On Looters

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I saw this on a website tonight – thought it was interesting. 

(discusses the evolution of looters after a disaster)

Looter+1: Don’t kill everyone, leave some alive to loot again later.

Looter+2: Plan to scare, rather than kill, your victims, so that they can continue farming and provide for your needs later. Dead victims can’t work.

Looter+3: Claim a territory and collect “protection” money/goods from the people in your territory. Tell them that in return for only taking one-third of everything they produce, you will protect them from “looters” who will take it all and kill them in the bargain. Punish anyone who holds out.

Looter+4: Call your loot taxes. You are now a government.

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my personal philosophy

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My personal philosophy on life was shaped by my parents and my life experiences upon leaving my home. These experiences have both challenged and affirmed what my parents taught me while growing up. Parts of my personal philosophy have and will remain steadfast, while others are more dynamic; they are enhanced and sometimes reversed as I experience life in today’s world.

One of the more controversial viewpoints I hold involves evolution and creation. I refuse to subscribe to either viewpoint – I don’t believe God magically made everything appear at once, nor do I believe that everything came into existence through random unguided evolution. I believe God created and utilized the mechanics of evolution in order to arrive at the universe we know now. I think it speaks more as to the power of God for him to have not only created the end result, but the process that did create the end result. Critics have said that saying we evolved from lesser organisms degrades humans, who (according to scriptures) are created in God’s image. This makes me think of a flower – it starts as a rather homely, unassuming seed, but grows into something that satisfies human aesthetics; it’s beautiful. Is the flower any less for having started as a seed?

My parents instilled in me a strong faith in Christ from childhood onward as well as the ethics that accompany said faith. These ethics define who I am, what I am willing to do and what I am unwilling to do. For instance, I hold life in general in very high regard and thus take a personal stand against capital punishment, euthanasia and abortion. I also believe people are deserving of compassion, honor and dignity no matter what their station in life.

After I moved out of the family home I came into contact with a very wide variety of people adhering to different faiths and ethics than my own. This is when I learned of the importance of tolerance and diversity. I met people who denied the existence of any gods, people who believed abortions are acceptable, people who believed very different things than I did. I also learned to accept them and live peacefully with them.

I think it more important to coexist peacefully with others than to attempt to impose one’s own views. Most people who consciously hold views (as in, have developed these views on their own, not imposed by authority) have reasons for this and most likely have considered your viewpoint before adhering to their own. There is no reason to force your views on them.

I believe in showing compassion, sharing resources and sharing what has made me believe these things. My religion is touted as intolerant and yes, I believe acceptance and the acknowledgment of Christ’s sacrifice is the only way to reconcile myself to God. I do not flaunt this, my personal beliefs are just that, personal. However, if I am asked, I will gladly share all I know and the reasons I believe the way I do.

“Trashy Cup”

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posted by Jim Ellis

It bothers me a little bit, to know that Styrofoam cups will not decompose in my lifetime.

It also bothers me that others and myself are so willing to use them.What is wrong with a good ol’ fashioned mug?

Put one in your bag. When you go to the coffee shop, use it. When you go to church, use it. When you go to work, use it.

Is polluting God’s creation with trash that doesn’t decompose, worth it?

My Top Ten Issues with Sioux City Drivers

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SUX, I have had enough of the paltry driving efforts of your vehicle-wielding populace. I will now calmly discuss the top ten road rage triggers I have found during a month in which I’ve driven all over your streets.

1. I cannot begin to count the number of times I’ve been stuck behind a Buick who insists on slowing down to 15 MPH below the speed limit at a green light. Seriously? Don’t even tell me you’re trying to be safer about the intersection; slowing down actually puts you in the intersection for a LONGER period of time.

2. If you are merging onto the interstate, please don’t slow down. And for the love of God, don’t stop your vehicle! You have absolutely NO hope of entering a lane full of cars going 70 MPH if you’re going 0 MPH!

3. Those of you who think the speed limit on Outer Drive between Hamilton and Floyd is 35 MPH, please, oh please, get a clue. After I have to slow down for you at that green light at the top of the hill, don’t add insult to injury by flying down the hill at a slick 35 mph after the light.

4. If you want to merge into my lane from an on-ramp and I don’t move over, it’s probably because I can’t. Don’t sit there with your blinker on edging into my lane until I have to either floor it or slam on my brakes to let you in. Just drop back a few lengths and merge.

5. If you’re sitting in the oncoming left turn lane (with no green left arrow) and we’re stopped facing each other at a red light, don’t try to sneak in front of me to complete your turn before I’ve cleared the intersection. Because if you do, and I don’t have my family in my car, chances are good that I’ll be forced to make a complete jackass out of myself and floor it as you try to coax your aging minivan through the turn and out the intersection before I take my right-of-way and beat you across the quarter panel with it.

6. Jaywalkers. Don’t act like I’m going to stop for you if you’re trying to cross Hamilton half a block from a crosswalk. Walk the extra half block to the crosswalk or wait for me to pass you, jerks. See the results of #5.

7. If you tailgate me, I will step on my brakes and force us both to go slower than we want to. Neither of us want this, so just don’t.

8. I’m not even going to discuss those of you who fly past traffic backed up in the left lane and then try to merge at the front of the line where the right lane is blocked. There is a special place in hell for those of you who try and pull that crap.

9. If you blatantly pull out in front of me, chances are good that I’ll ride your bumper for a few seconds until I drop back. No, it’s not right. Yes, it’s going to happen. Just be glad I’ve taken my anger management classes.

10. Do. Not. EVER honk at me for going slow (read, the freaking speed limit) through a residential area. I do it for a reason, ya jackass.

Just use your common sense. Or borrow someone else’s if you find yourself continually angering a large man in a vintage Thunderbird.

Challenge

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posted by Andy

A wise man once told me a story about a man and his house. His house was full of demons, so he set about cleaning the house and removing the demons from his house. After being banished, however, the demons gathered their friends and returned to the house tenfold in number, finding the house cleaned and empty.

The moral here is this. If you’re going to remove something from your life, replace it with something else. Don’t leave your house/life/body empty and inviting.

Now.

Go to your kitchen/local dollar store/Wal-Mart. Find/buy a cheap timer. Set said timer each time you flip your laptop open, pull your BlackBerry from your pocket or turn your TV on.

Throughout the day, write down how much time was spent jacked into the matrix that day. 2 points deducted if you keep track of your time with your BlackBerry

Set a goal for yourself to reduce that amount. Choose your own amount, but I suggest cutting it in half.

Replace time in front of a screen with something positive – call your grandmother, get some friends together at a coffeehouse, lose yourself in a forest.

What will you replace screen time with?

New City. Sort of.

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It’s been an interesting year. Summer found me managing a US Cellular store in Central City – the quitting of said job was made easier when I found out they wanted me to continue working 60 hours a week with no overtime pay.

So after putting in my application to WIT in Sioux City, IA and being accepted, we decided we’d move out of Stromsburg. We’re moving into the family housing apartments on the WIT campus and we’re super stoked.

We’ve been here in Sioux City for a little over a month and I’m (in a weird way) glad we’re staying. Our plan to move to Lincoln fizzled which bums me out a bit on account of not living in Lincoln this winter. I had high hopes of having some new-city-fun, but old-hometown-fun is just as fun. Especially since Sioux City has a Buffalo Wild Wings and Long Home coffeehouse.

Anyway, we move in next week. Sorry to all the friendships I’ve neglected while I’ve been in the city thus far – we’ve been so beyond super busy it’s been tough to kick back with friends.

Xander is growing VERY quickly – we’re continuously amazed at how fast he’s growing up. He hit two months today and he’s doing VERY well. I love that kid.

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Find a Different Mode of Transportation

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posted by: Jim Ellis

I’ve been riding my old-school Fuji road-bike to work. I live 6.6 miles from my work, or at least that is what google says, and the trek takes about 30 minutes.

The benefits far outweigh the hassles.

I save money. Less use of a motor vehicle means less money spent on gas.

The exercise is great. I don’t have to spend money for a membership to a fitness club. I get my exercise riding to and from work.

It is better for the environment. I still use my car, but not as much.

The thing I like the most is I travel by things at a slower pace. I notice things I didn’t notice when traveling in my car. For example how big and beautiful the trees are, or how there are a lot of pot holes.

I do have to be more attentive, because people in vehicles aren’t attentive and don’t always enjoy bicyclists on the road. They always seem to be in a big hurry. I was almost hit a couple days ago by a vehicle who ran a stop sign.

Iowa winters are cold, and people think you can’t ride your road-bike in cold/snowy weather. I just put snow tires on my road-bike, and plan on riding during the winter too.

I encourage all people to think of different ways to travel. Like walking, biking, public transportation, roller blades, a moped, a skateboard, etc. You might discover it isn’t as efficient as a vehicle, but the joy linked to traveling in a different way fills the soul.

-Jim Ellis, 25-

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