Friday, May 27, 2005

Septic Systems are Racist.

I found this email I had sent to my parents a while back, and it made me laugh. I'm posting it here in case you guys need a chuckle.

Mom / Dad-

Glad to hear that the septic is ready.

I was thinking about this whole "Septic System" thing. It is really just a wonder of modern day marketing that these are still in use. Take a minute to think about it: All of our civilized technology, all of our progress through time, and we haven't gone all that far away from yesterday. In the middle ages people used to expell their human waste in chamber pots that were thrown out the back window. We cringe at such foul behavior wondering how could people live in such filth.

We, as modern Americans with the best of technology at our ready instead utilize "Septic Systems." "Septic System." Doesn't that sound high tech? There are pipes in your house, those pipes take your semi-aqueous refuse out to the "Septic System" where it gathers in a 500 gallon excrement processing tank under your lawn. Then the worms that live off of human excrement begin to reproduce under your lawn and eat your refuse. These in turn die and are expelled into the lawn where their half inch bodies are broken down by bacteria in the earth and in turn fertilize your lawn. The modern "Septic System." A beautiful thing.

There is no "System" involved in this. It's a bucket in the front yard! System? Since when does a buried bucket qualify as a system? I should invent something like this. I could invent the modern "Garbage disposal system" No more trash collectors! No more storing garbage in your garage for weeks at a time! Instead, there's a 300 foot deep hole in the earth out back with a thin line of sod over top. A shute in the kitchen goes right there. Ahh... the modern "Gargbage Disposal System."

Or how about the "Appliance Disposal System." We build an extra room on the back of your home to house the "Appliance Disposal System" All you have to do when you want to get rid of an appliance is bring it into the "Appliance Disposal System" and shut the door! No more washer! We got rid of it in our new "Appliance Disposal System"!

Seriously, where do these Septic System people get off calling this a system? A system should require at least two steps. A system should be more involved than: Step 1: Take crap to bucket; Step 2: Take more crap to bucket. I recognize that this "System" is necessary for us to have, I'm just wondering why we bother euphamizing the word. Why do we have a need to glorify everything we do, pretending that all of this is more complex, less ugly, than it really is. We should just admit it. We should just call a spade a spade, quit being PC about this stuff and quit calling it a "Septic System" and start calling it a "Bucketinthefrontyard"

It's not like the Septic System is the only thing we do this with. Isn't it funny that we aren't allowed to say "Retarded" any more? It went to "Slow" and then to "Mentally Handicapped" which was offensive and became "Mentally Disabelled" which became "Mentally Challenged" which begame "Mentally Digressed." Or how about that first it was wrong to say "Nigger" then it was wrong to say "Negro" then it was wrong to say "Colored" then it was wrong to say "Black" and now it's becoming passe to say "African American." The fact of the matter is there are words that differentiate between human beings. "Man" differentiates "Men" from "Women." The problem is, we don't want to admit that there are certain differentiations, so we give them pretty names as if to say that we don't recognize that there is a difference. Soon, the pretty name begins to identify the thing it is naming, and even the pretty name has to be replaced, because it differentiates. Political correctness will never cease because every time we give something a euphamized name, the minute that name becomes popular, it will mean what it is supposed to mean. Maybe instead of telling people to call things by pretty names, we should educate them to accept things and people that are "different." Then it won't matter what we call them, because we will love them no matter what they are.

The fact of the matter is, calling something by a different name doesn't change the reality of what that thing is. A "Septic System" is still just a bucket under the lawn, no matter what we call it. The trick isn't giving it a pretty name. The trick is recognizing that we need it. That we can't live without it. Then it won't matter what we call it, and we won't have to pretend that it's something it's not.

Yes sir, modern man has really come along. Instead of throwing our crap out the window, we put it in a bucket under the lawn where it is stored long enough to feed a population of parasitic worms. "Septic System." It sounds so clean, so neat, so sterile.



Thursday, May 26, 2005


I woke up today on the couch at Sarah's house in Canton. I spent the night last night because I thought I had to work in Canton this morning. I woke up, showered, and went to my car. There I found my glove box open, and my Snicker's bar missing. (I keep a Snickers in the glove box in case I get stranded somewhere and I'm hungry.) I looked in the back seat and the floor mats where over-turned, and all of my CDs were gone. Then I realized someone had broken into my car. My briefcase was gone with my Journal, the Brothers Karamazov, my camera, my iPod shuffle, my calligraphy pens, a letter I had written to my friend Cris, a ring I was going to mail to her, and a book I had borrowed from my friend Dean.

I lost everything in the breifcase as well as the briefcase itself. (Which my brother had given to me for Christmas.) The thing that makes me mad is that I've lost the journal. I don't really mind loosing the camera and the other stuff because it can be replaced, but that journal can't. It has two years of my life in it, no one could possibly want it, and it's gone forever. Probably thrown away somewhere. One of my most prized possessions is in the garbage right now, and I don't know where.

I want to find the people who stole the stuff and say, "Hey, you can keep the camera, the iPod, and the CD's, can I have my Journal back?" That's all I really want.

Then I went to the place where I was supposed to report this morning, and I didn't need to be there. So I guess I could have gone home yesterday and missed out on the whole "Loose all my stuff" thing.

When I got to work today, I was late. (I had to drive up to the office in Akron.) When I got to my desk, my computer was wrapped in Saran Wrap. My mouse, keyboard, and monitor were all wrapped individually. As I unwrapped my computer, everyone came by and laughed with me. Then I proceeded to tell everyone about my car being broken into, and Jake turned to Dean and said "Damn... Even when we win, we lose."

Monica shouted from the corner, "Seriously Josh, that sucks! As if the Computer and a frozen coffee mug weren't enough? You had your car broken into?"

I looked at Jake and said, "You froze my Coffee mug?"

Now I'm sitting at my desk with a garbage can full of Saran Wrap, a lot of missing shit, and a giant glass bowl with a giant ol' coffee mug ice cube.

So, if anyone finds a small leather journal with my name in it, please let me know.

Friday, May 20, 2005


Look out. I'm going off.

I'm frustrated. I'm frustrated because somewhere, someone turned America on its head and started shaking quarters out of our pockets. Maybe I'm totally crazy, but I want to think that there was a time when the value of a human being was based on their usefulness. There used to be a time when hard workers were rewarded with prestige. There used to be a time when knowledge, and integrity were sought after. There used to be a time when we could look at the popular kids in high school and shake our heads and cluck our tongues because we knew that one day they would wake up and realize that expensive jeans and pretty hair won't get you anywhere in life. Unfortunately, today, we would be wrong. Today, expensive jeans and pretty hair are more than enough to get you a brand new lexus and an in ground pool.

It has become apparent to me, after working in corporate America, that the only way to get a promotion is to be ineffective and angry. If you are ineffective, your boss will want you out of your position. If you are angry, your boss will promote you rather than fire you in order to avoid a lawsuit. It doesn't matter if you are good at what you do, it doesn't matter if you are efficient, or hard-working, or more capable than other people in the office. The biggest source for promotions is the chopping block.

At least that's the way things work at my company. I have two bosses who know what they are doing. These two men have a very strong understanding of what is going on, and they are very capable with their jobs. As a result, every bit of work that needs to be done is thrown at them. They have little to no help, and they never actually go home. The people above my immediate supervisors go to tea parties all day, and hold hands with rich people as they tour the office. My boss's title is "Manager" his boss's title is "Administrator." His boss' title is "Director." His boss' title is "Supervisor." His boss' is the COO of WHM. His boss is the CFO of WHM. His boss is the CEO of WHM. His boss is the CEO of WHV. His boss is the owner. My manager is in charge of 54 people. His boss is in charge of 2. The guy who is in charge of 54 people and who sleeps in a desk drawer is paid less than the guy who is in charge of 2 people and goes home before me. I don't understand it. The only reason I can see for the Administrator making so much money is that if he wasn't the administrator, we would have an empty office.

So while the Administrator plans meetings to discuss what meetings need to be planned, 55 people are busy getting work done and making money. While we scratch at paper tablets and tab through computer screens, our CEO walks through with a suit troop pointing at the cubicles saying, "Look at my pretty employees! Don't they look busy?"

I am so incredibly sick of corporate America fighting against productivity and ethics by discouraging hardwork and promoting failure. We are so concerned about getting sued for firing an imbicile that we have started promoting them instead. We are encouraging our good workers to care less, and play more so that they can be "edited" into a new position with more pay and a darker shadow of hidden responsibility. If you work as hard as you possibly can, and do a fabulous job on what you've done, more work will be thrown your way, until you are no longer able to complete everything that is shoveled onto your inbox. At that point, you tell your boss "Look, I can't get to that." And that becomes priority number one, and your inability to complete it is an indication of your lack of a work ethic. Meanwhile, the people surfing the internet all day and copying the faces on the xerox machine are being offered pay raises and corner offices. The workplace in America operates out of some twilight-zone reverse darwinism that puts the weakest, least able-bodied, feeblest minds at the top of the food chain. Lions and sharks stalk and swim on the office floor while guppies and lambs poop their pants on the glass ceiling.

I am sick of corporate America because it has lost its guts. There is no such thing as a dog-eat-dog world out there anymore. Now its a dog-sues-dog-unless-you-pay-me-for-sucking-at-my-job world out there, and the useless dogs, the ones that natural selection should be feeding to the vultures, have the most money, the best lawyers, and the easiest jobs. I find it frighteningly disconcerting that the less work you do in a day, the more you get paid. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there never was a time when hard work earned promotions. Maybe that's all just one big brainwashing scheme that's out there telling me to work my tail off. I've only been in the business for three short years, and already, I have found it out.

If you do more than people expect, people will expect more than you did. If you do less than people expect, they'll promote you.

As for me? I'm leaving.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Super Computer

I'm dreaming of an all-in-one piece of technology. Imagine a device about the size of your palm. It has a flip cover like a cell phone and a color screen. If you like, you can press a button on the side and tell the device to do a number of things. It can either place a call, or tell your schedule for the day, just like my current cell phone does.

On your home on the subway, you can open the device, press the button on the side, and say "Email" to open your internet based email account. If you like, you can say "Internet" to surf the web a bit on the five-inch color display. All the while, you'll have your headphones plugged in and you'll be listening to any of the three thousand songs you have stored on the device.

But there is more hidden inside. When you get to the coffee shop, you'll uncover the USB cover and plug it into a monitor or T.V. The device will house every document, presentation, database, and photograph that you have on your computer at home right now. It will also store all of your software, and the operating system that you are used to. Once you plug it into a monitor or Television, it will operate just like a computer. If there isn't a keyboard attached the monitor or T.V. that you have jacked into, you'll just unroll the keyboard that you brought with you. The device itself will be your optical mouse.

When you step into your car, you'll plug the device into your dash, and select the music that you want to hear. If you want, you can listen to your radio through the device instead. If you get lost on the drive, you can use the internet browser to find directions from where you are to where you need to be.

Once you get home, you'll plug the device into your television and select the playlist that you want to listen to. Music will play on the speakers in every room of your house. Of course, if you want to silence the music in your living room, or play different music in the dining room, you can set the device to do so. The music will be sent wirelessly to the respective speakers and the music in your house will perfectly fit your mood.

After dinner, you can use the device to stop the music in the living room, and tell the device to play one of the hundreds of movies that you have purchased. Of course, if you are at a friend's house and you want to watch your satellite cable you can plug the device into your friend's T.V. and watch any program you want through your cable satellite provider.

It would need to have a lot of memory, but seeing as I can get a 60 GB iPod right now that's no bigger than this, I'm guessing we wouldn't need much more memory in the device than that. Basically, it would be my computer, iPod, T.V. Satellite receiver, palm pilot, blackberry, and cellphone all in one. We already have these devices running on computers. If we could get them all to operate in the same small portable device, I would have one bill to pay. I would pay $100 a month, and my cell phone, satellite T.V. would be covered. The fee would also allow me to download a certain number of songs and/or DVDs onto the device each month. The company that made these would eventually rule the world of computer sales.

The best part is that nearly everything is run with one or two buttons. I will press the side button and say: Call, Schedule, Email, or Internet, and I'll use the device on it's own to do any of those. If I plug it into a monitor, then I'll use the device like a mouse to select Music, Computer, Television, or Movie to choose what I would like to do. Everything else would be run through the device.

Maybe we'll never have something like this, but I'm dreaming. It would certainly be pretty freaking cool. All I need now is a name. I'm thinking a Jack-in-Box, or JIB... but I need something better. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Future of Music

I buckled under pressure and bought a full blown iPod. I realized that the 900 songs I have ripped onto my computer from my CD collection are the only copies I have of the songs. All of the CDs are scratched or missing. I figured rather than spending hundreds to replace all of the CDs, I would just buy an iPod. And I love it.

I now realize that music is moving away from CDs, and toward downloaded tunes. Now, almost everything on my computer is legal music that I purchased on CD and burned onto my computer. (I admit, I did my share of burned CDs from friends and maybe when my conscience catches up with my knowledge I'll delete them.) However, in general, music is being pirated left and right. That's not really news. The increase of the iPod in popularity means that music is about to become much less lucrative because for every ten CDs a record producer sells, 100 will be stolen. Meaning that artists are about to get very, very poor, and music is about to get much, much better.

Right now the richest musicians are generally the worst musicians. (There are a few exceptions, I agree.) It seems to me that the only people who are getting record deals are the people with an "in" or the people who can entertain. The "artists" are still struggling through indy shows in dirty dive bars while the "Rock Stars" are no-talent pretty faces like Brittany Spears, Justin Timberlake, and everyone on American Idol.

Soon, however, things are going to change. The waterfall is about to stop, and those who are interested in money will be fleeing from the music industry. Music will be reduced to a motley crew of people who are interested in making music. Imagine. An industry full of musicians who are artists. The last time music was run by musicians we had people like Mozart and Bach. I wonder what musicians will do when their art is no longer being raped by the money hungry producers.

I'm sorry that the producers are about to loose a lot of money, and I'm sorry that the Justin Timberlakes and American Idols will be found modeling underwear for J.C. Penny instead of making millions shaking their tail feathers on stage. But, I'm glad that we are about to clean up the musical gene pool in America. It's about time the music industry had a shake down and it's about time the scruff was scrubbed off. There is enough entertainment in America. I want music to become art again.

Monday, May 16, 2005


I haven't posted much in a while, largely because I haven't had much to say. It's not that nothing has happened lately. I actually just resigned from my place of work, interviewed for and was accepted into a new position through the CCO, and I'm making preparations to move soon. My ex-girlfriend was married on Friday, and I went to the wedding. My buddy Babs, who played baseball for seven years, and I found a bat in his kitchen. With his wife stomping on the floor upstais I cornered the bat and nearly caught it in my shirt, but it flew past me toward Babs who took care of the problem with seven years of reflexes and a swiffer stick. I tore up part of his front lawn with him and resodded near the back fence. I won a poker tournament. I read a handful of books. I decorated the church sanctuary with a girl that I like who doesn't like me back. I spent the night visiting a friend who came in from out of town. I ran 6.7 miles yesterday, and I'm meeting a friend for coffee tonight.

Each day on my way to work in the morning I think, "What should I write about in my blog." Sometimes I hear an interesting story that peaks my interest and I think about commenting on it, but nothing has gripped me enough to actually discuss it. I remain determined to post only what I believe are interesting thoughts as I think that would make for much more interesting reading than a laundry list of things I've done. So I guess this is my really long winded way of saying I have nothing to say. In order to make sure that everyone knows that I'm still around, alive, and thinking, I'm just checking in here to say that when I come across something to say, I'll say it.

Till then...

Monday, May 02, 2005

La la la

I was at Panera yesterday and a woman reached across me to grab some coffee stirrers for her coffee. I never would have noticed, except as she reached across, I heard that she was singing lightly under her breath. And she wasn't singing anything in particular. She merely sang "La la la."

At first I thought she was crazy. Then, the more I thought about it, the more enamoured I was with her singing. It softened this stranger to me. I saw this 50 year old woman who looked quite aged and rough around the edges, and yet I saw her as a soft person. I recognized the humanity in this stranger and empathized with her. I did not feel sorry for her, I did not feel happy for her, I merely felt that she was a human being. I felt that there were things in her life to sing about. It was more than I could say about anyone else in Panera.

It might not sound all that remarkable at first, but the whole restaurant was full of people-so full in fact that we couldn't find a seat at first-and not one person made an impression on me save the lady who sang "La la la." She was the only person I noticed there, and now, she is the only person there who's face I remember. They took no note of me, I took no note of them. We passed each other as we would pass so many trees in a wood.

This woman however, she was like a tree that had come to life. I liked that.

La la la.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

I'm Christian Because I Want to be Christian.

A friend of mine read my last post and said, "Okay, if religions are made up, then why are you a Christian?" I told him that I think false religions are invented, but the Christian religion is true. He smiled and asked me why I believed that. I started in on my apologetics.

I began with the philosophical proofs for the existence of God. I told him that if you pile all of the arguments together, they prove that God must exist. Here's how I did it:

1. The First Cause argument proves that there must have been something before the Big Bang. (Gnosticism is out.)

2. The intelligent design argument proves that this thing was intelligent. (Atheism is out.)

3. The moral argument proves that this intelligent thing had morality, and therefore had the characteristic of personhood. (Buddhism is out.)

4. The Ontological argument demonstrates that this person must be perfect. In order for God to be perfect, it must be singular. (Hinduism and every other polytheistic religion is out.)

5. That left me with Islam, Judaism, and Christianity as the only viable world views.

6. Islam is out because the central tenant of Islam is that the authors of the Bible got it wrong and one guy sat down in a cave and got it all right. I'm sorry, but I don't see any logical contradictions in the Bible, so I'm going to believe the authors who agreed with each other over thousands of years before I believe the one guy who said they were all wrong.

7. That left me with Judaism, and Christianity. If you believe in Judaism, it is necessary that Christianity be true because the Christ of the Gospels fulfilled the predictions of Judaism. Therefore, I am a Christian.


Well, when I was finished, he said: "How do you know that the real God just hasn't been described yet?" I had no answer for that. I believed in Christianity because it made more sense than everything else, but that is not a proof. The belief that the earth is flat might make more sense to a human mind than the belief that it is round and spinning through empty space without throwing us off, but that doesn't make it true. Just because something makes sense, does not mean it has been proven to be true. Athiesm, afterall, makes perfect sense.

I see now where he was coming from, and I have moved somewhere else in my mind due to the conversation. I no longer think that these high powered arguments can succeed in proving the existence of God. I see now that every proof which leads to the conclusion that God must exist can be explained in another way. The "First Cause" proof does not prove that the first cause is God, it merely proves that something had to happen first. The "Intelligent Design" argument does nothing to dispel a Deistic God. The "Moral Argument" fails to even address the concept of God, all it does is explain that something is common among human creatures. The moral argument basically says: All people have a sense of right and wrong, therefore, there must be a God who gives us the definitions of right and wrong. You might as well say: All people fart, therefore God exists. Kant demonstrates why the Ontological Argument sucks. It isn't saying anything more than: "God exists, therefore, God exists." You might as well say: "This broomstick is God, therefore, this broomstick is God."

When you move beyond the philosophical arguments, I see that none of the experiential arguments for a belief in God are sound either. Someone might say, I believe in God because he saved my mother from cancer. (Your mother may have just been lucky, or knew a good doctor.)

Someone else might say, I know God exists because I can feel him in my heart when I worship. (A warm fuzzy in your heart does not prove that God exists, it proves that the chemical reactions in your body that grant you emotive experiences are still functioning well.)

Someone else might say, I know God exists because without God, the world does not make sense. (Well, the world made perfect sense to Frued without the existence of God, and chances are no one I'm talking to is much smarter than Mr. Freud.)

In short, every argument that attempts to prove the existence of God fails. At first I was worried by this, but I have come to terms with it. It has actually served to give me a bit of comfort lately. Many Christians (including myself only a short while ago) want to be able to prove that God exists. They want to look thier scientific compatriots in the eye and say, I know that God exists, just as I know that wood is combustible. Thier goal is impossible to reach however. The existence of God is no more demonstrable than the existence of fairies, dragons, or gargoyles. You cannot prove that God exists because he has refused to be proven. The Christian God wants to have a rewarding relationship with us that is based on mutual affection. He does not want drones with no choice but to follow him. (That's why he gave us free will in the first place.) God demands faith, not evidence. Because he wants us to decide to know him, he refuses to be demonstrable.

So, where does that leave me? I believe in something that I cannot prove. Why do I maintain my Christian beliefs when they cannot be proven?

Because I choose to.

That is why I am a Christian. I am a Christian because I have decided to be a Christian. I see nothing in the Christain doctrine that proves it logically unacceptable, and it is fulfilling to me. The world is much easier for me as a Christian, and I am comforted by the notion of a Christian God. I like the Christian religion. I like the teachings of love, acceptance, thanksgiving, grace, and mercy. I identify with things like, truth, sin, faith, and forgiveness. In short, I am a Christian because I want to be a Christian. There is nothing "wrong" with the Christian religion, and it makes me a better, happier person.

Now, for those of you who say that I'm just shooting up on Marx's heroine, let me ask the Atheists out there why they do not believe in God. God cannot be disproven any more than he can be proven. The Atheist must prove to me that there is no such thing as God, and this is just as impossible as proving that God exists. (The problem of pain, the impossibility of a trinitarian being, the conflict between free will and the soveriegnty of God all fall face first when you realize the implications of the doctrine of God's omnipotence, omnibenevolence, and omnipresence.)

Furthermore, the Athiest must prove that he or she is correct. The Athiest must demonstrate how the world came to being without the aid of God. The Athiest cannot be an Athiest without knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that the world came into existence on its own. There is not an Athiest alive who knows this because such knowledge is impossible to gain. Even if we do mathematically describe the exact nature, time, and evolution of the Big Bang, it would not logically follow that God does not exist. I believe in the Big Bang, and I believe God had everything to do with it.

Where the Athiest is confined to logic and must, therefore, prove that God does NOT exist; I am free to do as I please. I am free to believe in a God that defies logic, and I am free to believe in the unbelievable ideas of grace, the trinity, and the incarnation of the Christ. Frankly, my position is much easier to hold than that of the Athiest because I am not forced to accomplish the impossible. The Athiest, however, is charged with disproving the existence of an invisible being that exists in a different dimention and can only be seen after death.

In short, God cannot be proven to exist. To be Christian is to believe in something that you cannot prove. (Nevermind that to be an Athiest, you have to be certain of the same thing.) Belief in something which is non-demonstrable makes us free. We are not confined to logic, we are not confined to believe in only those things that we may see. We can believe in magic, beauty, truth, love, and God because we believe in unbelievable things.

When you get right down to it (and I rarely do) I am a Christian because I want to be a Christian. So, the next time someone asks me, "Why are you a Christian?" I think I'll answer, "Why not."