Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Declaration of Independence

The United States Constitution is a truly spectacular piece; it's the linchpin to the success of this country's 237 years of freedom (July 4, 1776, for those of you young kids that might not have paid attention in grade school). The Constitution separates our country from other countries who are lacking such democracy, and it the one device that keeps persons in power from completely corrupting the system.

The escalating number of mass shootings in this country has undeniably sent the media (and the like) 
into an anti-gun frenzy, and certainly prompted me so start paying closer attention to how the media relays their information to the public. With this said, I noticed a pretty dramatic shift in how the media reported their information on the more recent shootings at Sandy Hook, and UC Santa Barbara.
Something changed. And while I DO sympathize for the victims of each and every one of these attacks, I also believe in our Constitution and in the Second Amendment of The Bill of Rights. 

...A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed...

I know what some of you are probably thinking right now. But before you jump the gun (pardon the pun, but I simply could NOT resist) and assume that I’m gun-toting member of the Republican persuasion, I would like to take this time to let you all know that I’m a GDI – a God Damn Independent. Politics have become either so far left or so far right, it’s really quite ridiculous. I don’t believe in extremes. I believe in certain aspects of both political parties, but to label myself as either Republican or Democrat, I simply cannot do.

Regardless of how things may have changed over the course of the past few hundred years, our founding fathers were most definitely on to something when they penned the Constitution. I do believe in the rights and freedoms as stated in the Constitution and The Bill of Rights. I also believe that the more the government gets involved, the more our rights and freedoms are diminished. If you wish to judge me based on that, then so be it.

A few years ago, I took a concealed carry class, and finally “officially” learned proper gun handling mechanics. I will have to say that the class was extremely informative. I am not uncomfortable around guns - I have been around guns my entire life. I come from a family of hunters, and my dad of course, taught us appropriate gun safety growing up. But for me, it had definitely been awhile, so I’m really glad I signed up and got my license to carry.

The criminals responsible for heinous acts of violence (such as these mass shootings), will continue to break whatever laws are in place, and this will not change if congress decides to enforce even stricter gun regulations, or ban them altogether. The only people who will actually suffer will be the law-abiding citizens of this country. Do you honestly think that criminals like Adam Lanza, James Holmes, or Elliot Rodger even so much as batted an eyelash in regards to the law, when they walked into these places to shoot up innocent people? Do you think it's really a coincidence that these mass shooting keeping occurring in places where abiding gun owners/carriers aren't permitted to carry their arms? Of course not. School and universities, shopping malls, and theatres are easy targets because these types of places generally do not permit the entry of those carrying a gun.

I feel that it is highly unacceptable to be forced to listen to such one-sided opinionated dribble from each and every one of the loud-mouths associated with our media. The days of journalists reporting hardcore facts are extinct! If I wanted to listen to egotistical political opinions, I would quickly log on to Facebook and read them there. I have zero interest in listening to opinionated nonsensical gibberish; just give me the facts and move on.


Learn our Bill of Rights!

 Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

It's a Beautiful Day in the [Neighbor]Hood

Kim and I reside in a condo just west of downtown Cincinnati, in Lower Price Hill. Some people have taken to calling our neighborhood The Incline District, most likely to make the area sound better than what it actually is. To be perfectly honest, our neighborhood leaves little to be desired. I will give the city credit though – they are working diligently to try and get the place cleaned up. The problem is that most people living in this area don’t give a shit. Many of Price Hill’s inhabitants are often inconsiderate, and somewhat lacking in the pride and compassion departments. Just as soon as something is restored, it’s back to piss poor condition soon after. Let’s take the Price Hill Kroger Market Place, for example. Kim and I made a bet as to when that brand new facility would be destroyed; it only took about a month and a half. I’m still hopeful, though. With the demolishment of an outdated viaduct and the rebuilding of a new one, perhaps LPH finally has some potential.

I would like to point out that the condo community isn’t nearly as bad as the rest of the area. If anything, we have the best view on the property and it could even be argued, one of the best in the city. My general rule of thumb is that as long as I'm not forced to venture to the top of the hill, I'm golden.

View From Upstairs Balcony

There are a few issues, though. About a week and a half ago, Kim and I were walking our two small dogs at around 11:15 pm. We stumbled across - not one, but two - sets of prostitutes in front of the wooded area near dumpsters where pet owners are required to walk their pets. These prostitutes were, of course, performing lewd acts right in our parking lot. Kim, noticing a head pop up, immediately ran to the first car, knocked on the passenger side window and yelled, alright, time to goyou gotta go…you can't be up here.

Neither of us actually saw the other car that was parked just one spot over until it sped off rights as Kim and I were discussing the first violators.

Unfortunately, these episodes happen on a pretty regular basis. Kim and I are constantly finding needles, chicken wing bones, and used condoms (gross) in the rear of the property. It’s no secret that prostitution (in addition to blatant drug activity) runs rampant on West Eighth Street, just at the bottom of the hill. Our condo is a twenty-second trek for girls to get picked up, park the car, and conduct their "business." And while the recent addition of two sturdy Private Property signs now permits District 3 to ticket violators, it certainly doesn’t deter these people from constantly entering the property illegally.

There has been chatter around our community regarding the installation of video surveillance cameras. Almost everyone is on the same page with the project, and most of us agree that these cameras would seriously help in eliminating a lot of the illegal activity that goes on at night. The catch is that, as in all walks of life, there is always that one difficult person - the one who chooses to be difficult in almost every instance. 

Our condo association board is no different. One troublemaker is pulling out all the stops to keep the installation of the cameras from happening, including adding even more fuel to the fire with blatant rumors. But she doesn’t have to deal with the prostitutes, the lewd acts, and the safety concerns, does she? To hell with us dog-owners, right?

There is a meeting this week in regards to this project. Until then, I guess I’ll just have to wait and see where this one goes.

For more entertainment, go to Kim's blog:

Photo Taken By Kim E Sherwood

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Control - Alt - Delete

Shortly after the holidays, Kim and I headed out on a Saturday evening to attend one of his comedy shows in Northern Kentucky. Nothing out of the norm, here. As we're walking in to the place, I get a Shannon Barno to my left, and I look over to see an old girl friend that I haven’t seen over five years. For the sake of this blog, I will call her Allison.

I cannot for the life of me explain this, but this run-in with Allison was bittersweet. While I had a fantastic time catching up with her, both of us knew damn well that we didn’t end things on a good note. When the night ended, we exchanged numbers but there was a strange silent understanding that there wouldn’t be any further contact. Not to mention, with the shenanigans that she and I used to get in to, I’m pretty sure that her husband can’t stand me. But that is neither here nor there.

Back when I was still friends with Allison I had the tendency to play the friendship game with some pretty toxic people. I don’t want to say that I was a pushover per say, but I did find myself putting up with a lot of shit that I shouldn’t have - and for what? For the sake of keeping the peace with people who weren’t even worthy of it?

Because I was keeping the company of contaminated people, Kim eventually brought my defect to a head. I was whining to him about Allison again who, at the time, was completely taking advantage of me. Kim stopped me and asked me why I let Allison constantly make withdrawals from our relationship without making a single deposit. To him, my relationship with Allison was obviously bankrupt. Puzzled, I looked and him and thought, well isn’t THAT is a fantastic question.

Very shortly after hearing those simple but very important words, I pulled the plug on our friendship. Sad, I know, but I felt much better. No more drama, no more withdrawals, no more heartache.

It would be wonderful if this was the only time I've had to end a crappy relationship, but anyone who either knows me or has read even one of blogs knows it's not. Not even close. Not by a long shot. I've had to weed out the liars. The manipulators. The cheaters. The pumpkin-pie eaters (kidding). You never see the bad ones coming because as a wise man once said, bad people are intriguing (thanks, Jorge Garcia).  About three months ago, I walked away from yet another toxic situation. This one wasn’t quite as obvious, but eventually I saw this individual's true colors, very shortly after Kim and I got engaged. This one was tricky - we had been great friends for years! But with a small jab here, a bitchy dig there, and an off-handed comment just about everywhere (not to mention her threat to kick my ass on my birthday) I soon realized that this gal was jealous. Who gets jealous of their own friends? You're supposed to be happy - better yet, ecstatic - for your friends and family, not jealous. Haters always gotta be hatin', right? Anyway, after receiving a super-shitty group text message regarding a un-invitation to her party (that’s right, instead of just calling me and talking to me like a freaking human being, I was uninvited via bitchy, threaded text), I was done. Of all the things in the world, that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Control, alt, delete.

If there is someone in your life who is making you unhappy, either because that person is constantly putting you down, or leading you into bad situations, or lying to you, or cheating on you, or generally treating you like garbage, and you're thinking of pulling the plug on that toxic relationship then just do it! He /she is NOT worth the pain and frustration. The genuine people that truly love you for who you are (GOOD friends; family members) will still be there. And all those little things about yourself that those toxic people used to refer to as annoying, or irresponsible, or stupid, or lame? Those things will undeniably be embraced - not ridiculed - by the people who really love you.