Rate My Professor? Rate THIS: A Psycho-Analytical Look at Adagogical Evaluation through Social Media

 RateMyProfessor_LogoLast Thursday, while eating breakfast with some students who were set to graduate that evening, several asked me if I ever looked at the website, “Rate my professor” -designed to assist students in choosing good (easy?) professors- to find out what students were saying about me. This is not the first time I have been asked this question and my response is generally along the lines of, “No, what is the point? In fact, please go on and talk shit about me so my classes will stay smaller.”  Yet this is the short answer. This blog entry will provide you with the long one and you will know why I believe such a site should be taken with a grain of salt at best. In the end, feel free to rate this blogger.


Human beings are fascinating creatures. We are likely the only ones that are capable of both great acts of selfless altruism (think Mother Theresa and Ghandi) as well as great acts of atrocities (think Boston marathon bombers and Hitler, not necessarily in that order). We are the species that will sacrifice our lives to help others while also being capable of killing innocent children for no good reason –yet I cannot think a good reason to ever kill a child, our species has groups, extreme Islamic fundamentalists and psychotics, that may argue otherwise.

A scary and mysterious breed we are indeed.

I believe there are two concepts that are great predictors as to whether our collective altruistic side OR our dark side will manifest itself. The first is the idea of ACCOUNTABILITY. When we are held accountable to our ideas and actions we tend to think through them with much greater scrutiny and accountability-1consideration. With few exceptions (Nazi Germany being a main one) when we must share our plans and opinions, such sharing will bring about critical analysis and with this analysis comes a greater accountability and likelihood of an effective outcome.

You know, like if I decide to share my plan of action to shoot up the local elementary school with my recovery group, someone will likely opine that this is a really, really bad idea.

Study after study (see Social Facilitation Theory) demonstrates the improved performance of collaborative over individual decision-making. Question: If one wants to improve a performance in ANY given area imagesof life? It’s easy…have an audience. We do better when others are watching.

As far as we know, the Unabomber, Boston marathon bombers, Timothy MacVeigh or Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro did not work by democratic committee. Such atrocious acts are usually the result of an individual or small group of like-minded individuals, spending too much time in their isolated own head(s) conjuring up schemes without having to express said schemes to any opposing entities for an alternative opinion.

What does this have to do with rate my professor? Patience dear reader.

Likewise, when one is held accountable and their plans and ideas are revealed to the masses, plans tend to flow in the opposite direction. Professional athletes hire publicists to ensure img_30001_matt-kemp-gives-jersey-and-shoes-to-kid-with-cancertheir plans to donate thousands of dollars are well documented while reporters are conveniently available when acts of kindness are performed.

Strong accountability continues to be both the strongest deterrent to really bad ideas as well as the greatest motivator for really great ideas; namely ones of kindness and altruism.

The second idea is the opposite to the first and that is ANONYMITY.  When human beings are able to work anonymously, the threat of very dangerous results looms ever so strongly. Yes, we do hear of the occasional very generous donor who gave anonymously to a cause, RARELY. In the great majority of cases of large generous donations, for example, not only is the person known, the building is also named after them. Conversely, when one is able to act under the guise of “anonymous,” our darker sides tend to rise to the top.  Studies suggest that anonymity can be a real problem insofar as deviant behavior is concerned.

Perhaps the single greatest predictor of effective decision-making and ethical behavior is accountability. Conversely the greatest predictor in poor decision-making and unethical behavior is under the condition of anonymity.

anonymous behind barsQuite frankly, I am not interested in hearing the opinions of those who hide under the veil of anonymity. In my blogs I am not shy in offering my opinions, insights and beliefs and I will stand by them because I am accountable to them. You know who I am. Hell, my little cute picture of me with my handlebar mustache is right up there at the top right for your enjoyment. I will defend my words. Sometimes my words will be right; sometimes they will be wrong. Sometimes my words are well stated; sometimes they are, uh, how can I say it? Uhm, ah…NOT well stated.

In any case, these are my words and I stand by them and am held accountable to them. I care as much about anonymous people’s opinions as I do about eating or drinking something of unknown content that came in plain white packaging with no label of ingredients. It could be absolutely delightful or it could be poisonous and insidious; though, in either case, I am just NOT interested.

Hence, the very long road to “rate my professor” and my ponderings. Back when I was in college we had our version of “rate my professor” and that was sharing our opinions face to face with others.  Unless we heard of a professor through the grapevine, we knew the source of the information and often we considered the source of the information before we considered the information itself…after all, the medium is the message.

You know, if it was the screw-off complaining of a prof you would ignore her -yet if it was a solid and trustworthy student, you listened very carefully.

To be blunt, people who act anonymously and are not held accountable drive me nuts. I love those who disagree with me on something I may have said or done, though have the decency AND THE BALLS to stand behind it and express disagreement!  I love honesty. Anonymity has the tendency to turn fairly nice people rather mean, rather fast.

And feel free to disagree with me…yet you must provide your identity and email address. I would not have it any other way.

Oh, and my students said I apparently have a chili pepper after my name indicating I am hot. I suppose “rate my professor” may not be such a bad site after all. Wink.

Jonn Scott Flath

Connecting the dots.

Jonn Scott Flath, born January 5th 1993

“Our son passed away while doing what he loved most, training to become an officer in the United States Air Force at Loyola Marymount University. Jonn touched the lives of everyone who knew him, and his love and zest for life extended beyond his friends to those who only heard about him….Jonn touched hundreds of lives while he was here with us and we want to continue extending his love for jonn flathas long as we can. The Jonn Scott Flath Memorial Scholarship fund is a 501c3 fund which will be used for graduation High School seniors to help defray their college/university costs….we will be working with West Ranch High School and their administration senior staff who will make the decision (no applications are permitted) based upon the selected students character, morals, GPA, cross cultural diversity outreach, enthusiasm and overall sincere attitude, characters which Jonn displayed.”

I typically have several blogs in my cue that I may start and come back to in several weeks, or even months, later. I began a blog about my youngest son, nicknamed Sterbs, several months ago upon acceptance to UNLV. Within that blog I do remark both on the strong connection Stevie and I share as well as the very difficult times he endured during his early high school years.

And what does this have to do with Jonn Scott Flath? Patience dear reader. I am getting to that.

I have since deleted this blog as it was a far more therapeutic diary entry than anything else; yet it does, ironically, provide a striking background and some perspective on the journey Stevie has had the last several years. His jovial personality and his “golden boy” image hides the fact that he had to overcome quite a bit of adversity as a Freshman and Sophomore, necessitating him to transfer schools mid-year in the 10th grade. In order to respect his privacy, I will not go in detail regarding the specifics of his experience. Suffice it to say it was awful. It was dark.

In fact, it was one of the darkest times of his (our) life.

I went on in this blog to discuss some details of the events that transpired; however with the benefit of passed time, further reflection and current events, it serves no purpose.  We had long talks and ironically, we discussed how strange it was neither of us had cried through the ordeal, as men who are not afraid to express themselves in this way.

Perhaps great events come at a great price. Perhaps perspective…even connecting the dots of life, only come in time. I have often observed that life can be a great mural and we can only know of it purpose and beauty upon completion; any premature observations are speculation at best -and usually wrong speculation.

In order to succeed in life, one must roll with the punches and attempt to capitalize on everything that happens. I am definitely NOT an “everything happens for a reason” person –not even close. I am an “everything happens -and now make the best of it” person to be sure.

And make the best of it Stevie did.

What we did not know at that time was that this seemingly unfortunate and painful transfer opened the door for Stevie to meet a new friend -yes, senior Jonn Flath who was completing his final semester at West Ranch High School. Stevie instantaneously loved Jonn and spoke so highly of him. Stevie would show me his videos and I was not appeasing Stevie when I commented how clever and genuinely funny they were. Stevie entered West Ranch at just the right time to experience Jonn’s friendship.

I will never forget the day Stevie came home early in his Junior year in tears and told us that his friend had died suddenly.

I will also never forget the day that Stevie was honored to be the recipient of Jonn Scott Flath Memorial Scholarship.” In Sterbs own words:

“So tonight I won a $2,000 scholarship titled the “John Scott Flath Memorial Scholarship”. Jonn Flath was a 2011 graduate who passed away on September 23rd, 2011. This scholarship is not one you can apply for, it is one you are picked for. Mr. Vincent, our principal picked me for this scholarship because I displayed “Integrity, Joyousness, Perseverance, and Generosity of Spirit” in my time at West Ranch High School. I left the senior awards after the video recognitions because I did not apply for any scholarships, and I never thought in a million years I would be the one chosen for this scholarship. After speeding back to school to speak with Jonn’s family, I have never cried harder this year and I have never been around such great people. They are amazing individuals. I’ve never received such a high honor and I could not feel better about my experience in high school as of this moment. I feel this is a constant reminder now to demonstrate these qualities with Jonn watching over. Thank you West Ranch High School, thank you Mr. Vincent, and thank you Mr. & Mrs. Flath. I still write about you Jonn and I will never forget what you taught this school and how many lives you’ve changed.”

Rest assured we are both crying now. Not tears of anguish or pain, rather tears of remembering such a great person; tears of honor, tears of joy. I knew there was a reason neither of us cried 3 years ago. Why waste tears over the actions of the weak, the hypocritical? Those whose primary concern is self? I believe now that our tears were reserved for the strong empathy we feel for the Flath family, for the love and acceptance Stevie has been given by West Ranch High School and the happiness over his fate the last 3 years. Tears over the fact that fate allowed Jonn to play a role in Stevie’s life.

Stevie never wavered from a positive spirit. He never stewed over the fact he was screwed over. He never said a negative word. He kept his head up, moved on, stayed strong and never looked back. Congratulations Sterbs…it may take years, though good character always triumphs in the end and rises to the top. You are following in some strong Flath footsteps -a predecessor who set a strong pace.

Little did we know that a painful transfer would result in a once a in a lifetime experience for Stevie…to meet a new friend, Jonn Flath, who was only to be with us for a few more short months. And little did we know that our pain was NOTHING remotely like the Flath family had and continues to endure. It makes me question what real pain really is as our experience was more inconvenience in comparison.

Yes, I do know that in some languages crisis and opportunity are synonymous with each other, though sometimes it is difficult to tell which one is which. Sometimes opportunity comes in ubiquitous, mysterious and painful ways. Even through a mid-year transfer.

Do all things happen for a reason? It would take a tremendous amount of hubris to think they do….though thank God for small windows of opportunity. We are grateful. Stevie’s and Jonn’s (very short) life dots were, and are, connected. Beautiful. Just beautiful. We are grateful.

Want Some Great Stereotypes? Try Sony, Samsung or RCA

Nearly everyone who meets me thinks I smoke a lot of pot, surf regularly and play a nasty acoustic guitar.  Yes, I have indulged in all three activities at some points in my life, yet I am far from being jeffs1considered a pot smoking, guitar-playing surfer.

I found it absolutely hilarious one day after teaching a class on stereotypes and sharing this information with the class, when a student I had never met approached me to ask if I was the new guitar professor on campus. I didn’t even respond, I just laughed.

True story.

For a while this stereotype of a high, music loving, surfer -I am assuming based on my looks and attitude (think Patrick Swayze, “Point Break”)- was somewhat bothersome. Not THAT bothersome, rather “bothersome light”…kind of like the pebble in the shoe, irritating though not worth the price of having to stop and extricate. It was several years ago that I decided to completely embrace my look and go with it. No, I did not start smoking a lot of pot, surf or play guitar, rather I decided to embrace the persona of such a person.

Why not?

Pot smokers are pretty cool guys for the most part. Surfers tend to have a pretty chill outlook on life.  Unfortunately guitar players have a little more range in the “may be a cool guy or may be a total dick department” as the aforementioned surfer can play guitar as well as the moody, intense artist who does not use the instrument to attract chicks, rather to self-pity over his inner angst.

So I accepted what people thought I was. I now like to sport surfer attire and act the part; I even have a surfboard necklace. When people ask me if I surf I just respond with, “Yeah, sure” -as I did surf a few times back in high school. It is the follow-up question that usually flusters me, “Long board or short board?” Looking like the befuddled puppy with eyes wide and head bent slightly to the right, I look  at the person curiously and respond, “I…long board?”

The word stereotype is an interesting one with an interesting origin. The online etymology  dictionary defines it as “method of printing from a plate,” from French stéréotype (adj.) “printing by means of a solid plate of type,” from Greek stereos “solid”+ French type “type.” Noun meaning “a stereotype plate” is from 1817. Meaning “image perpetuated without change” is first recorded 1850, from the verb in this sense, which is from 1819. A stereotype is a copy of the original.

I love how we adopt words from various trades and apply a psychological meaning to them.  Though that is a different blog for a different time.

Each of us have probably been told of the evils of stereotyping yet we all still engage in it the great majority of our lives, even if in simple and seemingly harmless ways. We “stereotype” someone imagewhen we want to determine if they are friendly and approachable. We certainly stereotype when we feel threatened in some way. 

I do know people who stereotype consistently and rationalize this behavior because they claim to be nearly always right in their judgement. Of course I would argue that they may think they are nearly always right because the brain has a very convenient mode of dismissing the many times we are wrong as to not upset our delicate mental sensibilities of needing to be right as to avoid dissonance; not unlike the gambler who only informs others of her bets when she wins.

If we are to understand stereotyping based on the etymology (origin) of the term, it is interesting that we depend on the stereotype (the copy) for information as we forsake the original. The problem is the world is full of originals. Though similar in the universal human condition to be sure, our stories and narratives are all so vastly different that each person is strikingly original and unique thus the facsimile, or stereotype may often be right in part, it is never right in full.

After all, I have smoked pot, surfed and played guitar…though not many of such stereotypes also teach community college, blog and enjoy hip hop. Or maybe they do?

I’m going longboarding.

I’m Too Sexy For My Blog…and other misleading blog titles

riddler_3Riddle me this Batman: What do peanut allergies, a poor sense of direction, poor penmanship, social anxiety and accidentally falling over the rim of the Grand Canyon have in common?

Much more than you think…though allow me some explanation.

Human beings like to invent new stuff to make life easier on themselves. I am not talking the “stuff” of late night infomercials like self-cleaning mops or an ab exercise gadget; rather the kind of stuff we have invented throughout human history that make our lives more manageable and, in many case, enjoyable. Don’t think SeenOnTVthe “As Seen on TV!” stuff like the “Ped-Egg” -think more general inventions like the wheel, language, penicillin or the map.

Our inventions, or new technologies, can be divided up into four general types (I thank Nicholas Carr, in part, for this) with many inventions blurring the distinction of each category with some crossover.  The first type of invention involves increasing and extending the human’s physical strength –the plow, the darning needle, the car, the gun, fighter jets- as all of these serve to do far more good (or damage) than a human alone could do.  These inventions assist us in gaining physical dominance over our environment and better control over what happens around us.

The second type of invention involves extending the human’s five senses -for example, the microscope, the amplifier, binoculars, or hearing aids. I suppose these could be called the “superhuman” category as each allows us to perform tasks that our natural five senses alone could never perform at the assisted level.

The third category concerns itself with serving our personal needs and desires, like the invention of the knife and fork, birth control, Viagra (not that I would know anything about that) or genetically modified foods. Of course the automobile, for example, was invented to help us serve our personal needs as well, yet its more dominant characteristic is a quantum leap in travel technology…helping us to gain more control over the restraints of our physical lives. 

evolutionary-declineLastly, the fourth set of technologies include extending our intellectual abilities –from the rudimentary abacus, to the clock, the printing press, the typewriter and the computer just to name a few of millions.  These inventions are used for the purpose of extending our cognitive mental abilities, to better perform tasks, measure theories and ideas, and memorize important data.  In contemporary society, perhaps our cell phone is the single most quantum leap in intellectual inventions in the history of mankind.

New ideas and technologies are typically soundly rejected at first notice (excluding aforementioned Image: Viagra pillsViagra, of course).  The five-step acceptance process of new inventions goes something like this: Initial rejection (“If man was meant to fly God would have given us wings!”); reluctant use (“I will do it just this once because I have no other choice.”); regular begrudging use (“Sure I will use it but I sure don’t like it…it still makes me uncomfortable”); dependency (“I now cannot imagine a world without airplanes!”); to, finally, invisibility in which the technology is now so woven into the basic tapestry of the culture it becomes so normal as to be invisible.

I saw this in my lifetime with the cell phone. From the, “I will never use it” motto to the, “only in emergencies” phase to the, “just when I drive” fairytale -and then leapfrog to the, “where the hell is my damn cell phone? A part of me is lost!” contemporary milieu. It is now invisibly a part of us.

It is this fifth and final stage that worries me. When a technology becomes invisible we tend to stop evaluating its consequences on a culture.

In 2013 we are living in the future. This is it. (Check out this book my son just showed me this morning). We are soaking in it. Through technologies our lives have become so inoculated against present shockso much harm, against so much pain, against so much danger while things have transitioned to be considerably easier for us than at any time in human history…and we are experiencing its consequences.

We have conquered the fear of germs with anti-bacterial technology everywhere…and today we suffer allergies for everything we once never thought possible. The GPS makes us a collective society that cannot navigate its way out of a paper bag without its use. The constant permeation of computer generated everything makes handwriting and penmanship a thing of the past (we actually had classes in penmanship growing up kids!). Our “social” networking is usually performed, ironically, alone and our social phobia’s are growing among the young.

Though perhaps nothing is more telling of where we are at as a society is the story that rests at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

I enjoy reading different non-fiction (I cannot read fiction for some reason) and several years ago I read an excellent book covering every known death in the Grand Canyon. It was an incredibly well 51WT288GZFL._SL500_AA300_documented book, aptly entitled, “Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon” written by two medical doctors. It is not an exploitative book at all, rather it asks the questions who and why? What can we learn from these deaths?

I found this particular passage very insightful and applicable to this blog:

But for American society in general it can be argued that, in our generations-long quest for security, we have domesticated ourselves. We train and hire specialists to do everything for us so that we do not have to take the risks of doing it ourselves. We hire police…contractors…farmers…programmers…Ralph Nader to make our cars and skies safe…we have airbags and parachutes and orthopaedic surgeons and seat belts and life vests and helmets to protect us when something goes wrong…We are no longer wild Homo sapiens. Instead, psychologically, many of us are sheep, or if you prefer, Homo sapien domesticus…many of us now make the habitual and unquestioned assumption that somebody else is supposed to be watching out for our best interests for us. We blindly follow the rest of the flock and assume that the sheepherder, wherever he is, is keeping his eye peeled for the wolves.”

In some ways, that sheepherder is our technologies that coddle and protect us. Though, in the long run, do they?

You have been riddled Batman. All are, in part, the result of living presently in the future.

Welcome to the future your mother warned you about.


Divorce just …Sucks

Major Disclaimer, PLEASE READ: In the following blog, I discuss how the news concerning yet another divorce has rocked my world. I wrote this as a stream of consciousness as I unfolded my frustration in a burst of emotional release. I decided not to edit a word of it and opted to add this disclaimer as cooler heads prevail. I DO believe divorce is at times the BEST option for couples. Sometimes terminating a relationship is the BEST thing to do rather than risk the termination of other things with relational collateral damage. I hold absolutely no judgment on those who divorce because, as I describe in my blog, I am not that couple. Sometimes you try and try to figure it out and it goes nowhere. So here is my rant, founded on a world of hurt.  Again, I wrote this within about 15 minutes and decided not to change a word. It comes from a very personal place.

In my last blog I referred to the issue of the need to be inspired to write a blog about something. Of course, if you have read my blog at all you know I already come “pre chambered” with an opinion or two on just about everything…so I do not lack for material.

However it was recently that I heard some terribly sad news -I guess you would call it the straw that broke the camel’s back- that does not inspire me to write a blog, it demands it. I am pretty emotional at the moment.

I am sure many reading these words are all too familiar with the sting of divorce either through personal experience, family or friends. If there is one commonality that I have found in nearly all divorce proceedings it is that they SUCK. I have yet to speak to a person that stated, “Wow, that divorce was awesome and felt great!” Even in the best cases in which divorce was clearly the best option and was deemed necessary for a variety of reasons, the process and fallout are never pretty.

Divorce is literally a death. In some cases, it is a fate worse than death.  It is the death of the deepest part of us that shares the deepest intimacy we can have with another person.  Yes, the love, excitement, passion can seem no longer present, though once we give that part of our self to another human being, they will forever own a part of that cherished real estate of our deepest intimacy.

That’s just the way it works, for better or for worse.

Thus when I heard yet another story of a couple who have been together for decades, deciding to divorce, I grieved. Frankly it is none of my business and I hold NO judgment on them…AT ALL. I am not in their head. I do not know their deepest feelings. I do not know their dynamics. Damn, divorce could be the best thing for them.

So what and why am I grieving?

I grieve the hurt being felt by the children.

I grieve a united soul officially torn in half.

I grieve the messiness and negative energy that will flourish in court proceedings, family functions and holidays.

I grieve the frailty of the human condition.

I grieve another statistic.

For those of you reading this blog who are my critical thinking students, you know full well my take on traditional marriage. It is a flailing and failing “institution.” If one were to start a business with the same odds of achieving a traditional, happy and successful marriage…we would call you a very shitty businessperson at best, insane, at worst. The odds are overwhelming.

So what are you saying Jimmy?

I recall watching the Lakers play several years ago when Phil Jackson was still the coach. Phil had an interesting philosophy when his team was playing poorly and most coaches would stop the game and call a timeout to think it over.

Not Phil.

He kept his players on the court so they could figure it out on their own.

Figure it out.

Figure it out.

Figure it out.

Relationship woes? Figure it out.

We all can play through it and figure it out. Be creative. Think outside the box. Just figure it the fuck out. Please.

Disclaimer, Part II: I must comment that Phil’s strategy did not always pay-off. By not calling time-out sometimes the opponents momentum was so strong the lead became insurmountable, despite a strong comeback. I get it.

I Want to Ride my Bicycle

I have been blogging for a few months now and it is very cool when people I am not aware are reading it will offhandedly comment to me about a certain article. It has gotten to the point where I am now even getting blog requests -my latest request you ask? (I knew you would)  would be about my past weekend in Laughlin for the Biker River Run.

(Ok…maybe not requests plural, though my daughter did ask me to write one, swears)

Normally I cannot take requests (don’t you like how I act like I get them all the time?) because I have to be in the moment to write about something.  I cannot conjure up some bullshit and blog for the sake of blogging. It needs to come from a quasi-inspirational place. Yes I could probably find something of note in my experience, yet the fact I have been asked brings out the rebellious little shit in me and responds with a resounding no –I guess topics kind of have to be MY idea. Not to mention the fact that I am super busy at work right now, time is precious, and blogging minutes are hard to come by.

Alas, when all is said and done, for today, I will try as I am softening in my older age. And I do love my daughter. And grades can wait till tomorrow.

The story goes back to December 30, 2012 when I was in Las Vegas for a tribute band extravaganza at the Fremont Street experience–alone, as usual (I LOVE to travel alone…remind me to blog about that one day). It was on that night that I met a group of then strangers, now friends, and we pretty much hung out and partied the night away. Ironically this was the same evening my mother went into the hospital…but that was a different blog for a different day.

We have all kept in touch due to the magic of Facebook (social networking does have an upside) and lo and behold, the nearly same group of people reconvened for said weekend in Laughlin.

These are people I did not know existed on the planet 5 months ago. Neat. I love that.

I notice that when one reaches a certain time in life –perhaps as the result of life high mileage, a wider field of experience and residing in the same general dominant culture- you can connect with people of similar age and pretty much feel like you have always known each other. I have found that though all of our collective experiences differ to a degree, we are all pretty much the same species and our needs as human beings have a way of connecting us all at a fairly intimate level.

Perhaps none of us are as unique as we would like to think we are.  Yes the places, names, and circumstances may vary from person to person, yet our experiences are just not all THAT different in terms of result and consequence: Pain is pain, gain is gain, love is love, loneliness is loneliness, happiness is happiness, etc…

What most impressed me about the weekend was that I entered a culture of which I had NO previous experience -the heavy metal biker boys and girls scene- and felt COMPLETELY at home with not an ounce of discomfort or strain.  Sure I once owned a motorcycle at one point in my life (a Honda Nighthawk…don’t stone me Harley biker friends) and I do have the long locks, though I am not a “biker guy” by any stretch of the imagination and never intend to be. My loud Camaro Flowmaster exhaust is about as culturally rogue as I go.

The people there were fantastic, friendly as hell, yet I did feel like I was at a type of costume party. Perhaps the irony is that this comes from a culture that identifies with freedom and hitting the open road in packs to express their individualism. For a group “doing their own thing” they sure were all wearing, saying and doing the same thing.

Perhaps our personal need to be part of something larger than ourselves and join the great collective is a powerful one necessitating a bit of good old-fashioned conformity to identify…even for the non-conformist crowd.

Costume or not, I realized that our subculture of choice and all the ornamental accouterments and customs that go with it are not nearly powerful enough to overcome the general connections all human beings share and cannot separate us from our common essence amongst each other.

To be perfectly candid, as I write this I am not sure if these ideas and understandings say more about me, my life and where I am at or, as I post here, a philosophy of life and human nature in general. I guess I will never know for certain.

Either way, life rocks and I am loving it. Bring it on.

Not bad for a request, hey?