I’m In Love Again…

I suspect you think this is about a loving relationship? Since I am a married guy, it must be about a mistress. NO, NO, NO. This is about my second love and that is techie things. 🙂

One of my mistresses in this arena is Firefox. She is a saucy lady who attracts my attention from time to time. The last time I saw her was about four years ago. At that time I rejected her for a newer, more sleek model called Google.

Ok, enough is enough. I suspect many of you figured out I am talking about Internet browsers. I spend more time with them than I do my wife it seems. I am back in love with the Firefox browser. It has leaped way beyond Google in its speed, slim size, and overall attractiveness. It is now the most pleasant, dare I say joyous, journey in the Internet world. Here are some reasons why.

  • It has a much more natural flow. In techie terms that means the user interface is much more intuitive and friendly. Being an Apple guy I demand.
  • It is much easier to find all the hidden things that one must know when you want to do something.
  • It doesn’t have all the ads strewn throughout every web page of things I have bought on Amazon, or what I have looked at on other shopping sites. Since it is developed by a non-commercial enterprise, it doesn’t need to make money for its shareholders by annoying its customers.
  • It runs faster since its code is very small compared to Google. That makes it easier on my computer resources, and especially load times on my VERY SLOW Internet speeds.

But, perhaps the primary reason for loving Firefox again has to do with a tool I use when writing every post here on RJsCorner. It sits in the background checking my spelling and grammar. Without that I would not look nearly as smart as I am. The tools I had been using for that ceased to function when WordPress updated their editor with many improvements. Updates were promised by the other tools but never delivered to date. Firefox includes a tool called LanuageTool that works better than my previous tool and has a free version. I would love Firefox for that alone.

So, here I am once again back into Firefox as my primary browser. Looking back, I’m not sure why I left her in the first place.

Burger King Tacos

This is going to be one of my consumer reports. I don’t do many of them but when I see an example of gross misrepresentation I want to call them out.

We were in our local Burger Kind a few days ago and saw an ad on their window about their new tacos. As you can see they look pretty good and a buck is not a bad value. My wife decided to try one and we were shocked at what we got. It was in a bag and when she pulled it out it looked like it was probably made the day before or even before that. Except for the stale wilted lettuce, gooey cheese (if you could find it) and dry tortilla it wasn’t bad tasting even though the tortilla had the consistency of bubble gum. 🙂

I don’t know if the manager of our store was aware that is what is being sold. I kinda doubt it but this place is pretty well known for stale products. The MacDonald’s down the road has them out the door at lunch time but this place has empty tables galore. I like a whopper now and then, even if it is drowning in salt, so I will likely go back. But, Caveat Emptor when it comes to the new introductions.

My Bucket List – I Hope I Live Long Enough…

I know some of you don’t like the idea of a bucket list, but I am kinda fascinated by them. Some of the things on my bucket list are more symbolic than others. But, I thought I would add my bucket list to this blog via the My Life & Times category here at RJsCorner. Here is the first installment:

I hope I live long enough to see Andy Jackson taken off the $20 bill.

If you do a search for “Andy Jackson” at RJsCorner you will pretty quickly find that he is no hero of mine. Up to the last two years he was in serious contention for the #1 worst president, but of course that quickly changed on January 20, 2017. Now he and Andrew Johnson vie for the number two spot. Two “Andrew”s, humm… interesting…

When Obama was president he put plans in place to take Jackson’s picture off the bill, but when the current Oval Office Occupant (#CO3) came in that plan was quickly squashed. Since then #CO3 has made it his life’s purpose to erase everything President Obama accomplished. Getting back on topic, it seems that #CO3 thinks of himself as the 21century version of Jackson, and he could be right about that. They are both braggarts, narcissists, racists, dividers, and many other like terms.

I don’t know how long it will take to get Jackson off the twenty dollar bill, but I suspect the next president will make it happen pretty quickly. The question is, will I live long enough to actually have one in my hand? 🙂

Perpetual Half-Mast

It seems lately that almost every time a see a flag pole the flag is flying at half-mast. The last one here locally was for a police office who was gunned down during a traffic stop. Sadly, as a nation we pull our flag to half-mast almost weekly now.

This weekend saw two domestic terrorist massacres on the same day. Dozens were killed in public spaces just trying to live their daily lives! All one of these homegrown terrorists wanted to do was to kill those people who had invaded his country!

His country? How did we come to decide that white nationalists owned my country of 73 years? Why does he get to decide? Like most of the weekly mass shooting he likely bought his weapon of mass destruction locally from a Texas town. They likely sold him all the bullets he needed to carry out his task. And then there is the guy who decided to kill anyone who was just having a good time on a Saturday night. Surely all of us realize that this could happen in our communities!

Why are we so passive when it comes to fixing this problem. Our country, along with Iraq and Afghanistan are now known as the terrorist capitals of the world. The rest of the developed countries knew what it takes to stop the vast majority of these tragedies, why don’t we have the guts to face up to the NRA and do the same?

Is this who we are now as a nation, as a people? Are we now defined by the crazies who claim this country solely for them and others like them. All the rest need to be eliminated. It will be interesting to see if the El Paso terrorist mentions the “instigator in chief” as one of his reasons for killing those “invading” his country.

We spend millions of dollars each day to prevent one of our soldiers in the Middle East from being killed but it seems that we are unable to lift a finger to prevent the dozens of innocent deaths every week within our shores. What will it take???????

I really don’t want to spend my final years in the insanity that has now invaded our nation. Yeah, I know I should just go back where I came from. The trouble with that is that my clan came here more than a hundred years ago and I have no idea where I should be going back to…

Having my Say about Taking Control…

I just returned from my latest uRV trip recently and the idea for this post came to me as I was traveling down a two-lane State road. I was going the speed limit, as I usually do in my truck when suddenly seemingly out of nowhere a young girl passed me going at least 30 miles per hour faster than I was.

I don’t want to sound like an old person here, but I can vividly remember when the laws of the land were more enforced than they are today. When it come to the roads, and many other circumstances, it seems we are again in the “Wild West” where there are no rules anymore? Considering the guy currently occupying the Oval Office, I guess that is to be expected. He thinks there are no rules for him so why should apply to us.

Another of those uncontrolled times are most comments found on daily websites. I’m sure that if the person’s name and email address were attached to those nasty and spiteful comments they would be very different in their basic nature. Animosity just seems to bring out the worst in us. We think that we are not accountable for our words when we attach them to news articles so why not scream some. It is as good as a primal scream, maybe even better.

Too many of us think that we don’t even have to be accountable for our personal actions. We can always blame someone else for our bad decisions. “It was my mother’s fault!” Substitute any other person you want to this quote. Everyone is to blame but me.

So, how can we take control of these and many other similar things?

.One thought, that is TOTALLY wrong, is intimidation. If you disagree with someone or some news article, attacks on the person’s character only makes the matter worse. After two and a half years of this tactic we should ALL know this fact now.

One of the primary things is to once again put some trust in our government representatives to do OUR business in addressing the matter of our out-of-control world. Too many of us have simply given up on anything that is attached to the word government. We wrongly think all of them are corrupt and unsalvageable.

I know taking control is not an easy task to accomplish, but a good starting point is to stay engaged in the process. Don’t allow a fringe minority group to dictate who our representatives in government should be. Take the time to study the issues and the candidates in order to make wise decisions and then get out and vote. After all, voting is our most fundamental responsibility in a democracy.

Accomplishing this mighty task of taking control might also mean some fundamental changes in our constitution and laws of the land to address 21st century issues. Of course that will not happen until we get some intelligent and emphatic people in those positions.

The above is a good starting point but just being a good neighbor and following the golden rules might even accomplish more…

They Aren’t Human!

Prejudice is an ugly part of humanity.
The ugliest is saying your enemy isn't human.
He is an animal without your qualities
How could it be otherwise.

Hitler did it with the Jews.
Andy Jackson with Native Americans.
Too many did it with people of color.
They aren't human like us.

The worst is some who claim the Christian mantle.
They see some human beings as not being equal to them.
They don't deserve our love because they are not like us.
They don't deserve our compassion because they are not human.

Jesus was dedicated to defending the defenseless.
He hated bigotry and religious hypocrisy.
He relentlessly called out the faithless teachings of his day.
His harshest words were for those supposed religious leaders.

How about some of our religious leaders of today?
What would Jesus say about some of them?
Would he call them a "brood of vipers"?
If he did, would it mean anything to them?

81% of white Evangelicals voted for the current president!
They and their religious leaders enthusiastically support him!
They turn a blind eye to his immoral actions!
They are giving to Caesar what belongs to God!

One cannot be a follower of Jesus and support Trump.
If you are willing to abandon the teachings of Jesus,
If you turn a blind eye to his racist rhetoric,
You have lost the right to call yourself Christian.

It really is as simple as that.

It’s Them!!!

It just struck me in the shower recently that we seem to be living in two distinctively different worlds today that are weirdly occupying the same space in time. That phenomenon is not terribly unusual in the overall scheme of things, but the intensity of it is almost freakish now. The “Us vs Them” mentality seems to have caused a VERY deep chasm between too many of us. That is what this unusually long post a about.

This phenomenon has several different faces. Let’s look at some of them.

Evangelicals

I have been reading a lot about the political Evangelical of today’s world. All that I have read now convinces me that many in this category are deathly afraid that their world is coming to an end. They see their children defect to other beliefs, or even no beliefs at all, rather than take their parents religious beliefs on faith alone. The Millenials are known to be the least religious of any of the past several generations. Of course this has already happened in much of Europe. Those who base their lives on one of many brand of faith are now a distinct minority on that continent and if things continue as they are the same will happen to America. Faith without facts or actions ring hollow for too many of us now.

In order to keep the inevitable from happening Evangelicals have formed a bizarre relationship with a very vile narcissist who tells them what they want to hear. But in reality he would abandon them in an instant if something better came along. To me, this symbiotic relationship between a narcissist and panicked Evangelicals reminds me of the story of the anti-Christ in their very own books.

White Supremacy

Let’s face it, white supremacy has been the story of America for much of its history. America was formed by white Europeans overrunning the existing inhabitants of our land. They justified that practice as being Manifest Destiny in that their god had declared that they were to spread from coast to coast.

The second phase of white Supremacy was based on one person owning another. Of course the owner was almost exclusively WASP while the ones enslaved were people of color. White Supremacy was very much a roadblock in the forming of our Constitution. Given that many of the most influential of the founders were slaveholders that was inevitable. It would take one hundred years to even start to change that and another one hundred years before it was even possible to make equality and justice for all a part of our destiny.

In the last fifty years things are finally starting to change and that scares many of the once powerful people in our society. They see the statistics that in the not too distant future they will lose control of being able to dictate who we are as a nation. They, like the Evangelicals above, are genuinely panicked and grabbing for any straw that helps them maintain power. They too have grabbed onto the same unstable person as their savior.

Rural vs Urban

Like White Supremacy, Rural vs Urban has been around for most of our country’s’ existence. An initial stopgap solution to one group dominating another was to create one body of our legislature that was not based on population but instead on certain regions of the country. Of course that body is the US Senate. Basically that gives rural areas of the country more voting power per person than those in urban areas. Is it fair in today’s world to make one person’s vote count more than another’s? I think not.

Rural areas are obviously in a continuous state of decay now. All you have to do to see that fact is to get off the Interstate highways during an extended road trip. You will find yourself going through ghost town after ghost town. Main street is now strewn with dilapidated building. About the only occupied building is the US Post Office. I’m sure it is very hard for those who remember a vital downtown to not be angry. They feel a steamroller has leveled their way of life and they too are clinging to an unstable narcissist for the resurrection.

On a personal side note related to this topic, up until the last year or so, I made it a point to use only State roads in my half dozen or so annual uRV trips each year. But after a few years of that I found myself getting depressed with all the abandoned towns. I was passing through. I can’t imagine having to live that daily reminder of what was once but never will be again!

Educated vs Uneducated

You could also entitle this group as “informed vs mis-informed”. If you know history you know that the French Revolution which took place not long after our’s was primarily about this topic. The serfs were determined to rid their country of all the intellectuals and they did that via the guillotine! When China decided to totally embrace Communism in the 20th century the first thing they did was to round up the intellectuals. The same thing is true for Russia. I am definitely thankful that we intellectuals are not treated likewise it my country. At least yet…

Maybe part of this problem is not really about education as is it about who holds the power. I know there is a definite disdain among rural America for those who represent us in the federal government. Too many think all of those jokers are corrupt money grabbers.

And then there is the rest of us

I hope that most of us in America see things very differently than these fringe groups above. We see our country’s diversity as a strong point in our existence instead of something to be attacked and eliminated. We see white male power finally being surrendered to something more representative of our citizens as a whole and we rejoice that fact.

Yes, we question everything but with the purpose of making our collective lives and institutions better and to discard the antiquated practices of the past. We applaud the changes happening as finally bringing our nation to a point where justice for all is something can be accomplished within a generation or two.

In Summary

Each one of these groups has a very specific agenda that is very different than what most of us want to see happening to America. I have come to see that many of them are in a panic stage thinking their way of life is over! It is utterly tragic that so many people now live a life obsessed with fear.

I want to close out this post that I am not painting with a broad brush. I realize that there are many “associate” members of these groups who may be causally linked to these causes if at all.

Who Needs Social Media?

Obviously the question in the title above is what this post is all about. Here is the definition of social media from Wikipedia. The biggies are obviouslly Facebook,Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, with many other a little further down the line.

Obviously these companies want us to believe that we need them to do almost everything essential to life itself. We HAVE to plug into their product to keep control of our lives.

  • Make friends
  • Build relationships
  • Be actively related to politics
  • To hail a cab
  • To catch a bus
  • To shop
  • To understand the world.

But is any of that really true? It wasn’t but a few years ago that we had other methods of doing all those things. I know I am going to sound like an old person here but I think many of the older ways were better than using social media. Getting down to the root of this matter, maybe the more important question is do we need what these founders of social media are doing to our lives.

We don’t need:

  • to make increased corporate or government surveillance of our lives easier.
  • to make unanswerable harassment possible without consequences of the harasser.
  • to make stalking easier.
  • to pollute our democratic processes with lies and distortions found on these sites.
  • to be exposed to all the false anti-science garbage.
  • to make the “Us vs Them” divide any wider.

Maybe we need to look back at the days before these social media giants controlled so much of our lives and maybe take a step back to change things.

If we simply didn’t use the current social media outlets I’m sure others would sprout up that would change many of the con’s above. I know all these guys are currently multi-billion dollar companies who have a stranglehold on how we interact with each other in the 21st century, but that doesn’t necessarily have to the the case.

I am generally not an advocate of burning things down in order to make improvements but that seems to be about the only method that will eliminate the problems above. The $5 billion fine on Google is a start but it needs to be backed up by a strong consumer boycott to affect change in this area.

What do you think?