Sunday, May 3, 2015

The many faces of giving up

Giving up - we all know the words and we all feel the negativity associated with the notion of "giving up".  We embrace perseverance - those we point to and say "he's a fighter...".  But what about those of us who aren't fighters?  And does "giving up" deserve the dread and negativity that we attribute to the phenomena?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Craig’s list rental scam

I mentioned in a recent post that my daughter is graduating and (even better) has a job lined up in Rutland, Vermont.  With graduation just around the corner she needed to secure housing to begin her career and it was during this housing hunt that we stumbled on an example of a rental scam that, unfortunately, arises on Craig’s list.  My wife and daughter spotted a small house being advertised for rent.  The background story was that the alleged owner had tried to sell it but ran out of time and was transferred to California.  The advertised price was very attractive – not a “give away,” but lower than market.  This was somewhat explained by the alleged owner who related that they wanted to find the “right person” – at times referring to wanting a “god fearing person” and a “clean freak” who would take care of their property.  The alleged owner followed up with a number of pictures and a simple rental application which was a series of questions.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

I’m confused, you’re confused, we’re all confused

I've rather enjoyed the banter and great ado being expressed regarding Indiana’s recently passed religious freedom law.  As is customary, the yellow media has once again been quick to give great coverage to the protests, but little has been shared in regards to the facts.  In this post, I’m going to explore some of my thoughts and questions in regards to religious and sexual freedom.

There is an allegation that the law will lead to discrimination against gays…maybe so and maybe not… If this is the case, my first question is how would these businesses be able to determine sexual preference?   Are gay-dar detectors available that can be purchased and installed at the entry ways so that lights and alarms will sound?  Or are scantily clad mannequins of each gender installed and if someone appears aroused by the wrong mannequin they are asked to leave?  I suppose if a couple broke out in a full scale sex show in the store that would be a giveaway, but I’d venture to guess that this would be objectionable whether it be hetero or homo.

So, do these laws allow a business owner to decline service to someone who “looks” gay or does there need to be an open affirmation or other evidence?  The classic case that seems to be floated is the wedding cake with a topper that has Tom and Bob (or Mary and Lisa)… whoops - cat’s out of the bag here folks… I have much concern and empathy when personal services are involved.  For example, let’s consider a (licensed) massage – many customers have a preference as to whether they want a male or female masseuse… This seems to run completely contrary to the assertions of many that discrimination is never OK.  It not only seems OK in this instance but is widely practiced and accepted.  In my eyes, a wedding ceremony is very personal.  I have a difficult time understanding the militant attitude of some who would insist on some church lady who believes gays are going to hell being forced to bake the cake for a gay wedding – isn't weddings about “love”?  Why would anyone want this?  I can’t see the cake maker wanting to do it and neither can I envision a gay couple wishing to patronize such a business.  To me, this is about as absurd as hiring a neo-Nazi to be the disc jockey for a Bar Mitzvah.

What is lost among the media feeding frenzy are the details – what does this law really mean?  Does it mean an owner can refuse a customer because they “look” gay or does it simply protect the sole proprietor church lady who does not want to be forced to place a Tom and Bob cake topper on one of their cakes?  Regardless of whatever it means, it is clear that this is one issue that isn't going away and will remain an emotional issue where not everyone is going to be happy whichever way it goes.  So for now readers, enjoy the show!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Rent or Buy: A simple Condo illustration

Great news, my oldest is graduating this year with an engineering degree AND she has a great job lined up!  Shortly thereafter this wondrous news ushered in the reality of needing to find an apartment.  It was during this preliminary apartment quest that I interjected the wild idea – “would you consider purchasing a condo?” which in turn provided fresh fodder for my blog.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Secretary McDonald – Not a fan…

While this blog does not focus on bashing individuals, there are occasions when I cannot resist some political commentary.  Whenever there is a shakeup in leadership as was the case when Robert McDonald was selected as VA Secretary to replace ousted Secretary Eric Shinseki I try to reserve judgment in recognition that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a complex organization and that there is a steep learning curve.  Regardless, sufficient warning bells have surfaced which I outline in my points below: