Monday, February 27, 2006

March comes in like a lion....

While I haven't dumped my log in a while, clearly one of the top referrers to this humble blog has been my transcript of John Belushi, from SNL, describing how March comes in like a lion and goes out like ... a menagerie of animals from all corners of the world.

At the risk of being accused of self-promotion (who? ME??), I am linking to my own post right here.

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Piano Man Sings On - Foxlife: Billy Joel Pays for His Car Insurance: "The songs tell stories that reflect a commonality of the audience; everyone can identify with them. Listening to the sagas of Brenda and Eddie from Scenes from an Italian Restaurant, the narrator from the terrific gospel-like River of Dreams, or Mr. Cacciatore down on Sullivan Street in Moving Out for the umpteenth time, you come to realize this era is completely over.

No one is writing music like this anymore, and there is very little to identify with for the pop audience. That's why 15,000 people are filling the Garden for every night of Billy Joel's record-setting run, many of them standing in the audience and belting out the songs with no inhibitions, arms outstretched, like they were in their favorite bar or the chorus of a Broadway show. He's their friend, and they can't get enough of him."

Back in my younger days, I had the opportunity of seeing Billy Joel on a few occasions, including at The Garden and The Coliseum. Back then... mid 1980's or so... he was able to deliver his pop with some excellent rock and roll thrown in for good measure (who can forget hearing Captain Jack, live?).

As the article describes, Joel has always been a good guy (his drunk driving notwithstanding): he's never been mean to anyone, but has had more than his share of crap from others. It must be rewarding to see a 'sell out' on your 7th night in the Garden. Sure, no one seems interested in any new songs (if, indeed, he is writing anymore), but if you're still packing them in more than 30 years later, you have to be doing something right.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

Who would argue?

Taking a tip from Kathleen, I sought the definition of my name:

Charlie --


A lewd street performer

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at

Can anyone present a defense?

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ports Issue

I’ve not posted on this topic yet, because quite frankly there is too much unknown information for me to make a rational comment. However colleagues, pals, and friends have asked for my take, so it’s time to put those questions in writing to hopefully spur discussion and possible enlightenment.

And don’t assume you know where I stand on this issue… you may be surprised:


Right off the bat, I don’t understand the most recent tactic of President Bush’s Administration, suggesting he only learned of this deal in the last few weeks; this flies in the face of his resolute stance taken on Tuesday: that he would veto legislation that would block the action. Even if it was true, which I doubt, taking such a position so late in the game (and after drawing the veto line in the sand) makes for bad appearances.

Appearances are a big deal to many, especially in politics. I have long rallied against the notion that ‘form over function’ is a good idea, in that such a belief (in government) often leads to feel-good legislation that does little (if anything at all) to help anyone (i.e.: supplementing reckless driving laws with prohibitions for cell phones, chaotic and overbearing child-seat laws, etc.).

I, for one, do not like the deal because I’ve long thought too much of this country is sold to outside investors. However, these investors are merely returning US Dollars back to our country – after we have shipped them to those countries in trade – and that means those monies could be invested again here in the states. It is sometimes not at all pretty, but it is part of the open market system we embrace and all profit from. That there are ports that are run by Chinese outfits far outweighs any concern I would have with the UAW; I haven’t forgotten that China still blames the US for ramming their fighter jet with our turbo prop

The far majority of Congress people opposing this deal are doing so on the basis of ‘looking goods’. I submit few (if any) can name the agencies involved in Committee on Foreign Investment (CFI), the oversight body who approved of this deal in early January. Still, everyone wants to jump on the wagon if they can state a national security concern.

Regarding the National Security angle: up until this sale, the 6 ports in question were run by a British concern. Considering last summer’s bombing of London subways, carried out by Britons, I would submit it is hard to accuse the UAE of actively harboring terrorists. While I would prefer only US operators manning our ports, in a global economy that isn’t always what will happen. Add to it the fact that any US company can (and probably has) sold itself to a foreign company (as is the case in this issue), this is not entirely surprising.

The real questions I want answered are ones not even being asked in any media, MSM or (apparently) otherwise:
  • What part of the CFI review is being questioned? Is it the State Department, the Defense Department, OMB, Commerce, Homeland Security? Or, as I suggested above, do the automatic naysayer’s even know who is involved in the decision??
  • Assuming for the moment the Congress passes a bill, which is vetoed, and they overturn it. What then? How does the US tell a British company who they can or cannot sell out to? (yeah, I ended in a proposition…) Simply put, we can’t. But this company only leases the ports from the US. Has anyone seen the lease? What options, exactly, does the US have in cancelling a lease to a foreign company? There must be grounds for such a termination, what are they exactly?
  • What if the above lease is terminated: what then? Who steps in and runs the show?? Someone has to do it, so who will it be? How many companies in this world., US or foreign, have the skills needed to pick up this kind of operation? (I’ve asked the same question regarding Halliburton: who else, other than they, do what they do?)
  • If the UAE company controls the port in Corpus Christi, TX, will the state have to change the name of city, you know, to something that wouldn't offend Allah? (this is said with tongue planted firmly in cheek)

I think that when this issue is finally resolved, whatever the outcome, a serious review of policies regarding Foreign Investment will be called for by the masses. Anyone who immediately says ‘No’ to foreign investors will require some basic, collegiate economics lessons.

Still, this matter does not ‘look good’, and in a world obsessed with looks (and I’m talking the political world, not just the fashion world), looks are everything. I can’t predict how this play out in the end, but it certainly isn’t over yet. And quite frankly, while I was leaning towards approval, one inescapable fact cannot be ignored: former President Jimmy Carter endorses the plan. After the debacle over the Panama Canal, his opinion on foreign affairs cannot be taken for granted.

Your turn: answer any or all of my above questions, post your own,
or tell me why I am wrong.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006


OK, this just in...

Last night, I had a dream. No no, not about Freedom or anything important like that. And no, it was that kind of a dream either (get your minds out of the gutter).

But I did have a dream.

I've written in the past that I don't ever remember having a dream, but I do recall now that I dreamt last night.

I couldn't tell you, even if you paid, what the dream was about, but I was there. That's about all.

For whatever the hell it's worth, I had a dream.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Of truth, justice and Wikipedia

Last fall, I posted about a Pennsylvania native who was wrongly accused of prisoner abuse in the war on terror.

Lisa Girman, a 37 year old State Trooper from Wilkes-Barre, PA, was cleared of all charges of abuse involving the Guantanamo Bay prisoners [she was] guarding (photo of her here, along with links to the story).

Last night, there was a party held in her honor in WB, PA. She was late to arrive, but no one complained: she was tardy because she was busy re-enlisting.

After being dragged through the mud by the media, and all the left-wing blogs out there, after earning an honorable discharge, MSGT Girman wants to re-up.

I posted it because while I did see a story about MSGT. Girman in a local, NE PA television newscast, I found almost no posts about it anywhere on the Internet. Using Bloglines search subscription feature, I added her name to a search and pretty much forgot about her. Until today.

It seems Wikipedia, the site that lets anyone record alleged fact (whether or not verifiable), had a new post defaming MSGT. Girman. I posted an edit, setting the record straight, providing links to CNN and USA TODAY that indicate MSGT. Girman, along with her colleagues, was cleared of all charges, earned an honorable discharge, and that she re-enlisted.

It seemed the least I could do, considering her service to our nation.

UPDATE: Giving credit where credit is due was the intent of my post. Since the time I posted, the Wikipedia page officially recognizes my reference to USA Today. While I will always consider much of what is written in Wiki to be opinion rather than fact, it must be said that a wrong has been corrected.

, ,

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Momma don't take my Kodachrome away

13-Feb, 14:51
Memorandum: If you bring your cell phone to work, and then leave it on your desk, out in the open, when you leave for the day, it will annoy your co-workers when it frequently rings.

And if the above conditions exist, you should not be surprised to find your co-workers deemed it necessary to take a number of photos with said phone. Some of which can be politely described as 'rude'.

Just saying...

UPDATE: If, in the case above, you are that person who leaves your cell phone out in the open, and your co-workers take some rude photos, don't blame said co-workers if your wife wonders why the above mentioned rude photos are your phone.

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Capt. Obvious strikes again

So I decide to be a 'what a guy' and I make a run to Dunkin' Donuts to pick up 2 dozen to start Friday.

A co-worker enters the shop to order his ice coffee:

He: Hey Charlie... 2 dozen!  Are they for the office?
Me: No, I thought I'd eat them all myself.
He: Oh, well... ok....

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Two-faced MSM, once again

Michelle Malkin asks the question that few in the mainstream media seem willing to answer: why do they show the Abu Ghraib photos unvarnished -- with no disclaimers, apologies, or pixilation -- but they still refuse to show the Muhammad cartoons?

If the MSM says one cannot be shown because it offends, how can they justify showing the others?

Could it be the MSM is not so unbiased?

Oh, by the way: BUY DANISH!

Also on this topic:

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

20 questions

Phone conversation with my boss. All salient facts are 100% accurate, although certain terms will be italicized in place of local jargon.

He: I will be counting on you to address these points at the scheduled
meeting with client

Me: If you want; I wasn't invited.

He: Of course you were! Oh wait, maybe I forgot to include you in the invite....

He did forget; I had known of the meeting and blocked out my schedule in anticpiation of this call.

Me: It's Ok, I can make time. Is it at their site or ours?

It should be mentioned at this time that our office is a mile from our company headquarters; our building lacks any conference room, but there are two in HQ. HQ is undergoing a relocation to a bigger facility, and the move began a week ago.

He: It's in the New Conference Center.

Me: (pause) Is that our new HQ?

He: No, no. It's at client site.

Me: Oh. Where at the site is this New Conference Center?

He: Do you remember where all of the other on-site meetings were held?

Me: Yep.

He: They re-did the conference room. It's now the New Conference Center.

Me: So... it's in the same place?

He: Yep. You'll be there at 1:00, right?

Me: If you say so...

Oh yeah, this will be a good meeting...

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Getting it right

Jon Meacham, managing Editor of Newsweek Magazine, made the following observations on Monday's IMUS IN THE MORNING on MSNBC and on the radio all over the country:

Jon Meacham: "My sense is that people are so dug in on one side of the question or the other on (President) Bush that everything is like theology in a way. It's less about history at the moment where every piece of evidence is spun or contorted to confirm and affirm peoples preexisting view of the President or the Democrats. So if you are anti-Bush, the Abramoff photograph is going to be, Ah ha! See? He's eavesdropping on us, he's lied us into war, he's corrupt, he stole the election. You know that 49 percent are going to wave it and say that. Then on the other side you are going to have people who believe that Bush and Cheney are defending the country from terrorists. They're doing the best they can with limited information in what is a long, twilight struggle in which you cannot prove a negative. You foil a terrorist attack. Everything looks silly and crackpot-y until it actually happens. Just real quickly, one of my points about this is every plot looks small-time until it happens. If you had broken in and gotten to Oswald on November 21, 1963, you would have looked like a loser. If you had gotten to James Earl Ray on April 3, 1968, you would have looked like a loser. If you busted Mohammed Atta up in Portland, Maine, on September 10th and then said, Oh, by the way, he was going to be the mastermind behind 19 hijackers who were going to do this, all of us would have scratched our heads. So everything is sort of implausible until men with guns or men with planes change history, and that's why what Bush and Cheney are doing is so hard, it seems to me.'

Imus: 'That's a good point. That's a good analogy, a good example.'

Jon Meacham: 'I really believe that, and all kidding aside, I have great sympathy for the men who are fighting this war, and I believe their hearts are in the right place. Have they done everything right? No. Find me somebody who has in the last 6 thousand years or recorded history."

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If you loathe this day, join the club

Perhaps loathe is too harsh, but I am in the chorus of those who don't get Valentine's Day. When I was single, I participated because I believed it to be part of the courtship ritual. Today, I see 80% of the day being pure hype.
Yes, I have gotten my much-better-half a Vt. Bear, and a PajamaGram, and A la Zing -- and of course, assortments of flowers, chocolates, jewlery and dinners out -- all over the years. 14 years ago she told me: no more roses on Valentines day... too expensive. So I buy flowers throughout the year, on any given day, for no reason. I get her 8 or so bouquets each year, and I spend a little more than I would on one dozen roses today. And after years of buying her jerwelry she doesn't wear, she's told me not to buy anymore pieces (she seldom wears any jewelry).

Enough already. You watch the commercial for Vt. Bears or PajamaGram (which are both owned by the same company), and the assumption is women are either ignorant or stupid: 'She'll think you spent weeks shopping for it, but if you call by 8PM Monday, we can guarantee next day delivery.' Right; of course, if you're a woman, please disregard this message. How many bears can a gal own, anyway? At least pajamas are something functional.

So, yes, I got my much-better-half a card today, and of course one from the 3 year old, and the 10 year old crafted his own. Life is far busy to go to crowded cafes or the like just to get a V-day dinner... if we each had the time to get away for the weekend we would, but clearly this isn't happening any time soon.

For more on how others dislike today, read - Entertainment and Lifestyle News - Fox Features - Hate Valentine's Day? You're Not Alone "

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Monday, February 13, 2006

Overheard at office

Two gals were flipping through a TIME MAGAZINE in the coffee room, reading an interview with the heads of Google:

She1: It says here that only a single-digit percentage of users Google for porn.

She2: That makes sense. I prefer Yahoo!, myself.

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Friday, February 10, 2006

We pause now for these commercial messages

I suppose I pay too much attention to commercials, both radio & TV, for my own good. Here are few observations I've made about a few that are currently running:

  • Suzuki has had an ad for their Grand Vitara several months now, showing a man kissing his wife/SO as he's walking out the door. He takes a few steps as he puts on a helmet and then drops off the edge of a cliff, parachuetting down to where his SUV is parked. Tell me: what does this say about his vehicle choice? Usually, we focus on how good the car is, but today we look at the driver, as if his sky0diving has any corellation to his driving ability. How reliable is their car if he has to jump to get to it? Am I too assume the average homeowner who lives on a hill won't be able to get his car up to the driveway? Why is almost 60% of the commerical focused on the jump, and not the car?

  • Advil has been running a TV and radio ad, describing a woman who had recently given birth and started working out, so she needed a pain reliever for her knees. When she went back to work, she needed a pain reliever for tension headaches. As baby got big, she needed 'another one for back pain.' Am I to assume that people who aren't afflicted with chronic pain take analgesics on an ongoing, daily basis? Hell, hardly a week goes by that work doesn't give me a headache, but I'm not looking for a pill. And while there have been times when I've taken a pain reliever after a workout, its only because I've knowlingly pushed myself to the point of pain (arguably, this isn't the smartest thing to do, but ...). But after every workout I have loads of aches and pains, and especially the morning after. I don't routinely take pills. And while I have the easier job than my much better half does regarding our kids, I get back aches just the same.

    I guess what I am failing to comprehend is why any typical person -- again, without an injury or other chronic condition -- needs to take a pain reliever from just daily, common aches and pains. Or maybe I pay attention to the whole 'IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST FOR MORE THAN 10 DAYS, CONSULT A PHYSICIAN' label.

    I tell you, all the noise about VIOXX is starting to make even more sense to me now...

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    Google not playing fair

    Google has been lambasted for their censorship of information provided to China, and rightly so. Arguments on both sides have been interesting, to say the least, but in the spirit of opening the door to the Chinese, I declined to comment until I could read further.

    Today I watched a video installment of GOOGLE CURRENT, billed as an up to the minute look at what the world is searching for.

    As Michelle Malkin pointed out, Google is hardly unbiased in their commentary about her and Andrew Sullivan. Care to guess which internationally famous blogger got better press?

    By the way: Google owns Blogger, and BlogSpot, and thus this domain name. While I doubt severely they will censor this in the West, want to bet they aren't too happy about it?

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    Tuesday, February 07, 2006

    We are all Danes now

    Red State provides this news of bravery:

    The Danes are not backing down from their troop commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan:

    COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark said on Tuesday that Muslim protests over a Danish newspaper's cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad raised concerns for the safety of its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan but that it had no plans to withdraw them.
    For some perspective, these are not isolated, small protests. They involve tens of thousands of Muslims around the globe. A single Palestinian protest was said to have involved over 10,000 demonstrators and several have involved more than 5,000. They spread from Indonesia, to the Middle East, to Europe.

    Let us stand with our Western European bretheren, as they have with us, and we will all weather this storm! The Muslim embargo on Danish goods has also had a real and immediate financial impact on Denmark. Buy Danish!

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    Another death connected to the 'Religion of Peace'

    Michelle Malkin has details of the Italian Catholic priest Andrea Santoro, who died at the hands of a mad man that was convinced he somehow had something to do with the Danish paper publishing photos critical of the Prophet Mohammad.

    Another in a serious of hate crimes attributed to Islam, the religion that has been viciously hijaked by radicals, bent on using it as a reason to spread hate.

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    Monday, February 06, 2006

    Hat tip

    Ronald W. Reagan, 40th US President

    born this day in 1911

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    Thursday, February 02, 2006

    Excuse me, Kettle? I have Pot on line 2 for you.

    Don Luskin at The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid wonders how these unions have the nerve to tell Wal-Mart how to treat working Americans (emphasis below by me):

    Detroit News: "In Washington, Baltimore, Atlanta and elsewhere in the country, union organizers are scouring shelters and recruiting homeless people to staff their picket lines, paying just above minimum wage and failing to provide health benefits... A demonstrator in Washington, Nicey Howards, said the temporary protesters earn $8 an hour -- just a dollar above the legal minimum wage in Washington [note: this is less than the average pay for a full-time WMT associate] -- with no benefits. While she felt the job wasn't ideal [note: not ideal? mark that as the understatement of the year], Howards was glad she could earn a little money while looking for something better.

    Each week, Howards said, she works 20 hours, the maximum time allowed by the carpenters' union, bringing home $160. The union organizers allow the hired protesters to take two-minute breaks, Howards said, but dock their pay for the time off. "
    So it's OK for the Unions to pay less than Wal-Mart, the same company they complain underpays their potential dues-payers?

    Is it a wonder why Wal-Mart rejects the constant advances of organized labor?

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    He's a poet and I didn't even know it

    Punxsutawney Phil made his prediction... how did I know he was a poet, too?

    Phil's official forecast as read 2/2/06 at sunrise at Gobbler's Knob:
    It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
    Around the country there are many imitators of me.

    In Harrisburg there is Gus who appears on TV
    working for the lottery.

    Then all around town,
    Cute groundhog statues abound.
    They all look like me, I found.

    Today on the Knob as I'm doing my job,
    I don't like this likeness of me.
    It's my shadow I see.
    Six more weeks of mild winter there will be.

    I never said he was a good poet, however...

    Personally, I am partial to the movie.

    , ,
    , ,

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    Wednesday, February 01, 2006

    Take a Stand, Mr. Casey

    The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Treasurer, Robert Casey, Jr., is challenging Sen. Rick Santorum in the upcoming November elections. Mr. Casey waited until after the Senate Judiciary committe made their decision before weighing in on Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court, exlempifying what is wrong with those that hope to portay themsleves as Moderate.

    In last night's State of the Union address, President Bush made clear where he stands on a number of different issues. I wonder where Mr. Casey stands on the following:

    - Where are you on the Patriot Act?
    - Where are you on the terrorist surveillance program?
    - Where are you on Health Savings Accounts?
    - You have received thousands of dollars in contributions from trial attorneys who oppose medical liability reform. Where are you on this issue?
    - You have said you would roll back President Bush's tax cuts, which would result in a massive tax increase for many Pennsylvania families. Do you still agree that raising taxes is a policy that should be pursued?
    - Senate Democrats fervently applauded their failure to protect and preserve Social Security. Despite your previous silence on the issue of Social Security, have you decided where you are on this important program for Pennsylvania's seniors?"

    Sen. Santorum has weighed in; what say you, Mr. Casey?

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    Votes (Should Have) Consequences

    The GREAT ONE, himself, Mark Levin said it best:

    And Another Thing . . . on National Review Online:
    "While the Democrat filibuster was crushed, the fact remains that only four Democrats voted to confirm Sam Alito. Numerous so-called moderate Democrats, several from red states, voted against Alito. The next step is for conservative and Republicans activist in those states to force these Democrat senators to explain their no votes and hold them politically accountable for them. The radical left groups cracked their whip and these so-called moderates jumped. It seems to me they are vulnerable and can be defeated. "

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    Mixed Messages

    While I was at my local Turkey Hill pumping gas at about 5:15 this morning I saw the following signs, one on top of the other, delivering a mixed message:

    Chocolate Raspberry Coffee
    (limited time only!)

    Diet & Exercise Resolution?
    Look for
    New Year - New You
    items inside the store

    Exactly how slimming is anything called chocolate raspberry??

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