10 Tips for Raising Little Dudes

Did you go vote today? The votes are being tallied as I type. Who will be named the next US Pres?

The Dude’s election prediction: The Man wins again.

The good news, we can finally stop talking about voting and elections very soon. And the 24 hour news cycle will find the next tragedy to focus on. Yay!

Let’s speed up this cycle here on DKB and focus on something meaningful – the kiddos.

I’m not sure who this Susan Sontag cat is, but she’s got a sweet top 10 list of tips for raising little dudes. (Tip o’ the hat to Brain Pickings for sharing the love.)

First, a reminder of how The Man views the kiddos – yes, this is what you voted for today…


 – Thanks for sharing the love Lew.

Ms. Sontag’s 10 rules for raising super rad little dudes…

  1. Be consistent.
  2. Don’t speak about him to others (e.g., tell funny things) in his presence. (Don’t make him self-conscious.)
  3. Don’t praise him for something I wouldn’t always accept as good.
  4. Don’t reprimand him harshly for something he’s been allowed to do.
  5. Daily routine: eating, homework, bath, teeth, room, story, bed.
  6. Don’t allow him to monopolize me when I am with other people.
  7. Always speak well of his pop. (No faces, sighs, impatience, etc.)
  8. Do not discourage childish fantasies.
  9. Make him aware that there is a grown-up world that’s none of his business.
  10. Don’t assume that what I don’t like to do (bath, hairwash) he won’t like either.

The Dude’s Non-Voting Extravaganza

Are you getting out to conduct your civic duty on Tuesday?

Why? Seriously, why?

It’s worth taking the time to give yourself a good answer.

Politics is a joke. And the argument that “every vote counts,” is pretty thin. Electoral College….enough said. The 2000 elections…enough said. Understand how corrupt the system is and it’s pretty evident that most (all?) votes are pretty meaningless.

In fact, I’d take it a step further and say by voting, we are actually doing more harm than good. We are offering our support for a system that is broken. We are telling the thieves that run the show that we validate their existence.

“If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.” Really? How about if you vote, you can’t complain? You put them there. You support them.

I get the idea that we should be proud to have the “freedom” to participate in our government. But again, pretty thin. I know, it would awful to live without the freedoms that the US affords us, but take a look around, freedoms are being taken from us on the regular by the people we’re voting into office to “protect” our interests.

They (i.e politicians, government agencies, corporations, lobbyists) are watching our every move, saving our emails, our phone calls, our text messages. The U.S. government – the ones we support by offering our votes – want to have the right to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely without a trial if they are viewed as a “terrorist.” And how are we defining “terrorist?” Is a blog post like this going to constitute “terrorism” at some point? The list of freedom removal is long and growing.

Creating the mock-reality that we are “choosing” our “leaders” does not make up for the inexcusable actions of those “leaders” when they are in office.

But “it’s the best system the world has to offer.” Maybe. But does that mean we should settle for a pile of crap that is less stank than the other piles of crap?

We’re better than what we have.

The idea of participating in your government by voting every four years is a nice platitude, but the reality doesn’t fit the 4th grade social studies lesson most of us build our worldview upon.

So, who’s the Dude voting for? Yeah, I’m no longer voting.

I’ve made this claim before, and I’ve still come off the bench to cast a ballot, but I’m pretty serious about it.

Looking back, I realize that I’ve only voted in two elections – Ross Perot (I was 18, and this could be my proudest voting moment…Perot 🙂 that dude was classic!), and Obama.

Side note: I did try to vote against George W. one time, but I moved around a bunch at the time, and when I showed up to vote, I realized I was no longer registered. Woops.

I came off the bench to vote for Obama. Huge disappointment, but not unexpected. He’s part of the system like all the rest.

I voted because there was a chance he could be different (which he isn’t), but more importantly, I wanted to see the US move past the racial issue of a black president. And I wanted to be a part of something that had that much symbolic significance. In the end, I’m not disappointed with my choice to vote…just consistently disappointed with the system that we have to endure.

In my opinion, politics is a waste – at this point in history – but overall, life is pretty great. I’ll stay focused on the positive and save my time and stay home on Tuesday.

Alright, off my virtual soapbox, but here are some links/ideas to consider as you decide if you’re going to waste your time at the ballot box. Enjoy…and seriously consider the option of not voting. Choosing the lesser of two evils is not a choice.

1. Let’s start by acknowledging that the Dude is not even close to alone in the non-voting stand, Foreign Policy reports:

[W]hat I don’t understand is why no one is addressing the elephant in the room: the fact that some 40 percent of Americans of voting age don’t see any reason to cast their votes on election day at all.

In national election after national election, eligible voters who choose to refrain from voting make up what some political scientists have called a “silent plurality.” There have been moments when that plurality was pretty close to becoming a majority. In 1996, 49.1 percent of the voting age population declined to go to the polls. In 2008, turnout of eligible voters went all the way up to 61.7 percent — the highest since 1968, mind you. But the number of those who refused to vote — or just didn’t care — was still significantly larger than those who voted for Barack Obama, the winning candidate. Non-voters, in short, make up the biggest electoral bloc in the nation.

And one of the smartest comedians (yes, comedy is a form of social commentary) we have been graced by, George Carlin, didn’t vote either…I consider myself in good company:

“I have solved this political dilemma in a very direct way: I don’t vote. On Election Day, I stay home. I firmly believe that if you vote, you have no right to complain. Now, some people like to twist that around. They say, ‘If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain,’ but where’s the logic in that? If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they get into office and screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote — who did not even leave the house on Election Day — am in no way responsible for what these politicians have done and have every right to complain about the mess that you created.” — George Carlin


2. Here’s an interesting quote from thought-leader (I mean magician) Penn, from the famed Penn & Teller about taxes and compassion. By the way, forcing obscene tax rates is taking money by gunpoint. What happens if you don’t pay? Right, jail, take your possessions, etc. – guns will be there when that happens.

“It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness.

People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we’re compassionate we’ll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.”

3. Hmmm…ok Penn, I get where you’re coming from, but c’mon, Welfare is not where the majority of our taxes are being spent, right? How about empire building…I mean “spreading democracy”? Could 53% of our tax money really go to military spending?! This video thinks so…


Side note: That YouTube channel, Tragedy & Hope, has some great info. Checkout the videos of former NY State & NY City Teacher of the Year, John Taylor Gatto. Geesh, education is an entirely different mountain to scale.

4. Let’s talk corruption. Here’s a quick talk from the Daily Beast’s David Frum where he discusses American corruption at the University of Florida. Everyone has different ideas, and I’m not married to this dude, but check out this point…

“…what we now see are members voting for very specific investment-oriented things in which they share the benefit with ten people, or twelve people. And finally there’s this very haunting fact that whenever we study the stock portfolios of members of congress, they seem to do about twice as well as the market.”

C’mon, shit ain’t right. I’m sure this is only one small example of the corruption running rampant through the world political systems, and I have no faith the next round of elected criminals are going to limit their own stealing.


 5. People are awesome. Why do we let the government get in our way?!

  • An example from current events – i.e. the Sandy Frankenstorm: A group of Christian electricians from Decatur, Alabama, drove to New Jersey to offer their services for free. They were turned back by officials because they’re non-union.
  • And on the other end of the spectrum, if we could only get out of our own way: What happens if you give a thousand Motorola Zoom tablet PCs to Ethiopian kids who have never even seen a printed word? Within five months, they’ll start teaching themselves English while circumventing the security on your OS to customize settings and activate disabled hardware.

6. If the Dude was going to vote, this kid would sure be getting my vote…


7. Most importantly, who are the Simpsons voting for?! Once again, yes, comedy is social commentary…



“The Tiny Dot” – Government & Taxes Simplified?

The Tiny Dot

The Tiny Dot

Here’s a video by Larken Rose called “The Tiny Dot.” It’s a very simplified view of government and taxes.

Over-simplified? Probably.

But sometimes making complicated topics extremely simple helps look a things from a new perspective.

I don’t know much about Larken Rose. I’ve heard one interview with him, and he has some interesting ideas. He has a new book (this video is a promotion for said book) titled The Most Dangerous SuperstitionHis ideas seem to center around the idea of self-reliance and local communities.

The “superstition” Larken’s book discusses is our belief in the need for authority. We all seem to believe that we need an authority to keep the world running smoothly. Larken thinks we can do a better job without this authority. He doesn’t claim to have the answers to accomplish monumental task, but he does create an interesting line of thought.

Anarchy? Based on the Wikipedia definition, Larken’s theories seem to fall under the “anarchy” label.

Ignorance? Brainwashed? Maturing? Anarchy use to carry a negative connotation in my mind, but Larken’s ideas have a spark of simplicity that seems to apply to the world today.

Given the current state of broken political and economic systems worldwide, should we continue to put our faith in this “authority?” Has the “authority” demonstrated its expertise in management of the welfare of the whole?

Would self-reliance, strong community values, and management on a local level be a stronger approach?…could it be worse than what we have?

The Tiny Dot” is definitely simple, but sometimes simple carries the strongest message.

I’m not motivated to read his book because I feel like I get the gist of the thoughts, but mainly because I think a lot of the current events need to sort themselves out regardless of different philosophical and political perspectives, but the message of “power to the people” does seem carry some value…especially if/when corners are turned and tough questions start to be asked.


The Police Tape App. May You Never Have to Use It.

I’ve railed against The Man on number of occasions – big government, big corporations, however you want to define that. It’s no secret the Dude isn’t a fan of some aspects of the current state of the world, and the negative seems to be spreading.

There’s still plenty of positive, and an abundance of great to be jazzed about. But we seem to be watching the slow demise of a way of life we used to take for granted.

How’s that economy doing? Yeah, about to tumble off a cliff any day now. And those civil liberties? We’re in America, right? Have you gone to an airport lately? The security checkpoints are about the most degrading thing I’ve experienced – second only to my time in the military…which is about as degrading as you can get.

I’ve often thought that if you don’t have anything to hide, then you shouldn’t have to worry about the government. But I don’t feel that way any more. The Man is a scary beast that is not afraid to ruin lives to keep itself alive.

The Police are meant to “serve and protect.” In the past I believed this serving and protecting was for the US citizens, but I’m growing to believe that the serving and protecting is for The Man. And it’s safe to say I’m not a fan of this military-style transition we are witnessing slowly unfold.

I hope you and I never have a reason to use this, but here is a pretty nifty app from the New Jersey ACLU that attempts to give some power back to the people. And like the Founding Fathers that are rolling over in their graves these days, I’m a fan of the people having as much power as they can snatch from The Man.

The Police Tape App. Unfortunately, the IPhone app isn’t out yet, so I haven’t tested this, but it’s a pretty cool idea. Here’s a video with a quick overview…nice stop-motion marketing ACLU!


Blogging is More Important Than Ever

Monopolies are no bueno. Parker Brothers taught us this a long time ago with the board game.

We all know that by the end of a game of Monopoly – once all the power has been consolidated in the winners hands – Mom and Dad aren’t talking, Uncle Jim is no longer welcome at the house, and the kids are rolling around on the ground scratching each others eyes out.

It never fails, consolidation of Boardwalk and Park Place in the hands of the thimble leads to decisions made for the benefit of the few and a mass unrest for those on the losing end. And the board game is a decent corollary for the real world.

Yet, some how the masses tend to miss the formation of real monopolies…or more likely, fooled into missing the real monopolies.

Check out the below “Illusion of Choice” infographic.

  • 6 major companies dictate about 90% of the media we have access to.
  • In less than 30 years the number of companies providing our media has dropped from 50 to just 6.
  • The six companies consisting of GE, New-corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, and CBS.
  • One media executive to every 850,000 subscribers.
  • To add to the craziness, check out how much GE paid in taxes…how about zero?!
    • 57,000 page tax return and paid the big donut on $14 billion in profits.
The Illusion of Choice

The Illusion of Choice

So, this leads me to my main point. Blogging is more important than ever. Mass media may be monopolized and homogenized, but the interwebs is wide open.

Turn off the TV, stop reading mainstream media, and open your eyes to the rich information on the intertubes.

I’m a blogger, so I’ll admit I’m a bit biased, but I am amazed at the quality and quantity of independent media at our finger tips. Far more than we can keep up with, but choose your interests and pursue with vigor.

Let The Man have the monopolized media. The people have each other.

Quick tip: Between work and home, I currently follow 316 blogs. Crazy, right? How do I keep up? It’s pretty easy…and fun because it’s information I’m into.

  1. Get a Google Reader account – this allows you to consolidate all of your blogs in one spot. With the magic of RSS feeds, there’s no need to go out and look for new posts
  2. Setup an IGoogle page with Google Reader, Facebook, Twitter, weather, a surf report – anything you look at on a regular basis – and make this your homepage. Every time you get on your computer, you’ll see new blog posts that you dig.
  3. Don’t get caught up in reading every post. Scan headlines, and only dig into posts that catch your attention.
  4. To take it to the mobile level, you can get apps for your smart phones and tablets that give you the ability to check your Google Reader – I use “MobileRSS” for my IPhone and “Feedler” for my IPad.

As an example, here’s a look at my IGoogle homepage…


Dude's iGoogle

Dude's iGoogle

Thanks to Frugal Dad for the great infographic.