I hate cigarettes.

I’ve known too many people who fall into their trap and let it over take them for the worse. Most of the time these people regret it – but it’s just so hard to quit. Understandably so.

I smoke from time to time, and I hate it. I can’t smoke without thinking about the nicotine flooding into my bloodstream. The tar filling my lungs and turning them black. My heart slowing its pumps until my blood flow ceases and I die a death of oxygen deprivation or lung cancer or something. I can’t not focus on every little pain that I feel in my chest as I take a draw from the filter. I have a family history of heart issues anyways, and any little heartburn or chest pain I have I worry about it to no end as it is, but when I smoke… I worry that I’m cutting off years with every sip of the smoke.

I have a pack in my glove compartment that I bought yesterday. I was feeling stressed beyond belief and that’s usually around the time I succumb and search for one. It’s bad. I’m currently trying to bring up the will power to throw them all away and forget about the one I smoked yesterday. But it’s hard – what if today is stressful? What if I really need one? What if I throw them away and a month later I but another pack just for one? I should keep it. If not for now than for later. Just in case.

Though I shouldn’t. I should power through it. I shouldn’t let it over take me because I know the minute I light up another I’ll feel the same pains and feel the same sort of regret that comes with the realization that I’m killing myself even quicker than I am already and as someone who is terrified of death, that isn’t very productive.

I’m trying. I really am – things get difficult and life gets stressful and my head gets to me – and I only ever do this a few times a year, if that. And I do usually end up throwing away the pack, or just bumming a cigarette to begin with. But I’m working on not needing it at all – because there’s nothing I want more than to not let the smoke get to me.

The Imminent Threat of Theocracy

I am a christian, willingly. I believe in God, and Jesus Christ.

I am an American citizen. And while I may not like some of the people in this country, or the people running it, I was born in this land, and land is what I care about.

I still am patriotic about the land, and I have always been patriotic for what America stands for.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

A big ‘ol melting pot of people of different religions, skin colors, genders… etc.

I love my religion, and I’m on decent terms with my Nation.

But go ahead and call me old fashioned… because I really am.
I seem to be one of a dwindling people that enjoy their church and state separated.

To be honest, they don’t do too well together.
We’ve tried that.
It was called pre-American revolution England.

Do we even care anymore about what America really stands for?
Or are we just going to cherry-pick what we want about it?

“Oh, I want my second amendment rights! I want my guns, and I want them now!”

“Well listen here, sir, I want my first amendment rights, and I want it now!”

*Cue blank stares*

“Oh, you’ve never even thought about the fact that there was more to our constitution then just something telling you that you’re allowed to carry firearms?”

*Cue crickets*

That’s the thing that a lot of Conservatives forget about. The constitution is more than the second amendment.
And as far as I know, your bible has nothing to do with my government!

The first amendment declares a separation of church, (religion), and state (America).
How can you go on about your rights, when you can’t look up a couple inches to see mine.
I have a right, and so does everyone else in this nation, not to be ruled and dictated by the rules and regulations of religion!
I don’t give a damn about your religious values, if you want to stick them in my government. To yourself? Great. Glad you have a set of morals, but if you want to be a leader in this government, then you’re going to need to leave those values at your door when you walk out in the morning!

Look at my two favorite issues right now; abortion and gay marriage. These are big issues, but they shouldn’t even be a problem.
I’ll start off by saying that anyone other then the person themselves should have a hand in someone’s personal life.
Then I’ll ask… what other reasons can women not have abortions, and homosexuals can’t marry other then religious values?
Abortions; I get the whole protecting life deal. If it were just about that, then I’d understand. But then you go and get all the answers from a pocket new testament, and that’s where you go wrong. ALL of the arguments I hear against abortion are for religious reasons.
Because if you were going at it from a stance to protect life, then you’d understand that an egg plus sperm does NOT make a person! I’m a person. You’re a person. A fertilized egg? It’s just that. A fertilized egg.
Me, personally, I’m for abortions but against late term. Once it has a BRAIN and pain receptors, I’d call that inhumane.
But a beating heart? Or fingernails? (Juno, anyone?)

The dead have fingernails. A dead guy’s heart can still beat for a few seconds after he has died! Does that make him living? No.

And gay marriage, perhaps the most bible-oriented issue of all time. Name me a SINGLE reason other then the bible why homosexual’s can’t marry.
The institution of marriage?
Who supposedly came up with that, huh?
Was there some sort of companion piece to our constitution that was on this topic?

No. It was the bible.

And the institution of marriage?
Let me break down the biblical institution of marriage.

“You give me your 14 year old daughter so I can produce offspring to work the farm, and I’ll give you three goat.”

“Three goat? That’s a lot of goat!”

“So I can marry your pre-pubescent daughter?”

“Hmm… three goat is more than one daughter… you have deal!”

…That was the “sanctity” of marriage back then. The ENTIRE reason that God may have had any problem with homosexuality, is that naturally, two men can’t make a baby. Back then, there was that whole, “be fruitful and multiply” thing.
We have been fruitful. We have multiplied.

But that’s besides the point.

This is getting ridiculous.
Our founding fathers worked their asses off, what with that whole revolution and all, to bring us separation from church and state.
And yet we keep trying to bring them back together, against what our founding fathers wanted, against our best interests, and for what?
To become what we fought so hard to overcome?

As of right now, we are very nearly a theocracy. We are letting one religion dictate what we can and can’t do.
All it’s going to take is for someone to sign the bill.

We can’t let that happen.
We can’t do this.

Did you know that it was in the fifties… the NINETEEN fifties when President Eisenhower added the phrase ‘under God’ after ‘one nation’ in our pledge?
Yeah. That wasn’t even one hundred years ago. That shouldn’t have happened in the first place. If our first amendment rang true… then why did we add ‘under god’ to our pledge, and ‘in god we trust’ to our cash?
That is a violation.
That is unconstitutional.
That was the first steps in our transformation into a theocracy.

Now, I’ll end with this.
God is good, God is great.
And you know what?
Guns are good. Guns are great.
But God, like guns, should be kept private, and used privately.
But unlike guns… having God and the bible as a part of our nation shouldn’t be used in extreme circumstances. In our law, in our courts, in our government…
ANY religion… my God included, has no place.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

– Brandon, 9:26 AM

Modern Feminism VS. Gender Equality VS. Humanitarianism

Before I begin the meat of this post, let me give you a little background on myself. (Don’t worry, it relates to the topic. I won’t be rambling).

I was raised in a regular family. I had a mother, and a father, and later on I had a few siblings. But for a while, I was just me. My father worked pretty much all day, and for a good portion of my life, my mother was a stay-at-home mom. Meaning that during a lot of those crucial points that I talked about before where my brain was like unset Jello, I soaked up a lot of my mom’s opinions.
Some of those opinions and traits would soak up and haunt me later as I tried to change them, but a few of those lessons stuck with me always:

  • Always respect women.
  • They are not objects.
  • Do not sexualize them.
  • Never under any circumstances do you lay a hand on a woman unless in a consent-given, loving gesture.

To this day, I hold everything I learned about women to my heart. My mother had had a difficult younger life, so she was a bit of a feminist, naturally. It didn’t matter, for me, these were the most important things I took away from my childhood.
Even still, to me, being a gentleman in the presence of a lady takes precedence over anything. Even when I was with my ex-girlfriend, a sort of tom-boy who acted more like a bachelor then me, I treated her with the utmost respect, because she is a female.

And THAT should never change. Being a gentleman and showing respect are the CONSTANTS that will never sway or falter to me. But as I grew up, learned more about the world around me and learned what the modern feminist movement basically stood for, things changed. Up until a few years ago, I considered myself a feminist as well, but that changed.

I will start by talking about Modern Feminism. This does not mean ALL of feminism. I am ALL for a woman’s rights, and I am ALL for the equal treatment of men and women. But I’ll get to that later.

Modern Feminism went from equality for men and women, to holding women as the superior gender. To me, it feels like the feminist movement has turned into a revenge scheme against the male gender.
Modern feminists WANT the equal pay, but they don’t want the heavy labor a man has to do.
Modern feminists WANT more respect, but then they go complaining about things with the excuse of “I’m a woman!”
Modern feminists WANT to be treated just like men, but they say it’s unfair and illegal for a man to strike a woman AFTER she’s hit him first, or chased after him with a knife, or gone after him with a pan.

No. No, not happening.
You want to know a little secret? Come in close. You might not like it, but I’ll tell it to you anyways…

Men and women? Most of the time, no, they are not created equally. We both have our weaknesses, and our setbacks, and also our strengths and powers. No, men and women DO NOT have the same weaknesses, nor do we have the same strengths. THAT is why God made us both!

So you know, while we’re here, let’s go ahead and throw in the topic of gender equality.

Here’s a scenario for you; A construction site, you have a two hundred and seventy-five pound man manning the trucks, lifting the steel, carrying concrete. Then we have a woman, maybe one hundred and twenty pounds. She gets the SAME job, because ‘discrimination’ is not allowed. She can’t carry as much, she can’t lift as high. She can carry two steel rods, while the guy can carry eight. A man can carry four sacks of concrete, she can carry one or two.
And THEN she gets in her feminist mode and complains that she doesn’t get as much cash as the man. Switch on the controversy, turn on the debates and arguments.
But the construction company was right in not paying her as much, because she wasn’t doing the same amount of work.

NOW SWITCH! A petite guy, and a hulking women. Uncommon, yes, but same exact scenario except the genders are switched. This time, the MAN doesn’t get paid as much as the woman, and is it still fair? YES.

This is my problem with modern feminism… and why I’m against it. A woman can’t do as much work? Pay her less. A man can’t do as much work? Pay him less. It is NEVER right for a man to strike a woman first. But she comes at you and hurts you physically? Defend yourself, bro, and DON’T FEEL BAD.

So I’m against modern feminism. I’m all for giving credit where credit is due, payment where it is deserved no matter what gender… but, “I am woman, hear me roar, and you are man, go sit in a corner because you aren’t as good as us?” Not so much.

And you know what? As much as I like gender equality… I’m gonna go ahead and be against it. You know why?
Because there’s a better option.


Listen. Men and women, we should be equal in the uncommon circumstances that WE ARE EQUAL. Like I said, we have different strengths and weaknesses, so just by BIOLOGICAL standards, we aren’t equal.
But we should ALL be treated with the same amount of RESPECT.
We ALL should get the same RIGHTS.
We should NEVER be discriminated due to gender.
And we should NEVER have our opinions thrown out due to gender.

But instead of focusing on women’s rights, or male’s rights, or gender equality, let’s look at the big picture.
There are a lot of us on this Earth. Over seven billion, apparently. And you know, we all speak different languages, we look a little different, our face might be a different color than someone else’s.
Ask yourself… does that change the fact that we are all humans?
We are all the same… we are all human-beings with a heart that pumps, a brain that thinks, eyes that see and ears to hear! What is it that makes us so different? Are we really killing each other and showing discrimination because my skin is light, and across the world, theirs is a bit darker?
There have been WARS because of this, people!

And I think this is one the biggest modern culprits of causing war; religion.

All wars based on religion are stupid. I believe in one god, you believe in many, but you know what? I don’t even think a war over monotheism and polytheism has happened! (Please correct me if I am… though it is still a stupid reason to have a war).
You know why these religious wars happen?

Because I believe in God. You believe in God too, but you worship him differently.

REALLY?! Are we, as a human race, that petty that we have to fight because I like my God served in a cathedral and you like your God served in a mosque? Think about it. That has caused a lot of fights.

We are ALL human-beings, and if you are religious, then realize that God created EVERYONE whether YOU like it or not. To the Westboro Baptist Church, God must have had a plan for… anyone outside of the Westboro Baptist Church. To any Muslims, God must have had a plan for those Jews. And to the Jews, and other variations on Christianity, same thing goes for you!

We are all people. We all live on Earth. We all love, and feel, and smell and taste and see… why can’t that be enough? Why do we have to focus on what makes us different, instead of focusing on what makes us the same?

I don’t think we should worry about what gender gets more money in their paycheck.
I don’t think we should worry if we have gender equality.

I think we need to work on human equality. Because we are all people.

And we all matter.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

– Brandon, 4:32 PM

Humanity and the perfect recipe for a child’s own opinions

Conservatives reading this is not advised.

Let me preface this by saying that I am religious… to an extent.
I believe in a God. I lean towards the common Judeo-Christian depiction, though I am uncertain of what form this deity holds. (I don’t really believe the whole big guy with beard, robe and sandals thing, though.)
I believe in Jesus Christ. I’ve learned to know him and love him as Yeshua, though, seeing as Jesus is a Mexican name and I don’t know why they’d name a child a Mexican name somewhere in the Middle East. My guess is that it came about when Roman Catholicism first arrived, but I digress. And I do believe that He died for me to wash me of my sins.

What I don’t believe, is the increasingly common Westboro Baptist/Republican/Southern depiction of God. I don’t think God hates anyone, despite contrary belief, and yes that includes the LGBT community as well. I think God loves all, because that’s what God does.
And to end, I think the only way to Hell is by rejecting God and his son.

Now we get to the real topic of this post; Humanity, and forcing personal beliefs into your children… amongst other points.

Children’s minds are like unset Jello. From a certain age, you can tell your children anything and get them to believe it and have it stick. They will grow up believing what you said and what you believe in, because you are really their only “reliable” source of information. Now usually, this is just fine! How else will we form options about the world around us? We need a healthy mixture of our parent’s opinions, our role model’s opinions, even some of our peer’s opinions in order to create our own unique recipe of thoughts and ideas.
Somethings, such as right and wrong, the golden rule, and general etiquette in society, need to be quickly implanted in our children’s very malleable and unset mind before the wrong things get in. I am all for that. That is a parent’s duty, to teach their children the ropes of the world and to give some basic thoughts to think on.

But what I am against is when some parent’s force feed their own definite opinions on matters that a young child doesn’t need to hear or understand.

Take for example, The Westboro Baptist Church. Just to warn you, I despise them for many reasons, so if you happen to be one of their 0.04% of supporters, you might want to leave.
Basically, this church is just a screwed-up, highly dysfunctional family (or cult) that got famous because of their radical nature. This is hardly even a church. They take children from a young age and feed them a diet of homophobia and extreme misanthropy with a big heaping glass of God’s hate to wash it down. This is, quite simply, brain-washing. Those kids know nothing else other than what their parents and other adults in the family tell them. That is NOT fair to these poor children, because this church is fattening them up to be America’s Most Hated 2.0.

Now what I’m about to tell you, feel free to take it with a grain of salt. Feel free to leave that grain of salt behind, and get the hell out of here if you don’t like what I’ve said so far. I’m not forcing this down your throat, because I don’t do that.
I like to give choice.

Here is my recipe for homemade, healthy child opinions;

  • Start with a good, heaping cup of natural choice. What kind, and how much choice is up to you. I prefer the ambiguous brand, but if you feel the need for a conservative, liberal, or feminist flavor, it’s all up to you.
  • As if your life depended on it, quickly whisk in some humanitarianism. Now once again, how much is up to you. With this, I like to leave ALL flavors aside. A human is a human, no matter what sexual orientation, gender, sexual preference, IQ, appearance… so on and so forth. Any outside tinkering can throw the recipe off.
  • Now, not everyone has this or has to do it, but I think it adds a little kick. Add a half-tablespoon of misanthropy to balance out the humanitarianism. Too much of either can COMPLETELY cloud judgement, resulting in a dish either far too sweet or far too spicy.
  • This next part is a group effort. Together, you and your child pick out some of your favorite opinions. They might want a handful from that athlete or celebrity, and you might want some from Grandpa and Mr. Rodgers. Either way, the equal amount of each is important.
  • Finally, mix together, pour through the child’s ears and let slow cook for twelve, sixteen or eighteen years.


I think choice is something that a lot of parent’s leave out. Whether it the choice I spoke of here, about their opinions and how they feel, to whether the choice to follow a family profession, or to go college, or to believe in whatever religion.
It isn’t fair to force some of these things down the gullet of a five year old. Because generally, if you give them the choice, most of the time they will come around to what’s right anyways.
And even more so… if you give them choice, sometimes they’ll even fall back to what you believed in the first place.

Now in my childhood, I’ve made choices because most of the time, my family gave me that choice. And you know what happened? I went around, I listened and learned and researched, got my fill of my own views and opinions, then filled the blanks will my parent’s.

Do I believe in their religious views? No.
Do I believe in the paranoia my mother and grandmother share? No.
I DO share most of their liberal views, yes.
I DO share their acceptance of all types and variations of humans, yes.

Because I’ve had the choice, I wasn’t confined to four walls to bounce ideas off of and have them fade and sizzle away, turning me into a brainwashed robot that believes everything my parent’s want me to.
I was able to take in everything around me and turn myself into one unique human-being.

And in the end… that’s what really matters.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

– Brandon Vinton, 3:01 AM