MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.

August 29, 2009

If I Knew Back Then What I Know Now…

"If I knew back then what I know now I would have done things differently."

This is a common philosophical saying people use to express how they wish they could have changed something(s) in their life. Perhaps they feel they had a bad decision, did something they shouldn't have done or didn't do something they should have. It could be as simple as turning right instead of left at some juncture in life. Who knows. It's not important the details per se.

What is important however is that while it is a good topic for discussion and self awareness, the reality is that in all likelihood things would be different from the start. All you think you would change probably wouldn't happen anyway. If you could go back and re-live the last 10-20-30 years knowing what you know today at the first point in time where you feel you made the wrong decision and now choose what you think would have been the right decision, then from that point on everything else will be different too! All the other bad or wrong moves and decisions you had subsequent to this will probably never happen.

By changing that one single decision your path from that point in time onward will probably have changed so completely that all the other bad/wrong decisions will probably never come up! Instead, life will deal you an entirely new set of problems and decisions you didn't have to face before. And, just as before, 10-20-30 years later you will look back and think about these decisions. Some you will certainly deem to also be bad or wrong ones too.

So while I think it's good to have some introspective on what you think you did wrong (and right), dwelling on how much better your life would have been had you made some other decision is pointless. Even if you could go back and redo that decision everything else will so be changed by that redo in ways you can't imagine.

Sooner or later you'll be back to saying "If I only knew then what I know now…"

Carpe Diem!

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August 25, 2009

Cause Without Affect? Action Without Consequence? Sin Without Punishment?

I'm far from the first person to have noticed that our society today is growing quicker and quicker not to hold people accountable for their actions. Personal decisions that lead sooner or later to serious problems or dreadful conclusions are being dismissed as not being the person's fault. Somehow we have gotten to a point where you should be able to do whatever you want and to hell with the fallout.

A nice libertarian's dream.

But a persons' actions and choices do have consequence. It is the severity of these consequences that others see and thereby set a real life example to others why they should not follow such actions themselves. In so do, that is how a society self regulates and self polices good behavior and good decisions from bad behavior and decisions.

But what if there was in fact a way to totally undo the consequences of bad decisions and bad behaviors? What if with a single injection or pill the results of whatever rotten thing you did to yourself could be undo with no lasting ill effects – would that make the bad behavior now acceptable?

For example:

If there was a medicine that could 100% cure lung cancer overnight no matter how advanced. Would that make smoking ok?

If there was a medicine that could 100% cure drug addiction overnight with no withdrawal symptoms no matter how messed up you are on drugs, would that make taking crack or heroin ok?

If there was a medicine that cured all STDs, even AIDS and herpes, would that make rampant unrestrained sex with anyone anywhere at anytime ok?

If there was a machine that could mend broken bones perfectly, even the head and back, no matter how badly damaged would that make driving without a seat belt or air bag ok?

In other words, if science could find ways to cure the end effects of our bad behaviors and decisions would that make the behaviors and decisions no longer bad? If you didn't have to pay the price in the end they why not spend like there's no tomorrow?

Just because something can be fixed doesn't mean it is the right thing to do to break it in the first place.

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August 21, 2009

How Much Are Your Principles Worth to You?

Standing firm on your principles, your personal opinions and convictions, may sound high and noble. But where the rubber meets the road, just how much are you willing to stand on your principles (at least publicly) in the face of your life? Your future? Your success?

It is now generally agreed by the public that Miss California lost her chance to be Miss America 2009 because of her stated stand on gay marriage in response to a contest judge's question.

While I agree she shows conviction and strength of character to stand by her principles when it would have been soooooo much easier to say a politically correct answer to please the judges, it still cost her the crown.

History is full of examples of people who stood their ground on their convictions and were penalized for it instead of taking the easy way out. In many case standing strong was the right thing to do, both for themselves and others. But at what a personal cost.

How many of you would be willing to stand tall on your principles and toss way a promising career? Or be one step from your life's goal? Or even live in public disgrace and ridicule? All for standing on your beliefs.

It isn't an easy question to answer.

Something to ponder.

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August 18, 2009

We're From the Government. We're Here to Help You.

That phrase is not only a cliché but far more truth than most want to accept. With the possible exception of emergency/disaster relief there are very very few other walks of life where people welcome the government into their affairs. Especially when that "help" is uninvited.

Think about it.

When was the last time someone came back from a government office happy for their experience?
How often do people cringe at even going to the DMV?
Who do you know that looks forward to dealing with a government office or agency?
What stories of pleasure and fun have you heard at parties from people' who have had to deal with the government for something?

The answer is simple: None!

So why in Heaven's name does anyone think this same government (or any government for that matter) will do such a wonderful job for healthcare, retirement, education funding, controlling banks and insurance services, etc??

Or is it mere laziness? Simple laziness that people would rather have this big faceless thing called "government" take care of them? I'm willing to put something down on that bet.

Remember: You never get more than you ask for.

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August 15, 2009

An Open Letter to President Obama: You Scare Me!


The follow was reportedly written by Lou Pritchett is one of corporate America 's true living legends- an acclaimed author, dynamic teacher and one of the world's highest rated speakers. Successful corporate executives everywhere recognize him as the foremost leader in change management. Lou changed the way America does business by creating an audacious concept that came to be known as "partnering." Pritchett rose from soap salesman to Vice-President, Sales and Customer Development for Procter and Gamble and over the course of 36 years, made corporate history.

The letter was supposedly sent to the editor of the New York Times in response to an editorial. But the times didn't print it.


Dear President Obama:

You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me. You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.

You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible signs of support. You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America and culturally you are not an American.

You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.

You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don't understand it at its core.

You scare me because you lack humility and 'class', always blaming others. You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail.

You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the 'blame America ' crowd and deliver this message abroad.

You scare me because you want to change America to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector. You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one.

You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.

You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.

You scare me because you have begun to use 'extortion' tactics against certain banks and corporations.

You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.

You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.

You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent and omniscient.

You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.

You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaughs, Hannitys, O'Relllys and Becks who offer opposing, conservative points of view.

You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.

Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.

Lou Pritchett

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August 12, 2009

When Reconnecting is a Sticky Situation.

I suppose it's inevitable in life, especially as one grows older, to ask yourself the question: "What ever happened to ?"

Someone you knew in school, work, or perhaps an old girl/boyfriend.

It is to the latter this article addresses.

Particularly if the other person broke up with you it's probably normal to eventually wonder what became of them. I think it has as much to do with general curiosity as it does with wondering if their choice to leave you work out better or worse for their life.

There no doubt is an element of ego involved. No one wants to find out their ex-girl or boyfriend met someone soooo much better looking, richer, more exciting etc. and has lived a fabulous life without you! As impolite as it may seem, I think at some level you hope they ended up in much worse situation without you!

So with that in mind, I had set out to see if I could find a couple of old ex-girlfriends.

One girlfriend from college I did find. She looked like an older version of how I remembered her from school. If you liked her then you would like her now. And if not, the same. There's more I can say about her but I'll save that for another article. Suffice to say, I'm doing much better without her than would have with!

Another was a more difficult to find.

I ended up finding her on Facebook.

When I first contacted her she said she didn't remember me. Not sure if I should be insulted or not! Then I reminded her of some of the things we did, places we went while dating. Now she remembered.

Here's where it gets sticky.

For one thing, we had a great sex life. We only dated couple of months but almost from the beginning (second date I think it was) the hormones were flowing and we weren't going to stop them. (Yes, my wife knows about her so if she reads this article it will be no surprise. Besides, she knows she married a stud!) I would like to think we had much more than just a sexual relationship (no booty calls) but since she isn't here with me now I guess it wasn't enough.

So it gets a bit sticky (no pun intended) talking to an ex-girlfriend when the main things you remember about her were the places you went and the great sexual exploits you had there. We messaged back and forth for a bit with small talk about what we did after breaking up, getting married, kids, travel, etc.

I don't at all regret having lost her. Otherwise I wouldn't have met and married Mrs. MasterPo, wouldn't have 2 crazy cats and an insane dog, and definitely wouldn't have had my beautiful daughter. I have nothing to regret about, especially since I do believe (and I'm not saying this as sour grapes) she was probably cheating on me while we were dating.

I found out that a little less than a year after we broke up she had gotten married. Not unusual per se just the speed at which it happened was surprising. I know people can meet, engage and marry very quickly but as the line from Alanis Morissette goes "It was a slap in the face how quickly I was replaced". And I think she knows it too. The tone of her message seemed a bit nervous and apprehensive.

Based on further information she had a child almost immediately after marriage. For all I know she may have met this guy, had sex with him too and got pregnant all while still seeing me. I can't prove any of it but the timing is odd.

Nevertheless, what does it really matter? The past is water under the bridge and knowing details now won't change the out come of life. Some mysteries are probably better left unknown and just taken as they happened. At least I got to see a recent picture of her. Not bad looking. But definitely lost much of the youthful features I remember. Yea it's superficial but what the heck.

When you reach out to reconnect you gotta expect some residue to stick.

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August 9, 2009

MasterPo Reviews "The Dirty Bomb Diaries"

MasterPo will again break his rule about reviewing entertainment (it's my rule and I can break it if I want to!). Although made for entertainment I believe it does have some very important and timely consideration for the world we live in now.

As before, this article contains spoilers so if you don't want to know the plot don't read it!

You've been warned.

"The Dirty Bomb Diaries" is a 16 part series of short videos by creater/write/producer Sean Hinchey that portray the events of a terrorist dirty bomb being exploded in a major city in the U.S. The videos are available on Youtube or download via Tivo.

The main character is a young woman in her mid-20's. She has just moved into an apartment by herself after having lived with several roommates for some time. Apparently her family is in another part of the country as she is using her laptop PC and webcam to create these diary entries, although some of the camera angles are clearly not possible with a webcam but I don't hold that against the series. It isn't mentioned exactly which city she is in put judging from the style of apartment she is in, the local TV images shown (palm trees are clearly seen), her day trip to the beach, and her mentioning the bomb was detonated at "the seaport" and later it is said the wind is supposedly carrying most of the fallout out to sea I'm going to presume someplace in California, Probably L.A..

The story is rather typical of this type of plot as seen in other dirty bomb terrorist movies like "At Your Back Door" and the BBC production "Dirty War" (which I highly recommend watching!!). In her first diary entry at the end there is a flash and out her window in the distance a large dark cloud is seen rising up over the city. In later diary entries she discusses briefly how the news says it's a dirty bomb, how people at work are talking about what does it mean, what to do, etc. Then in later installments she describes how the electric power and water supply has been on and off more frequently and for longer periods of time, how the supermarket shelves are being emptied and not restocked, how her telephone and cell phone aren't working, how the roads are congested and she can't get a flight out even though lots of planes (presumably military or disaster relief) keep coming in, and how even her boss has told her not to come in to work for the foreseeable future. Later episodes deal with her having to scavenge for food and supplies, working with a black marketer for supplies and even buying a gun, and fending off an attack from an unknown man presumable intent on at least rape. Throughout the whole series she laments over the lack of official information as to what happened, what is being done to help, the shortage of supplies and the apparent blockade of the city even though military forces are seen coming in out our routinely (jets flying over head, military troop transports, even rumor of an aircraft carrier off the coast).

There's much more but I can't give it all way. Watch it yourself.

At first my reaction to this series, besides being a typical plot, was: this girl is an idiot! (not the actress, the character)

So much of the first couple of installments deal with her (and her friends/co-workers) not knowing what a dirty bomb is, what it means, even going out to work and about in a contaminated zone like nothing happened! She even waits to go to the supermarket, to try to stockpile water, can't seem to understand why her phone won't work, and even expects to be able to get a commercial flight out of the city several days after the explosion! She has no thought about stockpiling supplies, even the warning signs of radiation poisoning.

But then I re-thought: Maybe that is the point of the series?

Perhaps the producers are trying to show how even in this day and age in a post-9/11 world so much of the American population is uninformed and frankly uncaring and unconcerned about the very real threat of nuclear terrorism or nuclear attack. Even at a time when Iran is going full speed at developing nukes and North Korea is lobbing missiles towards the West Coast like bottle rockets on the 4th of July a great many people think it's no big deal.

Can't really blame them. Even our esteemed President Obama sees nothing to get very excited about with North Korea and is on record saying Iran as the right to develop nuclear capability. So if the President isn't troubled about it why should Joe and Jane Citizen worry?

Of course, that was the kind of think that helped make 9/11 possible. But after all, that was 8 years ago. Let the past be the past. These things will happen in life. And we deserved it anyway for meddling in the affairs of others.


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August 5, 2009

Boaters World Is Going Out of Business – Why You SHOULD Care!

(Update: Subsequent to writing this article Boaters World has in fact closed its doors for good.)

Boaters World is a national chain of retail stores that sells items and accessories for, yup you guessed it, boaters! Not just boaters but also kayakers, water skiers, fishermen etc. They carry all kinds of equipment, riggings, electronics, parts and accessories as well as clothing.

And they are going out of business.

If you don't have a boat (and maybe even if you do) very likely your initial reaction is to say "big deal!" After all, many businesses especially these days are closing for good. And if you're really anti-establishment you're probably saying this only affects "the rich" because only "the rich" own boats. Who needs a boat anyway?

Well, not so fast.

Besides the obvious loss of jobs at the retail store, and the not so obvious loss of jobs in the back office company headquarters, there is a much greater implication to this closing. I don't know the specific details as to why Boaters World is closing. Clearly the company is either no longer profitable to operate, or, even if still profitable it may not be profitable enough to be worth the trouble to keep the doors open (running a business of any size is a headache!).

In my home, living on Long Island, for the past several years more and more I see boats remaining on their winter stands well into spring and even summer instead of being put in the water. Some boats I doubt have even been in the water at all last season! And some boats have had "for sale" signs on them for months, even years.

Before you quickly dismiss the loss of this business and the shrinking of the boating community take a moment to consider the further reaching implications of what this means on the American economy and society.

First, there are thousands of hard working middle class people who own boats. You don't have to be one of "the rich" to own an 18 or 20 foot fishing boat. Many fathers have spent years teaching their children to fish and enjoy fishing and boating just as their own father taught them. In coastal (and many inland) states boating is as much a family tradition as skiing or snowmobiling or horseback riding or the summer trip to Disney.

Second, boats don't grow on trees. Someone has to make them. That means skilled fabricators (doesn't matter if the boat is wood or fiberglass). There are mechanics to build, install and maintain the engines (even on sail boats). Marine electricians to wire the boats and install the devices like radios, GPS and fish finders. Then all this has to be maintained so even after the initial sale the mechanics and technicians still have business (even on small family boats).

Third, boats have to be registered so the state gets its fee (not to mention sales tax when a boat is sold and accessories/supplies are purchased). Plus, if you trailer the boat the trailer needs to be registered too.

And last but certainly not least is the quality of life issue. Boating in all aspects is an activity enjoyed by millions of middle class (not only "the rich") people. Those who dream of someday owning a boat for pleasure cruising, fishing, or whatever. If a business like Boaters World can't make a go of it any more that says volumes for health of this part of an American dream.

So yes, you should care that Boaters World is going out of business.

It's not your father's America any more.

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August 2, 2009

Show Me The Responsibility!

Personal responsibility.

Taking charge of your own life's course.

Being accountable to yourself for what you have and don't have, achieve or not achieve.

This isn't just flowery commentary. This is life!

Yet it seems with each passing day fewer and fewer people are willing to do it for themselves and their families.

For example, it only takes a few minutes to fill out the form to enroll in your employer's 401k retirement savings program. Yet few people do it. So few that in 2008 a law took affect allow employers to automatically enroll employees in the 401k and the employee now has to specifically opt-out. How lazy is that?! In this day and age there is no excuse for not being aware of the need for retirement savings of some kind. If you don't know you need to put something away for eventual retirement that's your own damn fault!

The argument often used is they can't afford to put anything away.

Really? Not even a mere 1% of pay?

Yet I guarantee these people have the latest cell phones with the latest ring tones, internet and unlimited text messaging!

Healthcare. That's another one very hot now.

I'm not going to delve into the whole fiasco. Just going to say that a large number of people have no insurance by choice! They simply choose not to pay for it. If health insurance is sooooooo important to them then find a way! Give up the Xbox Live, the Starbucks Lattes, the beer and concerts etc. And don't put yourself into a position where you are more likely to need health insurance. Don't have babies, don't do extreme/risky sports, don't ride a motorcycle etc. until you have insurance.
One of the arguments there is they don't like the plan(s) their employer offers.


If you have no insurance whatever they offer must be better than nothing!

Another argument is why pay for a coverage like cancer or Alzheimer's when you're young and don't need that protection?

Again, Tough!

You may be able to pick and choose aspects of your car insurance but can you really guarantee you won't get cancer in your 20's? Or have a brain disorder? I don't think so.

You don't want to pay for insurance, fine with me. But don't come crying to me when you have a life issue and can't afford the bill!

That's not being cruel!

I and millions of Americans do pay for our health insurance, our retirement savings and many other things. It's called 'planning ahead'. You don't want to plan ahead? I won't force you but don't force me to pay for your lack of preparation!

You're supposed to be an adult – act like it!

You can't hide behind the shield of youth any more!

Part of being an adult means recognizing that often you can't get exactly what you want when you want it at the price you want. But you do need something so a little is better than none at all. Then, after you get your little, work harder and strive to someday be in a better position in life to be more likely to have what you want.

If that means going back to school or getting some technical/vocational training to get a better job then do it!
If that means switching jobs for one that has better bennies then do it!
If that means moving someplace with better jobs prospects (even in this economy) then do it!

Sitting around waiting for 'someone' to do 'something' for you will never work!

And expecting me and those like me to pay for your lack of effort is unethical at best, criminal at most!

Grow up!!!

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