Who Are You Online?

Gimme that poison. Now as I was saying…

At a recent seminar, we attendees or is it us attendees were asked, “Who are you online?” Pssst…to look half-way worthy of your time I suppose one should know the correct usage for we and us in the context of above sentence. But honestly I would have to Google to find out. I will take a chance on not appearing too scholarly today and hopefully the grammar police won’t arrest me. All of which gets me to thinking about Socrates and why I consider him such a bad ass.

Socrates. Say what you will but the quintessential bad boy of his time had balls. Given the options exile or death, the well-known if not the most well-known Greek philosopher, chose death. If he couldn’t sit around the square ‘corrupting’ the minds of the young men of the time, which is how Athens powers-that-be viewed his so-called philosophizing, then to hell with it. A Jacques-Louis David painting of Socrates still running his mouth while accepting a goblet of hemlock; surrounded by his entourage says it best. Socrates just didn’t give a damn.

In this country where graduation from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and the like makes you an automatic scholar, Socrates, born way back when in Athens Greece, would have none of it. In Plato’s Apology, Socrates was supposedly deemed the wisest man in Athens by none other than the Oracle at Delphi, instead of embracing this accolade from on high Socrates chose instead to become a “gadfly”.

Insisting he had no wisdom Socrates set out to prove it by questioning the purported great minds of the day. Afterward he avowed that like him they knew nothing or very little. The paradox was him admitting or recognizing his own ignorance whereas the others didn’t thereby proving the Oracle right. Of course this didn’t garner any favors among the elite and his smart-alecky be-hind had to go.

Another thing about Socrates is he never wrote a doggone thing. Maybe he didn’t care how history would later view him. Or maybe it was a clever ploy by this major contributor to the field of ethics to encourage critical thinking even at the expense of his legacy. Who in the heck really knows since most accounts of him come from the writings of his students, Xenophon and Plato, and playwright, Aristophanes. With Plato and Aristophanes being literary writers who knows what literary license they may have taken to elevate their beloved Socrates.

Lets just say everyone knows of Socrates but no one really knows Socrates. He’s such an enigmatic figure there’s even something called the Socratic Problem. If Socrates lived during this age of social media where your profile tells the world who you are would he be SOL if he didn’t Facebook, Twitter, Blog, You Tube, Pinterest, and all else? Furthermore would he even care? That he wrote nothing, and apparently never strayed too far from his homeland suggests he didn’t seek celebrity. Now here he is centuries later a heavy weight among philosophers.

So after network strategist, Teddy Burriss, asked us attendees, ‘who are you online’ and said in so many words if you Google yourself and come back empty-handed you have a problem. And if you Google yourself and the results are less than favorable in your own opinion you still have a problem. Who are you online?

Go ahead and Google yourself and see what you get.

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Simple Fun Cloud Tutorial

Hello everyone, just a little something different.  My name is Zeke. I am a Graphic Designer who owns and operates GraphicsDuo2.  This tutorial is excellent for the up and coming graphic designer as well as the vets who want to learn a little something new. In this tutorial you will learn how to make a cloud shape with the pen tool, learn gradient mesh and utilize the lasso tool in Adobe Illustrator. So check out the tutorial by clicking the image below. And on behalf of GraphicsDuo2 have a great day.

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Say Enough Already! Put an End to Pedophilia

To know peace is to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

Pedophilia is a monstrous scourge upon this great nation and must be eradicated like the virulent disease it is for the sake of our children.  Suspected sexual abuse be it in a scout troop, charitable organization, group home, institution of higher learning, church or inside your own home must not be allowed free reign. If you are a child being abused, no matter how afraid, please tell someone.

SAY ENOUGH ALREADY! 

If you are an adult and suspect a pedophile is lurking in your midst, just as the jurors in the Jerry Sandusky trial, “broke years of silence about Sandusky’s systematic targeting, grooming and abuse of children,” you must not turn a blind eye. To do so leave yet another child quaking in fear knowing it is only a matter of time before the monster strikes again.

Thank God the Sandusky jurors saw beneath the veneer of a once beloved football coach to the predatory sociopath – Jerry Sandusky, the monster. Thank God that even though years had passed and with no so-called physical evidence the jurors believed the victims and not Sandusky’s paid flunkies. All the while ‘The Great Pretender’ sat quietly, these young men again being victimized betrayed as liars seeking a pay day. That they won’t be believed is what keeps many children from reporting these monsters in the first place.

Hopefully the convictions of Sandusky and Msgr. William J. Lynn, the first high-level Roman Catholic official to be found guilty in the priest sexual abuse scandal, sent a clear message that pedophiles and their enablers, no matter how high up, will no longer be tolerated. In Sandusky’s case, the Penn State system and perhaps even Dottie Sandusky, let this monster feed off of poor young boys as though it was his God given right to do so. Just as the monsignor will do time other enablers or just flat out protectors of pedophiles should suffer dire consequences for their inaction.

SAY ENOUGH ALREADY! 

No child in this country, as a matter of fact, no child in this world should quake in dark fear knowing some monster is coming for them. No child should be subjected to the horrors of a monster that so many seek to protect either because it or the organization it represents is deemed too big to be brought down.

Children are not on this earth to serve as sexual appetizers for deviants to gorge themselves. Shamefully that is how so many children are treated as those who could and should be their defenders look the other way. Especially if the monster happens to be a pretty blond teacher, trusted priest or preacher, dedicated scout leader, head of household, revered athletic coach, etc. If you proclaim to love children but when it’s time to protect a child decides time heals all wounds and its only sex, then you too are a monster.

This unspoken entitlement to a child’s flesh has been with us since before the age of darkness. Since we are supposed to be the enlightened ones it is up to us to say by our actions enough already. Please say it with me – ENOUGH ALREADY!

Why Some Celebrity Wrongdoers Get A Pass While Others Get Pounded

Some celebrities can do no wrong in the court of public opinion. Taint rolls off them like water off a duck’s back while some are hated almost with a vengeance deserved or not.

The Gizmo celebs catch a break.

Let’s begin with Arnold, cigar-smoking Schwarzenegger. The ex-governator cheated on his wife, Maria Shriver, with the hired help and after the initial flurry, mostly outpourings of, ‘hang in there Maria, it hardly registered on the public’s Richter scale. The man sired a child almost the same age as a son with his wife and his coat of armor remains relatively undinged.

Enter Tiger Woods. The hatred many bear for the man is so palpable you could cut it with a knife. Whereas Arnold cheated with one woman that we know of, Tiger had several so-called ‘mistresses’ and didn’t impregnate a single one that we know of. Yet the very thought of this man winning a golf tournament make some physically ill. One commenter said the only reason he watches golf these days is to see Tiger lose.

Why the double standard? Does success breed contempt? After all once you get past The Terminator, Terminator 2 – Judgment Day and Terminator 3 – Rise of the Machines, Arnold definitely does not flex any Oscar muscle. Tiger on the other hand has won enough majors to make many of the heretofore golf heavies look minor by comparison. Of course that was before his black hole of infidelity came to light and ‘mistress’ after ‘mistress’ kept clambering out like King Solomon’s concubines. The unified chorus of the hated is they must be doing something right to have so many haters.

Then there’s LeBron James, hated because he no longer wanted to continue a Sisyphean role in Cleveland and headed to Miami to become the LeBron, Wade, and Bosh trio in hope of finally getting that much coveted ring.

Haters claim they don’t hate James simply because he left. It was the way he did it. But people leave jobs in which they are no longer fulfilled or feel they aren’t adequately compensated, or for whatever reason all the time. Some get a send-off party. Some don’t.  The fact is, unlike many of his haters, LeBron has skills that afforded him options and opportunity and he exercised his right to seize upon them. As the saying goes, ‘don’t hate the player hate the game.’

The Striped celebs get a perpetual pounding.

Mel Gibson, you better hope you’ve made enough money to carry you to your grave because it doesn’t appear you are ever going to be forgiven. The character WilliamW allace was much beloved in the movie Braveheart, but Mel Gibson, thou name continues to be mud in the court of public opinion.

The rumor mill recently started to grind again on the whispered dalliances of beloved John Travolta. You have got to love a man who can dance in the movies the way he does. His Vincent Vega character in Pulp Fiction even busted a move that pushed that movie beyond the stratosphere. John is an icon of dance. A figurine you place on an étagère shelf to gaze upon and hope never gets broken. Just like before and no effort on Travolta’s part, the latest rumors came to a screeching halt and will remain one of those things only whispered about.

Kim K. just keep on rolling that body all the way to the bank, girl. A commenter recently said the Venus de Milo on carb overload looked grotesque in a recent picture her sweetie Kanye tweeted for the world to see. The thought of a KimYe baby made this commenter throw up a little in her mouth. Another declared her a racist for only dating black guys. According to a recent New York Post poll this woman is hated even more than Jerry Sandusky.

Nearly all rappers and NBA players no matter what  are automatically deemed thugs. What is a thug? Anyone who uses crime and/or intimidation to get their way is a thug. Gender, race, class-it makes no difference. Corporations such as Walmart and Six Flags due to their unscrupulous business practices could even be classified as thugs. Lets not forget Jerry Sandusky, the worst kind of thug, who used his power and standing in the community to prey upon the most vulnerable. Yet Kim K. is hated even more than this thug most foul.

Finally, Bill Clinton. Despite befouling the oval office, lying to congress and the American people, the man is more revered than ever. All of you hated ones should be so lucky. Perhaps charisma is key. Bill, Arnold, and Travolta are definitely charismatic. Throw in likable spouses: Hillary, Maria, and Kelly Preston and perhaps the reason those three get a pass and the others a never-ending pounding.

Six Flags: Stop Discriminating Against People With Dreadlocks

Should my hair keep me from getting a job? MarKeese Warner.

When I signed MarKeese Warner’s Change.org petition for the below, I did so in the belief that no person(s), organization, government, or corporation, etc., should make our children, any of them, feel less simply because of the way they choose to wear their hair.

I hear all the time sports figures, actors, actresses, music entertainers, politicians, and other so-called public figures should be upstanding role models. By that same token a corporation such as Six Flags should be held by those same standards. Just because they can and because there hasn’t been a cry and hue against this very personal discriminatory policy, Six Flags and others like them continue to tell young folks like Ms. Warner that their own natural hair is offensive and therefore unacceptable.

MarKeese’s picture shows a beautiful, brown-skinned teenager with long curly locks. What is so scary about this young lady’s own natural hair that she need not even apply for employment with Six Flags? Is it that her locks aren’t golden enough; or not straightened and styled in an acceptable manner? Will some so-called upstanding citizen take one look at her and vow never again to return to Six Flags? I think not. She’s beautiful and all of our children should know that no matter the texture of their hair.

Ronald Reagan during a 1987 speech he gave near the Berlin Wall said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” A challenge he issued to Mikhail Gorbachev to end oppression and all that that wall represented. I supposed Mr. Reagan could have ignored it. Either way he would still be president. But he didn’t and a few years later that wall came down.

There are many expressions of oppression in this world. Being told your own naturally grown hair is so offensive it could keep you from obtaining that most essential of things, a job, hits to the core. Sure MarKeese could just take a back seat and hush up. Sure the compliant and conformist would see this corporate entity continue its ways until hell freezes over.

My signing this petition is nothing as grand as what President Reagan said in his speech, but at least in my own way I have spoken. Six Flags and others like you it’s time to end this discriminatory policy. Those of us with a sense of fairness and decency, it’s time to say in one voice, “Six Flags stop discriminating against people with dreadlocks.”

Change.org

Petition started by: MarKeese Warner, Bladensburg, Maryland

Like many students across the country, I have been looking for a summer job before I start my senior year at Pennsylvania State University where I’m studying engineering. As I’m living at home in Maryland for the summer, I thought working at the nearby Six Flags would be a great summer job. I’ve been going to Six Flags with my family for years and have even had season passes on occasion, so I applied for a food service job. However, as I started to go through the interview process, I was disturbed to find out that I couldn’t work at Six Flags because of the texture of my hair. Six Flags has a strict policy that prohibits employees from having dreadlocks (or “locks” as some people call them) as they classify them as an “extreme” hairstyle along with mohawks and unnatural coloring.

Locks are predominantly worn by African-American, Caribbean and African people as an expression of how our hair grows naturally. My hair is important to me and part of who I am. I’ve had locks for about five years. Being disqualified as a potential employee because of my hair made me feel defeated; as my hair is representation of my personal growth through the years. It hurts to hear major employers like Six Flags call my natural hair and texture “extreme.” Unfortunately, throughout history, many people have demonized locks.

It is disparaging for Six Flags to accept substantial amounts of money every year at their parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada from patrons who wear their hair as it grows naturally, but the company would refuse to hire any of those patrons with locks. We spend way too much money at places like Six Flags Theme Parks for them to discriminate against any members of our community. Let us also exercise our voice with our dollars.

There is no excuse in 2012 for such abhorrent employment policies. In a time when the “voice of the people” can indeed be witnessed to move mountains, let us in one accord raise our voice. In a country that purports itself to be the greatest “melting pot” of social values and ideals, it’s time for Six Flags to stop its discriminatory policy by categorically refusing to employ people because of their natural hair. Please join me in asking Six Flags to stop discriminating against people with locks.

A Voice that Ultimately Laid the Golden Egg

The voice that laid the golden egg

Ted Williams A Golden Voice, How Faith, Hard Work, and Humility Brought Me from the Streets to Salvation should read: the man whose voice laid the golden egg but he cracked it again and again and again. The memoir is simply written but rich in details about a life driven completely off the rails by none other than Ted himself.

In my opinion, unlike many homeless people Ted had a choice. He wasn’t mental. At least he wasn’t born deficient in reasoning skills or ever declared certifiable crazy. Nor was he too old or sick to work a steady job. From what I read, Ted was given many opportunities starting from birth. According to him he never knew his birth mother. I imagine that had to hurt. But Al and Julia Williams gave him a last name and raised him the best they knew how.

He talked about them being color struck. Back in those days a lot of light-skinned African Americans distanced themselves from their darker complexioned brothers and sisters thinking the hue of their skin somehow elevated them. It was mostly an exercise in futility which Ted pointed out. His father didn’t want him to identify as black. He processed his hair hoping to look Samoan or Hawaiian, worked extra hard and yet the man was never promoted.

Ted also claimed his mother rarely came to his defense and that his daddy beat him often. As far as discipline, I feel Ted’s folks were pretty typical of black parents during that time. I’m around his age and back then if you got out of order they didn’t hesitate to get you in line with a belt, cord, hand spanking, or even a switch, if you were from the South. I’m not saying corporal punishment is right, but I don’t feel Ted endured any more than the rest of us.

Maybe when Ted turned his back on the golden life he could’ve had deep down he thought he was sticking it to the flawed folks who had raised him and the selfish woman who couldn’t be bothered. Maybe a worthless crack head was what he felt they deserved. Whatever his reason he turned his back on his children in pursuit of a crack pipe, the convenient crutch he used to excuse his behavior time and time again..

Another thing that struck me was how Ted reveled in being a hustler and seemed in love with the sound of his own voice. That voice set him apart from the other drug addicts and street hustlers because it could quite literally stop a person dead in their track. It opened doors for him and would have taken him places long ago. Instead he used it like a cheap trick. Mesmerizing and winning folks trust with it one moment, then ripping off those same people the next.

Ted says God sent him to the side of the road to humble him. Yet freely admits both he and his girlfriend were at the end of their shelf life far as the streets are concerned. Years of hitting a crack pipe had taken a debilitating physical toll on their bodies. They were out of options with nowhere else to go. Whether sent by the good Lord or not there he stood, holding up a sign touting the only hustle he had left.

Overall I enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it. It definitely attests to this new reality TV and social media age. One minute you could be begging on a street corner and the next you’re being given a chance at a second act in spite of your past transgression(s) or maybe because of them.

Prometheus Is No Alien – Not Even Close

I’ve decided to blame the Avengers movie and film critic Roger Ebert for wasting time I could’ve spent cleaning grout with a toothbrush. That’s how bad Prometheus was. If I hadn’t seen highlights of it during Avengers and read Roger Ebert’s review, I probably wouldn’t have given it much thought. But I got a little nostalgic thinking about when I first saw Ridley Scott’s Alien. Aside from nearly scaring me to death, it made my list of really great movies. Prometheus didn’t even come close.

To its credit the cinematography was quite breathtaking. Even the android, David, gave me pause. If just a modicum of characterization instilled in the soulless android had gone into the other characters, I might have cared about them a little too.

Anyway, in the beginning this at least 8-foot tall, male-looking being known as an ‘Engineer’, ingests a black goo. As its body begins this real cool disintegration, it falls into the water, strands of its DNA permeates the earth, and thus creates human life. Forget about God created the heaven and the earth and Darwinism and the Big Bang Theory. The so-called ‘Engineers’ made us. Why did they make us only to turn around and want to destroy us? And the really big question: Who made the ‘Engineers’?

Dr. Shaw, a brilliant scientist, who also happens to be quite religious and her partner, get the backing of a very very rich donor to find the answers to those very questions. So enters the Prometheus and its ragtag crew. Yes, I said ragtag ripped straight out of Alien even though one would assume such a rich man, seeking eternal life, or whatever it was he was seeking, could have afforded a much better crew then that sorry lot.

Unlike Alien this movie had a lazy quality about the writing. There was no tension buildup. The dialogue was like something you would hear in a dumb horror flick. Not only that, the characters did things you wouldn’t expect from true professionals. So much was left unanswered. Scenes just started and ended abruptly. People got lost in spite of having mapping and communication systems. An ‘Engineer’ is asleep right in the middle of a project.

The absolute weirdest scene was a C-section done robotically on Dr. Shaw. An alien was ripped out of the woman and her middle stapled back together. Instead of bleeding out she injects herself with a pain blocker, takes what appears to be pain pills, and keeps it moving. Bloodied and in pain she ends up smack dab in a room with David the android and the supposed dead billionaire getting ready to pay a visit to the alien ship. No one seems the least bit surprised to see her all bloodied. After some back and forth between her and the old guy, she suits up to go with them. She is now SUPER DR. SHAW.

Then they are there. The ‘Engineer’ is awakened. All hell breaks loose. The ‘Engineer’ boards a space craft and takes off. Somehow super Dr. knows its evil intent. She conveys this to the ship’s captain and the seemingly cold and hard Meredith dissolves into a coward and beats it the hell out of there.

Captain Janek, deep in alien territory with no worthwhile weapons if you can believe that, decides to ram the alien spacecraft with his to keep it from leaving. The two remaining crew members, god only knows what happened to all the others, decides to accompany their captain on a kamikaze mission. After some bantering the captain rams the ship into the other and brings it down.

More stuff happens but let’s just say the last super woman standing is Dr. Shaw. And what does she do? Instead of heading home she zooms off to get answers from the very beings she says wants to kill us. I can picture it now. “Hel-looo! I come in peace.” She fingers the cross around her neck. “I promise I won’t take up much of your time. But could you give me the name of your creator?”

Usually I watch a movie for the entertainment value. But some are so ridiculous it is hard to let go. Prometheus is one such movie. With so many plot holes and unanswered questions it has become a homework assignment.

FYI: I smell a sequel. What about you?