Have you ever seen those TV shows that play clips of robbery bloopers? Shows that are entitled “World’s Dumbest Criminals” or “America’s Dumbest Criminals,” you know what I’m talking about? Well, not to be terribly insensitive but I just had to laugh when I received an update on the Fruitvale BART situation in the San Francisco Bay Area. Having lived in San Francisco, I’m familiar with most of the BART stops and I also know this one well.

First, let me just say this: BART is not really that safe – as if I had to remind anyone who’s ever been on the train. Not long ago, a kid was shot by police while pinned down at a BART station. This past week, there were shootings at Daly City’s BART stop and a stabbing that lead to a death at the Fruitvale stop. Always remember to take safety precautions and to stay vigilant when you’re riding BART or any other mode of public transportation.

A young fellow named Victor Veliz held a knife to the throat of a visitor from the East Coast while his friend, Christopher Gonzalez, threatened to shoot the victim. Apparently, this victim had a bad feeling about the two as he got onto the train as he told his friend over the phone. (Hint: If you have a bad feeling, take the next train or get onto the next car.) In a flurry of panic, the victim managed to grab the knife, land a punch on one of the assailants and stab the other in the chest.

Bravo, Mr. East Coast Victim!

Is it bad that this thrills me? Well, imagine yourself at the movies following an innocent character. He finds himself in a sticky situation, such as the BART incident, and manages to thwart and hurt the villainous robbers. Tell me that doesn’t give you a rush!

Here’s what I find laughable: Gonzalez, who was stabbed in the chest, stumbled home and cried out for his mommy, daddy and sister. Meanwhile, his gangster buddy Victor made it to Gonzalez’s home with the “victim’s” cell phone, the damning evidence. Gonzalez fell into the arms of his father, and in epic fashion, died.

Enter the father who defends his son’s reputation and upholds his work ethic. Okay, your son might have had good intentions (though I highly doubt it) and he might have been as hard a worker as you say. But nothing changes the fact that he threatened another person and paid a big price for it. Hey, if you’re threatening to shoot an unarmed man and he grabs your friend’s knife and stabs you in the chest, I’d say you had it coming.

Do I feel bad? Sure, I do. Is it funny to me? Yes, it is. Why is it funny to me? No matter how desperate a situation can be, you still have decisions to make and you have to take responsibility for the outcomes of those decisions. Crying to your parents after you threatened to kill someone elicits a chuckle and having your father say, “I want someone to pay,” is even laughable. Sorry, daddy, but you didn’t do your job. Someone did pay for what happened – it was your son. The victim, on the other hand, is let go for self-defense.

From SF Gate

From the famous philosopher Socrates, “To find yourself, think for yourself.” While this is very true, it has become increasingly difficult these days. How do you think for yourself when you’re bombarded with advertising, media, and frivolity everyday? I live in Los Angeles and there is no shortage of hive-mindedness around here. Then again, I find the same problem everywhere now thanks to the Internet. All it takes is one remotely reasonable idea, and the world becomes engulfed in flames with the new idea – no matter how wrong or right it might be. Take, for example, the news of Steve Jobs’ health. A popular tech blog called Gizmodo wrote up a piece a few weeks ago stating the reason for Steve Jobs’ absence at Macworld: He is in bad health. Many were quick to shoot these rumors down, though some actually believed it. Personally, I think Gizmodo wasn’t all that confident but ran with the story, anyway, and they happened to get lucky that it was confirmed. Everyone took their side of the fence and were awaiting the news hoping their team would be the one that gets to say, “I told you so.”

There is a major problem with group thinking or hive minds. I have had many controversial ideas or opinions, being a natural skeptic, and have been shot down or ostracized by many for what I think. I’d also like to think that I’ve turned out to be correct three out of four times, but that’s a different story. My issue with group thinking is that there is a complete lack of skepticism. Someone starts an idea, it sounds pretty damn good, more people perpetuate that idea and suddenly it is accepted as fact. It reflects the power of ignorance, the inability to think for onesself, and today’s complete lack of skepticism. If the Internet says it, it must be true, right?

I’m going to remain controversial and I am going to continue to question things that I find questionable. It’s funny, a lot of people in Los Angeles always feel like they’re not a typical Angeleno. The stereotype is either the male who’s far too concerned with his paycheck, car, clothes and hair, or the woman who’s immersed in her looks, her diet, and who she parties with and where. If you happen to be just shy of being any one of those characters, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “You’re such a breath of fresh air; you’re nothing like the typical L.A. guy/girl.” The irony, of course, is to find that statement coming from someone who believes he or she is also not cut from the L.A. cloth, but they’re happily wrapped in it.

Whatever the people in your community believe in, whether it’s your hometown, your professional community or spiritual group, don’t ever be afraid to question what you’re being told. Don’t ever worry about looking like a fool for being brave enough to exercise free inquiry. Remember, just because millions of people think the earth is flat, it doesn’t mean they’re right – and in many cases, they’re not.

Who’s late to the party? Yes, that’s right it’s me! Sorry to disappoint my handful of readers, but I have been ill and very busy lately. I hope you all had a brilliant start to the new year. I’m sure many of you have probably broken some resolutions already, but that’s okay. Resolutions are meant to be broken – their only real purpose is to make you feel better at the beginning of the year for everything that went wrong during the prior year. How’s that for optimism? I’d like to turn you now to my new radio station. In addition to doing this blog, I thought it would be fun to accompany it with some audio. You can listen to my first show at the link provided below. Be patient, I get cut off for almost nearly a minute! My phone got cut out while I was using it to tether my laptop to the internet and talk for the show at the same time. Never a great idea. Have fun y’all and hopefully we’ll have a great new year! Keep your eyes peeled as I will updated this more frequently.


I’m a little late to the party with this entry, but the last two days were holidays so I give myself a pass. For those of you who read this blog or simply stumble upon it, I hope you all had a great holiday season! As for yours truly, I couldn’t have asked for more. It was mellow and easy going. I talked to friends that I haven’t spoken to in a while (isn’t it odd that you’ll get texts and calls from people you haven’t heard from in ages?) and spent Christmas day with someone new and special to me. All in all, it was really nice and satisfaction and contentment hardly touches the surface when trying to express how I feel. Of course, New Year’s Eve is still coming up and that is even more excitement to be anticipated! I’ve never been one for resolutions because I always felt that positive life changes don’t have to wait until year’s end, but they should be done as soon as your mind conjures them up. I’ll still be writing before the New Year, but here’s a somewhat late Merry Christmas and very early Happy New Year!

I was reading Loic Le Meur’s blog and I stumbled upon a video where he mentions Helen Fisher in a TED talks video. He was pretty excited about it, and I love TED and the talks they give so I decided to check it out. The video did turn out to be interesting and Helen Fisher brings up very good points. The talk was given over two years ago and I had learned about these things well before then, but it was nice to hear it all in one place. For once, someone was talking about the biology of love and how it translates into emotion and action. Being aware of these things doesn’t make life any easier, well, actually it does. I don’t go struggling to find answers in a book, therapist, love song, or poem, although they do have their place sometimes. Don’t take my word for it; watch the video to the end and I guarantee, if you have half an ounce of intelligence, you will enjoy it.

Alright, the damn video won’t embed onto this blog for who-knows-what reason, so here is a link to the video. Enjoy.

Yes, I am chalking this one up to religion because I am unafraid to say it: I am a staunch atheist and agree with Christopher Hitchens when he says, “Religion poisons everything.” One of the most recent and tragic acts committed in the name of religion and Islamic law is the stoning of a 13-year-old girl who begged for her life after she was raped. One observer said the young girl cried out, “Don’t kill me, don’t kill me!” 50 men soon went on to stone her to death. What’s worse is there were about 1,000 people who sat and witnessed the poor little girl’s horrid fate. Imagine how helpless the child must have felt being buried with only her head exposed as those religious fanatics committed what they believe is acceptable by Islamic law.

How did it ever get this far, you ask? Well, whatever drove those men to lie is beyond me, but the story allegedly begins with a 23-year-old woman who confessed to adultery. Why a woman would do such a thing, knowing what punishment awaits her, is beyond me (though it didn’t actually happen) – but how one stretches the truth in order to stone a little girl to death is even more despicable (much like religion itself). There was never a 23-year-old woman involved; the girl was only 13 years old and she didn’t commit adultery. If being raped by three men weren’t enough, authorities managed to turn the story around. Much to the demise of the little girl and saving embarrassment for the rapists, no one faced or owned up to the truth.

I dare any reader to contend that religion had anything to do with this. Religion has been responsible for unborn babies being slashed out of stomachs. Religious fanatics have been responsible for murdering girlfriends and beating boyfriends simply because they were found in a car together, unaccompanied. Islamic fanatics are the reason planes flew into the World Trade Center and hypocritical Christians are the reason that war ensued in Afghanistan and Iraq shortly thereafter. And now, a poor child is gone forever and ever because of a bunch of bastards who subscribe to ridiculous laws and use religion to propogate their perverse world.

Yes, religion poisons everything.


Just a few days ago, I wrote on Addie Polk of Akron, Ohio attempting suicide due to financial difficulties. Well, it seems the problem isn’t just an isolated incident. A financial adviser who had worked for Sony Pictures and Price Waterhouse (PWC) purchased a gun on September 16 and killed his wife, mother-in-law, and three children. One can hardly stomach such a tragic occurence let alone begin to understand how one can be driven to carry it out. Without surprise, he then shot and killed himself making the whole mess a murder-suicide. All the victims have yet to be identified.

Clearly, money has far more power over people than we’d like to imagine. If a 90-year-old lady attempts suicide and a man (who, judging by the nature of his work, is financially better off than most) can kill his family all over economic woes, it’s time for a higher institution or power to intervene. The bailout is a joke and the government has done nothing but plague our economy. Will there be a solution or an end to this in the foreseeable future?

[Via USAToday]

What a shame: Addie Polk of Akron, Ohio has instantly become a devastating symbol of the nation’s economic and housing crisis – and not in the most heroic way, either. When Sheriffs attempted to evict her from her home after it was foreclosed, Polk, who is 90 years old, shot herself twice in the upper body and had to be taken to the hospital. You know the economy is very, very bad when a woman who has lived that long and has undoubtedly endured so much would attempt suicide. As a result of the attempt, Fannie Mae decided to sign the property over to Polk without bells and whistles. Excellent choice, Fannie.

Addie Polk’s neighbor, 62-year-old Robert Dillon, used a ladder to get into the second floor of her house after he and the deputies heard the gunshots explode from inside the house. Dillon said, “I was calling her name as I went in, and she wasn’t responding.” He went on to mention that she was still breathing so he ran to let the Sheriffs into the house.

Polk and her husband purchased the 101-year-old home in 1970 and, in 2004, took out a 30-year, 6.375 percent mortgage for $45,620 (taking an additional $11,380 line of credit the same day). After missing payments these past four years, Fannie Mae decided to foreclose the home leading up to the events that had recently taken place and retracting their decision to take action against her.

I once worked in the claims department of the now-government-operated IndyMac Federal Bank. My department was focused on recovering losses from mortgage insurance companies whenever a home was foreclosed. The saddest part of the job was receiving letters from women like Addie Polk – widowed and often alone with little to no support. Many of them had written in on pieces of cardboard, children’s stationary, and other items begging us to reconsider our decision. Naturally, it was out of our hands (my department, anyway) and so I just went on to file those letters away and hope that they could and would be helped somehow.

Regardless of politics and all the silliness of the current Presidential Race, let’s take some time to think about the people who are really hurting here.

[Via CNN]

Life is certainly a precious gift, as clich√© as that may seem, but for Kirsten Brydum life was cut far too short. At the young age of 25, Kirsten had already accomplished so much and undoubtedly changed many lives. She was an activist in San Francisco, and by a simple Google search, it’s easy to see how much she will be missed. Kristen, the organizer of Really Really Free Market in San Francisco, was brutally murdered in the city of New Orleans on September 26, 2008. The murderer fired several shots into Kristen’s head after a robbery attempt, making it difficult for her to be identified.¬† The killer is still out on the loose.

This is a sad reminder of just how wicked the world can be, so I hope that everyone can do their part in making life a little easier for everyone. Let’s not let Kirsten’s death be in vain and certainly do not let a tragedy be the only thing that motivates us to do good whenever we can. Appreciate life, appreciate your friends and family, and most of all appreciate your fellow human beings. Hit the following links for more information regarding Kirsten’s life, her contributions to humanity, and for her memorial.

Virtual Memories

Ryan Is Hungry

SF Gate