Thursday, June 30, 2011

More Joys of Insurance

This morning, I was supposed to have my next round of tests from my episode from last Friday.  I had my referral from the doctor, and I had an 8:30 appointment at the radiologists to get the MRIs done on my brain and on my neck.  Unfortunately, my insurance company had other plans.

I received a phone call from the radiology office yesterday afternoon informing me that the referral, which needed to be approved, had been denied.  I called the insurance company to see why they were not allowing me to have the tests my doctor requested.  I was told that my medical profile did not fit for authorizing the tests.

Another thing that the insurance representative told me is that one of the reasons that the approval had been denied is that the tests were usually given to somebody who had already had a stroke to see the extent of the damage rather that to somebody to see if they were at risk of having a stroke.  This made no sense to me, as I would think they would rather prevent a stroke than treat one.

I finally was able to speak to the person who handles the referrals out of my doctor's office.  She told me that the reason for the denial was that I had not had a neurological consultation.  The doctor would have to review the documents regarding the denial and decide whether or not to refer me to a neurologist.   I am still waiting to see what will happen with that.

On a positive note, one of the things we were dreading trying to accomplish while my son has been home was getting him a dental exam for school.  The last time we tried he was very uncooperative, and we were unable to get a full exam.  This time he was able to get the exam, cleaning, and flouride treatment.  We still didn't get x-rays, but he did a great job.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Not a Happy Camper

I was not a happy camper this morning.  This morning, I was scheduled for the first of the tests that my doctor wants me to have done since my little scare on Friday morning.  I had a 9am appointment at my doctor's office to have the carotid doppler exam.  The exam uses ultrasound to measure the blood flow through the carotid arteries to the brain.  Below is a picture of my appointment card to show that I did in fact have a 9am appointment for today.  I have blocked out any identifying info of the doctor's identity.
I showed up at the doctor's office about 10 minutes early.  The office was completely dark.  The office usually has people in it prior to opening, and the door is usually unlocked a little early as well. You can imagine my dismay when I looked at the office hours sign that was posted outside of office door that showed that the office did not open on Wednesday's until 12:30.

I immediately called the doctor's office and heard the message stating the Wednesday office hours.  I pressed the button to be connected with the answering service.  They reiterated the posted office hours, but took my number and said they would get a message out to the doctor.  I continued to wait outside of the doctor's office for about 15 to 20 minutes waiting for a return phone call.  It never came.

I was totally pissed off thinking I was going to have to reschedule the test.  I was just getting ready to head home when I saw one of the nurses from the practice walking towards the office.  As she was approached the door to unlock it, I saw the technician who was to perform the test approaching with her equipment.

The test ended up taking about 15-20 minutes.  The tech said that they would have to review the images and the results would be sent to the doctor in about a week, providing they did not find anything that needed urgent attention.  Here is hoping that I don't hear back from my doctor until sometime next week.

On a somewhat related note, I was also scheduled to get MRIs performed on my brain and my neck tomorrow morning.  Unfortunately, I just got a call from the radiologists office informing me that the pre-certification for the tests had been denied.  According to my insurance company it was denied because I had not met the medical prerequisites for the test.  The test is normally given to people after they have a stroke, not to see if they are at risk for one.

I am hoping that my doctor will be able to get the necessary approval so that I can get these MRIs done.  My doctor has not yet arrived at the office yet, nor is the person who handles the referral process for him since they do not open until 12:30.  Hopefully, they will be able to talk to the insurance company to get these tests approved.  I freaking hate insurance companies.
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Monday, June 27, 2011

Music Monday-Brad Paisley & Alabama "Old Alabama"

I don't really have much to say this Music Monday, other than I like Brad Paisley, and I like Alabama. It is just a nice tribute to Alabama and an overall fun video.

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the ACTUAL LINK POST 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!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Three Games

It was an extremely busy weekend for our family.  Our Bowie Baysox were in town for a three game homestand.  Since my son is a huge Baysox fan, we decided to attend all three games.  We usually would not have gone to all three games, but with my son being away at school and so few games scheduled during his breaks we just had to do it this time.

It was a beautiful weekend weather wise for attending baseball games.  The temperatures were in the mid-80's with low humidity.  Friday night's game was a birthday celebration for the Baysox loveable mascot Louie.  In celebration of his birthday, several of Louie's mascot friends were in attendance to play games with Louie between innings.  Since it was his birthday, Louie naturally won all of the contests, even though the Maryland Terrapin mascot got the loudest applause during the air guitar contest.  After the game, there was a great fireworks show.
It was Star Wars night for Saturday night's game.  I heard that R2D2 was in attendance roaming around the concourse, but I wasn't able to see him.  Between innings, there were Jedi knights dueling with light sabers.  After the game was over, there was a battle between the Jedi's and a disturbance in the force.  It looked like the dark side had won when all of a sudden Louie charged out with his own light saber to save the day.  The storm troopers were in attendance, and there was another post game fireworks show.
Today's game was the biggest game of the weekend.  My wife and I are members of the Baysox Boosters.  The Boosters do special things for the players like provide them with blankets and pillows for their road trips.  Our participation usually consists of my wife providing chocolate chip players for the dinner the Boosters provide to the players after every Sunday home game.Since we are up at the stadium so often, we have become friends with some of the team front office. 

There are two young ladies that are very friendly with our son, and he is very fond of them.  One of them made arrangements to allow our son to throw out a ceremonial first pitch.  He had been very excited about the prospect of throwing out the pitch.  Unfortunately, he started to get a little nervous before the game and thought about backing out.  Then one of the ladies, who he has known the longest and dances with him a lot, waved for him to go down on the field with her.  That was all it took.  Here he is with his souvenir ball from the event.
I think the smile on his face after throwing the pitch says it all.
It was a great day at the ballpark overall for our entire family.  First my son getting to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.  Then my nephew went on the dugout to participate in the Green Turtle Shell Shuffle where they show a video of a shell game on the video screen.  He guessed the correct shell so everyone in our section won a coupon for free wings at The Green Turtle restaurant.  Then my wife caught a frisbee to win a coupon for a free Dippin' Dots ice cream at the stadium.  Oh, and today's game was the only one that the Baysox won, so all in all it was a great day and weekend.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Unfollow, Unfriend, or Not

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseEverybody seems to be into social media these days.  I have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn that I use on a fairly regular basis.  Even my parents have gotten into Facebook.  They send messages to family members and play games like Scrabble online all the time.  My LinkedIn account is fairly clean, and is only used to connect with people that I have worked with or done business with during my career.

When I first started with Facebook, I primarily used it to connect with family and friends.  I since have gotten sucked in to several games on Facebook, and have a lot of "friends" on there that I will never know beyond they cyber world and those games.  At one point, I cleared out or "unfriended" a bunch of people but went back and added a lot more as the games started requiring more friends or neighbors to compete tasks. 

Twitter is another one of those sites where I followed a bunch of people that I really have no interest in following.  For a while I was an active member of Sponsored Tweets, and was trying to build up my followers in order to get paid tweet offers.  However, since Sponsored Tweets has gone to premium memberships, my opportunities are starting to dry up, actually, they are non-existent.  I am getting ready to cut those I follow on Twitter down to those that actually tweet things that interest me.

Those kinds of decisions on who to unfollow or unfriend are fairly straightforward and simple to make.  There are some that I wonder whether or not it appropriate to "unfriend" on Facebook or other accounts.  That would be the question of whether or not it is appropriate or proper to unfriend a person who is an actual friend or colleague who has passed away.

I posted a few times how Facebook allowed me to reconnect with two of my closest high school friends.  We were fortunately able to get together a couple of times after reconnecting before one of them passed away suddenly.  In the slightly more than a year since he passed away, I have had at least three other friends/colleagues that have passed away.

It saddens me to log into Facebook and see ads that say so and so likes the Redskins fan page, or another friend has a birthday coming up.  On one hand, I think there is no reason to keep them on my friend's list as they will obviously not be posting anything any longer.  On the other hand, it is nice to go their page on their birthday to see tributes from friends and loved ones.  Then there is another part of me that thinks it would be something inherently wrong to unfriend those we love and miss.
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Friday, June 24, 2011

Small Scare

I had a bit of a scare this morning.  The last few weeks, I have been starting to feel a little more run down than usual.  I attribute a good bit of it to my having put on part of the weight that I had lost earlier in the year. 

I had lost about 20 pounds by cutting out drinking, junk food, and a lot of bad carbs.  Unfortunately, since the baseball season started in April, I have been partaking of too much stadium fare.  A little bit would probably be OK, but when I fall off the wagon, I usually jump off full bore.

Anyway, back to the scare.  I was all set to head off to work this morning.  My lunch was packed, I had brewed some tea to drink on my commute.  The only thing left to do was take out the garbage.  I was walking to the curb with a bag in each hand, when all of a sudden I felt a tingling sensation all up and down my left side.

I have been having a bit of a problem with my right arm where I would experience some occasional weakness and numbness, but it usually happened if I slept on my left side or rested my elbow or wrist on a hard surface for an extended period of time.  This was different, and a bit scary.

The sensation did not last long, probably just a few minutes.  I sat in my car and debated whether or not I should head to the office or not.  Discretion being the better part of valor, I decided to call out sick to work and try to see my doctor.

I was able to get in to the doctor's office to be checked out.  His first thought is that I may have a pinched nerve, but he wants to run several more tests to be certain.  I have to go back in to see him next week when a technician will be in to run a carotid doppler exam.  I also have to schedule an MRI on my brain and neck.  He is also concerned about possible sleep apnea, so I also will need to get sleep study done. 

Hopefully there is nothing seriously wrong.    I hope the fact that the doc sent me on my way means he doesn't think it is too bad.  I definitely need to clean up my eating habits and take better care of myself.  If you happen to be of the prayerful type, I appreciate any positive words on my behalf.  We will keep you posted of the results.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June Break

Well, on Father's Day, we picked up our son for his two week June break from school.  Since he is on an extended school year program, he gets a couple weeks off in June and a couple weeks off in August unlike a lot of kids who get the full three months off during the summer.  With his special needs he really needs the year round schedule so that he retains what he learned during the year.

We already had a busy two weeks planned for him while he was going to be home from school.  I have mentioned before how much our family enjoys going to Bowie Baysox minor league baseball games.  Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for my wallet, the Baysox are only in town for four games during the entire 17 days he is home from school. 

I will be taking off this Friday and Saturday night from my pizza delivery gig in order to go to all three games this weekend.  Friday and Saturday nights games will all feature a post game fireworks show.  The Baysox always have a top notch fireworks show.  On Sunday, it will be a meet the team day, and the team has arranged for my son to throw out a ceremonial first pitch prior to the game.  He is pretty stoked about it.  Finally, we will also be attending the Baysox July 4th game for more fireworks before break ends.

The other day, we were going through a bunch of the papers that were sent home with our son.  One pile of papers was all the work he had done in class since his last break.  There were also a few awards.  He won Student of the Week honors just before the break.  He also won an award for "technical achievement" for his computer typing skills.  The Aquatics Department of the school gave him a certificate for being the most improved swimmer in his class.  Awesome work.

Then there were all of the other fun things in another packet that we have to get done before he goes back to school.  There is the list of supplies and clothes that need to be bought and brought to school after the break.  It has been a while since his last haircut, and he is getting rather shaggy.  He needs to get another physical from our family doctor.  While the haircut and physical are hard to get his cooperation on, we usually can get those accomplished.

However, the last thing that we need to get done will be the most difficult, a dental exam.  We had to try to get one before he started the school in November.  We got him into the office, where he promptly dropped to the ground and refused to get up.  He eventually got into the dentist chair and they were able to do a visual exam, however, we were not able to do a cleaning or x-rays.  So that one will be a real adventure.

Since he has been home, I have lost control of the television in the evening, I am using my computer to download and burn CDs and DVDs for him, and I am spending a lot of time with him sitting next to me playing Panda Pai Gow Poker on  He loves it when we lose hand or guess wrong when trying to predict whether the hand is a win, lose, or push.  It is nice to have my time to myself when he is at school, but while he is home, I wouldn't have it any other way.
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Just Can't Catch a Break

2001 Pontiac Sunfire GT I, User:Tronno, made t...Image via WikipediaWhen I was younger and single, I used to be quick to buy things for myself.  I always had the latest technology.  As I have gotten older and have other priorities like a wife, son, and mortgage; I have gotten a lot more discriminating in my expenditures for myself.  Even necessities like clothes have taken a back seat to other more pressing needs.

Part of my reticence in buying things for myself is that money for us, like most of us, is particularly tight.  Due to my son's special needs, my wife has not been able to work for the past few years. Now that he is away at school, she is hoping to begin substitute teaching again when the new school year starts. 

Even when I do have a little extra money around I hesitate to spend things on me because I am afraid something will go wrong and we will have an emergency expenditure that we had not planned on.  It is one of the reasons that I waited so long before buying my Kindle.  I debated for well over a year before finally taking the plunge back in February.

Things had been going fairly smoothly money wise most of the year.  I had a few extra dollars in the bank and we were doing fairly well sticking with our budget.  Things had been going so well that I even decided to splurge and get myself an early Father's Day present last month.  Verizon had a really good deal on the Samsung Galaxy Tablet, only $200 with a data plan, so I purchased one.

Needless to say, my little bit of self indulgence has ended up biting me in the ass.  I alluded to one particular unexpected expenditure two weeks ago when I posted about Weiner's Weiner.  The day he announced that he was a liar and a pervert, my fuel pump went out on my car on the way to work.  It was quite a bit more expensive than the tablet.

One week later, I was on the way to work and the air conditioner in my car stopped blowing air.  The weather wasn't too bad last week, so I decided to wait until the weekend to drop my car off at my mechanic's shop.  He wasn't able to get to the car until Monday, so I dropped it off then.  He called me later that morning to tell me the car needed a blower motor and resistor.

Anyway, over the past two weeks, I have had to drop over a grand on the car.  It really isn't that old of a vehicle; a 2003 with just over 75000 miles on it.  Hopefully this will be the last of any major expenditures for a while.  I just can't afford to have any more months like this one.    
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Monday, June 20, 2011

Music Monday-Bruce Springsteen "Jungleland & Rosalita"

Originally, I had another song lined up for today's Music Monday.  However, with the sad news yesterday of the passing of the Big Man, Clarence Clemons from a stroke at the age of 69, I felt it appropriate to pay tribute to Clemons by picking a Bruce Springsteen tune.  Clemons was an integral member of Springsteen's E Street Band.  His saxophone playing added a signature tonality to the Springsteen sound.  While I am sure Springsteen would have been successful no matter what, I believe that Clemons and the rest of the original E Street Band spurred the Boss to greater success.  Here is the Big Man and the Boss at their best with "Jungleland".  RIP Clarence.

And one more just for fun, "Rosalita"

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the ACTUAL LINK POST 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, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

I would like to take this time to wish a Happy Father's Day to all of the fathers out there.  Special Father's Day wishes go out to my dad, my two brothers, my brother in law (my sister's husband) and my other brother in law (my wife's brother) who is as much a father to our nephew as any biological father and also like a brother to me.

Sometimes I stop and think about the differences between Mother's Day and Father's Day, at least in terms of how they are celebrated in different organizations that I have been a part of.  My company does a lot of things for their employees.  There are a lot of activities throughout the year to try to make things fun for the employees.  They also have a lot of raffles and things.

Each year for both Mother's Day and Father's Day, they hold a raffle.  It doesn't cost anything to enter, and the value of the prizes are equal, usually a $100 gift card.  The difference lies in where those gift cards are from.  This year, for Mother's Day, they gave away a $100 gift card to a spa.  For Father's Day it was a gift card to Home Depot.  So, mom gets pampered, but dad gets to buy things to do chores around the house.

I am going off of my increasingly failing memory, but I believe that last year the prize for Mother's Day was a $100 American Express gift card and Father's Day was once again Home Depot.  I know there are a lot of dads out there that would enjoy the Home Depot card, and a lot of moms would to.  It just seems that a generic gift card like the AmEx card would be more appropriate.  Sometimes us dads like to be pampered to.

It also reminds me of how they used to celebrate these holidays in a church I used to belong to.  For Mother's Day, they would have a nice sit down mother/daughter banquet.  For Father's Day, a cookout.  I'm not saying that the dads got the short end of the stick, but you be the judge.  There is definitely a difference between the views of mothers versus fathers, but I don't think us dads would have it any other way.
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Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Islamic Antichrist

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my Kindle?

One of my habits since getting my Kindle is to peruse the website in search of books that I might be interested in reading. One of the reasons that I do this is that there have been a lot of books that I have found that were free or very low priced. I have found a couple of books that I have enjoyed that were free when I "purchased" them that later were on the site for a price.

One of the features of the Amazon website that I like is the recommendations that it makes for you based on your past purchases. Another feature that I like is that when you are looking at a particular page, it also shows other books that people ended up buying that looked at that page.

It is through those recommendations that I discovered the book "The Islamist Antichrist" by Joel Richardson. I have to confess that I first saw the title on Amazon that I misread the author's name. For some reason, I read the name as Joel Rosenberg.

I had seen some of Rosenberg's works such as Epicenter, Inside the Revolution, and The Last Jihad. I had not read any of Rosenberg's previous efforts, but thought that The Islamist Antichrist was an update on his works. Since I have an interest in biblical prophecy, I downloaded the book.

It was not until I had read the forward of the book that I discovered my error in misreading the last name of the author. Still, it was a subject that I had a great deal of interest, so I proceeded to go ahead and read the book. I am glad that I did.

As I have said, I am fascinated by book on biblical apocalyptic prophecies.  Richardson compares the end times prophecies found in the Bible and Islamic scriptures.  He makes the argument that the Mahdi in the Koran that ushers in a turning of the world towards Islam has remarkable similarities to the individual identified as the Antichrist in the Bible.

In addition to identifying the Mahdi as the Antichrist, he identifies the False Prophet of the Book of Revelation as the Muslim Jesus in Islamic eschatology.  In Revelation it says that the saints were beheaded for their belief in Jesus as Savior.  This is another evidence that Richardson cites as a reason he believes that Islam will be the world religious system used by the Antichrist.  All told, he identifies at least 22 similarities between Islamic and Christian eschatology.

Richardson also attempts to answer some of the potential criticisms of his analysis.  He gives his thoughts on how Christian's should respond, which in reality should be the response of all Christian's regardless of whether or not you agree with his conclusions.  The first response is to pray.  Second, is to reach out to Muslims, and really all unbelievers, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Lastly, he encourages Christians to develop a heart prepared for martyrdom.

I really did enjoy reading the book.  The evidence presented is enough to make one think.  I won't go so far that to say that I necessarily agree with his conclusions, but they do have merit.  If you have an interest in end time prophecies, I would recommend that you read Joel Richardson's book.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

End of the School Year

On Father's Day, we will be picking our son up from school, thus completing his first school year away from home.  Unlike most school kids, my son will only be home a couple weeks.  With his special education needs, he has always had extended school years.  He gets a couple weeks off in June, goes back in July, and gets another couple weeks off in June.

Deciding to send our son away to school was one of the toughest things that we have ever had to do.  As much as we miss having him around the house we know he is in a good place, and he is at the school that we want him to be at.  Below is a letter from the National Association of Special Education Teachers that was awarded to his school.  His school is one of only 52 in the entire United States that has been designated a school of excellence.  It pretty much sums up why we are glad he is there.  

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

More Blogging Frustrations

Blogger (service)Image via WikipediaIf you are an observant person, and a regular visitor to my humble blog, you may have noticed that I have a different template right now.  I ended up changing the look a bit last night.  It wasn't that I was unhappy with the previous look of the blog, but I had some technical difficulties that led to me making the change.  I may end up changing it a bit more here in the near future.

I came home from work last night to finish a blog post that I had started earlier in the day on a new study on Electric Cars and their emissions compared to gasoline powered vehicles.  After I finished the post and published it, I clicked on the "View Post" link that shows up when I publish a post and immediately noticed that all of the widgets on my sidebar were now missing.

Mike Golch left a comment and a message in Entrecard to let me know they were missing.  When I looked at the layout screen available in Blogger, everything looked like they were still there, but nothing was showing up on the screen.   I tried a couple different templates and all of my widget appeared, but at the bottom of the page.

I spent a couple of hours fiddling around with different settings.  Eventually I found an article on the Blogger help forum that suggested that there might be a problem with an individual post that was causing the problem with the sidebar widgets.  So, I opened a link for each individual blog post, and lo and behold, on some of the posts the sidebar widgets appeared.

Once I identified the blog posts that were causing the problem, I simply republished them from my laptop and it seemed to clear up the issues.  I think I have identified what was causing the problem.  The mobile blogger app that I had on my cell phone and my tablet had been republishing random posts.  Those were the posts that created the issue.

If nothing else, it game me a subject to blog about this evening.  Speaking of having subjects to blog about, Sheila at The Ad Master is having her 2nd Annual "I Can't Come Up With a Blog Post Day" where bloggers can can win $100 by promoting her contest.  So, consider her contest promoted. 

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Electric Car Part Deaux

2011 Chevrolet Volt exhibited at the 2010 Wash...Image via WikipediaLast month, I posted my thoughts regarding The Electric Car.  While I am not necessarily opposed to the idea of the electric car, I did question the benefits of the car in terms of the benefit that is most touted; that of zero carbon dioxide emissions.  I wondered whether or not the zero emissions of the vehicle would be countered by the increased emissions in higher demand for electricity to recharge the car.

Monday afternoon, while driving home from work and listening to The Mark Levin Show, Levin highlighted a story that gave the answer to my pondering.  Levin read directly from the Yid with Lid blog the results of a study conducted by Britain's Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership which is funded jointly by the British government and the car industry.

You can read the entire analysis at The Lid, but the gist of the article is this; by the time you add in the entire production and operation of the electric vehicle will emit more carbon dioxide than a similar sized gasoline powered vehicle.  The increased emissions come primarily from the increased demand for electricity and the production and disposal of the batteries used in electric cars.

Normally I take published studies with a grain of salt. So often, the data is manipulated to get the desired results by those who sponsored the study.  However, with a group such as the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership conduction the study, one would think that they would have a vested interest in producing a study with the opposite results. 

As I said in my original post on the subject, I tend to be a big picture kind of guy.  Unfortunately those that are pushing the green agenda will continue to only see one side of the equation and not the whole picture.  They will continue to push the virtues of the electric car in spite of the evidence that it really isn't going to accomplish what they claim it will.
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Hampshire Republican Debate

GOP Presidential Debate June 13, 2011 in New H...Image by DonkeyHotey via FlickrLast night, I watched the Republican Debate on CNN.  I was a little late for the start of the event because I had a hard time finding the channel, so I missed some of the candidates introducing themselves.  Actually, my channel guide showed that the debate was going to be on CNN International, but it wasn't.  I eventually found the regular CNN station, but that should give you an indication of how frequently I watch the channel; not at all.

It is still really early in my mind to try to narrow down a choice for the Republican nominee, but I had a great interest in watching the debate.  The candidates that were participating in the debate were Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Tim Pawenty, Michele Bachman, Rick Santorem, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich. 

One of the things that I was particularly interested in seeing was whether or not Gingrich could recover from the majority of his campaign staff quitting on him last week.  When Gingrich announced that he was running, I was excited because if nothing else, Newt gives ideas.  Unfortunately the last few weeks have been tough on the former Speaker.  He had a couple of nice moments, but not enough to set him apart from the rest of the field.

There were not a whole lot of bombshells throughout the evening, with the possible exception of Michele Bachmann announcing that she would officially be throwing her hat into the ring to run for the presidency.  None of the candidates did anything that really made me change my viewpoint on any of them.  There are aspects of each candidate that I like, and each has their individual flaws.

That being said, I really like Herman Cain.  Michele Bachmann is a solid conservative, and as much as I like Sarah Palin, to compare Bachmann to Palin as the media will do, is not fair to Bachmann.  Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum each have characteristics that I admire. Newt has some good ideas and made some good points, and I hope he can contribute to the race.  Those would be my favorites, in no particular order, but all of the participants would be an improvement over the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Music Monday-Toby Keith "As Good As I Once Was"

Since I was bemoaning my increasing age yesterday, I thought that Toby Keith's "As Good As I Once Was" would be a good choice for Music Monday.

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the ACTUAL LINK POST 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.
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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Growing Older but Not Up

Plantar fasciitisImage via WikipediaAbout 10 years or so ago, I worked with a guy who was about 15-20 years older than I was.  He was a wise and intelligent man that spoke in a rather simple way.  One might think from listening to him speak that he was a southern, redneck country boy, but his manner of speaking belied his intelligence.

As he was approaching retirement age, he began to suffer from an assortment of maladies that slowed him down a bit.  He started having problems with his feet and had to sit on a padded cushion at this desk.  In spite of his pain, he kept up a good sense of humor regarding his aches and pains.  He frequently told me that growing old wasn't for sissies or cowards.

More and more each day, I am coming to understand what he was talking about.  I am only 50, but each day seems to find new aches.  I have been suffering from BPH for a few years now, and my doctor has me on Avodart.  I usually end up waking up at least once during the night to go to the bathroom.  I am not sure I know when the last time I got a solid eight hours of sleep.

In addition to the BPH, I have been developing arthritis in my wrists.  It is particularly bad in my right wrist.  Since I am right handed, it can be a little more aggravating since that hand gets a lot more use throughout the day.  Past issues with knee and back pain tend to flare up a lot more easily these days.

The latest issue to come to the forefront for me is some foot and heal problems.  I wake up each morning with a great deal of pain in my right heal.  At first the doctor said it was Achilles tendonitis.  Then he said it was plantar fasciitis.  Either way, it hurts to walk or stand on my feet for long periods of time.  Because the pain is in my heal, it also sometimes flairs up while I am driving as my heal rests on the car when my foot is on the gas.

Still, in spite of it all, I keep trying to keep up with those younger than me.  I must have been crazy yesterday.  Normally, I work from 5pm-11pm when delivering pizzas on Saturday night.  One of the other drivers needed yesterday off, so they asked me come in at noon.  I needed the money, since my care needed a major repair earlier in the week, so I agreed. 

I ended up working a little more than 11 hours yesterday.  Not only was it a long day on my feet, but the temperatures in the early afternoon topped 90 degrees.  Needless to say, my dogs are barking up a storm today.  But, I made it through it, and earned a little extra dough.  On top of that, I learned a new aspect of the pizza business.  In my three years delivering, all I had done previously was deliver pizza and cut and box orders.  Yesterday, I actually helped to make the pizza.  So it just goes to show you, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Diana's Banana Babies

Every now and then, I will do a paid post for a website or a product.  I always try to give my most honest opinion of that product within those posts.  Then every now and then, there is a product that I like so much that I just have to right about it, like when I read a book I love like "Rawhide Down."  Diana's banana babies is one of those products.

My family loves to snack.  My son and I like the same kind of snacks; Cheez Its, pretzels, and just about any kind of chip.  I also like to eat a lot of meat snacks like beef jerky.  It is rare, however, when Mrs. Dickster and I both want to snack on the same thing.  Diana's banana babies is a product that the two of us are currently addicted to, the dark chocolate variety in particular.

Diana's banana babies are chocolate covered frozen bananas that we have found in the ice cream novelty section of our local Giant food store.  They come in dark chocolate covered and milk chocolate covered.  We have been loving the dark chocolate ones, but we have yet to try the milk chocolate.  There is just something about the flavors of bananas and dark chocolate that taste great together.  The coldness of the frozen treat is a great way to beat the heat. 
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cicada Ice Cream

The Australian "Red Eye" cicadaImage via Wikipedia
The restaurant patron called his server over and asked, "Waiter!  What is this fly doing in my soup?"  The waiter looks down and replies dryly, "The backstroke, sir."  Yeah, I know it is an old joke, but it helps set up this post.

I hate the thought of any kind of insect in my food.  One time, while drinking a glass of wine, I felt something in my mouth.  A fly had landed in the wine and when I took a swig, it ended up in my mouth.  Needless to say, I could not finish that particular glasss of wine.

Now, I know that in some parts of the world, some insects are considered a delicacy.  I have heard of folks eating chocolate covered ants.  Grasshoppers and crickets can be prepared a number of different ways.  The thought has no appeal to me and to be perfectly honest, grosses me out.

Back in February, I talked about an ice cream shop that had created an ice cream recipe made from human breast milk.  The thought of having ice cream made from breast milk didn't exactly make me want to give it a try.  However, given my prediliction against insects in my food, this next ice cream variety may top it in the gross out factor.

Sparky's Homemade Ice Cream shop in Columbia, MO has developed a variety of ice cream made with cicadas.  The cicadas were boiled and then covered in brown sugar and milk chocolate and then added to a brown sugar and butter ice cream base.  The first batch sold out the first day.

Sadly for Sparky's their success is over before it ever got started.  A local health department official has asked them to no longer use the cicadas as an ingredient because the food safety guidelines do not have any rules regarding how to safely prepare cicadas for consumption.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Weiner's Weiner

Anthony WeinerImage via Wikipedia
I had a really bad day yesterday.  I was heading in to work and just about to get on the exit ramp for the Beltway when my car started to lose power.  Fortunately I was able to pull off on the shoulder before it stopped completely.  It was a little disconcerting sitting in the car waiting for the tow truck watching cars whipping down the exit ramp driving on the shoulder and wondering if they would avoid hitting me.   About the only good thing about where I ended up breaking down was that it was conveniently located to my mechanic. 

I really did not want to end up taking the day off from work because I have a lot going on in the office, but I had to get the car taken care of.  I have known my mechanic for several years now, and he has always been a straight shooter.  He once told me that I should consider getting rid of one car because of the things going wrong with it, and he once saved me a lot of money on a break job on my wife's car by finding the best price possible on new brake rotors.  In the end, I needed to get the fuel pump replaced, taking a sizable bite out of my bank account.

As bad as my day was yesterday, at least it wasn't as bad as Congressman Anthony Weiner's (D-NY) day.  I didn't have to get up in front of television cameras to be broadcast nationwide and admit that I am a liar and a pervert.  It probably wouldn't surprise you that I am not a fan of Weiner.  I had seen him a few times on television, and I have always felt like he was a petulant and arrogant asshole.  I once tweeted, and I am sure that I am not the only one to say this, but that I felt that Weiner certainly lived up to his name.  Little did we know.

When the news broke about the pictures being sent on Weiner's Twitter account, and he claimed that his Twitter account  had been hacked, I thought that it could be plausible.  Of course the more he put himself out there talking about the incident, the less I believed him, especially when he said he could not confirm nor deny that the photo was not him.  It was reported that there were more revealing photos that had been sent and to be released, so I guess he decided to come clean and admit his indiscretions.

Since I happened to be home yesterday due to the car problems, I was watching the local news when the press conference came on.  Even though I am no fan of Weiner, I didn't take pleasure in watching his sobbing confession.  In fact, a small part of me actually felt a little sorry for him, though I got over it quickly.  It astounds me when people like him do this sort of thing thinking they won't eventually get caught.  It is the height of stupidity and arrogance.
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Monday, June 6, 2011

Music Monday-Jimmy Buffett "Take Another Road"

I feel like a little beach music on this first Music Monday of the month of June, and there is nobody that does beach music better than Jimmy Buffett.  This one is from the 1989 CD "Off to See the Lizard" back when Jimmy still had most of his hair and hadn't started to look like a grandfather. 

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the ACTUAL LINK POST 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!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

John Edwards Indicted

John Edwards hosts a Town Hall meeting in Port...Image via Wikipedia
Long before John Edwards showed us all what a piece of human fecal matter he is by cheating on his terminally ill wife Elizabeth, I did not like him one bit.  There has always been something about him that has rubbed me the wrong way.  If I could describe Edwards in one word, it would be "smarmy."

Last week, Edwards was indicted on six felony counts of illegally using campaign donations to cover up his affair and illegitimate child with Rielle Hunter.  For his part, Edwards admits that his actions were despicable and that he hurt those closest to him.  He also maintains that he did not break any campaign finance laws.

I have mentioned before that I often listen to part of Mark Levin's show on the radio when I am in the car.  On Friday night's program, Levin discussed the indictment of John Edwards.  Levin, who is obviously no fan of Edwards, says while he deplores what Edwards did, he thinks that the indictment handed down by the Justice Department is bogus and could lead to a slippery slope.

Before becoming a radio talk show host, Levin made his mark as a constitutional lawyer and served in the Reagan administration.  He also serves as president of Landmark Legal Foundation, so his legal chops are much more solid than other radio talk show hosts.  His feeling is that the Justice Department is taking a great deal of liberty in interpreting what constitutes a campaign contribution versus helping a friend cover up an illicit affair.  He also warns other candidates that it opens other things up to a wide range of interpretation.

Now I will defer to Levin for the legal interpretation here.  After all, he is a well qualified legal mind where I don't even pretend to play one on TV.  However, I will not shed any tears if Edwards happens to be convicted of some or all of these counts.  If there is any such thing as karma, Edwards will get what he deserves in the end.  
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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pew Research News Quiz

I like to take quizzes on line, especially if those quizzes allow me to see how I compare to the public in general.  I have always been a somewhat competitive and intelligent person.  It was important to me to perform well on tests and to do better than those around me.  I wasn't so competitive (at least not always) that I had to be the best or perfect, but I always wanted to be, at the very least, above average.

So this morning, while I was looking over my Facebook feed and playing some mindless games, I saw a link posted by Red State.  It was a link to a political IQ quiz at the Pew Research Center that features eleven questions on current political news.  Of course I immediately clicked on the link to take the quiz and leave Farmville alone for awhile.

Before I brag on myself and tell how I did on the quiz, let me say a few words about the general results of the quiz.  I will not reveal any of the specific questions or how many people got each question correct.  At the end of the quiz, you can check to see a complete breakdown of how many people answered each question correctly, and a breakdown by demographics such as age, education, and gender.

On a quiz like this, it probably will not come as a surprise that the older and more educated a person was, the more answers that were answered correctly.  For example, college graduates on average answered 7.4 questions correctly, while those who had a high school education or less answered only 4.9 questions correctly.  Those 50 and older answered 6.4 questions correctly but those in the 18-29 age range answered only 4.8 correctly.

Only 6 of the 11 questions were answered correctly by at least half of the respondents, which is pretty sad when you think of it.  I hope you will take the time to take the quiz here and let me know if the comments how you did.  My score?  I answered 10 of the 11 questions correctly which is better than 90% of the population in general.  Then again, I am in all three of the demographics that performed the best on the quiz; college educated, age 50 and over, and male.
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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Blogger App for Android Update

BloggerImage by kuribo via FlickrThis morning, I was looking at the apps that I have on my Android phone and noticed that I had several apps that had updates available.  One of the ones that needed to be updated was my Blogger app for Android.  I had not used the Blogger app for a few weeks, but I went ahead and updated the app.

One of the reasons that I had not used the app for so long was because of my first experience using it.  I had started writing a blog post using the app, saved it as a draft, then finished it on my laptop when I got home from work.  I then published it from my laptop.

Unfortunately, the next day when I opened up the Blogger app on my phone, the post reverted to my saved draft and I lost the finished post.  I wrote about that incident on this post that I wrote completely on the app.  Since then, I have used Google Docs whenever I have wanted to start a post on my phone and finish it on my computer later.

After I downloaded the update, I checked to see what included in the update.  One of the features that it the update contained was that it contained a full sync feature.  I think that this will fix the issue that I had with the post reverting back to the version that was saved as a draft on my mobile app.

The first time I used the Blogger app, it only showed blog posts that I had started or published from the mobile app.  It did not include any previous posts.  Now, since the update, the mobile app shows all of my previous posts.  I am looking forward to seeing whether or not this new feature will allow me to start a post on my mobile device and finish it on the computer later.   

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Southern Maryland Blue Crabs

My son went back to school today after being home for the long Memorial Day weekend.  He was actually supposed to go back to school yesterday, but my wife and I could not get him out of the house.  He has this uncanny ability to know exactly which day we intend to take him back to school.  My wife thinks that when I stay home from work, other than the weekends, he knows that means it is time for him to go back to school.  There is probably some truth to that.

I have mentioned here before how much my son loves going to sporting events; Bowie Baysox games in particular.  Minor league baseball is just so much fun for our whole family.  There is always something going on prior to the game and between innings to keep the kids entertained.  Unfortunately, this season, the Baysox schedule and my son's long weekends and school breaks do not sync up very well.  Memorial Day weekend being a prime example as the Baysox were on a roadtrip and not scheduled to play the entire six days he was home this weekend. 

He comes home again for a longer two week break at the end of June, and there are only three games scheduled.  That has been one of the tougher things with him being away at school is not being able to go to Baysox games as a whole family.  So it has been a major disappointment for us that the Baysox do not play very often when he is home. We have a few major things lined up for when he has his two week break at the end of June.  I will be taking off one weekend from delivering pizzas so that we can go to all three games scheduled during his break.  At one of those games, I believe that one of the front office staff will arrange for him to throw out a ceremonial first pitch.  You can guarantee that will be a blog post.  We also have tickets for the 4th of July, the day before he goes back to summer session.

Thankfully, during the Memorial Day weekend, we did have an option available to us to attend a minor league game.  There are actually four more minor league teams in the state of Maryland besides the Baysox.  There are the Hagerstown Suns and Frederick Keys in Western Maryland, the Delmarva Shorebirds on the Eastern Shore (we go to those games when we vacation in Ocean City), the Arbutus Ironbirds up near Baltimore, and the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in Waldorf.  All of the teams are affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles with the exception of the Suns (Washington Nationals) and the Blue Crabs (unaffiliated).

The closest of the teams to us besides the Baysox is probably the Blue Crabs.  They have been in existence since 2008 and began their 4th season this year. Since we spend so much time at the Baysox games, we had not had the opportunity to attend a Blue Crabs game. The Blue Crabs happened to be in town during the Memorial Day weekend so we decided to make the 45 minute drive down to Waldorf this past Sunday so my son could see a game while he was home.  We all had a good time, but to be honest, the Baysox games have a whole lot more going on during the game (as do the Shorebirds).  Still, if the opportunity presents itself, we will probably attend a few more Blue Crabs games in the future with their mascot Pinch.. 

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