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Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's Not Opera, Dad.

     This is the type of person I am; I spend a lot of time and daring searching out the best things in the world (though I am somewhat considerably limited by money in many areas!) and when I discover them, I am almost fanatical in my devotion to them. I choose some things for their uniqueness to me such as the Kansas City Wizards (or Sporting Kansas City, I mean) or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Hannover 96.  They certainly couldn't be considered the best in the world by any stretch of even a biased imagination.  But other things, like Mac computers, uhlsport soccer gear or King of Shaves shaving supplies are certainly in the upper echelon of their respective areas of expertise.  All of which brings me to Opera Browser.  The Opera Browser is one of those things that fit into the latter of the two categories. I have been using it since the mid-nineties, back when I actually had to pay for it.  In fact, because of a hard drive failure I purchased it twice!  And its revolutionary features have been ingrained in how I use the Internet. Just how much was revealed to me yesterday.

     I was working on my son's Macbook yesterday and needed to search for a solution to a problem on the Web so, forgetting that I had installed Opera on his Macbook, I clicked on Safari.  Now Safari is a fine browser, just like Firefox or Chrome but its no Opera.  As I began my search with Safari, I clicked in the address field and typed my search question. I hit enter, and much to my shock I was taken to an error page.  My son, seeing my utter confusion, informed me, "It's not Opera, Dad."  Then I remembered, not all browsers measure up to Opera.  Actually, none do.  See, with Opera, I no longer need a separate search field for searches.  I just type it into my address field and to Google I go. (or whatever search engine I prefer) This might not seem like a big deal and I guess on its own it isn't huge but when you spend significant time on the web that takes you around the world in seconds, every second counts and features like this one cuts those seconds and simplifies the whole process.

     This is where the Opera Browser excels.  It has been at the forefront of making this thing we call "surfing the web" a more simple place to live, work and play. If Safari, Firefox or Chrome has it, most likely, Opera was the one who developed it.  And Opera isn't slowing down.  The goal is for this single piece of software to become the only program you will need to have open for all your Internet needs.  It is not there yet, but on the rare occasion that I am forced to use a browser other than Opera I am reminded of how far Opera is on the journey to that goal. And when I am using those "other" browsers and my son sees the look of dismay wash across my face and reminds me, "it's not Opera, Dad" my only response, no it's not.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Twisted Nature of the Liberal Mind

As I drove through Bismarck on my errands Saturday, I was listening to NPR. (only God knows why) Actually, the reason I stopped on that station which I usually avoid like the plague (in reality I have never really avoided the plague as it were so maybe it should be "avoid like a pair of Nike shoes") was because the person being interviewed was talking about his travels around the world using the lowest forms of "conveyance" (his word) in the world. Having recently visited Guatemala and experiencing some similar travel situations, it peeked my interest. But as I listened, I began to realize that there was something more to his story than simply revealing these sad stories of destitution to the general public who may never experience them firsthand.

 My first inclination that something was amiss was when he was describing his trip over the Andes mountains in Peru. Without going into all the details, he described traveling in a packed bus(he was sitting in the stairwell with his legs hanging out of the bus)down steep mountain roads made of mud, with cliffs rising and falling mere inches from the bus at times. There were no bathroom facilities because a man was using the bathroom to store the crates of fruit he was selling to the passengers and the man next to him had a sick child who was vomiting on the bus and defecating out the windows during the terrifying ride down the mountain. All of that is horrible enough but what he said after that description was what made my ears perk up. He said (and I am paraphrasing here) that after he just accepted all of the dirt and filth and discomfort, it was one of the most invigorating and heartening trips he ever took. He went on to describe some of the positive things of the trip such as that the passengers were kind and people brought him food (the host had to point out that they were SELLING him the food, a fact that he deliberately left out and we will see why in a moment).

 After discussing this part of his trip a little more, he went on to describe returning to the United States and how he took a Greyhound bus from the West coast to his home in the East. I am guessing that this was his idea of the lowest form of "conveyance" in the U.S. He described this leg of his journey as the most depressing and discouraging part of his travels. Why? Because the people were not very open, and he had to buy food from a vending machine. It was clear now what his message was as he continued to describe the shortcomings of the United States. His message was that no matter how bad things may be in Third World countries, the United States is much worse.

 This reveals the corruption of the Liberal Mind. In order to twist reality to to fit the liberal way of thought he had to disregard all the negative aspects of the horrific conditions in which he was traveling, and there, in this world of his own creation, he could find utopia of liberal thought, people living in harmony. That is the ideal of the liberal mindset. It doesn't matter if those harmonious people are starving to death, or plummeting off mountain passes to their deaths as long as they were living in harmony. So, instead of being concerned about the suffering of the child who was vomiting on the bus, or the indignity of being forced to defecate out the window of a public bus, or the humiliation of needing to purchase food stored in the toilet of a bus, or living in constant fear of death every time they had to take to the road, the liberal mind is concerned about the impersonal nature of buying food from a vending machine or the unwillingness of strangers on a bus to speak openly to each other. You see, America's goal is not harmony, it is freedom and prosperity. That is anathema to the liberal mind.

 As I listened, this all played out in front of me. He would not have been so candid if he had not thought he was speaking to friends, which is why he was on NPR. He was honest about ignoring the negatives in order to bolster his position, yet he was caught in his dishonesty by an only slightly more honest host when talking about people bringing him food on the bus. He would have been just as well with giving us the impression that he was being fed free of charge out of the kindness of their hearts because it lent itself to his point. If a person is willing to lie to support his position, it makes me question the validity of that position. He complained about the vending machines as if it were the only food offered to the passengers of this bus on their 72 hour trip across the U.S. I simply don't believe that. And somehow he found vending machine sandwiches more repulsive than unrefrigerated fruit stored in a public toilet. He complained about the "standoffishness" of the passengers of the bus on Grey Hound when I can imagine he made no effort to strike up a conversation. If he had, he may have found things very different. And finally, while I am sure the Peruvian Andes are more breathtaking than the deserts of the Southwest U.S., he made no mention of the natural beauty of the country side he experienced in that last leg of his journey. I am sure there was beauty somewhere along the line. But that is the liberal mind. It is a twisted view that requires a twisted reality. Remember this as you vote tomorrow. Would you rather live in America, or take a Peruvian bus to work each day? Providing you have a job at all.


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