Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Maryland Cell Phone Law

IMG_0152.JPGImage by bjosefowicz via Flickr
It saddens me whenever the government decides to pass legislation that basically isn't needed.  Particularly if existing laws already encompass the act in question.  Tomorrow is a day that will particularly sadden me because of a new law that will take place in my home state of Maryland.

Beginning tomorrow, it will be illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving in the state of Maryland, making Maryland the 8th state to pass such a ban.  For now, it will be a secondary offense, meaning that you can only be charged if you are pulled over for some other offense like speeding or running a red light.  However, I predict it won't be long before they make it a primary offense. (God I hate living in a Blue State).

I do not disagree with studies that show that folks that talk or text on their cell phones while driving increase their chances of being involved in an accident.  Studies show that 28% of accidents are caused by people using their cell phones in some manner while driving.  In total, 80% of accidents are caused by some form of distracted driving.

Here is why I have an issue with making cell phone use illegal.  First, under current law, if a person is involved in an automobile accident and is found to be at fault, they will be charged.  It doesn't matter whether the accident is caused by using a cell phone or some other factor.  Second, of accidents caused by any form of distracted driving, based on the studies linked above, only about a third are caused by cell phone use.  You are just as likely to have an accident while eating a Big Mac, putting on eye makeup, or changing the CD in your car stereo.  Those you can still do.

I admit, that I have been frustrated on more than one occasion because I got caught behind somebody driving under the speed limit.  Sure enough, more often than not, when I was able to get by that driver they were talking on a cell phone.  For me, that frustration isn't enough to warrant making cell phone use illegal, especially when there are so many other activities that can cause an accident.  This is just another example of what the Heritage Foundation calls the "Overcriminalization of America."     

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Georgia Inmate Executed After Suicide Attempt

Lethal Injection ChamberImage by via FlickrFor years, I was a staunch supporter of the death penalty.  As for the argument that the death penalty really wasn't a deterrent, I was in agreement with Don Imus.  It would serve as a deterrent to the person who was executed because they would not have the opportunity to kill again.

There was a period of time when I was reading a lot of Buddhist literature, and I tempered my thoughts on the death penalty somewhat, but not completely.  I was sometimes conflicted in my stance that abortion was wrong due to my sanctity of life views, and my support of the death penalty.  I still support the death penalty, especially for the most egregious offenders.

The reason that I bring up the subject of the death penalty is because of an article I saw on The Daily Caller email that I received this morning.  The article was about an execution that took place in Georgia a couple days ago.  The inmate, Brandon Joseph Rhode, was executed, a week after he tried to commit suicide by slashing his arms and throat.  He was rushed to the hospital, stabilized, and retrained so that he could do no further harm to himself.  The original execution date was postponed because of the attempted suicide.

The story brings to mind a couple questions that I have in regards to the entire justice/prison system in regards to capital cases such as Rhode's.  It is not that I question the validity of the execution.  That is the punishment that the state decided to mete out to Rhode's for his heinous crimes, and the punishment he deserves.  My question is this.  If the goal of the state is to kill the perpetrator of the crime, and said perpetrator tries to kill himself, then why should the state take extraordinary means to save the perpetrator only to kill them a week later?

The other question would be those occasions where there is a high profile arrest and they put the suspect on a suicide watch.  Again, if the person decides to kill themselves because they got caught, then why not let them?  Save the state the expense and hassle of a trial and imprisonment.  I don't mean to sound cruel or callous, but seriously, what is the point?  I understand the idea of justice and having their day in court, but if the state wants them dead, and they try to kill themselves, then let them die.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

George Blanda 1927-2010 RIP

Photo made by me, Angelo F. Coniglio, of a bus...Image via WikipediaNFL Hall of Fame quarterback and kicker George Blanda passed away today at the age of 83. Blanda holds the distinction for being the oldest man to ever play in an NFL game and for longevity will probably never be matched again. 

Blanda began his career in 1949 playing for the Chicago Bears.  He played with them until 1958.  After sitting out the 1959 season, he came back in 1960 with the Houston Oilers of the fledgling AFL.  Blanda was a key figure in giving the league credibility during it's early years.  He joined the Oakland Raiders in 1967 and played with them until 1975.

All told, Blanda played in 26 professional football seasons, an all time record.  He is one of only two players to ever have a career span four decades.  The other being punter Jeff Feagles.  In 1970, at the age of 43, Blanda came off the bench to help lead the Raiders to the AFC Championship game, making him the oldest quarterback to play in a championship game.  He played his last game for the Raiders at the age of 48, making him the oldest player to ever play in an NFL game.

When I was a kid, I had a series of books that I bought that had stories of different football events.  One of the books told of Blanda's exploits in that 1970 season.  He was truly a legend of the game.  He was also a pioneer.  When he entered the league, the game truly was three yards and a cloud of dust.  When he joined the Oilers, he led one of the most pass happy teams in history.  His exploits helped lead to the wide open game we enjoy today.  George Blanda, may you RIP.
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Music Monday-The Bellamy Brothers "Jalapenos"

You have heard it said that "Life is like a bowl of cherries." Well, the Bellamy Brothers would disagree. In their mind, in today's politically correct world, it is more like a jar of jalapenos because everything you do or say will "burn your ass tomorrow." Of course, what would you expect from a couple of white boy, heterosexual, Methodists.  I would tend to agree, plus the video is kind of fun.  After all, you can never go wrong with women in bikinis.  Happy Music Monday!

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the actual post link here and grab the code below and place it at your blog entry. You can grab this code at LadyJava's Lounge 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, September 25, 2010

The Continued Spread of the Nanny State

The Constitution in PerilImage by Renegade98 via Flickr
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
-C. S. Lewis  (1898 - 1963)

I begin my post today with the above quote from C. S. Lewis for a couple of reasons.  It is one of my favorite quotes on the subject of tyranny.  Second, as government and the nanny state intrude more and more into our freedom of choice, it is a most appropriate quote for the times that we live in.

I have been thinking about the above quote much more frequently in recent times.  Everyday the government and groups like the Center for Science in the Public Interest want to trample upon our freedom of choice and dictate how we should live our lives.  This week I came across two more examples of governmental intrusion into our freedom of choice.  I am sure there were many other examples that I did not run across.

The city of Boston is considering banning the sale of sugar sweetened drinks in public buildings.  Boston has already banned the smoking of cigarettes in bars and the use of trans-fat in restaurants.  This follows on the heels of similar actions by the cities of San Francisco and New York.  A member of the panel suggesting the new rules is quoted in the Boston Globe" as saying that "somebody has to take a stand" to reduce consumption to battle obesity.

The other story that caught my attention was the plan by the city of San Francisco (it figures) that wants to expand a ban on the sale of cigarettes in any store that has a pharmacy.  The original ban was on drug stores like Walgreen's, but the expanded ban would include grocery stores and big box retailers.  Their logic is that a store that sells smoking cessation products and medications should not be allowed to sell tobacco products that are bad for you.

I generally do not drink sugar sweetened sodas, nor do I smoke, so I really have no dog in the fight of these two examples.  However, you seriously have to ask yourself where does it end?  If the city of San Francisco can ban the sale of cigarettes in a store that has a pharmacy, would their next step is to ban any product that they deem to be "bad for you?"   Will full service grocery stores that have a pharmacy no longer be allowed to sell chips, candy, or beer?

Now, I am not against all forms of regulation.  I have no problem with restricting the sale of cigarettes to adults only.  Nor do I have a problem with laws banning smoking in restaurants or other buildings.  The government and other groups should inform the public of potential hazards of a product.  Ultimately, however, the decision of whether or not the good should be consumed should be up to the consumer.  It is sad that the very government that wants the government out of our bedrooms has no problem intruding on our kitchens.
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Suggestive TV Commercials-Bud Light Lime

One of the great things about YouTube is searching for banned TV commercials. There are a lot of hilarious and very suggestive commercials out there. Some are parodies and some are actual internet only commercials. Either way, it is another reason why YouTube can be better than television. This is one of my favorites. Bud Light Lime and getting it in the can.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Katy Perry Banned from Sesame Street

I am going to show my age, and musical preferences a bit, but I really don't know that much about singer Katy Perry. I really don't listen to her style of music or know any of her songs. All I know is that when I occasionally browse through one of my wife's People Magazines, that there are sometimes pictures of her, and in my humble opinion, she is rather easy on the eyes if you get my drift.

Well, Ms. Perry was filmed for an upcoming episode of Sesame Street in a music video with everyone's favorite little red character, Elmo.  The video was being previewed on the web for the upcoming season of Sesame Street.  Apparently, enough folks saw the preview and complained loudly enough that the video has been edited out of the future broadcast.

 I watched the "offensive" video below, and I actually thought it was pretty cute.  Yeah, there is a bit of cleavage and a bit of jiggling of Katy's ample bosoms, but it isn't like she is falling out of her outfit.  I would agree that the outfit might not be appropriate for the target audience of Sesame Street, but it isn't that outrageous. 

The folks at Sesame Street have been at this for over 40 years, and one would think they would have anticipated that Katy's dress might have been a bit much for some parents.  You would also think that they never would have filmed it in the first place.  I am not sure how I feel about the video being pulled, what do you think? 

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Car Free Day

Washington DC Metro in stationImage via Wikipedia
Today was supposed to be "Car Free Day" in the DC Metro area and around the world. The idea is for people to abandon their cars and use public transit, walk, or bike.  It is one of those events that the left like to promote to try to get people to be more green and to help alleviate congestion on the roadways.  They probably want to reduce the congestion so that their own commute in their cars is less of a hassle.

Now I am not averse to the idea of public transit.  I have used the metro system on several occasions whenever I have wanted to go into the city for an event or to visit certain attractions.  The key is that the benefits and costs of using the system outweigh the hassles of driving in the city and trying to find parking downtown.  Usually, on the occasions that I have used Metrorail it is on the weekends during off peak hours.

I have also express numerous times my frustration at the traffic congestion on the beltway during my commute to work.  It normally takes me about an hour or so to get to work in the morning and back in the evening.  On the worst traffic days, usually around holidays or inclement weather, the commute can be as long as two hours each way.  During a typical week, I probably use between $25-$30 worth of gasoline each week.

There have been a few times when due to the frustration of dealing with the heavy congestion, or two years ago when gas was hovering near $4 per gallon, that I explored the options of using public transit.  I have two options available to me when it comes to using public transit.  I can either catch a bus in Bowie to the New Carrollton metro or drive to the New Carrollton metro and park there.  Neither option works particularly well for me.

There are two considerations for me in choosing my mode of transportation, time and money. Regardless of which method I choose, my commute time just about doubles.  Instead of taking an hour or so, public transit would take 2-2.5 hours of commute time.  So the time factor loses.  The second factor is cost.  Each option of public transport would cost me over $12 per day to use the transit.  Parking at the New Carrollton metro would add parking to the overall cost.  Either way, using public transit would cost me $60 or more each week.  More than double my current cost.  So the cost factor loses as well.

For me, the option of giving up my car just doesn't work.  If the transit system were more convenient or more cost effective, it might be worth my while to use public transportation.  Unfortunately, the left would prefer to make the cost of operating our personal vehicles more cost prohibitive rather than making the public transportation system more convenient.  I don't think there were too many folks observing "Car Free Day" in the area, because I didn't notice a drop in the amount of cars or congestion on the roads today.
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Music Monday-John Rich "Country Done Come to Town"

Happy Music Monday. My pick for this week is John Rich's latest effort "Country Done Come to Town." Rich of Big & Rich fame rocks out on a fun party video. The video itself is reminiscent of the hit video "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" that launched the success of Big & Rich. In fact, several guests and features of that video are featured here, such as Gretchen Wilson, Cowboy Troy, Two Foot Fred, the "living doll", and of course hot dancing girls.  Guest appearances are also made by George Jones, Ted Nugent, and others.  About the only thing missing is Big Kenny.  And that, is kind of sad.

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the actual post link here and grab the code below and place it at your blog entry. You can grab this code at LadyJava's Lounge 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, September 19, 2010

Quality Customer Service

Safelite Autoglass, BoiseImage by markhillary via Flickr
I started working when I was 15 years old.  My first job was in retail.  At a very early age, I was instilled with the importance of providing good customer service.  So, I have an idea of how I would expect to be treated when I am the customer.  Unfortunately these days, it is becoming harder and harder to find good customer service.  That is why when I encounter an example of good customer service, I like to call attention to it.

Friday afternoon, my wife called me to tell me there was a large crack in the windshield of her car.  I called our insurance company, but unfortunately the crack was too large to be repaired with a sealant and would need to be replaced.  My insurance company has an arrangement with Safelite Autoglass for windshield repairs, so they made an appointment for me to get the windshield replaced.

My appointment was scheduled for 1:30PM on Saturday afternoon.  I was a little hesitant about a Saturday afternoon appointment because most of my experiences in getting auto repairs done is that you rarely get taken in at your appointed time, and the work is rarely finished in the promised amount of time.  Plus I was supposed to deliver pizza last night, so was afraid of being pushed for time.  Shortly after 11:30 yesterday morning, I received a call from the Safelite branch where I had an appointment.  They said they could take me in early if I could get there.  So far off to a good start.  I headed out to the shop. 

On a side note, I have to admit that as I rapidly approach the age of 50, there are aspects of today's youth that escape me.  On the way to the shop, I saw a young man running across the street.  He had to hold on to his pants to keep them from falling down.  I don't understand the style of wearing the droopy drawers half way down your backside.  What is the point if you have to hold on them to keep them from falling down when you are jogging across the street?  Buy a pair of pants that fit and a damn belt!

I arrived at the shop shortly after noon and was told that they would be doing a preliminary inspection of the vehicle.   Within 15 minutes, a technician came out to tell me what they would be doing and that it would take about 60-90 minutes to complete the work.  By 1:30, I was sitting in the car and headed home.

I hope that I don't have to get another windshield replaced any time soon.  If I do, I will be sure to take it to Safelite.  They gave me an appointment, and not only kept it, but took me in early.  Then they completed the work in the time frame they promised.  Truly an example of excellent customer service.
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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Motorcycle Safety Week

CalTrans sign on the 91 eastbound in AnaheimImage via WikipediaYesterday, I was driving to work when I noticed the traffic alert sign promoting Motorcycle Safety Week and to share the road.  As an aside, I really think those traffic alert signs do more to impede traffic flow than to help it.  I can't tell you how many times traffic comes down to a crawl as you approach the sign only to have clear sailing once you get past the sign.  But I digress.

Back to Motorcycle safety week.  I try to be keenly aware of motorcyclists.  Years ago, I had a coworker whose husband was t-boned by an automobile that ran a red light.  Sadly, he was not wearing a helmet (which is an entirely separate issue) and was in a vegetative state on life support for weeks.  He was obeying traffic signals and had it not been for the carelessness of another driver, he would not have had the accident.

The key thing for me with motorcyclists and "sharing the road" is whether or not said motorcyclist is obeying the rules of the road.  Those cyclists that ride with the flow of traffic and show common courtesy receive my respect.  There are many out there who do that.  Unfortunately, there are a lot out there that do not.

There are two particular behaviors of motorcyclists that are prone to make my blood boil.  First, are those who drive at an excessive speed and weave in and out of traffic lanes.  The second, and the one that really gets my goat, is the practice of lane-splitting.  Too many times when stuck in a traffic jam on the beltway all the cars will be at a standstill.  Then up between the traffic comes a motorcycle riding between two lanes.

Not only are these two practices dangerous, they are downright rude.  I am more than happy to share the road with those who are courteous and safe riders.  However, when you drive too fast, reckless, and with discourtesy to the rest of us, then don't be surprised if I signal to you that you are #1 in my book, if you get my drift.       

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Deep Fried Beer

One of my blogging buddies, Casey of The Conservative Cloakroom, posted a link on his Facebook page about a Texas chef who has developed a recipe for Deep Fried Beer.  According to the article, the beer is placed in a pocket of pretzel type dough and deep fried in oil for 20 seconds.  This allows it to get hot while maintaining the alcohol content of the beer.  Casey, proud resident of Texas himself, says "leave it to a Texan to figure out how to deep fry beer."

Deep fried beer joins a growing list of deep fried delicacies. You have the deep fried twinkies, snickers, oreos, and all sorts of other decadent goodies.  Now, I have to admit that I have not been so bold as to sample the wide assortment of deep fried goodies.  Though, I did have the deep fried cheesecake once at the local Longhorn Steakhouse.  I thought it was a little too sweet, but it may have been because of the raspberry sauce they put on top.  I do have to say that I am intrigued by the idea of the deep fried beer, especially if it is washed down with a cold one.

As I commented on Casey's Facebook page, deep fried beer is definitely not on Michelle Obama and the nanny state's list of approved foods, and it is no wonder that the White House isn't particularly fond of Texas.  It is this type of ingenuity that has made the Texas one of the best, if not the best, states economically in the nation even during these tough economic times.  While it may not be the reason that the band Little Texas sang the song, it is yet another reason that "God Blessed Texas."   

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Maryland GOP Primary

Sarah Palin's support for Brian Murphy over Bob Ehrlich in the GOP gubernatorial primary had little to no impact on the final results.  Ehrlich easily defeated Murphy to face Martin O'Malley in November for a rematch of their first face off from four years ago.  Let's hope Ehrlich can achieve a better result than last time.

In the other result that I am particularly interested in, it is looking pretty good right now for Charles Lollar.  With 38% of the precincts counted, Lollar holds a 63%-29% lead over Collins Bailey.  Some sites have already declare Lollar the victor.  Bailey is a decent fellow, but I think Lollar would have a better chance of beating Steny Hoyer in November.  Let's send this Marine to the Hill because when you send a Marine to take a Hill, that Marine WILL take that Hill!

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Maryland GOP Primary Tomorrow

This is a picture of an American voting booth....Image via WikipediaTomorrow is primary day here in the state of Maryland.  While I consider myself to be Libertarian in my political leanings, I am registered as a Republican.  Thus, I will be able to participate in the primary voting tomorrow.  Mrs. Dickster is registered as an Independent, so is not able to vote tomorrow.

There are two races in particular that I am looking forward to watching tomorrow.  First is the GOP race for the nominee for governor.  Former Governor Bob Ehrlich is facing a challenge from newcomer Brian Murphy.  For a while it was pretty much a given that Ehrlich would get the nod.  However, Murphy has received an endorsement from Sarah Palin, and has been getting a lot more press because of it.  Ehrlich, has received the endorsement of Palin's former running mate, John McCain.  Palin has recorded robo-calls for Murphy, but I have yet to receive my call.  I am leaning heavily towards Ehrlich.

The other race that has stoked my interest tomorrow is the GOP nomination for the 5th Congressional District to oppose the seat currently held by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.  The race features Collins Bailey, who ran against Hoyer in 2008, and Charles Lollar, an African American and a Major in the Marine Reserves.  Lollar also happened to be Bailey's campaign manager in 2008.  Many in the Maryland GOP give Lollar a better chance at beating Hoyer.  Lollar has given some rousing speeches at Tea Party events, and is my choice for tomorrow.

I will be doing my civic duty tomorrow by voting in tomorrow's primary.  Six other states are having their primaries tomorrow, so if you are in one of those states, do your part.  I am looking forward to following the results tomorrow night.
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Music Monday-George Jones "High Tech Redneck"

Legendary Country star George Jones turns 79 years old today. There are so many songs that I could have chosen to feature by Jones for Music Monday, but this is one of the songs that first turned me on to him.  Happy birthday, Possum.

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the actual post link here and grab the code below and place it at your blog entry. You can grab this code at LadyJava's Lounge 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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Foreign Influence by Brad Thor

Cover of "Foreign Influence: A Thriller (...Cover via AmazonAbout a week or so ago, I had to take a business trip to Tampa for the day.  As is usually my custom when spending time in an airport or a plane, I needed to pick up a book to read.  I had heard of Brad Thor, but had yet to read any of his works, but thought that his latest thriller "Foreign Influence" looked promising.  It is the 9th installment in the continuing adventures of ex-Navy SEAL Scot Harvath.

The book opens up with a series of seemingly unrelated incidents, a bombing of a bus containing American tourists in Rome, the invasion of a secret military base in Mongolia, the attempted assassination of "The Dwarf" in Spain, and a hit and run accident of a young woman in Chicago.  Harvath is working for a covert private sector intelligence agency and is called into investigate the Rome bombing.  He had previous dealing with "The Troll" in previous episodes by Thor.  The Troll was a dealer in selling intelligence data to the highest bidders.

Harvath starts his investigation in Rome and discovers that he is dealing with an Islamic terrorist group.  As the plot unfolds, pieces of evidence start to tie all of the events together.  Thor does a good job of keeping the action fast paced, and each chapter makes you want to get to the next one.  I also like the way Thor takes some not so subtle jabs at the current administration and some of their policies in dealing with the terrorists and the war on terror.  The epilogue of the book wraps up all the pieces of this adventure, but ends with a hint of the next one to come.  All in all, an excellent book.  I will have to go back and read some of his earlier work.
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Friday, September 10, 2010

We Must Never Forget

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: V...Image via WikipediaIt has been nine years since terrorists hijacked four passenger airliners, crashing two into the twin towers in NY City, one in the Pentagon, and one, thanks to the brave actions of some passengers, crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

I remember so much of that day and the aftermath of it.  That particular morning, I was sitting in my office at work when the phone rang.  It was my wife.  She called to tell me that an airplane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. I immediately turned off the music I was listening to  and found a station covering the breaking news.

Shortly after the first plane crashed, a second plane crashed into the second tower and then the Pentagon.  I was numb.  I found that I was unable to do anything except to continue to listen to the reports that were coming in over the radio.  My son and nephew were both attending a special school in Baltimore, a few blocks from the Inner Harbor, home of the Baltimore World Trade Center.  Fearing an attack in that area, my brother in law headed up to Baltimore to pick up the boys.  Traffic in the area was gridlocked.
As I said, I was numb at that point.  I was pretty much worthless as far as trying to accomplish any work of substance that day.  Most of the executives of my company were out of town on a business trip.  They were due to fly back that day, but all flights were grounded.  I remember getting calls from some of the executives encouraging us to take action to try to capitalize on the fear generated by the attacks.  I couldn't help but think how crass it was to try to use the attacks as a way to generate sales.

At the time, I worked for a grocery chain, and they thought people would be paranoid of terrorist attacks on the water supply, and I was to arrange for bottled water to be shipped to the stores.  They were afraid there would be a run on supplies and we would not capture all the sales we could.  The one good thing I remember from work was the public affairs manager asking me to arrange for bottled water to be sent for the workers who were helping with aftermath of the Pentagon attack.

The other thing that I recall from that time was how united the country was.  It didn't matter your political party or your religious ideology, we were one country, facing a tragic event.  We were truly the United States of America.  In nine short years, we seem to be more divided than ever, and that is tragic.  We need to remember how we felt that day and in the days immediately after that.  We need to never forget the events of 9/11/2001.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Stupid Human Tricks

Here is another reason that I like to browse around YouTube. You can find all sorts of people doing odd stuff. Here, a young lady in a bikini shows us how to peel a banana using your feet. Not sure why somebody would try to do this, but entertaining stuff, and another reason YouTube is better than television.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This Just Doesn't Seem to be My Day

Longer maceration at high temperature can brin...Image via WikipediaThere are some days when you just think you would be better off just staying in bed.  Yesterday happened to be one of those days.  I am going to show my age a little bit, but yesterday reminded me of the old Monkees song, "This Just Doesn't Seem to be My Day."  The song starts off "Well I guess I should have stayed in bed.  My pillow wrapped around my head."  The song is embedded below.

The day started fairly innocuously.  Traffic was a little heavier than usual due to the end of the three day weekend and all school systems in the area back in action.  Still, I was making pretty good pace to the office.  I got to my exit about 8:30 only to discover that the police had blocked off all the exits.  Fortunately, I had my Garmin in the car.  Unfortunately, the alternate route got me to the office 40 minutes later.

Turns out, some asshole decided that if he couldn't have the girl, nobody could.  After his girlfriend broke up with him last week, and got a protection order against him, Joshua Prince allegedly took a shot at her with a high powered rifle.  Fortunately he missed her, and she was unharmed.  Unfortunately his selfish act created a major hassle for commuters in the areas.  He later surrendered to police in Pennsylvania.  Why is it that dumb fucks like this guy, or people who threaten to jump off bridges always do it during rush hour so as to inconvenience the greater number of people?

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful.  Traffic was pretty light for the evening rush hour, and I got home fairly quickly.  I decided to unwind with a couple glasses of wine.  I took a swig of wine, and felt something in my mouth.  I was snacking, so I didn't think too much of it.  However, I decided to spit out what was in my mouth and discovered a fly.  It apparently had landed in my glass of wine.  It either drowned, or was too drunk to fly away.  Either way, I didn't bother to finish that particular glass of wine.  Instead, I went upstairs to find a bottle of Listerine to rinse my mouth out.  Truly not the best of days.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Burn the Qu'ran Day

Book burningImage via WikipediaI am not what you would call "politically correct."  Oh, sure, I can play the PC game when I need to, such as at work or around people that I don't know that well.  There are certain words or phrases that I will not use.  For example, I would be more upset if I heard my son use the N-word than if I heard him drop the F-bomb.  That being said, I usually fall down on the side of free speech and freedom of expression. 

I tend to consider the intent of the phraseology instead of the actual words.  It is for that reason that I am not that easily offended by off-color humor.  I have no problem with comedians like Chris Rock spouting off about "white people" in their routines, as I know the intent is humor, not to denigrate the white race.  People as a whole need to chill out a little bit in their desire not to offend.

I make these comments as a preface to my thoughts on Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Centre in Gainesville, Florida, and their plans to hold a "Burn the Qu'ran Day" on Saturday on the 9th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Jones has been reported as saying that the event is to remember those who were murdered that day and to send a message to the radical elements of Islam.  The White House and General David Petraeus have come out warning that the event will put our troops at risk.

In this particular instance, I find myself in rare agreement with the White House that the event is not a good idea.  I do agree with the General that such actions will likely put our troops in greater risk for harm.  While a very valid concern on the part of General Petraeus and the White House, that is not the reason I am opposed to the burning of the Qu'ran.  It is not even the thought that the event will offend those that are not part of the extreme wing of the Islamic faith, though it surely will.  The fact that there have been few of the less extreme Muslims speaking out against the radicals is equally offensive.

Book Burning in and of itself has a long and ignoble history in the human era.  The Wikipedia entry for "Book Burning" begins by stating that "Book Burning is the practice of destroying, often ceremoniously, books or other written material and media...The practice, usually carried out in public, is generally motivated by moral, religious, or political objections to the material."  The practice of Book Burning has been used from the 3rd century BC to modern times by secular and religious leaders as a means of suppressing views that could be considered heretical or a threat to the prevailing order.

It is the idea of book burning and the suppression of thought that is what I consider the most egregious part of Pastor Jones and his church's planned activities.  Sure they have the right to express their views, just as the folks who want to build the Ground Zero Mosque have a right to build where they want, but having the right to do something doesn't make it right.  It is also actions like those planned by Pastor Jones that give Evangelical Christianity a black eye.   
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Monday, September 6, 2010

Music Monday-Lee Brice "Love Like Crazy"

Today is my parent's 52nd wedding anniversary. When deciding a song to pick for Music Monday, today it was a pretty easy choice. "Love Like Crazy" by Lee Brice makes me think of my parents. My mom was 17 years old when they got married, and the words of the song say "17's to young to know what love's about." Well they haven't been together "58 years now," but it's pretty close.

My parents are without a doubt each other's best friend. Ain't that crazy? Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad.

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the actual post link here and grab the code below and place it at your blog entry. You can grab this code at LadyJava's Lounge 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, September 5, 2010

Pizza, Heat, and the Economy

A special type of pizza delivery practised by ...Image via WikipediaAbout a month ago, I was lamenting how poorly things had been going at my part time job delivering pizzas on the weekend.  At the time, I was wondering whether the decline in income from working my 5pm-midnight shift on Saturday nights was due to the poor economy or the excessively hot summer we had been having. 

Starting about three months ago, the DC area was broiling under one of the hottest summers in some time.  We had a string of 90 degree or better days that looks to be the second highest number of 90 plus degree days in the area on record.  It was during this period that my Saturday delivery income dropped from $70-$80 per night, to about $45-$55 per night.

The last few weeks, we have seen a significant break in the summer heat.  While there have been a few 90 degree days, for most of August the temps were running in the 80's.  With the break in temperatures, I have see a return to the $70-$80 range on Saturday nights, which is a tremendous relief for me.  Making $70-$80 or more on a Saturday night pretty much pays for the groceries for the week.

So the question is, what has changed over the last month.  Surely the economy hasn't been improving over the last month.  In fact, unemployment ticked up a bit.  The only real change around my neck of the woods is the lower temperatures in August compared to June and July.  Which begs the question, when the weather is hot, are you more or less inclined to eat a hot meal?
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

What is Your Passion?

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Haagen Dazs. All opinions are 100% mine.

Passion. Websters defines passion as "a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept."  We all have a passion that drives us.  That passion can take different forms for each of us.  For some of us, that passion can be our work, an artistic pursuit, our families, or any number of other things.

What is your passion?  Over the years, I have had several passions.  At times, I have had a passion for photography; in particular sports and landscape photography.  Sports has always been a passion for me, both as an observer and participant.  Other times, I have had a passion for cooking.  Over the years, my passions have changed in their intensity.  Some have taken a back seat to other interests, and some have faded to mere interests.  None have completely died.

There is one passion, however, that always remained strong and is probably the overriding passion in my life, aside from my family.  That would be my love for music.  For as long as I can remember, music has been an important part of my life.  My quote for my senior year of my high school yearbook, I said that "Music will always be man's way of communicating his innermost thoughts and desires."  I still feel that way today.

The great thing about music is that it is universal.  It covers the whole gamut of emotions in the human experience.  Everybody has a song, or in my case songs, that bring back memories.  Every couple it seems has "their" song.  For some folks, the song they played for their first dance at their wedding reception brings the good times to mind.  I think our first dance was either "Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw" or "Friends in Low Places."
When my son was younger, he loved Kenny Chesney's song "When the Sun Goes Down."  With his autism, he liked to listen to the same songs over and over again.  We were driving to a vacation in North Carolina and for almost the entire 6 hour drive, he wanted to listen to that song and have his old man sing along with it.  Good times.  I can't hear that song without thinking about that time.  There are just so many other songs that bring back specific memories.

The folks at Haagen Dazs have a passion for ice cream.  They also want to share the passions of some of Canada's most interesting personalities through their sponsorship of the television show Passion Profiles.  The show is hosted by ET Canada's Cheryl Hickey.  She brings you up close and personal to some of Canada's most interesting personalities.  Musician Jann Arden will be featured on the September 8th episode of Passion Profiles.
Visit my sponsor: Our Passion is Ice Cream
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