Monday, April 30, 2012

Music Monday-Gretchen Wilson & Merle Haggard "Politically Uncorrect"

I decided to do something a little different for Music Monday. I am going to see how long a chain I can create by having each Music Monday selection being somewhat related to the previous week. Last week, I featured Big & Rich. Also featured in that video was Gretchen Wilson. This week, I have chosen "Politically Uncorrect" with Gretchen and the legendary Merle Haggard. I want to see how long a chain I can create, or how long I can go before I get bored with it.
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, April 29, 2012

Spring Benefit

card game Blackjack
card game Blackjack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last night, my wife and I attended the annual Spring Benefit for the foundation that sponsors the school that our son attends.  In addition to the school for children with developmental disabilities, the foundation supports a number of group homes.  Their latest project is to build two group retirement homes for those that have been a part of the school and open community group homes.  The groundbreaking for those homes was yesterday.

My nephew on my wife's side of the family also attended the school and graduated a couple of years ago.  My in-laws have been a major contributor to the school and foundation.  Now that our son is also a student at the school, my in-laws continue to be active with the foundation.  In fact, my father-in-law is on the board of directors for the foundation.

Every year, the foundation holds a big spring benefit as one of its major forms of fundraising.  It is not an event that my wife and I would normally be able to afford to attend, but my in-laws always sponsor a full table and we are able to attend.  They also usually invite the teacher and aide that work directly with their grandchildren, first our nephew and now our son.

In the past, the dinners have always been a formal affair.  They are usually a sit down dinner with assigned seating, and are usually black tie optional.  You see a lot of tuxedos and evening gowns.  I go for the nicest suit in my closet.  This year, however, the room that the foundation reserved was not quite as large as in the past, so they opted for a less formal affair; a casino night.

As part of the casino night, they set up a "Wall of Wine."  There were over 100 bottles of wine donated for this part of the event, including two bottles that we donated.  For $10 per chance, you could pick out a mystery bottle of wine.  I bought two chances, and somehow managed to get two bottles of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay.  The person running that event gave me a third bottle from the grab bag as a consolation prize.

I have to say that the casino night was a blast.  When you signed in at the table to get your name badge, you were given a certificate for $2500 in casino money.  You could gamble all night with your money.  If you ran out, you could purchase more casino money.  At the end of the evening, you could cash in your chips for the opportunity to win one of the cash door prizes and/or purchase items for the new home.

My wife is not a gambler, so she gave me most of her chips.  She gave some to our nephew.  I started the evening with $4500 in casino money.  I pretty much just played blackjack for the night.  They also had roulette, craps, slot machines, Texas Hold 'em poker, and video horse racing.  I ended the night with $8000 in casino money.

With my $8000 in casino money, I was able to purchase five chances (the most they would let you have) towards the door prizes.  With the remaining $3000 in casino money, I was able to pick out a little more than $100 worth of decorations and items for the group home.  Unbeknownst to me, you could have also traded  in casino money for cash.

My wife and I do not often have the opportunity to donate much to charity, though we would like to do more.  We usually end up donating our time more than anything else.  This year, the foundation had asked my mother-in-law to consider being the regional co-chair for the foundation.  She suggested my wife as a potential co-chair since our son is a student at the school.  She spent a lot of time and did a lot of work for the foundation leading up to the event.

As I said, we do not have the opportunity to give much in terms of financial support to charity.  Prior to the event, I decided that if I was to win one of the door prizes that I wanted to donate half of the money back to the foundation because of the great work they do.  We discussed that possibility prior to the event and my wife and I agreed that if we won anything, we would donate half to the foundation.

As luck would have it, my name was the first name to be drawn.  I walked up to the stage and collected $500 in hard, cold cash.  I turned the chairman of the board and told him that I wanted to donate half of my prize to the foundation.  That set the precedent, because all but one of the other five door prize winners ended up donating half of their winnings to the foundation.

We ended up staying at the hotel last night.  After we had breakfast and checked out of the hotel, we headed to the school for a visit with our son.  We continue to be amazed at the improvement he is showing, especially in his diet.  He has gone from eating only chicken and bacon to now eating peas & carrots, roast beef, mashed potatoes, grilled cheese, and hashed browns.

My wife has decided that she wants to devote more time to doing things for the foundation.  We have been participants in the Baysox Boosters, but she has decided that she wants to cut back drastically on that.  Her focus now wants to be on doing work for the foundation.  We have three more years of our son being a student there, and I can't think of a better way for her to spend her time.
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Big Lots

Big Lots store, Murrieta CA. Was a former Pic ...
Big Lots store, Murrieta CA. Was a former Pic 'n' Save store. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
They opened a new Big Lots store in my hometown last week.  I had never been in a Big Lots store, but had heard about them.  They are a retailer that specializes in buying close out merchandise from other retailers and wholesalers.  This past weekend, I had to check them out.  My initial experience was a mixed bag, but I will definitely go back there again.

First, our Big Lots store here in Bowie, MD took over the space that was occupied by the now defunct Borders Books.  My wife had been in the store earlier in the week and told me she was not impressed.  Her feeling was that the aisles were too narrow and hard to move around.  I have to agree with her assessment.  I walked through with a small hand cart and it was difficult to get through.  It would be really hard to maneuver a full sized shopping cart (which they have) around.

The big reason to go to Big Lots is the pricing of their merchandise.  They buy close out merchandise from a variety of sources and they sell the product dirt cheap.  Their pricing may be cheap, but the merchandise isn't.  They have a lot of brand name products at great prices, however, they assortment is constantly changing.  A lot of products are definitely "while supplies last."

I was in kind of a hurry during my initial trip into Big Lots, so I didn't check out everything.  I bought a few snack items.  I picked up a couple cans of Pringles for $1.10 per can, which normally sells for around $2 at my grocery store.  I also got a can of Kraft Easy Cheese for $1.99 which most grocers are selling for over $4 per can.  I definitely need to get back in there because I saw on their website that they may have gotten in some K-cups.  I can't wait to see what they sell those for.

They have a lot of different types of products there besides food and beverages.  I saw a few gas grills along the back aisle of the store, but didn't check them out.  They had a good selection of Cuisinart products at great prices along with other housewares.  One thing I definitely need to go back for before we visit our son at school next Sunday is a portable Sylvania DVD player for $57.  He either lost or broke the one he had and we had hesitated to get him a new one, but $57 is a whole lot better than $90-$100 which is what I usually see them priced at.

The other bad thing about the place, besides the cramped aisles, is the parking lot.  There isn't much parking, and the parking spaces are extremely narrow.  It is difficult to park within the lines and not be close to the adjacent cars.  I deliberately parked fairly far away from the store in order to have enough space to park.  Unfortunately, when I came back to my car, someone else was not so considerate.  There was a car parked less than 6" from the driver side of my car.  I had to enter my car from the passenger side and climb over the center console.

I'll be honest, I considered taking some less than honorable actions.  A friend told me one time that if I wanted to really get somebody I should put a BB under the valve stem cover.  It would create a slow leak and let the air out of the tires.  I was looking around in the rain for pebbles that would do the trick.  I didn't find any.  I ended up leaving a note on the windshield informing the person that he or she was a "fucking asshole."  Damn, I wish I could have found those pebbles.

All in all thought, I will definitely be making regular visits to Big Lots.  They had a lot of worthwhile products at great prices. Hopefully I will be able to get in there tomorrow and find some K-cups.  If I could score some of those at close to half price, I will definitely be stocking up.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Music Monday-Big & Rich "Fake I.D."

I went to YouTube to search for a song to post for Music Monday. I already had something in mind, but this is not it. When I got to the YouTube website, I saw a recommendation for a Big & Rich song that I had not heard yet. It is from the soundtrack of the remake of the movie "Footloose."
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, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day

Earth (Photo credit: stef thomas)
Today is Earth Day.  I will be honest.  I usually harbor negative thoughts towards Earth Day.  The idea behind Earth Day itself is noble.  I think we should do what we can to keep the planet clean.  It is a good thing to recycle and to try to preserve our natural resources.   The main reason that I tend to have negative thoughts about Earth Day is what the environmental movement has become.  Rather than focus on conservation, it has become more of an attack or capitalism and the American way of life.

When I was a young and wide eyed innocent, I was very conscientious about the environment.  In junior high school, I was a member of the ecology club.  One of the things that we did as members of that club was to travel to local tributaries and collect water samples.  We would then test those samples for various chemical levels.  One of my favorite awards from those school days was a certificate from President Gerald Ford for our work in the environment.  We also took a field trip to the Eastern Shore where we paddled canoes through some waterways enjoying nature.  That was simple awesome.

My interest in things environmental waned considerably over the years.  It is not that I was going around doing things intentionally to harm the environment but rather I just lost interest in conscientiously paying much attention to it.  When the news media started their hyping of man made global warming, I paid some cursory attention to the stories.  As more and more coverage of intense storms received coverage, I started to wonder if there was something to it.  However, a few years ago, I read a story that indicated that several other planets were also showing signs of warming.  Since there were no humans on those planets, I started to believe that any warming was primarily caused by natural forces.

Crystal earth recycle icon
Crystal earth recycle icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
These days, I am trying to do what I can to conserve resources.  I prefer to think of myself as a conservationist rather than an enviromentalist.  I am trying to recycle a lot more items these days.  In the past, I would only recycle cans and bottles, but now I am also adding more boxes and other items to my recycling bin.  I have gotten better about taking my reusable tote bags with me to the grocery store, partly because I have too many plastic bags around the house and my grocer gives a nickel back for every reusable bag I use.  Today, I went to Target and they gave me a small reusable tote in honor of Earth Day.  I discovered that they also give a nickel discount for using reusable bags.

The company that I work for is very big into trying to implement sustainable policies.  I do get a sense of pride in working for a company that also wants to be a responsible citizen.  They have switched a lot of our lighting to more energy efficient LED lighting.  They have also installed energy efficient hand dryers in the restrooms.  Since Earth Day was today, my company decided to celebrate on Friday.  They gave each of us a new, reusable bag.  They also decided that they were going to turn out the lights in the common areas of the office for one hour.

Personally, I am not a fan of turning out the lights for an hour.  Usually, we all end up having to turn the lights on that we have in our cubicles in order to see, which kind of defeats the purpose of turning out the lights.  I think a more meaningful gesture would be to switch from our traditional 5-day, 8-hour work week to a 4-day, 10 hour work weeks or to allow more telecommuting.  Both would take a lot of cars off of the road and reduce the amount of energy used in the building.  Still, the company has their heart in the right place.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dick Clark 1929-2012

Dick Clark
Dick Clark (Photo credit: Alan Light)
An American icon passed away today.  Dick Clark suffered a massive heart attack this morning and died at the age of 82.  Clark was best know for being the host of American Bandstand and Dick Clark's Rocking New Year's Eve show every New Year's Eve.  He also was host of the game show The $10,000 Pyramid.

When I first old enough to stay up until midnight to bring in the New Year, it was Dick Clark's Rocking New Year's Eve that I would watch.  Watching the pop and rock performers on New Year's Eve beat the heck out of Guy Lombardo or Lawrence Welk.  It was the only New Year's Eve countdown show that I would ever watch until I no longer cared about seeing the New Year arrive.

Before there was the New Year's Eve show, I would watch Dick Clark hosting American Bandstand on Saturday afternoons. There I could see the latest Top 40 acts performing their latest hits.  It was a great way to keep up with the latest music.  Barry Manilow even had a hit song paying tribute to the show and its legendary host.  In honor of the life and legacy of Dick Clark it is posted below.  RIP Dick.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spice Up Your Life

My wife and I share in the cooking duties in our house.  OK, she handles the lion's share of the cooking, but we both get in the kitchen and do more than press buttons on the microwave.  Every now and then, my wife likes to try new recipes.  I used to like to be a little more creative in the kitchen, but with everything that I have going on, I just don't experiment as much as I used to.

While my wife and I both like the same types of foods, we each tend to cook differently.  We each use different recipes, seasonings, and spices.  I tend to use a lot more spices than she does.  I like things like different pepper blends, garlic powder, chili powder, and other things to give it a little kick.  She usually uses a lot of different herbs.

The one thing that we could really use in our kitchen is a nice spice rack.  Currently, we have a small kitchen cupboard above our stove where we keep all of our different spices. There are so many times that a certain spice gets hidden behind another item, and I end up buying one that I don't really need.  I can't tell you how many bottles of chili powder we have.

There are a wide variety of kitchen spice racks that are available for your kitchen.  You can find spice racks that sit on your counter top or fit in a kitchen drawer.  There are a lot of different styles to choose from as well from simple plastic, wood, or fancy stylish racks.  For us, I think a nice wall spice rack that would be mounted on the wall above the stove would be perfect.  That way, everything will be right there when we need it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Music Monday-The Beatles "I Need You"

I have mentioned here before that my favorite member of The Beatles was John Lennon. My second favorite Beatle was George Harrison. When I was in high school, a friend of mind and I were going to form a band though it never went beyond the two of us jamming together.  We had a list of songs we would perform, and one of the ones that I was supposed to sing lead on was "I Need You" which George wrote and sang lead.

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!

It's Good to have Choices

I just got finished eating dinner, and I am sitting here relaxing,trying to decide what I am going to watch on television later this evening.  Right now, I am torn between watching the latest episode of The Voice on NBC or watching the Washington Capitals take on the Boston Bruins in the NHL playoffs.

It is good to have choices.  One of the reasons I am free to choose what I want to watch on television tonight is that my son went back to school today so I have free access to the television rather than him dictating.  The other reason is that I have a very reliable television provider so I do not have to worry much about an outage.

Having reliable television service hasn't always been the norm in our house.  For years, outside of a traditional antennae, we had one choice for television service, cable.  I have to say that we had a lot of trouble with our cable provider.  We frequently had service outages for hours at a time, and at one point multiple times during the week.  Customer service from our provider was non-existent because they were the only game in town.

After one particularly frustrating week of dealing with the cable company, I finally had enough.  This particular week, we had nearly daily outages.  After getting no satisfaction with customer service, I finally told them that I was going to switch to directtv.  The customer service rep replied, "That is your choice, sir," which was enough to seal the deal for me.

The next day, I went to a local retailer that installed direct tv.  They came out the next day, installed our dish, and had us watching crystal clear television in no time.  I was never more satisfied when I got to call the cable company to cancel my service with them.  They called every night for a week with all sorts of offers to get me back, which I declined.

I am no longer using DirecTV for my television needs.  I have moved on to another company that also provides my internet connection.  We were always happy with the service we received from DirecTV. If you are tired of dealing with your cable company and have considered going to satellite television, you can check out some of the offers available at www, for DirecTV packages.
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

North Korean Rocket Launch

North Korea and weapons of mass destruction
North Korea and weapons of mass destruction (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was sitting here tonight with my son watching Wheel of Fortune on television when ABC News broke in to announce that North Korea had attempted to launch a rocket into orbit today.  It is not sure at this time whether or not the launch was successful or not.  It is news that gives me great concern.

North Korea states that the rocket is needed to launch a weather satellite into orbit.  One report I read on CNN stated that many view the launch as cover for a ballistic missile testing.  Many in the international community had warned North Korea not to go through with the rocket launch.

You might be wondering why I would have concern for North Korea developing rockets when countries are launching various satellites into orbit on a regular basis.  The main reason is that North Korea also has nuclear weapons, and let's face it, North Korea doesn't exactly have the best reputation among countries out there.

The combination of a rocket and nuclear weaponry is the perfect combination for a rogue country such as North Korea to launch an electromagnetic pulse attack against the United States or another country.  An EMP attack could have a devastating effect on our country.

For those not aware of what would be involved in an EMP attack, the scenario would be as follows.  A nuclear weapon would be launched into orbit.  It would then be detonated above the United States.  With the detonation above the atmosphere, there would be no danger of nuclear fallout.  However, the electromagnetic pulse from the explosion would essentially fry our electrical grid.

The potential exists that the country could be without electricity for not just days, but potentially months.  With so much of our existence tied into having reliable electricity, most Americans would not be prepared for such a catastrophe.  Pandemonium would reign supreme throughout the land.  It would be devastating.

A couple years ago, I read a book by William Fortschen called "One Second After" that painted one potential scenario if the US were to be attacked by an EMP attack.  It was frightening to say the least. I also recently downloaded another book for my Kindle called "77 Days in September" by Ray Gorham which I will be reading after I finish the current book I am reading.

In 2001, the government created the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States From Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack.  In that same year, we were attacked in the 9/11 attacks.  Much of our attention has been towards protecting us from other such attacks.  However, we also have to be keenly aware of any other potential threats that could be on the horizon.

We need to be prepared for the very real threat of an EMP attack.  There are steps that need to be taken to harden our electrical grid to protect us from the vulnerability that exists.  Instead of the usual political bickering, this is one area that should be addressed by both sides of the political aisle.  We can not afford to wait until after an attack to address the issue.
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Music Monday-Adele "Set Fire to the Rain"

When I am driving in the car, I usually am listening to talk radio.  When my wife is in the car with me, the radio is set to Country music.  So, Country music is what my son listens to the most.  While he is at school, he is listening to a wider variety of music.  For his birthday, he wanted to go out and get some CDs with his birthday money.  One of the CDs he wanted was Adele's CD, particularly for this song.

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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Monday, April 9, 2012

Feeling the Fool

Katy Perry - MMVA Soundcheck
Katy Perry - MMVA Soundcheck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Did you ever have one of those moments when you felt like you simply looked like a fool?  I had one of those moments this afternoon.

I scheduled a personal day off from work today so that we could take care of some issues with our son while he is home from school.  We had met previously with a lawyer to discuss filing for legal guardianship of our son once he turned 18, which was this past Saturday.  The lawyer had provided us with some alternatives to guardianship such as a Power of Attorney and Advanced Medical Directive that we needed to have our son sign now that he is of legal age.

My son did an excellent job of answering the questions that the lawyer provided for him.  He signed both documents allowing us to handle decisions regarding his assets and his health.  These should be enough in the state of Maryland, but if by chance they are not, we will then proceed to the next step and start the legal proceedings to have us declared legal guardians.  We also need to set up another appointment with the lawyer for estate planning to put any assets into a special needs trust should anything happen to my wife and I.
Adele (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We promised our son that once we ran the errand of visiting the lawyer's office that we would take him to Target where he could use some of the gift cards and money he received for his birthday to buy himself some things.  He needed a new portable CD player because he broke yet another one.  He also wanted to buy himself some new CDs.  His musical tastes have grown since he has gone away to school.  He picked out CDs from Katy Perry and Adele instead of his usual country music. True to form, he also picked out a Kidz Bop CD.

After I took my wife and him home, I had a few more errands to run.  This is where the feeling like a fool part comes in.  My son wants to go to another Bowie Baysox game tonight, so I headed up to the stadium to pick up tickets.  I had eaten a protein bar in the car and took the wrapper to the trash can in front of the stadium.  Just as I was placing the wrapper in the trash can, a gust of wind blew it back out and across the front of the stadium.  I am not quite as spry as I once was, and as I chased after the wrapper, each time I reached down to grab it, the wind would send it out of my grasp.  I finally caught up to it after several yards, but I felt like an idiot.  At least I can't be accused of littering.
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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring Break

My son came home today from his school for Spring Break.  He will be home for almost two weeks.  During his vacation from school, we have a lot of activities planned.  This weekend we will have a full weekend of Baysox games planned.  The weather is looking to be clear all weekend so it should be a great weekend of baseball, including Saturday when we celebrate his 18th birthday.

Over the next several days, I am not sure how often I will have the opportunity to update this blog.  I love having my son home, but when he is here, he tends to dominate my time and my laptop.  For example, this evening we spent most of the night playing games and watching videos on the internet.  It is one of his longer visits home, so I intend to make the most of it.
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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Safe for Another Year

Australian Green Bag
Australian Green Bag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I live in Bowie, Maryland which is part of Prince George's County.  PG County, like a large portion of the state, is heavily controlled by the Democrats.   Like all good Democrats, county officials never met a tax they didn't like.  Locally, they have been pushing a 5-cent per bag on any plastic bags consumers get from the store when they do their shopping.  Their reasoning for pushing for a bag tax was to help curb litter, encourage the use or reusable bags, and to raise money for environmental projects.

Needless to say, I am against any new taxes being imposed on me.  Most of the time, I do try to use reusable bags when I do my weekly grocery shopping.  One of the reasons that I use them is that my local grocery store gives me a discount of 5-cents for every reusable bag that I use.  To me, that sort of reward is more apt to get the type of desired behavior than the punishment of paying a tax.  It also makes sense for the grocery store because it helps reduce their expense of providing bags.

In the past, I have forgotten my bags at home, or left them in the car.  The one thing I have found is that I usually end up with a lot more plastic bags on those occasions than the number of reusable bags that I would use.  I will use about 4 or 5 reusable bags on a shopping trip, whereas I would use at least 10 plastic bags for that same trip. The plastic bags just do not hold as much product as the reusable bags do.  Sure an extra 50 cents or so per shopping trip doesn't sound like much, but it adds up, especially if you are a lower income person living paycheck to paycheck.

The bag tax measured did manage to pass through the county council.  Something that I was not aware of, is that any new law for the county has to be approved by the state general assembly.  Since the state assembly is heavily Democratic, and a similar measure has been in place in neighboring Montgomery County, I figured it was a done deal.  Surprisingly, the measure was defeated in the state Senate by one vote as the county did not show with enough specifics how the measure would improve the environment.  I fully expect it to come back like the proverbial bad penny next year.

While us PG County resident have dodged that particular tax burden this year, that is not to say our tax worries are behind us.  Governor Martin O'Malley has been pushing for more and more tax increases.  He has been pushing for an increase in the state income tax with a surtax for higher earners.  He continues to push for an increase in the gasoline tax.  At one point, he was asking to have the state sales tax apply to gasoline on top of the current flat gas tax.  Now he says he would consider raising the sales tax from 6% to 7% in lieu of the gasoline tax.  He says he is flexible.  Yeah, as long as he can raise taxes, he is flexible as to the form of the tax.
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Kids Fighting

Thanks for the guest post by Donn Schroeder

I am so tired of the kids fighting with each other nonstop. I told them this morning, that if they fought with each other today, there would be no cleartvbundle. It is only 10 am and they have already lost their tv time for the day. It is going to be a long day I’m afraid. They have to learn that if I say something, I mean it, though. I think they thought I was bluffing, but I’m not. They will not watch any tv today at all because they fought this morning. Maybe tomorrow, when they are about to start bickering, they will remember that I’m serious when I say I will take away the tv if they fight. The only problem now, though, is they’ve already lost their tv time for the day, so what’s the incentive for them to not fight throughout the day now? I don’t want to keep taking tv away for future days, but maybe that is what I need to do if they keep fighting with each other.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Music Monday-Chuck Berry "Roll Over Beethoven"

Long before there were video games like Guitar Hero, there was the original Guitar Hero, Chuck Berry.  He was truly an innovator in the early days of Rock and Roll music.  Every rock guitarist owes a debt of gratitude to Chuck Berry.  Happy 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.   PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Buddha and Jesus: Could Solomon Be the Missing Link?

There have been a number of books putting forth the theory that the teachings and ministry of Jesus was influenced by Buddhism.  The theory suggests that during the period of His life that is not discussed in the Gospel accounts, Jesus traveled to India where he studied under Eastern sages.  It is an interesting theory, but one that can not be proven definitively.  Granted, there are a number of parallels in their teachings, but there are  a number of parallels between most religions.

R.E. Sherman has put forth a different theory for the many parallels between the teachings of Jesus and those of Buddha.  In is book Buddha and Jesus: Could Solomon Be the Missing Link, Sherman puts forth the idea that Buddha could have been influenced by the writings of Solomon.  During the diaspora, the Jews could have settled in India and brought scrolls of Solomon's teachings with them where Buddha could have been exposed to them.  Since Jesus was a Jew and often quoted Old Testament scripture, it would have been natural for his teachings to be influenced by Solomon.

In the first part of the book, Sherman introduces the reader to Buddha and Buddhism.  He devotes a good bit of time laying out Buddha's Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold path and argues that you can see precursors of Buddha's teachings in the Proverbs of Solomon and the Book of Ecclesiastes.  Starting with a proverb of Solomon, Sherman then shows similar proverbs and teachings from both Buddha and Jesus to make his case that rather than Jesus being influenced by Buddha, both were influenced by Solomon.

The second half of the book, Sherman devotes to comparisons of the similarities and differences between Buddha and Christ.  He discusses the idea of whether or not somebody could be both fully Christian and at the same time be a Buddhist.  He argues that while there are a great many similarities between Buddhism and Christianity, there differences are so profound that they can not be reconciled to be both Christian and Buddhist.

For his part, Sherman is a Christian.  However, he see the benefit of recognizing the good and having respect for those of divergent faiths.  He feels that there is much that can be learned from others and that we should not have an arrogance in our own faith that makes us think we are superior to others.  He points out the positives and negatives involved in both Christianity and Buddhism.

The book was a very thorough examination of the subject matter.  There was a bit of repetition of a lot of materials.  The one drawback that I had in reading the book on my Kindle is that there were a number of charts in the book.  A lot of the charts would not fit on the screen of my Kindle so I could not read the full quotes of the proverbs being discussed.  Other times, the text was so small that I could not read the charts.  All in all though, a very informative and interesting book.
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