In which the middle-aged Peacenik mouths off about War Drones--and all the other things that make him cranky.

Mr Mahatma--who is a Mr in real life--lives in the valleys of Southern California with his wife, a herd of Dears, and an impressive collection of books. Pnorny!
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All writings are copyrighted 2003-2008 and trademarked: Little Mr. Mahatma

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Little Mr Mahatma
Tuesday, November 04, 2008  
A Change for a Change
I'll be dipped. America didn't vote again for a rich white guy. Better, the Republicans didn't pull any tricks like they've managed the past 2 elections. Obama won. McCain lost and graciously. I think they and America realized just what a calamity this country is in and voted for a change, a real change. Obama can't do worse than Bush. If anything, his victory signals a couple of changes:

  • He's not a rich WHITE guy. There I've said it. He's of mixed parentage and bless it he brought us together to overlook race.
  • He's smart enough not to pick a VP canidate like Sarah Palin. Sure, Biden is an old school rich white guy but he's not a Right-wing nut job like Palin. Watching her debate with Biden, she came across as condescending, inexperienced, and of the same cloth as Bush - running things by guts instead of brains and we saw where that got us
  • He's young enough to likely survive the 4 years term. This might not have held true for McCain.

    Sure, Obama may also be inexperienced but he'll get that damn fast. His diplomatic and oratical abilities are sharper than McCain's and that's also to his benefit. Last, he's not entering the Oval Office unsupported. He'll have his cabinet. He'll have a gazillion Americans online posting their views and recommendations. He won't be in a information vacuum.

    He won't be Bush and already things are looking up.


    9:38 PM

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    Saturday, September 06, 2008  

    More of Same - That's Real Change
    With the Bush Catastrophe nearing an end, we get to choose the next catastrophe. Third parties are out. Not a chance for real change.

    So we have Obama and Biden. Obama - Another slick Democrat who, if he wins, will likely end up flying down in flames at the hands of the Republicans who have little better to do than smear their crap over everyone else. Biden - yet another white politician. Woo-hoo.

    Or McCain and Palin. At first, I was excited that McCain chose Palin until I found out it was Sarah and not Michael. It would have been awesome to have a Monty Python member as Veep. That's real change. As it is, I doubt McCain would last out a full term and Palin is too scary. Either of the two and we'll in wars up to our noses.

    Oh wait, we already are thanks to Dubya, who, by the way, wants to get us involved in yet another skirmish. This time in Georgia. If McCain comes in add Iran to Iraq, Afghanistan, Georgia, and whereever else we shouldn't be.

    McCain or Obama. Both have professed their belief in Jesus as if now that's a prerequisite for becoming President. Now the Left is leaning Right and the Right much further. How much longer before jackboots become mandatory footwear?

    I feel somewhat vindicated about Bush though. Much of everything I posted years ago about him and the phony reasons for invading Iraq have proven true. Bush and his cronies have milked this mess for billions. In fact, if you can remember far back to his first term the big issue was Social Security and how it would run out Real Soon unless something was done. That issue disappeared with the 9/11 and the Invasion.

    But consider...Social Security with the, what?, 1/2 TRILLION dollars wasted in Iraq. Think that would solve the problem?

    I veer.

    Obama or McCain. Neither impresses. Michael Palin would be a better choice.

    12:57 AM

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    Saturday, March 01, 2008  

    Politics And OTher Detritus
    Clinton, Obama, and McCain. Proof positive that the U.S. will remain in the crapper for a long time coming. I say this because whichever Democrat gets elected as a rebound from the Bushit Administration, will face four years of attacks from the Republicans, resulting in - 8 years from now - someone from the Right who will make Dubya look good.

    Plus, I don't like Clinton, Obama, or McCain.

    Hillary is too much the politician. She'll do the politically correct choice for her own power. She'll say the politically correct thing to say, look the politically correct look, and be politically effectual, that is, nothing good for us. She really lost me a couple of years ago when some jackass sponsored yet another jackass bill railing against violence in video games and there she was for the photo op. She was asked for her opinion on the matter and all she could do was smile and say something shallow and meaningless. She gave no valid argument for the bill; she said nothing. She was there for the op. No thank you HIllary.

    Obama looks good and sounds good but he loses me because of one reason: religion. Not because of his religion but because he doesn't have the balls to leave religion out of politics. Folks, contrary to misguided belief, America was not founded to be a Christian nation. It was founded to be a free nation. Our Government needs to be free from Poliitics because the second you mix Poltics and Religion, you get a conflict of interest between serving a God/Gods and serving the people. For our country you also get a nice backlash from non-Christian nations.

    But back to Obama. I'm just not sure of his substance, his savviness and his ability to hold up in the corrupt halls of our Government. Bye-bye Obama.

    McCain is too old and too much a war freak. Don't get me started (again) on why Iraq was a massive mistake but the fact that McCain supports it, loses him my vote and interest.

    Honestly, the only candidate who seemed to have answers and plans of action instead of words and clever saying was Edwards, but his family problems and lack of Blackness/Femality did him in. He wasn't a convenient label for the Media to use.

    On the other hand, BUSH WILL FINALLY BE GONE!!! Farewell to the Bottom Decile!!!

    11:18 PM

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    Saturday, August 11, 2007  

    Follow-up to Frys
    For the past week my 8 year old rarely mentioned the Frys fiasco, instead focusing on the chase. Which stores can we look at? Where can we look online? Last night he trolled the entire Northridge mall in search of an MP3 player but to avail.

    And this morning it happened, proving that good things do (occassionally) come to those with patience and a positive spirit. During the kids piano lessons my wife ducked out to a nearby drug store. She came tearing back with a bag.

    "$3," she said. "It's only 512 mb but it's also a voice recorder and a flash drive." She pulled out from the bag a no-name MP3 player. The sticker said $20. The discount sticker said $5.

    "The cashier said it was on sale," my wife explained.

    At that price we went back and grabbed four more. The cashier commented that all of them had different prices (they didn't) so was it okay for her to charge us $1.50 each?


    And my 8 year old is thrilled with his new player. It's not a 1 gb like his brothers but it wasn't $30 either. In fact, his brother also bought one of the cheapies.

    Peace again reigns in the Mahatma family.

    1:32 PM

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    Monday, August 06, 2007  

    Another Frys Tale of Horror
    I just returned from returning something from Frys. For those of you unfamiliar with Frys it's a superstore of electronics, like a cross between Best Buy and Radio Shack. They have a great variety and you never know what you'll find on sale. Their reputation though is thoroughly sullied by abyssmal Customer Service combined with a practice of rewrapping and reshleving returned merchandise. Most customers have true love/hate relationship with the place. You go there knowing you may find what you want but at the risk of having to return it. It's a perverse form of gambling.

    Anyway. My wife and I were shopping for a VCR to DVD conversion package and my youngest son wanted an MP3 player like his older brother. Looking online, Frys had an MP3 player - 1 gb, white - for $20. My youngest had saved up his money and he had just that amount. So off we went.

    Frys Failure #1: Poor Inventory Management. We found the VCR / DVD Conversion packages in the software department. Usually these packages have a hardware component that sits between your VCR and PC, plus software. That's exactly what we were looking for. Unfortunately I kept looking and found more packages - different packages - in the graphics card section of hardware. Same type of hardware / software solutions located in two different departments.

    It gets better.

    We collected the packages that looked like they may do the trick and asked an employee for help. Did this package have all the cables? DId that package have a certain type of cable? [Insert sounds of crickets. Hello?!?] We asked if they had a computer that had Net access so we could look up the specs. "Sure," they said, "in the Service Department." So off went to the Service Department.

    The Service Department is incorrectly named because it's the last thing you'll get there. The person helping us said that they did have a computer with Net access - the one right behind him. But because some of the packages we wanted to look up were from the software department we'd have to get an employee from that department to stand with us while we used that machine.

    Frys Failure #2: Clueless Customer Service Read that last paragraph again. The Service Department employee wanted us to get another employee to come stand with us while we looked online for a review?!? Un - freaking - believable.

    Scrap getting the conversion package until we do more homework. Now for the Mp3 player and I have to say right off that my youngest kid showed the heart of a lion. As I will soon relate, he got disappointed not once but thrice and proved the better between us.

    As I mentioned earlier we had found online an MP3 player - 1 gb, white - $20. We found it in stock in the flash drive hardware aisle, for $30. Same exact item - $10 more. That was the first disappointment. An employee came to help and I asked about the pricing discrepancy, he said that the online prices differed from the store prices because when you buy online you have to return it online instead of to a store. Huh?!?

    Frys Failure #3: Poor Business Model Between Store and Online - that's all I'll say about that.

    We noted that directly above the plethora of the $30 MP3 players the exact same model in black for $20, except they were out. The employee went to the back to see if they had any more but no. Sold out and no more expected, and - no - he couldn't sell us the white model for $20. My kid did the big eyes and quivering lips but to no avail. Second disappointment yet with a barb back. My kid said loudly that he'll find what he wants online from another store.

    Frys Failure #4: Powerless Employees.

    My wife had wandered off. She was in the radio aisle where she found - lo! and behold - MP3 players. On sale they had a 2 gb MP3 player/flash drive for $20. My kid was thrilled.

    Frys Failure #5: Employees Who Don't Know What's On Sale. It's bad enough when you have the same items in two different departments but the problem gets compounded when your employees don't know that much less what's on sale.

    We got the MP3 player and plugged it into the computer to download songs. Uh-oh! Norton says there's a virus on it but that it's been quarantined. Still, it comes right up as a flash drive and we copy some MP3s to it. Now insert a new battery and...nothing. It won't play or light up. Try another new battery and same result. Insert it back into the computer and nothing. Piece of junk and the final disappointment for my brave-hearted kid.

    So today after work I suffered the hell that is the Frys Return. Honestly it wasn't too bad a wait but when I mentioned that I really wanted the $30 MP3 player and explained the whole scenario, I could hear those crickets chirping. I asked about whether they price match (they do) but they won't match their own online prices.

    What an aggravating, pain-in-the-ass store. I was there when they opened in Woodland Hills. They had horrible service then and they still have horrible service.

    Hello Frys! It's more than having the employees smile, it's about doing the right thing by the customer, about having your inventory ass-ets together, about getting past the nonsensical and illogical policies. You may be profitable but how much more so if you only had your collective crap together.

    Meanwhile there's a disappointed 8-year boy who smiled throughout the ordeal. He will be shopping elsewhere.

    8:05 PM

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    Monday, July 23, 2007  

    Being and Emptiness
    My life is over - bleak, empty, void. Now every moment is a struggle, a perpetual question of "Why bother?". It is, simply, over.

    And I know why it happened and when and how and I couldn't stop it, couldn't avoid draining my life's worth untila ll was empty.

    It started with "God of War". This Playstation 2 has garnered a million awards and sold 10 times more copies. I had bought a copy of the game a year ago and never played it. It sat in a drawer with a few other games that I knew someday I'd get around to...someday.

    And about a month ago someday happened. A free weekend with a few hours to fill and out came the stack. I decided to give each game a solid 1/2 hour of play, figuring that'd be plenty of time to determine whether the game was a keeper or not.

    Let me confess now that I had little hopes for any of the games because frankly I'm a computer gamer, not a PS2 gamer. I grew up with computers and was in gaming from the early days of the Apple 2. For me, computer games peaked with Doom, Diablo 2, Warlords 2, Starcraft, and Duke Nukem. Everything after that was more of the same. Worse, I couldn't "get" console controllers. They're harder than a keyboard and mouse. You can't twiddle with console files as easily as with computer files. Consoles are for kids.

    So I thought. I started through the pile and one game after another fell by the wayside. Then "God of War". I loaded it and started playing, thinking that I wouldn't like the control but it was OK. Hmmm, mythology, hack 'n' slash, naked bosoms, hidden chests - I played games kind of like this before but not like this. This was freaking awesome!

    I finished "God of War" in about a week and passed it on to my kids.

    A quick aside. "God of War" is rated "M for Mature" because of the gore and naked bosoms. Yet, I let my kids watch me play. They saw the gore and the bosoms, adn didn't care. They were captivated by the puzzles, the play, and the theme. If anything they now know that war is not clean or heroic or fun but gross, scary, and not to be taken lightly. I didn't make a fuss over the bosoms and they didn't get fixated. Maybe something there to be learned.

    Anyway. I finished "God of War" and went right out and got "God of War 2". Same thrill and involvement - pure escapism. I couldn't and didn't want to stop playing. I finished it in even less time than "God of War" and felt...drained, lost. I wanted more. I wanted "God of War 3" NOW!!! But that game doesn't exist.

    That was last week.

    I thought I was getting over "God of War" until last Saturday. That's when the family went to the local mall, to the bookstore, and I got "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". I started reading the book that night - 200 pages down. Sunday I told the family to leave me alone. 550 pages later I was done. The series was over what?!?

    No more "God of War". No more Harry Potter. Life feels so bleak and empty now. I don't know if I can make it until Friday the 27th when The Simpsons Movie and what will happen when that series ends?

    8:11 PM

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    Friday, February 23, 2007  

    1st Amendment
    Coming home on the commuter bus, I was witness - the entire bus was witness - to an exercise in Freedom of Speech. This young couple, and I'll say they were of Middle Eastern origin judging from their looks, dress, and speech, were having a little argument for whatever reason. Actually, he was doing the arguing: berating her, threatening divorce, and using language inappropriate for kids (which there were plenty on the bus). She kept trying to quiet him down and when she did so, he would go off on a tirade that this was America and he had Freedom of Speech. He could say whatever he wanted.

    And when he said that he kept looking around like he expected us to side with him. Dude, welcome to America! We do enjoy the Freedom fo Speech but it doesn't mean we should act like braying jackasses or treat our spouses like servants.

    3 Democrats - 1 Office
    I think it's safe and fair to say that there are only three viable Democratic candidates for 2008: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards. I don't like HIllary because she's too political. Everything she says and does is measured in political brownie points. She, the person, doesn't come through. For her, though, is that she has the most political experience of the three. If she won the candidacy, how long before jokes about blue dresses or blue jeans popped up?

    Obama is a ray of light. He speaks well and has undeniable charisma. He doesn't have the political experience of the other two. The one time on TV I heard him speak, he impressed me with his eloquence but lost me when he brought religion into his speech.

    Edwards is an intelligent speaker though not as eloquent as Obama. He was on one of those Sunday morning news shows and he laid out a plan for Iraq that was insightful. He gave details and reasons for actions. My problem with him is, simply, he doesn't have the Presidential Stature. Hillary and Barack have the composure. Edwards is more VP material.

    Maybe an Obama/Edwards or Clinton/Edwards ticket would do it. What I'd like to see in any case is a candidate who doesn't drag religion into politics. Better would be a candidate who declares that religion shouldn't be a part of politics and acts accordingly. I'd like a candidate who recognizes that our Government is not beholden to Corporate America but to the Real America, the ordinary people who put them in power. I'd like a candidate with the intelligence to weigh decisions, not act from the gut like our current President. I'd like a candidate who can speak in complete sentences, without sound bites or pre-written material. I'd like a candidate who has the guts to admit mistakes and not slough off past errors as childish mistakes. I'd like a candidate who understands that our country, great as it is, doesn't rule the world nor should it try to - Diplomacy has to be a vital tool in the political kit.

    I'd like a candidate, a President, who doesn't make me feel like I need to bathe after seeing him or her, someone for whom we don't have to apologize.

    8:26 AM

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