Ben Franklin Quotes

I’ve been terribly conflicted about Apple’s stance against the FBI order to unlock a phone. Initially I supported them. Government overreach, George Orwell, the $500 million Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV), Snowden, and whatnot. However, the more I thought about it the more I think Apple is in the wrong this time.

What changed my mind is a safety deposit box. According to both political parties, if the other party wins life as we know it is over. Armageddon, dogs and cats sleeping together, America is lost. My first thought was that it’s time to bury my gold bars, toilet paper, and zombie apocalypse supplies in the backyard. Unfortunately I live in a designated historic district so that would take approximately 16 months for environmental permits and preservation committee approval. That’s when I realized a safety deposit box was just the ticket!

Every good spy has a safety deposit box stocked with the essential bug-out supplies. So I started reading up on the rules. Turns out, the government does have the right to open up your box. If you’ve committed a crime, or the box is suspected to contain material related to a crime they can obtain a warrant and seize the contents. Isn’t that exactly what has happened with this iPhone? A government agency owns a phone that was suspected to be connected to criminal activity. The FBI obtained an order for that device to be opened. Seems lawful to me. I think Apple is wrong in this instance.

I still agree with the principle of Apple’s argument. If Apple wants to open the phone and hand it back to the FBI, fine. However, the FBI should not be given a set of keys to everyone’s safety deposit box just in case they might need it someday. The government does overreach. Once you cede privacy and rights to them there’s no going back.

I’m not a Cliven Bundy conspiracy nutjob. I don’t think the government has a grand, evil plan to turn us into North Korea. A large percentage of government workers aren’t smart enough to find their way out of a wet paper bag, let alone hatch a vast KGB-like network without spilling the details to Whoopi Goldberg on the View.

However, technology is making data collection and eavesdropping easier than anyone could have imagined. Look at the Stingray and Dirtbox. Even local police are now intercepting cellular conversations. The amount of surveillance being done around Anaheim and Disneyland is disconcerting. Come on now – Mickey friggin Mouse? Wait, a giant mouse that walks around only in odd shorts is kinda weird. What’s the remouseal story behind his name change? Someone needs to keep an eye on that dude.

As Homer Simpson famously said, “A man who would give up a donut today for the promise of weight loss tomorrow, deserves neither the donut or beer.” It was something like that. It could have been Ben Franklin. But his often misquoted statement was related to his appointment by a family who resisted paying taxes to raise a defense against Indian attacks. But that’s a story for another day. I need to start digging that hole in the backyard.

 

 

On Cursing. And Revolutions.

“I never liked you. You know why? You don’t curse. I don’t trust a man who doesn’t curse. Not a “fuck” or a “shit” in all these years. Real men curse.” – Capt. Yardley

I admit, I have a bit of a problem with cursing. I manage to reign myself in most of the time, but there are certainly days when the expletives fly. I do my best on the rare occasions when I’m around kids… but hell, they’re going to have to grow up sometime. I used to worry about it until I read that researchers discovered that swearing is not only good for you, but a sign of higher intelligence. I figure with my R rated vocabulary I should be in Einstein or Sagan IQ range.

Maybe it’s getting older. Maybe it’s a diminishing tolerance for political correctness. Perhaps I’m just tired of morality lectures from scary nut-job politicians. Bottom line, the world is not going to end if an F-bomb drops from time to time. This country was built by hearty, rough and tumble folks. They were some bad ass risk takers crossing oceans, forging communities out of nothing, exploring the frontier to the west. If you don’t think these people used profanity, you don’t know history.

Needless to say, I’m pretty amused when Trump drops a well placed curse word. Watching the media reaction you’d think the sky was going to part and lightening was going to strike him down. Politicians just don’t do that. Little old evangelical ladies in Iowa must have been fainting in droves. Sigh… no I’m not a Trump supporter. He just provides endless entertainment. Besides, it’s fun to watch the talking heads be continually wrong about everything.

Trumps language reminds me of an incident back in another life when I worked for the evil empire (rhymes with  shmikrosoft). We were in a conference room arguing about some product feature and the F-bombs were flying. A new, and very young, female engineer actually started crying and ran out. There was stunned silence for a moment and then a fairly senior engineer said, “Welcome to shmikrosoft and the fucking big kids table.” I was a little surprised at his lack of political correctness and don’t necessarily support the behavior – but it was pretty damn funny at the time.

My point? I’m not sure. My mind wanders these days. I do know you cannot rewrite history. We are not a nation of holier than thou, bible thumping, Ted Cruz puritans. Our founders were some rough folks. They were drinkers. The sons of liberty formed over taxation on sugar and the economic impact on our rum production. John Hancock was a smuggler on a level that put the Kennedy family to shame. Oh, you thought it was all about tea? The colonists boycotted tea only because they weren’t stupid enough to impact their alcohol production. The ‘shot heard round the world’ probably happened because the minutemen gathered in taverns to wait for the British. Nothing like a little Dutch courage to develop some beer muscles and feel invincible!

So the next time you feel the urge to swear, go ahead and let ‘er rip. You’ll feel smarter. And if it’ll make you feel better, take Homer Simpson’s example and get yourself a swear jar. You can donate the proceeds to Ben Carson’s campaign.

 

 

Are You Hurt, Or Are You Injured?

Back in the Paleozoic era, I played Pop-Warner football. I remember one game when I got my “bell rung”. The sophisticated first aid of the time was smelling salts and some weird pushing on your diaphragm to get you to breathe again. Executed by “the coach” who had comprehensive medical training which consisted of watching M*A*S*H reruns. It was probably a pretty good concussion (which may explain that strange twitch I still have) since I didn’t remember much after that. What I do remember was coach asking if I was hurt, or injured? I said I didn’t know, so he sat me on the bench for a few plays. He came over and conducted a thorough neurological exam by asking if I felt ready to go back in. I must have said yes, ’cause I played the rest of the game.

pain.jpgTo this day, I’m still not entirely sure which is which. Do you go back in the game if you’re injured or hurt? I know that if there’s no pain, there’s no gain. Also, pain is just weakness leaving the body. So if I have pain someplace, I know it hurts but does it mean I’m injured? No, wait – I’m merely injured not hurt. But what if it ’tis only a flesh wound? I’m so confused.

What I do know is that these days something always hurts. The current inventory is as follows:

  • A shoulder that aches all the time from arthritis and a torn supraspinatus resulting from a mountain bike crash.
  • An acute elbow, epicondyle / tendon strain from the climbing gym.
  • A couple of wicked blisters from a several thousand feet of climbing in poorly fitting boots to get some backcountry turns in fresh powder.
  • An odd pain in the back of my knee that comes and goes. Probably a blood clot.
  • And worst of all… I stabbed the roof of my mouth eating Doritos. Those little bastards are sharp.

Anyone with more a few more brain cells than me would realize that at my age I should probably spend more time at the library rather than pretending father time doesn’t exist. Getting old sucks. I don’t remember having these issues when I was younger. We just went out and did things. No warm up. No stretching. No specialty hot-house yoga classes to focus our inner chi so we can properly concentrate on hydrating with our pomegranate energy drinks. We drank water. Or orange flavored Gatorade if you were lucky. We carried salt tablets when we went backpacking. I’m not sure what I was supposed to do with them, but I brought ’em every trip.

soccerbubbleApparently today kids can get a concussion simply riding their scooters into a strong headwind. It won’t be long before football disappears completely, replaced by hoards of young soccer players – encased head to toe in temperature controlled, memory foam suits and $2,000 cranial protective devices. Each player will be subjected to a 28 point neurological exam by the on-field physician and lawyer before being allowed to go home.

I miss the days of feeling young and invincible. Of not walking my bike around an obstacle but instead thinking, “I bet I could jump that. What could possibly go wrong?” You’re not going to get any extra credit points for meeting your maker with zero scars. Besides, what’s a few concussions here and there? I don’t drool that much. Now, where did I leave my car keys? I’m out of Doritos.bigwheel