any sense of right and wrong? You can't base it on "civilization" for several reasons, especially the fact that the values of individual countries in a civilization change over time, and differ over distance as well.

You can't base your morality on your own conscience and beliefs, because it's highly subjective. You may feel that it's wrong for me to put a bullet in your head, and I may feel that executing you is for the good of humanity. No, we have to appeal to someone higher up to settle that dispute.

Also, I'd like to know how atheism has made you a better person. Does it give you comfort? Does it make you worthwhile for humanity? What motivation do you have to do good to others? Do you have something to pass along to your children to cling to after you're gone?

These things frequently burble inside me, and reading Bill O'Reilly made this part burst forth. On Page 254 of A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity, Bill made some interesting comments:
Also, I say prayers of thanks for the miracle of the life I have lived. No kidding about that. Next time you meet an atheist, tell him or her that you know a bold, fresh guy, a barbarian who was raised in a working-class home and retains the lessons he learned there. Then mention to that atheist that this guy is now watched and listened to, on a daily basis, by millions of people all over the world and, to boot, sells millions of books.

May 11, 2009

Rating Hotels

Buona sera. Nothing to thunder about this time, just some speculation.

I had some things to deal with in Michigan, so I left Lela and Nicky in charge of operations in my absence. (I'm not blaming them for the CD/DVD on my primary computer not being able to "recognize" CDs, but still play DVDs. Any advice out there? And the external hard drive quit right after I got back, so my collection of hot cowgirls is gone. No more Western Digital products for me!) Things are running well, so my confidence in them was well-founded again.

You've seen those commercials saying, "We know why you fly" for one of the airlines. Cute, but unrealistic. It would be nice, though. And it would be nice that hotels and motels knew why we used their services as well. The main thing that most of us expect is a dark, quiet, safe place to sleep. Other things come secondary. But the reasons we end up at a sleeping establishment are as varied as there are individuals to have those reasons, capice?

The hotel people have no way of knowing what's going on in people's lives. They hope and expect that we travel for a good time, to meet friends (and my goomahs), have a holiday, whatever.

In my case, it was a mix. First of all, we were there because I came to bury my oldest brother. It took about fifteen hours to drive to Michigan, so we're dog tired. And stressed. After the ceremony, there was more family time, some recreation, some catching up with old friends.

Again, the hotel people can hope for people to be doing well when they arrive, but they really don't know why people travel. So what are they supposed to do? They perform their duties to make the stay as pleasant as possible.

I used an online service to book this Best Western hotel. The reviews were confusing, because the service did not rate them very highly, but "real people" did rate them highly. My opinion is that they performed their expected duties very well, and there were some extras that I did not expect.

Perhaps the people that review hotels that are not "real people", but are professional critics are expecting too much. No, there were no mints on the pillows or other amenities that some people may be expecting from hotels that charge in excess of $200 a night. (For that price, I almost expect some, uh, "extra" services from the hotel's hotties.)

In my years of travel, I've had some very unpleasant surprises at hotels and motels. So when I get what I'm expecting, and more, I'm very happy about it. (And I'm not just saying this because this hotel has some babes working there.) The staff performed their jobs well, even the woman that had to keep the breakfast service running each morning. Sure, I could be ultra-picky and find things to complain about, but I have had those bad experiences elsewhere to put things in perspective. And people could find things to complain about with the extremely expensive luxury hotels.

My advice to you is to be happy when you get the service you're expecting, and be very happy when the service is more than you expect. I know I was, and I'll go back to this Best Western. Remember, I'm a cowboy at heart, and cowboys love westerns. Ha! I made a funny. The truth is, I did not choose it for the novelty of the name, but because of what the online service said I could expect. Also, Best Western has a good reputation. And you know how I am about reputations!

May 7, 2009

Cosmic Justice?

Buona sera. Yours truly had an interesting trip. Oh, you didn't know I was going away? Right, I neglected to mention it. Almost 2,000 miles by car. (And for that stronzo on US-131 between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, you're damn lucky I was in too much of a hurry to pull over and explain a few facts to you.) Anyway, had a safe and productive trip.

OK, gang, Uncle Bob is going to reveal some personal history to you.

Way back in the mid-1980s, before my activities became both confidential and occasionally underhanded, I was married and we had a young child. And we were very devout in our Christian beliefs. (I still believe, but I'm much less active today.) We were also down on our luck. After much searching, a job offer came in. We were going to be co-resident managers of a self-storage facility. Back then, we were living in the town of Ionia, Michigan (which is a situation that I do not recommend for anyone), and the job was in Grand Rapids.

Or so we thought. The owner was a big-time liar, as we found out later. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to refrain from giving names?

The job was not in Grand Rapids. Instead, it was further south, in Kalamazoo. So, we set up shop and tried to make a home there. My then-wife was doing office work, and I was cleaning up the empty storage units. During our time there, the rentals went up to about ninety nine percent. We were supposed to eventually give instruction for other managers in the self-storage empire that this nut case was planning on building.

Then, my supervisor disappeared. I found out that he had resigned. The owner became the supervisor, and started making impossible work demands and did not furnish the money to buy the materials I needed to do the upgrades and "repairs" that he wanted. We thought he was nuts, but it was a setup. While he was telling us that we were doing a good job, he was training our replacements behind our backs. Our entire job was really a quick fix for him.

We were a quick fix for him, too. They had purchased the company and dumped the existing resident managers, one of whom was terminally ill and dying. No way would we have taken a job with a cazzo like that if we had known what he was like!

One day, bastardo came into the office (on our day off, yet) and said, "The work's not getting done, so we're firing you." I hope none of my readers ever have the experience of losing their jobs and homes in the same moment, living in a strange city! Remember, it was not just the two of us, we had a young daughter at the time. I think she was about two or three back then. It's a good thing that the weasely boss loser dude did not come by, because I was learning that I was capable of great physical violence. Watching the wife that I loved at the time sitting on the floor, packing and sobbing...

||>>> Fast forward a few chapters. I'll simply add that there was much praying at the time, and a series of what I consider miracles that took us out of that dark time. Oh, and our replacements? They dumped them, too.

About fifteen years later, I took a trip to Kalamazoo and drove by the place. It had a different name. Now, I seriously doubt that the company changed its name. I think he sold the business. Ha! Loser!

It had been over twenty years since I saw their headquarters in Grand Rapids, but I wound up driving by there just the other day. Even had a small anxiety attack from the deeply-rooted trauma of that time. The sign looked...different. I turned around to drive by for a closer look. Guess he couldn't hold onto the business at all. I was very glad to see that!

But it was even better. A name I did not know even existed was now there: Uncle Bob's Self Storage! Ha! My name is up there! Was that a bit of cosmic justice? God showing a sense of humor? Remember, at that time, we were both very, well, devout in our beliefs and practices. And I recall a fragment of a Bible teaching that essentially said, "You don't touch God's people." We were actively God's people, and he did us wrong. Very wrong, very big time. He's out of business now.

Just wondering.

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