Monday, November 30, 2009

Music Monday-Lady Antebellum "Need You Now"

I fell in love with this song the first time that I heard it.  I always connect to songs with lyrics that I can relate to.  "It's a quarter after one, I'm all alone, and I need you now.  I said I wouldn't call, but I'm a little drunk, and I need you now" are a couple lines that I think a lot of folks can relate to.  Before I met my wife, I know of at least one occasion when I was feeling sorry for myself and a couple drinks helped lead me to call somebody in the dead of the night.  Here is Lady Antebellum with "Need You Now." 

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Man Card Status

Mighty Turtle of MarylandImage by The Eggplant via Flickr
The man card.  According to the Urban Dictionary the man card is a "requirement to be accepted as a respectable member of the male community. Can and should be revoked by other respectable males for doing non-respectable-male things."  Today, I have to question whether or not I should have my man card revoked.

So what heinous act did I commit today to cause me question my actions?  Well it is Sunday, and instead of watching football, I went to a college basketball game.  I know, you are thinking but attending a live sporting event is a perfectly masculine thing to do.  It was women's basketball.

I know that probably sounds sexist, but it isn't meant to be.  I have a great deal of respect for the talent and dedication of women collegiate athletes.  They are better athletes than I ever hoped to be. However, if I were to rank my preferences of watching spectator sports, football would be #1 and basketball would be #5.

The obvious question is what would lead me to forsake my favorite sport in favor of one so much further down the line?  The answer, my son.  His older cousin, who my son adores, is home from school for the Thanksgiving weekend.  My nephew loves attending any sporting event, so when my son heard they were all going to the Maryland Terrapins ladies basketball game, he insisted on going along.

So while the status of my Man Card may be in doubt, I guess you could say that my Fatherhood Card is on solid ground.  Some would say that probably is the more important one anyway.  I wouldn't disagree.   By the way, the Lady Terps defeated the Drexel Dragons (if the Terps are called the Lady Terps, would that make them the Dragon Ladies?) 82-65.  
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

eBook Readers- Kindle or Sony?

The Amazon Kindle 2Image via Wikipedia
Thanksgiving is over, Black Friday is behind us, so it is officially the start of the Christmas shopping season.  I did something yesterday that I rarely do on Black Friday.  I ventured out to the mall, but not for any of the early bird door buster specials.  None of those deals were on my shopping list. Plus I did not want to have to deal with the huge lines and stampedes of people.  As it was, I went in the early afternoon, with a set list of items in mind.  The mall was still very crowded, but I was in and out in about an hour.  Mission accomplished.

I think I am pretty much done with my shopping, but when you don't have a whole lot of extra money to spend, it is easy to be done early.  Now I can go about the business of avoiding the malls and trying to figure out what to tell my wife when she asks me what I want for Christmas.  I usually try to tell her not to bother getting me anything since I am pretty much the only person working for pay.  Besides, there is usually nothing that I particularly want other than maybe some books or iTunes gift cards.

I do enjoy reading, and part of me really would like to get one of those eBook readers.  With my job, I have to attend a couple trade shows each year.  I also have to occasionally visit some of our stores in different airports across the country.  Whenever I have to travel on those instances, I almost always carry at least two books with me.  The appeal to getting one of the eBook readers would be the ease of carrying only the one light device versus a couple of bulkier, heavier books.

The first question to be answered would be is the convenience worth the cost involved in purchasing one.  If the answer to the first question is yes, then the second question would be which one to get, the Amazon Kindle or the Sony eBook Reader.  Both have their advantages, I am sure.  With the Kindle, everything is wireless.  You can be on the road and just download a book directly without the need of a computer.  Plus I have seen some blogs advertising that you can read their blog on the Kindle.  The Sony reader is less expensive but it does require that you download the book to your computer and sync your reader to the computer to load the book on to the reader.  Although I did see that Sony is coming out with a wireless version.

I have only seen the Sony version and it looks pretty cool.  I am hoping that I have literate readers who have gone through the decision making process and have bought either the Kindle or the Sony.   If so, please comment here about how you decided on the model you bought and how happy you are with the performance.  What features do you have on your reader that you just can't live without?
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

In all seriousness, though, Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope that you have the opportunity to enjoy the day and pause to give thoughts to those things that you do have reasons to give thanks.  For me that includes:
  1. Having a family that is in relatively good health overall.
  2. Having a job to go to that puts food on the table and covers the basics.
  3. Living in the greatest country the world has ever known.
That is not to say that things couldn't be better.  I could be MORE thankful if:
  1. Traffic wasn't so horrific on the beltway to and from work.
  2. I only had to work one job to make ends meet.
  3. My next door neighbor could keep his damned dog from barking constantly and if he would buy a set of headphones so I wouldn't have to hear his music (he don't listen to George Strait)

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Classic Movies for Today

I received these via email the other day. Some classic movie stills recast for today.


Bonnie & Clyde

The Godfather

Gone With the Wind

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
The Wizard of Oz

It's a Wonderful Life

Monday, November 23, 2009

Music Monday-Sawyer Brown "Thank God For You"

Since Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, I decided to select a song for Music Monday that gives thanks. It may not be exactly the meaning of what the holiday is truly about, but it's kind of fun. Sawyer Brown and "Thank God For You."

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Real Reason Rio Beat Chicago for the Olympics

Sure it has been nearly two months since the International Olympic Committee awarded the 2016 summer games to Rio over Chicago in spite of Oprah and the Obama's making the case for Chicago.  So even though this is fairly old, and probably been circulating for a while, I thought I would post the real reason that Rio was chosen over Chicago.











So could there be any other reason why they told Chicago:

Just kidding Chicago, better luck next time.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Avon Sharper Image Camcorder- For Sale

A couple weeks ago, I posted a review of a Sharper Image Camcorder from Avon that my wife had given me for our anniversary.  At the time, I had hoped that her Avon website would have gotten some hits and maybe an order or two for the camera.  Unfortunately, the webpage still says that the item will be available soon.  Turns out, that Avon has been sold out of stock for a while.

When my wife ordered the original camcorder for me, she inadvertently ordered an additional camcorder.  If anybody is interested in purchasing the item, we will be willing to sell it for $99 or best offer.  Let me know either by commenting here or emailing me.  If you are local to the Bowie MD area, we can deliver it to you for cash.  We can also mail it to you via priority mail for $5.95 postage if you can pay via PayPal.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

Woman undergoing a mammogram of the right breastImage via Wikipedia
A government panel, the US Preventive Services Task Force, has released new guidelines for breast cancer screening.  Previously, it was recommended that women receive annual mammograms beginning at age 40.  The task force now recommends that women that are not considered "high risk" should wait until the age of 50 to begin screening, and then only every two years.

The new guidelines drew immediate criticism from the American Cancer Society.  Breast cancer is currently second to lung cancer for cancer deaths of American women.  It seems logical to me, that like most cancers, the earlier breast cancer is detected, the better the chance of survival.

The panel argues that women under the age of 50 are prone to more "false positive" results from mammograms.  This leads to "unnecessary" biopsies.  I checked the Center for Disease Control website, and their statistics show that a woman that is 30 years old has a .44% chance of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years, and a nearly 2% chance of developing breast cancer in the next 20 years (before the recommended 50 year age to begin screening.)  Likewise, a 40 year old woman has a 1.5% chance of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years.

Actress Christina Applegate was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36.  Kathleen Reardon posted an article on the Huffington Post blog stating she would be dead today had she not discovered a lump in her breast.  She was 32 at the time.  Under these new guidelines, these women and many others would not have had their breast cancer detected early enough to be treated successfully. 

I have two major concerns with these new guidelines.  First, would be the health and well being of the nearly 2% of women under the age of 50 who are likely to develop breast cancer that will not be detected under the new guidelines.  The second would be the word "government" in the government panel that has developed these new guidelines.  Should we be concerned that this would be a precursor of care under a government run health program?  The panel says you don't need to start screening for breast cancer until you are 50 so we are not going to cover it until then.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Music Monday-Hank Williams Jr "Red, White, and Pink Slip Blues"

With unemployment over 10% and little to no relief in sight, I thought I would pick a song for Music Monday for those folks.  Let's hope we don't have too many more people who end up with the "Red, White, and Pink Slip Blues."  Besides, it was time to put a little Bocephus into the mix.

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Need a Good Laugh

I am in a not so happy place the last couple days.  If you are a regular reader, then you know that I work a part time job delivering pizzas.  Even with that extra money coming in, it seems like every time I get a little extra cash on hand, something comes up.  The latest things to come up for us is an unexpectedly high water bill.  On top of that, the electric company recently changed the meters in my neighborhood because there was a defect in the old meters causing them to register less electricity used.  Consequently, we are being billed about double for our electric bill.

On the part time job front, we had an incident last night that makes me wonder how long I can continue to deliver pizzas.  One of the other drivers was robbed when leaving a delivery.  Some guys came up to him and stuck a gun to his chest and demanded all his money.  Fortunately he was not harmed.  After an incident like that, one stops to consider if it is worth it to continue doing it for the extra few dollars it brings in each month.  I have never wanted to own a gun, but now I wonder.  I definitely need to find something to bring in more cash.

So, being in a not so happy place, I felt the need to add some funnies to today's post.  I thought this was kind of cute.

Next time you think you have had a bad day, think about this guy.

I saw this item in the international food section of the grocery store today.  Some things don't translate well into English.

I saw this one over on SpicyBugz World.  I need one for men.

Of course, I have to add this Nate Beeler cartoon from Friday to have something a little political.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rosetta Stone Demo CD

For some reason, my son really likes infomercials.  He keeps telling us he wants a Shark Steam Mop for Christmas.  One of the other infomercials he likes is the one for Rosetta Stone software to learn a foreign language.  He will come up to me and say, "Daddy buy Rosetta Stone to learn a new language."

Given two facts, one being that Rosetta Stone software is pretty expensive ($229 for level one of a language) and two being that my son is autistic and somewhat learning disabled, purchasing said software at this time is not really in the cards.  Still, it would be cool to see if my son would actually be interested in learning another language and whether or not he could learn one.

With at least an hour commute each way to work and a part time job on the weekends delivering pizzas, I tend to spend a lot of time in the car listening to the radio.  I have heard a radio commercial several times from Rosetta Stone for a free demo CD.  I thought that could be a great way to see if would be something that would interest my son, so I decided to give them a call.

If you have never heard the commercial, the prospective customer calls and asks what the catch is for the free demo CD.  The very pleasant operator assures him that there is no catch and that the demo CD is absolutely free.  The only "catch" is that he can start learning a language in just 10 minutes. 

Well that operator must have been off today when I called to order my demo CD.  The operator immediately tried to get me to place an order for some software.  When I explained that I wanted the demo for my son to try, he talked down the quality of the demo CD saying that it could be gone through in 5 or 10 minutes and was worthless beyond that.  Getting nothing but a hard sell, I hung up the phone.  I guess I am not the only one unhappy with the approach, because I found three complaints filed on the Ripoff Report website.    
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Kahlid Sheihk Mohammed

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, upon capture.Image via Wikipedia
Do you feel safer with the Obama administration waging the war on terror (excuse me, man made disaster) instead of the Bush administration?  I don't.  Especially after the news was released this morning that Kahlid Sheihk Mohammed and four other Gitmo terrorists will be put on trial in civilian court in New York instead of the military courts.

Mohammed is generally regarded as the "worst of the worst" of the Gitmo prisoners.  He is considered the mastermind behind the terrorist attacks of 9/11.  He has also been involved in several other attacks or plots against the US and our allies.  KSM is one of three of the Gitmo prisoners that was waterboarded.  Thanks to waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques, we were able to get info from him to avert other terrorist acts.

These people have committed acts of war against the United States.  They are prisoners of war. They are not, and should not, be entitled to the Constitutional rights that govern the citizens of the United States.  Do you really want to take the chance on a guy like Mohammed getting released on a technicality?  The government better not fuck these trial up and let any of these pieces of garbage free.  Personally, I think they should be "shot trying to escape" if you know what I mean.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Holiday Mail for Heroes

We in the United States enjoy freedoms not found in most of the rest of the world.  These freedoms have been fought for and defended by the many fine men and women who have served in our armed forces here and overseas.  Many of these men and women will be away from their family and loved ones during the coming holiday season.

Once again, the Red Cross and Pitney Bowes have joined together to ask fellow citizens to perform a simple act of kindness and gratitude for those that serve this great country.  They ask that you show your thanks by the simple act of sending a holiday greeting card to our service men.  If you are grateful for the freedoms we have, please join me and my family in sending a Christmas card (or whatever holiday you celebrate) to our troops overseas.  Mail your card to the address below to arrive at the processing center by December 7, 2009.

Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Green M&M's

I have been an opponent of legislative efforts of restricting carbon emissions.  I firmly believe that the vast majority of climate change is naturally occurring.  Efforts to legislate emissions through cap and trade programs will only hurt our economy and raise costs of energy and other goods.  This will negatively impact the vast majority of Americans with the poor and middle classes hurt the most.

That is not to say that I am opposed to the goal of obtaining clean energy like wind and solar power.  I just think that there are better ways to achieve those goals of switching to cleaner energy.  Voluntary efforts should be encouraged and rewarded.  That is why I thought it was pretty cool to read a story about how the Mars corporation has unveiled an 18 acre solar garden to provide energy for their plant in Hackensack, NJ.

I think that Mars should be commended for making this investment.  They should get a lot of corporate goodwill from their actions.  For those folks who make this an important part of their lifestyle, they should reward companies like Mars with their business.

The one negative that I would take from the story though is that the 18 acres of solar panels only provide enough electricity to cover 20% of the plant's power needs.  To me, that just seems like an awful lot of land use to provide a relatively small amount of electricity.  By comparison, I found a document on the US Minerals Management Service website that stated that 1/30th of the power generated by a nuclear power plant on only 12 acres of land would power a city of 100,000 for a year.  Seems like a lot more bang for the buck.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

John Allen Muhammad

Beltway sniper John Allen MuhammadImage via Wikipedia
Tonight, barring any last minute stays, John Allen Muhammad will be executed by lethal injection in the great commonwealth of Virginia.  The United States Supreme Court has already decided not to hear any appeals on behalf of Muhammad.  I say, "Good riddance."

Seven years ago, Muhammad along with his accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo went on a shooting spree in the DC area.  None of the victims had anything in common, nor did they have any relationship with the pair.  Their only crime was being in the proximity of the killers when they struck. 

The total randomness of the violent acts kept the DC area on edge until the two were caught.  Personally, I remember constantly keeping my head on a swivel trying to observe everything that was going on around me.  I remember stopping to get gas one night and deliberately leaving my car door open to act as a barrier to any potential attack.  The attacks hit real close to home when a child was shot outside of a school here in my home town of Bowie.

Generally speaking, I do not have strong feelings about capital punishment these days.  In years past, I was very much for capital punishment.  On the abortion debate, I have always been pro-life.  When I studied Buddhism, I started to rethink my position on capital punishment.  I questioned how I could call for the sanctity of life in one case but not the other.  Now, I tend to lean towards capital punishment being the exception rather than the rule.

Not so in the case of John Calvin Muhammad.  I can't say it any other way, so excuse me for being so blunt.  I want him dead.  It would be fair to ask why the Muhammad case would draw such a response.  It is because I am first and foremost a father.  Seven years ago, my then 8 year old son, was terrified by the events of the day.  He would run into my bedroom late at night and say to me, "No news, Daddy.  No TV."  With his autism, he was unable to tell us everything he was feeling, but I had never seen his so frightened.  All I know is that anybody that could instill such fear in my child is worthy of my wrath.  If it were within my power, I would pummel him with my bare hands.  So for John Allen Muhammad, good riddance.
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