Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Big Government

This isn't one of my usual topics but a friend of mine asked me to write an editorial for his page concerning big government, term limits etc.  Which, as I said, isn't one of my typical topics but I've been thinking about these issues for a long time and even read some other blog/editorial sources about these topics lately so here goes.

The problem of big government is much more convoluted that just having too many laws, not having term limits, governmental corruption etc.  I have a fairly unique perspective, being in the military and a student of foreign language and culture.  Additionally, I am currently living overseas and thereby accountable to not only US laws but local law, Status of Forces Agreements and military regulations.  So, I have the perspective of being accountable to more laws and regulations than the average person.

One of the recent blogs on this topic that I've read lately was from NPR's regular feature 13.7 Cosmos and Culture the most telling quote in the 18 June post: "Laws Of Unintended Consequence: A Warning To Policymakers."

"A law may be passed with noble intentions. but its uses inevitably stray far from its original purpose.  As the legal system evolves dynamically, laws come to serve as adjacent possible niches, typically for the benefit of the powerful and to the detriment of the powerless.  The more numerous the laws, and the heavier the sanctions, the greater the opportunity for persecution of the innocent."

Also, in a recent posting from Natural News concerning the recently proposed ban on large sodas in NYC.  The most obvious outcome from such a forward proposal is that if the government can outlaw something so personal as how much soda one drinks what else can they outlaw?  Where does the personal-life-invasion stop?  My personal thoughts on this issue actually take a different turn.  I personally think that instead of healthcare/welfare reform, we should consider health/welfare abolition.  The logic goes like this; if the government is responsible for your personal welfare then the government has every right to tell you how to live your life.

Take seatbelt laws...  NOT wearing your seatbelt (while a dumb idea, that I don't subscribe to at all) is an inherently personal decision that doesn't hurt anyone else if you don't wear your seatbelt.  Because all liberty stops when one's actions infringe on someone else's rights.  (E.g. you're free to drink alcohol, and free to drive, just not both at the same time because when one combines the two it often infringes on other's right to live, i.e. a car accident that more often than not leaves the drunk driver alive.)  So, if the government is responsible for your health, read: governmental healthcare, then the government can enforce whatever health restrictions it wants.  If there's no such thing as government provided healthcare/welfare then the government will have no (logical) right to tell you how to be healthy.

A quote Natural News sums this up quite well; "Be on red alert any time you hear, 'We're from the government, and we're here to protect you from yourself.'  These are quite possibly the twelve most dangerous words ever uttered in America. Because from this illogical and liberty-crushing premise, the government can justify any and all invasions of your privacy."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Language Learning Book Idea

I think I might want to start writing a book.  What do you think?  I really don't want to write a completely new book per se, I want to update a book that I read a few years ago that has, in some ways, been out of date for years even a few years ago when I read it.  It's called How to Learn Any Language; Quickly, Easily, Inexpensively, Enjoyably and On Your Own.  I read the book several years ago and I recently listened to an interesting podcast about language learning and it inspired me to look more into it.  Looking back a the book I realized (again) that though some of the things mentioned in the book are terribly out of date, e.g. mentions of numerous tape players including portable ones (as if they are a new development).  So I think I'd like to take on the tremendous job of rewriting the book with updated ideas like CDs, .mp3 formats, podcasts etc.  The over-arching ideas in the book are wonderful, hence the reason I'd like to update the text.  That and I think the author's ideas/methods are overlooked by many linguists and I'd like to get the ideas from the text out into the world.

There are so many obstacles to my idea...

One, I SUCK at finishing things: I started putting my wife's family cookbook into eBook format with the program iBooks Author, yeah not done yet.  I also started writing a beginner music textbook, also not done yet.  Granted, the cookbook and textbook were pretty much spur of the moment ideas that I didn't really plan out.  Of course so far this one is too!

Second, I have NO IDEA where to start!  I know that one of the most important things I should knock out first is contacting the original author and getting his permission to do this project.  I also need to get permission from the publishing company (if there is one) to do the update also.  I need to find a publishing output also, though I'm pretty sure the iBook Author program has a publishing option built into the application.

Third, I don't really know if I'm qualified to write a book even an update to a book.  I know it doesn't technically require any expertise to write a book but I'd like all the work I plan to put into this to do someone somewhere some good.

It reads: "Heaven (or Sky) Park" (the name of the park)
I don't particularly have any language-related photos, so I'll just post one from my trip to Korea: (yes, that was our "Adventure Dog," that I lost in Italy on my last trip to the desert)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Another Great Day

I know, I'm killing you all by constantly recounting my frequent trips to the beach but I just have to give a quick run down of my day...

This morning I went for the longest bike ride I've ever done in my life, 34.7mi all over the southern part of the island.  Then we ran some errands, got some stuff to prepare for the impending typhoon.  Then leftovers for lunch, and then left for the beach.  We just had to, the weather was too nice!  Did lots of snorkeling and just kind of sat in the ocean.  Alex is doing a great job learning how to swim and snorkel.  The rest of the day has been relatively uneventful now we're watching one of the Narnia Chronicles movies.

Back to what I was talking about the other day.  Philosophy...  I know enthralling subject matter eh?  I've found several books on the Korean book website, though still haven't sorted out the address issue so I can purchase any of them.  Found a pleasant assortment of podcasts to subscribe to about philosophy.  I love podcasts unfortunately I never seem to find enough time in my day to watch/listen to all the ones to which I've subscribed.  Still haven't found an English philosophy book but even as I write this I'm going to start searching all the ebook options I have for a good introductory philosophy book.

We didn't take any photos of our trip to the beach today but of course we have many from previous trips so here you go.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ahhh the Beach

Well, as an update on the philosophy study...  I haven't done ANYTHING!  Ha!  Well, that's not entirely true, the online Korean eBook store that I have been in contact with because I can't input my APO address because they don't have the APO AP option for the state, emailed me back about my inquiry.  Of course it took me about 30 minutes to craft a reply (I'm too OCD and have to have everything spelled correctly and I don't want to look stupid misspelling easy Korean words).

Anyways, on to more important things!  We had a nice day today, my Korean classmates and teacher all came over to our house and we grilled out and sat around chatting.  It was funny to talk to the teacher in Korean and every once in a while Rob Marion would talk about/in Japanese.  Of course Michelle doesn't speak either language so we'd have to translate some for her.  Then once everyone was gone we went to the beach.

We LOVE the beach, we'd pretty much live there if we could.  I spent nearly two full hours in the water.  The most important thing of all though, Alex (our older son), started swimming!  Michelle has been working with him on floating on his back.  Usually she always supports him for a few seconds then lets go to get him used to floating on his own.  Well, today he just started floating on his back all on his own, then he started swimming.  Of course it looked a little like drowning but he was definitely moving forward and then when he was floating on his back he started doing the backstroke all by himself without being prompted.  He wasn't scared to put his face in the water with or without his mask.  Wesley then joined in and tried using the snorkel and mask.  With Michelle's help he tried using the mask and snorkel for a while, but according to the lifeguard snorkeling isn't allowed in the swimming area.

Whatever you're doing where ever you are I hope you're having as much fun as we have on the beach. This picture wasn't taken today but it is of Wes getting the hang of snorkeling.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I may have missed my calling in life...

I read an article about East-Asian philosophy and how it's generally ignored by western philosophers.  Of course that got me on a trek to find a book on Korean philosophy written in Korean.  I still haven't succeeded but I will keep searching till I find one.  I kind of wish I had studied philosophy in school.  Of course now that I'm looking into East-Asian philosophy I see how lacking my understanding of western philosophy is.  I took a class on ethics in college and that only whet my appetite for understanding philosophy.

Honestly I don't really know where to start.  I really want to take a class on philosophy especially eastern philosophy.  I think I might try finding an iTunes U channel on philosophy.  I also need to find a good philosophy book, I've kind of gone digital when it comes to reading (don't get me wrong, I love the feel of a good paperbound book sometimes but eBooks are just so convenient.

I don't usually ask for comments... but anyone reading this have any ideas/suggestions for good teach-yourself philosophy books/sources?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Call Guinness Book of World Records!

I have officially blogged two days in a row!

You want to know what's on my mind today?  Well, if you're reading this I assume you care...  I HATE copyright law.  No offense if any of you work in that field I'm sure you can look yourself in the mirror every night after putting in a hard day's work squelching creative thought.  I'm exaggerating of course, but seriously.  The reason I've been thinking about this all day is an article we read (in Korean cir 2010) about the Korean version of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) suing Starbucks for not paying royalties.  The defense (according to the article) was that they had a contract with the American copyright company which is where the music came from so there shouldn't be any issue.  Well, apparently the court ruled in favor of the copyright company.

Then after reading the article I looked into some other examples in the US.  Apparently I was previously mistaken.  I thought that as long as you didn't have a certain number of people attend you could charge admission without having to pay royalties.  According to some of the web forums I've researched basically boil down to: if you buy a movie or song for private home use, you cannot show, watch or listen to that entertainment with anyone but your own family.  Which is disconcerting because we just bought an awesome home projector/home entertainment system and we were hoping to host many a fun movie night in our home.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Some Recent Developments

I just finished reading a blog about blogging and felt the inspiration to take up blogging some again.  I liked the suggestions there EXCEPT the one about devoting time to blogging.  I don't have the time to blog twice a day!  I do read dozens of blogs a day and I should definitely incorporate more photographs in my blog but here I am just writing what I've been thinking about.

My wife and I just  finished the movie Act of Valor.  It was decent, better than the rotten tomato ratings.  The reviews were pretty straightforward, it was mostly a recruiting movie for the SEALs.

In general though life here in Okinawa has been, simply put, AWESOME!  We go to the beach regularly, we're trying to get signed up for SCUBA lessons, I run with a nice local run club, and I've ridden once with a road-biking club.  If you don't like swimming or spending time outdoors I can kind of understand not liking living here but in general no one should ever complain about living here.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


I know I don't post very often and I wish I could, but to be honest I generally don't have anything cool to talk about.

Finally I have made it to probably the best assignment I could have.  I'm now living on the island of Okinawa.  It's pretty much a sub-tropical paradise that I've loved every minute of.  My family has also had a great time so far.  We go to the beach all the time, I've joined a small running club and biking club.  The weather here is pretty much awesome almost all the time.  It rains more than back in Omaha, Monterey or Ohio, but even the rain is pleasant.  We've gone snorkeling a few times and look forward to many more times as the water around here is wonderful.  Michelle and I are also going to try to get into a SCUBA class also.  Basically the ocean is always calling and I want to answer its call.

In general the next few years are going to be some of the best I've had.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Return Home

Well, obviously I'm not too concerned about keeping up with blogging since I haven't written in months! But, I've finally come home from being deployed. Now I'm back home getting settled in to being back home. Our three-year-old, Wesley, is taking gymnastics class. He's hilarious! One of the best in his class he makes me so proud!

It's funny, seeing my son play and have fun at gymnastics makes me want to go back to CrossFit. Might seem odd, the correlation there, but anyone who knows CrossFit knows there's lots of cool gymnastics workouts included in CrossFit. Anyways, I need to find a gym!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Language Learning

I once read the book "How to Learn Any Language; Quickly, Easily, Inexpensively, Enjoyably and On Your Own" by Barry Farber. Then last night I watched the movie "Limitless," and it got me thinking about learning languages again. I have always loved learning foreign languages! But for some reason I've never really gotten around to putting Mr. Farber's advice on language learning into practice. Now, I think since I'm deployed and I can use my free time however I want, maybe I should start back up learning another language.

Modern technology is amazing! I have at my fingertips, all kinds of great language learning tools. Now, the question is how to use them and what language to start studying.

Pros: I'm going to be living there next year so it'll be useful, it's closely related to Korean (grammatically) so it shouldn't be too difficult.

Cons: it really is actually difficult; multiple alphabets, no direct teacher to help me sort through the complexities.

Pros: beautiful language, useful throughout Europe, friend here that speaks it natively and can help, I've studied it once before so I have a head start.

Cons: no direct usefulness, no definite need/future usefulness (i.e. I doubt I'll be visiting a French speaking country any time soon).

Any other language
Pros: joy of learning a language

Cons: no plans and probably no teachers, unknown future usefulness.

Still haven't made a decision I'll post more when I decide.