The birthday party, the choke-hold, and running for Burleigh County Sheriff.

//You can read various updates at the bottom of the post. There is also a related post on some of the online behavior stemming from this here.//

A story broke on the local Minuteman Blog regarding one of the candidates for Burleigh County Sheriff. The race is between Nolan Canright and Kelly Leben. Leben is likely the "favored" candidate (and received more votes in the June primary) because he has been with the BCS office for many years.

According to several sworn police reports and subsequent medical records, Leben used a potentially damaging choke-hold on his nephew who asked him to stop, as did other family members. One of the statements was by a former County Sheriff (i.e. law enforcement officer). Surely they understood the severity of making false statements to law enforcement.

The young man was taken to the hospital. The result of all of this was a neck/spine injury that ultimately kept him from joining the Marines, which had been a dream of his.

The family didn't…

BattlBox fights back against Facebook, but with outdoor knives, not tactical knives.

A friend of mine gets BattlBox (I think it used to be called Battle Box, but the name change is sort of explained in a minute), a monthly subscription service that sends out various themed boxes for preppers. It's full of cool stuff like survival gear, knives, stuff for guns, books, water purification, fire starting tools -- all your basics.

But Facebook.

That great beast of loathsome censorship and and fastidious promoter of Orwellian language, despiser of all things conservative and Christian, cousin of Twitter--which is like a fire hose of raw sewage and politically correct censorship--ever pursuant of the lowest common denominator and group think, devious collector of personal data.

BattlBox had to make changes because of Facebook, according to an email my friend received.

At the end of the email was a promotion code that could be used to get discounts on purchasing from BattleBox. I'm not going to give it to you because it was sent to their subscribers. Suffice it to say,…

The dogs won't let go of the steak.

My collection of books warning about the dangers of the internet grows. From Lanier to Stoll to Carr and more, I'm a choir being preached to.

Some random rules and guidelines I've assembled and mostly sorta tried to follow:
Dump Twitter. I left Twitter in January, because it's a sewer full stop. Get out now, while you can, before the turds hit you in the face. It inspires the worst behavior, both in response and in thinking you should opine on everything. There is no better place for a witty retort to be misconstrued and cost you your job or whatever else.Reduce Facebook. If you can dump Facebook, great. If you're like me and have to have an account for work page management and to connect with family, reduce use. No Facebook on my mobile devices. I only check it at my desktop.Time Limit Entanglements. Embroil yourself in an online battle for no more than one day only. Let's be honest: no one is changing anyone's mind. The internet is where we dig trenches and lo…

The book stacks are speaking.

A few years back there was a kind of meme where people would take a photo of a stack of books and the whole of all the titles, themes, or author's names would be its own message.

I never really participated in that, but I do laugh frequently when I go to the local bookstore and see how books are arranged on the shelves. Whether on purpose or by accident, more than once the arrangement is fortuitous.

Sometimes it's not even the arrangement that matters. Sometimes the title of the book is enough, such as this one on having less and not shopping, available for you to buy while shopping.

My Instagram feed, known as one of the most boring in the world (I'm guessing), is often filled with artless filter-free photos of books. Usually it's what I'm reading next, but sometimes I'm in a bookstore and can't help myself.

Some are simply uplifting.

Sometimes I see a juxtaposition of intriguing titles that, while I can't put my finger on it, seems to have something …

Going to the gym, and more happily, leaving it.

There was a tree or two, the hot sun. Some weeds.

My friend and I sat in the truck in the parking lot of the gym. "We only said we should go to the gym," I said. "Technically, we are at the gym."

I hate going to the gym.

I'm not Joe Athlete, and never have been.

Still, as far as the gym goes, I've gone pretty regularly, three times a week, for several years. You wouldn't know it from looking at me of course. I don't go to get a bikini body (oh my gosh, no, I would never wear one). I don't go so I can look hot in clothes. I don't go so I can post my workout stats and photos on social media to let the world know I mastered my body and have achieved health idolatry, disguising it as faux encouragement for others instead of bragging. At this point, I go to maintain bone density and basic muscle tone, enough cardio fitness so I'm not that person out of breath after a flight of stairs, and enough flexibility so I don't end up walking with …

When the HR guy tells you you're confusing.

“I don’t know how else to tell you this,” he says to me, “but I find you confusing.”

I look at my resume and cover letter — the required documents — in his hand and I realize attempt #14 did not land a job for me and think I am not a human resource.

I leave the HR office wondering how I had become a list of what I was not, wondering when Photoshop had become a skill, wondering why being a teacher, a designer, an artist, an entrepreneur, a pastry chef, a get-off-my-ass-work-hard self-starter — how a jack-of-all trades was really a hack-of-all trades.

I realize there was one common denominator in my job-hunting failures: I was applying for jobs where they were looking for people to apply.

People don’t know what they want, I decide. Not really.

Someone left, or there is more work to do, and they create a list of what they think will take care of it. They think they want a Photoshop expert instead of someone who can work with a lousy computer and clunky software and still pull off a grea…

We welcome your opinion.

This is a day and age where everyone thinks having a strong emotion/opinion is justification for sharing. They think the First Amendment is somehow a guarantee that they get to share their opinion with anyone and that it must be given "due respect."

Due respect, indeed.

You may have the right to free speech, but I am not obligated to listen nor care.

There are only a few times I'm interested in someone's opinion. If you're an expert and you know what you're talking about and have solid information to share that you believe would be of helpful interest, OK. Or, if I came to you because you are an expert and you know what you're talking about and have solid information to share that I believe would be of help, OK. If you're a close friend or family member and you actually have some skin in the game of my life and care, OK.

But the shotgun approach to receiving unsolicited opinions from random strangers is of zero interest and curiosity, of zero value.