Friday, October 31, 2008

Third year of low turnout

Another year of low turnout for All Hallow Eve; about 70 costumed tykes (and some decidedly older) came to the driveway. You'd think with the poor economy - real or otherwise - more kids would be trying for free sweets.

I was reminded again of my need to post rules for Halloween; too many guys sporting 5:00 shadows, a couple of parents who had no tykes with them, etc.

On the upside, my kids attended a Halloween party on Wednesday night, and made out like bandits (even the 13 year old), so they were satisfied with making only a few stops in our development.

The upside, of course: plenty of good-stuff left over. I have to avoid most of it, of course... winter is the season I tend to pack on weight, and I just can't afford to do that in the next few months.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008


Repost from 2005 ...

Here's a scary site for you all ... don't say I didn't warn you!! (don't worry, it's safe for work - unless you're worried your co-workers will mock you)

For an original idea located on Dave Barry's Blog.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Let Freedom Ring: MIDDLE CLASS

The one thing this ad neglects to point out (and I realize it's got a lot to say in 61 seconds): when business cut costs, that means purchases to other, smaller businesses get cut. So smaller companies - which hire people, too - lose when their bigger business brethren are taxed.

Just imagine:  less business catering... less business lunches...  the restaurant industry would feel these cuts, and that's just off the top of my head.  

Look around YOUR company: what would be cut if your company slashed its costs (besides, possibly, your job).

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Barack Obama, A-Z

In February I listed some policy reason why I believed Sen. Barack Obama should not be president.  As we're down to just 7 days before Election Day, I decided to offer 26 reasons - some policy related, some personal actions - that further reinforce why his presidency would be bad for America.


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Sunday, October 26, 2008

All Hallow's Eve Lanterns

Repost from 2006

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Boy Scouts of America Centennial Commemorative Coin Act

One of the few things the 110th Congress did, in fact, pass...

Boy Scouts of America Centennial Commemorative Coin Act - Directs the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue up to 350,000 $1 coins in commemoration of the centennial of the founding of the Boy Scouts of America. H.R. 5872--110th Congress (2008): Boy Scouts of America Centennial Commemorative Coin Act, (database of federal legislation) (accessed Oct 23, 2008)

The commemorative design of the coin will be reflective of the first century of the Boy Scouts of America. It will be selected by the Secretary of the Treasury after consultation with Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazucca and the Commission of Fine Arts.


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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sen. Biden again makes the case .... for President McCain

Of course those who haven't hidden their head know well what thinks of :

"I would be honored to run with or against John McCain because I think the country would be better off."
That much said, his comments at a fund raiser on Sunday make all the more sense:

"Mark my words, it will not be six months before the world tests like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America.

"Watch. We're going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."
So let's get this straight... if we elect Sen. Obama, the world will test him.  Is It not then easy to conclude that a President McCain would not be so tested?  Perhaps those same people Sen. Biden referred to in his remarks already know what a President McCain would do if they were to test him?

And people are quick to forget: Sen. Obama has already been tested!  When Russia invaded , Sen. Obama called restraint from both sides, as if the smaller Georgia was somehow acting as an aggressor.

Some people call it another one of , but you have to wonder when gaffes give way to a candidate being unfit for the office.   Remember: Democrat primary voters eliminated Sen. Biden early in their process, so few must have had any confidence in him to be president.  And if people could then question whether Gov. Palin could be president, couldn't the same argument be used against Sen. Biden?

Maybe that's why Sen. Biden hasn't done any pressers lately, or has no appearances on his calendar this week.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Hit and run

Hit and run describes how I've been with my humble blog this last year.  Every time I get a routine for posting in place, life interrupts.

Most recently, the motherboard on my trusty/rusty home PC bought it.   What complicated matters was that I rely on the home PC - even at work - to do personal work, including most postings via remote desktop.

Now I could have bought a new PC, arguably on credit, but I have to look ahead towards the holiday season.   Sue, a good friend (and daily reader of this blog), put me in touch with her husband who helped me to secure a motherboard and case for surviving hard drive, and he went far out of his way to help rebuild my system entirely.  A funny thing happened on the way to restoring the box, however...

After reassembling the components, we booted the system and were presented with Microsoft's request to reactivate my copy of Windows XP.   Typing in the 25 digit licence number from the sticker on the side of the old case did not work.   Following the screen prompts, we tried to get help from online, and then called Microsoft.   Then Dell.

Long story much shorter:  After a 2 minute on-hold wait with Microsoft, followed by a 71 minute on-hold wait with Dell, it was determined that since I was no longer using the same Dell motherboard my license came with it, I could not use the original license for Windows.  Who knew Dell binds the motherboard/CPU to Windows?   Dell suggested they could either find me a replacement motherboard (their estimate $250) or I could buy a copy of XP for about $100 if - and this important - if I could find one at a retailer.

For the amount of sweat and toil already put in, plus the nearly 6 weeks without my own PC at home, we found that BestBuy had a copy of XP Home for $100, and the system booted up fine.  All my original data was intact, and things are running again for me, tech wise.  My hat is off to Kevin (and Sue) for inexpensively bailing me out of a jam.

Whereas I have always had moments of feast/famine throughout the workday with regards to having time to read/write blogs, the amount of free time has become increasingly fleeting of late.    And for whatever reason, I have to wonder whether the fire to blog, at all, has burned itself out in me.

It may be a seasonal thing.  A year ago I took a month off, expressing that I may have lost the urge to post.  Looking at the running count of posts to date this year, compared to last, I am not far from being on track to meet the same number as 2007 (however I am far and away off from 2004's high).    Other bloggers I've followed have disappeared as well, so again I wonder whether those of us who have been at it for a number of years have all decided it's time to move on.

Time will tell.

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Frightend about the election results yet? You will be!

told an audience yesterday that if he and win the election, the country is going to have problems:

"Gird your loins. We're gonna win with your help, God willing, we're gonna win, but this is not gonna be an easy ride. This president, the next president, is gonna be left with the most significant task. It's like cleaning the Augean stables, man. This is more than just, this is more than – think about it, literally, think about it – this is more than just a capital crisis, this is more than just markets. This is a systemic problem we have with this economy."
Biden goes on to preidct that no matter how much the fans love Obama today, they'll change their tune before long:
Because I promise you, you all are gonna be sitting here a year from now going, 'Oh my God, why are they there in the polls? Why is the polling so down? Why is this thing so tough?' We're gonna have to make some incredibly tough decisions in the first two years. So I'm asking you now, I'm asking you now, be prepared to stick with us. Remember the faith you had at this point because you're going to have to reinforce us.
 Gee...  couldn't that prediction have been made about just 4 years ago?  Oh wait, comparisions to Bush only work when you're trying to slam .

"There are gonna be a lot of you who want to go, 'Whoa, wait a minute, yo, whoa, whoa, I don't know about that decision'. Because if you think the decision is sound when they're made, which I believe you will when they're made, they're not likely to be as popular as they are sound. Because if they're popular, they're probably not sound."
Great; so Biden is planning on making decisions that people will regret.  If I had said that last week, critics might call me partisan or negative (dare I say, mean-spirited).   But when Biden says it, well, the masses applaud.

Source: Political Radar

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Colin Powell

Secretary of State/General is a man who deserves enormous respect.

That doesn't mean he's infallible.

There was little surprise in Sunday's announcement he would endorse 's candidacy for President; it was, perhaps, one of the worst-kept-secrets in politics.    What is surprising are some of the Sec. Powell's reasons.

, I thought, was going to wet his pants on Friday when he teased that Powell would be on MEET THE PRESS.  But since MSBNC has finally acknowledged he isn't an anchor but rather a commentator, he's entitled.
Sec. Powell spoke of Sen. Obama's "ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities" reveals quite a lot about his reasoning.   Obama inspires with his rhetorical ability is qualification for a motivational speaker, not head of state.  His campaign is inclusive to all except those who cherish free enterprise and capitalism, as Obama has already gone on record for favoring sharing the wealth

As for his seeming dismissal of the working relationship with , allow me to speak of my own past:

In order to be hired in my job, I require a security clearance (I hold 'Secret' clearance, which is nothing to sneeze at, but hardly a high level of clearance). They sent an FBI agent to my neighborhood who knocked on doors, asking about me. They sent an agent to a reference I provided, a friend I have in Albany, NY and interviewed her.

They went back 10 years in my life, checking with the landlord I used to rent from in NYC, and the companies I listed in my resume'. At least 1 of my former employers that I know of for sure were called. That's what they did for my position, and mind you: I received my clearance in 1998, pre-9-11; it is much stricter now.

Tell me: if I had a friend who was unrepentant in his admitting to bombing the Pentagon, who called himself 'a small 'c' communist', do you really think they'd hire me?

I ask Sec. Powell: do you really think a man who is a friend with a domestic terrorist is fit to be president?

If you are a reader who supports Sen. Obama, will you answer that question, too?

I have plenty of other reasons, specifically on policy, why Sen. Obama should not be president.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

From bad to worse (nothing tragic, I promise)

This evening I sparred against a few students, in particular a woman of the same rank as I me (1st gup).

  • Bad:  We both attempted the same round-house kick to the other's head, using opposite feet.  The collision was painful for both of us, with she likely to be very bruised, and me getting blood on my dobok pantleg.

    We wear shin guards, and the stitching across the top of mine was the abrasive that caused the damage, after her knee and mine impacted.
  • Worse:  The gal is the same one who is not-so-secretly in a romantic relationship with the instructor, which means I will likely pay for whatever bruising she will develop. 
  • Worse still: This is the gal who scraped my collarbone in July, a fact which upon learning prompted my MBH to observe: you've studied karate all these years, and yet you get injured twice by a girl.
The upside?  Had we both not attempted the same kick using the correct form, we wouldn't have collided.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

What is so comforting about certain foods? A prior post revisited

This weekend there was a story on FOX NEWS about comfort food, in that it seems in these times economic uncertainty, America turns more to comfort food.

Which brings me back to a few posts I made four years ago asking the musical question: what is comfort food?  Is there really a dish (or dishes) that make people feel better about themselves, about the economy, about life in general?

I still am lost at this concept.  Never have I had a rotten day at the office (or in my commute) and came home thinking I'd like a bowl of ______ to feel better.  Sure, I get hungry -- that's fine.   If there's a movie I want to watch, do I think popcorn?  Yes, but I am not guaranteed to make any.    Do I sometimes forage around the kitchen for something?  Of course, but that's again hunger.  

But as for cravings?   No, I can't say I've had them. 

The steadfast comfort food  favorite, from my limited research, has been macaroni and cheese, but I still receive perplexed looks from people when I ask whether baked ziti would be an equivalent.   Not that I ever crave ziti, but that baked ziti is - in most preparations - macaroni and cheese, yet no one seems to equate it with the traditionally known mac and cheese -  perhaps it isn't the food, but the color of the cheese that comforts?

Apparently, I am in a certain minority with this opinion, as Technorati has plenty of hits on the subject of .

The FoxNews story above suggests soups and stews are becoming popular.  Should I hazard to guess those dishes usually become popular in the fall, or would that be obstinate?  Consider, however, that stews and soups are often relatively easy to prepare, use relatively inexpensive ingredients, and can be reheated with ease, making a large pot last a longer time; with all the doom and gloom reported about the economy these days, doesn't a meal with such versatility make even more sense?

When I last discussed this on another blog (the now defuncted A Small Victory) I was told of people who look to comfort food as a way of triggering their memories of childhood (the video above makes a similar reference).  Now I recognize that aromas are powerful triggers to memories, and while I suppose I had a good childhood, I cannot think of any meal that triggers a specific recollection of any specific good time that would make me crave a certain dish.   And believe me when I tell you:  my mother, my grandmother: both kick-ass good cooks, as is my MBH.

So I ask you, the readers, to educate me:  what is comfort food to you?  What does it mean, and why?   When do you indulge in this comfort, and how often do you do it?   

And to those who are like me, who don't get comfort food: speak up... maybe there's a marketing myth to this comfort food sensation, and we've been all conditioned to accept mac-n-cheese as the perennial favorite because of some evil cabal of a pasta and dairy consortium. 

Or maybe it's just me: maybe I am just simply lacking something that all others apparently have in their psyche.  Heh, it wouldn't be the first such missing item...

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

VP Debate: watch for the bias from the allegedly neutral moderator

There are few people - if any - who can honestly claim to have no bias in their political opinions.  Certainly, we are led to believe, those in professional journalism are supposed to be above the fray - at lease ostensibly.

So can it be that the moderator of the lone Vice Presidential debate, - senior correspondent for The NewsHour With and the moderator of Washington Week - has written a book that praises ? How can anyone with that much bias be presumed to have no preference in moderating the debate?

We already know that Ms. Ifill is unable to separate fact from fiction; it seems whenever the topic of talk-radio comes along, she can be frequently heard repeating an unproven allegation against . From over 10 years ago. So how can we expect her bias not to shine through?

Case in point: would Liberals complain if the moderator had written a book favoring ?  (That's a rhetorical question; we all know the answer)

Regardless, will do very well against in tomorrow's debate.  While the media seems captivated on every syllable she utters, while completing ignoring the massive flubs by Sen. Biden, the anticipated number of viewers watching the debate will allow the voters of this nation a great chance to learn more about both candidates, and their conclusions will be easy to predict.

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