Friday, October 10, 2008

Sorry for the Delay - Returning Soon!

I Shall Return

Sorry for the long delay on this blog. This definitely is not meant for the blogging world graveyard, but life has been incredibly busy, and aside from my first vacation in three years (my first time to Las Vegas), working hard for my boss while learning new responsibilities, freelancing, and trying to get my own businesses running and other blogs updated, as much as I love this blog, it's the one that fell through the cracks.

While things are still going to be somewhat sporadic the next few weeks or so, I do want to continue posting here and really steer away from politics to more cerebral issues. I've been dallying on Hubpages a little bit, so for the sake of discussion, here are some links on popular arguments that I think really should be debated:

Predestination Versus Free Will

Why Should We Legalize Marijuana?

Ancient History's Mysteries

I'm proud of these three pages, and believe there should be a lot of thought provoking discussion because of it. Enjoy, and I'll be back soon with my James Bond as a Renaissance Man argument!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Writing | Learning to Write | Writing Ebooks

More Writing Help Coming Soon

First of all, for those who have been visiting my freelance writing blog, I want to thank everyone who has visited this freelance writing page, checked back for updates, and sent me messages as many of you have really started out. This freelance writing help website is definitely a passion for me, and it's been extremely encouraging to hear from all of you and to know I've really helped to amke a difference. Thank you all so much :)!!

A lot of you have been especially interested in Constant-Content, and I can't say I blame you.

After several more months, I actually prefer CC to even Guru and Elance. Guru and Elance are better for jumping into writing full time, but if you're looking for a supplemental income or part time writing income, Constant-Content is a pretty darn good deal.

And if you're on six months unemployment and desperate to get moving, CC is a good supplement while you're slowly building your reputation on the auction based freelance writing sites.

This summer I have a ton of things on my plate, so this will be a while yet, but I am hoping before the end of August to write a step by step guide on how to make some good money at Constant Content. I've tried to provide a lot of good information on this page, but CC is one of those that could easily have a 50 page tutorial on the best ways to use that site and still not completely scratch the surface.

So I'll be working on an e-book that I'll hopefully make available this fall. CC has a $50 threshold for payment, but this is not at all hard to hit if you know what you're doing, and unlike building for Adsense, you should be able to hit that mark the very first month you sign up.

So if you've been here before, that's my next project for you to look forward to. If you haven't, please read the rest of this page and use the information to get you going. I've had tons of great comments and e-mails from people, and each one has been a blessing.

So thanks again, and keep an eye out for the Constant-Content ebook which will be out soon.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sweet - "Turn the Page" Takes Place in Iowa!

The Little Details You Don't Think About in College

I have long been a huge Bob Seger fan, and my friends and I listened to that CD over and over during the college years and beyond. The biggest argument we all had was over which Seger song was best. My vote was always with "Turn the Page" with "Beautiful Loser" a close second. My brother is so adamant about "Beautiful Loser" being the most important that we've almost come to blows over this argument.

Nothing against "Hollywood Hills," "Still the Same," "Against the Wind," or "Like a Rock," or against the two more mainstream Seger songs: "Main Street" and "Old Time Rock n' Roll." Bob Seger will always be one of my favorite artists, but I always related best to the haunting emotional toil of "Turn the Page," to the lyrics that suggested quiet anger, not belonging, the need to back down from an impossible fight that you should fight, about life and the confusion no one ever warns you about.

Having spent many years in Iowa, and having gone to college there (at Coe College, not U of I), so after listening to this song hundreds of times, it amazes me that for years I missed a basic fact: which is that this song logically takes place in Iowa.

Based on an early line: "On a lonely lonesome highway, east of Omaha..." Well immediately east of Omaha is Iowa, and the highways in the western part of the state can be extremely lonely and quiet. So my favorite song's setting is Iowa. That is cool.

And that is my random thought for the day.

Topics coming soon:
  1. Is 007 James Bond a modern Renaissance Man?
  2. The amazing worlds of dystopian work
  3. 20 cult classic must see movies for college students who want to be part of the "cult culture" or "counter culture."

Friday, June 6, 2008

2008 Politics: John McCain's Choices for Vice President

John McCain still has some time, but he's behind in the polls and facing a once in a generation opponent in Barack Obama. There are a lot of choices for potential vice presidential candidates, some good and some bad. Among the most popular names, here are some possible VP candidates for Republican Presidential nominee John McCain.

#1: Mike Huckabee, ex-governor Arkansas

Huckabee would make sense for several reasons. He could help shore up the South, where it looks like Barack Obama could make a serious run at some states, as well as get the evangelicals (who are hardly fans of McCain as a candidate) fired up enough to show.

In addition to this, Huckabee is a great campaigner and communicator who was also popular among young college students, and Huckabee is a very likable personable character who could strike a chord with voters, and was popular in Iowa where McCain has virtually no history or set up in what could be a critical swing state.

#2: Mitt Romney, ex-governor Massachusetts

Romney is very popular among fiscal conservatives, who don't like Huckabee and are steaming mad at the government's spending habits. Romney knows economics, and not only would be a good fund raiser, but could also be seen as a movement by McCain to reach out to blue collar workers.

Downsides: Romney is not particularly likable, he doesn't deliver any states, and he's a terrible debater, an area where McCain hardly thrives, either.

#3: Sarah Palin, governor Alaska

She might be the least known outside of her state, but this "unknown" could be the strongest VP candidate. She has record approval ratings of nearly 90%, is a born again Christian with several children, an obsessive hatred of corruption (she has cleaned house in Alaska - a state notorious for under the table politics), and she is a very attractive female who is very likable, and who (along with her husband) relate very well to the younger generation.

Governor Palin could easily take the anti-corruption, anti-Washington message that McCain needs to find to compete with Obama, and she might also take advantage of disenfranchised women voters to give McCain some critical swing stakes. A very intriguing candidate.

#4: Tim Pawlenty, governor Minnesota

Pawlenty has been thrown around a lot as a possible candidate, and one who could help rally conservatives to McCain while possibly delivering Minnesota, a traditional blue state, to McCain in what should be a close election.

Downside? It doesn't seem he has much effect on surrounding states, so may not help at all with Wisconsin or Iowa, plus limited name recognition.

#5: Charlie Crist, governor Florida

He's a popular governor in an important swing state the McCain campaign has to have, and wrapping up Florida would be a nice bonus. Problem is that Crist hasn't been a governor long, and if he jumped to a VP ticket just as crisis hit Florida, this pick could actually turn around and work against the McCain if the population turns on him.

#6: Tom Ridge, ex-governor Pennsylvania

The thought here is to seal up the swing state of Pennsylvania and try to hurt the Democrats electorally, while putting someone on the ticket who might have a little bit of name power in neighboring Ohio, as well. This is a man who is also popular among those conservatives in the party that McCain has trouble wooing.

Problems? Oh yeah. As director of homeland security, Ridge represents the worst of what many voters hated about the Bush administration, and to pick someone that close to the Bush Presidency would hand the Democrats a golden gift, allowing Obama to paint McCain as Bush term #3.

These are some of the most popular choices being mentioned as possible vice presidential candidates for Republican Presidential nominee John McCain.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Who Should Obama Choose as VP? | What Does Hillary Bring to the Table?

Obama's Vice Presidential Choices - Who's Best?

There's a lot of talk immediately after the nomination about whether or not Hillary Clinton should be Barack Obama's choice for Vice President. The problem is that with her actions and bullying speech on the night that should have been all about the first black Presidential nominee in American history, Hillary gave a speech that suggested she may not release her delegates, and the night came about her, not him.

Many commentators on the mainstream news even commented on the perceived brashness of Hillary, who should have given this night to Obama and made any announcements the next day. It seemed that as Obama gave an open door to allowing the possibility of such a ticket, Hillary tried to force her way onto the #2 spot and may have very well slammed the door shut as a result.

This may have been surprising to some, even to Democrats, but I have to wonder about all this anger and all the arguing that Hillary's supporters won't dare support Obama. Will a lot of Democratic women really vote for McCain, who will almost certainly look to overturn Roe vs. Wade for his party's political base? With several months to simmer down, will workers really want more of the same economic policies, voting for a candidate who has even said that he doesn't know much about economics? If the anger is really this deep, if Clinton has poisoned the well this much (and there is no denying that - she has poisoned the well hoping to help her position by doing so), will having Hillary as VP even get those votes back anyway? I'm not sure they will.

A lot can happen between now and election. With focus soon to turn back on McCain, a lot of the crap that's slid under the radar is going to come to light, and it's not hard to see him taking a hit since there's no more free ride. Also, the debates will be interesting. The Clintons forced Obama to become a great debater, especially as a "counter-puncher." If McCain comes after Obama in debates, it's going to play into Obama's hands.

Most years the Vice Presidential nominations are badly overrated, but this year for both sides I think it truly might be the weight that tips the scale. So here's the review on known possibilities for Barack Obama, with a post on John McCain to follow later.

#1: Senator Hillary Clinton, New York. I'm going to say right away, I was a big fan of Bill Clinton as President until his last couple years, but I was never convinced that Hillary would be a great candidate, and I don't think she's a good choice at all for VP. First of all, there's no guarantee she'll bring in a lot of woman voters, or blue collars, since the second name on the ticket has less power than the first (see Senator John Edwards from 2004). What it comes down to for me is this: she brings no states into play in what could be a very close election, and there's a ton of baggage - plus by trying to force herself on the ticket, if Obama chose her, it would look like he was giving in, furthering questions of whether he can lead or not. Clinton brings baggage, but there's only the possibility of her bringing in extra votes.

#2: Governor Tim Kaine, Virginia. Virginia has become what some are now calling "Purple States," that are more conservative, but edging Democrat more and more often. Kaine is a democratic governor who could deliver Virginia's 13 electoral votes to Obama, and that would be a strong team who could make a serious run at North and South Carolina, as well. Kaine fits in as a young dynamic governor who can work across party lines and still represent change.

#3: Governor Bill Richardson, New Mexico. Personally, I would love this choice. Richardson is likable, has an extremely impressive resume experience wise (including foreign policy), and he would deliver New Mexico (5 electoral votes) and put Nevada (5) and Colorado (9) into pretty strong play. His favor with Hispanic voters could even go so far as to give Obama a better shot at Florida (27), and would provide a truly dynamic ticket.

#4: Senator Chuck Hagel, Nebraska. This is especially intriguing since Hagel is a Republican. If he could deliver Nebraska (5 electoral votes), and be a strong influence in Iowa where Obama looks good as is. This cross party ticket could cause independents and disenfranchised Republicans to flock to this ticket.

#5: Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Kansas. She's a moderate Democratic governor in an incredibly red state. Charismatic, popular, she would be great on a change ticket, but with how things have developed, she could be seen as a blatant slight at Hillary, and may not be able to deliver Kansas.

#6: Governor Ed Rendell, Pennslyvania. He's a popular governor of a critical state that Republicans think might be in play this November. He could solidify Pennslyvania as a blue state, and might be a familiar name for nearby Ohio.

There are other options, and John Edwards would be a great one, except he's already taken his name off the ballot. Kerry lost 286-252, and 270 is the magic number. What could be encouraging to Democrats is assuming they lost both Florida and Ohio again, they would still have a decent chance to win, because every state they win that they didn't in 2004 not only adds electoral votes, but takes them away from the other side. A swing of 17 electoral votes will be enough to switch it, assuming the Dems can hold their previous states. Not a guarantee, but not out of the question.

17 electoral votes isn't a lot as a swing, which is why the VP choice is important. Considering how close Iowa was last time, and how popular Obama is there vs. McCain who has no previous presence, there's a good chance Iowa goes blue. That would make it a switch to 279-259 off the bat, meaning only 10 more would be needed. Any two state combination of Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Virginia, or North Carolina would do it, which is why Hillary may not be a good choice.

In a close election, 5 electoral votes could be the difference between victory and defeat. Those are five of the top choices for Obama for Vice President. Coming soon: Preview of John McCain's possible choices.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Scottish Renaissance Men, or Barack Obama?

A Strange First Blog Post

I was going to have my first blog post be on politics, with a special focus on Barack Obama and the media's news coverage of the Democratic primaries, including what seems to be unbelievable omissions on the race issue, and on the complete ignoring of several issues with John McCain's campaign that are terrible enough they should be page one (can anyone tell me his former staff's connection the Myanmar military junta?).

But I have mild ADD, and while tooling around through other daily chores I found out that there are several people who searched daily for the specific term: "A 12th Century Scottish Renaissance Man."

Okay, I'm intrigued. If you don't know now, you will in reading future posts, that I'm all about all things Scottish because of my family background, coming from the Monteath clan. So I'm assuming this means that somewhere there is a university class with an extra credit trivia question, or some very strange other scenario. The 12th century was before the main level of the European Renaissance, but there was an early lesser known time of renaissance that took place during the 12th century.

So why specifically a Scottish Renaissance Man? That's an intriguing search to me, especially since The Scottish Renaissance took place in the early 1700s. So who is this mystery man everyone is searching for? After Google and Yahoo and several other books, I have no idea if they are searching for a genuine person, or if this is wild goose chase of some kind while a professor laughs.

The most likely place to find a true Scottish Renaissance man would be in the early 18th century, not in the 12th. There are many famous Scottish Renaissance Men, many of whom had an influence that would shape the world we now know today. David Hume and Adam Smith are two names that pop up right off that bat as names who had changed the world. Most people will recognize those two names, and if you want some other lesser known ones: Frances Hutcheson, Thomas Reid, Robert Burns, Adam Ferguson, John Playfair, Joseph Black, and James Hutton.

It's amazing how a small, poor nation like Scotland has given the world so much. If you're looking for an older Scottish Renaissance Man, the best bet might be with Blind Harry, the blind epic poet who wrote Wallace, the poem that describes the heroics of William Wallace, and which offers more information on the legend than perhaps any other work.

The other answer in searching for a 12th Century Scottish Renaissance Man is to look at educated Scots of the time in general. The Celts had a very unique culture, in some odd ways similar to the Japanese Samurai culture (and this will definitely be a long post(s) later), in that the Celtic people firmly believed that a true man was not only a great warrior, a wielder of the sword, but a wielder of the pen as well. The warriors held in highest honor could sing epic songs and poems AND hold their own on the battlefield. You had to be both.

That type of culture is what set the course for maybe the most innovative nation in world history. Find Arthur Herman's book How the Scots Invented the Modern World and read a fantastic non-fiction book that pull together this nation's bizarre history and Renaissance which set the course for the world's development into what we know today.

So past Blind Harry, I'm not sure who the now heavily popular 12th century Scottish Renaissance Man is, but that's my odd tangent for the day, and a good introduction to how my mind works and wonders. If anyone ever has an odd thought for the comments section, by all means, throw it my way.

But while I give congratulations to Barack Obama for cinching up the 2008 Democratic Nomination, my thoughts on him and this really unique political campaign season (and I have enjoyed it thoroughly - shame the Republicans didn't have the same rules, because theirs could have gone all the way to the end, too), Barack will have to wait for another blog.

Once again, the 12th Century Scottish Renaissance Man wins out :)

Striving to Be a Modern Renaissance Man - Thoughts, Theories, & Independent Deliberation

I Love the Idea of Being a Modern Polymath

Welcome to my blog, "Dayton's Contemplations." For those of you wondering, Polymath is a much easier to spell synonym for the term "Renaissance Man." I take the general meaning of Renaissance Man, as one who has a wide variety of learning in many areas. I also modernize the term in that I don't believe art and science alone should make a well rounded Polymath, but certainly other fields of study are just as important.

What I wanted with this blog is a place where I can write about ideas not being covered anywhere else, jump from topic to topic, and hopefully meet other people as varied and interesting (do I dare hope, as weird?) as I am. I'm a firm believer that now more than ever education is far too niched and the world needs people who can think independently and discuss new and old ideas, and be willing to change their position based on new knowledge.

Being "right" is not only arguably impossible, but it really isn't all it's cracked up to be. Anyway, there will be future posts in the future. Thanks for visiting my blog, and comments are always welcome. Here's to the future of becoming modern Renaissance Men (and women)!