Brought low by my own hypocrisy

This is a follow up to the last article I posted.  Earlier in the year, I was chronicling my very successful attempt to lose weight.  In May, I fell off the wagon.  For the last few months, I have proceeded to undo much of the good that I did before I fell off.  Several times I have tried to get started again, but found an excuse to stop.

Yesterday, as I wrote about not taking irresponsible chances with my life for my daughter’s sake, I was faced with my own hypocrisy, and realized why I failed back in May.

I took my eyes off the prize and lost my focus.  When I started my weight loss program, my daughter was the reason that I was doing it.  At some point, I was so proud of all that I had accomplished, that I forgot why I was doing it.

So, yesterday, as I wrote about other people being irresponsible, I realized that I could not hold them to a higher standard than I was holding myself.  As a result, the diet is back on (for her sake), and I got off my fat ass and walked today.  Stay tuned….

Taking no chances…for my family

Yesterday, I was reading a story about Andrew Lee, an ‘aspiring chef’ from England who bet his girlfriend’s brother that he could make a really hot sauce.  This inevitably devolved into a contest between the two to see who could eat the most of it and, of course, Lee proved that he was able to make a damn hot sauce.  Unfortunately, he lost the eating contest after it killed him. 

I am a guy, and I think I have a competitive nature.  I, however, do not understand why guys find the need to show that they are bigger, tougher, crazier and dumber than the next guy.  There is just no need for it.  I like hot sauce, and I like it hotter than most, but once the capsaicin is so potent that the food has no other flavor, I no longer see the point.  You might as well drink some battery acid and speed up the ulcer creating process, because ultimately that is all you are going to get out of it.

Obviously no one intends to die from eating hot sauce that is too hot or drinking too much water at a water drinking contest (check out water intoxication), but it seems every day we are presented with another act of needless bravado that results in someone’s death.  Perhaps when we are feeling all amped-up about something, it would be best to tap the breaks a little.

I will assume that in this particular case, the guy did not have a family, other than a girlfriend (though there is no guarantee of this by any means), which mitigates the tragedy a little.  However, in many of these cases people leave the world with a sad and confused family.

As a father (and even before I became one), I have developed some strong opinions regarding responsibility.  I really don’t care what people do with their lives before they get married as long as what they are doing is not hurting someone else or causing them to be a burden to society (see inexperienced climbers who decide to tackle Denali and have to be rescued: stupid), but I believe once you are married, and especially once you have children, you accept new responsibilities that should lead you to more responsible actions.  I believe that when we accept these responsibilities and limit our own selfish desires for challenges and expressions of bravado we effectively show love to our families.  Unfortunately many men even after they are married and have children approach life as if they are starring in their own movies, and of course, nothing bad ever happens to the hero of the movie.
For me, these responsibilities are far reaching, and affect my behavior.  I would not consider climbing Mount Everest (please refrain from personal shots at this point.  I know this is about the same as me saying, “I will not accept a date with Angelina Jolee.”).  The chances of dying are just too great.  I saw an article about a woman who died on K2 (the world’s second tallest mount which is considered by some to be tougher than Everest).  The piece talked about how brave she was, and what a pioneer for women she was.  It also informed the reader, near the end, that she was a mother of two, ages four and six.  I have to be honest.  This woman had her priorities all out of whack.  If you are a mother, that is your primary identity.  She was a mother before she was a climber.  Mothers, and fathers, should put their parental responsibilities ahead of their other petty desires for a challenge or even fame.  My feelings go farther than this needless act of irresponsibility, however.

Several years ago my sister and her boyfriend (who eventually became her husband) went skydiving.  I am not afraid to skydive, and think it would probably be an interesting experience, but now, as a father and husband, I just cannot do it.  I know that most people who skydive do not have any problems, and enjoy the experience, but I can’t do it.  The consequences of a mistake by myself or anyone else in this situation are too great for me to risk.  I am not motivated by fear.  I simply have too much responsibility.

It extends even further.  The best example that I can come up with is the motorcycle.  I live in the Dallas area, and commute some distance to work.  With gas prices as high as they are, it would be a lot cheaper for me to ride a motorcycle to work.  As a father, I will not do it.  There are too many other drivers out there that do not pay attention to the road for me to take the chance.  I owe my daughter and my wife too much to take the chance that something bad could happen to me.  If you are on a motorcycle, and get into an accident, you are going to lose, and it could easily be very bad.  Every day it seems like you hear of a local fatality accident involving a motorcycle.

Part of me showing love to my wife and daughter is to avoid these things that add needless risk to my life.  Raising her, helping her to be a good person, and being involved in her life are just too important to me.  I know that I still have no guarantees, but I am going to do my best to do what is right by her, and the things that are beyond my control, I cannot worry about.

As I wrote this, I was faced with certain issues in my own life.  I could not finish it without confronting them, but I will deal with that in the next post.

New Look!

I’ve been thinking about changing the look of the blog for a while.  I thought ‘Saphfire’ was a little simplistic and unprofessional.  It also did not show links to my other posts when on a particular post.  I’m sure this limited my traffic.  So, I cahnged to the look that you see here.  I hope you like it.

-the management

Politics

In August, a friend asked me what political issues I thought were important, and I gave him the long answer.  After looking back at it, I realized that it was a good synopsis of my political beliefs.  Some of the info, like the references to Thompson and Guiliani are a little out of date, and I may find myself having to reevaluate John McCain in the near future, but for the most part it is accurate. I thought this would be another good way of allowing any one who reads this blog to get to know me better.  Sorry about the length.  Enjoy… I pretty well support most traditional Republican Party ideals.I am fiscally conservative.I support a strong military.I am a small government guy.I support religious freedom (as well as the other rights included in the Bill of Rights including the second amendment) and am pro-life.I oppose gay marriage.I support a strong police force, am tough on crime, am for the death penalty, and would like to see the parole system abolished in favor of an incentive program in which criminals only earn early release through positive means (i.e. completing high school or college degrees, attending counseling or church services, working for the prison to help pay their way, etc.).I support the War in Iraq, the war on terrorism and the Patriot Act. I do not support the Union Lobby.I generally do not agree with the science purported by the green lobby and global warming alarmists Issues that are less traditional that I support:I think we should reduce our dependence on foreign oil.I think we should begin to build many more nuclear plants (yesterday). I also believe that it is imperative to support the party in general.  I find it unforgivable that a person of power and respect, John McCain, chose time and time again not to support a sitting president from his own party.   How does this affect the way I vote?My number one issue when choosing a candidate is, oddly enough, electability.It does us no good to choose a candidate that holds all the right values, but will probably loose (see Bob Dole.  There was no reason to have lost that election.  We just chose an unelectable candidate).  Our candidate must be personable, telegenic, and a very good communicator.Issues can also affect a candidate’s electability.  As a result, one often has to be pragmatic when voting for a candidate, and candidates must often run a more centrist campaign in order to get elected.With this knowledge, persons who run for office may stress one issue over another in order to get elected, or may abandon a campaign issue all together because it may cause them to lose.In most elections, about 42 percent vote democrat, and will always vote democrat.  Like wise there are about 41 percent who always vote republican.  This leaves the 17 percent swing vote that wins and loses most elections (this holds true for presidential, senatorial and gubernatorial elections in most cases).  It is essential to get these votes, or most of them, to win an election.  Most traditional GOP issues appeal to a broad section of the masses.  These include: Fiscal conservatismStrong militarySmall governmentOpposition to gay marriageBeing tough on crimeFighting Terrorism and the Patriot Act These issues are winners. I believe that the Iraq war is one of the most important issues in this election.  I believe that the Iraq issue can still be a winner (or at least a wash) if we can get the party to band together on the issue.  The global implications of pulling out and allowing another country to become a terrorist haven (like Afghanistan was) are too scary.  This should be played up as a campaign issue.   That leaves abortion.  Currently (as of a poll taken this week), 49 percent of Americans consider themselves to be pro choice, and that number is actually coming down.  It is never a good policy start an election by alienating 49% of the voters.  As a result, while I am pro life, I am willing to concede (ignore) this as a campaign issue currently.  I don’t believe the abortion battle will be won at this level anyway.  It will be fought at the state level and in the courts.  The democrats have already learned this lesson with the gay marriage issue.  It is a loser for them (big time. 70%+ against it).  They are distancing themselves as much as possible from it.  Hillary has similar issues of her own with 46% of Americans saying that they would never vote for her under any circumstances. I believe (and hope) that once elected, most Republican candidates will tow the party line.  So, as a result, I will probably support the candidate with the greatest chance of winning, be that Romney, Guiliani (sp), or Thompson.  I won’t vote for McCain because I cannot forgive him, and I do not trust him (Gingrich is quickly joining him).  I would vote for Lieberman before McCain. I hope this answered your question. 

 

What Am I Doing Here?

Ah, finally…a place where I can let my opinions flow freely inhibited only by the thin walls erected by the Judeo-Christian ethic that my mother firmly ensconced in me while I was growing up.  I am a very opinionated person, and am ashamed of little if any of the views that I hold.  Feel free to add your own opinions in the form of comments, if I hate them enough, I may even remove them.

In this blog, I make no promises.  I truly hope that you will find things here that are enjoyable, funny, insightful and entertaining, but if you do not, well, there are only about a billion other blogs you can go to.

On the same subject, I will attempt to make frequent postings as the events in my life allow, but I do not in anyway promise daily mind fodder for other people.  I have an 18 month old, and both I and my wife have full-time jobs.

I will now tell you a little about who I am.

I have been married to the same woman for 15 years (she was my college sweetheart), and we have a wonderful 18 month old daughter who makes our lives complete.

I’m a middle-aged (God that may be the first time I’ve ever actually admitted that even to myself).  I have a degree from a small, conservative, liberal arts college, and attended seminary before dropping out.  I am from Dallas, Texas and am as proud as any Texan of that fact.  I love history and science, and consider myself a little bit of a rock-hound.  I have chosen the IT field for my profession and currently work for a government agency as a technician.

I consider myself to be a conservative, but in no way am I a reactionary or fundamentalist.  I have a good sense of humor (with a dark edge) and even consider myself a funny person, and I find it easy to mesh this with my religious beliefs. 

Enjoy.