Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My Thoughts On Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao

Boxing gloves representing Floyd Mayweather & Manny Pacquiao
Subject: Boxing gloves representing Floyd Mayweather & Manny Pacquiao | Date: 04/19/15 | Artist: James Kiester | This picture was drawn by the author of this blog. |
I'll admit it, I was wrong. I NEVER thought Floyd Mayweather & Manny Pacquiao would finalize a deal.  The powers that be have been trying to put this fight together for six years.  However, not wanting to jeopardize his undefeated record, Floyd found ways to put the kibosh on the match-up.

First he wanted Pacquiao to take a fight day drug test.  When Pacquiao refused Floyd tried to imply Manny was trying to cover up drug use.  Yet, he, undoubtedly, knew Pacquiao couldn't accept such a condition, even before he asked. Boxing insiders and aficionados understand that drawing blood on fight day can leave a boxer weak and sore, handicapping him during the fight.

Then he wouldn't sign a deal, saying he didn't want boxing promoter, Bob Arum, to get a cut of the ticket and Pay-Per-View sales.  Since Floyd would have been guaranteed a multi-million dollar purse, it's hard to picture him caring about who else got a cut. Of course, this is a guy who beat up his wife as his body guards made his kids watch, then tried to sue the jail for not allowing his personal chef to cook for him, so anything's possible.

The nonsense ended this January when Manny publicly confronted Floyd a an NBA basketball game.  The on camera confrontation lead to an all night hotel room meeting and a May 2nd fight date, with an expected pay day of $100 million for each fighter.

On May 2nd fans, with $5,000 for a cheap seat, or $90 for the Pay-Per-View, will be witness to, arguably, the most important fight to take place in the last decade.  It's on EVERYBODY's mind, and has already been analyzed by experts umpteen times.  It's the kind of fight celebrities such as Lorne Greene and Frank Sinatra used to don tuxedos to attend.

Even though it is a big fight, the price to watch it irks me.  Football fans don't have to spend major money to watch the Super Bowl on TV.  Baseball fans can watch their World Series for free.  Being the curmudgeon that I am, I've been determined not spend $90 for the Floyd vs. Manny fight.  Even if I was rich, I wouldn't reward the powers that be for nickel & diming boxing fans.

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Luckily, my local Buffalo Wild Wings is taking $20 reservations for the fight.  I secured my $20 spot the first morning such reservations were made available.  If I wasn't the first person in Beaverton to reserve a seat, I was the second.  Granted, I'll probably drop the $70, I saved, on wings, fried pickles, and beer, but at least the money won't be going to the chiselers.

The best part of the upcoming fight, is that it proves that having a belt/title at stake isn't what makes a fight big.  OK, each boxer holds a welterweight title, and the WBC has designated a special Diamond Belt just for this fight, which makes the WBC look even more ridiculous than they already look.  People aren't focused on the belts though.  Fans simply want to see, once and for all which titan is dominant.

Each week, I try to pick a series of boxing winners in a free boxing pool/challenge. I'm taking Pacquiao in the challenge on May 2nd.  I actually think Mayweather will control the pace of the fight and win a decision. However, I can't sit there with my friends, bar food, and a beer and cheer for Floyd.  I'd rather root for Manny and take a ding on my challenge percentage.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I Can't Like Everything

I'm a red blooded 21st century American, and as a red blooded 21st century American I
Screen Shot from my Facebook feed
Subject: Screen Shot from my Facebook feed | Date: 04/0/15 |
This shot was taken by the author of this blog. |

spend a good deal of time on Facebook.  Many of my Facebook friends post benign tidbits featuring recipes, TV/movie updates, celebrity gossip, and other dinner party safe topics.

However, some of my friend are civic minded people who keep their fingers on the political and moral pulse of the world. These friends will post news and op-ed pieces on gay marriage, war, crimes against humanity, global warming, and other socially aware topics.

Being a friend, I like to comment on friends' posts whenever possible, it's a pretty interesting way to start a conversation.  There are times though, when I tired or pressed for time.  During these times, I like to read the ten most current posts and click "Like" to let my friends know I took the time to read what they took the time to post.  It's the polite thing to do.

The Liking shortcut works well for the more run of the mill posts.  I can like the fact that Jim Parsons (Big Bang's Sheldon Cooper) received a star on Hollywood's Walk Of Fame, and I can like a recipe for bacon covered turkey.  Liking those things is pretty socially and morally safe.

However, when a friend posts news about college students being massacred, or a 15 year old sex slave being locked in a coffin full of spiders for not delivering "service" with a smile, clicking Like can be interpreted as condoning slavery, torture, and murder.   It feels icky and creepy to like such posts.

Facebook needs to add a "Don't Like," or "Acknowledged," button as a reply option.  Such a button would indicate I read the information and I agree the situation blows chunks.  It would be a way for readers to give a quick nod to the poster without saying, "Gee, I like the fact that those kids are dead."

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Presidential Muslim Conspiracy Theory - Really?

 I should begin by admitting that I'm a fan of our liberal president, Barack Obama.  I support gay rights, I think giving people access to medical care is a good thing, and I'm happy to have an occupant of the Oval Office who protects programs for the poor.

That being said, I acknowledge that many people don't like the president.  That's totally fine, this is the United States of America.  If someone thinks President Obama compromises too often, or he coddles the poor at the expense of business, or he's soft on family values, they're 100% free to not like him.  Heck, if someone doesn't like a president who reads Marvel comic books, they're free to not like the president.

What makes me crazy is the statement, "Obama should be booted from office, because he's a Muslim, so he supports ISIS."  This idea is bass ackwards on so many levels it's hard to know where to begin.

 President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Honor to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta during a presentation ceremony in the East Room of the White House
Subject: President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Honor to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta during a presentation ceremony in the East Room of the White House. | Date: 11/16/2010 | Photographer: Leroy Council |This image is a work of a U.S. Army soldier or employee, taken or made as part of that person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.
Believers in the presidential Muslim conspiracy theory point to pictures of President Obama publicly appearing in front of a "Muslim prayer curtain," in the East Room of the White House.  Unfortunately for such conspiracy theorists, there's no such thing as a "Muslim prayer curtain."

The draperies in question are gold silk lampas curtains featuring decorative, non-religious, patterns.  The drapes were ordered by Jackie Kennedy, and have adorned a wall in the East Room of the White House since Lady Bird Johnson ordered them to be hung in 1965.

Even if the curtain theory wasn't a complete joke, the idea that Obama is a Muslim is absurd for other reasons.  Muslims must routinely follow the Five Pillars of Islam, in order to live good lives and prove their devotion to their religion. The Five Pillars are:
  1. Shahadah (the sincere declaration of Muslim faith), 
  2. Salah (praying properly five times a day), 
  3. Zakat (making donations to help those in need), 
  4. Hajj (going on a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once),
  5. Sawm (fasting during the holy month of Ramadan). 
I have no way of knowing what the president has sincerely declared in his own heart.  However, while he DOES give to the poor, and he HAS been to the Middle East, he's never been known to excuse himself from meetings to say daily prayers, nor has he been known to fast during the holy month of Ramadan.  In fact, during last year's holy month of Ramadan (06/28/14 - 07/28/14), the president hosted an Independence Day BBQ, where he consumed; pork ribs, hot dogs, and beer; none of which are allowed by Hajal (Muslim dietary law) during any time of year, let alone during the holy month of Ramadan.

If President Obama is a Muslim, he's extremely bad at it.

Although all objective evidence points to Barack Obama not being a Muslim, I find it sad that it needs to be proven at all.  The Islamic religion is a perfectly valid religion, rooted in much of the same history as Christianity and Judaism.

The fact that I have to make this point 14 years after the attack on New York is nothing short of tragic; Muslims are not the enemies of the United States of America.  Being a member of the Islamic faith does not equate to membership in a terrorist and/or criminal organization.  Keep in mind, ISIS and Al-Qaeda are to the Islamic faith what the KKK and Nazis are to Christianity.  Saying all Muslims are terrorists is the same as saying all Christians are homophobic Aryan bigots.

As I said, not liking the president is fine.  However, if someone is going to dislike President Obama, or anyone for that matter, they should make sure their reasons for not liking him are grounded in reality.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Some Things Confuse Me

Some things in life confuse me.  I'm not talking about an inability to understand certain parts of quantum physics or not being able to read ancient Hebrew.  Those are things few people have mastered.  I mean there are parts of
McDonalds Chicken McNuggets
Subject: McDonalds' Chicken McNuggets | Date: 10/04/2011 | Photographer: Evan Amos |The copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide.
every day life which make me scratch my head and keep me awake at night.  A friend of mine tells me that thinking about such things is what causes my chronic headaches.  Maybe so.

The boast, "100% white breast meat," confuses me.  I get what they're claiming; their nugget or patty contains only white meat from the chickens' breasts.  Yet, when dark meat has so much more flavor, I'm not sure why only using blander white meat is considered to be a good thing.

The Bible confuses me.  I'm not referring  to its lessons or message; I personally believe the Bible to be a reflection of God's word.  However, in a literary sense, I don't understand

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what constitutes a verse.  Using the English Standard Version, the Bible's shortest verse is the two word verse John 11: 35, "Jesus wept."

By contrast, its longest verse is the two sentence long passage Esther 8: 9, "The king's scribes were summoned at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day. And an edict was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded concerning the Jews, to the satraps and the governors and the officials of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, 127 provinces, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language, and also to the Jews in their script and their language."

Just looking at these examples, one might say a verse is defined by the expression of a single idea.  If that's the case though, what do we do with single sentences which span more than one verse?   Acts 1: 1-2, "1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen."

I'm sure there's a highly technical answer explained within the dusty pages of some book housed in one of the Vatican's secret vaults.  Nevertheless, the inconsistency of the Bible's verse structure perplexes me. 

Extravagant pet products confuse me.  The production of such products doesn’t confuse me.  Big companies have found a cash cow, and they’re milking Bessie for all she’s worth.  It’s the American way, I get that.  It’s the demand for these trinkets that baffles me.

A well cared for pet needs a bed (a pillow or soft blanket will usually do), food, a bowl to eat out of, water a bowl to drink from, snacks to promote dental health & good behavior, somewhere to relieve itself (a clean litter box or ample yard), a brush, nail clippers, a collar, a leash, and a few toys.  That's it.  OK, I grudgingly concede to the idea of a tooth brush & paste, only because vets are recommending such things these days.  But, that's it. The rest, including dressing a pet and pushing them around in a stroller, seems silly to me.

I was at Target and thought I'd get some treats for my new puppy. Target has 2 entire aisles of dog & cat toys, food, and treats.

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I saw balls of every conceivable color, including day glow colors, for dogs which can only see black & white.  There were balls with bells, squeaky balls,  mini-tennis balls, balls fastened to each end of a cylinder to mimic the shape of a bone, and a mind numbing array of other pet oriented balls.

I was equally surprised by the multitude of gourmet flavors pet snacks come in.  I saw animal snacks in; salmon & herring, venison & sweet pea, turkey & sweet potato, bison & lentils, free range chicken, and filet mignon with bacon; varieties.  Not that a dog would know a filet mignon from a skirt steak, but if Fido did score such a snack, he could finish it with Peanut Butter Flavored Frosty Paws Ice Cream for dogs from the frozen food aisle.

I'm perplexed by other things too, including commercials which treat viewers as stupid, people who go onto talk shows and court shows to air their dirty laundry, and Family Feud contestants who believe the dirtiest possible answer WILL BE on the survey board.  However, what really confuses me is the idea that very few people seem to be questioning any of these things.