Being A Nice Person

Being a nice person is not so much about doing nice deeds for others—not to me. Although helping and giving are beautiful aspects of friendship, more is required to qualify as “nice”.

Forgiveness is a great part of being nice. It shows that one is really interested in getting back to the normal state of affairs in the relationship—as long as it is sincere, and not mere appeasement.

Listening is a requirement, and I don’t just mean allowing someone to talk. By listening, a nice person considers deeply—or at least, adequately—what is being said by another. It also means that baring some cognitive or emotional disorder, the nice person tries to implement behavior that reflects consideration for what the speaker has said. If s/he cannot, s/he at least acknowledges, or validates it—meaning the nice person recognizes that the speaker feels that way. Validation is very important in all relationships, from those of strangers on the street conversing for only a few moments, to those of lovers. It means the nice person says, in effect, ‘I see that you feel that way and that is okay.’ You can always tell when someone’s feelings have not been validated when you hear him or her complain, ‘my boyfriend/girlfriend/friend/mother/father (whomever) keeps doing that!’; in other words, the other person is not paying attention to what is liked or wished for—and doing the opposite.

So being a nice person—to me—requires giving and helping and forgiveness, but also listening and considerate behavior based on what was heard. Of course, in order to be a good listener, one has to be involved with people who express themselves on the same level we are used to. It helps no one if a person is the silent type—expecting others to “know” him or her so well that nothing is said about his or her feelings. This is especially a problem with taciturn people, or with people from other cultures whose ways of communication may involve expecting a lot of guesswork or reliance on assumptions built into cultural norms.

I didn’t include respecting peoples’ space, here, because it is a given that depends on the other criteria I just mentioned. You cannot respect a person’s space if that person doesn’t communicate his or her boundaries, and though some forms of respect are generally basic across many cultures, some boundaries are different and unknown to us because they are personal, familial, regional, or relationship-specific. If one is communicating and another is listening, and then finally, the other is behaving according to what was communicated—then, respect for space and boundaries is a given.

So, don’t expect people to think you are nice if you simply do nice things for them; you have to listen, and you have to validate and honor what is said—within reason of course. It was a big shock to me when a girlfriend once said ‘I don’t like a lot of messages’, partially because I was sending too many—however, this was also a result of her indulging me for quite some time, and even rewarding my loquaciousness. That is a case more of poor communication, mostly.

Finally, there is one last thing you need to do—in order to be a nice person: you must be honest. Dishonesty around people who trust you is a form of control, and control is not love or friendship; it’s manipulation. Manipulation is for things, not beings such as people. People must treat people as people. That makes them nice.

Carl Charles Carroll Atteniese

ISIS And US

I think the crisis in Iraq is terribly unfortunate and heartbreaking. I felt this way as soon as we attacked in 1991. The Crisis did not begin there, though. There was a war with Iran. We aided both sides.

 

But after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait over the fact that Kuwait used to be part of his country, and over the fact that Kuwait was stealing his oil… and after we had told him we had no opinion on his border dispute with Kuwait… we wrecked his country beyond repair with eleven years of sanctions.

 

Think of the war we had there to remove his men from Kuwait. We bull-dozed them, with dirt-removal vehicles, in the sand. We carpet bombed them in bunkers–crushing and baking them. We used radioactive shells to encase the missiles we shot out of tanks. Cancer is much more common in Iraq as a result of our war there. We became the Nazis as they were over England: cruel and unusual.

 

Our sanctions ruined Iraq’s economy. We blocked medical supply shipments, shoe polish, even–electronics… from entering the country. On a flight from Korea I met a man who told me they couldn’t even get hospital equipment.

 

In 2003 we invaded again: “Shock and Awe”, we called the endeavor. And you can bet Satan’s evil, we gave ‘em hell on Earth.

 

Then we allowed the poor and angry citizens to loot the museums and the ammunition lockers. We didn’t guard the weapons. We didn’t patrol the streets. We really didn’t plan the rebuilding of the country well and didn’t get started right away, either. It’s almost as if the Bush boys let them at the weapons, to further justify their plans of inflating the military budget and prolonging the conflict–to guarantee a permanent presence and the building of infrastructure–on our dime. Just funnel that cash right to Cheney’s Halliburten, Carlyle, and Brown & Root. ‘Sheeeeeeeiiii. Thems some smart ‘n good ole boys!’ (slaps knee and tips brim of cowboy hat.)

 

But we fired all the government workers–the civil servants. So, you had thousands of people out of work in a country beaten to hell. No teachers, no postal workers, no office people, no meter maids, no sanitation, no police officers… and no army in a country of militant religious rivals.

 

This is not about George Bush being unintelligent; this is about his administration–composed of highly educated men and women not caring about the people of Iraq, because they had an agenda lain out for them a decade before. And it is about you and I–not doing our jobs with the local and state legislature.

 

Any guesses as to where the roadside bombs came from? Or why? Any guesses as to where ISIS came from–or why?

 

If you hellishly attack a country, lying about why you are doing it, break international law and squander your valiant World War II reputation in the tradition of the Vietanam and Nixon era–and it is historical fact that you lied to do it, do you think everyone in that country you flattened and burned down is going to respect you or trust you–least of all the ones out of favor? Will they honor the authority you vest in the new government or its soldiers?

 

To say the least, ISIS is not a nice group of people, but the difference between nice people and fanatical people in this world often three things (if they are are theocratic), a lack of a strong man to keep them from oppressing one another and others, a lack of opportunity, and the US attacking their country—telling them what to do.I am.in no way sticking up for ISIS, but we have to look at the root causes of conflict in the world, if we would eliminate those causes.

Saddam Hussein was not a nice man, but he wanted to be. He just had maniacal intentions, a government in a region whose philosophy allows jihad, and a population of people who were in religious warfare with one another–some of whom always wanted to kill him.

Theocratic philosophies do not democratic traditions make. They engender hierarchy and fiat. Put all the aforementioned ingredients together with that fact and you wind up needing one tough gangster to keep peace. What did we do? We removed Hussein from the equation when he was actually the one leader with a progressive secular society, unleashing centuries of theocratic tension–and after we destroyed his society–attempted to rebuild it under the leadership of a fool–with a get-rich-quick and democracy-in-a-box plan.

Then we left.

What’s interesting to me is, in April–when the Obama Administration was poised (or bluffing; that’s another theory of mine) to bomb Syria, there were those in the citizenry, including a former Kennedy staffer–saying that we really did not know whether Assad has used the gas or the rebels had, and what’s more, that many of the rebels were radical Islamists who were not fighting Assad because he was a despot–but because they wanted a Caliphate and wanted to run out of town or kill Aloites and other non-Muslims. Now we know this is where many members of ISIS came from (or where).

Had we bombed Assad and possibly overthrown him, who do you think would be running Syria, now? And what kind of hell would McCain be catching for his boots on the ground, there? Whose boots would they be? The boy’s next store–until he either didn’t need one or both of them. And then we would rush them home. And Syria would be another Iraq–and Korea.

 

Look at South Korea. It is a nation divided since 1953. Iraq looks like a nation that will now be indefinitely divided (in more parts than two). Finally, had we bombed Syria….

In Inventing The axis of Evil, by Evrand Abrahamian, Moshe Ma’oz, and Bruce Cumings, the sober suggestion is made that the hawkish American agenda is actually to keep nations like Iran, Syria, and Korea divided. If these astute authors are correct, it’s now two down, and (not one, but…) two to go.

Oliver Stone said we lost in Vietnam because we were spiritually wrong from the beginning. Of course we were; when we aided the French–who were trying to maintain their imperial hold on the Vietnamese–we were too ashamed to give them funding outright, or to let them have lanes with our insignia on them–so the French had to repaint them. And, more egregiously, we invented the Gulf of Tonkin Incident to get into the war ourselves. We also killed a president over it (among other reasons). Our hearts were never in the effort of rebuilding Iraq. Now we are reaping the wrath of the fringe who think like we and the American Natives had in our own little culture war before the birth of our nation: ‘Kill and terrorize so they leave you alone’.

What do you think a disenfranchised group of Muslims who do not like the installed government are going to do when the peacekeepers leave?

Maybe it is time to stop doing this. No fixes, no “help” but that which is humanitarian, and no weapons… not even to the good guys, because no guys are good guys after atrocities are committed against them.

We are a bunch of clowns and fools for letting arms dealers in our “military industrial complex”–as President Dwight Eisenhower warned–and senators and congresspersons in our government drag us into wars wherein our citizens come home dead or in pieces (figuratively and literally) and we wind up broke—so they and private contractors can get rich.

Believe me, Saddam was no threat to Saudi oil–the real back-room reason for attacking Iraq on paper, but a ruse in practice to establish another beach-head in the Middle East where we could guarantee the flow of oil for Europe and Asia and inflate the defense budget whilst raising the ratings for a previously failing presidency, back home. And they sold it to you with three letters and a vial of nothing.

We should not only be ashamed, we should have our heads examined. Don’t coddle your little Facebook/SUV/iPhone head with delusions; we are the reason journalists are having theirs cut off.

You, yes, you—the one reading this, had better call your representative tomorrow and tell him or her that she or he had better not dare sanction more troops for Iraq; call Obama, too. Eliminating ISIS will only be the beginning.

Sanction any maneuvers necessary to get our journalists out and whomever else is there; then it’s game over. Or what happens all around the world is on your head and mine. Take some responsibility, this time–American.

Carl Charles Carroll Atteniese

______________________________

Source Material:

Inventing The Axis of Evil:

http://books.google.com/books/about/Inventing_the_Axis_of_Evil.html?id=FL6cQgAACAAJ

The PNAC:

The Rise of The Vulcans:

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident

Writers! What’s for The Professional? What’s Shiny Kid Stuff? Windows, Apple, and Samsung

I just hooked up my giant DELL desktop keyboard and mouse to my Windows tablet. Why? Because I can! And you can, too, if you have the case/fold-out keyboard–which comes with a sleek and aerodynamically fattened rear-end, to accommodate two USB ports).

The Deets ‘N Perks of Many Wings…

On the Nokia/windows tablet, I can–if I want to, of course–use the tantalizingly soft-and virtually hidden-mouse-pad that is attached to the keyboard in the fold-out case, or, I can use the on-screen keyboard (which can display one of three versions–one featuring a segmented layout with left-hand and right-hand ergonomic displays for the letters–and which has the number-pad in the middle). And as another quick diversion, I will add that the amazing thing about the on-screen virtual keypad is that it is–tactile-wise–a huge pleasure to type on because of the size and design of the layout, as well as because of the fantastic bio-rhythm pulse we get at the touch of its virtual keys. But we know about this from using fancy smart-phones. I don’t want to talk about that, right now; we are familiar with such typewriter-replacing finger candy as we get it with virtual typing modes of all modern devises. It’s nice–but who cares? I’m talking about the pleasure and convenience of smart writing.

Laptop Convenience? Got Muscles ‘N Space?

The point is, real writers–who have to live at the keypad or keyboard–really appreciate size and the tactile experience that comes with using a full-size layout to type on. But for those of us who couldn’t resist the tech revolution and started working on phones and I Pads to get away from looking like World War II correspondents who had to carry around a Remington or an Underwood in a case–lugging our “laptops” (which we cannot really use on our laps, unless we want hot legs, over-heated computers, testicular cancer, a hunchback, carpel tunnel syndrome, and poorer eyesight than we already have)! I don’t care if you have the MacBook Air; yes, it’s nice; yes, it’s light, and yes it is solid state, so needs no fan (amazing, actually) but it is still a tank, no matter how small you pretend it is.

Uh Huh, You’re Different. Got Inconvenience?

So, we had to get used to Apple’s redesign of the keyboard! Who will admit that the Windows original is not the most logical and intuitive step away from the typewriter and word processor? Thankfully, it doesn’t cause us to scream in our heads, ‘look at me and how different I am because, I don’t have  a normal delete-button or a back-space key!’ In opting for the transporter room, Captain, you take the joy out of flying the shuttlecraft, and you screw up your body!

Nostalgic Comfort, Baby…

So right now, because I am not on the LIRR or at Starbucks, I can have my big old healthy keyboard, clicking away and telling my brain I can “punch the keys!” as Shawn Connery yelled in Finding Forrester! And it’s better for my brain, memory, and typing skills. Don’t know what I mean? Dust off your uncle’s old typewriter, word processor, or even your DELL keyboard. It’s a monster of a man of a thing, with bravado, character, style-behind-usefulness efficiency, is comfortable, human, and tells you aren’t texting–like a high-schooler in a Seoul café; It says: I AM WRITING…in NEW YORK, clown!

Options?

And not being a complete dinosaur, I AM using the Nokia/Windows 8 RT–top of the lie tech with many perks (I can watch Netflix, YouTube, and fly my flight-sims whilst getting messages from Facespook, Twitter, Linked In, and Insta, baby!) To boot, it is very light and the size is “sports coupe”, not “iPhone Terminator”.

Keystrokes. Got ‘Em?

I can touch the screen (I can touch if I want to) and make spell-check corrections because this is “a tablet”, all the while typing in the old conventional clickety-clack way (remember, I hooked up my desktop keyboard–try that with your I Paaaad!). It takes me back to the great dexterous and auditory pleasures of the original typewriters (without the workout)! And I can use my Control + C, X, and V, keystroke shortcuts, so I don’t have to be “reaching out” to the screen every other second (sometimes I like to keep my hands to myself); Something has to be said for speed, dude!

And because this is “a tablet”, I have the option of using “apps”, but it’s Windows, so while on the internet, I can use Control + N to open a new browser, which is actually much faster than switching screens, going to apps, and using the touch-interaction… and… waaaait combo, that we have to deal with on all the new and different tablets.

So Many Devices, So Little Time…

As the technology world has marketed to us new ways of computing, writing, playing, and communicating, it has slowed us down. Every time you have to learn the new aspects of a device and are forced to then wait until it becomes intuitive to you–you slow down the most mundane aspects of your twenty-first century brain, and you delay the completion of a lot of tasks that are really important. Typing should be like riding a bicycle: simple, standard, and learned once! It’s bad enough the evil companies controlling our purchases in phones, service, and computing force us to upgrade every year–we should not have to keep learning the ABCs. It’s a wonder we get anything done. Every add up the amount of time you have to be online learning how to use appliances (remember that world), these days? Not to mention all the time you spend shopping new ones–as well as for cases, chargers, wires, cables, routers, service plans, screen protectors, blah, blah, blah? This has taken over a good portion of the life and time it was all supposed to save us from!

One Stop Doccing…

If you are like me, utilizing “platforms” for document creation, photography, blogging, and the self-promotion of your ideas for comedy, poetry, essay-writing, job-search, and social networking, learning new hand-eye coordinative arrangements, along with passwords, password retrieval, “portal” ins and outs and so on–the hours add up, peeps!

With an I Pad and Samsung, you have to use “The Clouds”; true, with Samsung you can use Polaris to write with, which is in the dictionary under ‘the North Star’ but should also carry the definition, ‘cancerous nightmare disaster from hell'; Kingsoft is nice–and a thousand times a million times better–and almost gives Word a run for the money (actually, it does), but you cannot download a Word doc into it in your device (which you can do with Polaris, but Polaris doesn’t wash the dishes in any other way)!

Stop Playing, Start Writing, Yo…

Get a system that is most versatile, yes, but get a system that allows you to connect most easily to everything else, because–as Andrew Gerndt–my anatomy-drawing instructor at SVA once told me–“you can waste a lot of time.”  The Windows system on the Nokia tablet handles all your “PC” docs with no differences from your desktops, with no need for third-party apps, and it has all the other shiny perks  in a sleek, light-weight presentation package that comes with two (count ‘em, baby–two) USB ports if you buy the fold-out keyboard/case). You can use ‘em for whatever you want–and that means you can have your trusty pet mouse and keyboard from the writer’s trench with you–when you want! Of course you can also link up your smart phone with those ports, data sticks, whatever connects to a standard data cable with USB connector! The results are conclusive: I Pads and Samsung products are nice, but for kids. Windows is for the pro, yo. Goodbye Steve Jobs! You were a genius, but you were too stingy and “special”. I have work to do! Goodbye Samsung! You are versatile and make nice phones, but leave writing to the big boys.

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