Friday Fives – tech style

The Consumer Electronic Show starts next week.  In that light: 

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What is an electronic gadget/technology that you can’t live without. 

Since this is about cool electronic gadgets, am adding a bonus complication… not cell phone.  The answer to all these questions is cell phone.

With that said, I am going to say my new(ish) truck.  It’s a 2018, and its predecessor was a 2007.  A LOT has changed in the technology since then.  Some was available then, as well, but I didn’t have it.  This newer truck has remote start.  I know that has existed forever, but I didn’t have it.  I cannot express the value of being able to start my truck remotely.  I live outside of town, at 6200 feet, in Colorado.  The week around New Years and Christmas, it never got above freezing.  Also, my truck isn’t garaged ever.  It’s too big.  Being able to start my truck from the kitchen is just the most wonderful thing in the world.  Yes, I am a ‘puffer’, and it is illegal in Denver.  But, I am outside of Denver, and ‘puffing’ is NOT illegal for environment reasons (though maybe it should be).  It’s illegal for stolen car reasons.  I don’t worry about that for a couple reasons.  One is, I live outside of town and my truck is down a long driveway behind a gate.  PLUS… when you remote start the truck, it automatically locks the doors.

And then there is this package with the remote start.  If it is below 40 degrees out, the truck knows.  So it not only starts the truck… if it is below 40 it turns on all the defrosters, AND the heated seats, AND the steering wheel heater.  This truck is so online that it weekly sends me health reports to my email.   AND… the truck is smart.  If I am low on fuel, it won’t remote start.

What is an electronic gadget/technology that you can do without. 

My appliances.  We just bought all new appliances for the kitchen for the first time ever.  Got a black Friday deal to replace:  dishwasher, fridge, microwave, and stove.  We just installed it all last week.  Ourselves… for the record.  Here is what I don’t need:  the new appliances are all online.  Apparently, I can remotely track how my appliances are doing.  If a fridge fails, that might be good to know.  I don’t even know if that is part of the package.  But, do I really need to be able to check on my dishwasher’s cycle progress from 80 miles away?  I guess someone does.  I doubt I will bother, except maybe the fridge.


What is your favorite gadget

Since it didn’t say electronic, I am going with my Leatherman.  It is the greatest tool in the world, and I don’t leave the house without it.  Ever.  Its on me now in my corporate desk job.  It’s on me even if I walk to the end of the driveway to get the mail.  Its tiny, compact, and has about 8 different practical tools on it.  Even better?  It was invented by a guy named Leatherman!  Tim Leatherman, of Oregon, invented it.  With a name like Leatherman, dude was bound for greatness.  He invented the pocket ‘multi-tool’, but tons of folks make one.  However, I ALWAYS buy a Leatherman.  I not only want him to get credit and money for it, but because they are made in America.  Try that with your POS Gerber, ya commie!  They all cost the same (around $40, depending on features) so go get one now.  Actually, get 3.  Put them in your cars and backpacks.   * you can’t fly with them, though.  One of the things on every Leatherman is a knife.  Whenever we check bags (which is almost never… not even 2 weeks in Europe) I get excited because it means I can bring my Leatherman.


What needs to be invented but hasn’t 

I’ll give you a freebie idea.  Take this and run with it.  That ‘transition’ technology that turns your glasses into sunglasses in the sun?  put that into windows in cars.

When did you get your first cell phone?

Before you.  1997.  My first good corporate office job was working customer support for Nextel Communications.  One major perk was getting a free cell phone and free service always.  Was there for 20 years (it became Sprint), so I always had a free phone and it was great fun being on the cutting edge of the technology.  As you know, back then, phones weren’t online.  They didn’t do shit.  All they did was call, and not well.  No texting, paging, color, cameras, internet, color, or caller id.  Didn’t even have a clock.  You know… the clock on the cell phone that I probably invented?  True story.

*** forgive the jacked up formatting. WordPress has changed their interface and it sucks. it’s like the microsoft helpful paperclip that everyone resoundingly hated and had quickly removed.

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I can help you sleep

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I can help you sleep.  I am dead serious. It’s a trick I use, and I am confident it will work for you.  Forget about ‘counting sheep’.   Never worked.  What I need is a way to turn off my brain.  I need to bore myself to sleep.  If you are over 40, odds are you have trouble sleeping.  If I cared to research it… and I just might… I would be able to tell you that 50 million Americans have trouble sleeping.  I bet that isn’t far off.

I give my brain fun and meaningless exercises.  For me, I use music arcana.  An example is, I will lay in bed and name early Bob Dylan songs by alphabet.  I can’t go on until I find one for that letter.  So, it would go like this. 

  1.  All along the watchtower
  2. Bob Dylan’s blues
  3. Chimes of Freedom

Etc etc etc.  I can do the same with a lot of bands.  Pearl Jam

  1. Angel
  2. Betterman
  3. Can’t find
  4. Dead man walking

Etc etc

Obviously, music is my jam.  You can do this with artists, or sports teams.  Then, I might do bands.  But, it has to be harder than that, of course.  So… maybe bands by alphabet that I do not like, and do not own a CD of.   Let’s start later in the alphabet

J. Joan Jett (ok, I dig her, but have no CDs)

k. the Kings of Leon

l. Lifehouse

m. meatloaf

n. ok… I am stuck here.  Wait… I got it!  Nada Surf

o. Oasis

p. pet shop boys

q.  queen (ok, I dig them, but have no Cds of them)

r. Rise against

try it, it works.  If it does, just share this with someone… and tell us your story in comments.

A bonus trick I use is from yoga.  Once you are in bed, comfy, lights are down… concentrate on your body.  From tip to tip, think about it, feel it… is it the most comfortable it can be.  I know this works for me because in college I took yoga (which I love, but back then it was just for ogling girls) and they would end each session with us laying down on a matt.  They would dim the lights and the instructor would go through this ritual.  I would fall asleep every time!

Friday Fives – watch where you sleep

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What’s the weirdest place you have ever slept?

On a hammock on the beach in Tulum, afraid to get out in the night because of all the creatures were heard below us.  The jungle came alive in the middle of the night, and wifey and I were freaked out.

What’s the worst place you ever slept?

jail

What/where is the best night sleep you have ever had?

On a boat.  The gentle motion and noise is just awesome once you get used to it.

Are you a night owl or a morning person?

Night owl, cripplingly and debilitatingly so

What is one little noise that will always wake you up?

The dogs shuffling around the room, even on carpet. Means they have to go to the bathroom, so the clock is ticking on responsiveness.

Kids – give up now!

I think I might have found the headwaters of the fabled ‘school to prison pipeline‘. 

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*** update – like a week later – bottom

Public schools have been criticized for just creating mindless little automatons to feed the soulless corporate beast that is adulting.  Greatness is not encouraged, and certainly not developed.  You are taught to be quiet, sit down, and question nothing.  Oh, you do get to stand… to pledge allegiance to god and the flag.  Not sure if they still do that, but you know that we all started every single day like that.  Once I became xenophobic woke, I stopped participating.  It troubled me then, as it does now, that kids are taught to memorize and recite this even before they know what the words mean.  That is high level indoctrination.  This is more insidious than ‘school to prison’.  This is ‘school to mediocrity’ pipeline.   “There is something happening and you don’t know what it is… do you… Mr. Jones?”   That is a direct quote from a Dylan song, and I can only assume he is talking about his need to not end up a janitor in Hibbing, Minnesota.  No sir, a young Robert Zimmerman set out to New York City to be a janitor in the big leagues!  Do you know how Kris Kristofferson got his break in music?  He was the janitor for Sun Studios.  It was a bold ass move!  How to get in and spend your days with Elvis and Johnny Cash?

Basically, you can thank Melissa & Doug for ‘Me & Bobby McGee”.  Don’t worry, there is no threat of that happening with your little snowflakes.  Unless you are ready to go tiger mom on their asses… you are raising a houseful of servile tax burdens.  Are you one of those parents who says things like “We will always love you, no matter what!”?  Cut that shit out.  When little Francis brings you that hand turkey… don’t pin that up.  Look in his eyes and say “Is this the best you can do?  Go back and try again!”  Know who really needed a tiger mom?  Melissa & Doug!  Look at the fine print on the packing… real close.  It pretty much says “listen, we all know this is your children’s fate, why not get us rich in the process?”  If that isn’t in the text, it is most definitely in the sub-text.

I think America is great!  It’s my home team.  Know what’s great about America?  The freedom to not have to start your day with a Heil Hitler salute.  As for the god stuff, isn’t the myth that America was founded on freedom of religion?  Obviously, that wasn’t remotely the case.

Did your parents ever tell you that you could do anything?  Obviously, not if you are a girl… but I mean the rest of you.  You could be president!  You could be a great artist!  You could be the next _____.  I’ll tell ya; you could be the next janitor!  Odds are, you will.  Next step, let’s teach ’em to read with this.

Stock image of 'The serious little boy in ear-phones with a microphone in call center answers a call on a white background'
We were so proud of him.  I still remember his first words in the crib “Ma’am, I understand you are upset, but that is the package you chose.  Shall we select another that better fits your family needs?”

I am not here just to say ‘Give up Now!”   No sir, I am here to TELL you to give up now, and help walk you through the process.

But… how to prepare that little shining star for a live of servitude and broken dreams?  Only the “#1 Parent Recommended site for Creativity and Learning”

Learning what, you ask?  How to clean up after the White Devil like the servile monkey you will surely soon be.  I ain’t saying I am better than your kids (though… Maddox certainly is).  I have been a cubicle monkey in corporate America telecom for 22 years now, and I quite enjoy it.  Maybe the call center job is the janitor equivalent for the next generation.  “Pay attention in school, Timmy, or you’ll end up in a call center going nowhere in life like your pathetic failure of a man who calls himself your father.”

Melissa and Doug think your kid sucks.  Listen up kids, don’t just aspire to clean… smile while you do it!  You are also thankful.

In fact, Melissa doesn’t think your kids are doing near enough adulting.

If Melissa and Doug really wanted to empower your kids… where is the little oval office set?  How about a set of Lincoln logs where they could assemble the resolute desk?  Man, I love this thing.  I think it may be the most important piece of furniture in America.  Seriously.  As important pieces of wood go, I put it up there with Trigger.  Here is some legislation for that desk – all your cracker kids are gonna spend 4 years cleaning up after minorities and protected classes.  Americorps, but with some good ole fashioned humbling thrown in.

*** update – I wrote this less than a week ago.  I just found this headline feting them as the heroes of the proletariat they apparently are.  Get to sweepin’, kiddos!

Friday Fives – and pigs will fly

What was that cool thing/brand that everyone wanted when you were growing up, but now you’d get laughed at for having?

I can’t give you that.  While I wasn’t terribly uncool, or spazzy… I wasn’t one of the cool kids.  Were I, think I would be writing this drivel for aholes?  No, I’d be out partying with my cool friends.  So, I offer you the opposite. In about 8th grade… so we are talking 1984-ish… I had Birkenstocks.  Those are the super comfy sandals… that soon came to be openly mocked and associated with dirty hippy losers (a la the perennial punching bag, patchouli).  They were AMAZING, but people just thought they were weird and dumb.  Plus, I had long hair at the time, so I was pretty much the stereotype that evolved.

Anyhow, what none of you know (who have never owned ‘Birks’) is the footbed was cork.  What this meant is that over time, your foot totally formed it.  What this meant is after about 6 months, your ‘birks’ were completely customer fitted to your feed.  Like a favorite pair of jeans, but 100 times better.

What website do you no longer go to, but was once a favorite?

Bert is Evil!  It was a novelty site from early in the internet.  The premise was stupid, and simple, and delightful!  Photoshopping Bert, from Sesame Street, into historic tragedies… implying the only common thread in man’s darkest moments is Bert.  The pictures still live on, god bless the internet.  Here are a few.

What food did you love as a child but hate it now?

Gosh, again I can only think of the opposite.  I was a very picky eater as a child, but am now more open to most things (except: olives and mushrooms).  Lastly… who says gosh anymore?  ME!  I am trying to swear less, fagsCripples!  Retard!  Midget!  um… Siamese Twin!   Jesus, can’t I say anything?

** editors note.  We really tried to take that those words out.  He knows to NEVER use them, and actually prefers gay folks to the breeders.  He agees these are words we should mostly move past.  Seriously,  he has even married them.  He just misses using the word in the 6th grade, South Park sense.  And if you don’t think 12 year old boys talk like that, you’re prolly anyway, come on!  We can’t use ‘midget’.  Is little person better?  Sounds creepier to me.  Easy for me to say, though, I ain’t no midget dwarf little person!

What’s a scam that people throw money at without knowing it’s stupid?

 

Television.  I likely don’t work or commute that much more than you.  When I get home, I have about 2 to 3 hours to hang out with wifey, make dinner, clean, laundry, garbage, and all the millions of other things that adulting requires.  That gives me about 2 hours a night max to watch TV.  And I LOVE tv.  But, not enough to pay $120 a month for it.  Last time I did that, I just lived in DVR debt®.  Yeah, I got all four seasons of ‘Rescue Me’ on the DVR (youtube it, that show was brilliant!)… when am I going to find a magical three days to sit and do nothing but watch it.  Now what about the other 7 shows I recorded season passes for? ****

I know I just talked about this, but our tv bill is about $120 a year.  Netflix!  Now, we have Amazon Prime for tv, but I don’t count that in the overhead… since we do it for the free 2 day shipping.  And… we have Hulu, but not an account.  We are simply using Ashley’s log in.  You should, too.

Pigs have sprouted wings and can now fly. How does this affect life as we know it?

 Bacon becomes a gold like commodity.  Remember, pigs are both very smart, and very mean.  Once they can fly, we are fucked!

 

*** the pinheads and narcs at WordPress would like me to know via spellcheck, that these are not words:  adulting, youtube, and wifey.  I nailed all that shit in one paragraph.  I gots an English degree, muthafuckas… so if I say a word… it’s a word.

Friday Fives – alien style

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If you were an alien visiting Earth where would you visit first

India.  So much beauty, and so many people.  Plus, the Dalai Lama is there.  So, something is going on pretty great there.  I have never been there.  I am kinda freaked out by the intensity of it all.  I think if I did land in one of the big cities, we would have to get out to the countryside as soon as humanly possible.

How would you get here and how long would it take?

You know I can’t answer these questions.  Geesh, you want the keys to my spaceship, too?  We ain’t falling for that one again, Earl!

What would you do or say when you got here?

Earl?  That you?

What would be your best judgment about Earth and what would be your worst judgment about Earth?

I am impressed as many people drive as they do, and as fast as they do, that you all don’t kill each other constantly.  You drive around in bullets, and somehow are remarkably safe.  That is impressive.   We are quite curious how white men run the world, when the world is mostly brown people and women.   Not sure how you did that, but kudos from all of us on that one.  It’s really something.

What would you look like?

Like this, but with a huge rack I could play with all the time.  Something about boobies, it transcends humanity.  They are just fantastic.  Again, you humans are doing pretty damn well with the whole project.

Colorado ballot proposals – Nov 2018

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As promised, here are my ballot thoughts with some research behind it.

I did some digging and explaining, and it may help you.  There is hours of research here, sadly.

My opinions are un-apologetically liberal, for the most part.  I won’t pretend to be impartial.  When in doubt, I always vote Democrat.  Yes, I know they are all evil weasels on the take… Dems and Republicans.  At least the Dems ran out the rapists and various sexual offenders.  EVERY ONE OF THEM… even the small potatoes.  Where the GOP supported child rapist Roy Moore, or for SCOTUS, serial rapist (and admitted alcoholic) Brett Kavanagh.

PLEASE feel free to challenge or correct me.  Please feel free to pass around.  Tell me why I am wrong.  In just chatting with the wifey this week, I changed my view on a couple of these things.

Every single commercial you have seen is a one sided lie.  Be suspect of EVERYTHING… including all of my advice.

Here is a handy trick I use when i don’t know enough about an issue… vote against whomever has the most money and best commercials.  Entrenched big money is NEVER looking at for the average person.  Never has, and never will.  I get that issues can have meta impacts on the economy.   Yes, paying teachers more than minimum wage (for example) would cost the taxpayers MILLIONS.   Know what else will cost taxpayers millions?  Incarcerating that little shit who dropped out because school and teachers and society failed him.  Spend the money up front, it’s an investment.

Prop 73funding for schools.

Voting Yes

Why > I don’t have kids, and never plan to have kids.  Still, I NEVER EVER vote against education spending.  If you don’t believe public schools are important, stop reading and go jump off a bridge.  A rising tide lifts all boats. If we have better schools, more kids graduate. More kids have good jobs when they grow up.  That means less people apt to rob you, and more money going into the infrastructure for roads and bridges. Listen, I am sure you don’t trust the govt to handle your money.  I get that, no one does. However, cutting money for schools only hurts all of society, short and long term.

For the love of god, for yes for schools.  We are low on school spending. However, I will shortly contradict all of that on the Douglas County initiative

School district funding for Douglas County. 

Unsure

Why >  This one is tough. I firmly believe in always saying yes to education.  But here is what is weird. Douglas County is one of the richest counties on Earth, and is 7th richest in the US.   So… why are they mooching? I live Douglas County adjacent, and lived there for 15 years. We also use their schools.  At the grocery store last week, I saw TWO BMWs with nice little window treatments on the back windows supporting this. Again… why are people with BMWs begging for more money?  How the hell do these teachers afford BMWs. Douglas County is VERY suspect in their motives. Just two years ago, they wanted to basically have the right to secede from the public school system, and make taxpayers pay for their little precious rich crackers to go to private religious schools.  The whole nation was watching, and we stopped it.

I gotta tell you, I am torn and have not decided.  Yes… schools and teachers need more money. But… Douglas County is the monopoly man with sacks full of cash.  My huge blue book has no info on this, so I need to research more.

Prop 109 >  money for roads

Voting NO

Why > Seems like a no brainer, we all want better roads… but then I saw a commercial Gov Hick did against it.  Though he is a politician (and I was VERY unhappy with all the ass-licking he has done for the gas and oil lobby) I still REALLY like and respect him.  Gov Hick did a commercial saying it was bad and unfunded. So, I researched more. Just looked at it with the wifey – answer is NO. Why?  We need better roads, especially here in Elbert. But this initiative is a mandate, AND unfunded. What does that mean? The critics (among them the Denver Post and Gov Hick) say to pay for it, money will just be pulled from schools.  This whole initiative is suspect, for sure. NO. Normally, like education, I would NEVER vote against infrastructure investments. This one is suspicious and incomplete. This is a ‘rob peter to pay paul’. Want better roads? Ok, but you have to let us close schools.

Prop 110 > money for roads

Voting YES.

Why > Spending money on roads and bridges and stuff.  Maybe if we pass this, EVERY highway project in CO won’t continue to be express tolls only.  Did you know that ALL free expansions now and planned are ALL for toll roads?  The C470 widening, the E470 widening, the coming I-25 widening from Castle Rock to Fountain.  Every minute you spend in construction will only result in toll lanes.

Even if you are a righty, especially if you are a righty… you recognize that this is govt’s job.  Infrastructure.

https://www.cpr.org/news/story/record-breaking-political-spending-swamps-colorado

Prop 111restricting rates on payday loans

Voting YES

Why > 1.7 million supports it.  Here is the deal, you have NO idea how fucked up and predatory these places are.   On paper, the loan rate maxes out in the 30% range… which is already usurious (remember Jesus attacking the money lenders in the bible?  It was about this. Well, with missed payments and back funds, it can be in practice 120%. I had an employee who worked for me who did one of these.  She borrowed about $250 against her paycheck that was coming in a week. Being a mom and grandmom and primary breadwinner for the whole family, she didn’t readily have the money to pay it back.  This is VERY common, which is why they borrow.  3 months later, she owed them over a grand, and was being called and threatened daily. In the olden times, this kind of predatory lending was called ‘usery’, and it was one of Jesus’s biggest beefs.

Prop 112 > oil and gas setback

Oil & Gas companies are AGAINST it.  in fact, they have spent as of last week

33 million spent against it

Voting YES

Why > Let’s be honest.  It likely will make fracking and drilling tougher.  Maybe that is ok. Maybe we live in the damn windiest and sunniest place in America.  Maybe that is where we could spend our money. Just the fact that oil companies have broken every spending record in history to fight this is good enough for me to support it.   Btw, the adds say if you support this it will ‘destroy Colorado’s economy’ and ‘cost hundreds of thousands of jobs’. No it won’t. NONE OF THESE INITIATIVES will have that kind of impact.  I do not feel compelled to assist oil companies in ANY manner.  Neither should you.

https://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2018/10/10/colorado-proposition-112-well-setback-donors.html

Amendment A > prohibition against slavery

Voting Yes

Why > This isn’t so much about slavery as we know it… except in the meta sense.  This is very specifically about prison labor…  and whether prisons can be made to work for free.  I guess I will go with yes on this, which means no to slavery.  Maybe you are thinking ‘fuck them, they are there for a reason, and they should have to pay back through work to offset the cost of incarcerating them”  that would be great, but that is NOT what is happening.  What happens is no matter how much they work or don’t work or are paid or aren’t paid… it costs the same to us… about $30K per prisoner per year.  What the for profit prisons do is get contracts to sell widgets.  It’s a great deal for everyone, except the prisoner.  The prison sells the widgets and pockets the money.  That is why I support this bill.  It is just helping the for profit prisons get richer on the backs of (let’s be honest) young black men working for free.  Hence the term, ‘slavery’.

If a prison could or would work to pay back the cost to imprison them… I would be fine with that.  That isn’t what’s happening.

The wording seems dramatic… but is it? Aren’t we largely talking about young black men here? Yes, I am generalizing.  Everything about our prison system is evil and criminal… and I ain’t talking about the prisoners, either.

because our prisons are run by private companies FOR profit. Is that a group of people that want to rehabilitate these young men?  No, if they did that, they would be out of business. The more I think about this, the more I am voting yes.

Amendment Vallows people to run for office at 21, as opposed to (currently) 25.

Voting yes

Why > Why not? If someone is driven to public service, that is a good. There could be a sinister motive behind this, but I don’t see it.  Guess we need to look at the spending.

Amendment Y & Zapproves a third party to draw congressional districts,

Voting Yes

Why > instead of the current way – which is Gerrymandering.  Gerrymandering is politics at its worst.  It is where congressional district borders are re-drawn every ten years via the census.  Seems right, people move and demographics change. Yes, that would be fine. But that isn’t how it is used.  It is used by the ruling party to to include and exclude neighborhoods to create demographic juntas… for lack of a better term.  Whomever is in control of Congress gets to draw them. Every party does it, and its bullshit. Here is the most recent example of where I live.

My district is Elbert county (which is 3 guys named Earl, 7 horses, and 23 cows.) However, this district also includes Douglas County. Douglas County is the 7th richest county in the nation.  It includes Highlands Ranch, all the way down to Larkspur. It is rich white folk, and so historically has always skewed Republican. The Dems wanted in, so they redrew the boundaries when they had the chance (during the Obama era).  They widened it to include a bunch of Aurora. Why? Aurora is poorer by a long stretch… and so tends to skew Democrat. In order to try and secure this district for themselves… the Dems (basically, and I know I am generalizing) threw in as many poor and minority voters as they could to try and get that seat for a Democrat.

It didn’t work. Why? My opinion… disenfranchised voters don’t vote at the rate rich white folks do. That is why the system represents rich old white people… and how they stay in power.

because they vote like a motherfucker. If more poor and young people voted… politicians would do more for them. Its a self fulfilling Sisyphean battle… because disenfranchised people don’t vote because they don’t feel represented.

I don’t know what the new system will be.  It will probably get corrupted and fucked, but it has to be better than the current system.

Amendment 74if govt (oil development) hurts your property value, they have to reimburse you. 

Voting yes

 I suspect this is not as pure and altruistic Big Oil is against it… so I am for it.

Amendment 75matching money for fundraising

Voting yes

Why > This one is yucky, but I say yes.  It says if one candidate puts in 1 million of his OWN money… then his competition has the right to accept more than the current amount they can take (which is, I think, about $3,000 per person/business)

6A – Rattlesnake fire money – (obviously, this is super local… but support firemen!)

Voting yes

Why >My wonderful neighbor Jim gave me some insight on this.  He is on the board of directors (to which he nominated me, which I am still honored by)   He explained why we should vote, which I will share with you..  Plus?  Who votes against firemen?  You are a monster if you do.

The judges?  I don’t know any of them, so I am abstaining.  I never feel comfortable with these questions. No one knows who these people are, and I can’t find easy access to their histories of positions.   This isn’t something we should vote on. There should prolly be some kind of oversight board… but they would likely be all corrupt.

My friend Ken gave me a long and twisted and thoughtful explanation of why he votes no across the board.  I agree with him.  But, I won’t ask you to do one way or the other.