Happy Wife, Happy Life

How many of you have heard this profound axiom? I guarantee that this phrase was coined by a woman, because men have a far more succinct way of explaining the concept. ‘Whipped!” That’s what guys say. They see a man who caters to his wife as weak; somehow less of a man. Well, I present myself as a disciple of the church of the happy wife. In fact for my money, “Happy Wife, Happy Life” should be the eleventh commandment.

I have to say that my wife of almost 7 years (my second marriage) is an amazing woman. We both feel that we have a wonderful marriage. Both learned a lot from our first! But the thing is, she’s a woman! She, and all like her, (female) are much different than us poor schlubs. Looking at men and women’s physical characteristics, one would say they are quite different, but I contend the biggest differences are on the inside.

Something you have to understand is that men are raised from a very young age to approach things rationally. We are supposed to be tough, and “stand on our own two feet” and “crying is for sissies”. What a load of crap! Men are just as emotional as women. But society wants us to be different so we’ve learned to suppress it. Women, on the other hand (my queen included, or should I say, especially my queen!) are governed by emotions. Guys, you MUST TAKE THIS INTO ACCOUNT when dealing with them. If you’re going to go into the lion cage, you better know what the hell you’re doing, or you’re going to get mauled! (We all have the scars).

Of course we all want go into the lion cage because, in there, are indescribable pleasures, far too powerful to resist. Not our fault. We were put on this earth to procreate. That’s the Prime Directive. And you thought it was not to interfere with alien cultures! (Star Trek reference for all you godless non-Trekkies) Ha! Shows how little you know. And since women (the smart ones) know this, they have the power, they hold all the cards.

Women, on the other hand were put on this earth to shop. Don’t believe me? Then someone explain to me why a woman will fly half-way around the world; tolerating jet lag, and crowded uncomfortable airplanes; paying exorbitant prices for airfare, and hotels, to buy a pair of shoes?  Take your time. I’ve got all day. Seriously; women are here to procreate as well. I realize there is often less than compelling evidence to support this claim. However,  we are not supposed to stay together after the deed is done. I’m convinced of this fact. Life would just be an endless string of satisfying, inexpensive (since there would be no shopping involved), bullshit-free, one night stands. Again, society steps in and says get married, have 2.2 kids, and live happily ever after. Seems unnatural but OK, I surrender. The question is  how do we pull it off? Well, in my second marriage, I have learned only one thing of consequence; one thing that I can pass down to successive generations. One tiny irrefutable nugget of wisdom. You guessed it. Happy Wife, Happy Life.

It’s not that I’m really into listening to all of her emoting. Some days, I’d rather ram nails into my ears so I would never have to listen to it again. Some days, I’d rather bathe in glass than follow her like a puppy around the mall. Some days, I’d rather join a monastery than deal with her hormone-induced psychosis, every single bloody (pun intended) month! “Honey, what would you like me to pick up for dinner?” I sweetly ask. “I don’t care; just don’t bring back something stupid!” my beautiful orchid replies. “Sweetie, what kind of movie do you want to watch?” I selflessly offer. “I don’t care”, replies my loving mate. “How ’bout a comedy angel?” “No!” “How ’bout a thriller petunia?” “No!” “How ’bout a science fiction snuggle bunny?” No!” How ’bout I swallow some drain cleaner? However, I must draw your attention back to the Prime Directive!

The thing of it is this. You can’t win.  She will make you pay! She will even exact a pound or two of flesh if she has to surrender a draw. The reason is because you can’t fight emotion with logic. Ever wonder why Spock never married? If you’re foolish enough to try, the result is always predictable. They never admit defeat. They just get more and more emotional until you give up. At the end of the day, it’s just a whole lot easier to keep the crazy locked away in a box. Don’t open the box, and life is good; happy, one might say.

So guys, its up to you. If you can’t see that in order to get what you need(to be left in peace), you have to listen, and shop, and comfort, and play psychologist; I would suggest switching teams. However, I’m appealing to the pragmatists among you. It’s not about being Mister Wonderful. It’s about getting laid! I’m 56 years old, overweight, gray, wrinkled, and don’t have a lot of money. And yet, my 45 year old (very attractive if I do say so myself) wife still finds me attractive. She still wants to be with me. Go f’ing figure! We still hold hands, we still kiss in public, we still call each other ‘baby’, and ‘angel’ and all that other crap.  Yep, I’m whipped! Couldn’t be happier.

 

 

Capital Punishment

In the early morning of September 30th of this year, the state of Georgia executed Kelly Gissendaner. She was the first woman executed in that state in 70 years. Let me start by saying that her crime was heinous; no question. She conspired with her lover to kill her husband, in 1997. There is no debate that she deserved to be punished. The man who actually stabbed her husband to death received a life sentence. Essentially, he rolled over on her in a plea deal. She received a death sentence. Although this fact lacks any logic, it is not what I want to talk about.

Capital punishment is what I want to debate. The hypocrisy of capital punishment is at the crux of my issue with it. Here’s the problem. I think everyone would agree that killing is wrong. This is a very simple ideal, yet we always contextualize it to suit our personal beliefs. “Thou shalt not kill”. It’s one of the big ten. If we take it literally, and ideally; we would be wrong to kill animals, even plants for food. So even the Vegans would be sinners. However, it is pretty commonly thought to mean, though shalt not kill other people. So, my question is if it is wrong for me to kill another person, why is it ok for my government to kill other people? (combat operations aside)

What is the purpose of this killing? I’m assuming it’s to punish offenders, and deter would-be offenders. Well, in 2013, the 3 highest murder rates by state in the U.S. were (in order) Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. All three having the death penalty. By region, (South, Midwest, West, and Northeast); the region with the highest number of executions (South) also had the highest murder rate. So, I think the argument for deterrence is weak, at best. That leaves punishment.

So what I want to throw out there, is how you are punishing someone, by killing them. Wouldn’t it be more punitive for them to spend the rest of their lives in a cell; 23 hours a day? Once they are dead, their punishment is over. (Not withstanding a one way ticket to hell, assuming that’s the case. Don’t forget, just before their execution, a murderer can repent and still get to heaven). In reading about Gissendaner’s execution, something really struck me. It was a statement by her daughter, who was fighting for clemency. She said something to the effect that by killing her mother, she was then going to have to deal with the loss of another parent. In my mind, that makes her a victim of the execution. Obviously, the victims at the forefront are the family members, (parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, etc.) of the person who was murdered. Without question they are affected in the most devastating, and profound way. They are entitled to justice. The state (country, province, or whatever) needs to apprehend, convict, and incarcerate the perpetrator to try to give the family some closure. But for God’s sake, why add another group of victims to the original group? One devastated family is less of a tragedy than two.

Looking at the original crime of killing another human being, I contend that we should do everything in our power as a society to stop the killing; period. If we punish people for murder how in the heck do we justify condoning the killing of someone else? If killing is wrong, then it’s wrong. If it’s wrong for one person to kill; or in this case two people to kill, how is it right for society, as a collective, to kill? You can’t have your cake and eat it too here. Killing the killer does not in any way shape or form affect the tragedy of the crime. It will not bring the victim back. I hope that I am never in a position where I am so distraught that I would condone or demand the death of another human being, even a convicted killer. I understand that people want their pound of flesh, and my heart goes out to them; but as a civilized society, we should not be party to it.

One other related issue, is the problem of wrongful conviction. I recently watched a CNN special about the case of Michael Morton. He was wronfully convicted of murdering his wife. He was given a life sentence. He was eventually exonerated, but it took 25 years to move the judicial system to accept DNA evidence, that cleared him of wrondoing. The same DNA evidence resulted in the conviction of another man. If Michael Morton had been put to death, his actual innocence would go to the grave with him. Let’s not for a second believe that judicial systems in any country are so infallible that an innocent person wouldn’t be (or hasn’t been) put to death. A life sentence means that at least there is a chance for someone to be exonerated. Killing one innocent person, is far too costly a price, against the theoretical benefits (which I maintain are non-existent) of capital punishment.

Lock ’em up, and throw away the key. That’s my solution. Anything more and we have sacrificed our own morality. Capital punishment undermines the values of what civilization should be. It weakens our credibility. In the Pope’s words, (he had written a letter to the Govenor of Georgia pleading for Gissendaner‘s clemency) it is not consistent with a just but merciful society. That’s the kind of society that I want to live in. It’s not being soft on crime, it’s sending a message: “Killing is wrong; we will not be a party to it.” That’s an ideal that we should all embrace.

Customer Disservice

Years ago, we used the term ‘Customer Service’. It was the norm. Companies prided themselves on serving their customers well. We have reached a point now where it is no longer the norm. In fact really good customer service is a rare find these days. It’s like common sense. It ain’t so common any more folks! Therefore I propose the following two new terms. ‘Customer Disservice’, and ‘Uncommon Sense’. I think they more accurately reflect where we are in the world.

I run into it almost every day when dealing with businesses. Apathetic customer disservice reps; technical support people who are neither technical, nor supportive; and my favourite: Unimaginably complicated and restrictive business rules, typified by airlines, and internet service providers. They know they gotcha, so they turn the screws!

I imagine a boardroom full of suits trying to hammer out a new customer disservice initiative. A new product, or a new disservice that they think is going to be a money-maker.  “How are we going to disguise it to our customers as something good for them?” asks a lowly junior manager in a cleverly veiled attempt at self-promotion. The senior suit responds: “Duh! We’ll hit ’em with the misleading advertising, with the unreadable fine print at the bottom of the screen.” “You know; what we always do.” Their mad men will design the perfect message. After all, the ad agencies are full of psychologists, whose sole job is to offer insight into the consumers mind in an effort to trick it, and trap it, and get it to spend.

So why can’t companies offer good products and great customer service together? Some can, but as I maintained at the beginning of this rambling, it is becoming more and more rare. Why? Simple. Shareholders. Companies are beholden to shareholders. The bigger the shareholder, the more leverage they have on the board of directors, and the more likely they are to influence a company’s business decisions. So there is the focus. If the companies didn’t have to pay dividends; diverting profits to investors, prices would be lower, and there would be more call centre reps, so you don’t have to wait on hold due to the “unexpected high volume of calls” your masters are experiencing. It’s not unexpected. It’s by design. Employees cost money so the bean counters figure out the smallest number of customer disservice reps they can get away with that doesn’t cost them business. They know people are creatures of habit and won’t switch brands because they have to wait on hold every now and then.

They have to put you on hold because you are being very needy and inconsiderate; bugging them for every little thing like cell phone service, or a flight to your destination that doesn’t go hours out of your way through their hub. Shame on you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arrogance

Well, I didn’t see it starting like this but what the hell! I’ll get on my soap box for my very first post. We have all read about the story a little while back about Cecil the Lion. I’ll stop short of assassinating the character of the dentist who killed Cecil. Lot’s of other people have done a masterful job. (He deserves it). It is a case in point of a much bigger issue, and that’s human arrogance.

So much of the incalculable misery and suffering that animals have faced, at the hand of humans, stems from the arrogance of so many people. “It’s just a dumb animal”. Indeed, this arrogance results in equal suffering and misery of people; at the hands of other people. “I’m better than you, because I have a degree from…”; “My religion is better than yours, and I am willing to hurt you unless you change your beliefs”. I could go on, literally, for days.

trophy_hunt2

From what I can see, the people like the idiot dentist (or the idiots in the photo) are so insecure about themselves, they can foster absolutely no empathy. Killing Cecil was possibly legal; but the bigger question is why do you want to have a lion’s head on your wall so badly; that you are willing to pay a huge sum of money for the ‘privilege’ of snuffing out a beautiful, majestic creature? I can’t begin to comprehend the insensitivity and arrogance of a trophy hunter. As disgusting, is the likelihood that the lion in this picture was killed in a ‘canned’ hunt. Animals are raised to be killed in enclosures, so the trophy ‘hunter’ get’s a guaranteed head for the old homestead.

I have no issue with people legally, responsibly, hunting for food. I don’t do it, but I have no issue with people who do. I have seen hunting shows, hunting videos, and there are some where the hunter shows respect for the animal he just killed. You can see it in the way he regards the animal. It doesn’t inflate his ego for him. It doesn’t make him feel like a man, or a bad ass. The true hunter has a real relationship with nature. Trophy hunters are like Disneyland tourists by comparison.

The dolphin hunt in Japan; shark finning; the fur industry; and trophy hunting. They all stem from the belief that animal lives don’t matter; they’re not as important as ours. Our arrogance won’t let us see that every living creature occupies one spot in the matrix called nature. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat animals, or the homeless, or even the girl at Starbucks making the lattes. (Hey girls, next time you’re on a date with a new guy and he is dismissive, or condescending to the server; run!) No one creature is any more important than another, and we are all interconnected. Killing is killing. If you have to kill to eat, it’s righteous. Killing just for sport, or greed, or hate is just plain wrong.

I know we will get there one day as a species. Yup, I said it. Species. Cuz we are just another species among all the others. Obviously, we are intellectually superior, however, we have to stop believing we’re the shit because we aren’t. There are lot’s of cultures who aren’t like this, but they are in the minority.  We have a long long way to go; to get to the point in our evolution where we cherish, and honour, and respect all the other things on this planet besides ourselves.