Monday, December 31, 2007

Supporting the Government

As 2007 draws to a close and 2008 dawns, I have reason to be excited about the prospects of 2008. First and foremost on my list of things to be excited about, is that within the next month, I will be taking the Oath of Allegiance and becoming a full fledged American citizen and with it, the ability to vote and make a difference.

I did have cause to pause as I read through the final set of questions that I need to answer prior to taking the oath. One stuck out in my mind as a potential problem. I forget the exact wording (at least for the parts that don't matter) but basically it asks about my support for the form of Government in the US. Initially alarm bells went off, because I'm do not like the current administration at all, but then I realized that my support needs to be for the form of government, and not for the government itself.

The form of government in the US is best described in the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln.

"Government of the people, by the people, for the people"

I support a free and publically voted-in form of government, as specified in the founding documents. I don't think the current government has the best interests of the American People at heart, but as a citizen I can change it how it was supposed to be changed, by letting my voice be heard in a general election.

I will be proud to be an American, aside from the shame of Iraq, The President's involvement in the North American Union and the assistance we have given in destabilizing the middle east. All topics for blogs in 2008!


Friday, December 28, 2007

The Problem with 9/11 Conspiracy Theories

Have you ever done any research into the conspiracy theories around 9/11?

I was on wikipedia a while back and thought it could be a fun topic to look into.

Usually conspiracy nuts put together these theories based on a lot of assumptions and paranoia. They're fun to read, just because they provide a window into the mind of a nut job.

The problem with the 9/11 conspiracies, or at least most of them, is that they make way to much sense. I'd like to think that we have a government that has integrity and will always do the right thing, but quite frankly they have proved anything but over the past decade or so.

My opinion on 9/11 - Something stinks!

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Urban Christmas Message

I spent most of last week trying to think of something to blog about. Nothing seemed to come to mind, although being brain dead didn't help much either.

I thought that with the holidays now upon us, I might give put together a Christmas message. I have a few other thoughts today, the North American Union, Government corruption, but I have no doubt that will all still be around after the New Year.

I stated a few months ago that I consider myself an agnostic mormon christian with deist influences. At this time of year, perhaps it might be handy to explain what I mean by that...

I get a little tired of religeious zealots who claim to speak for God, or use their faith to feel that somehow they are superior. If you're not sure what I mean by this, just go hang out at your local Deseret Book and enjoyed the arrangant pioty of many of the patrons.

I've come to realize that faith is a myth as is what we think religeon is. Faith and Religeon get people to fly planes into buildings and wipe out other cultures.

I don't know much, but I have somethings I know and some things I suspect. The things I suspect would appear to be inline with my experience in life.

I know there is a God out there who put our whole existence together. It couldn't have happened by chance. Each one of us here on earth were created by him and have within us the same potential.

He is not a vedinctive God who meddles in every aspect of our lives. We're in this situation to learn and he leaves us alone to do that.

A few weeks back I went to a display of nativity scenes at a local church. Interestingly enough, while all the scenes possessed the same basic message, each had cultural differences. I saw a white Jesus, a black Jesus, an eskimo Jesus and even a Japanese Jesus. Once of the biggest questions I got asked when I was a missionary in the black areas of Southern Africa was... Why is Jesus always shown as a white man?

Here's my thinking, and as I start, this is one of those things I suspect. The story of Jesus, is a story of a personal spiritual understanding within each of us. I won't describe at length my thoughts on this, but I don't think he is a being outside of ourselves who controls out lives and determines if we go to heaven or hell. Someone who reads this blog often refers to those who believe this, as those having an invisible friend. I share that skeptical view. Someone else I know talks about those that hear voices in their heads - That's actually a sign of schizophrenia!!

But I digress. In the Old Testament, the supreme being often refers to himself as the great "I am". So if I were to ask you, who is God, and/or who is Christ, I guess it would be correct to answer... "I am" Now that most of you want to stone me for blasphemy....

I think the story of Christ is a personal story. It is a story of something that happens within us. It cannot be decribed in words or anything like that. Accepting Christ is more that just saying something and living your life with an imaginary friend. It is a journey, it is a state of mind.

I believe in Christ. I believe in me. I believe that we all hold within us the power of God. I also believe that you have the right to believe whatever you would choose to believe.

So at this time of year for celebration and renewal, I would like the time to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year. For some it may be a chance to celebrate Kwanza, Channukah, the Winter Solstice or any other number of festivals. But when all is said and done, it's a time of celebrating who we are, and those around us, and the chance we have to become something better.

May you enjoy whatever way you choose to celebrate this season and do so surrounded by those you love and care about!

Friday, December 14, 2007

It was the best of times...

and then it was also the worst of times. This week has been one of extreme highs and extreme lows.

I'm writing this blog whilst waiting for the Excedrin to kick in, and psyching myself up to go and change the front wheel on my car, which at this point is about as flat as it can get. To help matters, the trunk is loaded with stuff for christmas and an assortment of other crap which will have to be moved into the back seat. I'll also have to stop by Walmart on the way home to get it repaired. Of the last 5 visits to Walmart, 4 have really sucked - Maybe today they can break their losing streak!!

There have been some good things though... I met with the immigration service this morning and had my application for citizenship approved, now all that remains is for me to go to a swearing in ceremony sometime in the new year, and then I'll be a full fledged American. It was looking a little doubtful last night as I went to my wallet to pull out my green card, and realized that 2 weeks ago I put it somewhere safe and promptly forgot where that was. Having spent half of the night ransacking the house, I was able to finally track it down to the in-laws house a little after 6am this morning. I suspect that may be why I have a head-ache now!

Have to see how the rest of the day plays out. I really want to go and see the Golden Compass tonight, but with the way things are looking this may have to be one of those solo experiences, since Mrs Koda ain't too motivated to go.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I am having the crappiest of days... I would share why it sucks so bad, but personally I don't think you really want to hear about it, and most of it is stuff I'd rather not have pasted all over the internet. Not that sharing it with 2 occasional readers is "All over the internet", but...

Anyway, so we had a work party yesterday at the Olive Garden. My wife has been begging me to take her there for a few years, and it's kind of turned into a game...

Anyway I never used to be an Italian Food guy... Then I went to Macaroni Grill and Carabbas and found that I love Italian Food. My experience at the Olive Garden has made me realize that I love expensive Italian food, not the cheap crap produced by Fazoli's, Olive Garden and places like that.

One of the waiters was really good. The rest really sucked. The thing that got me was that apparently there was an automatic 18% gratuity added. I have a problem with this. I'm a big tipper... If I get a good waiter, I usually leave at least 20%. I've been know to leave more for exceptional service. But the thing is that a few times I've been involved big group events the service is horrible, and they still expect the gratuity - well actually they take it, not leaving the option.

Anyway that's my whine for the day... It's actually the least of my concerns, but fairly safe to share online I think.

Anyone want to get their husband a really cool hunting dog for Christmas? I'm getting tired of the wife complaining about him, and he got hold of the wire to the AC unit yesterday... That's going to cost me...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tool and the Golden Compass

I've been really slacking on this blog the last week or so. I think I've been averaging about 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night as well, so you should probably just be grateful that I have spared you the paranoid ramblings of a bitter and fatiqued old man....

So let me begin with a report of the Tool concert held in Salt Lake last week. I went with a very good friend of mine. His wife found out about the concert but opted not to go. She then called my wife who shares the feeling that Tool are evil and Satanic and she was more than happy to let me go with him, rather than her.

I went with pretty low expectations. A review of one of the first shows of their current tour categorized it as the worst concert the reviewer had ever seen. Based on their comments, I could see some of their critisizms, but it was definitely not a bad show.

We sat in the cheap seats, but they ended up right on the side of the stage, and we could look backstage and see everything getting setup and ready to go, including the artists.

Opening Act was Trans Am. They don't have many lyrics, actually, only one song had a few lyrics which I couldn't hear because they were mixed through some voice altering equipment. They weren't bad at all, although as I looked at the bass player, I thought... Here is a guy that probably got beat up every day in high school, and now has an arena full of people cheering for him - funny how life turns out.

Tool was incredible. It was loud. So loud my ears where still ringing 3 days later, but the mixing was excellent and so even though loud, it sounded really good. They only played about 7 or 8 songs but when songs last well over 10 minutes, you can do that. Maynard was to the left of the drum set, which was I think why the reviewer that didn't like the show was upset. I had the perfect seat to watch him. I suspect they may have been seated on the other side.

Tool is an amazing band. The drum kit itself was like nothing else I have ever seen, and the drummer made it look effortless. Both the lead and bass guitar not only played guitar, but there was a foot organ and a small keyboard that one of them used as well, and I could see the other guy well, but I suspect he may have had similar extra equipment. Maynard James Keenan was amazing. He has a phenomenal voice and flexibility like no-one else. He did stay pretty hidden, but I think he did it so that he didn't dominate the stage, rather that was done by the guitarists and the drummer - Wonder if he is a humble man? That's my take on it anyway. The lights, video and other effects where really good. They may have been better than Def Leppards, except Def Leppard mixed live shots of the show in. Most of the video for Tool included video clips from their songs. Mase me interested in the inspiration for their music. I think there is a lot of eastern influence as well as talk about spiritual connections we share.

If they come back to Salt Lake any time soon, I'll be there again - maybe with earplugs though. Kudo's to the E-Center parking people and West Valley City. The concert was over at 11 and I was home well before midnight - Can't complain about that!!

Finally, I've started sending replies to everyone who feels compelled to warn me about the Golden Compass. It comes out on Friday. I'll be seeing it Saturday, hopefully having finished the book as well. From what I can tell, a major theme in the book is that Lyra using the compass as a way to find truth is going up against a very corrupt theocracy. When you look at it in that light, I guess it's easy to understand why all the religious zealots are out to boycott the film - Imagine the nerve of Pullman, trying to inspire people to seek the truth - BASTARD!!