Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Pokemon craze - - it's only a game

Enough is enough - - it's only a game.

On July 6th, just a little over 10 days ago, Nintendo released Pokemon Go! for the Apple iTunes and Google Play app stores.  Now, the enhanced augmented reality game has made America (and half the world) beyond shameful.  I say that because for a lot of people, a game is more important than their lives or families - - a Oregon State man was playing the game with an opponent and he got stabbed instead - - yet the victim continued to go monster hunting despite a knife wound on his shoulder which required 8 stitches.   The game requires players to use their GPS and cameras on their phones to locate Pokemons at landmarks and other various locations - - through Pokemon stops (or Poke Stops) and gyms.  Once  they have a monster in their sights, they either throw a ball to catch it or take a screenshot (the pokemon is on the camera screen as they take it.).  There a many instances where multiple players meet at one location where there is a Pokemon to catch (only one player can get it). The game has surpassed Candy Crush Saga as the most players logged in a 24 hour period.  Because the game requires you to stare at the phone for extended periods of time while tracking and catching Pokemons, it has evolved in a myriad of incidents which garnered news attention, some good, some bad, some strange and some outlandishly stupid. Businesses have benefited from among the many locations which are Pokemon gyms.  However this does not mean cemeteries and sacred museums with a player finding a dead body, should be "gyms" too

The weirdest stories involving Pokemon hunting have been as follows:

1.  Two California men fell off a cliff while chasing a Pokemon

2.   A police station is one of the "gyms", and a Pokemon player with an arrest warrant checks in during gameplay, only to be arrested when cops recognize him.

3.  A Florida man whose property is a  "gym", shoots at two Pokemon players. parked outside his residence.

4.  Pokemon Go has already caused some couples to the brink of divorce.  

5.  A New Zealand bartender quits his job so he can work at his new full time job - - chasing Pokemons for free.

6.  A hacking group claimed responsibility for taking down Nintendo's servers through a calculated DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack.

7.  A rare Pokemon,Vaperon, causes a 11 PM meltdown in New York's Central Park.  The lucky one in the crowd who caught Vaperon, ran out of his car with the engine running. (I don't think his insurance company will be happy to hear about that if his car was stolen).

8.  An upstate NY man wrecks his car while playing Pokemon.  Don't Pokemon and Drive.

9.  Three people playing Pokemon were trapped after hours in a locked cemetery.     Special thanks to Brian Weinberg for the mention after I posted this article.

The whole point is, it's only a game which you should enjoy as part of your day, not taking up your entire life.  At the end of the day, you still have family and work obligations to attend to - - and your life is more important than the game which you are not really being paid to play.  I could see to a certain extent that if you received a check from Nintendo every two weeks, then be safe playing it.  But remember your family and your health comes first and foremost,  If that is a problem for you, then please uninstall the game before it is too late for you.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

I am back - with a discussion on the last 72 hours which changed America's view on racism

Just a quick word that I am back - - my computer was down but that's old news now - back online.  Now the big news of the week, if not the decade.

The last 72 hours have been the most disturbing news that I have seen since 9/11 - - the police-involved shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana  and Philando Castile in Minnesota - - subsequently the tragedy in Dallas where 5 officers were killed along with nearly a dozen more officers and civilians injured during a large protest against how the police handled the Sterling and Castile incidents.  Here are the facts on each case with a starkly contrasting view against each other.

Alton Sterling facts:

  1.   A homeless black man called 911 to report a man(Sterling) who was brandishing a gun and threatened the homeless man.  
  2. Sterling had not only a lengthy rap sheet but he was also a registered sex offender  for impregnating a 14 year old - - six years younger when he was 20.  
  3. The gun was in Sterling's pocket, according to Baton Rogue police sources.
  4. Two officers were wearing body cameras which would shed more light on the shooting, however they "mysteriously" fell off in the moments before the fatal shots were fired by the officer in the viral video.

Now for the Philando Castile facts

1.  Castile was was driving with his girlfriend and their 4 year old daughter in their vehicle when police officers pulled him over for a busted taillight.

2.  Castile had a licensed permit to carry his pistol, and he told the officer who pulled him over as such.  Castile was exercising his second Amendment rights to carry a firearm - - one which the racially biased NRA didn't mention him by name - - and that was more than 48 hours after the shooting when the NRA finally opened up their big mouths.

3.  The shooting happened with the 4 year old daughter in the back seat.  Now imagine the trauma that girl is going through now seeing her dad shot dead.  

Then the Dallas massacre - - this was an unspeakable tragedy when 5 police officers were shot dead by a sniper who had a grudge against white officers.     The officers were protecting minorities who were part of the Black Lives Matter movement in protesting the Sterling and Castile shootings.  Amidst all this - - I called over a year ago for the importance that it's not just black lives that matter but its all lives matter - - everyone is a human being no matter the skin color or background - - police officers are human beings too.  However the evils of racism are rooted in a few white police officers.  If Castile was white, would the outcome be different?  Hmmm - - there were 8 instances where while males had a gun and none of them were ever shot by officers   I would also like to point out that when my in-laws came to my house at 2 AM in the morning, someone in the neighborhood called the cops - - if it was a white couple coming in at 2 AM, it would be a different story.  

As long as you have a few bad apples in everyone, racism will never go away - - the events in the last 72 hours reaffirm this.