Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Glenn Beck vs The Attorney General of Connecticut

What can I say?  I love Glenn Beck.  I am not a fan of any of the bailout plans that have taken place.  I have mixed feelings about the whole AIG bonus affair.  The bottom line is that there was nothing "illegal" done in AIG paying bonuses to executives, many of which were working at a yearly salary of $1, who were trying to help AIG turn things around.

On Beck's television show yesterday, he had Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut's Attorney General on as a guest.  Glenn grills Blumenthal on his actions in regards to the AIG bonuses and Chris Dodd.  I love watching him trying to get this hack to just answer a simple yes or no question.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Music Monday-Eric Clapton "Layla"

Every now and then, there are performers that you just can't get enough of. For me they are few and far between. I can count on one hand the number of musicians that I want to get everything they put out. In my younger(pre-married and pre-father) days, I used to go to a lot of concerts. There were two singers that I wanted to see year in and year out, Jimmy Buffett and Eric Clapton. Those would be two artists that I would always look forward to the next CD coming out.

In my humble opinion, Clapton is the greatest guitarist that has ever lived. I would have given anything to have been able to play guitar anywhere close to the way he plays. There might be guitarists out there who are more flashy, but nobody played with the passion and feeling of Slowhand. It was in listening to Clapton that I came to appreciate a lot of the old bluesmen. One of the greatest concerts I ever saw was when Muddy Waters opened up for Clapton at the old Capital Centre in Largo, Maryland.

Not only do I feel he is the greatest guitarists of all time, I also feel he produced the greatest rock song of all time, "Layla." Clapton became close friends with George Harrison of the Beatles. In the course of that friendship, Clapton fell in love with Harrison's wife Patti Boyd. "Layla" is the product of that unrequited love. Boyd eventually divorced Harrison, and married Clapton. That relationship also produced another classic Clapton song, "Wonderful Tonight."Sop

So today, for Music Monday, I want to celebrate the 64th birthday of the greatest guitarist of all time playing the greatest rock song of all time. Eric Clapton and "Layla."

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.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Tough Week

It has been a tough week for me computer wise.  I have been able to do very little since last Saturday night, especially when it came to doing anything on the internet.

It all started late Saturday night.  One of the blogging communities that I belong to is Entrecard.  While visiting a number of blogs and dropping my card on the various Entrecard widgets, my McAfee popped up and said it had found and deleted the Vundo Trojan.  It popped up a couple of times.  I wish I could remember the site, but I think it was a technology blog.

Anyway, McAfee was not able to clear out the Vundo.  These days, I primarily am using Google Chrome for my internet browsing.  Well I would be happily cruising the web when all of a sudden Internet Explorer would open up and bog my system down.  I spent the bulk of Sunday downloading various spyware scanners trying to remove it.  I thought that I had it licked when I started using STOPzilla, which had a good review on Cnet.com.  It identified the virus several times and said that it had been removed.  

Monday and Tuesday, I was able to get onto the web without any issues.  However, Wednesday night I fired up the laptop and all of a sudden STOPzilla said Vundo was back.  Curses!  I kept struggling with my system for the rest of the week.  Since the virus kept opening up Internet Explorer, I removed it from my system.  However, pesty bug that Vundo is, it kept opening up IE. Finally, on Saturday, after my system had become very unstable, I considered taking the drastic step of recovering my system back to the original settings.  Before I did, though, I called STOPzilla's tech support for advice.  They suggested running the scan in safe mode.

So Saturday night, I get home from delivering pizza and fire up the laptop in safe mode.  Lo and behold, STOPzilla would not start on my computer in safe mode.  I decided at that point to run a couple of scans while under safe mode.  I did a complete system scan with McAfee and with Spybot.  The scans finally finished about 2 a.m. this morning.  Both identified several files with the virus and I was able to delete them.  That seems to have done the trick (knock on wood.)   Hopefully this is the end of my Vundo experience.  

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dan Seals:1948-2009

On Wednesday, singer Dan Seals passed away due to complications from cancer.

During the 1970's when soft rock was dominating the pop charts, Dan Seals was England Dan of England Dan & John Ford Coley. The duo had several hit songs including "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight", "Nights Are Forever", and "Love Is The Answer."

After the duo disbanded in 1980, Dan Seals launched a solo career on the country charts. He had several country hits, including a duet with Marie Osmond "Meet Me In Montana" which earned the pair a Best Vocal Duo of the Year Award from the Country Music Association in 1986.

Here is England Dan & John Ford Coley with "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight." RIP Dan.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Latest Sin Tax

Sin taxes are nothing new. There has been a tax on cigarettes for years, and is getting ready to go up again on April 1st (kind of an appropriate date.) Likewise there have been taxes on alcohol, which my state, Maryland, is considering increasing. My friend over at Intrepid Ideas posted about an attempt to put a sin tax on chocolate. Utah, home of the Mormon Church, is considering a sin tax on caffeinated beverages.

The latest proposal comes from the state of Nevada where Democrat Senator Bob Coffin has proposed a $5 tax on legal prostitution. Senator Coffin estimates that the tax would put $2 million into the state coffers. The measure also has the support of the legal prostitution industry.

Now normally, I am not a fan of increasing taxes on anybody (not even the evil rich) but this one got me thinking while I watch Barack Obama throwing us deeper in debt. As a Libertarian, as long as all parties are involved in the activity of their own will with no coercion, I tend to believe prostitution should be legal. At the very least, I believe there are more important things for the police to focus their resources on.

Anyway, back to prostitution and our ever increasing federal deficit. Nevada is the only state that has legalized prostitution in parts of the state. For the most part, in the rest of the country it is an underground operation. Being underground, there is a much higher element of risk for the entrepreneur and the consumer in these transactions. What does this have to do with the deficit? Well, the government could legalize the activity and regulate it. Require all providers to have a permit for a fee. Tax the activity as proposed in Nevada. Plus, previously unreported income from the underground economy will now be subject to income taxes. If such a tax could raise $2 million a year in Nevada, how much would it raise in places like New York or Los Angeles?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Music Monday-The Knack "My Sharona"

In the last six months or so, through my blogging and Facebook,  I have been able to reconnect with several high school friends that I had lost contact.  So my choice for Music Monday is a song that was a hit during my senior year of high school (that was 1979)  Here is The Knack with "My Sharona."

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.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Barack Obama and Iran

Throughout the campaign, Barack Obama said he would take a different approach in dealing with countries like Iran.  He said he would try to establish a dialogue with those leaders and to try to listen to their concerns instead of "dictating term" to those rogue nations.  

On Thursday, took the first steps in trying to establish this new policy in dealing with, essentially, our enemies.  He released a video sending his wishes to Iranians as they celebrated Norouz.  My first reaction to this overture was basically one of disgust.  The idea of taking such a conciliatory tone with a country that has referred to us as "The Great Satan" was offensive to me as an American.

Of course, I am no foreign policy expert, so the key would be the reaction of the Iranian leadership.  Well, it turns out that the Iranian leadership did not think much of it either.  Ayotollah Ali Khameini, the supreme leader of Iran, responded with the following quote: "They chant the slogan of change, but no change is seen in practice.  He insulted the Islamic Republic from the first day.  If you are right that change has come, where is that change?"

Well, this new policy of dealing with Iran is off to a great start, huh?

The 9-12 Project: 9 Principles

This is my 2nd post on Glenn Beck's 9-12 Project.  Below are the 9 Principles that guide the 9-12 Project.  As stated in their mission statement, if you believe in at least 7 of the 9, then you have a lot in common with those in the movement.

9 Principles:

1.  America Is Good.

2.  I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.

God “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the external rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” from George Washington’s first Inaugural address.

3.  I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.

Honesty “I hope that I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider to be the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” George Washington

4.  The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.

Marriage/Family “It is in the love of one’s family only that heartfelt happiness is known. By a law of our nature, we cannot be happy without the endearing connections of a family.” Thomas Jefferson

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.

Justice “I deem one of the essential principles of our government… equal and exact justice to all men of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political.” Thomas Jefferson

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.

Life, Liberty, & The Pursuit of Happiness “Everyone has a natural right to choose that vocation in life which he thinks most likely to give him comfortable subsistence.” Thomas Jefferson

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.

Charity “It is not everyone who asketh that deserveth charity; all however, are worth of the inquiry or the deserving may suffer.” George Washington

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.

On your right to disagree “In a free and republican government, you cannot restrain the voice of the multitude; every man will speak as he thinks, or more properly without thinking.” George Washington

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.

Who works for whom? “I consider the people who constitute a society or a nation as the source of all authority in that nation.” Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Former President George W. Bush

Former President George W. Bush had his first speech since leaving office in January.  Bush refused to criticize President Barack Obama stating that he "deserves my silence."  There are several who have credited Bush with providing Obama with one of the smoother transitions for an incoming president.  He told his staff there should be no pranks like the Clinton staffers removing every "W" from every keyboard in the White House.  Bush claims that he "loves his country more than he loves politics" and that is why he refuses to get into criticizing Obama.  Regardless of whether or not you agreed with him, Bush has always taken the high road and has always done what he believed was best for the country.  He will be working on a book about the 12 toughest decisions he had to make as President, and he hopes that people will be able to understand why he did the things he did.

Prostitution Arrests

I love irony. That's why I was somewhat amused when I saw the story of this particular prostitution arrest in the Washington Post. A DC police officer was arrested last month and charged with soliciting an undercover police officer in an internet prostitution sting. Officer Robert A. Schmidt was accused of meeting a woman he thought was a prostitute by answering an ad on Craigslist. As a first offender he had the charges dropped after completing "john school" to learn the risks of prostitution.

While we are on the subject of prostitution, I had previously posted about the arrests of Mi Sook Yoo andHo Suk Kim, for prostitution in massage parlor raids. There were also three arrests in Fairfax, VA for committing prostitution in an illegal massage parlors. The women arrested in the latest raid do not have names quite as colorful as the previous two stories. The women charged in this case were Qi Yang, Jun Wang, and Main Chong.

Yes, I know that these are illegal activities, but don't the police have more important things to do with their resources than this? With all of the bad news going on everyday, why worry about somebody wanting to relieve a little stress?
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Monday, March 16, 2009

The 9-12 Project

I used to enjoy listening to Glenn Beck's radio program when he was being broadcast in the DC market.  I also used to watch his show when he was on CNN Headline News.  Since he has made the switch over to the Fox News Channel, I have not been able to watch his new show because I never make it home in time.  However, I still receive his daily newsletter via email.

It was in today's email that I learned of The 9-12 Project.  Over the next few days, I will have a few posts highlighting the 9 Principals, and the 12 Values of the 9-12 Project.  Today, I am posting the mission statement of the project, which is the primary reason that I feel the 9-12 Project is important, at least to me, and I hope to you
The Mission Statement of the 9-12 Project:
This is a non-political movement.  The 9-12 Project is designed to bring us all back to the place we were on September 12, 2001.  The day after America was attacked we were not obsessed with Red States, Blue States, or political parties.   We were united as Americans, standing together to protect the greatest nation ever created.

That same feeling-that commitment to country is what we are hoping to foster with this idea.  We want to get everyone thinking like it is September 12th, 2001 again.

Music Monday-Harry Chapin "Cat's In The Cradle"

Being a Dad is probably the most important thing in the world to me.  There is nothing I like more than just hanging around the house and doing things with my son.

When I first heard this song, I swore that if I ever became a father that I would never be the type of man that put career and ambition ahead of family.  That promise had nothing to do with my relationship with my father.  I have a lot of fond memories of going to Washington Senators games with my Dad and of the sacrifices my parents made to give us the things we wanted.  One of the greatest Christmas gifts I ever received was when my folks gave my an electric guitar that they could not really afford to give me.

No, that promise came from the words of this song.  I hope this doesn't sound too egotistical, but I did very well in school.  I probably could have succeeded at anything that I chose.  In my career, I have had some success.  However, there were so many times I chose family ahead of career.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

So for all the Dads (and Moms) out there, my choice for Music Monday is Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle."

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.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My First Ebay Venture

During the course of my life, I have had a number of hobbies.  One of my favorites over the years has been collecting sports memorabilia.  I have built up a fairly large collection of autographed photographs, balls, and other items.  All told, I probably have close to 100 pieces.

I had hoped that when I had a son that he would share my love of sports and of memorabilia.  He does love the sports, but the idea of collecting autographs is more or less lost on him.  Plus, with his autism, he has a difficult time with treating items with care.  I can't tell you how many times I have had to burn new copies of CDs for him because he has broken other copies.

I have reached a point in my life where "things" mean very little to me.  All I really want to do is read some books, listen to tunes, and provide for my family.  The last time that I had some spare cash that I could have splurged on something for myself, I ended up buying something for my son

So taking all of this into consideration, along with the fact that money is just plain tight, I have decided to jump into the wonderful world of ebay and part with my collection.  I am going to go at this slowly to see how things go.  Tonight I put my first item up for auction, a set of Country Time Lemonade autographed Brooks Robinson baseball cards.  If all goes well, I will add more items to the auction block.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Music Monday-Steve Martin "King Tut"

I hope my choice for Music Monday this week will bring a smile to your face, Steve Martin and "King Tut."

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.

Tip The Pizza Guy- Update

As I mentioned once before, I deliver pizzas as a part time job for one of the national pizza parlors (their name shall remain unmentioned to protect the guilty.)  For the most part, it has been a decent part time job.  However, I found out Friday night about another change to our compensation that has caused me to explore whether or not I can afford to quit.

When I first started delivering fresh, hot pizza from the Pizza Palace, I was paid minimum wage and received $1 per delivery (the company itself charged $1.50 per delivery.)  This was in November of 2007.  It was a pretty good gig at the time.  Well, that was then and this is now.  There have been a number of changes over the last 6-8 months that have taken away from the glamour of delivering fresh, hot pizza.

When minimum wage was increased, while the inside help all received their raises, the drivers were kept at the old rate, because we made "tips."  Also during this time, gasoline prices were soaring to over $4 per gallon, cutting deeply into the amount of money we actually make. (We use our own cars and pay for our own gasoline.)  They did throw us a bone and raised the delivery charge to $1.70 and raising our mileage reimbursement rate to $1.10 per delivery.

On Friday night, we found out that they changed the amount we receive per delivery.  Now that gasoline prices are back to where they were when I started, they quietly lowered our rate to $0.75 per delivery, while keeping the delivery charge at $1.70.  I guess some people assume that the driver gets the delivery charge, but that is not the case.

To sum up, no longer making the minimum wage, plus getting a 25% cut in our mileage reimbursement, combined with a lot of people not tipping as well as before (Two people totally stiffed me Friday night) makes for an unhappy delivery guy.  


Monday, March 2, 2009

Trick Shot

I used to love to shoot pool in my younger days.  Every now and then, I would work on some trick shots.  I wasn't very good.  In my wildest dreams, I never thought of anything like this.  When I first saw this, I had two thoughts, and to be honest I am not sure which came first.  One thought was, "This is pretty cool."  The other thought was, "Somebody has WAY too much time on their hands."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Music Monday-Trace Adkins "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk"

After rocking out last week with Damn Yankees, I decided for something a little different this week for Music Monday.  Plus, since I just reviewed his book "A Personal Stand," I decided to go country with Trace Adkins and "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk."  

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.

Trace Adkins - A Personal Stand

About a year ago, I was watching the Glenn Beck show before he moved over to the Fox News Channel.  One Friday night, his guest for the whole hour was country music star Trace Adkins.  Being a fan of both Glenn and Trace, I stayed tuned for the whole hour. 

It was not your garden variety, celebrity interview.  Sure they touched on Trace's musical career, but for the most part they discussed Trace's views on news and politics.  Trace was a straight talking, no nonsense man.  I found myself in agreement with a lot of his views.

Fast forward to last night, when I was browsing around the local Barnes & Noble.  I was looking in the current affairs section of the store when I spotted "A Personal Stand" by Trace.  I was not aware that he had written a book, so I flipped through the chapters and quotes on the back of the book.  Since the book was in paperback, I decided to go ahead and make the purchase.

When I read the introduction to the book, I knew I was going to enjoy reading it.  In the second paragraph Trace writes the following:  "I stand for personal responsibility and against anything undermines it.  So much of what I see in our country today represents a hell-bent flight from responsibility to victimhood.  From acting on one's convictions  to going along just to get along.   From making decisions based on moral principals to taking the easy way out.  That's not what the United States is about, and that's not the legacy our children should inherit."  I could not agree more.

Throughout the book, Trace uses stories from his life to share his views on 9/11, energy, illegal immigration and more.  Like his appearance on the Glenn Beck Show that night, he writes in a straight forward, no nonsense style, interjected with a wry sense of humor.  As a writer, he isn't going to make anyone forget the great writers of the world.  Hell, he may not even make you forget the ordinary ones.  However, if you are a fan of Trace Adkins, and your political views tend to lean towards the right, I think you will enjoy the book.  I know I did.


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