Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What is attractive?

I am home today nursing a sore knee, nothing too serious, I just wanted to stay off it for a day and see if returns to normal. Not being home during the week, I am not up to speed on what daytime television has to offer, which upon reflection is nothing. Prime time television is a little better, but not much.

If you were an alien and wanted to study America and Americans, watching not only our television programs, but our commercials would give you a good sense of what Americans deems important.

In my humble opinion, it boils down to acceptance by your peers and desire by the opposite sex. I realize this is not an earth shattering insight, but it something to think about when you look at our nation, our friends and even our spouses, and how they view their world.

Watching the local news after 9:00AM things can get very light in the news department as they focus on fluff and human interest stories. These shows seem to be aimed at younger to middle aged women judging by the commercials that are placed in this time slot. I didn't pay much attention to the TV, I was working on the computer, but I did look up in time to see the third add for some type of miracle anti-wrinkle cream, followed by a diet plan.

So I guess what is really important to middle aged women is their weight and their wrinkles. Okay, fair enough.

At night, especially after 10PM, the ads on cable especially turn their focus toward men, at least on the sports, science, and history channels anyway. It seems that middle-aged men are very concerned about their thinning hair, their graying hair, and the size of their (cough) package.
Okay, fair enough.

I have a thought on both of these seemingly interconnected concerns. As Americans, and especially as responsible parents, we need to reassess our definition of attractiveness. We need to relearn a new way to define attractiveness and teach it to the next generation of young adults. Wouldn't it be great for your son or daughter to marry someone who the love, honor a respect for who they are, not just what they look like?

I will be speaking from the male point of view, since that is the one I am more familiar with. I would love to hear from the opposite sex on this one, please comment below or email me and will post you response.

What do men find attractive?

When we are young and influenced by a peer group, be it at school or just our friends, we place so much value on looks. We will overlook a great deal of character flaws, even putting up with behavior we know is wrong, if the girl in question is "hot" enough. It seems many men carry this attitude with them throughout their lives. This is the guy who is working on his fifth marriage with a woman twenty years his junior.

As we get older and presumably more mature and brighter, we leave the shiny-new-toy phase of attraction behind and start looking for substance. Sure, we still want to have a physically attractive partner and spouse, but we start to overlook physical characteristics if she is "loving" enough.

This takes me to my final point. Women, here is the secret to attracting and more importantly, keeping the interest of your spouse. Respect and passion.

Men crave respect from their spouse, I cannot stress this enough. If you want to cement your relationship, treat you husband with respect. Even when, especially when, he is going through a tough time. If a man loses his job, or the family is a financial crisis, that is when your support can make such a difference. Even if you make all the important decisions in the family, your husband really wants you to respect him. In fact, if you show more respect for him, he might be willing to take on more responsibilities. Respect breeds confidence, and confidence leads to respect, make the first move ladies.

The other part of this puzzle is passion. Do you know what men find sexy? Passion is sexy. Sure, the body of a swimsuit model is darn attractive, but if she is cold as a fish, the hot body will lose its luster quite quickly. A woman who is passionate about you is intoxicating. We could care less if you have a few more crow’s feet around your eyes, if we have a passionate spouse. All the miracle creams, all the "Buns of Steel" workouts will be for naught, without passion.

Now I know you women are thinking, yea, but most men are pigs, and I agree. I count myself in that group. Even as a happily married man, that swimsuit model, or the girl at work, looks very appealing, and I have to guard against my own piggish behavior. That being said, it is much easier to turn your attention back to a loving, passion filled relationship than it is a spouse who owns a $1,000 of wrinkle cream, has buns of steel and treats you like doormat.

So, am I full of beans?

Monday, July 27, 2009

President Obama; Community Activist in Chief

It seems America has a long way to go in getting to this new "post racial" era people keep talking about. I am not sure what exactly defines a post racial era, but it seems to surround the idea that we should treat people equally without regard to skin color or ethnicity. Okay, that sounds great. I believe I am already there, even without an ethnic studies degree. I take each person as I find them, and let their words, but more importantly their deeds, define them for me.

For someone who claims to be leading us into this post racial era, Barack Obama constantly surrounds himself with people for whom everything can be boiled to its purest ingredient, the color of one's skin. I understand that we all fall short of achieving true colorblindness, but could someone please let President Obama know that he should be leading by example?

The President spent twenty years attending Reverend Jeremiah Wright's church listening to the race baiting sermons coming from Wright's pulpit. As much as he tried to distance himself from Wright during the campaign, one this is clear, all those years listening to Wright helped shape Obama’s views on race. The one constant narrative coming from Wright and most others in Obama's circle of influence is this; when there is conflict between a black man and white person in a position of authority, the black man must be the victim and some type of racism taints the white man.

This inner narrative was never more evident when the President admitted that although he didn't have all the facts, he went on to tell the citizens of the United states that the "Cambridge police acted stupidly" when they arrested his friend and Harvard Professor, Henry Gates. Without knowing the facts, President Obama took up his new role as Community Activist in Chief, and passed judgment on an innocent police officer and police department.

This week, the President has tried to "walk back" the stupidly comment with all the slickness of a professional Chicago politician. "I want to make clear that in my choice of words, I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge police department and Sgt. Crowley specifically. And I could’ve calibrated those words differently."

Calibrated those words differently? Mr. President, you did malign the Cambridge police department and Sgt. Crowley, in front of a nationwide audience. Mr. President, you let your mask slip, you showed your true colors, and you won't admit your mistake.

The more facts come out, the worse Gates and the President look. The 911 tapes, the radio transcript, the statements from the other officers as well neighbors, all corroborate Sgt. Crowley's version of events. Henry Gates is an ethnic studies professor who sees nothing but race and racism is every interaction; that is his job. He took this narrative to its full conclusion by immediately insisting the white police officer must be racist, and this was just another case of racial profiling. So much for the post racial era.

The controversy could have been diffused the next morning if President Obama had stepped up to the microphone and said, looking back on my statement about the arrest of my friend Professor Gates by the Cambridge police, that was a stupid thing for me to say.

Being judged not by the color of our skin, but the content of our character, works both ways.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Remiss in my duties

This summer has been of kind of crazy for me. It seems I have had a commitment on at least one, if not both, days of every weekend. Last weekend I was basking in the sweltering heat in my old hometown of Redding taking a pistol instructor's course. Trying to cram 16 hours of instruction into a 113 degree weekend, along with 5 hours of driving time, made this week an especially long one at work. Sunday I am going to church and then to the range to sight in my rifle for opening day in a few week.

I will try to write a piece for the newspaper this week, promise.

Monday, July 13, 2009

From face to face to Facebook

When I was a kid, and yes they did have telephones and electricity back then, if I wanted to talk to my friend at night, I would have to wait until the next day rolled around to talk to him at school. The telephone was for grownups. My father did a lot of business in the evenings over the telephone and the idea of me talking on the phone for an hour with one my friends seems so absurd I can hardly imagine it.

That was the mid 1970s. Back when America made terrible cars, I give you the AMC Pacer, and the Ford Mustang II. We wore terrible clothes, polyester bell bottoms and tube tops sound familiar? We also listened to some pretty bad music- The Bee Gees- I rest my case. It's actually shocking to me that we made it through the seventies without doing irreparable harm to our culture. On second thought, maybe we didn't escape unharmed.

Today when I pick my nine year old daughter from school, I see several of her friends carrying cell phones. This is fourth grade people, I carried a Six Million Dollar Man lunch box to school and I am pretty sure I left it on the playground more than once. I know you get the phone free with your plan, but dang, I hope they buy the insurance for the phone.

Computers are much the same today. When I went to college I remember the computer lab having brand new IBM PC's. These were the new AT models and we were not allowed to do anything that would deviate from the class outline. Computers were for grownups, rich grownups. Today I have to keep reminding my kids not to install anything, or if a window pops up asking you to click OK, come find me.

Kids are not scared of technology. They have grown up with it. It is all around them. Most elementary school kids have reading or spelling programs on the computer to help them with school work. Every junior high and high school students knows Google and Wikipedia forward and backwards from doing research for reports or homework. It is amazing to me how tech savvy our children have become, maybe a little too savvy.

Take social media for example. Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, IM (that's Instant Messaging for you old folks) they all add up to more access, more interaction, in one day than we had in a week. There are a few things you need to be aware of; this bold new world comes with a silicon-based memory.

Remember the days of getting caught passing a note to someone? I don't because I am a guy and guys don't do that kind of thing.

Why write a note to girl asking if she likes you? Just pick her up carry her around the table at lunch; if she screams loudly, she's just not that into you. But I digress. If you were caught with a note, or someone intercepted the note, there was a pretty good chance you could retrieve your message to spare yourself further embarrassment. Those days are over.

With Myspace, Facebook and the interconnected world of today's youth, if you get mad at your boyfriend, or get dumped by your girlfriend, some kids will lash out electronically. Electrons have very long memories. Things said in confidence to a friend in an email or Facebook message can come back to haunt you when the winds of change come blowing in. Someone you are best buds with now may be your arch enemy in a month. So it is with teenagers. That confidential message you sent is now posted for the whole school to see. Ouch.

I tell my son and anyone else that will listen, treat electronic communications as if they were post cards. Don't put anything inside that you would not want the world to see outside. If you want to have a personal conversation with someone, wait until tomorrow at school, you can talk to them at lunch.

You will have to excuse me now; I have to go check my Facebook status.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Writing is hard work, sometimes....

I have been running up against the dreaded, or semi-dreaded, writers block. It is not that I have had nothing to write about, it is just in the past week or so I have not been able to finish any of the pieces I have started.

Sure, I could write another piece on the latest attempt by the Democrats to push forward their plans for socialism-light, but that is low hanging fruit. Being a one-trick pony is not very hard work. Some folks on both sides of the political spectrum seem to revel in this us-good, them-bad type of banter. Being a pragmatist at heart, I regularly take those I support out to the woodshed when they do something or say something that goes over the line.

For everyone who thinks the solution to our current problems is electing people with an (R) after their name, they do not remember the spending spree and corruption that caused the implosion of the Republican party from 2000 - 2006. I know the current crop of Democrats make those Republican budgets seem austere by comparison, and but being just a little spend-happy is too much. The Democrats and Independent voters who voted for hope and change are learning a valuable lesson; when you are in charge, you are accountable. They thought the solution to all their problems would be to elect people with a (D) after their name. Woops.

Do you know what I am looking for in a candidate? I want someone smart enough to know they do not have all the answers, they cannot fix every problem, and they are not going take half my paycheck to try to right all the wrongs of the world.

I want someone who understands that yes, we will always have people who make bad decisions, and those decisions have real consequences. We will always have people who do not make as much money as other people. Taking money from those who make it, and giving it to those who take it, leaves neither group better. Quite the opposite.

I want someone who understands that making people less dependent on their own abilities and efforts and more dependent on the government is a terrible thing. I want someone who is down on their luck to have an opportunity to make their life better. If they do not take advantage of that opportunity, it will be another bad decision they will have to live with.

I have made some terrible personal and financial choices in my life, and they hurt, bad. I have also started over at the bottom three times in my life, and I worked my way up, it's called success. It should be rewarded, not punished. I guess the bottom line is this; If you want my vote, treat my tax money as if you earned it.

I don't care about party affiliation, these are not red state, blue state issues, these are American issues. These are basic conservative principles. If you share these principles, you can have my vote.

When you hear conservative you may think of stodgy executives in pinstriped suits or senior citizens with matching white belts and shoes complaining about the government, but you would be wrong. These principles are held by the tattooed 18-year-old who just received his first paycheck and is shocked to see the difference between gross and net. The 25-year-old husband and father who works at the local tire shop. The 31-year-old mother of two who just graduated from nursing school. The 45-year-old middle school teacher. The 5o-year-old guy who just bought a taco truck and can't believe how many permits, licenses and taxes he had to pay just to start a business in California. The 61-year-old small business owner who has figure out how to pay all the new tax increases without laying off any more employees. These people all know the value of hard work.

These people are looking for honest, real-world leadership. Will anyone answer the call?

(I guess the writers block is over)