Tag Archives: Opinion

Declutter of Meaningless Associations — There is Only Time For What is Important to You

I am not friends with 99.8% of the people I went to high school with and that is a subjective fact.  As a 31 year-old Millennial dad I find myself only having about three or four  real friends in my life at any one point in time, and I think that calculation is great! This understanding is kind of an amazing thing to consider; it’s beautiful, I love it.  I smile more.  Less of a crowd to impress, less to persuade or be a spectacle for, or to simply agree with to avoid conflict.  Gossip did that, so did a minimalist mindset. 

Moreover, I lost most of my “friends” about two years ago, around election time, around the time I realized that I didn’t necessary absolutely agree with being one of the progressive/regressive herd, or what was said on CNN or Facebook or Twitter et al. and on the mainstream news–which is everything and everywhere.  You could say I like diversity of thought.  At that time, I found myself realizing there is only time for what is important:  MY  individual  beliefs and goals.  I had to declutter my personal life of excess, so I made a plan and followed through.  It just involved being my true self and being able to walk away from things I did not need while amassing more of the essential things necessary to making my future better.  

One is aWOKEn quickly when there are mouths to feed that none of your so-called friends, the ones who don’t really do anything in a give-and-take relationship, will be putting lunch on the table or give you positive ideas and motivations or pay your credit card or student loan debt.  (Not only do they not do those things for you but YOU DO NOT NEED TO GET THEIR APPROVAL TO DO YOUR LIFE.)  I don’t expect them to, but they don’t expect you to either.  That lack of vision and support is stagnation, there needs to be positive diversity of thought in all situations.  Further, those friends may tell you big ideas and wallow, that is anitmotivational.  They may tell you they aspire but don’t have motivation or action to try, that is pro-sedentarism and takes you nowhere.  You could have mannequins around you giving thumbs up and they would do more for your self care purposes.

Realizing this is important: you make you.  Realizing it’s just you and what you make of life is key to the success you find in your life.  Friends I have lost have offered commiseration for a period of time and were necessary, approval that it is acceptable to be subpar.  Not anymore.  I declutter my basement and I declutter my friends.  I don’t need excuses or malarkey from people around me, I need action and awareness and planning, which are qualities some people my age may lack–especially the loudest ones with the biggest dreams and even bigger fingers to point at everyone but themselves.  However, I would agree some people do have these winning qualities and that is a HUGE positive, and they are close to me.  (The quiet ones with winning qualities get to work with their hands and their brains and not their mouths.)  I may be callus and I may be calculated, but only God can judge me perhaps. 

Accordingly, after reading and taking in much Brian Tracy and Dave Ramsey and documentaries on minimalism, I want role models around me, I want people who are flawed that come out better than when they started, human ones, empathetic: ones that make mistakes and come out better by experience.  I want quality not quantity.  I don’t need a bunch of virtue-signalists around me waiting for their big break.  I am flawed but I am striving for better for myself and my family and my future.  I am in debt but I have a plan to become a millionaire if I simply follow that plan. 

Everyone is flawed, so what?  I want to make tomorrow better for those I find around me and myself, so do I complain and blame or make change?  A better me means a better you for all of us.  In the past, perhaps that might have been not so, and I wondered who was around me at that point in time, what encouragement creates.  Which support systems and rules did I follow to get here or there?  Realizing that debt was controlling my life, my work, and my freedom at every moment was important to realizing I needed less of some things and more of others.  That was a great lesson but it would have never been learnt had I not been to the bottom or experienced hardships.  We find ourselves cleansing in times when we feel impure, we find ourselves taking a shower to wash clean our bodies and start new days.  I am cleansing of my student loans of credit card debt to be completely free, that is a part of this metamorphosis.  

We can think on the positive aspects of any negative situation and learn from them and and grow from them.  Every hardship or struggle or tragedy we face is a moment to learn, to come back stronger and better and more equipped to manage the world around you in the future.  We can do this with anything: friends, debt, ideology, religion, identity, etc.  Those are the times we live in; you can be a bobcat, a dinosaur, or an astronaut.

When I have a problem that I can’t solve I wait for a new day and think it over again, new thought may come my way.  This is a new day.  You have a new day now too.  Today I find myself marveling at quality not quantity.  I have friends I truly laugh with daily, truly care about constantly.  I have friends who are thoughtful and listen.  I have friends who hear my ideas and do not judge me for my honesty.  I see that with a plan and positive thinkers around me I can make it, or I can make it by myself with positive thought. 

I believe anyone can make it irregardless of everything.  I don’t have to believe that the world is ending because the television tells me so.  Or that we are going to hell because 100 % of half of the scientists in the smart part of town agree generally speaking on Headline News.  I can believe in the church but not believe in God.  I can believe that Texas Toast is made in Ohio.  I don’t have to hate a politician because everyone else does and says that I must too.  This is America!  I don’t have to show intolerance to those who I don’t agree with and then ask for tolerance from everyone around me so I can look good in my social circles, or on social media.  I can be kind all on my own, to all without being prompted.  Maybe my social circle is broken and that is tolerance.  Maybe forget social media.  Nothing is complete, except for death, probably. 

And if you agree with that and more, then that is perfectly fine, that is so.  You may just be my new friend, like at the beginning.  Perfect, right?  Well, I hope not.  Perfect is complete, ended, finished, dead.  This is just the beginning.  Maybe you will open up and cleanse yourself of the clutter you don’t need, tying you down.  You are all right with that and I am too.  Being all right is good, but it’s not the best.  You don’t have to and shouldn’t be perfect.  I am nowhere near perfect either.  Neither is this idea or this written piece, it’s fluid abstract and important and not and open to new ideas.  Though, I find myself closer to making change daily and seeing where that takes me, with or without every other individual around me who agrees or doesn’t and doesn’t change themselves or have to anyway because of it. 

There is an old saying about who needs friends, but ever better would be saying who needs you?  You NEED YOU.  Those you love NEED YOU.  They NEED YOU TO BE OPEN MINDED AND POSITIVE AND READY TO MAKE CHANGE not complaint.  I think YOU NEED YOU, too, the most because I know I need me the most too.  

***

The majority of readers at Students and Tuition donate at least $0.50 per article, that could be YOU! ūüôā 

If you can’t get to my Paypal page because it’s busy, keep trying.

https://www.paypal.me/TSNiebeling

Thanks,

TS_ 

The Media Loves Trump

The new midlife crisis is professing your hatred for the president like a five-year old via social media for his assumed hatred as explained to you by a news media narrated and directed by advertisers. 

 

I’ve been told that in order to understand how a person is truly feeling in a photograph, cover up¬† their mouth and look at their eyes. The eyes don’t lie. What do you see? The same may be true with the press and¬† their relationship with Donald Trump; cover up the mouth, the headline, and what do you see? Forget the bad click-bait leads and negative coverage, who’s there: Donald Trump.

Perhaps, if Trump wasn’t in the news people would be bored, many papers wouldn’t be read, journalists wouldn’t get paid, and advertisements wouldn’t get seen. This would change the industry greatly.¬† Every newspaper and network every day would have to fill that Trump spot with something else, something more catchy. Social Media too.¬† In relation to that, I don’t think it would be possible.

Now, think back, has any other President of the United States of America ever had the press set a day nationwide to respond to an idea he may have had on any ordinary day, has that happened? What other president had millions out in the streets passionate, screaming about their opinions, beliefs, holding signs wearing hats or tearing down statues, just because they were the president?¬† I don’t think any other president… Not like this.

It’s amazing what our hatred blinds us to. Perhaps, Trump is making people more political, making people stand up and out for what they truly believe, and making people better because they are doing for themselves. Perhaps he is making each of us greater again.

Mundane, mediocre, and meek leaders would not have people taking such action, would not have us so motivated to make change. That is bold, that is planned. And that is no accident.

Trump is not asking anyone to write these stories or voice their opinion or protest… They are doing it for him, they are doing it in his name, oddly.

Read The Art of the Deal and you will understand your president better.  You will have insight that has been in our universe for the last twenty years. I will share some of that knowledge right now.  Trump says you can pay for good press. You can pay for mediocre press. But bad press is free. And still good.  How much bad press is out there today, for free?  Just Google the name Trump.  What do you find?

Further, the news media and journalists should thank Trump for making writing articles easy again, selling news easy again. Most Trump articles are basically saying Trump did something outrageous, hateful, or both, feel disgusted. They are usually the same format:¬† click-bait title, something bad about Trump, how you should feel, or what it actually means, etc… There is a cycle. Watch closely. Trump made journalists not try or think again.

We are getting standard boilerplate interpretations from the news media and social media about how we should think and feel about an individual, Trump.  They are not asking us to use our own better judgement, to think deeper on a subject, they are telling us, same.  We must obey and believe he is what they say.  The topic: him, Trump.  We are asked to believe in this idea about this person.

Now I am wondering how do you brainwash people, news media? Repition? Exaggeration? Groupthink? Herd mentality? Say bad things about someone? Who’s the Shepard?¬† Who’s the sheep?

As unfortunate as it sounds to his critics, the news media, social media, and the world love Trump–they subconsciously seek him out, he makes them money. People buy what people are selling when Trump is in it.¬† Look at the paper, who is in every paper?¬† Look at the TV, who is on every channel?¬† Trump.

He is the ultimate spectacle. People write endless op eds about Trump signaling and professing their obsession, no matter the bias. (This essay is about Trump.)  There are college courses based on him, no matter the persuasion. There are entire talk shows, news segments, and caucuses solely  dedicated to him, no matter the slant. And still he is the main character. That is a HUGE presence created for someone by those who despise him, unaware that visibility, in our great time and great nation is most powerful.

This Trump obsession is apparent, visibly, tangibly, and deeply disturbing. The news story and Trump are interchangeable, and have been for the last two years. We do not go a day without. Now, talk about how I’m wrong about who, you guessed it: Trump. More ubiquity, you can see it right there.

So, don’t be mad at Donald Trump if you don’t like him, be mad at yourself for looking for him, be mad at your news source for pushing his product 24/7. That’s what free will is all about; this is a free market, we live in it.

Don’t go looking for snakes, as someone once said. Ah, but snakes get people’s attention and sell papers, sell stories.

The Trump obsession may simply be supply and demand of the greatest spectacle in human history, Donald Trump. Any conscious media will not miss out on such a payday. Prepare for four more years of it, money talks; networks want to be paid. If you want something different, contact your media and ask for better, sit down and talk to that Letter to the Editor person and let them know they are furthering the problem by discussing it exclusively.¬† If they don’t change, then you might know what is true and what is not true.

If you want something you have to ask for it, or write for it.¬† I believe Donald Trump wants it.¬† He wants America to be great.¬† He wants to be talked about nonstop.¬† He wants to be in our minds and in print every day.¬† He tweets constantly, ad nauseam.¬† Do you want to help him get it, or do you want to help yourself?¬† I believe the media knows what they want and what they love to report on, even if their mouths don’t match their eyes.¬† They want more of Trump, they know he is money.¬† And he knows it too.
***
Do you consider yourself a helpful person?  If so, please think about helping me by contributing to the writing on my site. 
You can donate any amount, even a penny, at:  
Thank you for your contributions,
TS_

Less is More, so many generalizations

Recently, I have come under the idea that less is more. I’ve been reading Walden on Wheels. I have been seeing that what I have, too much, is very too much. I want out of it. I say now, less is more, less is more. This is so true.

This realization started after reading The Millionaire Nextdoor, a book about being frugal. A book about just living with less, not overspending, and living on the means that you have, and becoming a millionaire.

I set new goals because of it. I want nothing. I want to have nothing but liquid security in wealth. The lesson I learned is be prepared for anything and don’t live beyond your means. Keep an even keel. Sail your boat and don’t sink.

Yes, I do believe less is more… So I give you less words. But I must admit it. I am starting to like the idea of having less and feeling it more. As Dave Ramsey says (I have been listening to his podcast) “Live like no one else and you can live like no one else.”

I am ready to live like no one else. Have been for some time. I always felt like a nonconformist. Now I can prove it in actions. No more too much. No more overspending. We all owe it to ourselves to get ourselves right first. Then we can help everyone else. But only then.

The best time to deactivate your Facebook account is now

 

unnamed

Perhaps, over the years, American society has found a disconnect with being connected. This goes beyond the scope of the human and technology relationship, especially when plugging in disconnects us more and more from reality. We have created avatars of ourselves on platforms that get paid to have us there. Our pictures and our likes and our posts and our art are free advertisements, and you should get paid for what you do, really, and you should hold those that profit off of your media accountable.

The lens of what we see through our eyes is a special and unique one, true to us. Our voice through an instant platforms give us a sense of being, a sense of place in a connected world. Our art shared and receiving likes gives us a sense of importance. Our lens of focus is enacted and descrying those interactions. One, a sense, that like wine, gathers new notes and qualities throughout the years. We see things as we like to see them. The media we post about ourselves does not actually reflect who we are but who we want to become.

And that is the assumption, that the platform is pure and innocent–something that we can create ourselves as we imagine ourselves on. We see pictures and posts and ideas and politics and these change our minds assumed unobscured. All of these ideas are brought to us through and unnatural lens, a lens paid for by lobbyists, or political parties, or foreign governments, or massive corporations. If Facebook is where you get your news, then your news is skewed by the aforementioned; your idea is formed through the lens of capitalism, of marketing to your demographic.

This is all a bit scary when we realize objective observation is a made up idea of which you cannot understand beyond the thoughts in your head, this relates to Facebook. Especially then, in that framework, language is rooted in history making it not your unique idea: your words on not your words. (You don‚Äôt think in made up languages; perhaps you think in English, Spanish, or German) Further, take recently, Facebook announced they were paid by Russia to place ads on their platform; therefore, everything is touched by everything and related. Had this transaction been carried out by a politician it would have been a deplorable offense. Because we are part of it, through social media, we are accountable and involved. Accomplice. The CEO of Facebook admitted this, the idea of taking money to place ads. Said ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ would work harder at vetting these messages. That is all of us and our words.

Furthermore, if the message of these real advertisements is out there with ‚Äúfake news‚ÄĚ how is one to get beyond that? We are fake people living in a fake world. The toilet paper you buy, because of the advertisement you witnessed on Facebook, reinforces the reality of the ‚Äúfake news‚ÄĚ story, making it present real in a skewed lens. It may seem like a fallacy but the shampoo you bought is real, the ad you saw for that product was real, making the news story you saw exist in that same genre: in a realistic hue. Or visa versa, the political ad you saw on Facebook was fake but the news was actually real. How much research did you put into finding out the truth of both? At least you know the shampoo works. I say, share that headline, it‚Äôs from CNN.

The lens we think in is through social media, like language, it is not our own, and that media is owned by someone else, by a capitalistic entity. Our language, art, media, comments and posts are dictated by a media that sets you within a certain category, living within a framework designed and restricted by others. Go outside of this category allotment and face banishment, hatred, expulsion, and unsavory marks at your character, image, or likeness. Stay within it and you become homogeneous, enjoyed by others, there is a sense of worth, community. But is that worth real or contrived? Is that worth valuable when you realize you are a pawn for marketers, and a company which may have swung an election, may have profited off of your existence?

If you want to move beyond this compromised platform, now is the time to unplug, deactivate as I have. End your Facebook account for the idea that you are outside of the box. I feel a bit outside of that square because I did it. The story of my deactivation: Facebook had a class-action lawsuit against them (Fraley vs. Facebook) because they used my likeness without my permission, and the likeness of 150,000 unaware others. I, well we, became an ironic advertisement we knew nothing about. I struggled with the deactivation, had to download all my photos again but eventually I succeeded. I feel much better not being in something presumed innocent but exists as something entirely different, while totally accepted as the former.

Facebook presents as simple, transparent, honest, easy, thoughtful, and benevolent. Many media outlets use Facebook, push accounts and stories. Newspapers have Facebook pages, we get stories from Facebook; a summer back Facebook Live started a social media movement. Those movements are latent effects, the manifest effect is the profits. What you might not understand is that visibility is lucrative to companies. These entities are making money off of ads–ads which might be bought by foreign governments, to trick you to buy something or to carry on with some contemporary idea. They want you to see it through their lens, the lens that profits for them, the lens of distraction and complacence.

Social media, in theory, may be a great idea, we are brought closer to places, people, and things we love, we get information immediately, we are privy to every detail. Or we are privy to the details entities allow us to see. That is so easy. So easy, why change? Well, when the platform crashes and everything you own on that platform is compromised–which is nothing, you will have nothing to show for it. Someone else will: their loss. That is why the time is now to deactivate and live your life free of the lens you forces upon yourself. Free to say and think what you mean outside of the capitalistic realm presented. Imagine not needing a CEO to align you with your thoughts. Plug into your new-old platform: real-life.

***
Thank you for reading, remember to donate to my cause. My cause is writing and sharing my personal opinions and ideas, these are my own. Hit the donate button, and if you enjoy what you have read, please share my works on social media (ironic, I understand). TS_

Male circumcision is genital mutilation: the sharp unconcerned gender disparity as written by news media language

circ-egypt

Frogtown, USA–I never really thought about the topic of circumcision much, especially in relation to change or making change within–I think my fate is sealed, was sealed before my brain could function enough to say perhaps “no, sounds painful”.

Maybe once in high school though I thought about it being a private matter. ¬†The idea of male circumcision and what it meant. ¬†I still don’t understand much about it, however many males in America are circumcised. ¬†I think the act could be because of religion or because of hygiene, it could be.

You see, I won’t research that. ¬†I don’t care if it is because of “religion” or “hygiene”, they why doesn’t matter.

The matter at hand is that male “genital mutilations” or “circumcisions” happen and there are limited media reports of them in comparison to female “genital mutilation” stories. ¬†I find it odd that a prevalent practice performed on one gender (male) is considered normal while a similar practice performed on another gender (female) is considered¬†a news worthy, and possible criminal charge. ¬†And, as a self-identified male, I find this a bit unfair. ¬†(But that doesn’t fit into the Narrative.)¬†download

I do not believe female “genital mutilation” or “circumcisions” should make the news if, at the same time, a majority of male “genital mutilations” or “circumcisions” do not make the news in an equal capacity.

And yet, why is there little concern that “most adult men are circumcised“. ¬†Does this not concern the media or the activists that wish to protect human rights. ¬†Also, why is male “circumcision” not considered ubiquitously as male “genital mutilation”?

Recent news stories focused on female “genital mutilation” prompted me to delve back into the topic of “circumcision” in males, that, and the experience of having a baby boy.

As a parent I have to decided the fate of my child’s physical dimensions. ¬†There is no cry from protesters or the pundits when it comes to this private and personal decision at the hospital, not view as damage or irreversible harm but rather as an “option” to think about before birth.

So, think about this, as from above most American males are “circumcised”, or have experience “genital mutilation”. ¬†In recent years, however, male circumcisions in America are on the decline. ¬†Why is this? ¬†Perhaps because male circumcision is actually male “genital mutilation”, period, and the mainstream media doesn’t care.

They play with terminology when it works with their ideology, but cutting flesh from one person is the same as cutting from another, no matter race, creed, or gender.  images

In conclusion, the decision to “circumcise” or to “mutilate” not is a highly personal decision, and a final one. ¬†Accordingly, I believe that not only do we need to reconsider how we change our bodies but how we change the bodies of the future.

Moreover, I believe we need to understand and keep meanings and definitions in relation to words and genders equal, especially within news media language and context; we observe male “circumcisions” or ¬†“mutilations” as somehow not as equally alarming as¬†female genital mutilation. ¬†Perhaps the lack of concern shown to one gender over another by mainstream news is the actual shocking news story that everyone wants but no one wants to hear.

As a self-identified male, I haven’t heard of any bills being made to save our (fore)skins, pun intended, in relation to “circumcisions” or actual male “genital mutilation”. ¬†Alike, I think all “genital mutilation”, in relation to all genders, is mutilation, destruction, and potentially a crime which disfigures the human body. ¬†Reconsider this when the idea arises in local reports or national breaking news. ¬†download.jpg

Language is the key to this matter. ¬†You call something “circumcision” and then you call something “genital mutilation”, on the grounds of gender, and you assume a bias in the language you use to describe an action. ¬†Which is which?

That is the crux of this biscuit, the matter at hand.  If we use the somewhat necessary innocuous and accepted language to describe an horrendous act, is that act then acceptable, and should that act be called something different depending on who it is done to?  Because that happens now, today, on the topic put forth above.

***

I am no advocate, activist, or professional on the topic “genital mutilation”. ¬†I am merely stating concern over the potential bias within the media coverage of one agenda over another, one gender over another, through language and terminology.

These are my views.  I am open to free discussion and open dialogue on the topic of circumcision/genital mutilation, please comment as necessary.  Thank you for reading.  No hate please, I try to stay positive.

 

 

Online Petitions (as Pennies in a Wishing Well)

“Everything that is beautiful and noble is a product of reason and calculation.” -Charles Baudelaire

St Paul, MN- In my opinion, petitioning everything we find disagreeable¬†on the internet, that takes place in the United States of America, is like posting a new status on Facebook, or any other social media platform, it becomes useless. ¬†To me, this action does very little, because those forums are monitored and controlled, like throwing a penny into a wishing well–it takes the intention out of the actor’s perception, it takes the accountability out of the petitioner’s (wisher’s) hands and puts the issue in a free fall of liquidity, placing the issue on something larger and misunderstood. ¬†I guess I miss the reason, intention, and calculation of speaking to deaf ears.

Petitioning so visibly against matters on social media creates the same sort of sentiment that one sees when one throws a penny into a wishing well. The shiny object, the cent, goes away from our observation and into certain darkness.  The viewer of this spectacle finds that the actor in this setting has hope, has promise, has a wish with meaning. The penny falls and that is that. There is that nugget of hope left at the bottom of a wishing well. Accordingly, the petition is sent out, put forth, and left on the interwebs away from those with the ability to make change, and there it sits.  (I will attest that these petitions seem a spectacle for the mainstream media to make pennies off of as well, generating a story, while stoking a teasing interest.)

In relation to this metaphor, I aver we do something different for change, instead of a spectacle for others, we create a spectacle for ourselves.  Instead of casting a penny away, as an idea, or as a concern for a concept by writing or signing a petition, that may or may not get seen by eyes with authority and the ability to create change, one must, perhaps, write legislature, or run for office themselves; make the change they desire by becoming this change. Create the change you want by following your wishes or petitions to the top, to the office you aspire to. So often ideas become clouded by group-think and the initial principal becomes diluted, creating very little change.  With an individual seeing this principal through to fruition, those outside forces may be hampered.

The real matter at hand with petitions and pennies, perhaps, may be the level of accountability the person doing the signing, or throwing, or writing cares to do and be responsible for. We sign things all the time, this act is commonplace autonomous. I sign for coffee, I sign for sandwiches, I sign for others, I sign for packages, and I sign for beer. You do too!  How is this any different in a serious way, signing for something that is entirely important or unimportant to me? (Is changing the system important to you?  And how important?)  I find in order for change it must be a step above that kind of signing, a bit more convoluted, this giving up autonomy and comfort for belief.

Signing a petition on the internet for something you believe wholeheartedly may feel good. ¬†You may feel you have done your part, but what part? Does this signing lack fervor though? ¬†And how much will that well-meant signature do? To make change there must be the same amount of initiative or action or motivation as in the thought that caused it. Putting a status update on social media takes a few clicks, signing your signature is a swipe of the wrist–conditioning at this point–perhaps, neither of these actions are revolutionary (singularly alone). With them, there is only a wish and an idea thrown away, as the penny in the wishing well. ¬†So how important is your status update or your signature for petitioning change in comparison to every other one placed in a universe of texts and signatures?

***

On the video at the top of this essay, and the “Faithless Elector” movement (I didn’t watch it, the thumbnail was nice. ¬†So I used it.) Further, we knew about the electoral college and how it worked many years ago, perhaps it is as old as the American republic. ¬†I will cite, as John C. Dvorak of the No Agenda Podcast pointed out, where some of the inspiration for my piece comes, and I paraphrase–I hope I do justice, change the system, change the law! ¬†Again,¬†I paraphrase, but the gist is there. ¬†Change the way we do things, the system, and change the law. ¬†Hear more from him at No Agenda Podcast. ¬†And if you perceive me wrong, I guess I am witnessing the forest for the trees, I am missing their timber. ¬†Change may take more effort than an online trend, spectacle, or people holding well-made signs.

BAE, See: The Art of Punk – Black Flag – Art + Music – MOCAtv