Friday, January 30, 2009

Congratulations Chairman Michael Steel

Congratulations go out to the new Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steel. On the sixth ballot, Steele defeated South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson 91-77 to become the first black chairman of the Republican Party.  I hope that I will run into Chairman Steele in the grocery store again so that I can congratulate him in person. 

Thursday, January 29, 2009

George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton

The two former presidents were speaking at the National Automobile Dealers convention in New Orleans.  These two seem to have become good friends.  I love Bubba's reaction to Bush's story.  He is right though, Clinton could not get away with telling that story.  When he said some people can do things that others can't, and then talked about the story of the dogs, I was afraid he was going to go with the old joke; "Why is that dog licking himself? Because he can."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Music Monday-Little Feat "Dixie Chicken"

I decided to add my contribution to Music Monday.  Here is Little Feat with "Dixie Chicken"

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.

Happy New Year

The Chinese have rung in their new year.  It is now the Year of the Ox, which coincidentally, is the same as my Chinese Zodiac sign.  I hope that means it is going to be a good year for me.

According to my Chinese horoscope at this website, this is what I can expect in the coming year:

You may have been disappointed by a relatively modest 2008, but as your sign enters the heaven, the groundwork you laid should start paying off in 2009. Don’t expect fireworks, but success should arrive both in your family life and in business. This is a great year to achieve personal ambitions as well as take action on major decisions. You’ll find both family and friends supportive of new plans.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Meet the Beatles-45th Anniversary

Meet the Beatles was one of, if not the first, album I ever owned was released 45 years ago today. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine released the top 500 rock albums of all time, and rated Meet the Beatles as #59 all time. Here are The Beatles with "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and a live version of "I Saw Her Standing There."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Free at Last

OK, with the above headline, and today being the celebration of the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr. one might think that I was about to give tribute to the late, great Dr. King.  Instead I am talking about President Bush, on his final full day in office, finally commuting the sentences of wrongly convicted US Border Agents Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos.  A full pardon would have been preferable, but at least these two men will be released from prison in the near future.

Compean and Ramos while performing their duties encountered an illegal alien attempting to smuggle over 700 pounds of marijuana over the Texas/Mexico border.  In their pursuit of this dirtbag, they believed him to be armed and fired their weapons, hitting him in the ass.  The US Attorney gave immunity to the smuggler to testify against Compean and Ramos who were convicted primarily on his testimony.  He has since been arrested and convicted of smuggling more drugs across the border.

There are few causes that have led me to email or write to our elected officials.  This was one that I did feel compelled to write.  Not that it made a difference, but I did send an email to the White House encouraging the President to pardon these two men who were trying to keep our country safe.  Thankfully, Compean and Ramos will soon be able to be with their families again.    

Blues Song of the Week-John Lee Hooker "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer"

I haven't done one of these in a while. I first heard this song when George Thorogood recorded it in 1977. John Lee Hooker recorded it before that, and I like his version a better because he uses a lot less distortion in his guitar playing.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

March For Life

On Thursday, January 22nd, the pro-life movement will hold their 35th March for Life in Washington, DC. in protest of the Roe vs. Wade decision that made abortion legal in the U.S.

Back in the 1980's, I was a dyed in the wool fundamentalist.  I belonged to a very conservative Baptist church.  In fact, at one point I was taking correspondence courses from Liberty University (which I affectionately called Jerry Falwell University) to work towards my Masters of Arts of Religion.

During that time, I read a lot of books pertaining to the Christian faith and life.  One such book that I read at that time was "Bad News for Modern Man" by Franky Schaeffer.  That book led me to organize a small group of people from my church to participate in the March for Life.

Over the years, I have moved away from the fundamentalist viewpoint.  I still consider myself Christian, but a more liberal strain of Christianity.  I have also been influenced by several Buddhist writers.  I still come down firmly in the anti-abortion side of the equation.  My viewpoint now comes from less of a religious view as it is more of a personal responsibility view.  I believe you should be responsible for your actions, and if you don't want a baby, then don't have sex or use proper birth control.

When I started to think about the March for Life as a topic and started to research it, I once again found myself to be in line with the Frank Schaeffer camp toward Roe v Wade.  After more than 30 years of trying to fight to overturn Roe v Wade, Shaeffer prefers a different approach.  Schaffer has resigned himself that Roe v Wade will not be overturned and will remain legal.  Instead, the pro-life movement should focus its energy on ways to reduce the number of abortions performed in the US. In an open letter to Barack Obama, Schaeffer encourages the president elect to go that route.

I still support what the pro-life group is trying to accomplish.  Unfortunately, I believe, as Frank Schaeffer said in an interview recently, "When I say that I think abortion should remain legal, what I mean is that the tactic of putting all this energy into overturning Roe, is, I think, just whistling in the dark."

Happy Birthday Kevin Costner

Kevin Costner is celebrating his 53rd birthday today.  Since earlier this week, I posted a couple videos of Telly Savalas and William Shatner performing songs (I can't really call it singing) here is Kevin Costner with his band Modern West performing "Long Hot Night" on Opry Live.  All I can say is that I prefer his performance in "Bull Durham," "Field of Dreams," and "Tin Cup" to his performance here.  Though, he does do a better job than Savalas and Shatner, but that isn't saying much.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Farewell President Bush

The other thing that happened on Thursday that I wanted to talk about is President George W. Bush's farewell address.  I am not going to make an argument positive or negative as to the Bush presidency.  That is for history to determine.  Putting all politics aside (or as much as possible) I want to focus on his character.

Immediately after 9/11, President Bush had an approval rating of 90%, the highest ever for a president.  Unfortunately, at the end of his term, he also has the lowest approval rating ever for a president.  The question is did he change or did the country change?

After 9/11, Bush became focused on the war on terror.  His goal was to keep this country safe, and he has succeeded.  However, the war on terror has been a long one, and even though he had the overwhelming support of the American people in the beginning, the country and media grew tired of the war and support dwindled.  When the war began in Iraq, I was not in favor of it.  However, once there, the job needed to be completed.  When it would have been politically expedient to end the war, George Bush stuck to the task.

Whether you agree with his politics or his decisions, there is one thing that you have to say about George W. Bush.  Everything he did, he did because he thought it was in the best interest of the country.  He stayed true to his values, regardless of how it affected his approval ratings.  He loves his country, is a true patriot, and, I believe, is an honorable man.  I believe him when he says he wants Barack Obama to succeed as president.  It is because of love of country, not love of party.

Miracle on the Hudson

On Thursday, US Airways Flight 1459 took off from LaGuardia Airport and quickly lost both engines when they collided with a flock of geese.  The pilot quickly developed his plan and performed a daring water landing.  The nation watched on live TV as boats quickly circled the plane and passengers climbed out onto the wings.  Miraculously, everyone survived. 

Much has been written praising the experience and skill of pilot Captain Sully Sullenberger and the performance of his crew.   Rightfully so.  Their performance is worthy of praise and is truly heroic.  I am not going to repeat those praises here.

Instead, I would like to take the opportunity to make another statement.  This is why I don't like to fly!  I know that there are many more pilots like Captain Sullenberger.  I know that the US airway system is the safest in the world.  However, when something goes wrong, it's pretty dramatic.  I guess part of the problem is that I don't feel like I am in control like I do when I am behind the wheel of my car.

A Brief Update

It has been a few days since my last post, but sometimes the real world gets in the way.  Between work and other hobbies like working on my challenges at, I just haven't had as much time do all of my blogging activities.  There are a few things that have happened in the past few days that I will want to make a few, short comments about to try to catch up a bit.  Below is a link to one of the games that I like to play on Pogo.
Word Whomp™

I love to play Word Whomp™

Make as many words as you can before time runs out in Word Whomp. — play hundreds of fun games online!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Don't Quit Your Day Job

My old high school friend, the Under Cover Blackman, had a thread on his blog about (as he put it) "Non-singin' ass actors."  It was his third such post.  This time he featured the musical stylings of Terrence Howard, Robert Downey, Jr., and Jeff Bridges.

It got me thinking about some of the actors from my youth who had released really bad songs.  Sure enough, YouTube had videos of them available.  So here is Telly Savalas with "If" and then William Shatner with "Rocketman."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

HOA From Hell #4

We received a notice from our HOA yesterday with a list of changes to our "rules." The two new rule changes pertained to putting out our weekly trash and visitor parking in the complex. The visitor parking rule changes don't bother me, because they really don't pertain to us. The trash rule change is more of an annoyance than anything else.

Over the last month or so, we discovered that we had a "Trash Nazi" living among us. Most of the neighborhood put their garbage out to the curb on trash day in garbage bags. I would say 95% of the time it wasn't a problem. Unfortunately, on two occasions we had some huge scavenger birds tear up some of the bags and spread some trash around.  So our neighborhood "Trash Nazi" went around and posted pictures of the birds and trash on our doors telling everyone the type of trash bags they should use or the type of trash can to use.  So now our new rules tell us we need to have a trash can with a lid with our address on it. 

No big deal, just annoying.  At least these rules aren't as bad as this woman's story in Orlando, FL.  She was renting a house with her boyfriend of six years and her four kids.  The HOA has forced her to move out of her home because their association defines a family as a married couple.  The rule also allows the HOA to ban gays, singles, and roommates from living in the neighborhood.  They lived in the home for almost a year before somebody told the HOA that the couple was not married.  There was no mention of these rules in her rental lease.

She is now suing the HOA, and I hope she takes them to the cleaners.  Not only is this another example of the unwarranted power these HOA's try to exert on their neighborhoods, it is ILLEGAL.  It is clearly in violation of the Fair Housing Act which states: 

Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), as amended, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents of legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and handicap (disability).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Another Bailout

I first saw this story when I was looking at Neil Boortz's website.  Then I was reading my Glen Beck email newsletter and found a transcript from his radio show discussing it.

The latest industry to seek financial help from the government, according to, is the adult entertainment industry.  Joe Francis of "Girls Gone Wild" fame and "Hustler" magazine publisher Larry Flynt have written to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Congress asking for $5 billion to "invest in building new means of distribution."  DVD sales and rentals have fallen 22% in the past year as more people are using the internet for their adult entertainment needs.

As I have mentioned, I have not been in favor of any of the previous bailouts.  Likewise, I can't see myself supporting a bailout of this industry either.  However, if there is an industry out there that could successfully retool itself with an infusion of capital, I believe the adult entertainment industry could.  For too long, they have always been ahead of the curve when it came to adapting new technology to promote their wares.  If nothing else, at least according to the articles, these gentleman are willing to drive a hybrid across country to meet with Congress to pitch their case. 

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Blogging Tip #1-Opening Links in a New Window

I have noticed that on most blogs, whenever the blogger has included a link in their post that if you click that link you are taken to that site and leave the blog you were on.  All of us bloggers that include links because it is relevant to that post, and we think that our readers will find it interesting.  However, I for one would rather have the reader stay on my blog rather than hope they come back.  

If you would prefer to have your readers stay on your site, I have a little tip to make your links accomplish this.   All you have to do after you create your link is alter the HTML code a little bit.  Don't let that scare you.  I am no HTML expert, and it is a fairly simple change to the code to do this.  I use blogger, and I have a "Compose" tab where I write my posts, and and "Edit Html" tab where I edit my links or add my "YouTube" code.  I would assume that other blogging software will also let you do this.  

Let's take a simple link like Google.  The HTML code for this link is:
To adjust the code so that the link opens in a new window, you need to add one little thing to the code: target="_blank".  Your new html code looks like this:

Just adding that little bit of code will now cause your link to open a new window for your reader to stay on your site while reviewing the info at the link you provided.  Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.  If you have any blogging tips, feel free to post them here.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cell Phones & Driving

Being a Libertarian, I am not usually a proponent of laws that restrict our freedom.  I have never been a proponent of the mandatory hands free device laws that single out cell phone users as opposed to other forms of driver distraction.  I mean is talking on the phone any more hazardous than the lady in the next lane putting on her eye makeup or the guy chowing down on a Big Mac?  

Part of the reason I am against those laws is that I just haven't been able to find a hands free device that works for me.  What is the point of having it if I have to hold the damn thing to my ear to hear what the other person is saying?  That's no different than if I had the cell to my ear.  At least then I would be able to hear the other person.  But I digress.

Today is one of those days when I can somewhat understand why these laws are getting enacted (so far the Democrats in Maryland have been unable to pass a law here, but it isn't from lack of trying).  On two occasions today I got caught behind drivers that were driving in the left hand lane traveling at least 10 miles per hour beneath the speed limit (there are states that will ticket a driver for driving too slow.)  When I finally was able to pass those drivers, sure enough, they were sitting there with the cell phone held up to their ear.

I still do not like the thought of an outright ban of handheld cell phone use while driving.  If you want to make it a secondary violation (along with other forms of driver distraction) that can draw an additional fine when pulled over for speeding or other violations, then I have no problem with that.  For those drivers that live in states where it is not a violation, if you can not talk on the phone and maintain a safe driving speed then get out of the way.  

Mr. Rebates Update

Last month, I recommended signing up at the Mr. Rebates website if you were planning on doing any of your Christmas Shopping online.  I used them to order several of the presents I bought for my son.  Once you make a purchase through a Mr. Rebates site, it usually takes a few weeks for the rebate to be put into your account.  I had some funds in my account but had never requested a payout.  So about a week or so ago, I requested the available funds to be added to my PayPal account.  According to their website, once you request a payout, they process the payment in the first week of the following month.  Sure enough, on January 1st, Mr. Rebates had deposited $13 into my PayPal account, so it really does work.

Mr. Rebates

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Tip the Pizza Guy

OK. Now that I have wished everyone a Happy New Year, it is time for a little rant.

I know times are tough and the economy is in a shambles. It is tough for me too. If it wasn't, I wouldn't be delivering pizzas on the weekends.  

I have only been delivering pizzas for about a year, but I have always gone by the guideline that you should tip the same for a pizza delivery as you would if you were eating at a restaurant, that would be 15-20%.  I also tend to tip a little more if the weather is bad. After all, the pizza delivery driver is performing the same function as a server in a restaurant, they are just bringing the food in their own car, using their own gas.
Having said that, there are a lot of people out there in serious need of learning some tipping ettiquette.  There is a great resource at Tip the Pizza Guy where you can learn what is considered appropriate.  They say the minimum tip for a delivery should be around $3.  They also go into some of the hazards and difficulties of getting your pizza to you.  

Last night was a particularly frustrating night for me in delivering pizza.  First it was a particularly cold and windy night last night with wind chills in the teens.  Second it was a holiday.  For some reason, there were an awful lot of cheap ass people last night, more so than usual.  I can't remember the last time I received so many $2 or less tips in an evening.  It is particularly frustrating to deliver $45 worth of pizzas, be complimented on how quick the service was, and then walk away with a $2 tip on the credit card slip.  (Don't think that we won't remember that the next time your address shows up for delivery.)

There are some people out there who still restore my faith in humanity when I am out delivering pizzas.   My last delivery of the night was a $50 delivery and the young lady gave me a generous $10 tip (thank you very much).  For the rest of you out there, if you are unwilling or unable to afford to pay for your pizza and give a proper tip, do yourself and the pizza guy a favor:  Get DiGiorno, not delivery.  

Happy New Year

Let me take a moment to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. The New Year is a time when most people make resolutions on what they are going to do to improve themselves in the coming new year. Not me. No need to (just kidding). Sure, I could use to stand a few pounds, save some money, and be nicer to my fellow man. Who couldn't? However, the new year is sort of an arbitrary time to start what we should be doing all along.

Anyway, a very sincere Happy New Year wish to everyone. If you have made resolutions for yourself in the coming year, I wish you much success. I do hope to do all those things mentioned above, I just haven't formally resolved to do so. At least not yet.


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