5 New Year’s resolutions for everyone

Well it is that time of year again when the nasty r word starts to surface again. Yes, I am talking about New Year’s resolutions. Whether you want to admit or not, nearly everyone has some resolution that they would like to accomplish in the next year. For me personally, I have a couple that I would like to tackle; number one, being on time more. Number two, improving my cooking skills. You see, I have absolutely zero skills! Regardless of what your own personal resolutions are, there are 5 important ones that I think every individual should think about achieving.

1. Meet 5 new friends – Many of us have had our own little network of friends forever. Some have had the same friends since early childhood.  Why not expand that base to include 5 new friends every year? With the rise of the internet and social media, it is much easier these days to meet people online. I have personally met some great people in the past several years from very long distances away. Or you could get involved with more local activities and meet new and exciting people there. The possibilities are endless. Having more friends is a great way to enrich your life.

2. Travel more – How many of you have traveled more than a 100 miles in the past year? A good many people never leave their neighborhood! I am not talking about flying to Europe, but rather visiting some place that you have never seen before. It could be as simple as taking a 2 hour drive in your own state to some nice vacation resort. You personal sanity may be helped when you get away from your own familiar surroundings.

3. Pick up one new hobby – In my mind, a person with multiple hobbies is a person full of life and excitement, a person without any hobbies is a dull and boring person. And please don’t tell me that your job is your hobby!! Several years ago, I never thought that I would like photography as much as I do now. Perhaps cooking will be my next passion.

4. Give out at least one compliment a day – Instead of always criticizing people, a compliment is a better option. This is especially true at the workplace. Try to be more complimentary towards others. If someone does a great job, tell them so. Outside of the workplace, spend more time complimenting your spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, children or friends. Giving out compliments always makes me feel better afterwards, much more so than criticizing someone. Everyone needs to do more complimenting.

5. Watch at least one comedy movie/show a week – They say that laughter is the best medicine and believe me, it is! I can’t tell you the number of times that my mood has change 180 degrees from watching a hilarious show or movie. It just seems like there are too many people in a foul mood these days which leads to many issues in our society. A good dose of laughter might be just what our society needs.

Well anyways, I want to wish everyone a Happy New Years and best of luck in 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My 2015 People of the Year Awards

Many media publications such as Time magazine are famous for giving out their person of the year awards. The criteria for such an award is usually based on how much of an impact the nominee had on the news, whether it be positive or negative. My idea of a person or people of the year awards is quite different; a person considered for my award should be someone who actually does something positive for this world and society. You will never see people like Adolph Hitler ever get my “Person of the Year Award”, never!! Shortly after my committee gave out our “Turkey of the Year Awards”, we decided to expand and include “People of the Year Awards”. There are so many folks on this planet who go above and beyond their duties as citizens to make this earth a better place to live. Their acts of courage and kindness are extremely inspiring to many. Several wonderful individuals in the news really caught my eye this year and deserve much attention. My committee had a terribly difficult time coming up with a winner, but in the end, we decided on one. So without any further delay, let’s give praise to some of the nominees.

1. Jordan Spieth – In the world of sports, a very well-mannered and down to earth personality came to scene this year. This young man is not only a great young golfer, but a good, polite and humble person as well. It is refreshing to see that there are actually some high-profile athletes who are actually have a sense of humility these days.

2.  Stephen Curry – Another good high-profile superstar athlete who really burst onto the scene in the last year and is a genuine good guy. He is a welcome addition  to the jerk filled league of the NBA. Curry recently was named AP male athlete of the year and rightly so. He is also a great role model for many young kids both on and off the court.

3. Zaevion Dobson – Many people do not have a clue who this young man is. He is not a famous celebrity, athlete or politician. Just a normal 15-year-old kid who was shot and killed while trying to protect 3 teenage girls during a random shooting. This story surfaced a few weeks ago and really caught my attention. His act of bravery should never, never be forgotten. He is one brave young man.

4. Kim Davis – I know this mention will upset some, but you have to admire this Kentucky marriage clerk for standing up for her beliefs and refusing to sign the marriage certificate for a gay couple. People of faith of constantly being attacked and intimated by the LGBT group and many wilt and cave into their demands. She was roundly made fun of and criticized by many, yet she did not back down. That is an example of a person with real convictions and an inspiration to many Christians around world.

5. Shannon Johnson – Another unsung hero in this past year. During the San Bernardino terrorist attacks, Johnson shielded one of his co-workers during the attacks and saved her life. Johnson was killed in the attack. Another example of someone unselfishly giving up his life to protect others.

Those individuals certainly deserve a lot of praise and attention, but this year, a whole group of people deserve this award. Last summer, a troubled white young male went into a mostly black Charleston, South Carolina church and shot and killed 9 members of the church. Instead of calling out for revenge, many family members of the church instead called out for people to forgive the killer. How remarkable is that? I really take my hat off to the surviving members of that congregation and their powerful message of forgiveness. They could have called for this young man to be executed and acted like many of the people who are participating in these police protests around the country. Instead they acted like a real Christian people should. I doubt I could ever do that if someone killed my loved ones. These people are a true inspiration to many in the world and this year, I have to give out my award to the entire congregation.

 

Free college is actually not so free

One of the topics that really caught my attention during the last couple of Democratic debates was the idea of having free college tuition for all people in this country. There have been numerous protests in recent weeks by many college students demanding that college tuition be completely free. There is no question that the cost of attending college these days is going through the roof. Tuition costs at many colleges is increasing at an alarming rate. So is the answer to this problem simply to make college free for everyone? I think not! In fact, it is a completely insane and unrealistic idea.

There are roughly 10 million students attending public universities at this current time. And that is just public universities. The average tuition cost per year at a typical public school is roughly 15,000 dollars per year if you factor in both resident and non-resident students. Now multiple by 4 years times 10 million students and you have a nearly 600 billion dollar price tag. Once again, this is just the total cost of public universities. Throw more expensive private institutions into the mix and the fact that many more will be attending college if it is free, and you’re talking trillions of dollars to fund people for a college education. My  question is this, WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR THIS MASSIVE PRICE TAG? You can say that the rich will be taxed heavily to pay for this massive pipe dream of an idea, but will there be even remotely enough money from those evil rich people to pay for all of this? Of course not! The middle class will get soaked as well. Why should I pay more in taxes to fund some kid who wants to go to school to party and study art?

There is question that a college degree is important: it is one of my proudest personal accomplishments in my life. A degree does help many individuals on the average, earn and achieve more in life. The problem with many colleges is that they have no real incentive to keep their costs down. They get their money from the federal government no matter what their prices are. If a school hikes their tuition up by 10 percent in a year, no big deal! Why are our tax paying dollars continually going to these places so they can give subsidies to these schools?

Furthermore, many colleges are becoming more and more like 5 stars resort vacation areas. Sure those extra amenities are nice, but are they necessary? And what about many of those totally bogus majors that many colleges offer? You could probably eliminate many non-essential majors at many universities. Let’s stick with the math, sciences and business majors; those degrees that will actually do a person good when they graduate. There are many ways a college could trim their fat and make their school more affordable.

The real educational issue that people and politicians should be talking about is how to improve K-12 schools. It is alarming to see so many kids graduate from high school these days and not even know the basics. If a kid does not know basic math or proper reading or writing skills, how are they going to succeed in college? It is not the role of a college to teach a student something they should already know. There is simply no need to have these classes in college which should have been taught in high school. More emphasis should be given for the actual vocation training itself which should include actual on the job training.

I do not believe that ever person needs a 4 year degree to earn a lot and become successful nor do I believe that ever person who graduates from college is a high educated person and is ready to make an impact at the workplace. There are many good technical schools out there that are only one or two-year programs and gives much better training than many universities.

There are countless ways that a low-income family can still afford to send their children to college or even someone who does earn a lot of money to attend college. That is already done through our taxes. Now certain people and politicians are asking us, the tax payers to totally pick up the tab for everyone, including the very affluent? That is just simply wrong! Going to college is not a right, it is a privilege. Students who want to attend college need to earn it like everyone used to. That means working hard and earning good grades in high school along with working jobs to help fund going to college. Unfortunately in our freeloading society, we want everything for free and have someone else pay for it. How sad is that!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pain of being single around the holidays

For most of the year, being single is not that bad. There is that endless freedom that one enjoys without having a partner.  Freedom to have control over your life and the great feeling of not having to worry about pleasing someone else. However, being single does have some drawbacks and the holiday season seems bring those drawbacks out in full force.

The other day, I was listening to a radio commercial for a jewelry store. I was thinking to myself how great it would be to surprise my gal with a great piece of jewelry or even an engagement ring for Christmas. Then a sad reality set in. I have no gal to buy for this year. Nobody to exchange gifts with or send romantic Christmas cards to. I suddenly felt very empty and lonely inside. I am sure other singles feel the same way. Sure there are other people in your life that you buy presents for such as your family members and friends. But there is just something very special about shopping for that very, very special person and love of your life.

Typically around the Christmas season, a person spends a lot of time out and about shopping or going to Christmas functions, family gatherings and parties. It is almost impossible to escape people during the season. It is a very empty feeling to attend a company Christmas party by yourself. You look around and see all of your co-workers along with their partners having a great time and that lonely feeling starts to intensify. It is like you do not belong. Couples are mingling with each other and here you are trying to fit in. I have to admit that I often avoid social situations where I know a group of attached people will be. I feel like a total outsider in those situations. The same can be said at those family gatherings during Christmas. You may see your siblings at the gatherings with their spouses and sometimes you may be the only single sibling without someone.

The ultimate cruelty with being single during the holidays is when you suddenly became single through a breakup or divorce shortly before Christmas. It is a supposed to be a season of joy and happiness, but how can someone be happy when they just got dumped? I have a great deal of sympathy for those newly divorced people during the holidays, especially those with children. In many cases, the newly divorced people are not with their children during the Christmas season and that has to hurt a lot. 

I hate to write such a negative post like this, but depression among single people is very common around Christmas time and the New Year. I am currently a single person, but I look at the bright side. I do not have to lose sleep over what I am going to buy for my gal because I have NO gal so that is nice. Plus I am free to go wherever I want for Christmas. No more arguing or planning over whose parents to see this year. I can enjoy my family’s continued Christmas traditions. And just maybe, my co-workers might bring some hot,nice single women friends of theirs to our Christmas party. Hmmm!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new fan of the Golden State Warriors

It happened sometime last season.  I cannot specifically tell you the date, but I fell in love with the Golden State Warriors of the NBA. Yes, I jumped on their bandwagon which seems to be growing everyday. In fact, I found myself shopping for Warriors apparel the other day on the internet. I know the officials of our local NBA team here in Twin Cites, the Minnesota Timberwolves, will be a little jealous if they read this, but the Warriors represent a much-needed breath of fresh air in the NBA. In fact, they might be the new trendy popular team in pro sports these days. How could you not like them? Now fans of the sport have a great alternative to the over-hyped circus known as LeBron James and company. In other words, whoever, LeBron plays for.

As a player and fan of the game, I just love their small ball, uptempo style of play and the fact that many of their guys are actually very good shooters, a seemingly lost art in the game these days. Most young players these days are far too enamoured with making fancy crossover dribbles to the basket and dunking on people so they can be on ESPN sports center plays of the day. Shooting is a part of the game that many players spend far too little time on. A team of good shooters is very hard to defend and beat.

In addition, Golden State has one of the best passing teams in the league. It is so enjoyable watching them move the ball around as opposed to many NBA teams which run nothing but individual isolation plays. The Warriors are great at sharing the ball and furthermore, they are among the top defensive teams in the league. Guys on their team can not only shoot, but defend as well. How shocking is that in today’s game?!!

One of the newer top marque players in the league is Steph Curry and he fast becoming, not only my favorite NBA player, but favorite professional athlete. Here is a guy who is not necessarily the fastest, biggest or strongest player, but a guy who dominates with his skill. He is also one of the hardest working and humble guys in the league. A very likable guy.

In this day and age of great individualism in the NBA, it is very refreshing to see a team play the game the right way like the Golden State Warriors. It is no accident that they won the NBA championship last year and started this year 24-0. They play the game the right way and what basketball junkie could not appreciate that? The Warriors have fans all over the country including this new fan from the great state of Minnesota.

 

 

 

 

 

The great Muslim ban controversy

That Donald Trump is ruffling feathers again! A few months ago, Trump made some rather controversial comments regarding illegal immigration that had many in the Hispanic community up in arms. Now Trump has upset many people, Muslims and Non-Muslims, with his proposed temporary ban on all Muslims coming into the United States. Never mind that just a week ago, a Muslim women, who somehow obtained a visa into this country last year, helped her husband shoot 14 innocent people in a horrific terrorist attack. Or that many individuals in this country have been picked up by authorities for planning to join ISIS. One of the cardinal rules of political correctness in this country is to never discriminate against a Muslim. It is okay to discriminate against Christians, but never Muslims. How dare Trump treat Muslims like that!

In all seriousness, the fact that Trump wants to suddenly ban roughly a million people from coming into this country seems to be rather ludicrous. There are many Muslim businessmen who fly back and forth from the Middle East to do business here in the United States and help our economy. Are we going to suddenly make it very difficult for them and others, who are far from even being a terrorist, enter this country? Our government has a hard enough time handling a few people, now we are asking them to impose this type of historic ban? Imagine the headaches and confusion that such a ban would bring about. Furthermore, the very last thing that we need in this fight against ISIS is for Muslims and Muslim countries around the world to turn their back on us. We desperately need them to help win this fight. A huge percentage of Muslims are not radicals extremists. I just worry that a ban of that sort would create further divisions among us and Muslims everywhere.

Having said those things, it is very important to look at things from Trump’s perspective. He is looking at things from a safety point of view. A huge role of the commander-in-chief is to keep the people of this country safe. Does anyone feel safe anymore after what happened last week in California and last month in France? I hate to use the term war, but there are many Muslims around the world who are chomping at the bit to come here and kill as many of us as possible. They hate us, our beliefs and our way of life. It is very apparent that our immigration and visa policies are currently not working properly. Why not just take a timeout out and get things right before we let more Muslims into this country? When the FBI director tells us that they cannot properly vet all foreign people, that should greatly concern all Americans.

I fully respect Trump for having the balls to go against conventional political correctness and try to make things safe for us. The heat that he is receiving over this is totally unjustified. At least he is trying unlike other chicken bleep people currently in power and running for office who are too afraid of offending someone for the sake of making people safe. Political correctness has never won any war, but making bold decisions that sometimes offends people does. If it takes a short-term and I repeat a short-term ban to make all Americans including Muslims safer, I am all in with that. Is is realistic? I have my doubts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wrong way of looking at the San Bernardino tragedy

It wasn’t more than an hour after the awful San Bernardino shootings when the righteous gun control crowd decided to play politics over this awful tragedy that took the lives of 14 innocent people and injured several others. “We must come up with new laws to stop these kinds of acts” was a common theme echoed by many of that crowd including President Obama and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton . Never mind that little was known about the details of the shootings; it was a perfect opportunity for the gun control crowd to chime in and try to advance their agenda. The question I have is this, does anyone in their right mind believe that tougher gun control laws would have prevented this tragedy. It is simply ludicrous to even mention gun control with regards to this awful event. We are talking terrorism here people! I am sure that most terrorists will follow any gun control law that we come up with, won’t they?!

For starters, I believe that California has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country. Am I correct? Maybe we can learn a very valuable lesson here about the effects of strict gun control laws. They are nearly impossible to enforce. How are we going to stop some terrorist or terrorists from getting their hands on say assault rifles and shooting up a mall or workplace. Where there is a will, there is a way for these cowardly terrorists. Furthermore, these individuals could have killed just as many, if not more people by using various bombs which evidence shows were being produced at their home. They were intent on doing far more carnage than just shooting up a building. Why isn’t the gun control crowd talking about this and the fact that they had bomb making material at their hands?

The real issue here should be about protecting innocent Americans from terrorism, pure and simple. Why can’t certain people just admit that this was a terrorist act caused by RADICAL ISLAMIC JIHADISTS!!! I just shake my head in dismay when I hear people saying that they are uncertain whether this was a terrorist attack, IT WAS!!!! And to have the nerve to say that this proves that we need tougher gun control laws borders on complete stupidity and ignorance!!

Instead of asking for new gun control laws, why are publications like the New York Times not questioning our very apparent loose immigration enforcement where a terrorists can get into this country and perform a terrorist act on our soil? Any single American, you or I could have been the victim. These are the real issues our newspapers should be diving into.

It is time for some people to wake up and understand what the real problems are facing this country. The recent attack in California should alarm people to the fact that we have do have terrorists operating here in the United States. Our main and biggest focus should be on preventing these thugs from entering our country along with other anti-terrorism measures designed to make us safer. Instead we have some people who are more worried about stricter gun control laws which would NOT have prevented last Wednesday’s terrorist attack. Sadly, some of our politicians priorities are completely screwed up and their complete ignorance could come back to haunt our nation in the near future.