4/24/2015

T. G. I. F. Solitude











Ghosts From Our Future's Past




Globalization has generally been accepted as a process of interaction and integration among the people, companies, and governments of different nations; a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology.

Process is a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end or result.

Interaction is what takes place when something occurs causing two or more objects to have an effect upon one another.

Integration is the act or instance of combining into a whole.

So, people and labor of nations, companies, and governments of different nations all over the world are going to interact I such a way that we have an effect upon one another with the ultimate goal of combining ourselves into a global whole entity of sorts.

WOW!

Now that is incredibly noble.

And, I must say that it is something that I would have expected to hear from a contestant at a Miss Universe Pageant.

Yet, it is exactly what former President Ronald Reagan and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had in mind when they set the proverbial ball in motion circa 1980.

Globalization has had several impacts on Americans:
  • Our cost for our quality of life has remained relatively stable
  • We have lost many jobs at home due job exporting overseas
  • Business have access to global talent more inexpensively
  • Our economy has entered a roller coaster phrase
  • A greater divide between the rich and poor has developed
  • There has been a reduction in the Middle Class

Globalization has had several impacts on the rest of the world:
  • access to more goods and services
  • access to more wealth distribution
  • access to an increased quality of life
  • access to an expanding Middle Class
  • access to more opportunities for work
  • access to have more of a voice in governments

Globalization has leveled the playing field in a way...

But, in what way?

Well... in this way...
America was HERE *****
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***** Rest of the world Here


With Globalization...

America is here ***
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*** Rest of the world here


As globalization continues, we will eventually see:

America here*****Rest of the world here

What is this tell us?

In order for the rest of the world to come up in socioeconomic status, American must come down. Unfortunately, few people see this and those that actually see it, refuse to admit that is it true.

Let's just take Petroleum Crude Oil as an example...

What is it used in?
  • Gasoline 46%
  • Heating Oil/Diesel Fuel 20%
  • Jet Fuel (Kerosene) 8%
  • Propane/Propylene 7%
  • NGL & LRG1 6%
  • Still Gas 4%
  • Petrochemical Feedstocks 2%
  • Petroleum Coke 2%
  • Residual/Heavy Fuel Oil 2%
  • Asphalt and Road Oil 2%
  • Lubricants 1%
  • Miscellaneous Products/Special Naphthas 0.4%
  • Other Liquids 1%
  • Aviation Gasoline 0.1%
  • Waxes 0.04%
  • Kerosene 0.02%

Propylene is used in the manufacturing of plastics.

Can you imagine America without plastics?

Well... guess what?

The Middle Class from the rest of the world wants plastic items too. That increased demand cannot always be met which increases the cost of plastic products.

Economic is the study of the allocation of scare resources that have multiple purposes. Scarcity is said to occur because suppliers cannot get all the supplies to the marketplace exactly when the
consumers want to purchase them.

Price is then used to regulate the distribution of these scare resources.

As we see above, oil has many uses. When supply goes down, the owners of the refined oil must decide through price which customer is going to receive what they demanded.

For example, the Kerosene people might be willing to pay more than the wax people are willing to pay for the amount of refined oil that they need to meet their customer's demands.

The global demand for plastic products will favor those countries where those inhabitants are willing to pay a higher price for the product than they did previously.

With the middle class shrinking in America and growing throughout the rest of the world, plastic products are likely to go to the rest of the world before Americans.

How can we stop this?

Now, this is a great question.

And, my answer is...

WE CANNOT...

As sad as that sounds, it is true... and, as I said before many Americans do not want to believe that this is happening... although, they can understand and see a loss of jobs.

Americans are BOILING FROGS!

Why do I say this?

Because:
  • They do not do anything about the bad politicians
  • They do not typically vote in elections
  • They do not watch the news
  • They do not read the newspapers
  • They do not want to talk politics
  • They do not want to discuss the economy
  • They only want to BITCH

Now, about the Boiling Frog.

If you have a rather large bull frog in your hand and try to put that frog in a pot of water that is boiling. That bull frog will first pee in your hands and then struggle violently to get away. But, if you gently place that same bull frog (after it has calmed down of course) in a pot of luke warm water, the bull frog will not struggle at all; in fact, you can gradually turn up the heat underneath that pot until the point that the water is boiling and the bull frog will not move.

Seriously... look it up on Google.

Americans are boiling frogs because of our apathy and the heat is being turned up all around us and very few of us even notice... we go on about our lives in oblivious contentment.

4/23/2015

Submissiveness


A disclaimer of sorts: I do not mind writing (or talking) about controversial subjects not just because I have done so all my life, but because I am now at the stage of my life where employers can no longer harm me by what I have said or done. 

Additionally, I may loose some followers because of what and how I say something or I may gain some for the same reason; but, the worst that can possibly happen is that my profile is shut down and even that is not a big issue because I can simply start over again with a different profile under a different name and no one but me is the wiser. I guess this makes me sound somewhat like a JACKASS I suppose...

So, what about this new movie, 50 Shades of Grey?

According to the Daily Beast, In Mississippi and Arkansas and even Alabama, where sex toys are banned, the desire for 50 Shades of Grey tickets is stronger than anywhere else.

Do you think GO FIGURE is appropriate here? I do...


The Independent reports that Justin Chang from Variety was disappointed by the final half-hour or so, calling it “punishing in more than just a literal sense” for ending on a “less-than-scintillating cliffhanger” that falls clearly in line with “fan-driven franchise fare”.

But with millions already racked up in advance ticket sales, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed were never going to stay as books and books alone, were they?

Kim Kardashian, meanwhile, absolutely loved it, tweeting “Omg it’s soooooo good!” from a private screening she was enjoying with her girl friends.

But, the amazing issue to me is that Americans are not just fascinated with sex this time but with a taboo topic of BDSM. So, what is BDSM?

It's an acronym- Bondage Discipline Sadism Masochism. 
 
It's a sexual fetish group.
"BDSM is a type of roleplay or lifestyle choice between two or more individuals who use their experiences of pain and power to create sexual tension, pleasure, and release."

For those who practice this fetish, the female is completely and totally submissive to the male in a sexual connotation.

According to Merriam-Webster Online, submission means:
an act of giving a document, proposal, piece of writing, etc., to someone so that it can be considered or approved : an act of submitting something...  something that is submitted
the state of being obedient : the act of accepting the authority or control of someone else

Today, one of the most difficult concepts in God’s Word is biblical submission. The word submission is not limited to wives alone. For example, Christians are to submit themselves to each other (Ephesians 5:21), to government (Romans 13:1), and unto God (James 4:7). This is a frequent concept in the Bible. Self-sacrifice is required in each circumstance. Submission is never glossed over to be seen as easy or always convenient. Instead, it is viewed as service unto God.

The Greek word for submission is hupotasso, “to subordinate…put under…” God exhorts women to voluntarily follow their husband’s leadership (Ephesians 5:22, 1 Peter 3:1). A woman is actively doing this-- choosing to put herself under leadership, choosing to be subordinate in a circumstance or relationship. This is not forced upon her by the recipient.

A wife shows submission unto her husband when she allows him to take leadership in the relationship. His position as leader is biblical (1 Corinthians 11:3). Abraham’s wife, Sarah, is an example of a woman following her husband’s lead (1 Peter 3:6). Sarah has never been confused with being a woman who was a frail doormat. Peter notes that she was not afraid in life. Submission should not be confused with a person being weak.

Women are not commanded to submit to their husband’s because God insures that men will be just or loving. When a woman submits unto her husband, she is actually submitting unto God (Ephesians 5:22).

However, it is commonplace especially among Christians to misinterpret religious doctrines in order to create self-fulfilling prophecies to those who may be unflinching in their thoughts and beliefs.

But, my approach here is somewhat different. If I were to look at the role of a submissive both inside and outside the context of the Holy Bible, I then see the submissive person as being incredibly strong and the one who is in control whenever it is performed in a sexual context.

Remember, the submissive does so voluntarily and in so doing, the dominate male can only derive their power through what the submissive voluntarily agrees to do.

To me, that gives the submissive all the power and what the dominate male thinks he has, is just an illusion; and, more importantly, an illusion that is maintained and controlled by the submissive. And, the more the submissive can tolerate (both physically and mentally) the greater the dominate perceives his powers to be.

This same time of illusion of power is seen in management all the time, when in reality, it is the workforce that really has the power. Without the employees' willingness to let themselves be controlled, management has no power.

What keeps the workforce working?

Money and nothing else for the most part.

If the entire workforce at some fictitious company decided that they did not want to work for this company anymore and walked off... how much power over the employees would management be left with?

Very little, if any actually.

Being a submissive is, in my opinion, the same concept, just different situations.
But, what is really interesting to me is how can ticket sales be this high in a country that perceives itself to be mainly Christian?

Theoretically, if we were as Christian as we claimed to be, a movie like this should have no ticket sales at all or at least very little, but that is not the case, and it is especially not the case in the BIBLE BELT SOUTH which makes it even more astonishing in my mind.

Why would people be attracted to a movie like this in the first place?

I would think that dominates would like it because it somewhat reinforces what they already believe about themselves, and no doubts have practiced in their private lives behind closed doors for many years, and bringing it out in the open, give us a tentative seal of approval.

As for the submissive people in our society, I would tend to think that this movie taps a deep rooted desire that many have been suppressing in their journeys of being submissive. Many Americans are submissive at work, in their marriage, to their children, and in their communities. They are submissive to law enforcement and to all the actions that Government (and Congress) want to take because they have let it go on for years.

They have tolerated this for years because they think that one person can do nothing, but in reality it is because they are submissive and this movie finally validates those feelings.

People around me have always told me to pay attention to what is being done or to what is being said and I have always found that to be horse manure. It is what people are not doing and what they are not saying that is important and is that which we should pay attention to.

This movie vibrates those nerves.

4/22/2015

Hump Day Art

Oil Painting On Canvas by Leonidafremov

 

 






 

 

 

 

You Are What You Eat

Dr. Esselstyn, a former internationally known surgeon, researcher and clinician at the Cleveland Clinic, explains in his book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, heart disease can indeed be prevented, reversed, and even abolished. Based on his 20-year nutritional study, the book explains how we can end the heart disease epidemic in this country forever by changing what we eat.

Dr. Esselstyn’s diet is simple but takes some discipline:
• Don’t eat anything with a face or a mother. This includes meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.


• No dairy products. This means no milk, ice cream, yogurt, butter, cheese—not even skim milk.


• No oils, including no olive oil or sunflower oil or canola oil. Coconut is off limits because of its oil content. (Some heart specialists like Dr. Ornish do recommend taking fish oil supplements.)


• No nuts because of the oil. If you do not already have heart disease can eat moderate amounts of walnuts because of their omega-3 fatty acids.


• No refined grains, which have been stripped of much of their fiber and nutrients.



What you can eat is everything else:
• All vegetables and all fruits, especially the green leafy vegetables and the colorful ones. Avocados are banned because of the oil, unless you don’t have heart disease.


• Legumes, such as beans, peas, and lentils.


• Whole grains, including whole wheat and rye, bulgur wheat, whole oats, barley, buckwheat, corn and cornmeal, wild and brown rice, popcorn, couscous, quinoa, amaranth, millet, spelt, etc. Grape-Nuts are good too, and provide a nice crunch.


• Sugar is allowed in moderation, but avoid fruit drinks which are high in sugar content.


Note: Dr. Esselstyn’s book (mentioned at the beginning of this article) contains 150 recipes that he and his wife use. Another book you may want to check out is The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health by T. Colin Campbell. He also makes the case for eating a plant-based diet.

Both these books, Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease and The China Study, were given to me by my brother and read after my first heart surgery in which 3 of my heart arteries were eventually cleaned and 5 stints were inserted, My 3 arteries were blocked 100%, 90%, and 90%, respectively. And, in a very short amount of time (strictly following this diet) and without any exercise other than the required therapy, I lost 30 pounds.

I have always found it amusing to tell people that I don't eat anything with a face or a mother because of the looks that I get, but that enthusiasm was not enough to keep me on the diet and I soon gained my 30 pounds back and then some.

When you think about it or compare it to a Vegan Diet, you will see that they are remarkably similar., and the term vegan was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson when he co-founded the Vegan Society in England, at first to mean "non-dairy vegetarian" and later to refer to "the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals."

Whereas being a vegetarian abstains from the consumption of meat, such as red meat, poultry, seafood and the flesh of any other animal.

Neither vegans nor vegetarians eat meat. However, while vegetarians tend to consume dairy products and eggs, a vegan avoids all animal products, including eggs and dairy, and often inedible animal-based products, such as leather, wool, and silk. Vegetarianism is usually a diet, while veganism is a lifestyle. 

And, while I basically (to some degree) follow both these diets, I do eat chicken and fish but no salt and no sugar at all and try to stay away from artificial sweeteners as well but that is a whole lot easier than it sounds, especially since my heart condition keeps me from being as active as I once was and still want to be, but that is no longer in the cards for me.

Part of my problem is compounded by the fact that I am receiving chemo infusions once a month as a maintenance treatment for NHL and the steroids used make me hungry as well as retain weight; although, since I have been walking 20-30 minutes a day, my hunger has reduced substantially.

While this is not fun to eat like this at age 67, it is how I must eat if I want to live long and prosper as Spock might have said to Kirk or to another Vulcan or perhaps a colleague; nevertheless, it is a fact-of-life that we all will have to address sooner or later as we age, especially if we delay eating healthy.

Believe me, eating healthy is no fun at all. I love fully loaded pizza except for the little fish (whatever they are called), and I love a $6 cheeseburger from Hardees, and I love a Dutch or French Apple Pie but not necessarily with ice cream. I also missed sausage and hotdogs but I was never into biscuits and gravy.

I stopped eating red meat over 20 years ago and never did like Ham but did like (very much) a North Carolina Political Style Pig Pickin' with Hush Puppies and Cole Slaw.

Because I am an adept student of Economics, I am fully aware of the concepts of:
  • Opportunity Costs
  • Trade Offs
and, I am wondering why a “grumpy old man” like myself cares about living a long time such that he would simply stop eating those foods that he loves for the sake of living a little longer...

I have a handicapped license plate because of my heart attack and because I can not walk 20 feet without getting tired and having to rest. I first discovered my heart attack in 2008 (or 7 years ago) and since then there has been very little improvement.

So, this is now my lifestyle and will be my lifestyle for the rest of my life... and it is because I did not do a very good job at managing my stress from work... along with not eating right. And, smoking cigarettes for 25 years may have contributed to this developing situation as well.

So, how does that saying go?

You can pay me now or you can pay me later but you will be paying me...

4/21/2015

The Iron Triangle


In Project Management circles, the Iron Triangle is seen as both a driving and as a restraining force in management the successful completion of project on time and within budget with the anticipated and expected level of quality that was promised.

However, as anyone knows who has worked on a project, this is a balancing act at best and at worst, it can easily become a nightmare.

So, what is it that I am talking about here?

I am talking about what is referred to as The Iron Triangle. The Iron Triangle refers to the variables of Time, Cost, and Quality in equal measures hence the triangle. But, some project mangers put Time, Cost, and Scope at the points of the triangle with Quality hovering in the center.


Let's take a look at each one of these to get a better understanding of what I am trying to get across.

Ok... so, we have this project that let's say can only last 3 months. We then refer to this 3 month period as our Time variable. During those 3 months, we have weeks, days, and hours with which to play and can assume that daily time is 8 hours for 5 days each week, and weekly time is 40 hours and that we have 4 weeks each moth so we are working with an overall amount of time of:
  • 12 weeks
  • 60 days
  • 480 hours

If we then look at our Cost variable, we can derive our total cost from our Scope Statement which calculate the overall costs and the detailed costs along each step of the way. These costs would have included:
  • salaries & benefits
  • labor wages & benefits
  • equipment leased
  • maintenance
  • raw materials
  • transportation (gasoline)
  • utilities
  • phone
  • office supplies

Each one of these budget items is inflated about 10-20% to cover “just in case” expenses not anticipated. The project, if performed by an outside contractor will have a profit margin built into the costs as well of 10% or more, all of which is typically agreed upon before the project even begins.

The quality variable while seemingly obvious can be very detailed in its requirement and specifications if dealing with a project of creating new computer software or a new competitive product that must perform a certain way under certain situations and conditions.

If the output of the project is a restaurant meal for a customer, then if poses different types of quality restraints than if the output of the project was an automotive vehicle or a military weapon or even a bridge connection 2 land masses with a quarter mile of water in between them.

However, if the output of the project is a backyard deck or a utility building then obviously the quality requirements are going to be or could be a little more relaxed

As I mentioned earlier, some project managers put Scope at one of the corners instead of Quality. Project Scope can be defined as how the project is going to get from point A to point B in a certain amount of time (in this case 12 weeks).

Now... let's play around with our Iron Triangle.

Suppose half way through the project, the owner of the project comes up to you and indicates that there needs to be 2 more stops between point A and point B.

What would you do?

Simple... everything immediately gets renegotiated... and, a clause to this effect has been included in the original project contract.

If 2 more stops are being added, then that could impact our Time variable, our Cost variable, as well as our Quality variable.

Is the project owner willing to pay more money or accept more time or a reduction in quality? If the answer is no to all of these, the project continues as planned... but, if the project owner is willing to accept some slight changes, then a new scope arrangement has to be made.

This may not seem like a big problem but if the equipment is leased, the project may not be able to hold on to it past the deadline for its return. The labor might be promised for some other project that must start on time as well; and, if that is the case then overtime will be required. And, the project may have completed so many crucial milestones (measures of completion) that its course can no longer be altered.

A change in each one of these variables will cause increases or decreases in the other two and it is up to the project manager or leader to be able to see and identify all theses complications or be able to absorb the costs if he doesn't.

A project manager's reputation can be made or broken by The Iron Triangle.

4/20/2015

Moments of Weakness



Sometimes, when I write, I have an idea first about which I start putting my thoughts down in a word doc and sometimes, I have simply a title that has come to me literally “out of the blue,” and then I start thinking about things and stuff that relate to this title. Either way is fine for me but I find coming up with the title first as being the most difficult with which to get started.

But first, I must, explain the origin of “out of the blue.” According to some English scholars the idiom is a derivation of an old idiom "a bolt out of the blue" or “a bolt from the blue” which refers to a completely unexpected and surprising act, like a thunderbolt from a clear blue sky. But, please don't confuse that in any way with “feeling blue,” which could have also come from “out of the blue,” but it didn't, however, that is another relatively long story that I will deal with later.

While I did get temporary sidetracked, one could say that moments of weakness can and oftentimes do come from “out of the blue,” and sometimes appear or result when we are in fact “feeling blue.” However, I want to discuss moments of weakness not how they can sometimes spontaneously arrive.

If one were to perform an Internet search (which is usually done using the Google search engine) which I did, one would discover (like I did) that one link list over 300 quotes that deal with the word “weakness” and another link offers the impression that the Bible, in fact, is loaded with numerous situations that revolve around this concept “moment of weakness.” And, I would suspect that we are all smart and/or intelligent enough to read for ourselves and discover or uncover all the parameters of this phrase and how it comes about.

Yet, we ALL (sooner or later) still continue to experience Moments of Weakness, no matter how physically or mentally strong we thing we are or no matter how spiritual or religious that we think we are.

Why?

  • We have Priests who continue to molest young boys
  • We have professional athletes who continue to molest female
  • We have males who continue to use physical and verbal abuse at home
  • We have alcoholics and drug addicts who “fall off the wagon”
  • We have male/females who have extramarital affairs
  • We have ministers getting busted for DUIs
  • We have people with handguns killing others
  • We have employees stealing from their employers
  • We have cyber hacking of bank and social media accounts

There are no easy answers here for any of these situations, but they are ALL a result of moments of weakness that always results when we cannot control or perhaps do not want to control our actions.

Moments of weakness always arrive at the doorsteps of TEMPTATION which can only be opened by the one who lives inside.

So, what is temptation?

Temptation is nothing more than a desire (brought about by someone or something else) to do something that is wrong or unwise which just about every that doesn't fall under the heading of doing what is right.

And, we all know that the biggest tempter of all times is the DEVIL... and without being too disrespectful to the devil, let me say that as soon as I wrote this down, my first thoughts went to Flip Wilson and the character of Geraldine Jones whose boyfriend's name was “killer” and whose favorite phrase was “the devil made me do it.”

On the other side of this issue is Marcus Geduld who claims he has been studying this area of psychology for over 35 years and there is no such thing as having a “moment of weakness.”

Now Shut the Door!!!
Mr. Geduld claims that there are mental programs that are constantly running in our minds that say to do this or not to do this and that they fight among themselves like artificial intelligence that learns and that the program (or force... my word) that can out argue the other one wins and that then is the direction that our behavior goes.

I must admit that this is a relatively interesting opinion and bears further investigations however, I don't think it will help us much in resolving this issue.

So moments of weakness happen because of temptation and that temptation can take place externally or internally, that is to say that others can influence us or we can influence ourselves.

There is a whole mess of reasons as to how and why we can be influenced by others but this idea of being influenced by ourselves is going to be a difficult one to handle, address, and solve on our own which is exactly what most of us try to do.

When we start talking about ourselves, then we get into a concept called “mental toughness” which always or should I say inevitably leads us into “will power.”

I am not sure what “mental toughness” means but every time I hear the phrase “mental toughness” I think of James Bond being played by Daniel Craig when he was strapped down to a seat-less chair and the “devious” criminal had this leather sling that was weighted down by some type of lead-like device and after it was swung around a few times the lead-like weighted end of the sling went under the chairs and crash into Bond's “balls.” It hurts me to even think about this... I can just imagine that Bond's sex life was never the same after that incident.

Whereas “will power” depends, at least in my opinion, upon one's ego, level self-confidence and level of self-esteem as to whether or not his “will power” is strong or weak.

Of course, when I look at this “will power” issue from an age perspective, I would suspect that age impacts moments of weakness brought about by a loss of “will power,” that is to say that I would suspect that “will power” decreases with age.

I suppose that incredible strength can be exhibited in moments of weakness or perceived moments of weakness as was the case in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and I would also suggest that his moment of weakness was more of a sacrifice than a suicide because I cannot imagine anyone being willing to let himself be murdered... however, without that murder, we would not have Christianity.

I really do hate to end this article here but it just seems like the right thing to do given the direction of this article and the way it ended up which is not how I had intended it to be when I began.