July 31, 2007
#3. Thomas Jefferson
During the Napoleonic Wars, both Britain and France regularly seized American ships bound for the other's ports in hopes of hindering the other's economic success. So, in December of 1807, Jefferson signed The Embargo Act. This act banned foreign trade of any kind in hopes that Britain and France would be so utterly wounded by this trade loss, that they would have to accept U.S. neutrality on the seas. This did not happen, and forced to rely only on domestic goods, U.S. prices skyrocketed, crippling the economy, all without restoring trade neutrality. Shortly before the end of his term, Jefferson repealed this act, and limited this trade ban to only Britain and France.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 7:39 AM
July 30, 2007
July 27, 2007
So, I was at the health club this morning, and "La Bamba" pops out over the loudspeakers. I forgot how fantastic that song is. In fact, I think there's a good argument for that song being the greatest song of all time. You know why?
I don't speak Spanish, and yet can sing every word.
What other completely Spanish song has become as popular in the US? There's a kickin' guitar solo, and it's just amazingly catchy. This is what I call a 'sticky' song.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 8:29 AM
July 26, 2007
My friend recently went to New York on a business trip and was approached by a prostitute (higher-end) in a bar at a hotel he was staying at. He was telling me this story and I could tell that I wasn't giving him the reaction he was expecting, but I couldn't figure out what he was looking for. Then I realized, he wanted me to be impressed.
The moral of his story was, "I was approached by a woman who wanted to have sex with me."
Well done sir.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 10:58 AM
July 25, 2007
So, a lot of people my age are getting married. That can make a lot of my single friends depressed. When kids younger than me get record deals, that can make me depressed. When someone who's dumber than me has a better job than me, that can make me depressed.
The problem is that we're comparing ourselves to the wrong people.
For instance, whenever I hear a story about a friend whose car broke down, I always get cheered up a little, because my car's fine. There needs to be a television show that only shows biographies of the disabled or something, so instead of saying, "dang't, i wish i was taller, you could say man, i'm glad I'm not that guy who still wears a diaper."
Posted by Eric Olsen at 10:24 AM
July 24, 2007
So, I tried arguing against lust yesterday to a 20-something male. That's a tough one. I think he thinks I'm out of my mind. Since this person is an agnostic, I tried a secular argument, instead of just saying, "God said so."
Because I don't think that's why God gives rules...just because. The more I learn, the more I understand how much God's directives make sense.
A) If these "divine rules" truly make sense, then shouldn't we be able to come up with strong, strictly secular arguments for biblical morality?
B) Is this back door approach to Godly behavior a good thing to strive for?
July 23, 2007
Since I was 5 years old, chocolate long-johns from Dunkin Donuts have been a staple in my diet. To my shock recently, I noticed that at my local Dunkin, the name "Chocolate Long John" has been replaced with "Chocolate Stick". I guess this name aesthetically makes sense. But why the switch?
So, I started to think about it. "John" is sometimes a name used to refer to something "male." Could my precious donut actually have been named with a phallic reference in mind? Was there an outcry against this?
Then when I started thinking about the possible symbolism of a chocolate eclair, I gave up donuts for a week.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 10:30 AM
July 20, 2007
So, let's say someone in your office approaches you and says they're running a 5K for charity and are looking for financial donations.
You ask what the charity is.
"It's a charity that funds abortions for mothers who don't want the child."
Even if you don't think abortions should be illegal, paying for them yourself seems a little bit weird. And yet, Barack Obama recently said that he wants abortions to be federally funded with tax-payer dollars.
On the other side, if you think the current war in Iraq is abhorrent, is it moral for our current President to make you fund it?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 8:41 AM
July 19, 2007
So, there is this television pundit who lives in Texas. And he espouses increased security of our Mexican border. When they covered this on the news the other night, the reporter said, "and the hypocrisy behind this whole thing is that this man is married to a Mexican woman."
Why is this a hypocrisy?
The story went on further to say, "And that's not the only contradiction in his life. He is pro-choice but AGAINST gun control."
Why is this a contradiction?
Why do I either have to be a racist or be for completely open immigration laws? Why do I have to be pro teachers unions or against our children? Why do I have to be against the war or be willing to enlist? Why do I have to be against helping the Earth or give up flying in planes?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 10:12 AM
July 18, 2007
I believe the job of a President is not only to create opportunity, but also to create hope. Do you believe that the most "well-liked president", a "unifier", could actually help the economy through a positive national attitude more than they might hurt it through economic decisions you may disagree with?
July 17, 2007
So, I've noticed that a lot of nerds participate in martial arts. This is not at all to say that martial arts is inherently "nerdy" more than it is saying that Star Wars is inherently nerdy. Both of these things just happen to call out to the socially alienated among us.
But, here's my point. Let's say there's a guy, 5 ft. 6, 165 pds, black belt in several martial arts.
Could this guy beat up Brian Urlacher, middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears?
This karate-man knows exactly where to punch and exactly where to block. But, couldn't Urlacher just rush him and kill him with one blow?
My real point is...should I be scared of the IT guys at my workplace?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 9:32 AM
July 16, 2007
I'm currently reading the book, "A Briefer History of Time" by Stephen Hawking. Not to be confused with a "Brief" History, this is an updated version for the really stupid people. And yet it still goes over my head from time to time. Hence today's question from a thought brought up recently by jmc.
How did the human eye evolve from nothing? I can't comprehend the natural selection of a human eye. I understand the Darwinian idea that tall giraffes beat out short giraffes, hence, only tall giraffes today. But, I don't understand how an eyeless creature formed an eye? Any evolutionists out there?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 3:50 PM
July 13, 2007
So, if you work at a company, there's probably a refrigerator full of lunch bags just sitting there every morning. So, if you're bored with what's in your lunch, grab a string cheese from one of the bags or a yogurt from another. In fact, depending on the size of the company you work for, you might not even have to bring a lunch anymore.
But, don't keep taking deserts from the same bags everyday. You'll blow your cover. But if your theft is varied and sporadic, they're likely to not even remember they packed that particular item.
And to REALLY help your cause, ADD something to their lunch bag every once in a while. Then, they'll have to accept the fact that they're crazy, and won't even question it anymore.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 8:24 AM
July 12, 2007
#2: John Adams
In 1798, Adams signed four bills into law entitled the "Alien and Sedition Acts" in hopes of diminishing the voice of his opposition. These acts made it more difficult for immigrants become citizens, and threatened with fines and imprisonment, anyone who "shall write, print, utter or publish...scandalous writings against the government...or the President". Due to the obvious frightening rejection of basic liberties these bills espoused, all four were repealed by 1802.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 2:05 PM
July 11, 2007
So, the new Supreme Court led by Chief Justice John Roberts has had a lot of 5-4 decisions lately, signifying that this Court is conservative-leaning.
A guy at work told me that he hated all of these decisions lately. I asked him whether he just hated the result or the logic and judicial reasoning behind the decision as well. He replied, "aren't they one in the same?"
My contention is no. Frankly, I would be elated if a Supreme Court justice in his majority opinion said, "Man, I really hate this outcome. But, the law is crystal clear on this. So, I have to judge it this way. But, I suggest our congressmen and women look into this and see if a new law needs to be created."
I would make that person king. Oh wait, if they're already on the Court, they kind of are?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 11:04 AM
July 10, 2007
So, I got made fun of the other day for saying that I used to have crushes on Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown) and Phylicia Rashad (Mrs. Cosby/Huxtable).
So, someone said that perhaps I liked smart women. A news reporter, a lawyer, etc. That made sense to me at first, but then I realized something and changed my defense to the following:
Ranking is a simple matter of human nature. I didn't really have a crush on Murphy Brown, nor did I have one on Mrs. Huxtable. I simply ranked them each a respective first in each of those sitcom worlds they inhabited for those 30 minutes a week.
If Candice Bergen suddenly changed shows, to Full House for example, she would obviously be trumped by Lori Loughlin (Aunt Becky).
And if Lori Loughlin came to my house to visit, she would of course be trumped by my beautiful wife.
July 09, 2007
On Saturday, Live Earth concerts across 7 continents brought millions of people together for a single cause, stopping global warming. How did this issue "tip" so quickly?
Only two years ago, I would say that most of my friends were at best, largely skeptical of the idea that humans were largely responsible for global temperature increase.
So, how can we emulate what these global warming guys have done over the last 2 years? Let's say your cause is animal rights, Jesus, AIDS research, local poverty...how can we get people on board regarding the gravity of these situations as well as Al Gore has done?
July 06, 2007
So, a non-major city wants to bring in a minor league baseball team and build a brand new ball-park in the downtown area. No private companies have made this investment so far, because they don't believe that ticket revenues, etc. would make up for the huge cost of the stadium and believe it to be a non-viable investment decision.
What other financial considerations need to be looked at before a city nixes the idea of taking on this project with city money?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 7:56 AM
July 05, 2007
So, last week when we were on vacation, one of my wife's patients gave us a couple of free passes to this local private pool/waterpark nearby. So, we head off there one afternoon thinking that we're about to enter the world of "haughty-taughty". The pool was beautiful, but the people didn't quite match the country-club atmosphere. See, we live in a far SouthWest suburb of Chicago since the property values are so much more affordable there. So, we live in a very nice neighborhood full of blue-collared folk. I wrongly assumed that redneck social skills were a product of economic condition and not a lifestyle choice. I was wrong. Last night proved it again. We were sitting out on our back porch last night and got to witness about 8 different firework shows coming from houses all over the neighborhood. And these were NICE fireworks. So either you can't buy your way out of a lifestyle, or these people simply see no reason to. Either way, I enjoyed the show, and next year maybe I'll sell tickets.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 8:47 AM
July 03, 2007
So, there's people who I see at my health club who do the same circuit with their personal trainer everyday. Strictly from a cost-perspective, couldn't they just pay for one session, memorize the routine, and then do it themselves from then on?
But, people are obviously paying for the motivation. They want to spend money on it, because then they'll actually do it.
Therefore, let's brainstorm other things that people could pay us to motivate them to do?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 8:25 AM
July 02, 2007
So, let's say assimilated Muslims in this country have had enough. They're sick of getting looked at like they're terrorists, they're sick of being discriminated for what they believe, and so they take off en masse in search for religious freedom. They discover a largely uninhabited land and create a new nation where they can worship Allah freely.
Would you call this new land a Muslim nation?