Tuesday, January 30, 2007

OK, I get the part about the mirrors, but...

If you've ever watched a major sporting event -- most recently football but also NASCAR events (which in my house is a given with my much-better-half and kids) -- you may have seen a commercial for DLP high-def televisions.

In the TV spot (and on the website) we see an angelic girl and an elephant. The girl proclaims it's the mirrors, a direct reference to the specific technology in the DLP sets.

There's no explanation for the elephant; it doesn't make any noise, doesn't move appreciably, so what does it have to do with anything?

So I went to the website (itsthemirrors.com ) and there's the pachyderm again. And I clicked around, checked for FAQs, etc. No mention of the elephant. Undaunted (and, admittedly, bored during late last night), I shot off an e-mail to DLP.

And I got an answer!

-----Original Message-----
To: TI_DLP
Subject: Why an elephant?


Questions or Comments: OK, I get the little girl and the box with the mirrors. I get the mirrors give quality unsurpassed. So why an elephant??

RESPONSE:

Thank you for contacting DLP® Products. The elephant and the girl were chosen to represent the magic of the mirrors and to introduce consumers, in a friendly and approachable way, to the amazement and wonder of these tiny mirrors inside DLP chips that power leading brands of HDTVs available in stores right now. The elephant is a gentle representative and symbolic of prosperity and hope.

Sincerely,

DLP® Call Center
Texas Instruments
888-357-2984
www.dlp.com

Ahhhh... the elephant is friendly (and approachable)!. The elephant is a gentle representative and symbolic of prosperity and hope.

Um, right...

So this is would be a motivation for me to buy a TV, or more specifically, their TV??

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Much a do about nothing much.

I'm going to get flamed, I predict, but I commented about this over at Is This Life, and felt I should at least post about it here:

I was sitting in my car yesterday, just about noon, when the news came on the radio. The lead story was about Barbaro.

Moments before, my cell phone chirped; I get new bulletins sent as text-messages. Barbaro.

The evening news casts last night led with Barabaro.

At 5AM today, the syndicated radio program America in the Morning led with a description of the various 'get well cards' written by school children, lining the stable.

Just now, I perused the news feeds on Google News:


Look at all the articles in the last hour!

HELLO! It's was a frickin' horse!! Sure, the owners, trainers, jockeys are owed their due, but all this media coverage is ridiculous!

Now I am not uncaring, but just imagine the pain the poor beast has been in SINCE the Preakness, when he should have been put down at the beginning of this whole ordeal.

Carry the story on the sports page? Definitely. Making out like the horse should get a state funeral? Please, spare me.


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Monday, January 29, 2007

You know you get to work too early when...

Ah, things have gotten busy around here. Why, I've yet to ask a question that's been on my mind for 2 weeks.

Specifically: in 24, we've learned the main story line so far involves some 12 weeks of terror attacks around the USA, and a terrorist named Fayed who promises to end the attacks in exchange for the US getting Jack Bauer out of a Chinese prison and delivered to him.

Okay.... um, how did the US, and much less Fayed, know Jack was in China? At the end of Season 5 he's being captured, evidently unknown to his fellow agents, and shipped to China aboard a freighter. How did they know he didn't simply 'disappear' again?

On to the question of the day: How do you know you get to work too early? When the snow plows clear the parking lot, and the only snow left is under your car.



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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

On the State of the Union

Tonight will be President Bush's 6th State of the Union address, and on balance, I expect a positive message.

Yes, our nation is at war. That fact cannot be denied, although many try to do so. But many of those same voices will have you think this nation is in trouble besides the war, which is untrue. Productivity is up, employment is up (way up), interest rates remain low, oil prices continue to decline, tax revenues to the treasury continue to climb ... domestically, we're doing pretty well.

I, among most Conservatives, will point to the continuing head-in-the-sand at the domestic border problems... the last Congress authorized a wall, but no monies were appropriated (yet another reason they lost the majority?). It is high-time the President uses his bully pulpit to push for tighter security, and no talk of amnesty in any form.

I am curious about the rumors there will be talk about health insurance tonight; bring on HSA's and you'll get my interest (and the nation's as well!).

And Mr. Bush should reiterate his pledge NOT to raise ANY taxes... heaven knows I can't afford it, and all of the good news on the economy can't afford any such talk either!

What are you looking to hear at the SOTU??




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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sleigh bells ring, are you glistening...


First REAL snow fall in these parts this season. A guy in my office, senior to me but on another plane entirely, announced I live too far away to drive in this weather! I have to leave early. On a typical day, he says, it takes him about 45 mins to drive home. HELL, I should have left an hour ago based on that logic!

So after he left, I decided I ought to leave, too. But my reason is selfish in a different direction: I enjoy driving in winter weather!




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Please stand by...

Actual IM transcript:

friend_Sue: Hey where you been?
me: up to my nose
friend_Sue: I figured as much... you have not even blogged about 24

And so it goes: work is getting even more hectic than usual, especially with the deadline for the project I am managing just 6 weeks away.
Add to that my duties as my son's Cub Scout Den Leader are winding down, with the annual Blue and Gold Dinner - ironically scheduled less than 6 weeks away. What makes this year extra special is that this is the last Cub Scout event my son and the boys in his den will attend in the Pack. Boy can begin Cub Scouts at about age 6 (1st grade) and remain in the Pack until midway through the 5th grade, at which time they cross-over to a Boy Scout Troop.
So as this is their farewell dinner, the Den Leaders (of which I am one of the two) are charged with organizing and planning the event. As if that's not enough, at least 4 of my 5 boys in the Den are working towards their highest rank, which means I need to be on hand to help them reach that goal (and push #5 to at least try to make it).
On March 1st, I look forward to hanging up my Den Leader hat, as my son will be in a Troop, and the Troops are run by older boys, with some adults overseeing the program. While I am being actively recruited to be one of those adult leaders, I will be taking a break until at least Summer... Being a Den Leader has its perks, but it is not a task I've enjoyed as much as other have, and I think I've earned a break after 4-1/2 years.
  • 24: Did I see it? OF COURSE. Am I disappointed? Not at all... although it would not have been outside of reality if Jack - after being held captive in a Chinese prison for 20 months - couldn't have stopped for something substantial to eat, say a steak-and-eggs breakfast, before starting his day. I mean, come on! They couldn't have fed him well all that time!
  • Of things political: Today I found myself defending some things I posted to Monster Blog in the last few weeks. As it is intended on a blog about working, it often delves into things political where they are warranted (and some times not). Go poke around if you want to see where I stand on such issues, including today's post about Women Going It Alone if you want any evidence that I remain consistent in my views.

I still haven't fixed the dual comments on the Blog. When I do, I intend on standardizing on Haloscan (the second of the two comment links), so if you wish to comment, please choose Halsoscan's link.

I need to find a way to get by on less than 5 hours of sleep... days are never long enough.



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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Eagles tried...

No one would mistake me for a football fan, and much less an Eagles fan (I never had a label for previous posts on the team until just now). I live in NE Pennsylvania, but I grew up outside of the home of the NY Jets (when they still played in NY). I'd have trouble naming any more than a player or two on any given team.

That much said, it is remarkable how well the Eagles turned their season around in the last few weeks. One has to wonder what Donovan McNabb will be doing come next season.

If the team did so well with him on the sidelines, one has to wonder why he would be their pick for QB next season!




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Friday, January 12, 2007

Minimum Wage increase for all, but not for a special constituent

Washington Times: On Wednesday, the House voted to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour.

The bill also extends for the first time the federal minimum wage to the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands. However, it exempts American Samoa, another Pacific island territory that would become the only U.S. territory not subject to federal minimum-wage laws
.

One of the biggest opponents of the federal minimum wage in Samoa is StarKist Tuna, which owns one of the two packing plants that together employ more than 5,000 Samoans, or nearly 75 percent of the island's work force. StarKist's parent company, Del Monte Corp., has headquarters in San Francisco, which is represented by {Speaker of the House Nancy} Pelosi
. The other plant belongs to California-based Chicken of the Sea.

Some Republicans who voted in favor of the minimum-wage bill were particularly irritated to learn yesterday -- after their vote -- that the legislation did not include American Samoa.

"I was troubled to learn of this exemption," said Rep. Mark Steven Kirk, Illinois Republican. "My intention was to raise the minimum wage for everyone. We shouldn't permit any special favors or exemptions that are not widely discussed in Congress. This is the problem with rushing legislation through without full debate."
A spokeswoman for Mrs. Pelosi said Wednesday that the speaker has not been lobbied in any way by StarKist or Del Monte.

You won't have to look far for my objections to raising the minimum wage, but if you are going to raise it, spread the pain to all, and don't exclude a favored constituent.

h/t GOP Bloggers

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Quick Hits

Quick Hits

  • Which is a harder job? Being the founder and head of an important and prestigious software company, or being the telephone receptionist? Call this number and find out: (425) 707-7500. h/t: KC Lemson

  • Some of you may recall my discussion of Christmas presents... what camera did I get? Click to see the Hitachi DZ-BX37A . Still have to make time to learn how to use it, and I need to get an SD card for stills (my still-digital camera uses xD). Who knows, I may actually do something worthy of YouTube one of these days...

  • I've been playing Google Write, one of the Google Docs & Spreadsheet applications. Not terribly happy with the table formatting features yet, but this is a good start towards web-based, OpenSource word processing. Check out this simple document on Tae Kwon Do , which is published for you to review but not edit

  • I found out I am off Monday! To many, this isn't news. But I haven't had off (officially) for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in years... most of the companies I've worked for gave 2 floating days in place of MLK and Columbus Day... this year, the company switched. With all due respect, I prefered the floats to use on my time.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Healthy Snacking

Does it get any better than this? I am swamped at work but this had to be noted:

Someone at the office placed a bowl of Hershey's Extra Dark Chocolate with Cranberries, Blueberries & Almonds

Let's review:

  • Antioxidants, flavanoids.... CHECK!
  • Fruit ... CHECK!
  • Cholesterol lowering almonds ... CHECK!

Can being healthy taste any better???



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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

535 1 Commander and Chief

I was going to write a post about the foolish and idiotic statements of Massachusetts Senior Senator, Edward Kennedy, in particular about his recent lies opinions regarding President Bush's planned speech tonight, the war in Iraq and the overall War on Terror.

But I will defer to another who has beaten me to the punch, and has done a job I could only hope to have achieved:

“Iraq is George Bush’s Vietnam, and we cannot allow history to repeat itself any
longer. Our troops deserve better. We must act now.
Today, I introduced legislation to reclaim the people’s right to a full voice in the president’s plan to send more troops to Iraq. My bill will say that no additional troops can be sent and no additional dollars can be spent on such an escalation unless and until Congress approves the president’s plan."
-- Sen. Edward Kennedy, 9-Jan-07

You'd think someone who has been in Congress all these years would have read the US Constitution at least once. Oh, I am sure he did, but he apparently skipped a few sections, in particular: there are not 535 Commander and Chiefs, there is but one. As Macsmind points out (with emphasis by me):

The fact of the matter is that the President is the Commander and Chief of the Armed Forces and he will command the Armed Forces as per the Constitution. Neither Kennedy, nor Pelsoi or any one else holds that authority but the President.

Under the War Powers Resolution the President must consult with Congress BEFORE sending troops into situations that may lead to sustained conflict, NOT after that troops have been deployed. What the President is doing is what the Commander and Chief does - conduct the war.

True the Congress controls the purse-strings, but the President calls the shots.

To all those who campaigned hard and/or voted for Democratic candidates in the last election, the time has come for you to demand they show some of the fortitude they promised. If they are dead-set against the war, tell them to act under their role as defined and defund the war.

Oh wait, that would mean they'd have to make a tough decision... sorry. That is what real leaders do.

Just ask President Bush.



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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Change of weather

As I type this I am driving through a snow squall. Hardly anything substantial but it counts as the snow of the season.

--
===============================================
Brought to you by, Cingular Wireless Messaging
http://www.CingularMe.COM/

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Quick survey of both Sexes

I get some pretty interesting e-mails from time to time. Take yesterday for example...

How many people think the following is true:


I am just curious ... that's all.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

High School Reunion

I meant this to be in Quick Hits this morning, but neglected to add it.

I got a note from my High School, alerting me to my 25th Reunion.

Holy Crap, I thought ... I thought I passed 25 years long ago! I then scanned my own archive and found I should have seen this event coming last fall.

I tossed the letter... basically, if I haven't stayed in touch with my fellow classmates over the last 25 years, why in the world would I want to go to a party, dine on the obligatory choice of Prime Rib/Rubber Chicken/Fillet of Sole, and catch up with a bunch of people I wouldn't know if they didn't wear those ridiculous Hello, My Name Is... stickers? Worse, drag my much-better-half along, and say to her Honey, this is ... um... wait, I can't see your name on the sticker... as if she (or any one's mate who didn't attend the same school) would care.

Why would any one?

Readers: have you ever gone to a high school or college reunion? If so, was the result of the gathering what you had hoped for? Did you reconnect with people and, in doing so, make a lasting connection?

In short, am I the only one who doesn't get the point of these shin-digs?



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Manic Monday / Quick Hits

Loads to do, and the A/C in my data center failed over the weekend.

But a few points to note:

  • President Bush can do no right (apparently): The President has relied on his generals in the field to advise him on troop numbers. To date, few would say this has been an overwhelming success (in spite of the very good work done by the troops on the ground). So he has replaced those generals in the field and is talking up-gunning the number of boots; and yet people find fault with this. Would they prefer to keep following the apparent failed process? No, they just want to bash the President.

  • Today's CATO Daily Commentary paints a disturbing scenario for taxes in the coming 23 months:
  • When it came into office, the Bush administration made some pro-reform noises on farm policy, then it agreed to the massive 2002 farm subsidy bill. Leading up to the education law of 2002 and the Medicare drug law of 2003, we were told that the bills would include major pro-market reforms in exchange for modest compromises. But in all cases, Bush caved in and agreed to a series of big government monstrosities.
    . . .
    In sum, the Democrats will play a temptress to the administration, trying to seduce it into a tax increase with the warm embrace of bipartisanship. The administration should keep its distance—no joining hands in budget summits or commissions—while asserting its fidelity to the Republican tax-cutting record and pro-growth agenda.
    There's a lot to worry about regarding the President possibly caving on the very same tax-cuts he campaigned on. For the overall economic health of every taxpayer AND the economy as a whole, here's hoping he stands his ground. On the War on Terror, President Bush remains our best bet, but on domestic spending and border security, he leaves me scratching my head.
  • Sure, folks in the NE had warm weather these last few weeks, and for some its a cause of concern. On the other hand, imagine how much snow we'd have on the ground this morning we're it colder!

  • This Blog's template is still broken; Blogger and Haloscan comments on many posts (instead of only Haloscan), and in more than a few cases, only Blogger comments. And the side bar is a mess. Oh for a few hours of nothing to do so I could fix it.

  • Car stereo question: My '01 Toyota RAV-4 thinks there's a CD inserted. None is inside, so I can't eject what isn't there. I've confirmed this by removing the console and the faceplate. Even at that point, I can't find the little hole to manually eject it. Can't eject, can't insert a CD... all my searches online for help have yet to prove useful. Can anyone shed some light on this?

  • Countdown to 24 .... this Sunday night!! If you haven't yet seen the SEASON 6 PREQUEL, what are you waiting for? Click here. Get the password in the Comments.



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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

On the raising of minimum wage

The new year brings a higher minimum wage for workers in Pennsylvania, up from $5.15 an hour to $6.25 with another 90 cent increase due in July. While a higher minimum wage helps some people, it may end up hurting you.

So begins a local news report last night. WNEP-TV (owned, btw, by The New York Times) did a story of local interest on the topic of Pennsylvania's minimum wage increase.

The Gerrity's Supermarket chain employs roughly 900 people at its nine stores in northeastern Pennsylvania. The increase in the state's minimum wage will increase yearly labor costs at Gerrity's by up to $200,000.

"It's going to hurt. It's going to hurt," said Gerrity's co-owner Joe Fasula. He estimates only about 20 percent of Gerrity's workforce make minimum wage; mostly, he said, 16-year-olds in their first job.

So how is Joe Fasula and all the small business owners out there going to pay their increased labor costs? Why, by passing the costs on to you, the consumer. Just wait, everything from bread to your favorite Dollar Menu at McDonald's or Wendy's is going to cost more, as business absorbs the cost of this government regulated salary expense. And if they don't raise prices, they'll do the next best thing: cut employment expenses.

At the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce President Austin Burke worried a higher minimum wage will lead to fewer entry level jobs.

"Because our small businesses just don't have the margins to pass that extra minimum wage. That extra buck ten an hour," he said.

Keep those thoughts in mind as Speaker Nancy Pelosi begins her ambitious '100 hour' program, which intends to address such things as raising the federal minimum wage.

And don't think there won't be a ripple effect, either; Labor Unions base their contracts on the minimum wage. Do you think they'll sit idly by (heh, there's a pun in there somewhere) while unskilled (and non union) workers get a raise while their members do not?

Look forward to higher prices and less entry-level jobs in the future when the minimum wage goes up. Look towards more illegal immigrants getting more work off-the-books (for less than the minimum wage!) from those employers who would rather break the law to stay competitive.


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Girls Gone Wild (or another reason why cyber schools are gaining popularity)

Wizbang links to an article about a so-called talent show featured at a middle-school on Long Island:

The scene is a middle school auditorium, where girls in teams of three or four are bopping to pop songs at a student talent show. Not bopping, actually, but doing elaborately choreographed re-creations of music videos, in tiny skirts or tight shorts, with bare bellies, rouged cheeks and glittery eyes.

They writhe and strut, shake their bottoms, splay their legs, thrust their chests out
and in and out again. Some straddle empty chairs, like lap dancers without laps.
They don't smile much. Their faces are locked from grim exertion, from all that leaping up and lying down without poles to hold onto. "Don't stop don't stop," sings Janet Jackson, all whispery. "Jerk it like you're making it choke. ...Ohh. I'm so stimulated. Feel so X-rated." The girls spend a lot of time lying on the floor. They are in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

As each routine ends, parents and siblings cheer, whistle and applaud. I just sit there, not fully comprehending. It's my first suburban Long Island middle school talent show. I'm with my daughter, who is 10 and hadn't warned me. I'm not sure what I had expected, but it wasn't this. It was something different. Something younger.

Something that didn't make the girls look so ... one-dimensional. It would be easy to chalk it up to adolescent rebellion, an ancient and necessary phenomenon, except these girls were barely adolescents and they had nothing to rebel against. This was an official function at a public school, a milieu that in another time or universe might have seen children singing folk ballads, say, or reciting the Gettysburg Address.

So what do we learn? In the weeks and months after JonBenet Ramsey captured media attention (and to a lesser degree, Tara Conner) there was a heightened concern about beauty pageants and what they represent, how they seemingly pimp young children. But the response was always, Well, it was the decision of the parents (or Tara) to enter the pageant. Now we read that 11, 12, and 13 year old girls strut their stuff and shake their junk for the applause of their peers, and the schools not only endorse this behavior, but apparently encourage it.

In my day (Jeeze, I sound so old when I say a line like that), we had talent shows (yes, this Blogger imagined himself a stand-up comic in those days, too, which is probably a surprise to no one). Several of my female classmates did a dance recital, too. During one of the rehearsals, the girls tied their shirt-tales above their navels; the teacher immediately told them they could not do that - even in rehearsal - without first donning a tee-shirt underneath their tops.

Admittedly, in this humble writers opinion, there was nothing over sexual about a naval. And also it should be noted the year I am referring to had to be around 1975 or thereabouts, but the point is teachers had standards for decorum, and it was not thought as priggish.

Stories like this make it easier and easier to understand why cyber-schools and homeschooling are becoming a more popular choice for parents each year. Especially those who value their children for more than just eye-candy.




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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Coundown to 24, and a the prequel -- again!!

By now, readers know the only TV show I care a whit about is 24; I've posted about it in the past.

You must also be completely out of the loop if you didn't know that Season 6 begins with a two-night, four-hour special on January 14-15.

Based on a glance of my access log, it is clear the majority of my traffic of late has been because I posted the YouTube copy of the Season 6 24 Prequel. Sadly, I've learned, YouTube pulled it from their servers.

However, I've learned you, too, can see the Season 6 in its entirety at fox24.co.uk site. Once you're registered, come back to this link to see the entire prequel for Season 6 of 24.

UPDATE: Yet another site hosting the prequel... see it here

(Yes I realize using the string Prequel to Season 6 of 24 is a shameless attempt at boosting my hit count; so I am a whore.)



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Monday, January 01, 2007

Should old acquaintance be forgot

Welcome 2007; may she be a damned site better than the one we leave behind.


There's a good reason for everything.   Everything that happens, no matter how great or small, there's a good reason for it.

In my world, there's a damned fine reason my family (specifically: 2 parents, 3 brothers, their respective spouses and kids, my much-better-half and kids) don't get together all that often any more.  Some would blame geography;  
one brother and fam live in Nashua, NH, one lives on Long Island, one in Queens, and I live in PA.   That plays into it, no doubt, but is far from the really good reason.

Believe me, there' s a good reason... a really good one.  One that, had I the time to transcribe it here, would probably equal in length the sum-total of all of my previous posts to date.    New Year's didn't really suck, but it could have sucked a lot less, just let me say that much.   And while I did manage to get Opera Mini to work on my 3 year old cell phone, and there by send two NYE greetings, I did not get to post to my humble blog my wish to you, the readers, for a very Happy and Prosperous New Year to you and yours.   

The reason I couldn't post to my blog yesterday had less to do with Opera, and even less to do with alcohol (I am sorry to report).   Suffice to say:  while I look forward to visiting my parents, and seeing my brothers and their fam, I am making plans for 364 days from now that will NOT involve a trip to my folks house.

Welcome 2007; may she be a damned site better
than the one we leave behind.


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