Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Play On Words

For some people, it's important to them on where they buy their products.  Some people like to keep their purchases local meaning that if they live in a certain country, they like to purchase things that are made in that country.  But the term "made" doesn't always mean that they are actually made in that country.  Rather they can actually be made in one country, but can be built in another.  It's the battle over made vs built, and there is a difference.

Almost everything that we buy has a stamp on it.  The stamp indicates where that product is made.  Let's say that you go buy a new toy car for a child.  They toy will most likely have a stamp on it that says, Made in USA, for example.  However, it doesn't mean that it's actually built in America.  It could be, but maybe it's not.

By definition to make something is to come up with the concept for it like an idea.  The actual definition states that to make something is "to bring into existence by shaping or changing material".  That's why when we have an idea we say that we made it up, because we made it in our heads.  When we produce the parts then we have made them.  When we put it together or we "assemble" it, then it becomes built.  By definition to build something is "to construct (especially something complex) by assembling and joining parts or materials".

Car dealerships use this "play on words" to sometimes mislead their customers so that they can get a sale.  For example, let's say that you walk in to a Mercedes-Benz dealer.  Your friend just bought a new M-Class and you like it and you want one.  The only problem is that you want to buy a car that's made in the United States because that's where you live and you want to keep things local.  You state this to your salesperson and he says, "No problem.  All of our M-Class models are built right here in America in Vance, Alabama".  Wow, you think.  That's awesome.  You go ahead and decide that it's the car for you and buy yourself one.  So were you fooled?  Yes and no.  No in the fact that what the salesperson said was true, but yes in the fact that he only told you half of the story.  While it's true that the Mercedes M-Class is built in America, it's actually made in Germany.  Germany produces all the parts necessary to build the car, then ships those parts to America so that the car is built in America.  Do you see the difference?  Like I said before, many dealerships use this play on words to mislead their customers.  By doing this they can increase their sales all the while being able to honestly say that they never lied to you.  So next time you want to buy a vehicle, keep this in mind, especially if you truly want to keep things local.  Just remember that this isn't exclusive to vehicles, but a ton of other products as well.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Difference Between A Cross And A Memorial

First of all, this is not a post about religion.  While it may have some religious references in it, as you read it, you will understand that I am not making this out to be a religious debate.  I am not going to sit here and take one side over the other, but rather I am just simply stating what I believe should not be going on between a certain group of people and I want to clarify why I am saying it.  Once again, this is not a religious debate.

A young man is driving home to see his family on a weekend getaway.  He hadn't seen his family in a while so he thought it would be nice to see them.  His trip was to be short as he had to get back to work first thing Monday morning.  He hadn't gotten much sleep and was tired on his way home. He was already behind on his schedule because he wanted to spend every possible minute with his family as he could.  On his way home, he became more and more tired.  He was so tired that on his way home he fell asleep at the wheel.  His car started to drift off the road and suddenly swerved and his a pillar of a bridge and in an instant the young man lie dead.

Saddened by their sons death, the family decides to erect a cross in honer of their son and in the place that he died.  Within a few days of the cross being erected, a group of adversaries opposed the erecting of the cross based on the idea that the family is raising this cross, not in honor of their son, rather on the idea that they want to promote religion.

While the above story is fiction and something I just made up, there are tons of stories just like this all across the nation.  What I want to do is try and distinguish the difference between the two types of crosses that are out there because they are very different.

If you want to get technical, there are three types of crosses in this world today.  The first is a cross used in executions.  Yes, there are still countries today that use crucifixion as a form as capital punishment just like there are countries that still stone people to death.  Second is a cross that is found in churches all across the world.  While these crosses stand for the execution of Jesus Christ, it has a different meaning for the church.  A cross in a church means that the cross is the way to their salvation.  Jesus Christ died on the cross and took away all of mankind's sin away on that cross.  Churches understand that Jesus was crucified on a cross but rather most christians see that cross as a representation of salvation not of death.  This is why some people wear crosses as jewelry.  The third represents death.  Not the death as in executions, but the death of a loved one or the death of a partner such as a police station may have crosses that represent fallen officers.  I want to focus on the last two types of crosses.  Like I said before, these two types of crosses are very different.  I'll make this as brief as I can.

When I drive past a church and that church has a cross on the outside of it, I think of Jesus Christ.  I think that this church believes in Jesus and that he died on the cross as the way to pay for our sins.  This church believes in the cross in that manner.  This is the first type of cross.  It's the one that represents Jesus Christ.  Now, if I am driving down a highway and I see a cross on the side of the road, I, in no way think about Jesus.  I don't turn to my wife and say, "Look, Jesus was right there!"  That's not at all what I think.  In reality, I think that someone died there.  That's the second type of cross.  It's the one that represents death.

There are several ways that people express death or rather several objects that represent it.  One is the cross as we have already discussed.  Some people use flowers.  Some people use stuffed animals.  Another is the wreath.  A wreath is used during Christmas time to symbolize the holiday spirit or holiday cheer.  However, a wreath can also be used to symbolized death.  I have personally seen wreaths on the side of highways to symbolize the death of a loved one. As with the cross, when I do see one, I don't think that Santa was there.  I don't think about Christmas.  I think about death and that someone died there.  Every year the President of the United States presents a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier!  In fact, this is called the wreath ceremony.  Arlington National Cemetery also uses wreaths from time to time.  These wreaths are in no way representing Christmas, but rather the death of a soldier or government official.

In the same way that a wreaths used to describe death instead of Christmas, the same holds true for a cross that represents death instead of Jesus.  Like I said, there are two very different types of crosses. What bothers me is when adversaries cry foul when a cross is erected over the death of a loved one and say that the cross was in fact erected not over the death of a loved one, but rather the spreading of religion.  That's so bogus.  Why would a group do such a thing?  They are only hurting the family of the one who died!  Common sense tells us that these crosses are erected for the dead, not for Jesus.

So that's my issue.  Let's use a little bit more common sense when trying to debate why crosses are really erected.  I think that it's honorable that a cross is erected in honor of those who have died, especially when law enforcement agencies do it.  Remember that not every cross erected represents Jesus.  There are two different types of crosses.  Let's just keep that in mind in the future!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Small Bit Of Luxury

As you may know, most high end cars now days come with heated front seats.  Some cars only have the drivers seat as a heated seat, while most are putting heaters in the driver and passenger seats.  Even lower end cars are doing this, however in most cases, you must buy the high end version of that car or buy a package that offers the heated seats.  While heated seats are nice, especially in the winter months or times when it's cold, not everybody can afford them.  Heated seats can be pricy, and if they fail, unless they are still under warranty or you have an extended warranty, they can cost a pretty penny to fix.  In some cases the entire seat must be replaced.

However, heated seats for the rich is now becoming a thing of the past.  With a very small investment almost anybody can afford this small bit of luxury.  Almost every auto parts store carries heated seat cushions.  Stores like Wal-Mart and Target also offer these heated seat cushions.  And if you don't have access to these type of stores, you can always look online and find hundreds of different kinds of heated seat cushions that you can use for your vehicle.  The cost of these heated seat cushions is fairly inexpensive.  Wal-Mart offers one for right around $22.  Online they go anywhere from $20-$50.  Rather inexpensive if you ask me.

What makes these seat heaters so different is that most come with a massage function.  Depending on how much your willing to spend also depends on what your going to get.  The $22 one from Wal-Mart offers one heat setting but you can choose whether you want the seat to heat, the back to heat, or both at the same time.  It also offers an upper back massage function and a lower back massage function.  Both functions have a high and a low setting.  This is quite impressive for only $22.  If you get up into the $50 range, most offer a total body massage meaning the entire seat vibrates in one way or another.  There is also more of a heat range and you can control the heat temperature.

My wife drives a Toyota Sienna and it has the heated seats.  While you can control the temperature of the heat, that's all you can do.  It doesn't have a massage function and you don't get the option of seat only or back only.  If it's on, your getting both.  I bought two of these heated seat cushions from Wal-Mart and for a total of around $48 (including tax), and I'd say that I came out on top in this category!

So there you have it.  It's a wonderful addition to any vehicle especially during the winter months.  This product would be ideal for those who drive a vehicle that have leather seats but do not have heated seats.  So what are your thoughts?  Is there any other product that can make a vehicle more luxurious at an inexpensive price?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Something Interesting About Winter Sickness

So it's a common perception that when it's cold outside, especially during the winter months, that people are more prone to get sick than in the summer months.  We've all heard this.  We are always told to "bundle up" because if we don't, we could get sick.  However, did you know that it really doesn't matter how much we bundle up, it's really not the cold weather that makes us sick?  Here's why.  

The flu and common cold are caused by viruses.  People get sick more often in the winter because they are exposed to each other more in the winter than in the summer.  When it's cold outside, people tend to stay inside and are more likely to spread germs to one another.  Also, because school is in session, kids are around each other all day and are not afraid to share their germs.  With so many people in such close contact, the likelihood of passing germs is much higher when it is cold outside than when it is warm and people are outdoors.  There is also evidence now that viruses spread more easily through dry air.  When it is cold outside, the air is drier both outdoors and inside (where people have their heaters on) which may make it easier for germs to pass from one person to another.  But it is not the cold weather that causes the cold, it just might make it easier to spread the virus.

In tropical areas, where it does not get cold, the common cold and flu season generally occurs during the rainy season.  But again, these illnesses are not caused by the rain.  They are just more prevalent because people come in closer contact with each other than they do during the dry season.

So there is a little bit of information that I found interesting.  It's something that actually makes sense, but goes against almost everything that we were taught as kids on why and how we get sick during the winter months.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

What Branch Is The Best?

Everybody has their ideas on what branch of the military is the best. Most people say the Marines. I have even heard a few people say the Army. Navy? Air Force? Coast Guard? So which one is the best? Which one is the hardest?

Now I can't speak about any other service except for the Marines. Why? Because I am a Marine! I served with the Marine Corps from 1996-2000, and I can personally tell you that being a Marine isn't easy! It can be fun, but it's extremely challenging! It's hard work and you must have tons of dedication to get the job done.  I'm sure that this is the case in most branches, however, the Marines are just hardcore. So let me say up front that I believe that the Marines are the best branch to be in if you have a pure desire to serve in the military.  It's also the hardest branch to be in. It may not be the hardest branch to get into, but by far, it is the hardest branch to serve in compared to other branches. There is a reason that they say that the Marines are "The Few".  It's the smallest branch of any service.  Well, out of the four main branches.  

Technically, there are seven branches of the military.  Most people have only heard of four, with a select few hearing of five.  Those branches are:

1.) The Unites States Army
2.) The Unites States Marine Corps
3.) The United States Navy
4.) The Unites States Air Force
5.) The Unites States Coast Guard
6.) The Unites States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
7.) The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps

The first four are the most common and almost everybody has heard of them.  The fifth is also a major player in the military, but most people think that they Coast Guard is some sort of police force rather than an actual military branch.  The last two are relatively unknown but are also part of the military.  The last two do not empower enlisted personal, rather both branches are strictly officer only services.  It's one thing to note that all branches are considered "uniformed services", however, only the first five are considered "armed services" while the last two are considered "non-combatants".  Also, the sixth service can actually be called to serve as part of the armed forces if directed by the President of the United States.

So back to the Marines.  It's my personal belief that the Marines are the hardest branch of military service to be a part of.  Like I said before, there is a reason that they call the Marines "The Few".  When you go to boot camp, it's hard.  Probably one of the hardest things that you will ever do in your life.  And if things get too hard and you think that you can just quit, think again.  Within the first few days at boot camp your going to take a physical fitness test that will determine if you are even ready to begin bootcamp.  Fail that and you'll be in boot camp for about another 3 weeks minimum, or until you can pass the fitness test.  Only then will your training begin.  If at any point during your training you don't make it, you get "recycled".  That basically means that you must be dropped from your current platoon and shipped to another platoon to begin your training all over again until you pass the requirements.  This will go on over and over until you pass.

Like I have said, the training is hard.  Very hard.  When I was in boot camp, we started out with about 120 recruits and ended up with about 90.  We dropped about 40 and then picked up about 10 from other places like the physical conditioning platoon.  When you have about 40 people who simple can't make it, I'd say that should show you how tough it can be!

If you make it through boot camp, it's off to the School of Infantry if your a grunt, or the Marine Combat Training if you have another job specialty.  Then your off to your Marine Occupational Speciality School to learn your job.  Then and only then do you go to the Fleet Marine Force.  Make it through all of that an you still have tons of training to do.  About 3.5 years worth.  Whether it's physical fitness or job training, you have tons to do, and it's never easy.  Marines train day in and day out.  They never quit.  Marines train so hard that they are ready for anything in a moments notice!  There is a reason that Marines are First to Fight!  Marines are sent first because they know what they are doing.  It's not to say that other branches don't, but Marines train harder than any other branch, therefore they go first.  They are more prepared to fight than any other branch!

So that's my opinion.  Do you see it any different?  If so then please let me know.  Leave a comment and tell me your thoughts!

Monday, November 11, 2013

To Bend Or To Break

Rules.  Everybody has them.  We all follow them.  Well, most of the time anyways.  Rules are set up to keep order, to keep people safe, to reduce chaos, and a number of other situations, but sometimes rules are meant to be broken.  If not broken, maybe bent just a little.

So I hear of this story of Erik Fagan and Daniel McIntosh, two students that go to Gonzaga University that pulled a gun on an intruder to make him leave because he was trying to break into their apartment while they were there.

The story unfolds like this.  A homeless man comes to their door.  Fagan answers the door and the man asks for money but Fagan refuses to give the man any money, instead offering the man a blanket and a can of food.  The man insists that he needs money but Fagan still refuses to hand over any cash.  That's when the man became agitated and combative.  Then the man tries to force his way into the two students apartment.  That's when Fagan called for McIntosh to come help him with the man to try and get him to leave.

McIntosh comes to the rescue, only he was not alone.  McIntosh brought his 10mm Glock along for the ride.  McIntosh admits he pointed the gun at the man.  McIntosh is quoted as saying, "I draw on him.  As soon as he sees me, he decides he doesn't want to deal with me.  So he takes off."

The two men call the local police and the university police.  The police take a report and a short time later, the man is caught.  So who was this man?  Turns out his name is John M. Taylor and he's a six time felon.  Although police have not fully revealed all of this mans crimes, they did say that some of his crimes have included riot with a deadly weapon, possession of a controlled substance, and unlawful imprisonment.  Oh and by the way, Taylor did have an arrest warrant from the State Department of Correction, typically meaning that he violated his terms of release.  Yep, he's been to jail before.  He's probably somebody that you wouldn't want to get involved with.

So what's wrong with what these students did?  Well, the problem is that they had guns.  But wait, we at least know that Fagan has a concealed handgun license.  I assume that MCIntosh does too since he wasn't arrested, but maybe that has to do with home invasion laws, although I'm not 100% sure on that.  The real problem is that they were living in off site campus apartments and had guns in those apartments.  Gonzaga strictly forbids firearms upon campus property.  Regardless of their intentions to ward off a six time felon and a home invasion, university officials say that they students should not of had the firearms in the first place.  While it may be true, personally I do not see a problem with it.  Technically, by having a concealed handgun license, they were following the law, just not following campus rules.  Because of this Ganzaga is considering expulsion for the two students, but for now they have only been suspended.  Gonzaga is also using this incident to re-examine it policy on firearms.

Here's my thought.  I personally think that Gonzaga should allow firearms on campus apartments.  Tons of students love to go hunting and do other activities with guns.  As long as the person has a concealed handgun permit and no criminal history what so ever, then I think that this should be allowed.  Who actually knows what would or could have happened to these students if they didn't actually have a firearm.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why The Kids?

I have never understood why there are people out there that kill children. Children are innocent, but what makes people decide that they deserve to die? What gets me is when people kill children and say that they were just getting back at their ex girlfriend or whoever! But why? Why the kids? I just wanna pull my hair out just trying to figure out what goes through these people's minds that makes them think that children deserve the wrath of death because your mad, not at them, but at someone else!  Seriously?  If some guy is so pissed off at their girlfriend that they decide to take a gun and blow them to pieces, although I don't agree that killing them is the right thing to do, believe it or not, I can actually understand that!  However when someone simply gets so mad at someone else and then decides that the best way to get back at them is to kill their children, that's when I scratch my head and just wanna beat my own self senseless trying to figure out what in the hell these people are thinking!  I will NEVER understand how people can take their frustrations out on innocent children.  Children are so innocent.  They are defenseless and they have nothing to do with other peoples problems.

I hear more and more about these type of killings as time goes on and I simply don't understand it!  

Anyways, I guess this is more of a rant than anything!  I'm just trying to understand things that I never will!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Medical Malpractice???

So every time I watch TV, during the commercials, there are groups of lawyers advertising some sort of, what they believe to be, medical malpractice.  They say things like, "If you ever took "this" and then developed "this" you could be entitled to a large settlement.  Call us now!"  Or they say, "If you ever had surgery for "this" and they used "this" and you developed "this" you could be entitled to a large settlement" Call us now!"

My big problem with this type of class action lawsuit is that I personally believe that it should be illegal to sue someone or a corporation for these types of "medical malpractices".  Honestly, I don't believe that it's medical malpractice at all.  In most cases, the commercials that I see are lawyers suing over things that were considered safe maybe 20, 30, or even 40 years ago that now in todays society are considered unsafe.  For example, 40 years ago asbestos was considered safe because at the time they didn't have the same technology as we do today.  Today we now know that asbestos can lead to cancer, but back then we didn't know.  Same thing with lead based paint.  Lead based paint was considered safe back in the 60's, but today we now know that it's unsafe and can also lead to cancer if inhaled.  In fact, lead based paint was so popular that most houses build before 1970 have lead based paint in them.  Back in the 60's, we didn't know the effects that lead based paint had on humans as we know today.

This is where I have a major problem with lawyers trying to sue corporations and people over things that are today considered unsafe, but 40 or 50 years ago were considered safe.  It would be different if back then we knew all the things that we know today about some things like asbestos and lead, but the truth is that we didn't know back then what we now know today.  When I see a commercial for a lawyer that says, "If you were exposed to asbestos in the 60's and you have recently developed cancer, you may be entitled to a large settlement.  Call us now."  It just doesn't make sense to me that we sue someone or a corporation or whatever over something that is now considered unsafe, yet back then was considered safe.  Like I said, technology back then was limited to what we knew at the time and what we considered safe.  There might be some things that we use today that we consider safe that in 20 years might be considered unsafe but right now, using the technology that we have, we consider them to be safe.  Does that make sense?

Personally I believe that this type of lawsuit should be illegal simply because of the types of things that they are suing over.  We should not be allowed to sue corporations or people on things that are considered unsafe today that we thought were perfectly safe 20+ years ago.  It's wrong.  These people and corporations tried to keep there people safe with what they knew about these products back then even though it turns out that modern day technology says other wise.  I don't believe that these corporations intentionally exposed their workers or the public to something that they knew would cause cancer 20+ years down the line.  That's foolish.  It would be different if we knew back then that these products would have caused cancer, but the fact is that we didn't.

12 years ago I had hernia surgery.  They used a mesh fabric to put me back together.  If 20 years from now they find out that the mesh fabric they used is considered unsafe, I'm not going to sue the doctor or the hospital for putting in the wrong mesh simply because at the time the mesh that they used was considered safe.  I just think that it's wrong for lawyers to try and make a buck this way.  It's wrong, but the fact is that lawyers all across this great country of ours are suing people and corporations on things that are considered unsafe today that 20+ years ago were considered safe.  That's wrong.

The FDA thoroughly inspects all the medicines that the approve before allowing them to be put on the market using todays high standards.  This doesn't mean that 20 years from now they might find out that something they put out is considered unsafe.  Medicines get pulled all the time.  Why?  Because the FDA finds out that they were wrong about a certain medicine.  How do they know?  Because modern day technology tells them.  Technology grows at an extremely fast pace.  So something considered safe 5 years ago might be pulled because they find out something about that medicine today that they didn't know know 5 years ago.  So does that mean we should sue the FDA for putting this medicine out 5 years ago?  Absolutely not.  The FDA doesn't put out stuff that they know will harm the public.  

As technology grows we have a better understanding of what  products we should and shouldn't use.  This doesn't mean that we may be wrong about some things today as in years to come we might find out that we were actually were wrong.  For us to sue over things that we didn't know in years past is just plain wrong and shouldn't be allowed in todays society.  We are ruining people's lives and shutting down or severely hurting corporations that only were doing what they believed was in the best interest of their employees or the public back then.  We may have been wrong about some things back then, but it's even more wrong to try and make a buck from these people and corporations over things that were considered safe many years ago.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The 3-1-6

If you ask almost anybody what the most famous verse in the Bible is, they will tell you it's John 3:16. Believers, non-believers, and skeptics alike can tell you this. Used and quoted more than any other verse in the Bible, this verse basically sums up the entire Bible in only a few short words.

John 3:16 is also the favorite verse of Tim Tebow, quarterback of the New York Jets and former quarterback of the Denver Broncos. In college, Tim would write John 3:16 on his eye blacks. Tim has never been shy about letting people know that he is a christian. After each game, win or lose, he has always thanked Jesus Christ first and foremost! However, this really isn't about Tim Tebow, rather it's about his favorite verse in the entire Bible, John 3:16.

If you ask me if I believe in the Bible I would tell you yes. I grew up in church all my life. I believe in God not because someone told me that God is real, rather because I have a hard time believing that somehow this Earth and everything in it just came about by mere chance. I look at how this Earth rotates and gravity and how we seem to be constantly protected against disasters that could take place. I look at the human body and how it works and just tell myself that all this could not be by mere chance. I honestly believe that there is a greater power at work here on Earth. I believe in God because in my opinion, God is plainly seen. Not physically, but in everything he has created. But sometimes things happen that almost demand an explanation. I believe that sometimes sometimes God just makes his presents so obvious that it's almost undeniable that he does exist! One of these incidences came on January 8, 2012.

Now this is going to sound so crazy but everything I am going to say is true. It has been confirmed by major news outlets such as Fox News, ABC News, CNN and others as well as major sports outlets such as ESPN and the NFL. If you doubt me then go ahead and feel free to google it yourself.

January 8, 2012 was a NFL playoff game between the Denver Broncos and the Pittsburg Steelers. Tim Tebow was the quarterback for the the Broncos during this particular game. Remember though, this is not about Tim Tebow, but rather his favorite Bible verse, John 3:16. What's interesting about this game is how many times the numbers 316 come into play in this game. Let's take a look!

When Tim Tebow won the game against the Steelers it came 3 years and 16 hours after he won his college championship game with the Florida Gators. That's an interesting number. 316.

During the game against the Steelers, the turning point of the game happened on a play that, strangely enough, happened to be on 3rd and 16.

Tim Tebow just happened to throw for 316 total yards during the entire game. This is getting weird.

Tim Tebow's average yardage per throw was 31.6. But wait, it gets even weirder.

The Neilson ratings gave that particular game a total of 31.6 viewing audience.

The total time the Steelers had the ball the entire game was 31 minutes, 6 seconds.

Finally, the grand finally of entire game was when Demaryius Thomas caught the pass by Tim Tebow to win the game. It's not the pass or the catch that's so amazing. It's that Demaryius Thomas' birthday just happens to be on December 25th, the same date as Christians celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ.

Now you can look at these stats and say that they are merely just coincidence, however I'm not so sure. The numbers 316 appeared in the game over and over. That's just so strange to me. Then the winning touchdown just happens to be caught by a guy who just happens to have the same birthday as Jesus. Take it how you will, but as for me I honestly believe that God inserted himself into the game. For what reason, I'm not sure, but maybe, just maybe, just to let us know that he is still here and he is in total control.