Tuesday, October 31, 2006

After Halloween

Well its past the witching hour of Halloween, in my township at least. I got to run around the development with the two boys, and the had a ball.

Back home, the much-better-half reports another lackluster year, with the total count less than 70... that's two years in a row of low turnout, after prior years average of 100 or more kids.

More candy for me!

As if I need it; between being sick last week and an obligatory Scout Leader meeting Monday night, I haven't had a work-out in two weeks... I try to put out 2 sets of 25 push-ups a day, with modest success at remembering them each morning (and, yes, they're knuckle push-ups, not that 50 is a huge number to begin with). I just know I'll especially feel the results of tomorrow night's work-out on Thursday.


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All Hallow's Eve lanterns

Last week, Maidink and Geo featured a unique take on pumpkin adornment.


Today, I present a decidedly warped view....



Pure poetry, I say. I only wish I was half as talented as these folks are.

Trick or Treating in my township runs for 5-7 PM; not much time to do the deeds, I say. Nearby township's have T-or-T on a weekend day closest to the 31st; while sticking to the traditional day is not necessarily a bad thing, it does leave it hard to schedule sometimes.

The act of carving pumpkins (or rather: turnips, originally) dates back to old Celtic tradition that they would help take care of the spirits in the material world.

With any luck, I hope to partake in my own Celtic tradition involving spirits this evening...


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Monday, October 30, 2006

Too busy to talk? Who'd ever believe that from me?

Late Friday, I was flattered to read an invite from a producer of a national public radio program, Open Source,http://www.radioopensource.org/. The invite was for today in which they would be discussing the Pennsylvania Senatorial race.

Sadly, I am posting this much in my 15 minutes of lunch I've squeezed in for today; while the idea of being involved in a live discussion was certainly hard to resist (especially for an old collegiate radio dog like myself), I knew I couldn't have given it the proper time it well deserved.

Especially since there is so much to be said for Sen. Rick Santorum's challenger, who has made a campaign our of not answering questions in debates, not stating any specific plans or intents for the office, and continues to avoid any interviews with major media outlets in the Commonwealth. Pennsylvania Treasury Secy Bob Casey seems to think running as the son of his father, a former PA Governor, should entitle him to higher office.

Sen. Santorum, on the other hand, engages in debates and discussions with all, and his record stands as evidence of his accomplishments. Whether it be in defense of increased border security, support for higher benefits for military injured or deceased, or in the defense of children plagued with autism, Rick Santorum goes to bat for all in Pennsylvania and the nation.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Facts: they can be a stubborn thing to ignore

I am so far behind in both reading and posting, this one almost got away!

Do not believe the recurrent lies that President Bush's tax cut was only for the wealthy. Every person who paid Federal taxes enjoys the benefit of those tax cuts -- all 300-million -- and some of these benefits are outlined below, in a style resembling Harper's Index. Keep this in mind as you head to the polls in a few short days: which candidates are going to vote to make those tax cuts permanent?

As seen at Chronicle of the Conspiracy to Keep you Poor and Stupid :

  • $14,374,330,000,000 Total Increase in Household Wealth Since April 2003
  • $5,700,000,000,000 Total Increase in Shareholder Wealth Since May 20, 2003
  • $863,654,000,000 Total Amount of Tax Cuts Enacted Since Fiscal Year 2003
  • $783,890,000,000 Total Amount of Additional Tax Cuts to be Returned to Taxpayers Through 2010
  • $625,000,000,000 Total Increase in Federal Tax Revenues Since FY 2003
  • $207,788,000,000 Reduction in the Deficit in the Past 29 Months Due to Stronger Economic Growth
  • $98,600,000,000 Combined Income Gains for Shareholders From Dividend Increases & Tax Savings 03-05
  • $62,000,000,000 Surplus of Capital Gains Tax Revenue Not Accounted For By Revenue Estimators
  • $60,000,000,000 Deficit REDUCTION Since the Tax Cut Was Signed Into Law
  • 300,001,643 Total Number of Americans benefiting from President Bush’s Tax Cut
  • 91,000,000 Number of Individuals Owning Shares of Stock in America
  • 23,000,000 Number of Small Businesses Benefiting from Income Tax Reductions
  • 6,600,000 Number of Jobs Created Since the Tax Cut Was Signed Into Law
  • 12,000 The Magic Number of the Dow Jones Industrial Index is an Arms Length Away has exceeded
  • $2,092 Tax Increase for a Family of Four With $50k of Income if Tax Cuts Are Repealed
  • 200 Number of House Members Who Voted Against This Growth Generating Tax Cut
  • 50 Number of US Senators Who Voted Against This Growth Generating Tax Cut
  • 25 Number of Years Dividend Paying Companies Declined Prior to the 2003 Tax Cut
  • 164.0% % Increase in the Dividend Tax Rate if the Income and Dividend Tax Cuts Expire
  • 123.0% % Increase in Dividend Income and Share Repurchases Since 2003 Tax Cut
  • 91.0% % Increase of Stock Ownership in the Bottom Quintile of Income Distribution Since 1995
  • 74.0% % Increase in S&P 500 Companies Boosting Their Dividend Since 2002
  • 65.0% % of Voters Who Were Investors in the 2004 Elections
  • 51.2% % of Total Tax Cut “Cost” That Has Been Recouped From Higher Levels of Growth
  • 14.0% % Margin of Victory for Republicans From Investor Voters in 2002 Elections
  • 4.6% Unemployment Rate Which Continues To Disprove the Constant Economic Pessimism
  • 3.7% % Average Quarterly GDP Growth Since Tax Cut Was Enacted (long run average is 3.3%)
Be sure to have your facts in order the next time you argue for a tax increase!


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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Call it an earworm or a blog virus...

Don't blame me, cause I was infected by Lisa:

Manamanah



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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Coming around turn 4....

Here we are, coming around the final turn, soon to be approaching the home stretch in this year's election cycle.

I know people who can spout sports statistics off the top of their head. These are the people who marvel at the number of times a baseball umpire brushes clean home plate. For me, the closest thing I have that relates to those people is politics. I wasn't a PoliSci major, but perhaps I should have been. Regardless, I enjoy reading polls (legitimate ones, mind you, unlike Newsweek's latest offering -- more later) and following trends and debating issues.

I know people who are as fanatical about politics as are the sports people I alluded to above. I'm not quite that devoted to politics; I can't tell you who is running in local races outside my district any more than I can tell you the ERA of any given pitcher. But for me, this season is like a SuperBowl to football fans.

For months now we've been peppered with news poll after news poll, predicting that majority party will be turned out in this election cycle. These reports are hardly credible as a news story. No one predicted a Republican majority in the House of Representatives in 1994, yet it happened. And that election ended a 40 year grasp on the House held by the Democrats.

Most of these polls aren't worth the paper they're printed on; take the recent Newsweek poll, which predicts victory for the Democrats. Dig beneath the surface, and you'll find the Editors point to comparisons to the 2004 Election exit polls; those were the same polls that called for the victory of Sen. Kerry over President Bush, and clearly that was not the case. Some have said the polling sample used by Newsweek was biased towards Democrats, a charge I can't verify but one that would make sense, in light of their perceived bias.

We get so precious news of the robust economy we're all enjoying. The Dow Jones broke 10,000 a few years ago, and every newspaper carried the lead, and every TV news anchor went to live remotes to lower Manhattan. The Dow breaks 12,000 last month and hardly a whisper can be heard. These numbers, as any investor will tell you, are artificial benchmarks; but the fact that they are reached and exceeded are indicative of the economy's strength.

So if at one time you ever used the slogan 'It's the economy, stupid', you'd be a hypocrite not to say it again today.

Why would it not be surprising if the Republicans lose either the House, the Senate or both? Because it is an off-year election, in the President's second term. The greatest turnover (by party) traditionally occurs in these scenarios. Unless there is an overwhelming blowout by Democrats (think of the landslides Ronald Reagan enjoyed in both of his elections), then the Democrats can't claim overwhelming victory. For if they can't win in this environment, with non-stop slamming of the President and GOP on the Nightly News and late-night comedians, where can they win?

Why would it not be surprising if Republicans hold both houses? This country has voted decidedly right-wing for about 12 years now. In Congressional and Gubernatorial races, the country has leaned right for years. Let's look at what would happen should that trend change now:

  • No protection to the across-the-board tax cuts
  • No efforts to provide for our own oil reserves on our soil
  • Amnesty granted for all who cross our borders, with few (if any) questions asked.

Granted, I am hardly alone in my criticism of the GOP-led Congress. Their penchant of spending like a drunken sailor has always been among my criticism. But the House prevented the Senate (and the White House) from passing am amnesty bill; this is a critical point that cannot be ignored.

In less than 2 weeks, we'll be voting (well, to be honest: I mailed my absentee ballot Monday, so I already voted). This election is crucial for the economy, for the safety of our borders, and for the well being of everyone in this nation. If the Democrats had any plan to improve on any of those topics, why haven't they provided any data or any issue they will improve upon, other than voting out Congressmen who voted along with President Bush?

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Just what I need

This morning I woke with a slight sore throat. No biggie; post-nasal drip is something to which I am hardly immune. By 11:30 I knew I had something else; my neck was sore, not from a pulled muscle sore, but sore like my throat was sore.


Sue asked are your glands swollen? This was a common question my mom used to ask when we were kids and getting sick. A pity, as I am a dad, that I never quite learned what it was I was supposed to be looking for when I checked my own throat. I had not clue.

So I called my physician... got a 7:30 appointment. I have an infection... when I asked him how to check my own glands he showed me, and told me mine weren't swollen. Honestly I doubt still I'd know what I was looking for if they were.

So I am on Promethazine and Biaxin for the duration; if I feel up to it, I'm off to work tomorrow.


Of course I am serious....


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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Yet Another Movie


One sound, one single sound
One kiss, one single kiss
A face outside the window pane
However did it come to this?

A man who ran, a child who cried
A girl who heard, a voice that lied
The sun that burned a fiery red
The vision of an empty bed

The use of force, he was so tough
She'll soon submit, she's had enough
The march of fate, the broken will
Someone is lying very still

He has laughed and he has cried
He has fought and he has died
He's just the same as all the rest
He's not the worst, he's not the best

And still this ceaseless murmuring
The babbling that I brook
The seas of faces, eyes upraised
The empty screen, the vacant look

A man in black on a snow white horse,
A pointless life has run its course,
The red rimmed eyes, the tears still run
As he fades into the setting sun

Pink Floyd

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I'm not dead yet

I think I'll go for a walk.

You're not fooling anyone, you know.
Scene 2


I know; so I haven't posted anything of substance in over a week. It's been 5 days since I even managed a post, and that was by text-message with a promise of a follow up. No follow up.

It's now about 2 weeks until election, and my promised posts of opinions on candidates are not even started. Yes, I took a stand that the GOP will hold the majority, but there's so much more to be said about why that is significant, and why it won't be if it doesn't.

Besides work taking much more of my time than usual, everything seems to be hitting at the same time. They're all routine, but some things take longer to complete than others. On the upside, after nearly 2 years of waiting, my much-better-half and I are starting to make headway in the search for a new vehicle.

Like I said, some things take longer than others.

More posts this week....

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

IN THE NEWS RIP

Christopher Glenn, the CBS radio announcer who brought us In The News during Saturday cartoons, is dead at 68. More later

--

Mobile Email from a Cingular Wireless Customer http://www.cingular.com

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Password

I see I have a rouge link or graphic that is pinging for a username and password. Not sure what CPanel is, but I'll get to it on Monday.

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

How is it possible?

How is it possible for a Dunkin' Donuts shop to run out of coffee? I am sitting here in a drive-thru with my 3 year3 year 3 year old asleep in the backseat, and I am told I would have to wait at least 10 minutes for coffee. WTF?

--

Mobile Email from a Cingular Wireless Customer http://www.cingular.com



That's what I keyed from my cell phone as a text message. I just realized it was truncated where it now shows as struck-through. This is not the first instance of a text-message failing to Blogger... not sure if it's my phone, Cingular, or Blogger itself.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

AirAmerica: Now, financially bankrupt too!!

A month ago I said I was wrong for publishing a post of the same title, but it appears it was only premature.

With SmokingGun providing the entire bankruptcy filing, it is pretty obvious they're broke. Not off the air, mind you, but broke.

Keep in mind: while I've yet to apply the new Blogger LABELS to all of my archive, I have written several times about why AAR was not succeeding (i.e. big names don't draw advertisers, content does). I am not suggesting there ought not to be left-wing radio; I merely said they lacked anything people really wanted to hear!

Keep that in mind when you hear talk of the Fairness Doctrine.



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Friday the 13th

So today, as if it is news to you all, is Friday the 13th (cue chilling music). It always spices up Halloween when the calendar falls like this.

Now for those who wonder whether or not Friday the 13th is truly bad luck or not, consider the following:

this humble correspondent was born on Friday the 13th. No, that does not mean today is my birthday, but the day of my birth was a Friday and the date was the 13th. As to whether that's good or bad luck, that's your decision.



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Thursday, October 12, 2006

A few hundred thousand here or there, but who is counting?

Yesterday we heard an astounding number of dead, purportedly caused by the US actions in Iraq. 655,000, we're told, and everyone holds their collective heads and says 'Ohhh.'


But who is counting? Simple math tells us that in order to reach that number, some 512 people had to die each day. While it is not hard to imagine days when that number of people have died, it is beyond the scope of reason to assume that average can possibly work out to be true.



Yes, war is Hell, no one doubts that. But this timely report of an obviously dubious 'finding' can't be anything but propaganda in an election year. Reaching such a fanciful number reminded me of Rep. Major Owens (D-NY) who on the floor of Congress once said some 20 million slaves were thrown overboard during the years of that atrocity, and yet no one ever called him to task for such an outrageous claim.

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Making money with your blog ... other people, not you.

This is one of those things that should be spread far and wide... a meme with a purpose other than entertainment:

Over at Kathleen's ~Unsettled~ I've read of a website that is scraping RSS feeds and repacking content for their own search engine. Bitacle has scrapped some 56 of my posts and presents them with their own URL ... and as if that wasn't bad enough, they're presenting Google ads nearby.

I certainly have no problem with my content being shown in search engines (heh, who would mind?), but to present it as if it was their own - in spite of a link back to my original - AND to make their own ad revenue over it -- simply treads over the spirit and letter of the Creative Common licence found on this blog. Never have I been asked for permission, and never have they even had the decency of employing a track-back. While my paltry 56 posts aren't a huge source of income for Bitacle, many people (Kathleen, included) are reporting hundreds of their posts have been scraped, making it easy to imagine the potential traffic loss (read: revenue loss) to the respective owners.

My advice to fellow blog writers: do some digging at Bitacle and see if your content is being used. Then add a link to http://stopbitacleorg.wordpress.com/ and maybe a button to help spread the word.


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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Gallows Humor

Two different fund raisers are going on in my office. One, for the American Cancer Society's Breast Cancer Awareness Walk (scheduled locally for this Sunday) and another for the brother of an employee who is undergoing surgery for a brain tumor.

Two other colleagues are with me when the following transpired. The guy in this scene is contributing money to the collection for the brother's fund raiser. Dialogue guaranteed verbatim (as if I could make this up):

He: Wow, that sucks about her brother. It's a shame that both fund raisers happened the same week, too.

She: What do you mean?

Me: I think {he} was trying for Gallows Humor.

She: Oh I've heard of that, but don't know what it means.

Me: It's a kind of funny saying in the face of a bad situation, usually death.

She: Really?

Me: For example: less than 12 hours after the Shuttle Challenger blew up, people were saying What were Christy McAuliffe's last words before the Shuttle blew up? 'What's this switch do?'

She: GET OUT!!! Did she really say that??? Oh my God, is that what really happened???





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I'm back

I've been at the office since about 0630 and have finally caught up with the crap e-mail I didn't read while on vacation. That is, I did check in each day while I was away to put out fires, but left a fair amount go until today.

It's almost not worth taking more than a day or two off at a time. On the upside, the trip to the Science Museum on Friday went well... while the oldest was invited to participate in a day of science fun and exhibits, the underlying purpose was to brief us (the parents) on a program developed for those students who are performing exceedingly well in the virtual charter school. Sort of like an honors society, our son will now have greater opportunity for advanced course materials and more challenging work. Plus additional field trips and other features, too numerous to detail here and now. While we're confident he can handle the challenges (as is he), we're always worried about pushing too much. Time will tell, of course.

I have yet to read any of the posts in my feed reader. A few months ago I separated the Top Shelf of my Daily Reads in the hopes of at least reading the Blogs that are most important to me, but of late I've lapsed on that as well. Presently, those two categories, alone have over 400 posts, and I have a meeting to prepare for this morning. So for all who count me in their referrer log, you'll have to wait a bit longer.

Have to prep for my client meeting... and then catch up on reads, then the home stretch for the election... and I still stand by my prediction!



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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

a long weekend...


I've been offline for about a week, almost no e-mail and zilch blog reading or posting.


A school trip for our oldest and a variety of other runs for the other made taking a long weekend worthwhile.

Now I am awake, strangely so, since I'm not back to work until Wednesday. Lots of mail and blogs to read, however.



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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

THIS is why!


A few weeks ago I worried about a new purchase my much-better-half got for me in a wrist watch. I am concerned because the watch is expensive - now I'm not talking about 4 digits, but I am talking about $140, and that is expensive in my book.


I don't know when I did it, nor do I know how, but there's a blemish on the watch, roughly at 2:00. It's not rubbing out, so I can assume it's damaged.

If the crystal was cracked, I could at least have that replaced, but I wasn't so lucky.

This is why I prefer low-cost items for myself... I'm dangerous with the good stuff.

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Massive 'update'

For all of you who have this humble blog in your favorite Feed Reader, and you keep scan for 'update', you'll notice that suddenly they are some 2 dozen new or updated posts.

In reality, I've migrated to Blogger Beta. So far I can't really see a difference, but time will tell.



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Country Junction burned

Not far from home, there is a huge store, known as The World's Largest General Store that sold pretty much everything you could imagine. Hardware, furniture, remakes of the classic Cigar Store Indian, whatever you could imagine! The place offered a petting zoo, and Halloween and Christmas attractions.


The place is so popular, it draws visitors from NJ and Philadelphia. The main building is a complete loss, but the owners pledge to offer the Halloween and its Great Pumpkin Festival attractions, something my kids look forward to every year. In spite of the devastation, no one was hurt.

More pics at the Allentown Morning Call website.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Quick Hits

as read in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany (by at least one person, at least one time)... it's Nobody asked me, but.... Quick Hits

  • Whoever said no good deed goes unpunished was right; because I am handling my routine tasks, data center relocation project and last week's OT assignment so well, I am being given more responsibility with yet another project. There won't be any talk of salary bump until the end of the Spring, but it is hard to refuse the offer.

    What the hell, I can always drink more coffee.

  • Former Congressman (and pedophile) Mark Foley will hurt some on-the-fence voters, but won't adversely affect the November mid-term elections. That's my view. If for no other reason, this incident - however distasteful, disgraceful, and abhorrent - pales in comparison to the crimes committed by former Rep Gerry Studds in 1983. No, I am not giving Mark Foley a pass... what the IMs reportedly show certainly sounds illegal, and if so he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent, with great prejudice and no leniency.

    However, unlike his Massachusetts predecessor, the GOP immediately moved to distance themselves from Foley and he resigned (or was he pushed?). He was not applauded nor reelected, like Studds. And if going back 23 years sounds like ancient history to you, one needs not go further than 1995 to former Rep Mel Reynolds, who was convicted of kiddie porn, sexual assault of a minor, and later on: bank fraud.

    I am interested in knowing who had the sexually charged Foley IMs all this time. If it can be demonstrated that the House Leadership knew of them for some time, they ought to be drummed out of office immediately. If anyone concealed them until 5 weeks outside of the election, they should face charges of child endangerment and conspiracy to disenfranchise the electorate.

  • Election prediction: I had wanted to make this post last week but was too busy: I won't call individual races yet, but I will say this: both the House and the Senate will stay in Republican majority. That's my stand. If I am wrong, if the Democrats take the majority in either house, it will be by the slimmest of margins. There; I am on record.

  • Another charity I support -- and with no reservations -- is the 2006 Boobie-A-Thon. Yes, you, too can participate. No, I won't damage their credibility with any pics of me!





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Monday, October 02, 2006

It's Monday

It's Monday... and so far I'm not being called upon for further work on the OT task, so hopefully things will be back to normal, work-wise.

Over the weekend was a cousins reunion for my much-better-half's family. That side of the family doesn't have many get-togethers; growing up, my family could be counted to have a gathering on any given weekend. An aunt somewhere would have some baking that everyone had to sample.

But her family has always been reserved in those regards. Two of the last three such gatherings were, sadly, wakes. The other event, four years ago, was a wedding for her cousin, with whom she hung out with in their youth. While many of us all had wild lives in our younger days, her cousin, so it seemed, had considerably more oats to sow than the rest of us. Out of respect for the path her cousin had traveled and his way back to sobriety, the wedding reception was dry of all alcohol.

The gathering this weekend was at her cousin's and his wife's home, just outside of Philadelphia. And they have the most darling 3 year old daughter (with whom our 3 year old seems smitten with). And unlike the wedding, there was all forms of alcohol available and offered. He stayed away from anything alcoholic, and while others imbibed (responsibly), I declined to do so.

Lord knows I could use a belt or three on any given moment, especially at a family gathering such as this. But hey, while I wouldn't begrudge anyone to partake in a libation when offered, I'll raise a diet cola to the host out of respect for him in his own home.

But I gotta tell you: I could sure use a business trip...




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