Facebook Philosophy

Maybe it’s me, but I’ve recently found myself getting irritated with Facebook.  Actually, maybe it’s certain wall posts as opposed to Facebook as a whole.  For example, a buddy of mine changed his relationship status from “Married” to “It’s Complicated.”  As a result, some people were commenting and asking him what was going on.  So I decided to e-mail him directly.  I asked how he was doing, he was very defensive and said, “Oh, everything is fine.  It’s nothing.  We’re fine.”  Well, if that’s the case; why in the hell did you publically change your relationship status and reveal it to your 400+ friends.  Clearly he was trying to put it out there for a reason, but then backtracked on it afterwards.

Another example is a friend of mine posting, “I’m going to Germany for 18 months.”  That post was followed by numerous comments and people saying “what,” “when” and “why didn’t I know.”  That night she admitted that she really wasn’t traveling abroad, and that it was a post for charity?  But that came after nearly eight hours of comments from concerned friends not knowing what the heck was going on.

And the final examples are the posts that are just plain ridiculous.  The ones that say, “I’m lying on the couch,” “I’m at the gym” or “I’m cleaning the living room.”  Seriously, do people really care?

Maybe my philosophy is different than others.  I can’t stand the games and stupid application requests.  I’ve always used Facebook for two purposes - to keep in touch with friends and to reconnect with those who I might not otherwise have had the opportunity to.  I can do without everything else.  But maybe some people truly do care when their friends are doing all the time.  But I say…if you don’t have something worthwhile to say, don’t post it at all.

Interestingly, my friend, Jill, actually did a study on this topic.  She is single and not dating anyone.  Most people know this.  So she decided to change her Facebook relationship status to “Married,” indicated she was moving abroad and then did not respond to any comments for 10 days.  The concern of friends who thought she got married without telling anyone was fascinating and eye-opening.  She even had a profile created for the man she married.  As a result, her page was exploding with comments.  But I guess that just shows you the madness of social media.

So do you post your life on there or do you want to read about others’ lives.  What is your Facebook philosophy?

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My Money

Today I’m going to shamelessly steal on of my blog-friend’s ideas (just for the day of course).  Jen over at Hope Studios has a “Feedback Friday” segment which is extremely popular.  And I thought one of yesterday’s news stories was a perfect fit for such a segment.  So enjoy this one-time edition of “Feedback Friday” here at The Constant Complainer.

I know that everyone has their own opinion of welfare.  And this isn’t a knock against those individuals who receive benefits.  But over the years, there has been increased scrutiny regarding the payout of these benefits, who should receive them and what the funds can be used for.  There has even been talk of drug testing the unemployed and denying benefits for those who do not have high school diplomas.

Interestingly, Congress took action on these thoughts yesterday.  They passed H.R. 3657 - “To amend title IV of the Social Security Act to require States to implement policies to prevent assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program from being used in strip clubs, casinos, and liquor stores.”

So basically, those individuals receiving welfare monies would not be able to use their welfare cards to withdrawal funds from an ATM at casinos, strip clubs and liquor establishments.  The vote overwhelmingly passed 395-27.  My question is…what in the heck took so long!

Some people may argue that we shouldn’t be policing these monies.  Others would say that these are taxpayer dollars and we absolutely have every right to dictate where they can be withdrawn and what they can be spent on.

Working in HR, I think my views tend to be skewed.  I see people spending more time worrying about trying to collect unemployment benefits than trying to find a job.  And I see State systems allowing this behavior and not even enforcing their own stipulations for how people can qualify for any of these types of benefits.  And I would easily support drug testing of the unemployed and those on welfare.  But the question is…what do you think?

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Prime Time

I remember watching “The Price is Right” as a kid and loving the Showcase Showdown.  These days, I don’t watch much game show TV except for when my family tries to catch “Wheel of Fortune” once in a while.  But I have to tell you, game shows continue to provide some of the funniest moments on TV.

It’s Friday, it was a good week and I’m not really in the mood to complain tonight.  Besides, I laughed so hard when I saw this video, so I had to toss it up here just for the heck of it.  It’s from “Jeopardy.”

The Question: A blow to the back of the head is the punch named for this animal?
The Answer: Rabbit Punch

What is a rabbit punch?  According to Wikipedia, it’s a blow to the neck or to the base of the skull.  It is considered especially dangerous because it can damage the cervical vertebrae and subsequently the spinal cord, which may lead to serious spinal cord injury or even death.

But how did the male contestant on Jeopardy answer?  LOL.  He said, “What is a donkey punch?”  Check out this 16-second clip here.  I’m sure all of you know what a donkey punch is and realize why he was so wong!

While I was at it, I grabbed a video of one of the biggest morons I could find from “The Wheel of Fortune.”  Check her out here.  And my other favorite was this guy from “The Price is Right.”  He comes within $1,000 of the actual retail price during the Showcase Showdown, so he wins both showcases and $1M.  Check him out here, as his reaction is absolutely hysterical.  Drop me a comment and enjoy your weekend.

rabbit-punch
Rabbit Punch - Courtesy of Google Images

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Obama’s Second Term – Guest Post

Here at The Constant Complainer, in addition to my own posts, readers can submit Guest Posts on topics they’d like to discuss and/or complain about.  And no election season would be complete without NeoConDon offering his opinions on the candidates.  Usually, I give Don a hard time and threaten to not use his political Guest Posts.  But I found his below-candidate breakdown interesting.  So if you want to talk politics, here is your chance.  Enjoy, have fun and here’s Don…

I have come to the conclusion that President Obama is going to get a second term.  There are lots of historical reasons that point to this.  The most obvious is the historical exactness between the Bush/Obama transition and the Hoover/FDR transition.  As horrible of a president as FDR was, he was given a second term.  The public felt it was necessary to give him a shot to fix the economy he inherited.  Sound familiar…???

There also hasn’t been a profound blunder like what President Carter was dealing with in the Iran Hostage crisis.  Sure, Obama likes to make fun of the Special Olympics, laugh at people who cling to God and thinks that problems can really be solved while drinking alcohol at a “beer summit,” but none of that is as bad as Jimmy Carter wearing a bad sweater and messing up a hostage rescue.  Plus Obama is proving to be the typical war-mongering Democrat that voters love.

The real reason he’ll be re-elected is because of the candidates the GOP has put together. I’m going to break down each candidate and explain their strengths and weaknesses and why they can’t win.

Perry:  Governor Perry’s biggest quality is he’s the CEO of a huge economy and he’s quite good at it.  I love his tax plan and the idea that the federal gov’t should be a part-time job.  The problem is if you close your eyes, he sounds exactly like George W. Bush.  Americans don’t want that.  He can’t be nominated, and that’s the real reason as to why he can’t win.

Gingrich:  Newt Gingrich is the smartest person running for President, including Obama.  Newt would bury Obama in a debate, but debates really don’t matter.  But Newt is a Teddy Roosevelt progressive, and that’s simply too hard to overcome.  In the end, Newt and Obama have different endings to their story, but the way they get there is through huge gov’t.  He can’t be nominated, and that’s the real reason why he can’t win.

Paul:  Ron Paul is a lovable little guy.  He’s smart and really loves the Constitution and his country.  There isn’t a better candidate running that is as perfect from a fiscal policy standpoint as he is.  But he continues to make silly statements about his understanding of why AlQueda attacked the United States.  This total misunderstanding will lead to bad decisions on how to deal with the emerging left wing dictators coming out of the Middle East. He’ll never be nominated, and that’s why he can’t win.

Santorum:  Santorum is my pick, but I don’t think he’ll win.  He’s really the most perfect antithesis of Obama in the field right now and would offer a real counter argument to most of the President’s flawed positions.  He’s too unknown to really make an impact against Mitt Romney.  While it is possible, my gut tells me he can’t win.

Romney:  Romney is farther left than George W. Bush.  I think that’s why the Republican establishment loves him.  He’s still “moderate” enough to be likable to the closed minded centrists, yet right enough to get conservatives to vote for him because he’s further right than Obama.  This is a recipe for loss.  The reason for that is simple.  Informed conservatives like me are pretty certain that both chambers of congress will go to the Republicans.  The last thing we need is a spineless moderate like Romney trying to look good by writing liberal legislation that conservatives in congress will be forced to pass because of politics.  Conservatives know that progressivism and liberalism is cruel, regardless of what political party delivers it.  And that’s why Romney shouldn’t win, and that’s why I will never vote for him.

To all of my conservative friends…Stop worrying about the presidency.  Focus on electing the most conservative people to congress and in the gubernatorial races.  The fastest way to get the federal gov’t out of our lives is to squeeze the evils of liberalism with the values of conservatism at the local level.  Liberalism has failed every time it has been tried.  Conservatism has succeeded every time it has been tried.

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Black Friday

I can remember my neighbors going Black Friday shopping when I was kid.  They’d get up around 7 a.m. and head out to K-Mart to see what the deals were.  At the time, I can remember thinking they were nuts to get up that early.  But given today’s standards, it seems like we were tame back in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Is it me or do the shoppers seem to get crazier every year around Black Friday?  A few years ago, you’d hear about stores opening at 5 a.m. and people starting to line up around 3 a.m.  Then we progressed to the stores opening at 4 a.m. and people starting to line up around midnight.

But this year, things took an entirely different turn.  It marked the first time that some stores opened at midnight on Thanksgiving night.  So, I have to admit, I wondered how early people would start getting in line.  But I didn’t expect for it to be so ridiculous.  So out of pure morbid curiosity, I drove to our local Best Buy at 9 p.m. on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  And below is what I saw.

black-friday-1

Yup, that’s right, idiots already camped out.  Now, this is on Tuesday!  Probably 40 hours before most of us were getting ready to eat Thanksgiving dinner and 51 hours before the Best Buy even opened.

According to this news story, the lady in the first tent was Desiree Laurenzi, 30.  She was planning on buying a lap top, iPod Touch, GPS, Xbox 360 Kinect and a PlayStation 3.  Laurenzi was quoted as saying, “My funds are limited because I’m in college.”  Laurenzi had been camped out since the Sunday before Thanksgiving, to ensure that she was first in line.

So the question that begs to be asked here is, “What the hell are people doing lining up so early?”  I mean; is a deal truly worth sitting in a tent for 51 hours, having your family bring you Thanksgiving dinner, fighting the crowds and not even having a guarantee that you’ll even get the items you want?  I still give my brother-in-law a hard time for the year he got in line at Best Buy around 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving night for its opening the next morning at 5 a.m. (he was 75th in line and ended up leaving disgusted in the middle of the night).

I think the hardcore shoppers are just getting silly.  The next thing you know, people will be camping out several weeks in advance.  And of course, at it is, the violence is only getting worse.  Just in the example of Wal-Mart this year…the retail chain reported the following Black Friday incidents: one shooting, one robbery at gunpoint, four customer fights, one claim police brutality, one stun gun attack and three bomb threats.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather shop early, maybe pay few bucks more and most of all, sit at home and enjoy Thanksgiving with my family.

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Moron of the Week Returns

It’s been a tough few weeks.  I was out of commission following shoulder surgery.  And while I had plenty of time to think about possible topics for on here, I was unable to move my arm or type.  Now trust me; not being able to use your arm for a few weeks is no picnic.  So as I gently start using my arm again, I thought what better way to get back into the swing of things than with a “Moron of the Week Award” post.  Enjoy, discuss and cast your votes below.

Nominee #1 - Hot for Teacher - Emerson Elementary School in California participates in the “Read Across America” program.  As a part of that, the school invites celebrities in to read to the students.  Last week, Sasha Grey was asked to meet a first grade class.  Who is Sash Grey, you ask?  Why, she’s a famous and award-winning porn star!  When angry parents called the school to complain, and when TMZ contacted the administrators, the school denied Grey’s appearance saying, “The actress you have indicated [Sasha] was not present.”  Too bad TMZ already had pictures of it.  It sounds to me like someone at the school didn’t do their homework.

sasha-grey
Sasha Grey at Emerson Elementary School
Courtesy of TMZ

Nominee #2 - Who’s Your Daddy - It amazes me when I’m flipping channels on TV, that Maury Povich is still doing paternity tests after all these years.  I mean, seriously, give it a rest.  But clearly someone watches his show, because he’s still on the air.  Well…now Maury may get his most famous DNA yet.  Word is that he has approached Justin Bieber’s representatives about helping with the DNA test in Bieber’s battle against Mariah Yeater, who claims that Bieber fathered her child after a sexual encounter in a bathroom at one of his concerts.  Should Maury go out on high note and retire after helping exonerate Bieber?

 mariah-yeater
Mariah Yeater (Bieber’s accuser)
Courtesy of The Insider

Nominee #3 - Fall from Grace - I have been a huge Penn State football fan my entire life.  This week the university fired legendary coach, Joe Paterno, in light of a sex abuse scandal involving one of his former assistant coaches (Jerry Sandusky is accused of molesting several minors).  “JoePa” was let go because he apparently knew of the allegations, and although he communicated them to his supervisor, he did not investigate further or contact the police.  Paterno now says he “didn’t do enough.”  Thus, his 46-year legacy as a head coach is now irrevocably tarnished.

Nominee #4 - Think Before You Speak - Actor Ashton Kutcher has 8M followers on Twitter.  That’s quite a fan club.  And Kutcher is known for posting his own tweets and being very proactive when dealing with his fans.  Earlier this week, Kutcher walked by his TV, saw that Joe Paterno was being fired from Penn State, and without knowing why, took to Twitter to attack Penn State.  Only after being embarrassed and lambasted online by just about everyone, some of Kutcher’s friends contacted him and explained why Paterno was in the news.  As a result, Kutcher issued an apology and turned over control of his Twitter account to his management team.

ashton-kutcher
Ashton Kutcher
Courtesy of TMZ

Nominee #5 - The New One-Night Stand - Imagine Erik Johnson’s surprise to find out (when he got back from Iraq) that his wife, Jennifer Stewart, was pregnant.  He assumed she had an affair (they are white and the baby is black).  But she was adamant that she didn’t.  Apparently, Stewart was knocked up via the new way to have intercourse - watching a 3D movie.  This story has surfaced time and again over the last year.  And last week, once again, it was circling the outlets.  Yes, that’s right; Stewart claims that she has been faithful to her husband, and says the baby was conceived in New York while she watched a 3D porno.  Stewart claims the baby looks exactly like one actor in the porno, who she has never met.  She is currently planning to sue the movie studio and the producers.  And interestingly, her husband has been very supportive of her claim saying, “The films in 3D are very real.  With today’s technology, anything is possible.”  No wonder you have to pay an extra $3 for 3D glasses these days!

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Moron of the Week

I’m back and apologize to all of you for my brief absence. And what better way to make my return than with a “Moron of the Week Award.”

Well…apparently if you’re looking for a good time, you need to travel no farther than Bakersfield, CA. According to an MSNBC article, “The Federal Aviation Administration says it will look into a videotaped skydiving sex stunt to determine if the pilot might have been distracted during the incident over Kern County.”

The man at the center of the story is Alex “Voodoo” Torres. He is a part-time skydiving instructor at Skydive Taft and also a porn star. Torres apparently convinced the skydiving company’s receptionist, Hope Howell, to be his partner. “The video shows the two having sex in a plane before jumping out in tandem and continuing the act midair.” Torres then posted the video on his blog. The stunt was apparently done because Torres was attempting to get the attention of shock-jock, Howard Stern. Torres told the pilot it was ok to do such a thing and the three of them came in before the office opened to shoot the scene.

Their stunt, however, could be a problem in the FAA’s eyes. Spokesman, Ian Gregor, said, “Anyone who allows an activity to occur that could affect his or her ability to concentrate on flying the aircraft or could result in the pilot being physically jostled or lose control of the aircraft could constitute a violation of federal aviation regulations.” For his efforts, Torres was fired and the company is investigating Howell. So what do you think? Fun, crazy and sexy? Or stupid and dangerous?

torres-and-howell
Image Courtesy of MSNBC

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My 9/11 Story

Change of pace today.  No complaints.  Just remembering 9/11…  What’s your story?  How were you affected?  What did you think then?  What did you think now?

I’ve often been told that my 9/11 story is unique.  You see; I was actually supposed to fly on a plane on September 11th.  I was on vacation in Las Vegas with a friend and had a mid-morning return flight.

Because of the time difference, it was not yet six o’clock in the morning when the terrorist attacks started.  My wife called our hotel and told us what was going on.

My friend had a sister living in New York City.  It was extremely difficult to sit there and watch him try over and over (with no result) to reach her.  Eventually, even though he couldn’t reach her, one of his relatives was able to verify his sister’s safety.

Then, as we helplessly watched the events play out on TV and the flight-grounding was announced, it quickly became evident to us that we were stranded in Las Vegas.  The good news - because nobody was flying into town, the hotels were more than willing to give us deals.  The bad news - our airline couldn’t guarantee when the flights would resume and we were told that we wouldn’t receive priority status.  In fact, I was told that the soonest flight I could secure might be six days away.  So we started making more desperate calls.  Within hours, every single rental car in town was gone.  Some of the rental car agents actually started suggesting that it might be easier for us to just buy a car.  We were also unable to get a train ticket out of town.

After staying in Vegas one more night, my father called the next morning and said, “Pack your bags and get to the Greyhound station now!”  The day before, this didn’t appear to be an option because there were lines down the street for people wanting to buy bus tickets.  However, my father was able to get a ticket for us.  Once again this was a good news and bad news situation.  The good news - I could leave Vegas and head home.  The bad news - the trip was 52 straight hours on the bus through nine states.

Although I couldn’t imagine the discomfort of riding in a bus for that long without showering and only eating at rest stops, I wanted to get home to my family as quickly as possible.  But what I didn’t expect (and probably wasn’t thinking about at the time) was all the fascinating people I would meet on the bus.  They were everyday people just like me.  I met businessmen/women, tourists, bikers, executives and people in just about every profession you could imagine.  And we all had one thing in common - we were stranded in Vegas and wanted to get home.  I sat next to the CEO of a company in New York and he talked most of the way back about his friends and family in the city, some of which he still didn’t know the fate of.  I can still see the look of despair on his face as I write this today.

As passengers on the bus, we went through different stages emotions.  We cried and mourned those who perished in the attacks.  We talked politics and war.  We also played every stupid car game you can imagine and sang as we tried to put any sadness out of our heads, even if it was for a few minutes.  And we found ourselves helping each other.  In one case, I found myself being grabbed and running through the St. Louis Greyhound station in order to catch an earlier connecting bus to Chicago with a few friends I made on the bus before that.

The friend I was originally traveling with to Vegas was going home to CA.  So by the time he took the bus, got home, slept and went to work - I was still traveling.  Upon getting home, my wife gave me the biggest hug possible and then said, “You need a shower!”  Some of the trip is still a blur, but I kept in contact with many of the people on the bus for years after.

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Blogger Smackdown

This was a rather interesting story that made headlines this week.  And it really got me thinking about marriage, divorce, relationships, blogging and what’s off limits, if anything.

Meet Anthony Morelli, from Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  He used to be married to Allison Morelli.  The two had a bitter divorce and child custody battle in 2007 (they have two children, ages 10 and 12).

Anthony decided to start an anonymous blog, called “The Psycho Ex Wife.”  He described the blog as being “the true account of a marriage, divorce, and subsequent (child) custody fight between a loving man, his terroristic ex-wife who we suspect suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder (at least from our armchair psychologist diagnosis), and the husband’s new partner.”  He further said, “We hope that by sharing this story, we will effect change in the divorce cartel.  We don’t sugarcoat issues, although we do try to protect the innocent.  You will read actual e-mails, transcripts, false child abuse charges, and custody evaluations, the result of over $80,000 in legal fees (not including the psycho ex wife’s legal bills) and 4-years of litigation.”  The blog was an immediate success and was drawing in 200,000 visitors per month.  Morelli was even selling advertising on it.

So, what’s an example of what Morelli said about his ex-wife?  “She’s on the precipice of 40 and probably looks all 50-years of it.  Imagine if you will, Jabba The Hut, with less personality.  She spends her time…drinking her days away bemoaning her victim status, when she isn’t stuffing the children with fast food, buying them toys, or pushing them towards the TV or computer.”

Now, even though he was blogging anonymously, somehow, Morelli’s ex-wife, Allison, found out about the web site.  Litigation followed and a judge ordered Morelli to shut down the blog.  Family Court Judge Diane Gibbons said Morelli’s blog went “beyond venting to outright cruelty.”  Now Morelli has fired back - hiring attorney Kevin J. Handy, who said that the judge’s order “is a classic example of an overly broad and unenforceable prior restraint on free speech.”  Morelli has also launched “Save The Psycho Ex Wife.”

Whether you’re married, in a relationship, a blogger or not, I suspect you’ll have an opinion on this one.  Do you have a First Amendment right to disparage your ex online?  And should you be disparaging your ex-wife online during the divorce, while also fighting for custody?  Did the judge overreact?  And is the Internet fair game to say what you want?

anthony-and-allison-morelli          the-psycho-ex-wife
Pictures courtesy of the New York Daily News and Family and Consumer Law — The Blog

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Easy Money

As kids, we’ve all been in this situation…you’re walking with your parents and a homeless person comes up and solicits you for money.  Being young, you naturally feel bad and want to give them something, such as food or money.  Then your parents tell you that the bum only wants the money for alcohol.  And then you’re scarred for life.  OK, maybe it doesn’t always work that way, but you know what I mean.

My wife has always said that I’m a sucker for bums on the street.  Actually, what she really says is that I have “sucker” written across my forehead.  LOL.  However, rather than being a sucker, I’d like to believe that I’m simply kindhearted.  I’m happy to put some change in a homeless person’s cup as I walk into a baseball game.  I’m happy to toss a dollar in the cup of the guy playing a saxophone when I’m downtown.  I’m also happy to give the lady outside the video store a few bucks to buy milk.  Does that mean I’m a sucker and foolish?  Some would say yes.  Other would argue no.

Because not all bums are bums, right?  Yeah, I know!  I’ve often joked that I’m sure some of them drive a nicer car than me.  But how do you determine who’s truly in need and who’s homeless?  I follow my gut.

Take the below-gentleman for instance.  Every single day when I drive by Wal-Mart, he’s standing there.  He stands on the same corner at the same time and holds the same sign.  He’s apparently hungry and diabetic.  And wow, you should see the number of cars that stop for him.  Everybody gives him money!  But what they don’t know is that this is the same guy who stood by a mall down the road for most of 2010.  And his sign over there was different.  I believe it said that he was homeless and a military veteran.

So I pulled my car up to this guy at Wal-Mart the other day and said that I wanted to take his picture for my blog.  He seemed hesitant, even when I offered him a dollar.  Eventually, we got to $10 and the agreement that I could take a picture but wouldn’t use his name.  But I couldn’t help but wonder if his hesitation was because he isn’t homeless, hungry or diabetic at all.  As an HR Guy, quite frankly, I refuse to believe that any person can’t find some kind of job in over two years.  And as my neighbor put it, even if he wasn’t working, he’d still qualify for Social Security, Medicaid and food stamps - but he’s probably still making more standing in front of Wal-Mart.  Heck, this dude is probably the one who owns the mansion down the road from me.  What are your thoughts about this kind of charity?

wal-mart-guy

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