The explosion of YouTube, Spotify and streaming services has given me the opportunity to relive childhood TV shows, movies and music. It's unimaginable to think about the amount of information and entertainment available at my fingertips. This has also allowed me to identify and understand context.
Previous generations always believe their generation is better than the current generation. I'm sure Cro Magnon man said, "What's wrong with these kids today?". I'm sure you've heard it from your grandparents, your parents and your teachers. Yes...I'm guilty of uttering the phrase as well.
I have come to two conclusions about the television shows and the music of my youth...
My definition of progress is based on improvement. The US and the world have made extraordinary progress towards issues of civil, women's and LGBT rights. And these changes have happened in a relatively recent and short time period of time. As recent as 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage, legalized it in all fifty states, and required states to honor out-of-state same-sex marriage licenses in the case Obergefell v. Hodges. I would argue that the past few decades have been as socially improved and transformative as any time in human history.
Unfortunately, other individuals define progress as movement. This movement does not necessarily mean movement towards freedom. Their definition of progress (movement) is fluid and restrictive that includes the banning of books, the muzzling of language and speech and anything else that may be deemed offensive. This is progress (movement).
Legally, is there such a thing as hate speech? What if a band wanted to name their group "The Slants"? The US Patent and Trademark Office denied the band's name because it could be disparaging to Asians. In October 2016, the US Supreme ruled in Matal v. Tam...
But what the heck do I know...I'm just Joe.
My wife recently purchased an 8-pack of Kleenex On-The-Go Facial Tissue (see picture above) since it happens to be spring time and allergy time in the San Joaquin Valley of California. The product that is used to capture mucus will also provide me with inspirational guidance for life and success. Who needs Oprah, Tony Robbins, DJ Khaled or 'self-help' books to help you battle through life's barriers and obstacles when the answers to your self-doubt and personal struggles are printed on travel packs of facial tissue. As a matter of fact, I suggest that you find the transcripts or actually listen to the words of Oprah, Tony Robbins when they attempt to assist individuals become the "real you". What does "Believe in Yourself" actually mean? How do I "Summon my Strength"? Here is a link to video of DJ Khaled being interviewed on a web show. This show has guests eat hot wings as they are being interviewed. Don't focus on him eating the hot wings, but listen to what he is saying (or not saying) as he struggles to eat the hot wings;
Tony Robbins, Oprah and DJ Khaled are social media geniuses. They have been able to use their hard work and marketing skills for personal and financial success. More power to them...but do these self-help gurus actually say anything? As a matter of fact, would you be able to tell the difference between Oprah, Tony Robbins, DJ Kaleds or Kleenex's suggestions for success in life you simply read their quotes? Guess who said the following phrases:
The answers are 1 = Oprah, 2 = DJ Khaled, 3 = Kleenex, and 4 = Tony Robbins
Tony Robbins will guide you to "create a life that is filled with passion, achievement and reward, the most effective solution is through self-improvement and personal growth. But before you can successfully make a positive change, you must better understand what influences and drives you forward. Tony will be able to develop the understanding and skills to create change and defy your own limitations. Winners find a way and Tony Robbins can help you find yours at Unleash the Power Within." The cost to attend the Tony Robbins experience...$695-$2995. It must be worth it...it includes a "Fire walk Experience".
If Tony's workshops are a bit too expensive, how about listening to the queen of media and motivation...Oprah Winfrey. She launched a US arena tour in January aptly named the “Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus”. The nine-city tour is ready to make 2020 “the year of transformation and triumph because 2020 is a time to have your vision in focus and to live up to all the dreams you’ve made for yourself,” So how much does it cost to “...come together to support a stronger, healthier, more abundant life–focused on what makes us feel energized, connected and empowered?": Ticket prices are...$69.50-$299.99.
Unfortunately, the current Covid-19 pandemic has postponed the Tony Robbins and Oprah life experiences. How in the world are the thousands of people planning on improving their lives supposed to find their "true self"? Well, for the price of a Starbucks Venti Caffè Americano, you can purchase an 8-pack of Kleenex On-The-Go Facial Tissue with inspirational quotes printed on each pack. I would consider these more useful than an evening with Oprah or a weekend with Tony Robbins. At least you can blow your nose into Kleenex. But what the heck do I know...I'm just Joe.
I celebrated my 50th birthday in 2017. My wife threw a great party for me. It was an evening filled with family, friends, wood fired pizza and dancing. What else should happen at the age of 50wdeq?...the American Cancer Society also recommends a screening for colon cancer via colonoscopy. Happy birthday to me!!!
I first need to set the timeline. My wife, Christine, made my appointment for my colonoscopy weeks in advance for Monday, December 11, 2017 at 8:00 AM.
Friday, December 8, 2017: Two friends (Jay and Nick) of mine decided to have breakfast and play a round of golf. Jay was really excited to tell me about his new investment in cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is basically digital money. Individuals can sell, buy or transfer currency using "digital" technology that is virtually non-traceable. Cryptocurrency is also a very risky investment. I had heard of Bitcoin three years earlier as an alternative to gold, silver and the mighty dollar. The price of one Bitcoin jumped from $800 to $11,000 in three years.
Jay mentioned that he had invested money in a new type of cryptocurrency called Litecoin. The price of one Litecoin was $97.00 when we started our round of golf. Jay continued to see the price of Litecoin creeping up as we continued to play our round of golf. Litecoin was at $108 by the time we finished our round of golf. This was an 11% increase in about 5 hours.
I came home and started doing some research about the potential role of cryptocurrencies in financial markets and the potential risks/rewards of investing in digital currency. I decided to purchase $600 (of my own savings) of Litecoin that afternoon. To my surprise, Litecoin was now at $113 per coin. But I didn't tell my wife.
Saturday, December 9, 2017. The price of Litecoin is now nearing $200 per coin. Cha-ching!
Sunday, December 10, 2017. I start drinking the fluids required to clean out my digestive system for my colonoscopy the next morning...and those fluids really cleaned me out. I would keep checking the prices of Litecoin as I sat on the toilet and as I watched NFL football (it's Sunday). The price per coin was $290 per coin by Sunday evening. Christine will be so excited when I tell her about my investment. I'll surprise her with an amazing trip around the world. We're gonna' be rich!
Monday, December 11, 2017. It's go time! My lovely wife takes me to the doctor's office for my procedure. The nurse, anesthesiologist and doctor give me an overview of the process and off to "sleep" I go as they proceed to stick a camera up my butt (I mention that the drugs they used for the procedure were fantastic). The next thing I remember as I come out of my colonoscopy slumber is the following conversation:
Nurse: Is this your husband?
Christine: Yes he is.
Nurse: He's keeping a secret from you.
Christine: (Holds my hand and gently caresses my hip.) Hi honey. How are you feeling?
Joe: I feel great. Is it over?
Christine: Yup. You did great. Oh by the way...I hear you are keeping a secret from me.
Joe: Yea. I bought $600 worth of Litecoin on Friday and it's now worth about $1900 in three days. I was going to surprise you with a trip around the world about five years from now. We're going to be rich.
Christine: Oh is that it? (Nurse and Christine laugh)
On the drive home, Christine said that I was mumbling on the hospital bed about how I was keeping a secret from my wife. The dang nurse "dropped a dime on me"! The moral of the story is...the person that drives you home from a colonoscopy should be a friend that can keep a secret because nurses can't keep a secret.
By the way...I don't think we're traveling any time soon. Litecoin is currently at $44 per coin. (April 8, 2017)
Second moral of the story...please see you doctor for regular physicals and check-ups. The best way to beat an illness or disease is early recognition. But what the heck do I know...I'm only Joe.
Historically, a campus wide "Welcome Back" event to celebrate the beginning of the new semester is held on Thursday prior to the beginning of the semester at Bakersfield College. The Spring 2020 gathering was no different. Several hundred students, staff, faculty and administrators filled the Performing Arts Center. The agenda is usually several individuals presenting information and data of past accomplishments and upcoming goals...but this "Welcome Back" event was a bit different.
A large portion of the event was dedicated to "Active Shooter" training. It started with a video produced by the Sandy Hook Promise. You can watch the video below.
Although powerful and emotional, I was enraged. I was now sitting in the middle of hundreds of emotionally dazed students and colleagues. The theater that was originally filled with anticipation for the beginning of the Spring 2020 semester was now filled with students and colleagues thinking to themselves, "I'm going to die", "We are destined a horrible disaster" and "It's not a matter of if...but WHEN".
We live in the greatest country in the world. Our freedom provides opportunities for individuals to prosper, but freedom also comes with a price. Our free society also provides opportunities for individuals to commit illegal or horrible acts of violence. "Crazy" or "Emotionally Disturbed" can not be legislated away without abolishing freedoms. As a matter of fact, it's difficult to identify how or why a "disturbed" individual thinks because they are "disturbed". Why would people fly planes into the Twin Towers? Why would a person shoot towards hundreds of concert goers in Las Vegas? Why would a person shoot church goers in Charleston, South Carolina? Psychologists, academics, and law enforcement investigate post-mortem in the hopes of preventing future tragedies. There may be a few patterns or behaviors that were exhibited prior to the horrible event. Maybe he (Yes, most violent acts are committed by males) played violent video games, raised in a home without a father, was addicted to drugs, was abused as a child, listened to violent music or did not take his prescribed medications. But as science has shown us, correlation is not causation. Unfortunately, this also means that will be more shootings in the future and we will not be able to prevent future events.
But I digress, this is not why I was enraged. I was enraged because people simply don't understand basic math and probabilities. Magician, Penn Jillette says, "Las Vegas was built for and by people that are really bad at Math." If we simply look at the probabilities of a shooting event at Bakersfield College or any school in the city of Bakersfield, the odds are extremely LOW. Students, staff, faculty and BC Administrators have a higher probability (although still extremely low) of being attacked by a mountain lion on the Panorama Bluffs. Are students and staff provided training against mountain lion attacks? Of course not, "What are the chance of that happening to any of us"? This is my point!
An active shooter or a mountain lion attacks are equivalent to winning the lottery. As a matter of fact, studies show that school shooter simulations do much more harm than good to the psyche of kids.
Here is a tip that has saved my life, my family's lives and the lives of others...and it only cost about $5.00: Drum roll please...a tire gauge. Data from US Department of Transportation reported 738 deaths in 2017 due to tire malfunction. Checking our tires is cheap, simple and quick. But let's not worry about things and events we can actually save lives versus random acts of chaos and violence.
By the way, our world and country are currently in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. If you still believe adults are competent in math, take a look at social media posts and see how great adults are at interpreting data and graphs. But what the heck do I know...I'm just Joe.
I am a husband, father, son, brother, uncle, friend and Biology professor. We are on this Earth for a limited amount of time. Let's think, laugh and love.