Christ back in Christmas

When we moved to the US more than five years ago, I was honestly a little surprised with a few cultural differences.  I guess that is what to be expected and all people talk about cultural shock.  It was not a shock where I went into seizure or panic crying, but more like “W-T-F?”.

I fully support political correctness, but we also have to be realistic and not overdue it.

keepchristWhen I first saw some adds for Christmas, or should I say festive holidays, I was surprised when I read “Bring Christ back in Christmas.  In my head I was like “oh no, another Christian fanatic message trying to preach about Jesus.” But as I’ve lived and worked in the US for a few years, I can start to relate to that message.

Not necessarily the religious message about Christ and waiting for his second coming.  But the fact that we cannot say Christmas any longer.  That is starting to worry me, and the political correctness has stepped over the line.

Why is it that we cannot say ‘Merry Christmas’ to our colleagues?

We are being told that we offend people who do not celebrate Christmas.  I understand that some people may be celebrating HanukkahKwanzaa, or other holidays like Diwali or Mawlid … or nothing at all.  And by using the political correct phrase “Happy Holidays” we apparently avoid discriminating or offending anybody.

I’m calling BS on that way of thinking.  Why is it that we should (and must) express our well wishes to other special holidays, but cannot share the same courtesy for Christmas?

I have friends from many different religions, and none of them seem offended when Christmas is mentioned, and they wish me a Merry Christmas.  I’m just as respectful for their holidays and will offer them my well wishes for their special days.

Some shops are even banning Christmas decorations such as Nativity scene, but will happily put up the Menorah.  I don’t see a problem showing baby Jesus in the manger, while the wise men are holding a Menorah.

For many, saying Merry Christmas may not even be a religious statement, but rather a celebration for the family, and admiration for Santa Claus.

Treat people the way you want to be treated.  This also means respect other religious holidays, without blocking out Christmas.  It does not give you the right to send a Merry Christmas card to people who do not believe in your holiday, but I may send a card to my Jewish friends wishing them Happy Hanukkah.

If this trend continues, then one day we are going to be a sanitised country, where we don’t celebrate any holidays in public.  We have to show that we are proud of being Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and other cool religions.  We have to be able to celebrate and respect our holidays – that does not mean blocking them out with saying ‘Happy Holidays’.

Listen, if the atheists would have some sort of special day, then they are welcome to celebrate it too. They seem to be busy blocking everyone else.  I guess if they don’t have a special day, then other people can’t enjoy their days.  To me that is just rude and inconsiderate.

Anyway, Merry Christmas my friends … and Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Mawlid, and enjoy all the other special holidays. Don’t hold back celebrating your special days.

Coffee Greed – busted

old-starbucks-logoI normally don’t write blogs about news events or other media related activities, as I don’t want to get into lengthy debates with people.  But when something occurs that makes my pee boil, then I simply have to share my thoughts.  This discussion may perhaps be a little heated and biased at times, but it’s a way for me to debate this topic with my evil twin (in my head).

This latest attempt to seek easy money is making me disappointed in people’s greed.  How bloody stupid is this law suit!?  Starbucks Lawsuit – hot tamales.  A cop suing Starbucks for spilling coffee on himself.

And a cop of all people, who I deeply respect for their bravery and protecting people, should know that coffee is hot, given many cops drink it with their doughnuts (just a silly stereotype statement 🙂 )

OK.  Coffee is hot, although it is not necessarily hot enough to cause severe burns, unless you order it ‘extra hot’ at the counter.  If that’s the case, then the coffee is about 180 Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius), which is not the actual boiling point of water.

Don’t get me wrong, it hurts like hell to spill coffee (or tea) over yourself and can give you some nasty + painful burn blisters.  Here’s a little Mythbuster-like review of burns … not tried at home, but found on Google:

  • Most adults will suffer 3rd degree burns if exposed to 150 degree water for 2 seconds
  • Burns may occur with a 6 second exposure to 140 degree water
  • Burns may occur with a 30 second exposure to 130 degree water
  • A temperature of 120 degrees, and a 5 minute exposure may cause 3rd degree burns

In my humble opinion, this is just an attempt to get money from a large corporation for your own stupidities.

To state that it has impacted intimacy with his wife, resulted in surgery, flare-up of his Crohn’s Disease, affected his kids and caused him from not being able to do his job as a police supervisor is stretching the power of coffee a little too far.

And, do they really think it sounds realistic and generous that they reduced their original claim from $10 million to “only” $750K.  How do you even calculate that number?  …. DUMB ASS!!  Let’s break this down, another Mythbuster-like analysis:

  • $15 for dry-cleaning
  • Coffee purchase $2.45 (this would most likely be refunded by Starbucks on the day)
  • Embarrassing moment when dropping pants (Kodak selfie moment) – priceless
  • $2 for petrol to drive 5 miles round trip to get new clothes from the house (based on fuel consumption on my El Camino)
  • $10 for the ointment to rub on the affected area
  • $35 co-pay for doctor’s visit
  • Total possible compensation = $64.45

Shit happens. You spill coffee, you take off the clothing and put on cold water.  Why did he need surgery?

No wonder so many products and companies have weird disclaimers – it’s to prevent dumb ass people to make stupid claims.

starbucks troopersA similar case made the news a few years back and the judge threw out the case.  Just Because Tea is Hot!

Europeans laugh at the Americans when they read such articles and it does not serve well for the reputation of a great Nation and its awesome people.

Now, had the waiter throw the boiling coffee on him, by accident or intentionally, then that changes the game entirely.  Still not a $10 million claim.  But that was not the case.

Long story short, I fully support valid claims and lawsuits to help people who are truly affected by actions or events outside their control. They need to be compensated, especially considering the insane health costs that comes with even the smallest injury.

Lawyers need to review cases more realistically and not encourage outrages claims.  Would it hurt to perhaps challenge the “victim” by discussing logic with them first.  If the coffee is steaming and ordered hot, then be careful.  Once you take the cup, you are responsible for your own actions.

Unfortunately we have people who try their luck and who have equally greedy lawyers.  As such, judges need to take a stance against these claims.  It affects us all in the long-run (conspiracy theory) as prices and insurances will simply go up to recover the legal charges companies are fined with.

Be safe – Be honest – Be positive

(disclaimer – this post is not sponsored by Starbucks and I have not been offered payments to support the Starbucks engine – although I could use a nice tall Latte!)

Barista Moments

A few barista statements that I found while searching for coffee temperatures, based on an interview with a Starbucks barista; Extra Hot Coffee – why?

1. When it’s cold outside. “When I worked at Starbucks in North Dakota, the temperatures would reach -30F plus wind chill, so drinks cooled down QUICKLY if taken outside/ordered in a drive thru,” Morgan wrote.

2. When you are ordering a milk-based drinks. Creamers, even when steamed, can cool down the temperature of a coffee. Tell the barista you want the milk steamed to 180 degrees, and it won’t negatively affect the taste of the espresso or coffee.

3. When you don’t plan to drink the coffee right away. If you want to enjoy your coffee at work but there’s a convenient Starbucks location closer to home, ordering it extra hot will keep it warm during the commute.

Traffic is Evil

Road-RageTraffic!  The Devil’s work.  The path to Zen and one of the many Catholic trials.  Once you conquer the road rage you are on the path to eternal glory.  Or at least that what we should believe instead of hammering frantically at the wheel or stupidly honk the horn hoping that the traffic will magically disperse.  Only your horn can provide the guidance the other drivers need to open up and let you pass.  It is the Devil’s work!

Most people get stuck in traffic at various times, and at times when you least need to get delayed.  Traffic is evil!  It screws with your well laid plans, whether these are business plans or romantic dates with your partner.

Funnily enough, people have different interpretations of what traffic actually means.  It all depends where they live and which areas they have visited.

Take my dad (bless his soul).  We are from a tiny spot in the picturesque Danish rural harbor village, where traffic is measured in how many people you can wave to when stuck at the local traffic light.  And, there are not many traffic lights to get stuck at, but you do tend to know all people who drives around.

One time I was visiting my parents, my dad and I had to go grocery shopping.  This is when I lived in Dublin (Ireland), where the M50 is a well-known car park.  Anyway, on our way to the local market, we got caught by the red light, with about 12 cars in front of us.  My dad instantly broke into cursing, blaming the economy for excessive cars on the roads, the European influence on rural Denmark and that my mum would be utterly upset with this delay.  After a pain staking 7 minutes we finally cleared the traffic light and parked at the super market.

I subsequently tried to explain to my dad that this was nothing compared to the M50 / Dublin city traffic.  It would take me an hour to drive 10 miles to work, each way, going about 20mph at top speed.

nyc_trafficWithin a few months my parents visited Dublin, which fueled pure road rage in my dad.  I’ve seen him upset before, but this was Saddam Hussein rage.  He was ready to nuke East coast of Ireland, and would happily live in the nuclear winter that follows just to avoid traffic like this ever again.  Needless to say we had a few pints when we finally made it back to the house and WALKED down to the local pub to watch Chelsea beat Arsenal (Gunners) – what a day!

Today we live close to New York City.  Population = 8.4 million souls … almost double size of Denmark’s entire population.  As a result, traffic is bedlam.  Sorry, let me rephrase that. Traffic is absolutely shite.  Please consider that this is the city that never sleeps, so there’s always traffic.  However, on the few occasions my wife and I went on date night to the city, we’ve got stuck in traffic.

  1. If/Then show on broadway – it took us almost three hours to snail through 6 miles down to Broadway, which resulted in us missing dinner, and had to settle for a lovely drive muffin as the door opened to the show
  2. Black Keys (Barclay Center, Brooklyn) – traffic prevented us from enjoying a romantic dinner, but thanks to “awesome” chicken at Barclay Center
  3. Ed Kowalczyk (City Winery) – we had ‘meet ‘n greet’ tickets, but missed the opportunity to meet the dude himself, but did have lovely Peruvian dinner

My dad is most likely sitting in the sky cursing, much to the amusement of St. Peter, blaming anything from Obamacare to Siberian Northern Lights that the traffic is not flowing well, almost causing his son’s (me) to miss out on romantic times with his beautiful wife.

Take care of each other.  Don’t let traffic bring out your bed side.  Be Zen. Be happy and avoid using the horn … it only brings more anger.  Anger leads to the dark side 🙂

Smooth Criminal – Elco style

Being the proud owner of a power beast, Chevy El Camino ’82  is an awesome experience.  You have a true muscle car hidden in the shell of a pick-up truck wannabe chassis.  People who sees you driving this beast might roll their eyes, smirk at the ugliness, and even question its existence.

Little do they know that under the hood, which is spacious enough to hide a full-grown body, sits an awesome V8 5l 305 power engine, generating about 150 horsepower.  Enough to challenge most cars anywhere … except if the roads are a little wet as that causes unnecessary wheel spins 🙂  Granted fuel consumption is rather ridiculous, with about 10-12 mpg and a 12 gallon tank.  So, for commuting 20 miles each way it’s not an ideal vehicle, but I love it.

I use this beast to bring the kids to school every morning.  They are a little intimidated by the sound of the engine, perhaps a little embarrassed too, but largely accept their mode of transportation.

If you’ve seen ‘Uncle Buck’ then you would remember his old banger, and the amount of exhaust fumes it generated.  Well most V8 engines does produce larger amount of smoke, so when I pull in at the local elementary school to drop kids off most people cover their noses.  Not cool when the car in front of me is the Tesla car which doesn’t even have an exhaust.

The other morning when driving down the local country road, the local sheriff obviously wanted to check out my wheels.  I had barely passed the spot where he was parked, when he floored his cruiser and came in behind me.  He turned on the Christmas lights and pointed at me to pull over.

It was my first time to get pulled over by the cops, since I was pulled over for suspected car theft 20 years ago.  Just because I had long hair didn’t mean I stole the nice car I was driving!  However, it wasn’t my first encounter with the law – I’m a rebel and you know it!

Having just moved to another state, my license plates were brand new, vehicle registration and inspection stickers temporary and my license was also a print-out.  Something tells me the trooper was not impressed with the pieces of paper I shared with him.  He looked down on the paper pile and then back at me, then at the kids.

“I assume the kids have seat belts on?”

“Of course officer, I’m a responsible parent!  I might drive a shitty old banger, but safety comes first”.

He went back to his cruiser, obviously to triple check my criminal past and to see if my car had been part in a drive by at some point.  Everything came back all clear.  Then he handed me my papers back and told me I was clear to go.

Just because Sheriff Lyle ‘Cottonmouth’ Wallace had pulled me over, on a school run morning, he had now screwed up my tight schedule.  I kicked the V8 engine into drive and left the cop surrounded in a vail of smoke while I jolted down the country road towards the school.

Good thing is, I didn’t get a ticket – just a friendly nod from the local sheriff 🙂

T-Virus Is Real

T-Virus
T-Virus

I have been rather rattled by the recent debates and discussions, and at times accusations, when it comes to giving vaccines to our kids.  Giving them to my kids whom I love and cherish.

Some scientists claim that we need to vaccinate our kids from an early age, and we blindly listen to them without questioning what poison they inject into these fragile bodies.

Political groups accuses parents of putting our existence into question and also claim that none of these multi- vaccines have caused long-term impacts.  Why is there an increase in mental illnesses like autism?

I’m not an advocate for autism, but do question why we’ve seen such an increase in last few years.  And I do not believe it’s to do better screening.  Here’s a little video for the conspiracy theorists 🙂

Poison is perhaps the wrong term, but nevertheless, we inject toxics into their bodies hoping they will be protected against common and now more uncommon infections.  It’s the beginning  of World War Z!

I have long proclaimed that vaccinating kids unnecessarily will only cause four things;

  1. Kids get an overload of viruses injected which could have long-term impact on their bodies and mental states.  We do not have the long-term evidence to show that it is not dangerous.
  2. Multi-function vaccines contain chemicals, viruses and liquids is a toxic cocktail.  The combinations have side effects.
  3. Viruses will mutate and grow stronger, leaving humanity with less chance of winning
  4. It’s all just a conspiracy and we are all doomed 🙂

It’s important to understand that I fully support getting my kids vaccinated, but I also want to know what’s being injected into my kids, and have the right to object or request single (individual) shots instead of multi-vaccines.

When I grew up I had perhaps a handful of vaccines measles, rubella, mumps, polio and smallpox … and perhaps one or two mode.  But that was it, and I survived my childhood just fine.  And so did all the Western World parents who are giving out about other parents objecting to multi vaccines.

We have to stop, assess our objectives and then determine the best vaccines for our kids.

Look at the impact of the flu vaccine.  The flu virus have gotten much stronger in the past few years, mutating and leaving the vaccine useless.  Perhaps not useless, as some people will benefit from a vaccine if they have a weak immune system.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the vaccines our kids get these days, at a very young age.

  • Cervical Cancer; spread through sexual contact … but their genitals are not even evolved at this stage
  • Hepatitis; share needles, unprotected sex, multiple sex partners, alcoholic, which again is unlikely at this young age
    • of course if you travel to or live in areas with poor sanitation, then yes
  • Pneumococcal; the PPSV vaccine cannot be used for the part of the population that is most vulnerable to the disease, i.e. kids, so they just made another version (or just other name) called PCV
  • Pertussis; aka Whooping Cough – granted, we do not want our kids to get this infection, but perhaps we could give them the cure when/if they do contract Whooping Cough?
  • Flu;  let’s be honest, it’s a pain to get the flu, and if you have a really weak immune system it can be very serious, but there’s no need to force this vaccine upon kids

The rest of the long list of vaccines our kids get are ok I assume, but I do not support the use of multi-vaccines.  We simply do not know the long-term side effects of these.

autismWhy did we “invent” multi-vaccines?  My take on it is that we (people in general) could not be bothered going to the doctor many times throughout the first years of our kids’ life, and demanded shorter visits and fewer shots.  That means we are to blame for the viruses getting stronger, our bodies weaker and new chronic illnesses arises – and not to mention the rapid increase of autism in the past decade.

The conspiracist in me would claim that the medical and pharmaceutical industries control this very closely.  They are on cahoots together.  Insurance companies demand these vaccines and pharmaceuticals provides them at high cost.  Perhaps even making the single shot vaccines so expensive it doesn’t make sense for parents.

We need to go back to basics.  Only inject the critical vaccines into our kids, one-by-one, and then strengthen them as they grow.  This includes more visits to the local doctor as kids get older and perhaps get more active with travelling and (God forbid as a parent) when they get sexual active.

When I read articles the news where people comment or proclaim that parents who ask questions about the vaccines are not idiots, then I get slightly annoyed.  We are asking these questions for the safety of our children.  The concerns raised is not necessarily about the vaccine itself, but the fact that the modern vaccines combines multiple vaccine shots into fewer shots – and several of these vaccines the kids don’t need at such an early stage in their lives.

My comment back to these parents are “do you not care for your kids and do you simply fill their bodies with any kind of junk?  Then you might as well allow them to inject drugs!”

It’s time we stand together and determine what’s best for our kids as parents.  We need to get vaccinated against the common diseases and prevent spread of viruses.  The answer is not multi-vaccines, but single vaccines.