Sunday, April 27, 2014

A visit to the dentist is not an option-6

After a few minutes when the injection was administered, I lost all sensation in that part of the mouth. And then the procedure started and it is really not fun that you have to keep open your mouth for an hour or so only moving it when you have to rinse out the garbage in your mouth that has been left due to the work done. Despite this procedure and all the pain affiliated with it, I am so stubborn to not take care of my teeth (but I will now). At the end of the procedure, I did the rinse and had to take another of those evil X-rays in the mouth to make sure that everything is okay and they keep it in their records. I just pray that there is some solution to taking X-rays in the mouth and they invent a machine so the X-rays can be taken from the outside, there really has to be some way. Since by the look at my face and also the experience of the dentist, he prescribed me some antibiotics and prescription strength painkillers. I asked them if I can use some other painkillers which are less potent and they said yes. As for the antibiotics, I thought that I would not need them. After that I left the office and went home. As the numbness and anesthesia wears off then you start to feel a little bit uncomfortable and for that you can take over the counter painkillers. But if you don’t want to take painkillers, just wait for a while and the pain will go away as the time passes by.

A visit to the dentist is not an option-5

And after a while the regular ordinary painkillers are no longer effective as your tooth may cry out for more radical steps like actually going to the dentist and get that tooth fixed. Although it is never fun to visit your dentist but when it is really early in the morning, then it is harder especially if you have not anything to eat or drink before you arrive at the dentist's office. My stomach was making noises that it needs food while my tooth was saying that I am first in line to be taken care off. Two competing conflicts but you know that your tooth will win since the food has to go through your mouth and if your mouth is hurting, stomach fulfillment takes a back seat. So here I was in the dentist office waiting for my time to get under the drill. First I was numbed for the first part of my long ordeal of deep cleaning; I had never heard it before as cleaning is done without any anesthesia. This procedure is called deep cleaning (as I was told by the hygienist) and it involves numbing the side of mouth where it is being done and then going deep behind your gums to clean. And I was told that I should take care of my teeth as it is not fun to do it every time. It took approximately an hour to finish this procedure and when it was done, I was told to rinse and wait for my root canal as that side was already numb but the dentist gave me some more injection as he feared that the numbness would wear off by the time he is done with the root canal treatment.

A visit to the dentist is not an option-4

So what brought me to this unholy topic of the dentist? Well last time when I wrote it, it was just about visiting them and getting the stupid x-ray done which was a torture but this time I had made appointments because I want to get over this delaying tactics of fixing my tooth once and for all (at least for a number of years). And I believe and I am afraid I will become a frequent visitor to the dentist till all this is sorted out and I have to extremely brave and stubborn about. There is no way it can continue for me like this that I go to the dentist in fits and starts and every time there is pain I have to go. I should be following the phrase “Prevention is better than cure". And I have to stick it to the tooth monster (instead of the tooth fairy) which have been haunting my nerves for quite a number of years. So what has brought me to this topic let me guess and your guess can be as good as mine, as I had to get a root canal treatment after waiting for it for a long time. Not a good idea as it can hurt your ears and rest of the face not including the pain you suffer when you have to eat on the other side and if your food does venture into the affected area of the teeth you are in deep pain and the painkillers that you take as a remedy is just a temporary reprieve from the excruciating pain that you are battling with.

A visit to the dentist is not an option-3

I can grudgingly go to the dentist and sit through the torture but the most thing I hate is when they take the X-ray of your mouth. The dentist asked me that am I allergic to some drugs and I said I am only allergic to the X-rays that he has to take by putting tiny x-ray things in my mouth. Every time he does that I am almost in a nauseating mood. I don’t know maybe it is the X-ray itself when my tongue touches it that I have this kind of feeling. And I asked the dentist that if there is any machine that can take the x-ray without inserting it in my mouth and he said no. Very surprising considering I believe that millions of x-rays are done each year of the mouth and we have to sit through this torture or maybe some people's tongue can be controlled but I cannot control mine as it just moves in the direction where the x-ray sheet (or whatever you call it) is placed. Even the music and the television that is placed in the dentists' office to sooth and calm your nerves does not work for me as I am too much involved in what is happening inside my mouth. It may be a distraction to other patients but I highly doubt it as I am sure that the patients want to leave as fast as possible once their dental work is done. Nobody wants to stay around in a dentist office one minute more than necessary and I am the first to leave it and the last to enter.

A visit to the dentist is not an option-2

There is nothing good about going to the dentist as you dread going to your dentist in the first place and even the thought of you visiting and having some instrument drill you in your mouth is not a thought that you want to cherish. I mean who wants to hear buzzing sound in their mouth and also the pain that comes with it. You know you can have anesthesia in your mouth and that is just the start of the pain as the oral anesthesia does not work that better and then they dentist have to inject you with more anesthesia to make sure the side he/she will be working on does not feel any pain and he/she can do their work without fighting off the patient or hearing them scream. And it hurts when the anesthesia is being administrated but when your face becomes frozen rock solid then you can relax because the dentist can do their work in peace and quiet. Another thing is that you have to keep your mouth open for most of the time and when some work is done, and then you have to rinse and open your mouth again for some more pleasure. I know it is our fault that we don’t take care of our teeth as much as we should do so there is no reason to say that you would not pay the price of getting your mouth worked on. I am all saying this from experience as I don’t go there as frequently as other people do but when I start it does equal the number of visit that other normal do in years.

A visit to the dentist is not an option

No matter how hard I try and how long I stay away, there is no getting around going to a dentist. I try to avoid it for years (not a very good idea) but when you are eating every day of your life, there is bound to be a time when you may have developed some cavities or need a root canal treatment or extraction of a bothersome tooth or just taking out that wisdom tooth which is hurting your gums. I don’t want to gross you out on this but that is what you have to do when you are hurting in your teeth and if not treated can be very painful and supremely uncomfortable. Between the root canals treatment, extraction, cleanings and general pain, I have feel it all and it is really never ending because of the eating habits that I have developed over the years (not nice). But although I may not have the best teeth in the world, I can say in my defense that not even the best teeth in the world can go without visiting a dentist once or twice each year. And every time I visit my dentist (recently it is like a regular trip) I am reminded to brush my teeth twice a day (which I do ) and floss my teeth (which I am having a hard time to follow through but I will hopefully soon). I really hate to go to a dentist since it is just a hassle in terms of the pain that I have to endure (and I am sure everybody does too).

Juvenile Crimes-3

I am not sure about giving death penalty to Juveniles since I will not know under what circumstances they have committed a crime and I would not want them to be incarcerated in an adult institution until they turn 18. But before all this happens we as a society should reach out to these kids before they do something stupid which they regret for the rest of their lives. How do you reach to these skeptical kids who may have broken homes or other calamities that have scared their youth to such an extent that the crimes they commit does have not any effect on them as they believe that they are paying back to society what was done to them when they needed help. It is this angry attitude towards society that sometimes drives these kids to kill and rob other peaceful citizens. And it maybe only one of the reasons for these kids to act out. When you see sometimes these kids in handcuffs with the face down, it really saddens that they have just thrown their life away for a few moments of supposedly ''happy moments''. I know that sometimes these juveniles are treated as adults due to the nature of the crimes they commit. But I believe that it is better to reach out to these kids who have been supposedly abandoned by society but why we have to reach at this point when we can have the opportunity to intervene and help these kids in trouble before they create trouble and become a liability to society.

Juvenile Crimes-2

Although everybody or at least the overwhelming number of my readers will disagree with my assessment but I believe that young people at least the age of 15, should they do anything that leads to more serious crimes that lead to murder, injury or robbery should be tried as an adult. If you see the faces of these Juveniles, most of them do not show any remorse or any kind of guilt that what they have done. I have seen some kids with a face which does not show any kind of worry about their life in prison and even when they are sentenced, they don’t reflect upon what they have, some just say sorry like it will bring back the lives of the loved ones killed or recovered from injury or just the fact that they may have terrorized people while robbing them. Here the critics will come in and blame the atmosphere these kids were raised in or some other excuse to partially attribute their behavior. I guess that, although I am not a doctor, lawyer, psychologist or any of the professional who assess the mental capability of individuals, I believe that most of these Juveniles (I am saying here most and not all) know exactly what they are doing, but am not sure if they have already figured out the consequences especially in the case of the above mentioned case. But I do say that if you are robbing and are ready to use deadly force to get what you are supposed to get then they should be tried as an adult regardless of whether they are Juveniles or not (ages 15 to 17).

Juvenile Crimes

This subject was prompted by a crime committed by a 16 year old in New York, The crime allegedly committed by the young man was that he set an apartment on fire and when the cops responded, they were engulfed with flames and fell unconscious and recently one of the two cops died due to it. The suspect has confessed that he was bored so he started the fire. And this is just one allegedly perpetuated by a Juvenile. Every day you pick up the newspaper, read or watch it on the internet or on the television and you see Juveniles as young as 13 doing bad things and taking law into their own hands and then they don’t feel a bit of a remorse of what they are doing since they think that they will either not be caught and if caught will be dealt with lightly since they are below the legal age. And this kind of impunity on the minds of young folks sometimes drives them to do things which are not the norm for the age. I can understand that a mind of a 13 or 14 year old cannot comprehend the consequences of the actions they take but what about the minds of Juveniles who are 15 years to 17 years of age, do we also consider their minds to be confused when they commit some crime? Who decides that the actions of this age of Juveniles do not fall under the jurisdiction of crimes committed by a knowing adult? Why we don’t treat them as adults and not as Juveniles if the crime is as heinous as murder or something that leads to murder?

Localized Criminals

You that in the real estate there is a thing called location and also in the retail business, location is all that counts. And there is also the saying that if you want real estate, there is no more knowledgeable about the area as your local real estate agent. And nobody can be your best guide than your local resident, so the same goes with localized criminals, especially when you are travelling outside your area of residence or familiarity. If you are overseas there is this added problem of not speaking the language as sometimes you may get lost and may need help from local people and as in every country there are good and bad people and so you can get victimized by the local criminals who knows the area well enough to hide after committing the crime or just give you the wrong direction so that you get lost and get victimized. I am highlighting this issue here as many people in their naivety fall victim to unscrupulous people who happen to be preying on the tourists. Granted there are more good people than bad ones but unless you get to know them better, a caution should be in place while traveling not only locally (in an area not your place of residence) but also overseas. I know that people do take precautions but there may be some moments when you become overzealous about learning something new about the place and then you may fall victim to some shady elements who may know the area. So take abundance of caution travelling especially when you are in a place where the language is not English or your native tongue.

The memorization game

I have noticed that people have really good memory when it comes to memorizing lyrics of a song or something like that. I have seen people listening to a song and sing along with them. On the streets they are mimicking what their favorite singers are singing the songs and also watched some concert footage where the people sing lyrics along with the singers. Sometimes it seems like they have written the songs themselves since they look very good and impressive repeating all the words in the lyrics correctly. And as usual I remember the lyrics too (but not all of it) of a song that I like and my family does too. And I am guessing (and rightly so) that most of the families have the same type of memorization game that they learn the lyrics and then boast it to their friends or sing along with them. I really don’t have anything against people memorizing the lyrics of the songs and how fast they repeat it with increasing precision. I am only intrigued by how they are so in tuned with the lyrics of the songs but can't remember other more important historical or scientific events with that kind of memorization. It can be that the people are not that much interested in such events to merit memorization or find it very boring to stop at the first reading. It also shows that people have good memory skills but they are not utilizing it to memorize good scientific facts as they have to capacity to do it but they chose not to.

The ongoing tests in life

Our life is full of tests and we don’t even know it sometimes that we are in a test until afterwards or not even at that time. The biggest tests we face are the patience of what we do or cannot do in life. Our patience is tested in more ways and on a daily basis. We have to patient to take our turn and we sit patiently in traffic to reach our destination. We are tested in the form of our rebellious kids and also when we have to wait in the doctor's office and also leave our office at the end of the day. Although human beings are always in a state of hurry but circumstances and other pressures of society and also things being not under our control makes us feel that we are in testing ground. Then the other test we face is the test of temptation. In every step of the way, we are tested that sometimes it shakes our faith. There is so much temptation out there that if you are not careful you will be committing sins and doing bad things left and right. You are constantly juggling whether to cross that line to sin or just restrain yourself for future rewards. It is just a test of your faith and your resolve that you don’t do certain things that some other people will find tempting to cross that red line for instant gratification. And the biggest result of the test will when we meet our maker in the Day of Judgment (yes I do believe in it as I know some don’t). So if we want to make sure that we get a passing grade on these ongoing tests in life to be successful in the afterlife (yes again I do believe in it), we have to control our ego, personal preferences and temptations in control.

On the lighter side-Movies-The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) - Ben Stiller

A guy who daydreams about fantasies in adventure and romance takes real action when his and his friends jobs are threatened travelling all around the world in this somewhat uneven mix of fantasy and action. A remake from a movie previously made. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The Nut Job (2014-Animated)

A rebellious squirrel of a park is banned from entering it and gets entangled with some crooks running a nut shop across a bank in this family friendly animated movie. It is fun for everybody. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Ride Along (2014)-Ice Cube, Kevin Hart

A school security guard in order to impress his girl friend goes on a day long lesson in real policing with his skeptical soon to be brother in law in this hilarious comedy. Recommended

Wastage of Food-2

Here in America, there is so much food wastage that it is shocking to say the least. We throw away food that could feed millions of kids and people around the world and although we are doing what we can to give food to other countries, it seems that we are wasting more of it at home and we don’t feel ashamed about it. And it pains me also when I waste food but it is not a recent phenomenon as I have been doing it all my life. I am not proud of it but this habit is hard to get rid of. But sometimes I don’t throw away the stuff just because it is past the posted expiry date as it is perfectly fine a few days after that. Things start to go wrong when you are out of the house as you eat in a restaurant where some food may not be up to your taste or not cooked to your liking, you just return it and you don’t know if it is going to thrown away or served to the next customer. And if you are travelling and buy some chips or other kinds of junk food, sometimes you don’t eat all of it and throw the rest away. In poor countries these kinds of foods are craved since any kind of food is hard to afford. But the main thing is wastage of food is a worldwide epidemic and it is not going away as more and more people going hungry while the rich and middle class people keep on wasting food and throwing away perfectly good food just because their families are unable to finish the exceedingly large portions that they have put on their plates. So my appeal (especially to me) is not to waste food.

Wastage of Food

If you eat food (every does) you may have inadvertently or on purpose left some leftovers which become a waste for other people and then that food is thrown in the garbage. And I am as guilty as anybody else in wasting food while the world at large is savoring for food in some poor country where the affordability of food is not that great. And even if you ignore the individual responsibility in the wastage of food, you can still see that the wastage goes on in all places like in restaurants, hotels, functions and a simple thing as eating out. There was a report long time ago that restaurants throw away tons of food every day which is not used at the end of the day or is just customers' leftovers. And this food is not like it is spoiled but since they want to maintain their reputation, the food goes in the garbage since it is supposedly "not Fresh" from their perspective. Our wastage of food does not include only when we are outside the house but also inside the house as we sometimes through away perfectly good food just because our tastes have changed or somebody in the household does not want it anymore. We throw away the food if it goes past even one day after expiry date as we have been trained to behave that way. Even if we have eaten a majority of food from a box, we still throw away the rest of it since it is just the crumbs or little left behind and we don’t want to be bothered with eating that little leftover.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The wealth of the few-2

Why is that it shocks people that the wealth of the few is equivalent to the wealth of billions of people when every person not even as fabulously wealthy as the billionaires can contribute to the well being of the poor by providing charity (and I am sure many people do give generous charity) then why is the world getting hungry and people are dying in the millions. It is just so intriguing that people can attack the wealthy people and argue about them to pay more taxes but where do all these taxes go and why is that people have not seen any improvement in the lives of poor people and I keep on seeing ads on television showing poor people in Africa and South America and in Asia scavenging for food in the garbage thrown out by people. And the scary part is that the disparity between the rich and poor people is getting bigger than ever. Something must be done for this huge disparity to come down, either the governments or the private sector has to step up to reduce this rich-poor gap despite spending huge amounts of money, the effort seems to be faltering. And it is the rich countries that have to bear this burden of making sure that the wealth that is generated is distributed fairly as much as possible. But distribution does not mean that you just give away the money without any accountability. It just means that the rich countries need to make sure that whatever money is being spent is used wisely so that the lives of the poor people are elevated and not just stay at the least minimum subsistence.

The wealth of the few

Recently I read a news report that the wealth of the richest 85 people equal to the combined wealth of the next 3 billion people and it just made me nauseate. It is not that I envy or am jealous of the people having that kind of wealth. Good luck to them and may they have more but what about the rest of the people, is there not any justice in the redistribution of wealth. And I am not saying that snatches from the rich and give it to the poor. The rich may have worked hard for their wealth but being a human being, does it not pain any rich person to see that all the wealth that they have should be used for the betterment of mankind at large. And in case people will say that the rich are already getting targeted by the government. I am not talking about the utterly insane stance of some politicians that earning quarter of a million or more qualifies you as a rich person. I am talking about people whose wealth is in the billions or hundreds of millions of dollars. And I am sure they are giving millions of dollars in charity but something is not right in all this situation. Either people are not getting the sustenance living or the distribution system through which millions of dollars are routed is broken or is rife with corruption. Even with all the sincerity involved in charity distribution, more and more people are getting hungrier and living on less than 2 dollars a day.

Baby Shower

Last week I attended a baby shower in honor of one of the ladies from my in-laws side. As the location where the occasion was being held was almost 60 miles, we despite our efforts left home late but Thank GOD there was no traffic as we just barely made it in time. You know I am a big fan of appetizers and I wanted to reach as soon as possible so that I don’t want to be confronted with leftovers. But luckily when we reached there, the appetizers were there and were getting replenished too so I took some and sat down at my seat. With the entire festive mood going on, the function started after some prayers and well wishes for the coming baby. Lunch was served before all the festivities started. As I am meat lover (and not ashamed to say it) I took my chicken and beef stuff and ate it as I was getting a bit hungry. In case if anybody do not know about Baby Shower, it is just a get together either arranged by the woman's or the man’s' family side where the expectant mother (and father) is showered with gifts for them to cope with their new arrival and increase in family number. Some couples register with some baby store for the items they want and then the guests can just go in the website or the store to give that present or buy it for them. So after eating lunch, there were some picture taking, cutting of the cakes and distribution of goodies amid the sound of music and laughter and around 3.30 P.M. everything was wrapped up and we headed towards our home.

On the lighter side-Movies-The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)-Luke Evans, Orlando Bloom

The journey continues in this sequel to the first hobbit and prequel to the lord of the rings movie as our heroes go the lonely mountain to tackle a dangerous dragon. Although the movie was long but it never became boring for me. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Paranormal Activity: The Marked ones (2014)

The same old found footage movie now targeted towards Spanish speaking audience but with English dialogue. Although this movie was scarier than the ones targeted towards the English speaking audience but you get tired after a while to see this whole thing again and again. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-August: Osage County (2013)-Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts

A father's funeral brings back kids back to their father's house and to their intolerable and hard to get along mother in this intense family drama. All great actors involved did a superb job. Highly recommended.

On the lighter side-Movies-Grudge match (2013)-Robert de Niro, Sylvester Stallone

Two aging boxers get back together to have a final fight of sorts in this sometimes funny comedy movie. It is an okay time killer movie, nothing much. Not Recommended

How people relieve stress

You know that stress is the most common affliction that people have all over the world. And because of stress, you can become sick pretty easily, your whole body aches and you are unable to think straight and there are countless ways you can get stressed out like not reaching your place of work on time, not completing your work within a deadline, losing a game, financial stress, stuck in traffic, being late for a some function or occasion., some house work that stresses you out because you have not done it and even some family members whom you love can make things worse for you because you care about them. No matter what you do or even not do can affect your stress level and hence your health, eating habits, your mood and your temperament. That is why people can see right in your face and say that you are in a stress or you announce yourself that you are in a stress or stressed out because of some issue. And different people use different methods to relieve their stress. Some try to lie down in a water full of tub and relax. Some takes drugs to relieve their stress (not a very smart choice), some just get message or just open the Television to watch some shoes or sports, some use music to calm their nerves, some eat when they are stressed and some starve them and some just go to sleep not worrying about their stress. But whatever you do to relieve your stress, you will lose one stress and gain one more including the mother of all stresses-Financial. But that does not mean that you should not relieve your stress because if you don’t, the stress will kill you.

Food and Entertainment

If you are like millions and maybe billions of people around the world, you may or have developed a habit for eating something and watching or reading with one or both hands. When we as a family go to watch movies, we have to get big popcorn and a big cup of soda to go with it. It is just the experience of going to the movies that you cannot just sit idle and watch the movies without eating and drinking something. And it happens to me often as I sit on the computer and watch or read something and has in handy some snacks like chips, chocolate or drinks in hand and even when I am done eating and drinking, after about half an hour I get up and search for something else to eat with my entertainment. And this habit is not confined to me but to my whole family and I am sure many people also follow the same habit. Food and Entertainment has become synonymous with each other as you see that major sports and any kind of gathering where you are watching something, food and drinks are sold and served religiously. Food is as much of an entertainment as the Entertainment is about food. And that is why the rate of obesity is increasing not only in the U.S. but also around the world as we consume more entertainment sitting down and then gobbling up food then getting up and doing a little bit of exercise. But you know what an entertainment without eating or drinking something does not seem like an entertainment as we constantly keep on nourishing our body. So don’t stop mixing food and entertainment as it is unsustainable as I have experienced and so you have too.

The creeping Talibanization of Pakistan

Since 9/11, Pakistan has been witnessing increasing instances of the phenomena called Talibanization. By Talibanization I mean the people who are fighting the state and government of Pakistan and trying to impose their own version of the Sharia (Islamic Laws) which they see as the only solution to bring the increasingly corrupt society of Pakistan under control. And this means intolerance for any type of minorities which are mandated and required by Islam for full protection. And due to the increasing intimidation by the Taliban in the name of Islam and all the funding coming from Arab countries, people who were already very conservative and religious (in their own minds) have started to change their attitude by becoming more like the Taliban without knowing what they are doing. The breathing space for minorities is every shrinking as people increasingly view the Taliban version of Islam as the correct version and hence their salvation in afterlife. It is the intolerance of the people that has become the hallmark of the Taliban and also the increasing media coverage given to their people and their representatives have made them instant heroes in the eyes of the citizens. And the Taliban side of the story with their Anti American stand resonates with the people of Pakistan and they are increasingly being brain washed into believing what the Taliban are saying. And the government of Pakistan is either not doing anything or is unwilling or incapable or in some cases helping the Taliban in order to save their own skin. Whatever maybe the case, the government and the people will continue to fall under the fall of the Taliban and that is going to be dangerous situation for the world as Pakistan is a nuclear armed state.

Crime, statistics and underreporting-2

In some countries and even in advanced ones, the most heinous crimes sometimes get unreported. Rape is the most obvious of the crime that remains underreported in most developing countries and sometimes in developed ones too. Rape has been used as a powerful weapon for centuries and it is happening now but the shame associated with rape does not allow some woman to come forward and accuse somebody of rape even if they know that the person did it. Then stigma associated with it in a society and how some woman ask for it by dressing provocatively or suggestively does not help the rape victims and the low rate of conviction in case of rape cases in some countries deter many women to come forward and register cases against the accusers and suffer in silence rather than be ridiculed or emotionally abused by the media and the larger public in the society. Child abuse is another one of the crimes that are reported not immediately but even years and decades later on as the child is too traumatized or confused or scared to report it to the authorities. I don’t even want to dwell on this issue much as even the thought of writing about it makes me nauseating and disgusting. I am saying here that there are crimes which never get reported including some financial crimes which take years to come to the front so when you see statistics about a crime, it does not mean that all the crime has been reported. It just means that the crime was actually reported to the police and it may or may not reflect the true number of crimes done in an area.

Crime, statistics and underreporting

I keep on reading crimes not only from the United States but also sometimes around the world and it is interesting to note that different countries have different crime rates based on the geography and makeup of the population. In a homogenous country like Japan, Sweden, Norway, crime is low and in countries where there is multi culture ethnicities crimes tends to be high (here I am not saying that minorities are responsible for the high crime rate as the United States have been witnessing declining rates in recent years). But crime tends to be high where there are more than one ethnicity lives as tensions rise over jobs, discrimination or general attitude towards them lead to hopelessness and despair. And the crime you can call one is perceived differently by people who are desperate for financial help or justice. Then there are crimes which are financial in nature, petty crimes or major crimes. And sometimes if you have a hostile community who perceive the government and the police as their enemy even don’t cooperate with them. Hostility towards police and authority in general makes any kinds of government released statistics a suspect even if it has the best of intentions. Statistics are only as good as reported and if you don’t report a crime or a happening then the statistics will remain either incomplete or will not show the true picture of what is happening. And this is the case when some person is a victim of crime and they have either had a bad experience with Police, does not trust them or just believe that he/she will not get justice or it is just a waste of time or get into more trouble with them that they don’t report the crime and either suffer in silence, takes precaution for the next time or just take revenge themselves.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Why GM?-2

I am not very happy with any of the car makers since the recalls erodes my confidence and my reluctance to buy their cars in the future or recommend it to anybody. I mean human beings have flaws but if they would check their cars thoroughly and then sell it to the public instead of making defective cars and then wait for the damage to be done to their brand and reputation, it would have a much nicer outcome with apologies and other incentives so that the hit to your reputation can be buttressed. Especially GM who got billions of dollars from the government and were not flying high have rendered themselves to a not a great brand reputation. As you already know that year after year the imported or foreign brand reputation has been staying on the top in car owners' satisfaction, and despite all the efforts by the American car companies they have failed to stay on top of quality of their cars. Even with the best technology available, American cars are not perceived by their customers as good as the imported or foreign ones. And if you have noticed it but the American car manufacturers in order to push the sales of their cars give you huge discounts, low or zero interest rates and other incentives to compete with the foreign cars. As I said before I was interested in GM's big SUVs but I am not sure right now as I have already written off smaller cars from American car makers. Too sad that they are still make cars that are perceived by the American public and outside the country as not reliable. When will they learn their lesson?

Why GM?

As everybody knows, GM (General Motors) of the United States was once the biggest producer of cars in the world, mostly by virtue of being in the biggest car market of the world, the United States. It was the king of the kings in terms of car production until it fell from that position during the great recession recently and had to get U.S. government bailout money. And it took some years before it got back on its feet and was going great until the recent recall of the millions of car for auto defects that has resulted in some deaths. News keep on coming out that GM knew about the problems for a long time but ignored for reasons known to them only. I have not had all the facts and the investigating is ongoing with U.S. Congress jumping into this issue. I am really speechless about this whole issue since I was planning sometime later to see if GM cars are good enough for my money. But now I am not so sure. To be fair every car company that I know of had car recall issues (see my article on Toyota recalls) and I still drive two Japanese branded cars and they did have recall issues too. But I am saying here is that GM was going great after repaying all the loans from the government. I don’t know what happened but it is not good news for them. They have again screwed up and have lost the chance to make good cars or if problems do occur, they fail to make proper and immediate attention to the problem.

Is the world doing enough to prevent genocides?

You see the world does not learn their lessons from history and keep on repeating mistakes every decade or more so in every century. There have been several genocides before the famous one of the Jews in the World War II and there have been several after that since it was assumed that no more genocides on this grand scale will be tolerated or happen in any place of the world. There was the Hutus and Tutsis Massacre in Rwanda, the Burmese Muslim massacre in Myanmar, the Haraza Shiite Muslims massacre in Pakistan and other places where the massacres are occurring on a smaller scale but there is nobody to protect them or a red line is being drawn. I have yet to see any categorization of the massacre being committed in Syria as it an ethnic war and sometimes terrorism is being crept into it and no easy solutions are there available to end it yet. The world has become a little weary about intervening in cases where they don’t see any of their spheres of interest or clear cut mandate to act. And I believe sometimes it has lost the will to hold anybody accountable until military force is used. These and countless lesser know genocides will keep on happening because some minorities do not have powerful backers. And it is very rare that voices are heard in support of them unless some celebrity in some advanced country raise a voice for them. The world has completely failed according to my opinion to prevent massacres and genocides and they not doing enough to have conditions which will be conducive to not have these genocides in the first place.

The mystery of the disappeared Malaysian Plane

As you already know by now, unless you have been off the grid for a while, a Malaysian plane disappeared over the Indian Ocean supposedly a few weeks ago and there have been no clue to suggest what happened to it. At one time nearly two dozen countries were searching for the plane and still now almost a dozen countries navies and air force planes are still for it as the mystery still deepens. Many rumors which were started before like it has landed in some parts of Asia or it was hijacked or it was some terrorist plot to blow up the plane has although died down but as the search continues and there seems to be no sign of the plane, we would never know what has happened. The Malaysian government has declared a few days ago that the plane went down in the Indian Sea. It just seems like since there is no way to determine where and how the plane got lost, that was the most logical conclusion by the Malaysian government to say that the plane was lost so that now the main task would be to conduct the search for the black box (the recording device that records the conversation between the pilots and flight data information) but it has a shelf life of 30 days after that all information in that is useless if it will ever be found. For the families of the victims, there will never be a closure as they would not know what happened and how and when it happened. There is a vast sea where the plane could have been lost and bodies drowned in the depth of the ocean. There is no graveyard to visit and wreath to be put on them. The pain that one has of what happened to their loved ones is incomprehensible and only the person in that position would know about it. The only thing we can do is the pray for the departed souls.

The lazy beast in us-2

The technology has also made us lazy too. For example instead of getting up and change the channel you have a remote control and you just change the channel or raise or lower volume or due all sorts of things without leaving your couch. We try to park our cars as near to a store as possible and now we can shop from our computer without leaving our home. Even for exercise we use treadmill and other equipment instead of using natural exercise venues like walking and climbing the stairs (well mostly we do that). Instead of using stairs, we use escalators and instead of talking on the phone we are too lazy to just text and connect on the internet instead of meeting with people physically. And this laziness has given rise to many diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity but still the beast of laziness does not get destroyed even at the cost of our lives. If we had the options to not work and get our paycheck at home, most of us would not hesitate to take that option. As you see long lines of people for lottery tickets so that you can dream about getting rich quick overnight, this is the ultimate in laziness area. And so is the gambling where people keep on trying their luck in the hopes of winning some money without working and then relaxing at the beach or home. Laziness is so addictive that no one is immune to its lure and we as human beings have been trapped into it for eternity.

The lazy beast in us

Admit it we as human beings are basically lazy. And you would not find a single argument to say that we are not lazy. Although some will say we work sixteen hours a day five or six or even seven days a week but whenever we get the chance we want to rest and sometimes this rest translate into laziness. For example when I travel in the train I see many people standing and sitting too knowing all well that they will have to sit once they reach their place of work (well at least most of the time they do sit). I try not to sit in the train when I see only two or three seats empty since I know that when I reach my workplace, most of the time the work is on the computer and for that one has to sit. But also when I am coming back from work I don’t sit because I know that I have to drive back home and sit in the car for at least twenty to twenty five minutes if no traffic and if there is then an hour or so of sitting. Although when I am in the train during the holidays especially or off rush hours and if I see some seats empty and the destination longer, it is very hard to resist not sitting. There are some places where you are not allowed to stand most of the time and they are like in airplanes or if you are going to a theme park roller coaster rides. But basically whenever we find a place to sit, we will sit no matter what. If you can leave garbage at home for more days without fear of smell, you will do it and you will also not wash your clothes till you run out of clean ones.

Doing things out of habit

You know that sometimes you do things out of habit and not force of habit. You may have developed this habit when you were growing up by getting it instilled from your parents or adopted from your friends and sometimes society forces to you follow certain rules that they develop into an unconscious habit. I will give you some examples to illustrate what I am talking about. You see when you clean your hands or take a shower, your hand immediately goes to the faucet to close it down not to waste water or not to get a high water bill (but mostly it hurts to see water go waste). Same goes with after cleaning your hand immediately goes towards drying your hand with a towel (in your home) or with a tissue or paper towel (when you are outside the house). Either way your mind is hard wired to do these things or you just never forget it even after many years. And other examples include but not limited to stopping at a stop sign (forced by the government), locking doors to our cars, looking both ways before crossing the road or street, close the television before we go to sleep and other things that we do it out of habit developed over the years. We are taught to not litter and make noise so as not to disturb our neighbors and we are forced to follow street signs and traffic laws to ensure a safe society. And sometimes if we don’t do it then we are not doing the right thing in front of many people. These habits are so die hard that nothing changes in the course of years that we live and it passes from one generation to the next. I am sure there are other habits which I have not discussed at all, but for now I was just getting my opinion across.

Finally spring is here

And not too soon either. Although I must say that it is still chilly in the Eastern and Midwestern part of the United States. Okay I love snow a lot but only when it is falling and you know that once it is falling somebody has to clean it up for people to drive and walk. And usually the town where you live in does that for you, but you still have that responsibility to clean your own sidewalk if any and also your driveway and walkway so that you are able to take out and park your car. And this winter has been extremely brutal not in terms of harsh and cold weather but the sheer amount of snow in almost every other week or sometimes twice or thrice a week has tested the patience of many people. Actually I have started to hear people hate the word snow and give you nasty looks even if you mention it. You know that what springs means now since we had this brutal weather, people will be out on the streets and kids will be playing till they see darkness. And I must admit that I and other people will enjoy this spring better than last year as snow weary people who have been cooped up in the homes with children will not want to stay much in the house on weekends or holidays. So enjoy it as much as possible because I hate to say this but winter will be upon us before we know it.

The NATO and Russia

Since Russia annexed Crimea, a debate has been rekindled regarding the role of NATO. Before this after the demise of the former Soviet Union, NATO has been struggling to find a direction for itself as it seemed out of place once the Warsaw Pact countries started to join NATO and it seems that NATO would be reduced to a smaller force doing mainly peace keeping jobs in some areas outside its jurisdiction. But after this Crimea episode, suddenly it seems that NATO has become relevant again at least for now. And during the directionless years of NATO, the countries in it kept on reducing their defense budget along with the personnel in the false hope that peace has broken out and the era of Cold war will never come back. Although the Cold war of yesteryears may not come again but this crisis have brought back memories of NATO countries to the time of that era. And what are the NATO doing right now, with its reduced expenditure on defense and the United States paying for over 75 percent of the defense expenditure (as per a report), the Europeans are again relying on the United States and as usual the U.S. is happy to pay for the defense of Europe in terms of its manpower and military might. Although the U.S. will continue to provide defense in Europe but the Europeans should also step up and increase their defense budgets because there is no greater complacency than to be deficient with your defense capabilities.

Can Crimea happen in other places?-2

Today ethnicity triumphs religion in all countries of the world. It is rare that you see religion overcoming ethnicity to be the sole reason for staying together in one place. And I fear that this event in the Ukraine can be catalyst for other minorities to assert their rights and call for autonomy if not all out independence. And if they are going to go for independence then it would not as bloodless as we have seen in the case of Crimea from Ukraine. You will need a very powerful country that can back you up in case you want to struggle for independence. And even if you want to go through a democratic process and try to get a referendum you will still need millions or even billions of dollars and powerful financial and military backers to gain independence. But this does will not deter people to go opt for this if they see that their rights within a certain country are being usurped by the majority. There are some countries where the minority is fighting for their rights either within the country or want outright independence but no one has yet had the luck to get such a powerful backer as Russia for follow it through with their dreams of independence. But that does not mean that they have stopped their struggle as the journey to a land ruled by their own is long and arduous. But I believe that if a big power can find an opportunity and know that there will be consequences which will be minimal or can be handled financially and militarily, there will be other Crimea's to follow with any kind of excuse to help them gain independence.

Can Crimea happen in other places?

As everybody knows by now, Crimea once a part of Ukraine is now part of Russia due to a referendum giving almost 90 percent or more approval to get annexed by Russia. Although the vote approval maybe controversial but the population was already overwhelmingly Russian so it was just a foregone conclusion that they want to become part of Russia. Although the Russians justified their actions stating that their Russian speaking population was being discriminated against Russia has historical ties dating back centuries to Crimea, it still did not give them the right to annex it. As I said although the vote may have been controversial but it was the basis of being again part of Russia. And the fact is that the West could not have done anything short of war. And as everybody knows, the West (especially the U.S.) is in no mood to get involved in another military adventure where most of the lives lost will be Americans. And I was surprised to see that some countries actually have supported this annexation notwithstanding the fact that they are also in trouble because of their minority ethnic population. So with this background, I was thinking that can this kind of event happen in other places, especially the ones where the majority of the population is of one ethnicity and they are being ruled by the minority or at least by people who are in the minority in their area but not in the whole country? And the answer is a bit iffy in this case.

On the lighter side-Movies-The wolf of Wall Street (2013)-Leonardo Dicaprio

The story of a Wall Street Stocker from his time of rise to his various parties and orgies to his jail time in this story of excessiveness and greed. Extremely long but highly entertaining and definitely not for kids or easily offended. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Delivery man (2013)-Vince Vaughn

A loser in life finds out he is being sued by a group of people who need to know the identity of their biological father who donated his sperm to the sperm bank in this sorry excuse for a comedy drama that really falls flat very fast. Don’t bother to look into it. Based on a Canadian Movie. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-CZ12 (Chinese Zodiac 2012)-Jackie Chan

An aging Jackie Chan, the Martial arts action star from Hong Kong goes after recovering the 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac calendar in this sequel to his previous Armor of GOD and Armor of GOD II movies. Great action sequences but clearly not better than the first and the second one. Recommended with caution.

You only live once (YOLO)?

I have heard this expression before but I heard it again on an escalator goings toward my work place, two guys were talking on either side of my escalator when one shouted you only live once right and the wheels in my brain started churning. My daughter also says sometimes like this and I don’t know if it is really true that we have only one life to live. Who started this thing and who keeps on perpetuating it? How do we know that that we have only life to live and how did we come to this conclusion. If for example we have only one life to live, do we go all crazy and do stupid things or do we live morally and help other people and do good deeds. If this is the only life we are going to live, do we then not fear any retribution for our sins and shall we are selfish and live our life the way we want to live since it is the only life we know? The truth is we know that there will be a life after death (and I know not everyone will agree with me on this) since if there is no life after death then we should all assume that the sinners will go scot free and whatever they have done in this world will not face any retribution or justice for the people who have been faulted by their actions. Yes in this world, we are here for a purpose and if we succeed in being a good human being, we should expect justice in the afterlife otherwise we are no less animals who can do whatever they want without getting punished for our sins. You may only live once in this world and that is all we know for now but after this life, we will surely face our sins and get ready for any rewards or punishments for our actions. As I firmly believe that there is life after death.

Let's talk about death-6

If you have seen the movie "faces of Death" or even if you have not seen it, you know that it is just an excuse that death is going to come in any form. You can die of cancer, some diseases, accident and number of other ways that the angel of death can get you anywhere and at any time without warning and without regard to your situation. Since we know that death is going to come anytime, why not prepare for it right away and why not embrace it when it comes. I know it will sound weird for people to hear this but you cannot escape the clutches of it. We are so involved in our daily lives and have so much future plans but we do not plan if we are not hear what would happen to that plan and who will carry on with our decisions made when we are alive. It is with all the above assessment that I started to think about death and trying to get to this inevitability. No one knows what happens after you are gone (and everybody does not but they are not allowed back into our lives). I am not preaching here but just so that you can reflect upon this eventuality. When we are born, we are in a constant race to escape death but our journey towards death starts right when we are born. Although everybody is more or less afraid of dying but it is just part of our life that we have to deal with it eventually so why be afraid from it. Just as we welcome a birth, we should embrace death whether we like or not.