Otter Pops and Libertarian Porcupine Mascot Logo: My New T-Shirts from FavorMerch.com

Last week, the owner of FavorMerch.com reached out to me and asked if I would be willing to help boost his SEO by putting a link to his website in one of my pre-existing posts.

When it was all said and done, I posted the link to his site, and I got to choose two shirts from the thousands of options on his site.

After much deliberation, I found that the two shirts which best defined my identity were Otter Pops and the Libertarian porcupine mascot logo.

So in case you’ve ever heard of FavorMerch, now you know someone who now owns two shirts from that site.

You can also check out the video below, where I tried on the shirts the day I received them in the mail.

If you happen to be either a fan of the Otter Pops or a fellow Libertarian, be sure to let me know in the comments section.

Where my people at?

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Dear Jack: I May Have “Wasted My Vote” on a 3rd Party Candidate, but At Least I Actually Voted and Have Peace about It

5 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack: I May Have “Wasted My Vote” on a 3rd Party Candidate, but At Least I Actually Voted and Have Peace about It

Dear Jack,

Over these past couple of months, you have curiously been listening to Mommy and I occasionally discuss Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. You have definitely been interested in learning about how the upcoming election will determine our next President.

You’ve gone to sleep to the sound of all 3 of the Presidential Debates, as your bedroom is right around the corner from our TV.

I think it’s particularly interesting that you have witnessed Mommy and I sincerely try to figure out who to vote for. You are not being raised in a specifically Democrat nor a Republican household.

Instead, I feel that Mommy and I have legitimately been trying to make the right decision; not based on an allegiance to a certain political party, but instead, based on which candidate we truly believe will be the best leader for our country.

As the debates have been on, I’ve listened to some things Donald Trump has said, and I’ve turned to Mommy and said, “Okay, I totally agree with what he just said.”

But then just a few minutes later, I would say the same thing about what Hillary Clinton just said.

And the opposite is true as well: I just as much told Mommy how I disagreed with certain statements both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump made.

For me, I just couldn’t bring myself to make a decision on which major candidate was better, or worse, for the job.

So I decided not to vote for either.

When I came home Tuesday night after participating in “early voting”, Mommy asked with a curioius smile, “So who’d you end up voting for?”

She was surprised to hear me say, “Gary Johnson.”

Not Hillary Clinton. Not Donald Trump. But instead, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian.

He embraced the things that I liked about Clinton and Trump, without the things I didn’t like about them.

I know. The likelihood of him winning the election is not great.

I know. I ultimately took a vote away from either Clinton or Trump. But to me, that’s fine- because I didn’t favor one over the other anyway.

My conscience was not okay with me “voting for the lesser of two evils.”

Because that would still have meant I knowingly voted for someone I believed was evil.

In reality, I don’t think either Clinton or Trump are evil. I don’t see things so polarized. I see gray; not just red or blue.

That’s not to say that I believe everyone else should vote for the person I voted for. Instead, I just encourage people to actually vote- for whoever they believe is the right person.

Even Mommy. I have no idea who she will vote for, yet that has no emotional effect over me; nor does anyone else’s vote.

I have voted in every single election since I was old enough. Perhaps that has something to do with the example I saw with my own parents; your Nonna and Papa.

Clearly, I will be raising you the same way. You will see me lead by example, not by simply talking about my political beliefs, but instead, by me faithfully voting for who I personally believe is the best candidate.

It goes back to my letter to you last week about your homework assignment on your opinion whether we should still celebrate Columbus Day.

I found out from your teacher this week that you were the only student in your class who marked “no,” that we should not celebrate the holiday.

That makes me proud. Not necessarily because of the belief itself, but more so because you’re not at all afraid to be the only one to believe, in a society where mainstream society is set in their beliefs.

It’s more than okay to be different.

Love,

Daddy

I’m the Most Masculine (and Rarest) Vegan You Know, but Probably By Default

I’m the Most Masculine (and Rarest) Vegan You Know, but Probably By Default

From your hundreds of Facebook friends, plus your dozens of coworkers and your handful of close friends and your immediate family, chances are… I’m the only vegan you know.

I’m the Most Masculine (and Rarest) Vegan You Know, but Probably By Default

More specifically, even if you do actually happen to know another vegan, they probably are female; since 79% of vegans are women.

I’m the Most Masculine (and Rarest) Vegan You Know, but Probably By Default

Therefore, by default, I am the most masculine vegan you know. I’ll talk more about that in a minute…

I’m the Most Masculine (and Rarest) Vegan You Know, but Probably By Default

With about 2.5% of the American population being vegan, and only 21% of that group being male, it’s very clear that when it comes to my vegan lifestyle, I am in the minority.

To make myself even more of a rarity, unlike most vegans, I am not non-religious nor politically liberal. (I’m a Christian who is a Libertarian- which means I don’t endorse the Democratic nor the Republican Party, nor do I believe in forcing my religious beliefs on others.)

I’m the Most Masculine (and Rarest) Vegan You Know, but Probably By Default

I am a very rare demographic. You likely don’t know any other vegan males in your social circle who are also both religious and non-political.

I’m the Most Masculine (and Rarest) Vegan You Know, but Probably By Default

And somewhere in the midst of all these labels, I’m by default, still masculine. I promote healthy masculinity; in fact, it’s one of the themes of my blog: celebrating masculinity as a dad. Of course, I recognize that the definition of masculinity varies based on who you ask.

I’m the Most Masculine (and Rarest) Vegan You Know, By Default

No, I don’t hunt or fish; nor do I care about sports. Plus, I’m useless when it comes to home repairs…

But I do love exploring the forest with my son, taking him to monster truck events, testing out new cars, and mountain biking- to name a few of my rugged hobbies.

I’ve noticed how our society has collectively accepted the idea that eating meat (especially beef and bacon) is masculine. So imagine what a strange bird I am, being masculine, yet denying any reliance on pork (including bacon) or shellfish for the past 7 and a half years, nor meat for the past 4 and a half years, nor eggs and dairy for the past 3 years.

But my own definition of masculinity has more to do with my role in society; more importantly, within my family of four. I see true masculinity as a set of paradoxes that I’ve collected.

I will close by sharing my concept of masculinity, which aligns with the traits I aim for daily, as a husband and father; all of which are rooted in emotional intelligence. This is my creed of masculinity. In my imperfect human state, I strive for and meditate on these attributes:

Strong, yet loving. Disciplined, yet merciful. Leading, yet serving. Assertive, yet empathetic. Adventurous, yet grounded. Dangerous, yet protective. Hard-working, yet laid-back. Structured, yet creative. Committed, yet free. Confident, yet humble.

Veganism

New Infographic: Where Breaking Bad, Hunger Games, & Lord Of The Rings Were Filmed

I thought this new infographic is cool and worth sharing. I often wonder about stuff like this; regarding where some of my favorite movies and TV shows are actually filmed.

Many years ago, my wife and I visited New Zealand, the country where Lord of the Rings was filmed.

If you asked me now what my favorite TV show of all time is, I would say #3 would be The Office, #2 would be Lost, and #1 would be Breaking Bad.

The infographic shows the places in Albuquerque the show was filmed.

See my post, My Thoughts On The Breaking Bad Finale: Felina (Now On Netflix). Also see, Aside From Breaking Bad Action Figures, What Else Is “Offensive” At Toys “R” Us?

And obviously I’m huge fan of the Libertarian film series, The Hunger Games, which to my surprise, is filmed in North Carolina.

See my post, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1- Family Friendly Review.

Now, enjoy the infographic!

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1- Family Friendly Review

Imagine the people of North Korea realizing that they outnumber their nation’s military in brute force and therefore they decide to overthrow the tyranny they’ve been under for all these decades.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1: Family Friendly Daddy Blog

Consider the unavoidable violence that would occur as the people would sacrifice their bodies as weapons against the armed military forces of the government. Think about how the landscape would be covered with the charred remains of the thousands fought for the cause of dethroning their oppressor.

It would be a grim picture.

I have just described the mood and feel of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, but the setting is not North Korea, it is a future version of America.

The reason I used North Korea as the example is because I feel the newest Hunger Games installment is a realistic glimpse of what really could happen if any oppressed nation turned own their government.

It all goes back to this concept: The people of a nation are only controlled by their government if they allow themselves to be.

And this is one of the many reasons I love The Hunger Games: The Libertarian theme is undeniable.

Amazingly, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 contains no profanity whatsoever; not even what I call a “1950’s cuss word” like “crap” or even something harmless like “dang it”. Nothing.

Unless I missed one… but I’ve always had a talent for hearing profanity in movies, and I can tell you, I didn’t hear even one questionable or potentially offensive word in this movie.

Likewise, it contains no sexual content or nudity whatsoever; as is typical with the Hunger Games movies.

Yes, Hollywood can indeed make an excellent movie without sex or profanity! Who knew?

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1- Family Friendly Review

As for violence, that’s another thing. Though blood is fairly minimal, this is a war movie more than anything.

There are mass deaths and public executions in which the camera pans away just in time before the moment of fatal impact is given.

And as I mentioned earlier, the landscape itself is an open graveyard.

What could have made this movie even darker is if any children were shown being killed. However, it is explained that most children had already died in “an epidemic.”

Therefore, the people who sacrifice their lives as human weapons are all older teens and adults; other than when a hospital is bombed by the Capitol, in which hundreds of injured and dying are instantly wiped out. However, only the bombing of the building from the outside is shown.

With that being said, this movie is for a mature audience. Could a 10 year-old watch this movie?

Ask yourself this: At what age would you be okay with your child watching an edited for TV version of Braveheart or Saving Private Ryan?

This isn’t a kids’ movie. It’s an intelligent, mature film that serves as a political thriller/war movie.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is not a family friendly movie, despite the complete lack of profanity and sexual content.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

However, it’s the best movie I’ve seen all year. It’s the kind of movie that is completely worthy of seeing in the theatre.

I believe the message in this movie validates the necessary amount of violence; because ultimately, it gives opportunity for a hero of hope to lead the people to salvation.

Flawless movie, but not intended or suitable for younger viewers. It’s rated PG-13 for a reason.

Thanks for reading my family friendly review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. Come back any time!

It Looks Like My Facebook Friends Are Questioning Bipartisanship

This week on Facebook, during the midterm elections, I’ve been watching something refreshing and basically atypical for the social media network: I noticed an overall lack in faith and loyalty to bipartisanship.

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Instead of watching people try to convert each other to vote Republican or Democrat, I saw people questioning the American bipartisanship system.

I watched people remind each other through their status updates that it’s irresponsible to simply vote blindly either all Republican or Democrat.

It seems like I’m witnessing a large enough group of the voting population gravitating towards Libertarianism; in other words, it appears people are beginning to vote what they believe is right for our country, not what is simply and easily right for the Republican or Democratic agendas; which are undeniably financed and promoted accordingly; via Fox News or CNN.

If you find yourself already getting apathetic about the next Presidential election because you’re tired of seeing a back and forth game between the two main political parties, there’s a good chance you’re actually closer to being a Libertarian more than anything.

Often it begins with a person saying they no longer care about politics.

However, that apathy is most likely towards uncompromising bipartisanship itself. I think that now, enough people are tired of being forced to pick the candidate they dislike the least; because that’s a horrible way to look at our election process.

I think enough people are realizing that the main 2 candidates are ultimately puppets who are simply endorsing either the Republican (backed by Fox News) or Democratic (backed by CNN) parties.

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By 2016, we may not be ready for a Libertarian candidate… but I do believe we’re getting much closer to have that collective mindset as a nation.

I predict that it will begin when a future elected President will identify as a Libertarian, but run as a Republican.

From there, the slippery slope will begin and the door will be open for American Presidents to rely less on bipartisanship to win the election.

And then eventually, it will no longer be considered “just a wasted vote” to endorse a Libertarian candidate.

My prediction for the 2016 Presidential Election: If Ben Carson runs as a Republican against anyone else, he will win. I believe he’s the most “middle of the road” candidate we’ve seen in a long time and people are ready for that.

However, I believe if he doesn’t run, and Hillary Clinton does, that she will win.

This could actually get pretty interesting…

Ben Carson vs. Hillary Clinton 2016

New Infographic: Where We Donate Vs. Diseases That Kill Us

I can’t tell you in confidence that it’s socially accectable to be disinterested in participating in the phenomenon of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. But I am willing to admit, when something is that amazingly popular, I’m the guy who asks questions.

To be honest, I highly considered just quietly publishing this without promoting it on Facebook. I figured it might be a fairly dangerous thing for a guy like me to do… to express any doubts about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Yes, it does appear that most of your friends, as well as relevant celebrities, are all particating. It’s dominating your Facebook feed.

As for me, I’ve simply been a spectator. And until now, I’m given no personal opinion on the subject.

But for years now, I have publically questioned where all the money really goes and what good it’s really doing when it’s donated to breast cancer research.

 

Turns out, I wasn’t the only one wondering this. They made a documentary called Pink Ribbons, Inc. that does a great job of asking and attempting to answer those same questions.

Could it be that we tend to donate more money to the causes that are killing us the least? Or that we’re donating money to the causes that have less of a global impact, but more of a regional one?

Could it be that perhaps the #1 disease in America is fairly preventable through proper exercise and diet? And if it wasn’t, shouldn’t we be donating the most money to that cause?

Let me direct your attention to an article by Julia Belluz, featuring on Vox: The Truth About The Ice Bucket Challenge: Viral Memes Shouldn’t Dictate Our Charitable Giving.

I highly recommend reading it. The article contains this eye-opening infographic, which I believe, clearly speaks for itself.

Sure, I’m sincerely happy for charities getting money donated to them. I wouldn’t want to get in the way. But I do think it’s important to see this infographic with an open mind. So here it is, for better or worse:

New Infographic: Differences Between Diseases We Donate To, And The Diseases That Kill Us