Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Still alive, and doing well

Wow. I had almost forgotten about this old blog. Then I was thinking about starting a new one at tumblr and decided to see if this one was still up. Apparently it is and it still has a visitor or two every now and then. Who knew? Come join the fun on tumblr if you want to keep up with me.

Insert Witty Title Here

Friday, January 20, 2012

You, sir, are a douchebag*

My last post brought the following response:

CharlieMorgan said... If she wasn’t going to hell before, she sure is now. Jessica Ahlquist was victorious in her fight against the Cranston West High School mural that was addressed to “Our Heavenly Father,” and concluded with the word “Amen.” Jessica — an atheist — made a stink about the mural earlier in the school year citing the separation of church and state. Her father, Mark, filed a lawsuit for his Jesus-spiting daughter. Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald R. Lagueux ruled that the http://www.rhodeblock.com/2012/01/12/satan-forces-mural-west/

He also wrote the following about Jessica:

Florists refuse to deliver to succubus

Let me be abundantly clear Mr. Morgan, you are a raging douchebag. Further, you are NOT a Christian. You embody the worst that Christianity has to offer and were Jesus real and here today, he would turn you away. Going back to my years in the seminary I reflect on the teachings of this man you claim as your savior and not once did he utter such vile hatred and vitriol for his fellow man. He even asked that God forgive the centurions driving the nails in his hands. This young woman simply stood up for the constitutional separation of church and state, a wall put in place by our founding fathers, and you call her "bitch" and "succubus." Shame on you. If Jessica and I are wrong and there is a God waiting on the other side, I want no part of a God who would accept such a vile person as you. May you find the peace Christ actually taught instead of the vile hatred you spew now. Stop being such a worthless douche.

*Title borrowed from a video by George Takei

Friday, January 13, 2012

Jessica Ahlquist, Atheist of the Year

I would like to nominate a brave young woman for Atheist of the Year. Jessica Ahlquist took on the Cranston West school for their school prayer mural, with an official school sponsored prayer posted for all to see in direct and flagrant violation of the separation of church and state. I am not one to say that prayer in private, between one's self and one's deity of choice is wrong. As long as there are pop quizzes, there will be plenty of silent prayers in school. I am against a public school funded by public dollars holding up any religious institution. Let there be prayer at home, in church, or in private church schools. Let public schools be a bastion of secular learning that neither accepts nor denies religion but instead leaves it for other venues.

Jessica, who has succeeded in her quest to have the prayer removed, has done so in the face of violent threats and much hatred. To see a full rundown of that vitriol and un-Christlike behavior, check out JesusFetusFajitaFishstick's coverage here. To reward her bravery and show her she is not alone the AHA (American Humanist Association) as part of the Humanist Foundation has offered to start a trust fund for her college scholarship. Please consider giving to support this brave young woman and show her she has our love and support. A convenient on line donation link is provided below.

To my Christian friends, give to show her that most of you are not a-holes. It's what Jesus would do. Remember, Jesus said in Matthew 6:6, "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Jessica's stance against public prayer is right in line with your doctrine.

This has been a message from your friendly neighborhood atheist, reminding you, "Don't be a dick. Jesus hates it when you represent him like that."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Year in review

2011 was a huge year and it has been one hell of a ride. After starting the year working for my dad and barely scraping by, my cousin called me with the opportunity of a lifetime. With his help and the love and support of a beautiful woman, I end this year on a completely different tack. Since May I have been an instructor for Red Hat and have taught Linux all over the US, Australia, and the UK. I both look and feel better than I have in a decade. I have hung on to the second longest relationship I've ever had and I love her more every day. I am 33 and happier than I have ever been. I have spent most of the last 7 months on the road. I gave up my apartment in October and now live out of my big red suitcase. It is strange waking up one day in Newcastle upon Tyne on the northeast coast of England and the next day being back in Texas on a ranch near Paducah. Forget remembering the city, I am often lucky to remember the time zone in which I find myself. It is tiring but I would not trade my experiences on the road for the world. Looking forward to 2012 I see bigger things on their way. Opportunities abound as new certifications open new doors. I finally broke down and bought the domain michaelclarkson.net where I will chronicle my advances in technology as my studies prepare me to revolutionize how the world uses technology. I will continue to write here, hopefully more often. 2012 will be a huge year and if the Mayans were right, I will be going out on a high note.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Birthday wishes

I woke up this morning to a bunch of birthday wishes. Throughout the day they have been pouring in. It still sucks dining alone on my birthday but knowing I am loved, and more importantly how loved I am, makes this much easier. To everyone who sent their birthday wishes, texts, ecards, and text messages, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Another year older

33 years old. I'm in my hotel in Martinsburg West Virginia. I never thought being alone on my birthday would affect me. Ok, I'm not alone. I'm just 1,600 miles from my little girl, the woman I love, and all of my friends. It doesn't help that I will only be home for 24 hours on Saturday and then it is back on the road again. I'm ok and it only gets better from here, but here is just a bit lonely tonight. Off to bed now. Things will look brighter in the morning.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Roads

“If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.” -Anthony Robbins

Over the last year I've changed so much in my life. I finalized my divorce. I lost 70 pounds. I fell in love. I quit working with my dad and with the help and support of the woman I love and my cousin Karl I have completely changed my career outlook. I am now a Red Hat Certified Engineer, Red Hat Certified Instructor, Red Hat Certified Examiner, and will soon add Red Hat Certified Architect and Security Specialist (aka RHCASS). I travel all over the country teaching Red Hat Enterprise Linux. On this wild and crazy journey I have learned a few things.
1. If you are dissatisfied with where you are, look at the road that put you there. Make note of the landmarks so you NEVER PASS THEM AGAIN!

2. Personal responsibility takes away the power from those you blame and gives it to you. When things are done to you, you have no control. When things are done as a result of your actions, or inactions, you take back that control. By changing your action, you control the outcome.

3. There is ALWAYS a choice. The difficulty of the choice does not negate the fact that a choice is still there. When you claim there is no choice, you give up the power to change.

4. Take the time to take the back roads every now and then. Life is too short not to take in a bit of the scenery. No one has ever had a deathbed proclamation of, "I should have spent more time at the office!"
I know, all of these lessons should be obvious but it took me almost 33 years to learn them. In 6 days I will be 33. I won't proclaim 32 to be my best year. I'll proclaim it to be the year I learned the most. Because of the year I was 32, the year was 33 may well be my best.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Death of the American Dream

There was a time a generation ago when I could, through hard work and ingenuity, change my fortune and find a piece of the American Dream. Now that dream is in its death throes.

Every day I am bombarded by images of the affluent life. Pro athletes, reality shows featuring rich people, get rich quick schemes, and nonstop commercialism reminding me to "buy this," "vacation there," and "use that." The good life is what I am told to seek. Who has the good life? Do you? I know I don't. In a paper titled, "Wealth, Income, and Power" G. William Domhoff, Professor of Sociology at UCSC, talks about who has a hold on the good life.
"In terms of types of financial wealth, the top one percent of households have 38.3% of all privately held stock, 60.6% of financial securities, and 62.4% of business equity. The top 10% have 80% to 90% of stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and over 75% of non-home real estate. Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America."

10% of Americans hold essentially all of the wealth. Worse than all of that, the top 1% of income earners, who average over $1 million a year, actually pay a smaller percentage of their incomes to taxes than the 9% just below them. In the same paper Domhoff goes on to cite E. N. Wolff's 2007 paper, "Recent trends in household wealth in the United States: Rising debt and the middle-class squeeze."
"Of all the new financial wealth created by the American economy in that 21-year-period, fully 42% of it went to the top 1%. A whopping 94% went to the top 20%, which of course means that the bottom 80% received only 6% of all the new financial wealth generated in the United States during the '80s, '90s, and early 2000s.

How can this happen? Isn't this a government by the people, for the people? In a world where money is power, how can so few hold all of the power? Distraction, distraction, distraction. I've spent so much of my time following the dangled carrot that the glorification of the "good life" creates, I've never stopped to examine why I don't have my piece of the good life. I slave at horrible jobs, do demeaning things, and fight for the crumbs falling from the tables of the high and mighty. Generation X, my generation, will be the first in American history to fail to improve on the quality of life of the previous generation. I, like many other of Generation X, am lucky to keep a roof over my head and food on my table. The educational system is abysmal, preventing an upward mobility afforded previous generations. Many around me believe whatever nonsense fits their world view without checking facts and then attempt to foist their flawed views on society, incapable of being swayed by logic or reason. Fear mongers beat down my door with talk of the end approaching, all while setting in motion the very harbingers they prophesy against.

I know I am not alone in this. How can people like me recover the American Dream? Is it recoverable at all? We must start by speaking up. Start by boycotting companies where CEO salaries are not reasonable, such as banks that paid bonuses to the very CEO's that drove them into the ground. We have to speak out to anyone who will listen about the truth of how little of the tax burden the rich actually bear. We must write our Senators and Congresspersons to the point their boxes are full. Let them know they were elected to represent all Americans, not just the top 1%. Where possible we must stop working for corporations and instead go to work for small businesses or start new business. We must lobby for legislation enforcing salary caps for companies bailed out by our tax dollars. We have to elect officials who will look out for the American people, and, lacking any of those, run for congress. It is time to take back our nation. Let the revolution begin here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Addictions

I step out into the cold night air. I have a new addiction and it must be fed. The road stretches in front of me as my muscles twitch in anticipation. My breath rises like steam and only the stars and an occasional street lamp light my way. As I move more quickly, I feel my heart race. Heat rises off my skin as my feet strike the pavement, with each stride I come closer to filling my need. I can almost close my eyes as it sets in and feel myself transported to an ancient forest, hunting my prey, running with the wolves. I am sated. I climb my stairs and kick off my running shoes. It's been another excellent run.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Monday, November 15, 2010

Watch this interview. All of it.

This is the conversation we need to be having as a nation. Not only this conversation but this tone as well. Rational dialogue is possible.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Drunken Ramblings

The best way to solve a drinking problem is to stop thinking of it as a problem.

I enjoy a good scotch. After the week I've had, I deserve it too. I rolled a truck 1.5 times, sticking the roof landing and still managing to walk away. We were robbed of the gold on that one. French judge deducted points for doing it in my sleep. I have driven over 3000 miles in 2 weeks and mounted 3 satellites. And all this with no homicides. Yeah, I deserve a scotch or 6.

I had someone tell me,"The only people who drink scotch are alcoholics." Hi, I'm Mike, have we met? Duh. A true scotch aficionado can pick out smokey and fruity notes in a drink most people would compare to paint thinner. I am one of those people. Now, to finish my 12 year old single malt Glenlivett and go to bed. Sleep well. I will.

Monday, August 02, 2010

My Prose

I spoke of writing again in an earlier post and decided tonight to record two of my prose pieces as spoken word pieces, read as they were written. Note these are not humorous at all and were both written from actual dealings with women. Enjoy this glimpse at my inner brooding artist.

First is a piece I wrote in one of my darker moments entitled "Addict" about how Jessica and I ended up:

Second is a piece I actually wrote tonight entitled "Hunger" about an woman I long for but our pasts keep us apart.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I turn 32 on Tuesday. In the last year I have gone through so many changes. My marriage split. I had to leave a job at a company that worked me harder than I have ever worked. I went through surgery to fix a problem that has been with me since I was 17 an recently got bad enough to make me anemic. I have lost 20 pounds and am working on another 60. I have started working stand up comedy gigs again. My Atheist group has grown from four or five active members to 20 or so active members and 60 overall members. We have started doing charitable activities and giving back to the community. I have discovered how much support and how many friends I actually have and the truth is overwhelming. I am not alone.

I have made some discoveries about myself. I am stronger than I ever thought. I have so much more to offer the world than I have to this point. I can make a difference in this world, on more than just an interpersonal level. I have the ability to touch people all over the world and bring them together. I cannot allow myself to be sold short ever again. This is the year of Michael. This is the year my trek to the top begins. This is the year I make the changes that will direct the rest of my life.

Friday, June 11, 2010

BP, Transocean, and MMS

Considering my insomnia is still a problem I figured I would offload some anger regarding the Deepwater Horizon incident that is polluting the Gulf of Mexico to the tune of 40-60,000 barrels of oil a day.

This problem leaves me so angry. This wasn't some "Act of God" or "Unforeseeable accident." This was the combined greed of BP and Transocean executives combined with the criminal neglect of duty by the Minerals Management Service, the Government agency tasked with inspecting and certifying drilling rigs. By the end of this executives in charge of all three belong behind bars.

This rig exploded from a series of errors, every one of which was easily preventable by paying attention to well known and thoroughly published science. First, deepwater rigs are regulated using the regulations written for shallow water rigs in the 1970's. None of the safety requirements have been properly tested at the depths Deepwater Horizon drills. Many experts believe that the shear ram blowout preventer used by Transocean in this drill won't perform at depth, as proven by its non-performance. This means that a flawlessly performing blowout preventer on the surface will likely fail at the depth Transocean was trying to use this one. Further, risk analysts stated that the methane gas pockets that generated serious kickbacks earlier in the drilling process at this site posed a minimal threat. These same kickbacks were serious enough to shut down operations such as welding, smoking, or anything that generates sparks. Considering all of these warnings, one would think they would follow basic safety procedures to cap the well. These procedures involve waiting at least 6 hours for the concrete plug to harden before pumping the mud out of the well. The mud is there to keep down the pressures generated by the gasses. Without the weight of the mud keeps kickbacks manageable. Instead of waiting 6 hours Transocean, with clearance from MMS and BP, pumped the mud out and replaced it with ocean water which is useless in stopping a blowout. Think farting at the bottom of a tub and seeing it bubble to the surface. Oversimplified a bit but same concept. Without a properly cured cement plug in place, they pumped out the only thing keeping huge quantities of highly explosive natural gas in the well to save 6 hours and $125,000. The cost of this decision affects us all in incalculable ways.

Eleven rig workers died from the greedy, incompetent, and ultimately criminal decisions made strictly to pad the bottom line of BP and Transocean investors. That in and of itself means that every single one of the incompetent bastards at BP, Transocean, and MMS should be charged with eleven counts of negligent homicide. This was no accident. They are as culpable as a parent who leaves 11 children in a fireworks factory with matches and no supervision ten minutes before they blow themselves up. Then, once those trials have finished there should have been sufficient time to figure out how to conviene a tribunal for crimes against humanity, nature, and the planet. In that mean time, all assets of BP and Transocean should be seized and used to try to begin paying for the cleanup effort.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Long night

It is 6:24 in the morning. I haven't slept a second. I probably won't. I don't know how long I can go before I completely lose it. I can feel myself coming apart at the seams. I have thought long and hard about how I got to this point. The answer is simple. I gave it all away. Every dime, every thing of value, all of my time, and, most devastating of all, all of me. Now that I have need there is nothing there. I have no reserves, monetarily or mentally. I literally gave till it hurt. I gave to jobs, wives, family, girlfriends, friends, and everyone in between. Not once did I stop to set something aside for me and now I am paying for it. Wow. That was hundreds of dollars of therapy saved all with a single paragraph.