Monday, April 27, 2015

Store Workers - How About Greeting Me First?

In some retail stores, the humanistic greeting, “Good morning!”, “Hello!”, or “Welcome!”, has been replaced by “Can I help you?”  That “greeting” devoid of any joy to personally see you sounds as if the store worker wants to quickly get your money and send you out of the store back to wherever the hell you came from!  Every time I hear that  “Can I help you?” greeting I am tempted to reply, “Sure, you can shop for me, pay my bill, and then give me a ride home.  I’ll be sitting in the food court waiting for you.”  I wonder what the store worker would say then?  Maybe one of you can try that response and let me know what happened afterwards?  Do these store workers take any customer service training before starting their jobs?  If you've had some “customer service from hell” experiences please share them with me.  Until then, have a good day!

You can share your store experiences either via email to me at or by leaving comments to this blog or responding to the tweet!  Thank you.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Domestic Violence Double Standard?

A commercial during the NFL season advertises a “discount double check” in reference to an auto insurance company.  I’m waiting to see if the WNBA will have a “domestic violence double standard” when/if it delivers penalties against WNBA players Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson once final deliberations occur on assault and disorderly conduct charges filed against the two partners this week.  In this same sex society, Johnson is the fiancee’ of Griner.

Same sex partners qualify for health insurance, life insurance benefits and other entitlements given those who are involved in committed relationships.  In the past year the NFL has come down heavily on domestic violence committed by its players.  A Dallas Cowboy player recently was given a 10 game penalty for his domestic violence issues.  Apparently the domestic violence in this instance involved a pushing, punching, and wrestling category of violence.  Maybe that type of domestic violence is more “acceptable” in our society?  We will find out.  First reports are that police did respond to a 911 call regarding the domestic confrontation occurring.  If not for that, this would likely have remained a private issue, for the time being.

Yeah Griner and Johnson are young, under the pressure of an upcoming marriage, etc.  But we’ve been told there are no excuses when it comes to domestic violence.  So once the legal judgments are made we will see what WNBA President Laurel Richie, and the respective teams do in responding to the final legal verdicts.  Suspensions and fines may follow.  Hopefully Griner and Johnson will pause and review their behavior and reassess if they are truly ready for marriage.  Good luck ladies.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Plugged back in!

My self proclaimed exodus from receiving social media propaganda is over.  I plan to continue to keep some item from being pushed into my lane.  Less drama, and having a choice of what I want to get involved in seeing was a pleasant experience over the past week.  I had more time to think! More time to spend on those items on my "to do" list.  More time to reflect.  The instant information age is great in some ways.  But, peace and quiet and time to reflect and decide when you want to interact with the confusion of life is much more better.  So with those lessons learned I tread carefully back into the internet technological world.

A Historical Perspective - The Birth of America vs Death of a Civilization

My bucket list includes reading at least one book about every U.S. President.  I now am reading a book covering President James Monroe. 

My initial reading of the first four Presidents, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison came away with consistent thoughts regarding that period of time in these United States of America.  These Presidents were all leaders of a “country” that systematically over ran those who were already settled in this country, that being Native Americans.  All of these Presidents were aware of the nature of the “settlement” in America.  The settlers would gain, and those who already were here would lose.  Through conflict and death there would be gainers and losers.  Those who came to America from Europe were not going to return to whence they came.  They were going to attempt to settle here regardless of who was already here.  Native Americans became just an obstacle for them to overcome.

There does not seem much Christian thought to the impact settlers were having on a civilization that had already been here.  Whether or not that civilization was thought as being not as “advanced” as the European settlers should not have been justification to systematically destroy an entire civilization.  If you come to a place and find someone already there, does that entitle you (because you believe you are superior) to take over their land?  The background to the development of the United States of America is certainly filled with paradoxes.  Annihilation of the Native American civilization and the enslaving of African Americans in the new world to help build the new country being taken from Native Americans!  We stand and sing the national anthem not thinking of the suffering of the original people in this country and those forcefully brought to this country.  Simple acknowledgement of what happened seems overdue.  It would not be an admission of injustices.  But instead just an acknowledgement that this country was not developed under all honorable conditions.  There is nothing wrong with being imperfect.  It is the human condition.  Being able to acknowledge that imperfection shows a greater depth of a nation’s conscious.  Admitting for all to know that our origin did come from some mistakes, but we have overcome the mistakes of the past.  Or have we?

Has the government of the United States ever apologized to the descendants of Native Americans for the behavior that disrespected the Native American population when settlers came to this land? 

In the books on the Presidents, I’ve come across chapters discussing the western land holdings of Presidents Washington and Monroe.  It made me think, who gave settlers the right to claim possession of and own land that was already inhabited by Native Americans?  There is some element of arrogance in “settlers” taking ownership of land that was already inhabited by someone else.  It appears to be an element of early arrogance and an assumed entitlement that continues today.

Maybe if you don’t think about the origins of this country the guilt isn’t felt.  But when you truly pause to think about how the United States originated, there doesn’t seem to be a true essence of it being an honorable development.  Now in today’s United States environment, immigration reform is a major item.  Many people are worried about immigration policies.  Maybe some people truly understand the lessons learned from the immigration of Europeans to America many years ago.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Unplugged Day 3

I'm starting to think that being unplugged from push alerts from my smartphone must be like it was for the early settlers in this country.  The information flow is controlled to what I let in or what I seek to know about.  There is more of an element of peace and yes, control over what information ventures into my personal zones.  The internet does allow for quick sharing of information and news.  But maybe most of it should be withheld and thought out more before it is shared?

I'm reading one book about events in the 1700's when people traveled via ship over the oceans.  Hand written letters was the medium used then.  It would take a month or so for letters from the United States to reach Europe via ship.  This would delay the receipt of important instructions to diplomats representing the early interests of the United States overseas.  Not the best communication system, but nothing catastrophic occurred based on this system.  It was understood that people just had to wait to receive information.

Now we have an instantaneous communication system that we may not be respecting as we should. The internet allows for immediate sending and receipt of information to others.  With that comes a higher standard of communication.  We should take care to ensure our communications over the internet are first most efforts to share information of value; create forums for sharing of ideas; provide positive insight to others; facilitate understanding of each other; and provide warnings regarding dangerous situations.

I listened to about 3 minutes of news on television and that was enough.  I got the sense of conditions in the city in that time.  The same repetitive negative stories without any dialogue on what can be done to modify conditions.  News minus actions to prevent future negative stories sometimes seems of little value.  It's great that news can provide warning at times, but most of the news is after the fact events.  We're informed and nothing else.  So as Day 4 begins I continue to control how technology controls my day.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Unplugged Day 2

Unplugged from social media.  The most immediate impact is that I'm aware of less drama going on in the outside world that is publicized on social media.  Those posts that get shared on Facebook are mostly depressing and minimally positive or inspiring.  So I don't miss seeing those.  I've used my smart phone to check on weather, read mail and to actually make a few phone calls.  I've also limited my laptop to be of the same use.  Getting information, sending information out, and lastly writing this blog.  TV watching has been limited to listening to music on a music channel and now watching NBA playoffs for my distraction for the day.  I'm starting to wonder what is the true value of social media other than allowing others to gain information through fingertips?  The negative sharing of information can't be seen as a plus can it?  Cutting back on access to information pushed out to me also allows me to truly focus on the things already on my To Do list.  Maybe we all need to take at least a couple of days off each week to not interact with our social media connections.  Then see how much you really accomplish.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Unplugged day 1 (continued)

The first day of unplugging began with my first non spousal interaction being attendance at a funeral.  In this instance the funeral of a 92 year old African American man who lead a full life.  The man's legacy continues in that of his grandchildren, one of whom gave the family remarks at the funeral.  It was a dignified ceremony that gave testament to the man whose going home was being celebrated.  I did note the intrusion of technology by a couple of cell phones at one point in the ceremony.

Other than checking email for any important messages, I kept my phone  in dumb phone mode and enjoyed a quiet day from receiving non stop messages about events in the world that I could not influence even if I wanted to.  Instead of feeling detached from the world, I feel free from it.  The information flow can be a little too much at times.  Distractions that I don't really need.  I enjoyed an after funeral lunch with my spouse in an outside table of a restaurant enjoying the view of nature.  The return to the highway of automobiles brought back the reality of living in a mechanical/technological world.

I interacted with technology some to take care of paying bills and getting information.  Plus to call a friend to set up a future relaxing engagement.  Spent some time doing minor outdoor cleanup around the home to include some minor landscape cleanup.  No desire to watch commercial TV or to see what is available for entertainment options on cable stations too numerous to list, and which offer little.  Instead I chose to read a book at the pace I want to.

I have no idea what the national or world headlines are.  Apparently nothing too urgent or warning sirens would have gone off by now.  Sometimes what you don't know about can be a calming experience.

Unplugged Day 1

Into first morning of "unplugged".  I jogged absent the earphones that typically played music while I ran.  I chose to listen to the sounds around me instead.  The prevalent sounds as I jogged were the sounds of cars, fountains spraying water, and the sounds of birds chirping in the trees.  My thought was it would be nice to be able to jog in an area where there were no man made sounds.  The sounds of cars isn't really a pleasant sound.  I longed to just hear nature by itself absent the mechanical sounds that man has created.

I noticed numerous spider web designs among bushes I ran buy .  The designs were illuminated by the morning dew.  The web designs are amazing in their complexity and simplicity.  I ran along a man made trail which was near the automobile traffic I heard constantly during my run.  My thought was to appreciate any future trips I will take that are away from cars!  I ran over several man made bridges of various length and height.  One was over a reservoir typically occupied by numerous boats during the summer.  That part of the run presents a nice scenic view although today it was foggy.

As I returned home, I noticed the large wet hoof prints of a deer on the running trail.  I had not noticed the prints on my original jaunt past that spot some 15 minutes before, so I looked around for evidence of the deer still being in the area.

Back to increased civilization and views of homes I continued to see and hear the sounds of birds and automobiles intermixed as I jogged home.  I admired the scene of trees and the blue sun filled sky.  There were some wooded areas near the path that afforded a view of nature.

My only consolation to technology during my jog was to run with a cell phone as my insurance in case I injured myself and needed to make an emergency call.  Otherwise running unplugged was a pleasant experience.  My only desire was to run in a more peaceful area away from the mechanical sounds man has created.  Now it's time to interact with other people during this unplugged day.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A World without Updates and Alerts

My new smartphone is becoming a nuisance.  It constantly keeps me aware of events in sports; latest Facebook posts by friends; incoming email; and whatever else I asked it to do.  The constant sounds of the arrival of new information seemed to be continuous.  Finally I decided that I don't need to know what is going in the world at the exact moment it happens.  People before me somehow survived without getting updates on every minuscule world event.  So, I feel so can I.

I've changed my alert settings as much as I know how.  I will be ignoring all the minor events I've been getting updates on for at least the next 7 days.  This includes watching and reading news events whether on television or through social media.

Basically I've had enough of the world telling me what's important.  Now it's my turn to ignore the world and focus on what is going on immediately around me in my personal world.  I'll report daily on how this experience is going.  I am curious to see how much I can accomplish without being up to date on the latest up to the second news.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Religious Freedom Restoration Act - The Politically Correct Outrage

People, let's stop pretending.  There are many forms of discrimination.  The form that was getting attention the past two weeks was how we discriminate or behave towards those who are intimate with others of the same sex.  That intimacy includes sexual intimacy with a person of the same sex.  Of course being humans, we have assigned those who engage in that intimacy with our human labels and biases that go along with that label.  Their are biblical references to same sex preference not being what our Creator intended.  But we as people of course seem to think we know better so we can overrule what our Creator intended because we think our views as people overrule the one who created us.  Great Logic huh?   It's the same "we are Supreme" logic that human beings have had for thousands of years.  That same behavior that has seen numerous wars and annihilation of each other under the umbrella of "civilized behavior".  We pat ourselves on the back that we are so brilliant and we continue with our asinine behavior year after year.

We discriminate every day.  We discriminate on who we want as a friend and who we don't want as a friend.  We discriminate in who we hire and whom we don't hire.  I once noticed that a Director within one of my former employer's organization seemed to mainly hire thin looking Caucasian women.  If you were a minority or an overweight Caucasian female, your chances of being selected for a job were pretty much non existent.  If you were an African American male candidate, you definitely did not stand a chance of being hired.

We all have experiences and biases that dictate our behavior and whom we want to interact with and whom we want to avoid.  We discriminate on the basis of skin color something that historically has existed in these United States of America for over 200 years.

I wonder how many of the organizations that came out against Indiana's RFRA are ensuring that within their organizations there is absolutely no discrimination against, African Americans, women, and other minorities?  That means within their organization 100% of the internal personnel decisions have never involved discrimination of any kind.  I would like to see all those organizations from the NCAA to Angie's List declare that they are 100% free from discrimination.  That means every decision made was non discriminatory.

The Indiana law was at least up front about its intent.  The initial law basically said if you can't stomach the thought of same sex relationships you can divest yourself of any business relationship with the gay requester who wants to pay you for services rendered.  You tell the person(s), "sorry, I don't like what you do with someone of the same sex and I'm not going to provide you service, bye!'

Stop pretending!  Some of you righteous organizations and individuals are still discriminating legally against African Americans.  You don't care if unarmed African American men are murdered, but now you speak loudly that you are disturbed because someone actually has the audacity to say, I don't want to deal with someone who engages in sexual activity with someone of the same sex.

Yes, the law making machinery of the State of Indiana produced a poorly explained and adjudicated law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  Before the ink of the Governor's signature had dried, opponents of the legislation were letting their money do their talking.  The Governor and his aides clearly did not think the impact of the legislation through.  Even though there were many protests before the legislation was approved, only after companies/organizations/corporations threatened to take their convention dollars elsewhere did the Indiana Governor suddenly pay attention to the negative feedback.  He confirmed that  "money does talk".  If you are a citizen of Indiana who protested the proposed law, you now know now that you have to bring a big stack of money with you when you want to make a point to the Governor.  Threaten to move jobs to another state, or not bring conventions to Indiana and you will get the Governor's attention. Otherwise, what you say doesn't matter!

When I watch television I forcefully discriminate.  If I don't like the content of a television show I change the channel or refuse to watch that television show again.  As parents you discriminate when deciding what your child should watch or not watch on television.  So, if a television show depicts intimate scenes of same sex behavior would you allow your 6 or 7 year old child to watch that show? If you say no are you discriminating?

If you kept a log of all your daily decisions you might be surprised how much you discriminate during a day.  Let's face it.  People don't like to be told what type of behaviors they must accept.  We all make our own decisions on what we will accept regardless of what our human laws or biblical laws say.  Whatever laws are passed publicly we still hold our personal viewpoints and live our lives accordingly.