Monthly Archives: December 2013

Tom 365 – A New Begining

Two years ago, I started a year-long project on my FacePage entitled Tom 365.

It all began with this photo:

January 1, 2012  -  Tom 365

Missing only two days due to a bout of food poisoning, I posted a picture a day of myself.  What has now become known as a selfie.  I was a pioneer and never knew it.

The year did produce some memorable moments such as this:

Marilyn and Me and Mo  -  Tom 365  -  February 18, 2012

And this:

Tom 365 - McRib is Back

But there were also some sweet shots like this:

Tom 365 - December 9, 2012

And this:

Happy Birthday - Tom 365

And there were many pictures like this:

Parade Day  -  Tom 365

The final picture was taken in Dublin, Ireland.

the Last Tom 365

And then just like Keyser Soze, it was gone.

Now a year after that final photo appeared, Tom 365 is ready to return.  Only this time I am not going to turn the camera around.  This year, Tom 365 is not going to be about me, but about the world I see.  But in true selfie form, it will be seen through the eyes of my iPhone and my Samsung Galaxy tablet.

Unlike the original Tom 365, this year I will post directly here.  But just like the original, I have no idea what I am doing or where this year will take me.

As my lovely wife would say, it will be another adventure.

More from The Giant’s Causeway – Testing Continues


The Giant’s Causeway.  One of my most favorite places on earth.  So far.

But it is also a cleverly disguised second test, to see if I have actually figured out this tablet thing.

I think I might be getting the hang of it.

The Test Tree


I have continued to struggle trying to post here from my tablet.  I am fairly certain that the problem is in the operator system.  As in the operator of this devise has no idea how to work this system.   So I am trying yet again.

This is a tree.  It grows on the parkway in front of my house.  Nothing really special about it.  But you may be seeing it again.

That is if I can figure out how to work this damn tablet thing.

Test over.  Brother Tom out.

A is for …

So, my lovely wife and I decided to head down to Daley Plaza the other day to visit the annual Christkindlmarket.  Our biggest mistake?  Going on the Sunday before Christmas.  It was crowded.

Chicago Christkindlmarket 2013

We decided next year we will go on a Tuesday afternoon.

The market sits in the shadow of the world famous Chicago Picasso, located in Daley Plaza.  It celebrates all things German, from arts and crafts to food items like gluhwein and potato pancakes.  It also includes a very ornate nativity scene.

Chicago Christkindlmarket - Daley Plaza - 2013

Of course, the problem then is that the Daley Center is a government building, and there are those who take this whole separation of church and state thing way too seriously, and there are people who will now be offended.

Let me stop for a moment to clarify a couple things before I continue.  There are those that will accuse me of being a bleeding heart liberal, and I guess if you have read the last couple of thing I have written, it may seem as if I actually am a bleeding heart liberal. Personally, I see political affiliation like the Kinsey Scale of Human Sexuality.  On one end you have the people that are only super conservative, and at the other, those people who are completely liberal.  But most people fall in the middle somewhere, having views that are both liberal and conservative.

I was raised Roman Catholic, but me and the church had a parting of the ways some years back.  I still believe there is a god, or perhaps gods, but I do not partake in any form of organized religion at this time.  Technically, my children are Jewish, but they have had no formal Jewish upbringing.  Each year at our home, we put up a Christmas Tree.  And it is that, a Christmas Tree.  My lack of religion has not pushed me to a point that I call it a “holiday” tree.  It is a Christmas Tree.

So back to Daley Plaza.  There were no protest or perceived problems with this nativity scene place on a government plaza.  I had thought there might be a menorah somewhere in honor or Hanukkah, but if there was one, I didn’t see it.  What I also did see was any displays for Kwanzaa or Diwali.  The only hint that there was any conflict over the appearance of the nativity was this:

A is for Athist

Sponsored by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the giant A was to represent the Atheist and Agnostics of the world who somehow fell threatened by the nativity placed on government property.  There was no backlash from the city, as they had no problem allowing the organization to put up the display, but judging by the people who stopped by the letter, most seemed to view it as a joke.  If the intent was to enlighten people, in my opinion, this display failed miserably.  Our American way of life is not threatened by Christmas.  If your organization doesn’t want to celebrate Christmas , then don’t.  But this sideshow just made you look foolish.

Most people who viewed the giant A came to the same conclusion that I did.

A is for Assholes.

It’s Not What You Say

We all remember that from our moms, right?

It’s not what you say, but how you say it.  It may be true to some extent, but as the divide between the left and the right seemingly gets wider, it is also about what you say.

Before I got sidetracked by the whole Duck Dynasty fiasco, I had started writing about how a seemingly unimportant topic can morph into a hate fest.  How our opinions can no longer be discussed in a civil manner, and hatred has replaced understanding.  It is almost impossible to respectfully disagree with someone without being branded as “the enemy.”

Where has common sense gone?

What started me down this path of thinking was a Facebook post.  It was about this picture of our President.

creepy obama

To be honest, I thought the story was stupid.  Somehow it was trying to state that the photo was proof of Obama’s communist intentions.  I didn’t get it, but if you would like to read the entire short article, you can find it here:

But it wasn’t the story that really got me thinking, it was the comments that followed the story.  Although the section right above the comments stated that the website had “no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior,” right below that the first comment contained almost all of those things, minus the all caps.


Arrogant Narcisstist Homosexual Penis Gobbling Muslim Pig is what Obama truly is! I truly wish he would be giving a speech on National TV and his head explode in a red spray of hair, teeth, and eyeballs! That would be a true Blessing upon our Nation! In fact, I would even dance in the street like a pig muslim on 9/11, while singing “The Wicked Witch of the East is Dead”!

I did not edit this.  That is exactly how it appears on the site.

Let’s jump forward to that whole freedom of speech thing we have been hearing so much about over the past two days.  Is this protected speech? I guess,  but it could also be taken as a threat against the President.  Which by the way is a federal offence.  Even worse than the comment itself, twenty-six people “liked” the comment.

But this was not an isolated offense.  From the same comment section:


I would love to have one so I can take it to the range also. I used saddam husein pic. at the range and filled his face with 15 holes from a 9mm two months ago and it gave me such a rush. I know how to shoot well.

Do you see a pattern starting here?

There were plenty of comparisons to dictators past and present, but there were also a number of comments like this:

Barack is a gay communist jerkawff.

or this:

Alah, Alah, this Evil Muslim, Homosexual, Pervert, Lying, piece of Trash, is a Jerk.

All this hatred and intolerance from a dumb story about an over-sized picture hanging in an embassy in London.  Where does this come from?

And that brings us back to our old friend Phil Robertson.  Yes Phil, you do have the right to say what you like and to express your opinion.  And so do you billwhit1357, 094870, MoDeVille and vietnamvet1971.  But it also gives me the right to call you what you really are:


I have a number of friends that have opinions that are different than my own.  Hell, I have members of my own family that are politically opposite from myself.  Yet somehow, we all manage to get along just fine.  We can have conversations and exchange ideas, and no one has to resort to name calling or blowing someones head off.

Maybe it time we all took one more piece of advise from mom.

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

The Free Speech Dynasty – or – The Real Reason Phil Robertson is No Longer on TV

The end of Phil Robertson’s Dynasty has nothing to do with free speech.  Before we all get our panties in a wad, let’s start with some basic facts.  The Duck Dynasty star did not get put on hiatus because he spoke an opinion that he felt homosexuality was a sin.  That is simplifying the facts way too much.  Phil Robertson was put on hiatus for saying this:

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

It is probably very possible that part of the reason he was suspended was also because he said this:

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

But don’t just take my word for it.  Read the whole article for yourself.


Now, back to those wadded up panties.

Before we all start screaming and shouting about Freedom of Speech, let’s look at the actual text of the First Amendment:

“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.”

What law did the Government make that caused Mr. Robertson to lose his job?  None.  The Government, the First Amendment, and Freedom of Speech do not apply here at all.  Big, bad Barack Obama did not slap Phil on the wrist in this case, a privately owned company did.  No one stopped Phil Robertson from saying the things he did.  His rights were not infringed upon.  And the company he works for was also within its rights to protect their image by taking action when he spoke in a way that they felt tarnished their network.

Character clauses exist with most contracts, and I have a feeling there was probably one in place here.  Most companies have a code of conduct.  This covers everything from dress codes to requesting days off.  It most often will also cover conduct outside or away from the job. In my own job, we have rules about social media and the public image of the organization.  I myself can be suspended or fired for something I say in a public forum.  This does not in any way infringe on my rights.  I am aware of the risk, and I know that the things I write and say could affect my job.  If I choose to write something here in this blog that is restricted by my company, I must also be ready to face the consequences.

Phil Robertson’s rights have not been infringed upon, no matter what the usual group of alarmist will say about this situation.  No one stopped him from saying what he did, and more importantly, no government body or law stood in his way.  If you don’t like the way Phil was treated by A&E, you can boycott the network or write a blog of your own.  You can even leave a reply here, but remember, I have the right to delete a comment if I feel it is inappropriate.  And the people who run this website also have the right to edit or remove content that violates their terms of service.

None of these things violate the First Amendment or our Right to Free Speech.

The most powerful part of Free Speech, is knowing when not to say something even though you can.

duck panties

Weekly Photo Challenge – Let there be light

Thanksgiving has come and gone.  The turkey has been eaten, and the shopping has begun.  The Christmas season is officially upon us, and that can only mean one thing.

Let there be light(s).

Let there be lights




For more “Light” photos, please visit: