The Death of a Lion, the dominos are falling.

I am pretty upset right now and I have been for days. I have been holding off posting this to my blog because I didn’t want my emotions to cloud my message.

As you no doubt have heard, a man from Minnesota has killed an innocent creature, a lion named Cecil, in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. The lion was a popular tourist attraction as he was a very regal looking lion with a beautiful mane of beige and black. He was also the dominant male, the Simba, the Lion King, of his Pride. Now he is dead because of one mans greed and selfishness. Walter Palmer, a dentist, paid $50,000 to a safari guide to find a lion and kill it. They found Cecil and lured him off the grounds of the park. Palmer always used a bow and arrow to take down his victims, this time was no different. Unfortunately for Cecil, the arrow did not kill him. They had to find him again as he ran off and they lost him. For forty hours while Palmer and his guides tracked him, Cecil was bleeding, in pain and suffering. When they finally found Cecil again, he was lying in some brush. Palmer’s guides used rifles and shot the lion several times, Cecil died. They quickly began to skin the lion and then realized there was a GPS collar on him. A group of researchers at Oxford University in Great Britain were studying Cecil. Palmer and his guides attempted to destroy the collar. They then beheaded Cecil and Palmer posed for a photo with his new prize.

But what Walter Palmer did was set into motion a tragic series of events. For you see lions live in a hierarchical system. Since Cecil was the leader of his pride, and is now dead, the next lion in the hierarchy will take control of the pride. That lion’s name is Jericho. Now what Jericho will do, with absolute certainty, is to kill all of the cubs born to Cecil this year and he could even go after yearling cubs as well. The females who bore those cubs this year, as any mother would, will defend those cubs to the death. So not only will the cubs die, but some or all of the females who bore them. This is a very sad state of affairs what this man, this criminal, has done to this pride of lions. The worst thing that could happen is the pride fails, leaving lions wandering without a pride. This will mean almost certain death to those lions as they work together as a unified group in hunting. It’s not like they can just walk over to another pride and join it. It doesn’t work that way. A lion on his or her own, is doomed to a life of great difficulty and very likely death.

So let us thank this man, Walter Palmer, who has decimated not only one lion, but that lion’s entire family. In hopes of justice being served, I ask you to sign a petition at the White House web site. To have Mr. Palmer extradited out of the country to be brought to justice in Zimbabwe. If I were the judge there, I would sentence Mr. Palmer in a way that was traditional to the Romans – he should be fed to the lions.

Please sign this petition, for Cecil, and his cubs who are no doubt already dead.

Cecil and one of his lionesses, sharing a tender moment - never again to happen.
Cecil and one of his lionesses, sharing a tender moment – never again to happen.
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Pluto amazes, should have its planet status reinstated! (Petition)

Ten days ago, the New Horizons spacecraft made its closest approach to a planet that we have known very little about. The planet is Pluto. I call it a planet because to me, that’s what it is. From first grade up until several years ago we had nine planets orbiting our sun. Then some scientists who had nothing better to do with their time decided to overcomplicate matters by stripping Pluto of its status as a planet. Since it’s discovery on February 18, 1930 by American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, Pluto has been nothing more than a very fuzzy blob in even the most powerful telescopes, being 3.6 billion miles from the sun (although sometimes closer due to its oval orbit), it’s difficult to see anything. So we sent up a spacecraft to finally find out what this small “dwarf” planet is all about. After sending spacecraft to every other planet in our solar system, it was finally Pluto’s turn.

What we found shocked, amazed and excited scientists. New Horizons flew just 7,800 miles above the surface of this mysterious world. It showed that Pluto was active, with flowing ice fields and geologic processes. As New Horizons flew onward and looked back at Pluto, it saw that this little world has an atmosphere made up of two layers of mist. That alone was a shocker! Who would have thought that such a small world would have an atmosphere? This is no dwarf planet, this is a living, active, member of our solar system. It has five moons: Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. Like other PLANETS in our solar system, it has moons, one of which is a sphere. The others are probably captured objects from the Kuiper Belt.

So I have launched a petition to be presented to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and NASA, to reinstate Pluto as a planet. While I doubt this will cause a change, it’s worth trying and I hope you will help support it. To place your vote just hop over to this CHANGE.ORG page. I hope that someday we can have nine planets again, because Pluto is a wondrous place with incredible things going on.

Pluto as seen by New Horizons as it passed behind the planet, showing an atmosphere!
Pluto as seen by New Horizons as it passed behind the planet, showing an atmosphere!

It’s time for change! A poem/prayer.

So I have been a part of an amazing church for the past two months and I have been studying the bible and learning to become a better disciple of Christ. But I am flawed in many ways, and I can fix these flaws but it’s going to take a lot of time, prayer and determination. A couple days ago I wrote a poem/prayer that really expresses the battle going on in me right now. To replace my arrogance with humbleness, to stop cussing, to show others mercy and love. It’s rough because for the majority of my life I have been like this. I am going to achieve my goal, no matter how long it takes or what I have to do.

SHED THIS BODY

by Kevin Harris – July 2015

I stand on a precipice,
looking down into the abyss,
my life has come this far,
but as I am, I can’t go on like this.

I must repent my sins,
discard all this anger, hate and sorrow,
I must shed myself of this body of death,
so for my soul there can be a tomorrow.

I see the graces God has given,
hints of how things should be done,
shadows and shades of humble life,
like light and dark, clouds and sun.

This old self I must reject,
and embrace this great rebirth,
with eagerness and panic to change,
before I pass away, leaving this earth.

How long, how long will it take for this,
God give me strength, I’m scared not to change,
so many habits woven into my being,
I want to be reborn, my life I need to rearrange.

Oh what a hopeless soul I am,
who will save me from this body of death,
my Lord and Savior can, if I just push myself,
it’s time to jump, it’s time to take one last breath.

Down into the abyss I shed this body,
never again to be damned and shamed,
into the light I spread my wings and fly,
I choose salvation, eternal life I have claimed.

Guide me forward my Father,
forgive me of the sins I’ve incurred,
let me into the light of your kingdom,
let me learn all I need through your word.

I will never be perfect, I will never be sinless,
but I will repent, to free you Lord of that Godly sorrow,
and free myself and never regret,
today is dead and gone, it’s time for tomorrow.

I must unlearn what I have learned,
and learn the way to being pure,
I kill my old self into the abyss,
my new self is my salvation’s cure.

The Music of My Life

As I celebrate my fiftieth year on earth, I wanted to share the music I have listened to from the day I was adopted by my parents to present day. In this playlist from Spotify, you are taken chronologically through the music I heard as child through my teenage years in the early 80’s to present day. My father listened to big band, blues and some country, while my mother listened to the music she grew up with, music from the 50’s.

Give it a listen and while you may not like all of it, hopefully you’ll like some of it.

spotify:user:hypoxic:playlist:434JVLo4EPgRjJY4hzlk6n

Apple Music is a usability nightmare!

I have been a Spotify user now for over two years and I applaud all the improvements they have made to their software over that two year period. Well I decided to give Apple Music a try, since I am an Apple fan-boy. Well, I am not going to be dumping Spotify anytime soon.

I upgraded to the latest iTunes and iOS release and began messing around with Apple Music. I soon came to realize – this thing is an overcomplicated hot mess. The user interface design on both iTunes and iOS is a HORRIBLE experience. When you first setup Apple Music it comes up with a bunch of circles and asks you to choose what types of music you like, trying to push the whole Apple Watch UI in my face. Then it compiles a page of artists based on your answers. I found that to be very frustrating. I don’t give a crap about some of those artists, why not just let me find the artists I like and put together some playlists? Why throw me into a convoluted, overcomplicated, congested pile of crap filled with artists I don’t really like?

For a company like Apple who has prided itself for decades on making clean, positive, user interfaces – Apple Music is essentially heaped on top of an already overburdened app (iTunes/Music app). It relies on the functionality that has already been built into iTunes and then piles on more complicated user interface elements. I mean, finding what I wanted and figuring out how to do something simple like make a playlist on my iPhone was a CHORE!

When I look at Spotify and Apple Music side by side – I see this: Spotify is what Apple should have made and Apple Music is something Microsoft would have made. When you put the user through hoops, hurdles and gigantic stone walls to do the simplest task, its an instant failure. An instant bad user experience.

Don’t force users down a narrow path to reach something they ultimately won’t want to see. Allow users the freedom to do what they want to do, to add the bands and artists they want to add. That is the key. When you force users into doing something, regardless of whether or not you think it’s a fun idea – it’s always going to be a bad experience. Users want to be able to do what they want to do, not what YOU want them to do. That is a very Microsoft mentality. I understand you want to find out what the user likes and then take them to a screen which displays every friggin artist in those genres, but most users just want to find their favorite artists and add them to a playlist, listen to the music and share their playlists and who they love to listen to. Guess what, Spotify does that in a clean and non-forceful way. Apple Music does not.

I think Apple needs to get a big slap upside their head and they need to go back and rethink this. Until they do figure out the RIGHT WAY to make a music service app design, I will be on Spotify.

I already cancelled my Apple Music account renewal. Because Apple Music is just a DISGRACE from a user interface and user experience design perspective. And I know I am not in the minority, I have heard the same complaints from several people already who have given it a try.