I have strong opinions and good ideas – I’m tired of keeping them to myself. I’m going to be sharing them from now on on twitter using the hashtag #vagothinks – I’m still a week out from completing my 99 day fast from Facebook – I may do another 99 day break from it after I check messages, check up on friends, etc.

Here are the first of my #vagothinks:

#vagothinks The USA should offer Syria to Turkey if they go in and kick ISIS out – just give it to the Turks.

#vagothinks the US economy is failing miserably for everyone who is not already middleclass or higher – I propose locialism as a solution…

@vagothinks locialism is a universal safety net including free medical, food, and housing assistance for anyone earning less than $40k/year

#vagothinks #locialism should be free and available for anyone who asks for it – no proof necessary – those who opt out get special benefits

#vagothinks taxes should be paid by employers before wages – flatly – every employee gets taxes withheld – not an employee=no taxes !

#vagothinks Trash trucks should have scales on them – every household gets charged by weight – less garbage=lower bill, more garbage=higher

#vagothinks No one (including corps) should be allowed to own more than two residences but no limit on commercial or industrial properties

#vagothinks There should be a children’s judicial system where children can safely appeal unfair treatment from adults with no consequences

#vagothinks a person’s record should only reflect judgments against them -everything else should be expunged – including credit data

#vagothinks The US government should wipe out student loans and make all Universities public and free of charge – funded by taxes, resources

#vagothinks the US government should use (and disclose) alternative funding for maintenance of parks, universities, schools, highways, etc

#vagothinks the sale of raw materials to other countries should be outlawed. The USA should export finished products only.

The Astounding Way I Earn a Living These Days…and more

America is awash in stuff, things, shit, and treasure…

It’s fucking astounding. It blows my mind. Always has. Probably always will. This country has such an amazing glut of material goods that it struggles with what to do with them – but at the same time – the citizens here are constantly buying shit, stuff, new things…to replace perfectly good old things…

My friend owns a second hand shop down the street from me – every time I step in her shop I realize that my high minded ideals and cultured aesthetic have fucked me again – she is selling the shit out of stuff I wouldn’t have thought would sell- Seriously…get this…I can buy a fine set of hand made, Danish, mid century modern end tables by a known designer and maker and price them at $50 each – and I’ll get a dozen people that come in and look at them and then tell me “Oh, I can’t pay that, I want to resell them” – pickers and dealers coming into an ANTIQUE SHOP – they need meat on the bone.

…oh yeah baby, I’ve made the big mistake – Cater to the classes and dine with the masses and meanwhile she is Catering to the masses and dining with the classes – Yeah, I’m an idiot. I have a store filled with things I appreciate after visiting the greatest museums in the world, traveling to 50 countries and 49 states, and studying art, history, and culture – in a town where most people have at best a 12th grade education and might have visited a couple of cities nearby..or maybe had a trip to California a few years ago….meanwhile my friend is selling them the same things their neighbors bought and they admired…for a fraction of the cost –

I earn a living doing this- we pay our bills and the people that appreciate this stuff find me – which is cool – but meanwhile she is employing two people, making more money, and has the opportunity to buy far more new inventory than I do (let alone expand)- so, the moral of the story is – don’t focus on what you like, focus on what people need – the Warren Buffet investment strategy – it works and my friend is proof of that –

I’m not complaining, mind you – like I said – I earn a living buying and selling really cool things, beautiful art, and interesting things – but the question I should have asked at the beginning was “Do I want to deal in cool interesting things or make money?” The answer, I thought was both, but what I didn’t realize was that I’d much rather make money selling crapola than scrape by selling art…it’s time to do some evaluation and figure out how to reshape my business…

What’s Up Stud?

imagesI went out for a bike ride this morning and it happened to be when the local high school students were out having their lunch. I rode by a group of boys and one of them yelled “What’s up Stud?” and frankly, it pissed me off.

So I turned my bike around and said “Who said that?”

“I did, what’s the problem Stud?” one of them said.

“The problem is you don’t know me, I’m a disabled Marine Corps vet, I’ve served my country, I own a business in this town, and you’re being disrespectful.”

“How is that disrespectful, Nigga?” one of the white boys said.

I thought about my black friends, my African wife and daughter, and my buddy’s grandmother and decided to just ignore that whole end of the conversation.

“It’s disrespectful because you don’t know me, I’m not your friend and you have no reason or right to call me Stud, motherfucker, or anything else”

These were high school football players and a couple of them started moving towards me – at this point there were about ten of them – then the giggling girls showed up – “He said motherfucker… hee hee” and I felt the threat from a big dumb looking kid moving towards me – I know that look – he was going to hit me and impress those girls

A couple of options went through my head

1) Step off the bike, pick up the bike and use it to smack his big ugly face with the sproket and then kick him right in the nuts before doing a sweep and stomp on his face – then turn and give a big Marine death yell to the rest and deal with whatever they might have to give
2) Ride away
3) Keep talking and try to explain why what they had done and were doing was disrespectful

I wanted to believe those kids were just missing someone telling them how it was…that was stupid. They were too far gone to learn anything in that situation and I felt the situation escalating as big hoss moved toward me. At that point a smaller, wiser kid with a scraggly beard stepped forward…as I got ready to teach big hoss a permanent lesson.

“Passion lies that way – if you leave now” the smaller bearded said. Honestly, I don’t know what the fuck that meant. I was close to entering a rage and not far from attacking a 17 year old kid amidst a group of ten or so hormone addled boys in the midst of a couple of girls they were bound to want to impress. The moment I was trying to figure out what it meant, I realized it was time for option number two. I rode away – but boy was I pissed.

I can’t begin to explain how angry I found myself. I took myself into my garage and tried to calm myself as I looked at my baseball bat and a few other nice pieces of equipment that might level the playing field. Ultimately, there was nothing to be done. I had a series of options that led to nowhere good.

1) Beat up a bunch of minors
2) Get beat up by a bunch of minors
3) Argue with a bunch of petulent teens
4) Yell at disrespectful kids of disrespectful parents
5) Have bigger worse problems

None of it was good. I called the police and told them about the incident. I called the high school and told them about the incident. In both cases, they said there was nothing to be done about it and in the future I should ignore the teens taunts and disrespect. If we were still in Africa or Turkey, they would have been bleeding and learned something – but this is America. There is nothing to do.

I don’t really like it – but that’s all there is to it. I’m going to have a big dish of spaghetti next to the door when Halloween comes – if those dummies come to my door – I’m going to serve it to them cold and ruin all their candies – I remember their faces – and that, kids, is why you should never holler disrespect to unknown strangers. It might just ruin your Halloween candy.

Labor Day

I’m working today – as we all should be.  It would be different if they called Labor Day ‘the last day of Summer’ or ‘Fun at the Lake Day’ or ‘Beach BBQ Day’ – but I hate the fact that it’s called Labor Day.  Labor Day is a joke.

In most civilized parts of the world – Labor Day is May 1st – also known as International Workers Day or May Day.  I support that holiday – but the USA has not and never has. Instead, the capitalist USA political machine has always been scared of organized labor, they’ve always been scared of workers organizing, and they’ve always been scared of the workers controlling the means of production. They’ve labored such things as red, communist, socialist, or anti-American.  The reason  is that the capitalist class have always depended on the slave labor of the workers to make themselves rich. There has been a war against organized labor in this country for a long while and the capitalists are winning it bigger than ever.

Gone are the days when unions were controlled by the workers, gone are the days when there were calls for shorter work days, shorter work weeks, higher pay, better benefits, or lifetime security for loyal workers – instead we live in a country where companies are immortal and workers are hired as ‘contractors’ which is a fancy way of saying they have no job security and no benefits they don’t provide for themselves.

In 1886,  on May 4th, following organized labor activities and protests (on May 1st – the real labor day)  which followed demands for an 8 hour workday – police killed several protestors and riots ensued – culminating in protestors bombing the police with dynamite and the police killing four more and then seven being sentenced to death for conspiracy. This, many say, is the origin of the world’s labor day on May 1st ( though actually, MayDay goes further back than that) – in a sense – one could argue that communism has it’s roots in this American event – thus is an American institution which has been villainized and made to appear foreign and anti-American.  In any event, President Grover Cleveland feared that MayDay celebrations would be used to commemorate the Haymarket Massacre and celebrations were banned. After the Pullman Strike where Federal Marshalls and U.S. military killed workers demanding safer conditions, the government rushed to create a National ‘Labor’ Day – but designated it be in September to avoid remembrance of government brutality towards workers demanding better conditions and safer work environments. The choice of September 1st was blatantly political and championed by President Grover Cleveland to disempower nascent Communist, Anarchist, and Syndicalist movements which used MayDay as a rallying point to bring workers to a more empowered system.

Retailers love Labor Day and it is said to be the 2nd best retail sale day of the year – which means that workers are working longer hours on this holiday celebrating labor rights

The United States Capitalist Army has won it’s war against organized labor. They have villainized labor as mobsters, communists, and criminals. They have created a holiday that disempowers workers from solidarity with workers in other countries, and they have impovershed workers to the point where we are all working longer hours, getting less benefits, and earning less buying power (less money).  There is no need to outlaw labor organizations because they are already working against labor.

Congratulations America. Happy Labor Day.

Revelation Made Clear – The Breaking of the Seven Seals

The end days are upon us – I’m no Christian, but here’s some pretty clear revelation for you….

  1. First Seal: A white horse appears, whose crowned rider has a bow with which to conquer. (6:1–2) – this is Putin in Crimea
  2. Second Seal: A red horse appears, whose rider is granted a “great sword” to take peace from the earth. (6:3–4) – this is ISIS in Iraq and Syria
  3. Third Seal: A black horse appears, whose rider has “a pair of balances in his hand,” where a voice then says, “A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and [see] thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” (6:5–6) – This is the revival of hostilities in Palestine and Israel
  4. Fourth Seal: A pale horse appears, whose rider is Death, and Hadesfollows him. Death was granted a fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and with the beasts of the earth. (6:7–8) – This is the Ebola outbreak in Africa which is out of control
  5. Fifth Seal: “Under the altar,” appeared the souls of martyrs for the “word of God,” who cry out for vengeance. They are given white robes and told to rest until the martyrdom of their brothers is completed. (6:9-11) – They are resting
  6. Sixth Seal: (6:12–17)
    1. There occurs a great earthquake where “the sun becomes black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon like blood” (6:12).
    2. The stars of heaven fall to the earth and the sky recedes like a scroll being rolled up (6:13–14).
    3. Every mountain and island is moved out of place (6:14).
    4. The people of earth retreat to caves in the mountains (6:15).
    5. The survivors call upon the mountains and the rocks to fall on them, so as to hide them from the “wrath of the Lamb” (6:16). – This is coming soon – big Cascadia Quake or maybe Greenland
  7. This is the 144,000 getting marked – coming soon…

A 99 Day Break from Facebook

UPDATE: Just a few days in and I already find that I have extra time on my hands. It’s amazing how when I have a spare moment on the computer or in the shop or at home, my mind says “Check out Facebook” and then when I don’t I realize – “Hey, I don’t need to be on the computer and can step away to do something else” – it’s amazing how much of my precious time I was killing with FB.

Yesterday, I saw an interesting proposal online – it suggested that Facebook might be contributing to general unease and unhappiness in the world.  I was already feeling a bit nauseated by Facebook in light of the recent behavioural experimentation the Facebook scientists have been conducting on users without their knowledge.


If you haven’t heard of it already, Facebook manipulated what stories showed up in the streams of users and then monitored what effect that had on the posting behaviour of those users.  They then, rather naively, published the results which showed that by manipulating what stories users saw, they could manipulate what kind of stories users posted.

So, the chances are that you have already been manipulated by Facebook. And that’s only the study they are telling us about…It was in that context that I saw a Danish group suggesting that a lengthy break from Facebook might make people happier – in general. And they created a website and campaign to encourage people to give it a shot. 99daysoffreedom.com

Upon hearing about it, my first reaction was – “Whoa, that’s three months, I don’t think I could do that – I use Facebook all the time.” and then, those words hit me…What exactly do I use Facebook for? I use it to see what my friends are posting, to try to post things that my friends might ‘like’ and as a sort of ego extension. I use it to try to increase my readership and once in a while I use it to buy or sell something.  The real question is Do I need it? The answer is very clearly “No”. I’ve lived most of my life without it and actually, I was happier with my use of my time during most of that time.  In fact, Facebook has more or less become a defacto boredom time killer and I don’t need to kill time…it’s my most valuable assett. I have so much stuff I want to do and haven’t been doing because I don’t have the time – but suddenly – if I’m not spending my time scrolling through platitudes pasted on nice pictures – or looking at other people’s vacation photos – I’ve got some time.

I mean, you want proof? I’m writing this. I’m not writing it on Facebook, I’m writing it on my blog which I’ve been sorely neglecting lately. You might be reading it on Facebook though because my blog automatically posts on Facebook without me logging in at all. I’m not logged into Facebook, I’m not checking to see if people ‘like’ me or what I post and I’m not being pithy, smarmy, or snarky.  It already feels good.

So here we are 99 days without logging into Facebook begins…if you want to see where it ends…you can see my countdown here..

And if you want to contact me – it won’t work to contact me on facebook. Try emailing me, commenting on this blog, calling me, or even sending me a letter.