Friday, September 16, 2011

A New Day

ch-outlier-1.jpgIf I put this hat on, will I feel better about myself? If I get a new watch will it tell the time in a different way? Will it make time go faster?  The weather is beginning to change, I've got a sweater on!  In fact this hat would look very nice with it. In Pittsburgh we have seasons, and maybe that effects peoples' personalities or maybe I'm just looking for an excuse, but I sure seems like we're ready for a change around here. I know it seems vain and human to think that putting on new clothes, warmers clothes, layers that cover up who you are somehow makes us different on the inside. Maybe I'm just looking for an excuse to get a new hat.  There is such a tension within me to desire these things that I think will somehow change me.  They say change comes from within, so why are we always looking outside of ourselves?
With a determination to achieve the highest aim
For the benefit of all sentient beings
Which surpasses even the wish-fulfilling gem
May I hold them dear at all times.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Thursday, September 15, 2011


So, I drive around in a van a couple days a week for a couple hours and generally I listen to NPR cause I'm a Socialist, and that's the sorta thing we do. A few stories struck me today. One was based on the recent release of U.S. Census data regarding poverty in this country.

There are more people than ever in this country; unemployed, underemployed, and just plain down-and-out. The rate of impoverished children is even higher which is just depressing. I start to wonder if anyone even cares anymore. Yesterday, On Point Radio ran a story on Bank of America slashing 30,000 jobs. Today UBS Bank in Switzerland caught someone who had stolen $2 Billion, it's no wonder people used to hide their money in the mattress. It's getting back to being that bad. Remember in 2008 when Obama was running a campaign in the midst of the first financial crisis with slogan Yes We Can. The notion of Hope being all that we needed. I wouldn't wish the role of president on my worst enemy. What a terrible situation to find yourself in. Who can possibly be hopeful with the state of this world we are in?
New Census data reveals that poverty in America is at its worst level in three decades. We asked you, does America still care about its poor? We received many responses, including this one, from Seth in New Jersey: "The United States government does not care about its poor, and that's because they don't make campaign contributions."
Jon Stewart's thoughts on employing the nation's unemployed nurses, firefighters, and teachers was to have them stand behind politicians to make them look good during campaigning. Not a bad idea. Bottom line is, it's hard to understand something when you've never come face to face with it. I don't care how grass-roots and for the people you think you are, if you're a politician you are not impoverished and never will be. You have no idea what it's like to be unemployed or even underemployed. It's just not possible.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


To say you don't have style is to say you don't wear clothes.  Everyone does and everyone has it.  Utimately it falls on how much you have to spend, qualified only by time and money.  I find myself at about the 60% mark.
I don't have a lot to spend on style, nor do i have a lot of time to go hunting for the things i'd like to incorporate into my everyday.  Lately, i've been eyeing things more and more, and having less and less time and money to spend on those things.  But, hey, it's good to set goals.
Here's a couple things on my wishlist.  Also, over at Pavement Shoes, they have great scarves from PreLoved Toronto which are great.  So if anyone wants to loan me a few stacks to go shopping, well at least you know it's in good taste.  There's also The GQ Trend Report: Spring 2011 Wear It Now: if you wanna go real big!  
Also, links are as follows. Levi's Trucker Jacket Cadence Collection Trucker Hat Dr.Marten's Drury Boot Apologies, but my html is a little rusty.


The bottom line is, part of the reason this country is doing so poorly economically is that the rich are only concerned about getting richer, or at least staying as rich as they are. And the government is owned by the rich and powerful. Any efforts by anyone to actually "help" anyone is considered to be Socialism or at the least, "Big Government".

Huffington Post summed up this anti-federal stance that the Republicans are taking here.  It's pretty concise, and sure its liberally biased, but apparently if you have a conscious and don't have a trust fund, then you are. In reality a lot of what is happening is that people are actually employed, but they're under-employed. I've gone from having a full time gig that was well paying with benefits to having two, sometimes three or four part-time jobs. And each of these places is a small, very small business just struggling in their own rite to stay afloat. Call Obama what you will, a Socialist, a Liberal, Black...but at least the man is aware of the little guy. It's always spun as politics. I love when politicians say that other politicians are "playing politics". That's what you are all doing!
Please check out American's Elect and start thinking about what is going on in this country.  It's been said that there is a destruction of the middle class going on.  That the rich are getting richer.  The media is blamed for everything, the best way to get away with something is to discredit the source of accusation.  It works both ways, but those with the money have a chokehold on this country, and anyone who thinks the contrary is accused of being a socialist or a liberal crybaby.


Since April 24th, 2011 I've been one of the millions of people in the U.S. who are collecting un-employment becase of losing their job. I worked for a start-business that was funded and subsequently mismanaged by a collective of, by all accounts, uber-rich white guys. This company Right By Nature was so horribly mismanaged and ultimately run into the ground by a consultant team from the West Coast headed by a true psychopath.
I'm actually not kidding, this guy was text book. Sadly, he's taken everything he learned while running Right By Nature into the ground and applied it to a new business back in Seattle. I'm sad for anyone who has to work for him and I bid them a word of caution, this man is not to be trusted.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

MissionWorkshop Shed Bag

This is the only thing I've seen in a while that was actually nice. It's so nice that I'm putting it here and on the side bar under Can You Dig it. It's not very often that you see something that involves fixed gear bicycles and its culture and is not completely cliche. The film is artfully done, tells a nice little story, and doesn't over embellish it's content or try to be "cool". My favorite part is the Japanese dude's drop handlebars, they're outta control.
Shed Rolltop Messenger Bag / Paris

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Culture and Philosophy

Started thinking about a theme to develop throughout this blog, since its never quite had one.  The notion of culture and philosophy led me to what a snooze fest!  Who knew popular culture could be so boring.  I guess that what makes things culture or philosophy also makes them, well, dead.  It takes so long for things to develop into culture, that by the time they're actually cultural they're certainly not popular anymore, nor are they trending.  How does something get from trending, to popular to culture?  Is it inherent in the philosphy of culture to ask this question?  Is there a difference between popular culture and culture? When does it become history?  Well at least there is always a wiki for this sort of thing.  Zombie Americans

 Revaluation of mass culture in the 1970s and 1980s has revealed significant problems with the traditional view of mass culture as degraded and elite culture as uplifting. Divisions between high and low culture have been increasingly seen as political distinctions rather than defensible aesthetic or intellectual ones.[1]

I really like the line that mass culture is degraded and elite culture is uplifting.  You might actually be able to argure the opposite.  I'd say elite culture tends to be a bunch of crap, but I certainly agree that these are political distinctions rather that aesthetic or intellectual.  America is devoid of intellectualism.  When is the last time there was a coherent arguement on television.  Oh, wait there's the Daily Show , which may be the last bastien of hope for Americans with brains  (Side Note: Can we enact the American's With Brains Bill?).  Unfortunately, the only actual intellectualism that takes place on the airwaves these days is seen as satire.  Oh the irony!  Americans are so stuck on being brainwashed that the only thing that might make them think about anything is perceived as a joke.  

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ridley Swift

This is my son.  His name is Ridley Swift Thomas, and he is my first.  I'm trying to get back into posting to this blog after many years of not paying any attention to it.  This blog has no theme, although when I was regularly posting it seemed to be a bit more cohesive.  I have not posted any photos of Ridley on the internet, at least not for the public.  I am not a social butterfly, but there are probably some photos of me on the internet.  I never really considered it to be much of an issue, but when you have a child everything changes.  You begin to realize that every cliche is right, and everything that everyone tells you is correct and yet a terrific lie all at the same time.  You'll hear, "It goes so fast", and "Just wait til you get to 'that' phase".  You quickly begin to piece all of these sound bites together, and it becomes culture.  Culture is terrifying!  It makes you want to move far far away into the mountains, never to be seen or heard from again.  It's the belly of the beast, but it only becomes important, it only exists for you when it suddenly has nothing to do with you and everything to do with your child.  Your child is what you become, and he becomes the inheritence of your culture.  So, here is my son, for the public to see, as a reminder that what people say and do matters.  The blog may not have a theme, but it may develop an impact.