Monday, December 27, 2010

The Political Tsunami

After the recent election the Republicans started speaking of the tsunami they started and how they are rushing in to "take Washington back". I agree a tsunami was started - but I don't believe it is like they think.

Just as the water gets drawn out into the ocean before the big wave comes crashing in, I think a few Independents leaned a bit more right of center and voted for Republican candidates in this last election. But most of the races were fairly close despite the generally accepted fact that Democrats don't vote in mid-term elections in the quantities they do in Presidential elections. The Tea Party movement was the quake that started the tsunami and Independents may have sucked a few votes from the Democratic candidates, but the big wave is just being formed. There are several factors building the wave as I see it and here are just a few:

  • The Democrats will vote in the next election - in similar numbers as in 2008. Contrary to what the GOP would like us to believe - we still like this President a lot and believe he is doing a good job.
  • Those of us who were seriously disappointed at the recent compromise on the Bush era tax cuts (and other similar compromises) do not blame the President - but we are hopping mad at the Republicans for leaving him little choice by holding the jobless Americans and 9/11 first responders hostage. Independent voters were watching.
  • If current politics continue over the next 2 years - Independent voters will begin to get turned off by the "Party of No". They are very fickle voters - they will move back left.
  • The Tea Party candidates that were recently voted in are big on noise and small on content. They couldn't say exactly what they would do to fix the problems they were against - except to block the things the Dems were trying to accomplish. They complained a lot but had no alternatives. They still don't.
  • People are really starting to take notice - as I have - of the bitter comments and selfish proposals that show the Republicans have no compassion for those less fortunate. They want to keep their money and don't care if other people are jobless, homeless, sick or without insurance.
  • Probably the biggest force in this massive wave is the fact that the Democratic policies are working. We stopped a pending depression from occurring and the economy is beginning to recover. Progress is being made on nearly every front. These are positive and measurable gains that should be easy to demonstrate during the election. New roads, new bridges, new health care reform, old jobs saved, new jobs gained, less discrimination, Wall Street reform, etc. etc. - these are big accomplishments and actions speak louder than words.
  • While many of the above programs are expensive and have necessarily added to the national debt, the Republicans can't use that against us since they chose to add much more to the national debt with their tax cut extensions. It was irresponsible of them and it shows they don't really care about the national debt at all. That is very counter to what the Tea Party supposedly stands for - and what the Independent voters fell for.
Now I'll admit - I often daydream while watching the waves in the ocean and this might be just wishful thinking on my part. Plus, I've been wrong before - I honestly didn't think the last election would be quite as successful for the GOP as it was. Still, I feel in my gut that 2012 will be a big shock for the GOP. It is impossible to tell and many things can change in the next 2 years on either side. So this article is merely a prediction - time will tell if I have the clairvoyance to sense the real political tsunami.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Few, The Proud, The Brave

Several days ago I expressed my thanks to the lawmakers on Washington who voted to repeal the Don't Ask - Don't Tell policy. In doing so I forgot to thank some other very important people who were instrumental in having this policy reversed - those brave military soldiers who put their careers, reputations, and possibly even their lives on the line by standing up and demanding equal treatment. Through the years this policy was in place, thousands of qualified, dedicated brave Americans were released from service simply by being "outed" as gay or living their lives openly. Some of those brave Americans took it upon themselves to challenge the policy and those who support it for the better good of all homosexual people in the service. They used their unfortunate circumstances to help keep others from facing the same inequality.

So - to those brave gay soldiers who stood up and said "stop this!", who brought their cases to court, who lobbied for change - I say Thank You! You have done your job as an American soldier by protecting the rights and freedoms of everyone in this great country.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Miracles

I was raised Catholic and have always been a very spiritual person. In my college years back in South Dakota I was the one reminding people that "Jesus is the reason for the Season." The commercialization of the Holidays always bothered me. But as I traveled, read, learned, and moved to a larger city, I discovered that I am Christian simply by the fact that I was born into a Christian family. The reality is that there are many other religious beliefs and customs in the world and none are less important than those taught to me.

I'm a logical thinker and when I hear the story of the Nativity, it sets off a lot of questions in my head because there are some big logical gaps. Did the Inn not let a couple with a baby stay even days later when the Wise Men arrived? Is it possible the bright star in the east was really just the planet Venus? The immaculate conception, the miracles - all of it is not very logical at all. But these questions did not make my faith diminish - in fact I feel more connected with God than I ever have before. How is it possible?

It is possible because God is beyond Logic. I believe miracles are possible because God is larger than we are and not bound by our laws of physics, time and space. I still don't have all the answers and I never will - but I'm thankful that I've allowed myself to realize that part of the miracle of God is that everyone's individual beliefs - no matter how different - can all be correct at the same time.

Since I was raised Catholic - I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! Please accept it in whatever faith is in your heart - even if you feel you have none. May the miracle of Christmas bring joy to the world and peace on Earth.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


America's military is stronger than ever today as President Obama and the current administration repealed "Don't ask - Don't tell".

We are stronger because healthy educated willing and able-bodied people are able to serve and protect their country - all of them.

We are stronger because some military personnel are no longer subject to blackmail by being forced to hide their sexual identity in order to protect our freedoms.

We are stronger because hundreds of linguists capable of understanding the language of our enemies can get back on the job.

We are stronger because equality has finally triumphed over bigotry.

This is a giant step in the right direction for America. Thank you to all those who voted to repeal this policy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Just For The Record

A new crop of Republicans will be taking office next month so I think it is very important to take note - NOW - of the state of the current economy. It is important to do it now because you can sure bet that the Republicans will try to take credit for every gain we have had over the last two years - even though they voted NO on EVERYTHING.

So - just to review - two years ago - after 8 years of Republican's driving our economy into the dirt, President Obama inherited a gigantic mess of a scale that still amazes me. Since then some unpopular solutions were proposed, some hard choices made and even though progress has been slow - we have made significant gains.

Most news stories about our economy now show sure signs of significant recovery. The current Holiday shopping season has been very good - with spending at levels not seen in years as was reported across most major news sites today. This is a link from an article I purposely took from Fox News so the nay-sayers would have a harder time refuting it. It is an AP article and appeared nearly identical on USA Today and other news sites.

But, of course, they are trying to refute it - but not on Fox News online. There were only 2 comments posted on the article on Fox News but there are hundreds posted on USA Today - mostly negative. It's important to note where the negative comments are being posted because it is all politically motivated. They know that most liberal thinkers don't see Fox News as a legitimate news source and the goal is to preach negativity to those who are trying to be neutral. But we will cover all that that again another time.

As of now our economy is looking a bit brighter and I sincerely hope it does continue over the following years and into the next Presidential election. But I want credit for the recovery to go where it belongs - to President Obama and the Democrats who are currently the majority in Washington. Good job!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

One HD - Under Gauze - With Low Lighting and Fuzz-ness for all

I'm way behind on technology due to a tight financial situation. Everything I have is old, outdated, broken or slow. One item that is high on my list of devices to replace is my TV. I've been eager to get an HDTV but now I'm not sure it's needed. Even with my old 700dpi set (which was the shizzle in it's time) the picture is somewhat "fogged". The set is still working perfectly - it's the broadcast that's been "adjusted".

It seems the folks on TV don't really approve of being seen in crystal clarity. We can see every blemish, imperfection and even a bad makeup job now. So, to protect their image (so to speak), they have resorted to the old blur the screen technique. This seems very counter productive in my opinion. I'm supposed to pay gobs of money for a TV that is stunningly clear, only to have a fuzzy picture. Chelsey Handler - I'm talking to you! But she is only one of the guilty in this crime of technology.

I suppose if I wait a bit more I can get a 3D TV for a reasonable price. But will it be worth it? How long will it be before someone decides they look too fat in 3D and use a picture flattening technique.

For every action - there is a similar reaction.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Myth - Tax Cuts Create Jobs

The Bush tax cuts have been in place since 2003. If the theory is, as claimed by the Republicans, that those tax cuts create jobs then why do we have the largest unemployment rate in decades? Something is wrong with that claim.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

No Pleasing Them

I am MOST upset that President Obama bowed to the Republican pressure and extended the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. It is just wrong. But, I'm going to save my comments on this topic for a while as we see how this plays out.

What I do want to comment on is the commenters - those folks who are likely working for a political action group that spend all their time bashing President Obama and his policies by commenting on news stories online. These folks work under multiple anonymous screen names turning every story from kittens to cars into a bash on Obama. I want people to take notice - today - on how transparent these folks are. They got their way - the tax cuts are likely being extended. But you won't find a positive comment on any story about it in the online news. We saw this before when President Obama agreed to off-shore oil drilling just days before the devastating spill in the Gulf. Then and now there should have been overwhelming praise for the President from the GOP that he did something that they demanded. You won't find it. That doesn't suit their plan to bash bash bash. It really is a shame that these people use a medium that should be a great tool for productive conversation and turn it into a slanted political podium.

So - now that we can clearly see what these folks do - we can view their rants as political BS and continue to ignore them. In addition - we can ignore their demands, and hatred and stop trying to compromise with them. They won't be satisfied no matter what we do so if you can't ever please them then lets never appease them.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Stimulated and Improved

I was on vacation over Thanksgiving week and I spent it on a fantastic solo bicycle tour from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Key West, FL - camping the whole week. We were blessed with fantastic unseasonably warm weather and despite some periodic strong headwinds, I was able to complete the 440 mile trip without any major obstacles.

But there were a few obstacles - mostly in the form of road construction. US1 through the Florida Keys is a notoriously dangerous 2 lane road with heavy traffic consisting of mostly recreational vehicles (boats, RV's etc.) with no shoulder to speak of. Some areas through the Keys have bicycle paths that are in bad disrepair. But all of that is changing and the progress made so far is fantastic. The lanes are wider with turning lanes, shoulders nearly a car length wide (which might allow for better evacuations during hurricanes) and even the bike paths are being improved though the entire stretch. It is a wonderful improvement in safety and comfort with a touch of "green" with the added bicycle lanes.

I saw lots of people working on these road improvement projects and I also saw lots of signs indicating they were being funded with government stimulus monies. In my opinion, this is how economic stimulus is being done right. Rather than just give people tax money back, it is being invested in our infrastructure while putting people back to work at the same time. It is a double win situation. Everyone gets to enjoy these road improvements throughout the country while workers are able to feed their families and maybe even spend some earnings on other things further helping the economy.

I complement President Obama and the current administration for doing economic stimulus correctly.

Quick Fix

I'm constantly amazed at the number of things that can be fixed with one of two things:

Duct Tape

Either make it stick together or not stick together.

By the way - if you removed some duct tape and glue remains - just put a little WD40 on it and it will come right off.

Recessions are very profitable

Companies have discovered (or maybe planned) that they can run with far fewer employees as long as the fear of losing their jobs keeps the remaining employees working 2 or 3 or 5 times as hard as they did before. I wrote about the stress of this situation for the remaining employees here and I can tell you first hand it is very real. But corporations are not concerned about the stress their employees are under because it is money in the bank for them.

Most companies have begun to recover from the worst part of the recession but they haven't hired back employees. In fact they won't until they are forced to. The force that will make that happen will not be government related. We will also soon see more people fired for lashing out at their supervisors. Other good employees will finally get the the breaking point and their productivity will decline. There will soon be a large increase in stress related illness, death and suicides. Some of those suicides will include office shootings and other tragic events.

When employees are dead or hospitalized, profits will suffer. Then - possibly - corporations will be forced to hire a few more people. In the meantime you will find businesses supporting policies that keep the recession going. Fear is not only a great motivator, but also very profitable.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Unhappy Holidays

The first official action of the new GOP controlled House was to block extension of unemployment benefits through the end of the year.


Perhaps if they had instantly created gobs of new jobs as they promised FIRST, then this action may have been warranted. After all, I couldn't agree more that we can't have a nation living forever on unemployment. But, if there are no jobs available - then all they have accomplished is to move the jobless from unemployment to welfare. That is counter productive all around.

But wait! The Tea Party is just beginning! Next up they will keep their promise to make sure these new jobless, welfare recipients also don't have access to health care either. Disgusting.

Well at least those rich folks will have a nice cushy Holiday with all their nice tax cuts. They need it more - right?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Fair Pricing - A Thing Of The Past

Living paycheck to paycheck has never been more real. If you are like me (your basic average dude) you've been struggling to make ends meet for a long time. Part of the problem is that wages have gone down but we have more things to pay for these days (cell phone subscriptions, internet subscriptions, virus software subscriptions, subscriptions of all sorts) and the prices for all those things are just barely in reach. That is no accident.

I'm going to use my cell phone provider as an example: there is no doubt in my mind that Sprint would make a very good profit if all of their plans were $50 or less. But most of their pricing is at least double that sometimes triple -and now they don't even allow negotiation. You can also bet that Microsoft would have still made a huge fortune if their Windows products would have been priced at even $25 per computer. But they charge $200 instead. How do they get away with it?

In the past most businesses tried to determine what was a fair price for their goods or services. Most used a markup percentage over the cost of manufacturing, R&D and marketing. These companies made a good profit and most people could afford their products and services and still have a little discretionary spending for a vacation or a college education.

Today we have a different pricing structure. Modern pricing is based on what companies determine is the maximum price a typical customer will be able to bear for their products and services. They use the process of Data Mining to determine how much typical families make, what they spend on other things and how much they might have left. They then set the price based on what they determine is the maximum that the customer could pay. I wrote a 3 part article a while back on how they gather all this information - most of the time without you ever knowing about it.

This type of pricing has increased profits for companies many times over. At the same time it has obviously diminished any disposable income you may have had in the past. These companies don't believe you should have disposable income - anything you have left should be spent on their products. It is little wonder then that most of us struggle to get by.

But wait - there is still more........

Companies know that people who are broke will work harder to make money to pay for these goods and services. They can get by with fewer workers - often at lower wages - and still get the same productivity because they know people who are struggling will work extra hard to keep their job - no matter what. Corporations do not care about the stress level of their employees - that's why it is very easy to eliminate jobs when profits fall - even for a short while. Their overall operating costs drop as productivity increases (along with your stress level) and their prices rise to keep the cycle going.

Modern pricing structures are a win-win for corporations and a lose-lose for consumers. The situation looks hopeless but it is not. If corporations did not have access to every piece of personal information about you, they wouldn't be able to determine how much you can bear to pay. What we need are strict limits on how much data can be collected and used by corporations. You do that with your vote in local and national elections. Our political parties are very divided right now between those that support business (Republican) and those that support people (Democrats).

I once told a friend of mine (who I know reads this blog) that I really didn't care what information was being collected about me - after all, I have nothing to hide. I had no idea how conniving corporations would become in order to drain me of every last dime. Now I know and I'm spreading the word. I hope you will too.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Instant New Priority

During this last election cycle the Republican candidates hammered the current Administration that the top priority in the USA is JOBS! They were hopping mad that the President spent time on health care reform when they felt jobs were a higher priority.

Today I'm hearing the top priority of Republicans now is repealing the Health Care Reform.

What?? I thought it was Jobs?! Why don't you focus on JOBS - as you promised?!

Compassion Is Not a Republican Value

Most people remember the devastating earthquake that hit the island of Haiti last year. It was only one of many major natural and political disasters to hit this impoverished country in recent years. The people of this nation have been left penniless by government corruption and homeless by force of nature. I have many Haitian friends and I've been following this sad story for years now and it breaks my heart. As I write this a hurricane is adding more misery to this tiny nation. Many Americans share my heartbreak but some apparently don't have a heart at all. Here is a link to the story in USA Today and a few of the associated comments taken from just the first few pages. I want to note that many of these same screen names have been posting comments both pro-Christian and pro-Republican (My comments follow each).

LivFree (0 friends, send message) wrote: 10h 9m ago
Haiti doesn't want help. They want hand outs. This Hurricane will be like a giant, naturally occurring colonic.

Earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, Government corruption - the common people of Haiti did not ask for this. But they do need help.

Mister Grumpy (137 friends, send message) wrote: 5h 7m ago
Yet the Haitians continue to pump out children like there's not tomorrow............. and those that are old enough....... appear to be just waiting around waiting for a handout............ when they should be picking up the rubble................ These people are worse than helpless........... they are just plain lazy.................

Contrary to the belief that most Haitians believe in voodoo - most are Christians and many are Catholic. They are following the teaching of the Church - abundant life - procreation above all else. Birth control is not allowed. This is the result. And they are rebuilding - with what little resources they have to do so with.

rickp0000 (0 friends, send message) wrote: 4h 41m ago
cant say the idiots werent warned.....

Yes, they had plenty of warning a storm was eminent. Where would you suggest they go? What do you suggest they do? They are living in TENTS (if they are lucky). They are penniless and homeless. Can you try to understand that?

lunchtimereader (0 friends, send message) wrote: 2h 15m ago
A lot of $ has been sent there for decades, yet, there is no progress.
Just more of the same.

This is somewhat true. Corruption in the govenrment continues at the expense of the common people. This country needs more than just money - but it's easier to just turn our backs to their calamity.

Mister Grumpy (137 friends, send message) wrote: 1h 49m ago
Horaceofcourse (0 friends, send message) wrote: 1h 25m ago
Somebody has to do something to help these people...put them to work rebuilding their country.
I don't have any great ideas...may God have mercy on them.
God is showing them mercy............ Tomas is only a Cat 1 storm.............

I repeat - they are living in TENTS (if they are lucky). I've been through several Cat 1 storms here in Florida and they are frightening in a brick shelter - let alone a tent. But the most damage from a storm like this isn't wind - it is flooding rain. They are on the wet side of the storm. Floods are also not the fault of the people living there.

These type of comments go on and on. There is a total lack of compassion which I dare say is a core value of the Republican party and many so called Christians. If it isn't happening to ME right NOW then it doesn't apply and THEY likely deserve it.

Very sad indeed.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

A Message to President Obama

I watched the Presidents press conference the day after the election and I have this message for Mr. Obama:

Once again, I am honored to have such a smart, competent courageous and eloquent person leading this country. Much of the USA has a short attention span and honestly has forgotten the major crises you have been battling these last 2 years were not caused by your policies. Further, they can't grasp the concept of how much worse things would be right now had you not acted swiftly and firmly. But many of us have been paying attention and we know the truth. We still support you and your policies. We hope this new division of power will bring balance to our Government, but we realize that is not likely. Please try co-operation again as you have these last 2 years. However, if the only answer you continue to get is No - then please stand firm on your principles. You have put people ahead of corporations and that is the hope and change we voted for.

Since I know you read my blog regularly, I want you to know we still strongly support you! Keep up the great work!


Fraud for Florida

There isn't much I could say about the election this week that hasn't already been said a gazillion times but our Florida Governor race is a clear indicator of what is wrong with this country and so I must write a short bit on it.

Wikipedia has this to say about our new Governor elect Rick Scott:
"In 1987 he helped found the Columbia Hospital Corporation with two business partners; this merged with Hospital Corporation of America in 1989 to form Columbia/HCA and eventually became the largest private for-profit health care company in the U.S. He was forced to resign as Chief Executive of Columbia/HCA in 1997 amid a scandal over the company's business and Medicare billing practices; the company ultimately admitted to fourteen felonies and agreed to pay the federal government over $600 million"

This is not really new news - it was clearly known during the campaign. This man should be in jail but instead he will be running this state. Why? Because people voted for their party and not for the best person for the job. That's not how it is supposed to work folks. And it happened all across the country. Thankfully some of the real crazy wing-nuts like Christine O'Donnell did not get elected - but she did get over 40% of the votes.

Rick Scott was considered a long-shot in this election (duh!), he was not endorsed by a single major news paper (because he refused to be interviewed) and was trailing in the polls just prior to election day - yet somehow he won. It was reported that he spent $75 million of his own money (that he stole from Medicare) on this election. That's right folks - the company he ran was forced to pay $600 million in fines but Rick kept all his money and YOU paid for his election campaign.

Should we trust that he will run the state of Florida any differently? I think not.

The whole thing is totally revolting.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rock The Vote!

This Blog was started way back in the middle of the Bush years. If you read the description of what this blog is about you know that NOW is a very crucial time in our history. The country is still revolting against conservative extremists. This very important election is only a week away. Please make sure your Democratic and Independent friends know about it and get out to vote! If you need to be reminded about why it's important, just read this blog from the beginning and remember what the Bush years were like. And don't just take my word for it - there are plenty of reminders out here on the net.

We can continue to get this country back on track. But only if we defeat the Republicans in this very important election. Get out and VOTE!

Friday, October 22, 2010

It Just Got Better

I know for a fact that my life as a teen would have been much easier if I had a President (or anybody) to helped me realize that being born gay is not something to be ashamed of. I'm not sure how kids always seem to know another kid is gay - but they do. I was bullied as were millions more. Thank you President Obama for publicly addressing this very important issue.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I haven't been posting quite as frequently lately and my gentle reader(s?) may be wondering "where he at?". Well, not only have I been working diligently to get my new job website started but I've also started a new Blog on the site! The NightOwlStaffing Blog deals with relevant issues in the job market with a focus on after hours shifts. It's a great compliment to I hope I can provide some insight and information to anyone in the current job market.

I invite you to join me on the new Blog and I also welcome your comments and suggestions on how to make even better.

And now some shameless links. :)
3rd Shift Jobs at
2nd Shift Jobs at

Friday, October 15, 2010

If you are not - you can't be certain why they are

If you are not ( ) then you can't be certain why they are ( )

Try filling in the same word in both brackets. I think it's a powerful message. Here are some words to try:



The other powerful message is this:

They do know why they are ( ) - believe them.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

How Crazy People Get Elected

Ever wonder why there are so many political extremists on Capital Hill? We are witnessing how it occurs this very election. It would be interesting to watch if the consequences were not so dire. Here is how it works:

  • Something big happens that gets people fired up and opinionated (terrorist attack, gays, economic meltdown etc.). Most of the time these events are planned and politically motivated.
  • Grass roots political extremists unite to "Take America Back". This year it's the Tea Party Movement - but it's been done many times before on both sides.
  • Unqualified extremist "schmoes" run for office on the sole platform of the big event they are fighting (completely ignoring the rest of the counties issues)
  • Typical low voter turnout in the primary elections actually gets these extremists on the ballot - because fired up extremists do vote (the most famous "schmo" this year is Christine O'Donnell)
  • And the final critical element is this: Even though the political party agrees that these people are extremists and do not represent their views at all - they will vote for them anyway because they would rather do that than vote for the other party.
  • Wa-la! A new crop of political extremists moves to The Hill - for life!
People - we must do 2 major things to fix our national elections:

  1. Vote with your head - not with your political party
  2. Enact term limits so when crazy people do get into office they are not there for life.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Escape Artist Completes His Mission

"Escape Artist" was just one of the many names he was known by. He was also called "Ghetto Dog", "Buddy", "Kiddo", "The Oscar Meyer Wiener Dog" or just by his name "Oscar". He was all of those things to me and more.

He lived like a King in my home but from the first day he arrived he began searching for a way out. He dug holes under the fence, He carefully watched, hoping I might forget to close the gate, or he might try to sneak past the guests saying goodnight at the front door. I went through great lengths to fortify the yard, gates and exits to keep him from getting out. But every once in a while - several times a year - he managed to find the briefest opportunity to get out and when he did he went fast! He wasn't trying to get away from me - he just wanted to explore the world - much like I do. In fact, I'm certain that's how he ended up in the abandoned animal shelter to begin with - he just wanted to roam. Thankfully, through prayers, tags, and microchips I was always able to retrieve him and he managed not to get run over.

He was likely 6 years old when I adopted him and we spent 7 or 8 happy years together. That would make him in his late 90's in dog years. Despite his desire to roam, Oscar was a great buddy. He insisted his place to sleep was under the covers in my bed - right next to me under my arm. At one point he was expelled from the bed by someone else who had joined me. That situation was not well received as everyone knows a footstool is no place for a King to sleep. But the other party was temporary and he soon regained his place next to me. I always enjoyed his company and even the fur covered sheets.

Short in stature but big in voice - Oscar was always on duty guarding La Casa de Tropical. My arrival at the house was never unannounced as was the arrival of any guest. A spray bottle of water (or maybe just the threat) might be needed to calm his enthusiasm - after all it is very exciting to have guests! And oh the joyful sound one makes when it's time to take a walk! All the neighbors must be aware.

Oscar was diagnosed with kidney failure some months ago and spent most of this year on constant medication to treat his persistent infections. Funny how a strong bond between two soles becomes stronger when dealing with life's issues. But his condition was terminal and his infections more intense. It was time for me to help with his master plan to escape. Knowing the day is inevitable makes it no easier and so with heavy heart I left the Vet knowing there will be an empty spot in my bed tonight. But the empty spot in my heart won't last long knowing that Oscar and Astro are running together again with no boundaries or barriers - no more need to escape.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pledge to White People

The Republicans have unveiled their so called "Pledge to America" and I have to admit - if nothing else it is an honest portrayal of their view of America. I decided I would at least read the document before I commented on it but 40+ pages? Really?? I didn't have enough bathroom time to read that much but I did look at the pictures they chose to include with the document. Lots and lots of white people, cowboys, town hall meetings (with only white people in attendance) and even a national monument with white people (it's in the Black Hills - but that doesn't count). In all the pictures in the document I only saw one minority - a military service person and he was only light brown. Indeed - that is the America that Republicans live in. There are no black people, no poor people, no sick people, and no city people. It's little wonder their policies do not support social programs. The only social program those white people need is the one they actually do support - social security. Most of those folks were really old!

In fairness, they made an attempt to make the document bathroom friendly - slashing it down to only 2 pocket size white pages. Here you can clearly see where their priorities are. Tax cuts for rich white people, no health insurance for people who are not rich white people, more laws to keep the brown people out of the USA, and more wars "over there" to send the black people to fight. Oh, and my favorite line on the pocket size version is the last one: "We will fight efforts to use a national crisis for political gain". Hypocrisy anyone??

Gosh - reading back on this it looks like I'm calling the Republican party racist! Well, if the pledge fits.........

Republicans are not fond of facts. They like to live in a fantasy world where everyone is white, rich, and living in a pleasant little rural Christian town. But facts are facts and in reality the USA is a very diverse nation with many large cities, lots of people of every race and religion. We are a nation with too many poor people and too many sick people and too many homeless people. We have big problems "over here" and due to the greed of the few we have many who suffer. These people need help and that is where Government steps in - not steps out.

I'm glad the Republicans gave us this pledge. I hope everyone reads it (the short version at least) and realizes how out of touch the Republican party is.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I loved this movie. It was a cheesy futuristic farce but it was a little to realistic when it comes to what happens when stupid people multiply. I saw it on HBO - they should play it every day until election day. The Tea Party movement is a prime example of such stupidity.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Important Election Approaches

November 2, 2010 is a very important day. Democrats - you must get out and vote!

The coming election has the potential to undo all the great things the Obama administration has accomplished in the last 2 years. If you believe the media and all the comments in the on-line news stories then you would think the election is going to be a landslide victory for the Republicans. That's what they want you to believe and they think it's working. Well even though I don't believe the media or the comments I am still very concerned because of the low Democratic voter turnout in the primary elections. We can't win if we don't vote!

Democrats have not forgotten the state of this country the Obama administration inherited. We haven't forgotten that the Republicans have tried to block every monumental accomplishment in the last 2 years. We haven't forgotten they said:
  • No to health care reform (without another suggestion except "start over").
  • No to financial reform (Corporate greed is OK with them).
  • No to jobs bills.
  • No to environmental bills.
  • No to tax cuts for the middle class.
  • No to everything! (wait, they did say yes to tax cuts for the rich).
Still the Obama administration has passed historic and monumental legislation against all this resistance because we still have a majority - but that could change in November.

We haven't forgotten all these things, but we did forget to vote in the primary elections. Complacency is the biggest problem the Democratic party has and this is where Republicans have a clear advantage. They don't have a better plan - but they do vote. They have lead a very aggressive and coordinated campaign against positive change since November 2008. Only you can stop the insanity - VOTE!

If you want this country to be run by the likes of Glen Beck, Sara Palin, Rush Limbaugh, or Pastor Terry Burns, - then stay home on election day. If you want to keep hope and change alive then get off the couch and vote Democratic on November 2nd. We still have a lot to do.

It's very important! Spread the word!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Rights AND Responsibilities

America is a great country. Those who founded our government realized the power of freedom and wrote it into our constitution. Since then many brave souls have lost their lives in battles to preserve the freedoms we enjoy today. Indeed we have many inalienable rights in this country. But with every right comes attached responsibility.

You have the right to say whatever you want in front of your children. You may curse in their presence. You do have that right. But you also have a responsibility to act as an adult in front of your children so they can learn to be responsible as well.

You have the right to drive a motor vehicle if you are properly licensed and insured. But you have a responsibility to drive that vehicle in a safe and controlled manor. If not, you can have your right revoked by law.

You have the right to yell FIRE! in a crowed room but you have the responsibility not to do so as it may cause people to be trampled, injured or killed in the resulting panic.

I hope this point is clear now. Rights and responsibilities are related and inseparable. You are responsible for how you use your rights.

So yes, you have the right to burn the holy book of another religion to make your point. Is it a responsible thing to do? Not if doing so will instill hatred and violence against others. Even the President and top Generals are saying it is not a responsible thing to do. I would suggest the responsible thing to do would be use your house of worship as a tool to help others rather than hurt them. Feed people, cloth them - not kill them. It is not your place to judge others - even though you do have that right.

You have the right to build a Mosque near ground zero in NYC. Is it the responsible thing to do? Well.........possibly not and there may be better choices - but in this case I say yes. Why is it different than burning a holy book? Because in this country we also have freedom of religion and I believe this group is being unfairly targeted by those who misinterpret religion as being the same as terrorism (see above example). It is responsible to promote equality - another right we have in this country. It is responsible to fight to have your right protected. These people are not passing judgment on others - they are simply trying to enjoy their freedom of religion.

Please - lets all be thankful for our rights and use them responsibly. It's not hard - just ask yourself that simple question. I have the right - but is it the responsible thing to do?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Dogs are Pigs

Several years ago I rescued a female dog for the first time. I've always had male dogs before and worried that my little wiener dog Oscar might want to "take advantage" of Loretta (both are "fixed"). But Loretta put a stop to that at the very first meeting. As soon as Oscar decided to explore the private bits - Loretta let out a very certain growl and a quick nip and Oscar knew his place. Through the last several years, if Oscar got too close, the low growl was all that was needed to get the point across. Problem is that Oscar is old and sickly these days and can't hear well anymore. In the last several weeks I've witnessed him poking around "there" while Loretta is eating and heard the definitive growl. Oscar, having not heard the growl, assumed it is suddenly OK! I've had to yell at him (loudly) to get him to stop before she got upset and snapped at him.

They say men are pigs - I guess it applies to dogs too.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Universal Holiday?

Finally - a holiday weekend where I can relax on the beach and not feel guilty! I hope the weather is nice because there is no need to worry that maybe I should be attending a church service, or hosting a huge meal, or attending a parade, or visiting a grave, or saluting a soldier. Labor day is one of the only holidays that applies to almost everyone!

Ever say Happy 4th of July to someone and have them reply "I'm British"?
Ever wish someone a Merry Christmas only to have them reply "I'm Jewish"
Ever wish someone a Happy New Year only to have them reply "I'm Chinese"?
Ever wish someone a Happy Memorial Day and then just feel bad because it's really not a happy Holiday? And it's sort of a Military Holiday anyway - might not apply to everyone.

My only disappointment with Labor Day is that many businesses will still be operating all weekend long. We do live in a 24hr, 365 day society after all. But wouldn't it be great if every business except the real necessities shut down for just one day? It's Labor Day for crying out loud!

Uh oh, if I wish someone in our call center a Happy Labor Day they might reply "I have to work".

No Holiday is safe.

Base Percentage Pay

I think business pay structures should be set up so that all employees benefit from the success of the company. In this scenario all employees - from the cleaning crew to the CEO - would have their pay based on a percentage of the business profits. An employee who works above and beyond could be rewarded by advancing to the next higher percentage. And their title is not necessarily tied to their percentage.

As we know, sometimes a business can struggle through a hard time and might not have profits for a period. This is why all employees would also have a base salary that would be guaranteed. During these hard times the employee would only get their base salary. But when the business returns to a profitable period, all the employees would again benefit by an automatic pay raise based on their percentage pay level. This is why I call this the Base Percentage pay structure. It's sort of like a commission - but for everyone.

Imagine the motivation of every single person to have their company succeed! Success in the business means added success in the paycheck - for everyone. Why limit the financial motivation to only the sales team? What works for them can work for the entire company! I don't know why every business isn't run this way.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Run It Like A Family

Many politicians - from both sides of the isle - have suggested we run our government like a business. I don't agree. Business is risky and 90% of businesses fail within the first year. Our government should not be taking such risks. My suggestion is to run the government - at all levels - like a family.

The first order of necessity for all families is to ensure that everyone has food, water and protection from the elements. Next we need to ensure our families are educated, get proper medical treatment and have protection from things that might harm us. Families must do all of these things and many more within their limited budgets. Sometimes unexpected emergencies pop up a so it is advisable for every family to have a bit of savings set aside to handle these situations. At the very least, it is important to keep your credit in good standing so that you can borrow a bit of money if needed. Even so, you must have a plan to pay back that money. If your family doesn't have credit available, you may need to find other sources of income - perhaps a second job. Families do whatever they have to do to get through the hard times.

Now, I will admit some families are run better than others. Some have more spending power while others barley get by. Over all though, I think you will find that most families make it through somehow. Failure is not an option for most families and it shouldn't be an option for the government either.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Party In My Head

I always have to chuckle at those folks at the gym who get so caught up in their music they can't help but wiggle. Occasionally I realize I'm "that guy" and today was one of those days. Last night I dug around and found some good gym music and downloaded almost 30 tracks onto my smart-phone (still a Treo - no Evo for me yet). These were all very catchy Pop-y dance tracks that you can't help butt wiggle to - at least a little (Hey - that's punny!). What amazes me is that the sound from those tiny ear-bud headphones is so real, intense and three dimensional - yet a person standing next to me might not hear a thing. I heard those "Big House" echos that make a dance club seem enormous - yet it was all just inside my head. It seems like magic to me.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hidden Gems in the Factory

While all my favorite sitcoms are on their summer break, I decided to watch something different. So I turned to the Science channel, the learning channel and other educational spots and I watched shows on space exploration and shows with "Mega" in the title and my new favorite - "How Do They Do It?". I've learned a lot so far and there is still a good month before my mindless comedy shows return. So what exactly have I learned? Well, first and foremost, there a lot of people in this world WAY smarter than me. The accomplishments in science and technology are just astounding. But there were a few other lessons as well:
  • It takes constant 24 hour processing to keep up with the demands of today's population.
  • We tear up and process huge chunks of the Earth to filter out just a few grains of precious metals and other things used in manufacturing.
  • We use massive amounts of energy to heat things to melt out the good stuff or bend it just the way we want.
  • We have created some amazing and enormous machines with intricate parts to make many of the things we take for granted every day.
  • Despite the amazing machines we have invented, most processes still rely on a few very talented individuals with very specialized skills that can't be duplicated by machinery.
This last one is what I find most fascinating. No matter how we try, the human factor can never be eliminated from the manufacturing process. It takes a human taste bud to know if the brew is perfect. It takes a human eye to pick out tiny imperfections in nearly perfect objects. It takes a precision human hand to load the delicate machinery with needed supplies or guide the machine to the perfect spot. It takes a human ear to know the difference between a perfect note and one that just sounds good.

I've worked in manufacturing facilities most of my adult life and I've seen these special people. In my last job I knew a man who loaded a machine that made boxes - for all the 13 years that I worked there. He was very good at it. The sad part is that I know management probably felt that he was unmotivated because he didn't want to move up in the company. And they probably paid him very little for his specialized job. Still, he was content to do the job he knew he could do well.

Management always tends to overlook these gems in their workforce. In their eyes it should always be the goal to advance to the next level. I've been a victim of this concept of "promote until your useless" theory of management. In my last job I was considered unmotivated because I didn't strive to move to the day shift where the "real" workers were. I was content to stay in my second shift position where I knew I was most useful. I accomplished on a smaller scale what a whole team of people did during the day - and it made me feel very important. Had I allowed it, they would have moved me to the day shift where I would have been unhappy, promoted me into a management position where I wasn't comfortable until finally I would have became an unhappy and unproductive employee. No thank you. I stayed in my job and shift where I was comfortable - and my meager wage stayed basically the same because of it.

The point of this article may be getting lost in my rambling but it is merely this: Management needs to recognize the value of their specialized employees - no matter how menial their job may seem. Without these specialized skills, your product quality will suffer. Quality is worth spending money on in the form of merit raises beyond the standard 2 -3 percent. Management needs to recognize these "gems" in their workforce the same way a documentary film maker recognizes them and pay them appropriately. The next time you are given a spreadsheet and asked to make cuts in the workforce, you might want to ask why someone gets paid seemingly more than they should in the position they are at before you blindly cut that job to save money. It's quite possible their supervisor has already recognized them as a "gem" and you would be a fool to lose them.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Anchor Marriages

There are two hot topic issues in the news these days. Immigration law and Gay Marriage. But did you know the two are very related? Yes, Immigration law is yet another right that gay couples are denied because their unions are not recognized the same as heterosexual couples. A foreigner who legally marries a US citizen also becomes a US citizen. Not so for gay folks. If we happen to fall in love with a foreigner we have no hope of making that person a US citizen by marriage law. In fact I know many couples who have had their loved one forced to leave the country with no regard to their loving partner. In other cases gay people have been forced into scam marriages with someone of the opposite sex in order to gain citizenship. This is not only illegal but a real violation of the sanctity of marriage. It need not be so.

It is important to realize that marriage law covers many areas of a couple's lives. It is far different than religious beliefs in that everyone in the USA is bound by the same laws - or at least they should be. And these are important laws - hospital visitation, tax law, property management, child care and yes, even immigration. When it comes down to laws (not religion) everyone in the USA needs to be treated equally.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I Do Not Agree!

We need to get back to an era of accountability. I am tired of signing lengthy legal agreement forms every time I try to install software, get a procedure done at the dentist or even accept a job offer. Most of these documents start with a phrase indicating the document can change at any time without notice - which in effect renders them entirely useless to begin with.

If I'm installing a software program on my computer - I expect that it has been thoroughly tested and will not harm my system - or else I can have some legal recourse with the developers.

If I'm having a root canal operation done on my teeth, I expect that the Doctor is fully trained and certified and will operate to the best of their ability and if they fail to do so, I can hold them legally accountable.

If I start a new job, I do not expect to give up any and all rights to find a different job sometime in the future. I do, however, think it is fair to agree not to immediately work for a direct competitor, but it is grossly unfair to even imagine that the company I currently work for owns my ideas and inventions. Those are mine!

I am certain I am not the only person who is tired of all this legal nonsense. And I know I'm not the only one who has written about it. But what can we do?

Currently we only have one option to stop this insanity - but it would take a huge effort by the entire world. We need to stop blindly signing off on these idiotic agreements and subsequently not do business with companies who require them - even if it is free.

You need me to accept all terms in this agreement before I install this software? Sorry - no deal. No sale. No way. Imagine how that would affect Microsoft alone!

You want to own my ideas and inventions just because I work for you? Sorry - the job market is tough but I do NOT agree. But I am a very qualified and dependable employee - am I not worth hiring anyway?

You want me to sign away all my rights to legal recourse before you will start my root canal. Well it really hurts! What choice do I have? But if you mess it up - I'm still going to sue and the lawyer and judge should realize that document was signed under duress and is not binding.

Somehow I don't think I'll have much luck with any of this. But maybe we as a society can somehow get these agreements to be deemed unfair if not unconstitutional. We must fight back - in the courts if needed. There should always be an implied code of accountability to those who are doing business. Just like we expect that the food we buy at the grocery store will be free of contaminants - without having to first sign a waver, we should also expect all other goods and services be similarly accountable.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Workin The Night Shift

I've never been a morning person and some years ago - quite by accident - I learned that I enjoy working non-standard hours. Actually, looking back I've done so a good deal of my life as I started out in food service jobs where I worked during the dinner hours. After moving to Florida in 1990 I took a 2nd shift job because that was all that was available and I worked at that position for 6 months. I always felt that I needed to get a "real" job during the day in order to be successful. But after finally getting that day job I found that I was tired all the time and I longed to be outside during the daylight hours. Eventually I took another 2nd shift job and have been working 2nd shift for the last 13 years - it fits well with my life and I do feel successful.

I quit my job last year to pursue my dream of a cross country bicycle adventure and during the trip I thought a lot about how to find another 2nd shift job when I returned. All the major job sites concentrate on day shift jobs and if you want to find jobs after 5pm you have to use your search words for the shift and not for the job title. I realized a niche job market exists for people like me and so I decided to start a job site for non-standard shifts. I finally launched the site this month!

Commerce doesn't stop after 5pm and I hope my new job site will be beneficial not only to people like me who enjoy working evenings but also to employers who need workers for hospitals, airports, manufacturing, service industry, adult venues, security, 24 hour IT operations etc. is completely free for both job candidates and employers so I hope everyone will take advantage of this site. You can help me launch this site by posting your jobs and resumes now. Just go to and sign up as either an employer or job seeker or both - it's easy and it really is FREE!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Population Explosion Buzz

Most of us realize that the population of the Earth is quickly growing beyond what our limited resources will support. Well most of us except Republicans and Catholics. But human population growth is only part of it me thinks.

Seems to me there are a whole lot more bugs on this planet than there used to be! Ants are everywhere, grasshoppers where out of control in South Dakota when I was there last week and don't even get me started on mosquitoes! We literally could not step out the door without spray or we would be bitten immediately. This is also true in Florida where I live. They are awful!

It stands to reason (unless you are Republican) that if the human population is exploding exponentially, the critters might be doing the same thing. Sure we have developed lots of toxic sprays that kill some bugs (and pollute our water) but let's face it, bugs have nothing better to do than make more bugs. I think it will eventually get to the point where the earth and air will be so infested with bugs we won't be able avoid them at all. And bugs don't need as many resources as people do so they will likely outlive us too.

I don't really have a point here - just an observation that's been bugging me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Phone Flush

A disturbing trend has developed, especially where I work - talking on the phone while in restroom. Mind you, this is a very busy restroom and in constant use. There is always someone flushing, grunting, farting - you know, pleasant phone noises. I don't know who these dudes are talking to - maybe their wives or girlfriends - still I think it is rude. If it isn't rude to them, perhaps it is rude to those of us trying to do our business in there. Thank goodness I got over that pee shy thing. I couldn't have imagined trying to go with someone's conversation happening next to me. Most of them initiate the call from the stall. Yuk.

I'm convinced Americans have just lost all sense of what is rude and what isn't. I wonder if people in other countries fart and flush while on the phone. It's just gross.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

A Little MSG Please

MSG - a tidy little acronym that we all are familiar that means Mono Sodium Glutamate (whatever that is). It is most commonly associated with Chinese food. We might know what it stands for but few of us really know what it is. Unfortunately, I am one of the poor soles who are affected by this chemical (?) and tend to get terrible headaches or just general uneasiness after enjoying my favorite Chinese dishes. Now, it seems, that no Chinese restaurants include it anymore and the taste of the food is much different - and I'll say worse.

Now the same thing is happening to my canned soup. All the leading brands of canned soup (Campbell's Progresso, etc.) are toting labels that read "No MSG" and I can report that they all suck - they taste bland and lifeless and I'm guessing MSG has been replace with just garlic. Apparently, MSG is what makes things taste good - who knew?

I think this is a clear case of of the old saying"all things in moderation". Perhaps we can enjoy our Chinese food and even our canned soup with just a little MSG for that enhanced taste we all love, but not enough that it gives us unpleasant side effects. Let's try just a little and see how that works out. Let's get back to full flavor! And while we are at it, lets start using real butter again too - in moderation of course.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Illegal Imigration is the American Way

This weekend we celebrate amnesty for all illegal immigrants in this country - the first time. Is it so different now? I do not argue that illegal immigration is a huge financial burden on this country and causes other problems as well. Most agree this situation needs to be controlled. However, we have allowed decades - even centuries of illegal immigrants to enter this country. The illegals we have here today won't just leave because we ask them to and searching them out to deport them would involve a massive discriminatory manhunt costing billions. It would also destroy families who have been here for generations.

The problem of illegal immigration is an issue of the past - we allowed them here, they are here and and they will be here. The only solution is the control our borders and sky in the future. Each time we fail to do that we must start over. To start over we must grant amnesty to those already here. And we must grant this with conditions that will force illegals to want such amnesty - as in you will be turned away from schools, hospitals, and other public support unless you are a citizen. Bring them out of hiding, tax their work, make them contributing members of our society, pay their own way and start over. If we do it right next time then problem solved. Otherwise we start over again.

Happy 4th of July!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Computer Equals Commuter

If you are one of the many unfortunate people who lost their job during this hard economic time, now is your opportunity to do something good for your environment. All it takes is to step away form the computer and step into the street when doing your job search. Make your job search local and you will avoid that dreaded commute of the past. My suggestion is to get on a bicycle or simply walk through the area near your home and do your job search there. Most people live close to business they pass by every day on their way to work 10 or 15 miles down the road. If you only allow yourself to walk or ride a bicycle on your job search, you will be forced to apply at places that are close to home. You should also keep your eyes open to those business that may have closed recently. Perhaps you could revive that needed business and make it work.

Imagine walking home for lunch (and a nap!) Life doesn't have to involve a commute.

Polution Isn't Always Black Slime

Mention pollution and most folks will think of garbage piles, smog or oil spills but there are two more forms of pollution that don't immediately come to mind for some.

The first is noise pollution. Several weeks ago I went to the beach to enjoy a nice peaceful lazy day in the hot summer sun. What I found when I got there was anything but peaceful. Just off shore they had set up cigar boat races and the obnoxious unmuffled machines droned on all day long - with loud helicopters flying just over the boats. It may have been exciting to watch for the few people who were interested in the race, but for those of us trying to enjoy a peaceful day it was just annoying. And I've already written about the uber-obnoxious Harley Davidson motorcycles I had to deal with while bicycling though some of the most beautiful scenic parts of our great country last summer. You couldn't escape the noise - they were everywhere. In both of these cases (and many more) we have the easy option to make these machines less noisy but somehow they choose not to. These people feel it is their right and privilege to enjoy their thrill with careless disregard for everyone else.

The second example I wanted to mention is light pollution. Some folks may not even know what that means, but for those of us who enjoy looking into the night sky, it is practically unavoidable. As LED lighting and other lower cost light sources are developed, the night begins to brighten. Now we are starting to see dazzling active billboards along the freeways that are not only a distraction to the drivers, but broadcast their unabated light out and up. Here in S. Florida I can literally count the number of stars in the night sky. But where I grew up in South Dakota you couldn't count the stars in a 1 foot patch of sky. I couldn't even describe the amazing things that can be seen on a dark moonless night. It is a truly remarkable sight that many people who live in cities will never see. I did see it one night here in S. Florida immediately following Hurricane Wilma where power was out to the entire region. Many people who live here saw the true night sky for the very first time that night - and not since.

Both of these forms of pollution are completely preventable - yet we choose not to. Loud is fun and light sells! These are sad statements on human nature. Actually, lets take that last word out because there isn't anything natural about noise and light pollution. Let's call it instead human stupidity. Pollution in all its many forms is not only preventable but also truly revolting.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Did God Blow Up An Oil Platform?

During this oil spill, where are all the crazy TV evangelists who are always blaming natural disasters on gays? To them I say this man made disaster is God pointing out how stupid and greedy we have become.

Missed Communication

Today I was getting my hair cut at my usual nearby Haitian barber shop. They were, of course, all speaking Creole and I can't pick out even a few words of that language yet. On the big screen TV they were watching the World Cup game - another sporting event I have no interest in and therefore no concept of what was going on. Add to that the fact that the announcers were all speaking Spanish - of which I can sometimes only get a few words. Needless to say I didn't have much input into the conversation. But I did find the convergence of all these language barriers interesting.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Revolting Oil Spill

The public is revolting over this catastrophic oil spill - too bad it took a spill to cause a revolt.

Much has been said about this spill - the response from BP, the response from the President, the residents of the Gulf Coast, environmentalists and just about everyone else. That's why I haven't written much about it myself. But there are a few things I would like to point out.

First, it appears to me that BP's efforts have focused on containing the spill rather than stopping it. It must be hard for them to imagine just stopping this flow of potential money, but in my opinion that should have always been the first priority - stopping it. This, however, has been proven to be easier said than done and I wish I had a good suggestion on how to accomplish a complete shutoff but I don't - yet.

One thing I am fairly certain of though is that the big plan everyone is waiting for - the relief well to be completed in August - will NOT stop or even slow down this gusher. Here is why I don't believe it will work to slow the flow:

Imagine if you had something like a water balloon that wouldn't pop if you put a small hole in it. If you put pressure on this balloon water would squirt out of that tiny hole. Now imagine that you put a second tiny hole in this same balloon - does the water now flow out of the new hole and stop flowing out of the first one? Of course not. What you have now is 2 holes that have the same amount of flow coming out. When the pressure is relived enough, both holes will stop flowing at the same time. Even if BP were to put the new well right next to the existing gusher - both would still flow at the same rate. It may make a tiny bit of difference if they could pump the oil out of the relief well faster than it is coming out of the first hole - but it would be a negligible difference and the first gusher would continue to gush. It is simply a way that BP can get permission to drill another well into this obviously rich source of oil and money.

Now, I must address all the folks who are calling this President Obama's "Katrina". Let's put aside the truth that in both cases, it was known that the catastrophe was not only possible but eminent. Let's focus on the aftermath. During Katrina, President Bush had at his disposal all the tools and manpower needed to accomplish a massive rescue and rebuilding mission. His fault in that disaster was his lack of quick action and not using those resources to their full potential. With this oil spill, our government does not have tools standing by to stop or collect massive amounts of gushing or floating oil. This is a situation where even the oil companies - who are in the business - have no clue as to how to stop or recover the spilled oil. I ask these folks who are blaming the government - what would you have them do? And please be specific. The only thing I have hear so far is they want us to drop a bomb on the spill and somehow that will stop it. That is CRAZY! Imagine dropping a brick on that water balloon we spoke of earlier - would that stop the flow from the tiny hole? Yes because all the liquid would now be set free. Republicans think they can fix anything with a bomb.

Finally, let me also point out (as others have done) that there are hundreds and maybe even thousands of other oil wells in the oceans of the world that also do not have proper safety shutoff equipment installed thanks to the Cheney / Bush (and others) policies. Before we drill a single new well, lets get those existing ones fixed so this does not happen again!

UPDATE 6/25/10 I just read on USA Today that BP is actually drilling 2 relief wells. This, in spite of the drilling ban President Obama has put in effect (which is being challenged in courts). And now a tropical depression has formed just south of this region and possibly headed for the spill area. Instead of one massive uncontrolled leak, we will likely end up with THREE! In my humble opinion, if relief wells are truly needed to control this leak - why not let another oil company with a better safety record do it??!!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Irritating Grid

Two weeks ago I pre-ordered an HTC Evo phone from Sprint (I'm not going to provide a hyperlink because I'm mad) and tomorrow is the day it would be available. I'm a tech geek and fancy new gadgets like this make me very excited and it was time to upgrade my phone so this was it! But Sprint has decided to add a lot of extra unavoidable fees on top of the normal phone and data plan I'm already paying - who can afford all that? Not me - I won't be picking up my Evo.

This is a big mistake for Sprint in my opinion. Here they had the first real possible i-Phone killer (even with the new i-Phone about to launch) and MANY very unhappy AT&T customers just aching to get away from AT&T. Rather than lure them in with a great new device at an affordable price they will brush them off with extra fees. The new i-Phone will be available on Verizon - that's where the AT&T folks will likely go now. Too bad for Sprint.

When I was debating on splurging on a new smart phone, I was torn. I told myself if I decide not to get this device then I might just jump off the technology bandwagon all together. All this new technology available today is very exciting for someone like me but it is getting very frustrating as well. I'm beginning to feel like my life is just one giant subscription that eats away every single bit of my available income leaving me scratching for enough money to buy food. On top of that the constant bombardment of text messages, phone calls, Facebook updates, advertisements, pin numbers, constantly changing passwords and fraud schemes has begun to make me a very irritable person. I'm irritated just writing that sentence! So while part of me wants the latest and greatest gadget, another part of me just wants to turn it all off, cancel all the subscriptions, pay my bills by cash and just fall off "the grid". Honestly, that is a very real possibility for me at this point - I do still have that nice touring bicycle to take me away into the wilderness.

I haven't made the decision yet whether to keep moving forward or take a giant step back so for now I'll just keep using my outdated technology (heck - it still works) and pay the subscriptions I currently am forced to while somehow trying to keep my head above water. If I decide to jump off "the grid", you will probably hear about it here first - and probably last at the same time.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Power Of Water

Water is the most abundant resource on our planet, and while most of it isn't suitable for humans to drink, nearly all of it is suitable another important use - Energy.

I believe that hydrogen is the power of the future. We already use hydrogen in the space program and we are beginning to develop hydrogen powered automobiles. When you see the Space Shuttle thrusting toward the sky, the exhaust you see isn't smoke - it's water vapor. That's right - the byproduct of burning hydrogen is water!

The problem with hydrogen power is that hydrogen is very expensive to produce. Interestingly, hydrogen gas starts from water. That H2O symbol everyone is familiar with means 2 parts Hydrogen, 1 part Oxygen. To create hydrogen you simply need to separate the two elements. It is not a difficult process - you run an electric current through water (with the proper equipment) and the two gasses separate. I am not a scientist but from what I understand, the process of separating H2O is actually enhanced by using salt water. But it takes a LOT of electricity to make a small amount of gas and so it can be prohibitively expensive. It can also lose it's "green" appeal if you need to use other resources like fossil fuels to produce the electricity. Even nuclear power has drastic potential side effects including where to store the radio active waste.

Here is where my idea comes in. What if we use the power of water to create the electricity needed to separate the hydrogen and the oxygen? I believe we can use our vast oceans as not only the source of fuel but also the means to create that fuel by using Wave Energy. If you are following me so far hopefully something just clicked in your head. Wave energy technology is the process of using the motion of the ocean (I like the sound of it) to create electricity. This technology already exists and is being used - at least in testing - to create electricity to power homes. I believe it can also be used to create electricity to separate H2O.

So, we start with water - use wave technology to create electricity to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen. We use the hydrogen as a fuel in transportation with the byproduct of that fuel being water. Now that's what I call a renewable fuel source! And all if it can be done off shore, possibly under water, out of site and safely away from population in case of an accidental explosion (which would have very little environmental impact). Hopefully someone smarter than me is already working on this, but if not - I hope I might get credit for thinking of it.

If this combination of existing technologies works as I think it should, every nation would have the potential of producing their own clean inexpensive renewable energy.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pope's Perflexing Perception

The Pope said today that he believes the 2 most important issues affecting the world are abortion and same sex marriage. Really.

Here are my votes:

Environmental Damage

A lot of people have called the Pope "out of touch with reality". I'm going to officially call him and idiot. I was raised Catholic and I do not disrespect the good people who follow this religion, but I do disrespect this man. It is time for the parishioners to rise up and be heard. I'm certain they do not agree with this nonsense.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Splash Junk

They put a whole lot of technology in cell phones these days making them nothing less than a small, fully functioning computers. But all that technology is completely useless if the device gets wet - even just a little wet. I've even had my cell phone damaged just from sweat while working out at the gym and using it as a music player. It would take very few design changes to make these devices water proof - or at the very least water resistant. People do a lot of recreational activities on or near water - not to mention that cell phones seem magnetically drawn to the toilet somehow. I'm not sure I would want to use my phone after a visit inside the toilet - but at least if it was water resistant I could possibly rinse it off good and then it might be OK.

Did you know they even have a special screw inside phones that indicates if they have come in contact with water? That's so they don't have to pay to fix it if it accidentally got wet. Come on - if you know these things tend to get dunked, make em dunk proofed!

Friday, April 30, 2010


It's time for Sara Palin and John McCain to go skinny dipping of the shore of Louisiana. And I suppose they should take President Obama with them.

They should also read one of my recent posts and the associated comments.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Epic Dreams

One year ago this weekend I began my adventure of a lifetime. I truly believed that completing this journey I had dreamed of for so long would "cure" me of this silly bicycle stuff. It didn't. Ever since I returned, I've been longing to get back on the open road, camping in the majesty of nature with my destiny in the hands of only myself and God. I guess I haven't fully adjusted back into "normal" life. I feel uncomfortable back in the corporate world and perhaps I never was. I can't shake this nagging feeling that I am meant for something else. But what?!

The good news is that I discovered a wonderful side effect of making time to fulfill your dreams - you get to dream up new ones!

And so as I sit in this cold windowless box ensuring someone else makes lots of money, I dream of my next adventure. It might not be as grand as the last one - or perhaps it will be even more epic! Either way its nice to dream and I can't wait.

As Whitney sings in the final video of my trip - "My finest day is yet unknown"

Monday, April 19, 2010

Please Don't Shoot But...................

Is there a bill being proposed somewhere to annul the 2nd amendment? I don't recall reading anything about it. Still there are protesters outside the capital - with guns - protesting their right to carry them. Did I miss something?

The real scary part of this is that some of the protesters say they are there in response to the health care bill. I guess Sarah Palin's message has been received.

I believe in the constitutional right to bear arms - in fact I have many family members who are hunters (for food). However, I do not believe that crazy people should be allowed to carry a weapon (concealed or not)! Anybody that makes a connection between health care reform and the right to bear arms who then shows up at a protest with a weapon should be arrested on the spot and confined to a mental institution. This is not a demonstration - it is a threat of brutal violence. These people are clearly saying that they intend to use their weapons against people who disagree with them.

We call this terrorism.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Prostitution Is Illegal

If Corporations are to be considered and treated as persons in this country, with the same rights and responsibilities as an individual, then it follows that these Individuals shall not buy and sell other Individuals. This Corporate person has the right to exist but is owned by no one. In this country it is against the law to own a person. The end to mega-monopolies has finally arrived. Put the Corporate Pimps in jail.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Andre Gets Five Minutes

If you have read any of the comments in my recent posts, you will see my reader Andre and I have gotten into some spirited debates on some of these political topics. Well, at least they were spirited for a while and then they got rather lengthy and cynical. Still, I enjoy a good debate.

The other day I went back and started reading my blog from the beginning - back to 2005. An interesting theme appeared almost immediately that I wanted to share. My arguments against the "W" administration at the time are amazingly similar the arguments currently being voiced by Andre and other political commentators today. Wasted tax payer money, huge deficits, not listening to the American people and violation or erosion of our basic American rights were central themes then and now. At the time people were even referring to George W. as Hitler - just as they are doing to President Obama.

Are both parties right? Are both parties wrong? I find it all very interesting.

Democrats Love Palin!

Republicans have chosen as their party's primary spokesperson a high ranking elected official who quit her elected job to be a spokesperson. They elected her - she quit - and they love her for it! It really is quite comical. But in my opinion, Sarah Palin is the best thing that ever happened to the Democratic party. She is indeed a portrait of the extreme right movement and I don't think the moderate Republicans enjoy her or her message. I'm also hopeful that her high visibility and extreme opinions against a popular Democratic President will bring out more Democratic voters who might otherwise choose not to vote. Go Palin!

Air Sick

CEO's of major airlines keep telling us that the reason they are charging extra fees for things that should be included in the ticket price is for the customers benefit. It gives us more "choices" and makes their pricing "fair".

I've never heard a bigger piece of crap.

I'm just trying to get to South Dakota from Florida to visit my ailing Mother and the base fare is still over $550.00 - not including food, checked and/or carry-on bags, and fuel surcharge. By the time I board that plane it will cost me well over $600.00 for a domestic coach ticket! I don't have a "choice" and it certainly isn't "fair".

A note to CEO's everywhere: Stop coming up with this stupid "word play". We are smarter than you think and you are making your companies look very foolish to the consumer. When we really do get a choice at something fair, we will remember who tried to screw us.

UPDATE 4/20/10 - Spirit Airlines announces "pre-reclined" seats on it's new plane. Pre-reclined!! LOL You got it - those are seats that don't move at all. Nice. This is totally going to ruin Ellen DeGeneres's stand up routine.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Thrilled With 30 Cents

My local grocery store always puts the amount I saved on the bottom of my receipt. I don't even need a stupid saving card to enjoy the discount. I take pride in my careful shopping and usually only buy what's on sale due to my very limited budget. Sometimes I save 30 - 50 percent with a good "buy one get one free" sale. I find it interesting that when I have such a great shopping trip - saving $30 on $100 worth of groceries, I'm handed my receipt without any notice of my accomplishment. However, if I go in to buy something under $10, the cashier uses a marker to hi-light the amount I saved and then announces cheerfully as she hands me the receipt " you saved 30 cents today!".

Friday, April 09, 2010

Machines Are Not Magic

It amazes me that people don't take the time to learn how things work. Machines do some amazing things but there isn't a whole lot of magic in the world. Here are a few examples:

I = Issue
W = why it's wrong

I = A person arrives home and turns the A/C down to 50 thinking it will get cool faster (or the heat up to 90)
W = A/C and heating units always run at the same speed and the fan that distributes the air also typically runs at the same speed. The thermostat is only designed to stop the device when the proper temperature is reached. It cannot make the device work faster. Just set the temperature where you want it to stop and it will get there.

I = a person mowing the lawn is walking very fast to get the job done faster (or the vacuum cleaner)
W = The blade on the mower only turns so fast. If you push it faster you won't cut all the grass. Same for the vacuum cleaner - give the machine time to work

I = More soap means cleaner laundry
W = Too much soap means the machine won't be able to rinse all the soap out.

I = You just started the car and someone yells to turn up the heat (I didn't say "she" did I??)
W = Most cars get their heat from the engine. When you first start the car there isn't any heat. If you turn up the fan to hi you will only be blowing a lot of cold air around. Wait a little while then turn up the fan.

I= If you cook it on Hi it will get done faster.
W= Some things need lower heat to allow time for the heat to get through the food. If you cook it on Hi you will have a done or burnt outside and an undercooked inside. It works good for a rare steak though.

I have actually seen people do all of these things - and I'll admit I was guilty of the last one before I stopped to think about it. I'm a much better cook now.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oiled Hurricane Magnet

I had a very entertaining evening reading comments on USA Today regarding the President's off-shore drilling announcement. It was just so difficult for those Republican PAC members to try to be negative about the President's agenda when it was a topic they actually agreed with. I found it quite comical. So to be fair, let me do it.

This announcement was not a surprise to me as it was referenced even during the election. But I still can't agree with it. True, we are a nation dependent on a resource of which we have a very limited supply. This causes us to be in business with rouge nations and the complications of this dependency are a matter of our national security. But drilling for oil anywhere is a short term bandaid on a gaping wound. The worlds oil supply is finite. We must find another resource. This article, however, is not about the other options we should explore - and there are many. Let's just deal with oil for the moment.

My biggest issue with off shore drilling is the inevitable environmental impact. If my only choice were to drill off shore or drill in a protected wildlife sanctuary, I would choose the later. Accidents happen and there will be spills. At least on land, a spill can be somewhat controlled and the impact is minimal compared to the potential widespread distribution of spilled oil in water. Off shore oil rigs are hurricane magnets. A severe storm not only adds to the potential for environmental disaster, but also stopped production during the storm. This will affect prices as we have seen too often in the past. Those rigs floating out in the open ocean tethered to the ground with a fragile pipe perhaps miles deep are a recipe for environmental and financial disaster. It is irresponsible on many levels.

So if we must drill let's drill on land. But of course these are not our only options. Innovation will heal this wound. Innovation can be expensive, but so are wars. Let's spend the money in the right place - a topic for another article.

UPDATE: Well it didn't even take a hurricane to bring down an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico last week, and while they denied there was an oil spill at the time, we now learn that it may turn out to be one of the biggest spills in oil history. Wonderful. I'm usually a little thrilled when history proves my articles are on target but in this case I had hoped it wouldn't be proven. The vast environmental damage is already occurring - soon to be followed by more financial damage in lost tourism due to oil slicked beaches and increased fuel prices. I believe there are no coincidences - let's not push the snooze button on this wake up call.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Late Adopter

Until recently, I've always been on the bleeding edge of technology. I love tech gadgets especially those that will do several things at once, like smart phones. I was on a waiting list for the Treo 600 when it came out and was thrilled with the device even with a few bugs that needed to be worked out. I've upgraded several times and currently own a Treo 755p. You might ask why someone like me still owns a Treo? While there are several answers, (It still works, contracts, prices etc.) the biggest reason is that I still refuse to do business with AT&T if at all possible.

You can't imagine how disappointed I was when the I-phone came out firmly attached to AT&T. In all honesty, my Treo did (and still does) almost everything the I-phone does. But the I-phone is the type of thing geeks like me dream about - fresh, new and exciting. But I decided my objection to AT&T was more important. Today I read that the exclusive deal between Apple and AT&T may be up and the I-phone may be available on other networks soon. And even though there was a hint that it might also include the newest version of the I-phone, I'm not sure I even want one any more. The poison Apple left a bad taste and I'm also rethinking my decision to possibly buy a MAC as my next computer.

Besides - everyone has an I-phone now, not so cool anymore for us geek types. I've held out this long and there are a lot of new technologies just around the corner. My Treo is still working great and I'm still satisfied with my Sprint service. I don't have a contract right now and I'm ready for the next big thing. Unless that thing is attached to AT&T.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tune the 90's

If you listen to any modern urban type music, you have likely heard the Auto Tune microphone. It is a clever device and it does seem to have a particular application in that Genre, but it also is starting to get on my nerves a bit. Every track seems to use it now- some better than others. I think it takes the art out of music. If you can't carry a tune - you probably shouldn't be singing.

That reminds me of the 90's I wish I had a time machine that would allow me to go back and apply the Auto Tune microphone to those awful "Freestyle" songs that were popular back then. Such a device was badly needed. We have a dance station here that plays a lot of those old freestyle songs and I still cringe at the "almost in tune" droning of that genre. I have a friend who loves those tracks and I joke with him about it all the time. He also has experience in mixing music. Maybe I should challenge him to apply the auto tune and see if we can fix the 90's. It might be a fun project for him.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hopey Changey

I'm very proud of our Democratic leaders for fighting hard for the common good of America. It is a historic period for our Country.

Out of Control Party

Attention SENSIBLE Republicans - take back your party!

We know there are far more reasonable people in the Republican party than the few that are making a spectacle of the conservative right. Please do yourselves a favor and stand up to these extremists! The Republican party is not bad - but there are bad people who think they own it. They are not only making a joke out of our great country and our political system, they are also making a joke of all the good Americans who identify as Republicans.

Stand up to them and let them know that violence against politicians is NOT accepted.

Let them know that being obnoxious does not reflect well on the party.

Tell them you are tired of the childish name calling.

Make them understand that they do not represent most Republicans.

There are ways to make your point without making a scene. Politics are for ADULTS.

Write to them, call them, talk to them. Let them know that you are a proud Republican and you want them to straighten up. Make your point by not watching their shows or supporting their newspapers. Attend your Tea Party meetings and make yourself heard. You have a voice too!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Counted (and Notated)

I completed my census form today and mailed it off. It was very easy and didn't take much time. I was glad to see the category of "unmarried domestic partner" as an option for the other person who might be living with you. Last census I was very honored to be able to indicate that my male partner and I of several years were indeed unmarried domestic partners. I often hear about statistics from the census that mention gay households and this is how they gather that information.

Our relationship ended after 10 years and this year I live alone. If you were to look at my form now you might not be able to tell that mine is still a gay household because it only just shows a single male living there. The same could be true of 2 (or more) gay roommates who do not consider themselves in a relationship. Their form would just show several males living as roommates. This little glitch in the system will widely skew the statistics that show how many gay people or households there are in the USA. And those numbers will be used to justify (or deny) causes related to gay issues. I think that is very significant.

I made a note on my form right next to where I had to choose Male or Female (not a difficult choice for me but I know some people who would have a hard time choosing just one). Right next to where I selected Male, I clearly wrote Homosexual. If a human being reads my form they will see it and hopefully note it. If a machine reads my form then I'm not gay anymore.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


In the movie Avatar the planet natives have an unusual physical connection to the creatures they use for transportation. This allows a mental connection to the creature who in turn responds to their very thoughts. I know it sounds odd, but sometimes I feel like I have this same type of connection to my bicycle – as if it becomes a part of me as I ride. This was especially true on my recent bicycle trip across the USA. That feeling of connection is amplified when your entire life at the moment is loaded on the bicycle as well. At first it seems very foreign and difficult to control. But when you get used to the way the bicycle handles with all the extra weight, it becomes a natural extension of yourself. When camp is set up and all the weight is removed from the bike, it again feels foreign for a few moments while you adjust. I’m sure people had a good chuckle watching me go out for dinner wobbling on my bike like a child riding for the first time. But soon I found the balance again.

Because of my bicycle trip, the movie Avatar had a very profound and lasting effect on me. I grew up in rural America but I only knew my little part. I’ve had jobs where I traveled throughout the USA, but I rarely strayed from the Interstate Highway system. This trip was much different as I traveled on back roads and converted railroad lines that were turned into bicycle paths. Many times I found myself captivated by the diversity and beauty of this amazing country. I found myself riding in places not too disturbed by human activity. It was as magical and “other worldly” as the scenery in Avatar and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised that the local natives were also friendly, if not a bit cautious.

We live in a very special place and sadly few people get a chance to see it the way I did. There is great beauty in our National Parks but don’t expect it to be undisturbed. I found the National Parks jammed to the limit with giant RV buses and too many people trying to see the same thing at once. The deafening noise from Harley Davidson motorcycles often drowned out the sound of the birds and the gentle waterfalls. It wasn’t until I was off the beaten path that I could enjoy nature in all her glory. The sights, sounds, and smells were something I will never forget. I hope more people get a chance to view the world without a motor. Those that do will soon realize our coexistence with Nature is fragile and we must do whatever we can to keep the balance.

Balancing a planet loaded with people is much like balancing a loaded bicycle. It takes a little practice but you get used to it. We must find the balance or we will fall. If we fall the planet will wobble, adjust and find balance again – unloaded.