Friday, August 29, 2008

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

’s reaction to the pick.

“Today, put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain’s commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush’s failed economic policies — that’s not the change we need, it’s just more of the same,”
spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement.

So it's ok for Sen. Obama to have no foreign policy experience to possibly be President, but Gov. Palin shouldn't be considered for vice-president?

Talk about the pot calling the kettle...

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McCain - Palin : A winning combination

Hats off to for selecting Alaska as his VP pick!





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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thoughts on Sen. McCain's possible VP

Continuing with last week's predictions, here are my thoughts on 's VP possibilities:

  •  Ms. Fiorina's selection would do well for those who don't follow politics closely.  She would be a female, and (to date) would come with A LOT less baggage than did did when she was nominated for the VP under .   She does have a lot of executive experience which has been slandered in some circles (as COB of HP, she initiated the merger with Compaq; soon after, the dot-com bubble burst, and HP's market value suffered more due to the recent merger).  But she lacks any formal political experience, outside of her consulting work for Sen. McCain; this could be both an asset and liability to Sen. McCain.
  •  Be it his questionable voting record, or his outlandishly foolish NRA joke, he would not help the ticket.  And do not get me started about the certain unresolved allegations involving his Eagle Scout son.
  •  An experienced politician, a strong Conservative.  Other than an unfair criticism about her being 65, I can't think of any problems with her, personally, being VP other than he own statement in February that she doesn't want the job.
  •  This blog has said a lot of positive things about Sen. Lieberman: great on national defense, war on terror, border security.   But he should not be Sen. McCain's VP; make  him Sec. Def. or Sec. State.
  •  Quite good overall.  She's 44, which makes her particularly attractive (no pun intended), and has a good executive experience.  Alaska has had a lot of issues with graft issues that have touched the state house, but not her, so that may be a distraction.  She, like Fiorina, could lure a lot of people who were disenfranchised by Sen. Clinon not getting the DNC nod.  While she's unknown in the lower 48, the fact she is from Alaska could make up for it.

     (Now that I think about it, yes I do intend the pun).
  •  Good man. Largely unknown, other than that he succeed Jesse Ventura.  Not a bad pick, however.
  •  Sen. Romney was on my short list for the top of ticket.  He would have placed better in the Caucus's had Mr. Huckabee not pushed his supporters to Sen. McCain.  In the debates, he was fantastic.  His state-run health plan he implemented in Massachusetts, however, worries me.  In fact, Hillary Clinton's plan during the primary was called Romeny-lite.   That little has been spoken of it is a good thing, but I will protest loudly if he ever starts to push it for the nation as a whole.
The problem with Hutchinson and Romney is that they're both US Senators.   Since was the last sitting senator to win the Presidency means (based on historical precedent), it could be better for McCain to have himself as the lone senator versus Sens. Obama/Biden's ticket.

We'll know tomorrow!

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Sen. Barack Obama wins the nomination

Well, when I am wrong I own up to it.

When my predictions go awry, I state as much.

I must admit I expected the roll-call vote to go on a.lot longer than it did. As recently as yesterday I expected a battle for the nomination. Even if didn't win, I expected to see just how close she came.

So I state for those who care to read: I was wrong: Hillary Clinton did not cause a scene at the Convention, much to the contrary of my predictions. made history last night, and he deserves the glory that goes along with it. But now, the big question: how will accepting the nomination in front of the Athens Columns at Invesco field play to middle Americans? We've heard a lot about how Republicans are allegedly out-of-touch with the average Americans; will holding court on such an elaborate stage do anything for Sen. Obama's credibility in this area?

Now, time for a show of hands: other than political junky-types like me, how many people (especially on the East coast) stayed up past Bill Clinton's speech to listen to the speech by the VP Candidate, Sen. Joe Biden?

Anyone?

Coming up: my prediction for Sen. McCain's VP pick...




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So you think YOU'VE got problems?

Hat Tip Cassy Fiano:

Next time you wince as you fill your gas tank, think of how others - whose status in life differs from yours - are having to cope:

I think it's safe to assume that isn't flying Coach.  I know he claims he was doing so in the video, but the years I was a road warrior, my butt rarely saw the kind of leather seat he's shown in while travelling in Coach Class.   Now he may yet be reduced to that, but he's not there yet...

I tell you, though, his plight makes my 2 hour commute to work look cheap...

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Convention continues...

I've warned it, for many weeks.

didn't go out of her way to hurt . She did very little to help him, but she didn't hurt him.

Not really. Not obviously, at least.

There are plenty of people - some in Denver, but a.lot at home watching - who are now saying Gee... why didn't we nominate her for the top position? Why didn't Obama pick her for VP??

Let's be fair: Hillary made a lot of mistakes in the campaign: she ignored the Caucai, she dodged the snipers, etc. But while I still maintain my list of reasons why Sen. Clinton should not be president is every bit valid today as when I wrote it, and while I also maintain my list of reasons why Sen. Obama should not be president is also valid, there remains a considerable number of question marks regarding Mr. Obama's past that have not been properly vetted.

Of course, both of the candidates advocate a national health insurance program; while I abhor and will do my best to defeat any such program from becoming law, I worry more about Obama's program than I do about Clinton's.

What could not be disguised, however, was the kind of bad blood between and Mrs. Clinton. Clearly, Mrs. Obama was not pleased with Clinton last night, not only because of the prime-time slot she held, but because she recognized the message she was delivering was not what she (and the candidate) had hoped. But Clinton is not an amateur, as the Obamas are, and last night her speech made it clear to all.

Mrs. Clinton deserves a full roll-call vote, and I hope she gets it. I still stand on the belief she will attempt a coup by way of the roll-call vote, and we'll know tonight if I am right.

Stay tuned...

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Push-Up Up Challenge... home stretch

Continuing with the HUNDRED PUSH-UP CHALLENGE .... (see results of week one, week twoweek three, week four)
I had thought by this time the effort would have leveled off.   Not that it would be easy, but not incredibly harder.
This post should have come shortly after Friday's work-out.  Obviously, on Tuesday, I've slipped again.  I did finish the work-out Friday, but it was time for an endurance test which I didn't complete until Sunday. 
First, the recap:
  • Monday:  35/28/25/22/Max (at least 35)
That is, with a 60 second break in between each set (more if necessary), perform 35 perfect push-ups, rest, do 28, rest, then another 25, then a set of 22 after another rest, then do as many as I can reasonably perform, but no less than 35.
Wednesday was, again, progressively harder:
  • 17/17/16/16/14/14/12/Max (at least 35)
Notice the increased number of sets!! Fun fun!  But I hit the prescribed the minimum of 35 in the final set.
Friday was a lost day for me, overall. So I saved the work-out for Saturday:
  • 16/16/14/14/12/15/10/10/Max (at least 35)
I hit 40 on the final set.   And that's a plateau for me.
This is the beginning of the 6th week... so why am I not closer to performing 100 consecutive push-ups?  This is an annoying question for me.    At the end of week 5, I was to perform another endurance test, and since I struggled to hit 40 on Friday, I waited until Saturday evening to do it.  Again I hit 40 and that was all.  
I am doing better than I was 5 weeks ago, but I am unclear how I will hit even 75 consecutive push-ups (inside the 6 week period) at this rate.  It is disheartening, but I will continue to press on.  No matter how well I do, I am getting stronger, so that's nothing to sniff at.
 
UPDATE: Today's set was fairly easy (remember, it was supposed to be Monday's set):
  •  42/35/32/30/Max (min 42).
I failed on the last set of >42.   I made it to 35.   I may retry this set, or opt to redo last week's work-out.    Not at all pleased with myself...

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Flashbacks

Curiously, in the last 10 days or so I've been found online by a few people I haven't seen in some time:

  • Previously, I mentioned an old employer (13 years ago!) reaching out to me on LinkedIn.  We've chatted a bit, but nothing else has come of it yet.
  • Last week, my boss from 4 years ago sent out an update to his cell phone number.  I hadn't heard from him in ~3 years, so it counts as a find.
  • On Saturday I heard from a cousin of mine who I haven't had any contact with in about 2 years.
  • On Sunday, a co-worker from the job I had as Head Teller 20 years ago looked me up!
Good heavens... is this some kind of sign??



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Friday, August 22, 2008

I confess I've been guilty of this at least once

If you have ever been in a debate online (or even offline) that has gone on way.too.long, you have likely encountered this phenomena. Click through to see the punch line... it's worth it.




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Thoughts on Sen. Obama's possible VP

Everyone else is speculating, so why not yours truly, because, after all Nobody asked me, but....

Here's my take on the known, likely short-listed candidates:

  • : Bayh matches the change mantra of Sen. 's campaign. Another junior Senator, Bayh cannot be confused with the same ol' same old in Washington. However, is the risk of losing Bayh's seat in the Senate worth picking him?
  • : He's certainly experienced, but he comes with a load of negative history, as well, not the least of which are his own words spoken against Sen. Obama back in February.
  • : I'll hold her for the end.
  • : To pick Gore would be to pick a former VP, and to many who still resist the reality of the electoral college, the actual winner of the 2000 election. Besides, if Gore ever runs for any office, he'll be forced to defend his ... and he certainly doesn't want to have do that!
  • : Another fresh face, a frequent Sunday morning talk-show guest. Yet, regarding any similarly fresh candidate, the echoes of the media repeatedly chiding George W. Bush selection of Dick Cheney because the latter brought to the campaign will haunt the Obama campaign.
  • : Another seasoned legislator, Nunn's Conservative values would cause certain friction with the extreme Left wing supporting Obama's candidacy.
  • : The obvious concern for selecting Gov. Sebelius is explaining to the feminists why she's better than Sen. Clinton. Of course, she lacks foreign policy experience, so where's the advantage?

Sen. Clinton is an obvious pick, not unlike her husband picking Al Gore, as she was selected over Obama by the during the primary. Of course, as I've said all year, Clinton is.not.out.of.the.race yet for the Democrat nominee for President. She's entitled to the roll-call vote, like any other primary contender, but her supporters may well force her nomination.

It is interesting to note that her husband, , and her daughter , are speaking at the Convention. However, besides her own history of scandals, roughly half the country already has a negative view of her. So while a joint ticket may unite the party, it may well sink the overall campaign.

It must be noted: was considered an automatic speaker at the convention until his peccadilloes was revealed; President Clinton has his own history of dalliances, but he's allowed to speak. Ironic, isn't it?



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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Russia's invasion of Georgia: The game is afoot!

AP: In addition, a U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer loaded with humanitarian aid was heading to on Thursday through Turkey's straits, the U.S. military said.

It was the first of three ships that will carry supplies such as blankets, hygiene kits and baby food to Georgia. The Turkish straits, the Dardanelles and Bosporus, are the only naval passage between the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

The guided destroyer left Souda Bay, Crete, on Wednesday; a coast
guard cutter, , is to leave Souda Bay on Friday, and the command ship is leaving from Gaeta, Italy.

We must let Russia know, in no uncertain terms, their invasion cannot and will not stand!


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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

25 years later, the message is as relevant as ever



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Be careful what you wish for!

A few years ago I marvelled at the lawn signs in a nearby community proclaiming Say NO to ; free speech is always paramount, and while I lived not terribly far from this community, I never paid the matter much attention.

Yes, I could have benefited for a closer Wal-Mart to my home, but since most of the anti-Wal-Mart protests I've read over the years centers around a hate of big business, I just assumed it was more of the same (and for all I know, it was).

However, I like Wal-Mart, overall, and I'll defend their right to operate as I would any other legal, free enterprise.

That being said... with all due respect to those involved, you gotta love the irony of a story like this:

THE MORNING CALL: Walt Neidlinger spent years trying to keep a Wal-Mart-anchored shopping complex from being built near his home.

The traffic would have been suffocating for their little community, neighbors argued, so when the massive retailer and its partners packed up their plans and left Plainfield Township last year, Neidlinger was ecstatic. He figured he'd wait for the next plan to come along and remembers thinking, ''What could be worse than Wal-Mart?''

Over the past year, Neidlinger says, he's gotten an answer: -- the metal-shredding plant on the same land -- causes daily noise that sounds like a freight train rumbling down the street, and frequent explosions that shake his walls.

Heh.... I am laughing now, just reading this.

The land was to be home to a retail center that would have included Wal-Mart and a Lowe's Home Improvement warehouse, but after years of debate that included
vocal opposition from residents, developers withdrew the plans in January 2007.

RPM Recycling opened in October on 4.5 acres bordering Wind Gap. Perin said it was always slated to share the land with the Wal-Mart development -- not retaliation for opposition -- and papers filed with Plainfield in 2003 support that.

Most residents didn't know it was coming largely because it is an approved use for that land and did not need any additional approvals by the township's zoning office, said Plainfield zoning officer Charles L. Knecht Jr.

Owned by [Nolan A.] Perin, Joseph Raimo and George Miller, RPM takes in 300 tons of scrap a day. The scrap includes everything from appliances to bicycles, but is mostly crushed cars. The scrap must arrive without batteries and fuel tanks. After the shredder slices it into small pieces, the foam, plastic, cardboard and other ''fluff'' is separated. The metal is then sold on a lucrative open market, with scrap selling for more than $500 a ton.

So now residents are complaining to the Township, who would be damned if they did allow Wal-Mart, and are being damned now because a legally operation industrial business - who likely hires local people - are operating within the confines of the various zoning ordinances.

Now I am not laughing at the residents who either did not protest Wal-Mart, or who did so because they genuinely believed the traffic related issues of a Wal-Mart and Lowe's were worthy of arguing against them being built. I know I wouldn't want the noise described in my community.

I will laugh at those in that community who would demonize Wal-Mart at every turn, however. They got what they wanted, now they (and their neighbors) have to live with the consequences!

Related posts on Wal-Mart



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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"I will not run if nominated, and if elected I will not serve."

Some of you (probably fewer than you care to admit) are too young to remember the quote in the subject line of this post. But, alas, I remember watching trying to convince America he wasn't running for President.

Someone thought it was a good idea to nominate yours, truly, for the HotBloggerCalendar competition.

No one who knows me would seriously consider me for such an honor (unless there's a category for the antiHotBloggerCandidate or other such boobie prize).

So taking a page from Mr. Paulson, I will not fuflill the esteemed office named herein. So don't go to HotBloggerCalendar to vote for me, because it would be a wasted vote. Seriously.



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Monday, August 18, 2008

Push Up Challenge, Week 4

Continuing with the HUNDRED PUSH-UP CHALLENGE .... (see results for end of week one , week two, & week three)

Week 4 is done... and it was a killer. In the past I grabbed a screen shot of what the goals for that week; I am way behind on posts already (not to mention some work), so I'm skipping the visual aids.

In short, I did hit my goals, but instead of Mon/Wed/Fri it was actually Mon/Wed/Sat. I doubt that extra day means I am disqualified, so I am pressing on.

Monday's goals were

  • 27/20/20/17/Max (at least 27)

That is, with a 60 second break in between each set (more if necessary), perform 27 perfect push-ups, rest, do 20 more, rest, then another 20, then a set of 17 after another rest, then do as many as you can reasonably achieve, but no less than 27. This week, instead of struggling to meet the minimum, I hit 35. Not shabby at all.

Day two was progressively harder:

  • 27/21/121/18/Max (at least 25)

On Wednesday I hit 30 in the final set.

Friday was a lost day for me, overall. So I saved the work-out for Saturday:

  • 30/22/22/20/Max (at least 27)

I only noticed now that the set for the third day this week is the same as the third set last week. Not sure if that's a typo or not. Regardless, I waited until Saturday evening, just before bed, to begin this work-out and a pumped out 30 in the last set. My arms were burning at that point.

To determine how the 5th week runs, I had to take another test... push out as many perfect push-ups as I could do. Presumeably, altho I didn't see it written anywhere, this is not to be done immediately after the final set (above), so on Sunday afternoon I cranked out 40 push-ups. I am still uncertain how I managed 45 perfect ones just 2 weeks ago, if cranking 40 yesterday was so hard for me, but that's what I did.

Week 5 is based on that 40 I made last night. Presumeably, anyone who has done the last 4 weeks should be able to perform 30 push-ups at a minimum. If not, you're to repeat week 4 and come back next week. The bands are 31-15, 36-40, and 41-45. I hit 40, so I am on the cusp of the third level, but I will stick with the second one since I worked so hard to reach #40.

Today's set:

  • 35/28/25/22/Max (>35)

And I hit 40 again. And man do my arms still burn, 6 hours later. One of the points I haven't mentioned, at least specifically, is that I am doing this challenge in tandem with my taekwondo training. See, I am anticipating being required to reach 100 push-up should I actually make it to Black Belt testing early next year, so that's what inspired me to take this challenge.

During any given TKD class, I will do at least 75 push-up in the hour work-out. And of late, those 3 sets of 25 are inclined: my feet rest on a bench, while doing the push-up. Alternatively, if the class size is small and a even number in attendence, the Mater will have us paired up: one person does a set, while the partner holds their ankles, roughly waist-high. Oh yeah....

So if I am unable to left my arms tomorrow, you'll have an idea of how well tonight's TKD class went...

Wednesday's challenge set gets even harder... click through to see for yourself...


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So much for being a sports fan...

You know, it is simply unfair!

If I were a huge fan, I could wear a jersey and people would smile. Were I a football fan, I could wear a ' jersey and I would be liable to have a few high-fives come my way.

So over the weekend I finally paid some attention to the , and saw earn his 8th Gold Medal. How do I celebrate?

I came to work wearing no shirt and just a pair of Speedos.

Do people smile? High-five? Hardly.

I was going to just put up with their petty jealousy until HR called.

Apparently, they weren't following the Olympics...



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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Georgia, Russia and other threats

What I haven't heard or read about in regards to 's invasion of a sovereign (admittedly, I've been busy) is an uneasy parallel that could be duplicated.

Critics of the Administration have tried in vain to compare the US action in to Russia in Georgia, but that is straw man argument. While the US has pledged support to Georgia, we're really in no position to do much - boots on the ground-wise - in defense of the invasion. We can (and should) provide tactical and weapons support to the Georgians to repel or at least give the Russians a damn hard time.

The struggling democracy needs to be supported. Georgia had applied for admittance to NATO, but the European allies were reluctant to annoy Russia by accepting them into the family.

Russia needs to be slapped down, and before they believe they are unstoppable. Along with Georgia, - another breakaway republic - has applied to join NATO. Geography makes Ukraine easier to defend than Georgia, and it should be admitted as soon as possible.

The precedent set by Russia's invasion can be mimicked. Whether Russia wants oil, to recapture the former satellite nations in an attempt to rebuild the Soviet Union, or any other reason, they are acting as if they have every right to do as they please.

Would China think the same of Taiwan?

Unlike Georgia, the US not only recognizes the democracy, but has a treaty to defend it. From time to time, China has rattled its sabre by lobbing missiles over the island nation, which it considers its own possession. The US reaction to these tests has generally been reflected by a Naval battle group steaming between the two nations, and little more. Should China decide that Russia's actions are a good idea, they may elect to permanently annex Taiwan. In order to stay true to our treaty, the US will have to react with force, and that is clearly in no ones interest (besides Taiwan's).

has had a changing view on the Georgian crisis. He first recommended the UN take action, with a plea for restraint on both sides (as if Georgia was the blame for their invasion). Later on, no doubt after a considerable chat with his 10 score of foreign policy advisers, condemning Russia's actions and a call for a cease-fire (which, reportedly, Russia has ignored).

, on the other hand, has taken front stage to condemn Russia and has called for immediate NATO meeting and aid to the region.

We've had a reasonable test of the so-called 3 AM phone call, and the question that voters will have to ask themselves is this: which candidate has demonstrated a better command of the situation?

More important, still: which candidate poses a stronger adversary to nations such as Russia?




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Scientists Warn Depletion by 2013!



Entertainment Scientists Warn Miley Cyrus Will Be Depleted by 2013

Heh. I especially love the news headlines in the crawl.



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24: The Movie

How is it possible I am only learning of this today??


24: Exile, A 2-hour movie is set for broadcast in November. It's a little red meat for the fans who have been waiting for Day 7 to begin (see trailer here).

After seeing the trailer, I can't help but see some parallels to this years' RAMBO, but I'll still look forward to seeing it.

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Quick Hits

Because I am so busy, all I can muster lately (especially mid-week) are snippets such as:

  • Former : OK, so this is hardly news. Nor is it really newsworthy. Then man who often spoke of two America's had the makings of a double life, himself. No editorial I can make here can match the utter hubris, disrespect and selfishness he exhibited when he explained (claimed?) that he began the extra-marital relationship during a period after she was in remission from cancer. Well, isn't that gallant?
  • Edwards' sex cover-up cost Clinton nomination: Howard Wolfson, a campaign aide to , suggested that had John Edward's admitted to his extra-marital relationship during the Democrat primary.

    Huh. Say, isn't that a lot like saying when then-former Governor appeared on CBS News' 60 Minutes and denied having a relationship with (which he later admitted to under oath in 1998), President G.H. Bush ('41') would have won re-election?
  • Olympics: Sorry, I just can't seem to get fired up this year. I am usually one to leave them on and watch, and if nothing else drop what I am doing and catch a big finish. Not so this time around. Maybe I'll watch some of the TKD matches, although the Olympic style pretty much ignores the use of the fighters' fists.
  • Review came and went: Annual review came and went. Lots of nice words. A decent percentage up, but not nearly what I believe I am worth (considering the effort I put in). July is the month I usually revise my resume' (also in January); I haven't started yet, but I may need to really review it.
  • Speaking of old employers... I have a LinkedIn account (not under this pseudonym, mind you), and unlike many others, I am fairly selective in who I link to as contacts. Call me crazy, but I believe I should actually know the person before I link to them, unlike those who have (literally) thousands of 'connections'. Be that as it may ... in what seems like a former life I worked for a value-added reseller of financial software, where I rose to the #3 position in a 6 person firm. That represented what I consider my first real job. The owner of that company, my old boss, just reached out to me in LinkedIn. It should be nice to reconnect with him after ~13 years.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

The Challenge continues...

Continuing with the HUNDRED PUSH-UP CHALLENGE .... (see results for end of week one , week two)

Week three is in the can:




This week started a little weaker than I had hoped. The goals for day 1 for me were

  • 25/17/17/15/Max (at least 25)

That is, with a 60 second break in between each set (more if necessary), perform 25 perfect push-ups, rest, do 17 push-ups, rest, then another 17, then a set of 15 after another rest, then do as many as you can reasonably achieve, but no less than 25. And that's where I struggled, trying to hit the last 25.

Day two was progressively harder:

  • 27/19/19/15/Max (at least 25)

On Wednesday I got as high as 27 in the final set. Better, yes, but not nearly as much as I hoped, especially since the rest in between each set was raised to 90 seconds.

Today the sets were starting to get serious:

  • 30/22/22/20/Max (at least 27)

The rest in between was upped to a full 2 minutes today. As I was interrupted by a phone call just before starting the final set, I did get more than a 2 minute rest, but I cranked out only 36 push-ups. Now don't get me wrong: a month ago I could do about 27 very well, so this is an improvement. But after the end of week 2 I pumped 45 perfect ones, so this is sort of a let down.

However, I remain optimistic that in just about 3 weeks I'll be able to do 100 consecutive push-ups. That's hardly worthy of anyone enlisted in the armed forces, no doubt, but it will be a worthy accomplishment for myself (and it will certainly help in my TKD studies).

Unfortunately, Bill Shaw noted that he had to drop out of the competition due to an unrelated injury. However the person who inspired me to compete, Derek Semmler, is still working the program, and hopefully fellow travelers Mark & Jughead are as well!

Even if you're too late to participate in Derek's competition, there's no reason why you can start this program yourself! Head over to hundredpushups.com for more info.

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Invasion

Article IV, Section 4 of the

"The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence."

Nathan Teodoro has brought to my attention that this section of the Constitution is repeatedly not being enforeced:

Border patrol agent held at gunpoint
A agent was held at gunpoint Sunday night by members of the Mexican military who had crossed the border into Arizona, but the soldiers returned to without incident when backup agents responded to assist.

Agents assigned to the Border Patrol station at Ajo, Ariz., said the Mexican soldiers crossed the international border in an isolated area about 100 miles southwest of Tucson and pointed rifles at the agent, who was not identified. It was unclear what the soldiers were doing in the United States, but U.S. law enforcement authorities have long said that current and former Mexican military personnel have been hired to protect drug and migrant smugglers.

"Unfortunately, this sort of behavior by Mexican military personnel has been going on for years," union Local 2544 of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) said on its Web page. "They are never held accountable, and the United States government will undoubtedly brush this off as another case of 'Oh well, they didn't know they were in the United States.'

"It is fortunate that this incident didn't end in a very ugly gunfight," said the local's posting.

The NBPC represents all nonsupervisory personnel among the agency's 16,000 agents.

What will it take?

When the barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia were bombed in 1996, the US did nothing.

When the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed in 1998, the US did nothing.

When the USS Cole was bombed in 2000, the US did nothing.

When the US was attacked in 2001, President Bush took decisive action.

Yet as the lead story in this post shows, our sovereinty is directly being assaulted (as opposed to the indirect assault by the flood of ).

What will it take? A gun fight between poorly armed Border Agents against Meixan soldiers holding automatic weapons?

, I ask you: what will it take to uphold the Constituion?


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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Setting the tune

The other day my son asked if I had heard the new song called Sweet Home Alabama. Hearing in my mind the opening chord of 's classic song (..."turn it up"), I said that the song was probably 20 or more years old. He assured me he heard a new song, possibly a cover of the original I was thinking, and I told him I'd keep an ear out for it.

Keep in mind; he and mom are Country Music fans, through and through. There are a few songs from that genre I find worthy, so much of it is just background noise to me (see prior posts). When I drive alone, I generally have talk radio on, because my taste in rock n' roll is tough to find on the dial these days. In the '70s it was called AOR, or Album Oriented Rock.... The kind of songs that never fit into the stereotypical three minute format found on the Pop music stations (pretty much most of the AM dial in those days). As Billy Joel opined:

I am the entertainer, I've come to do my show
You've heard my latest record spin on the radio
Oh, it took me years to write it, they were the best years of my life
It was a beautiful song but it ran too long
If you're gonna have a hit you gotta make it fit
So they cut it down to 3:05

But my tastes in performers covers a lot of ground: you'll find CDs in my collection ranging from to to to to . And even , whose earlier material spanned Rock, Rap, Country and Southern Rock (Side note: I really would appreciate a satellite radio, but can't justify one).

So over the weekend my 12 year old and I were in the car listening to a Country station -- as I said I don't care for it, but it's pretty much a default setting when I am in the car with either him or mom - when suddenly we heard the opening piano chords of what I thought was 's classic Werewolves of London (listen)- especially odd to hear on a Country station in August (maybe in late October, perhaps, but not otherwise).

My son exclaimed: That's it, that's Sweet Home Alabama! Before I could tell him otherwise, I was surprised to hear lyrics I was unfamiliar with:

It was 1989, my thoughts were short my hair was long
Caught somewhere between a boy and man
She was seventeen and she was far from in-between
It was summertime in Northern Michigan
Ahh....

Splashing through the sand bar, talking by the campfire
It's the simple things in life, like when and where
We didn't have no Internet but man I never will forget
The way the moonlight shined upon her hair

And we were trying different things, we were smoking funny things
Making love out by the lake to our favorite song
Sipping whiskey out the bottle, not thinking 'bout tomorrow
Singing Sweet Home Alabama all summer long ...
Singing Sweet Home Alabama all summer long

At first I was a little annoyed at someone so obviously lifting the tune from Zevon's song -- it was not at all unlike how a great many felt when Vanilla Ice swiped the melody from the David Bowie / Queen tune Under Pressure. But then I heard the chorus and finally understood why he called it Sweet Home Alabama. The tune is catchy, to say the least, and certainly worth a listen.

Ironically, while it played in the car I didn't know who wrote/recorded it (obviously, you can tell now by looking at the player above). I told my son that this song reminded me of a Kid Rock song where he paid homage to Lynard Skynard by singing never wanted a guitar 'till I heard a lick like this ... and then played the famous riff from Freebird.

It wasn't until after All Summer Long finished did we learn it was also a Kid Rock song. Not surprisingly, at that moment my son suddenly became interested in Kid Rock, and asked if I had any of his CDs.

"Well, yeah, I have 2 in fact" came my reply. But you're not going to listen to them.

This is where I have to use that infamous line of parents Do what I say, not as I do, or in this case: don't listen to the same music that I like. I try to set a good example for my kids, but clearly my preferences in music are not something I can easily share with them.

Case in point, the line I referred to just before came from Kid Rock's 2002 disc, Cocky, and the tune is called You Never Met a Motherf______ Quite Like Me.

Oh yeah, I want to hear him humming that tune around the house! If you've never heard the tune and you're at all curious, CMT (that's Country Music TV) has a dubbed version of all Kid Rock's songs/videos, and specifically You Never... here. I doubt very much whether CMT would ever play that tune on the cable station, but they do play his more mainstream tunes, like Picture (listen), because, lets face it, Kid's got talent.

As a side note, I generally tend to dislike artists who gratuitously embed their own name in their songs - does anyone else remember the eponymous In a Big Country? Nah, I didn't think so...

However, most of Kid Rock's stuff has him referring to himself by name frequently (case in point: You Never .... is practically an autobiography). The man has talent, and he knows it, and thus the disc titled Cocky is not a stretch at all. And while I like a lot of Kid's work, I prefer most of the less braggadocios tunes, myself.

And Kid Rock, by far, is not the only artist in my collection that I'd have problems with sharing, nor only music: I have over a dozen CDs of , whose comedy I'd love to share with him, but I withhold because while I am certain he's probably had at least a passing acquaintance with at least some of the (listen here), I can't readily sit down and endorse them for him, at least at age 12. On the other hand, like All Summer Long, he enjoys Carlin's Baseball and Football (listen here) which is perfectly clean and even my father enjoys hearing.

Add to it most anything put out by Pink Floyd, and you can see where I have troubles sharing my CD collection (never mind my vinyl, but that's another post altogether).

As a kid, I was the youngest of four brothers, so I was exposed to a.lot.of.music, much of which our parents wouldn't have approved of any of us listening. So while I don't want to deprive my son of any of the musical spectrum I enjoy, at the same I have to maintain a certain separation.

To date, we've been able to moderate his movies, but there's another media that will be shared with him, sooner or later.

There's going to be a time when MBH and I are going to be surprised, shocked, whatever, at a tune/movie he's made his favorite, and when that time comes I'll have to deal with it. But at that time I'll also have a certain, almost secret pleasure of knowing there's something more I can share with him.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Pilobolus

My MBH sent me these in an e-mail titled Shadow puppets on steroids:





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Can you guess what's missing?

Below is my local school district calendar for the upcoming year:

September

2 First Day for Students

February

16 President’s Day /Schools Closed; Offices Open

October

13 Staff Development Day/ No School for Students

March

13 Staff Development Day

November

21 Parent-Teachers Conferences K-12

27-28 Thanksgiving Recess

April

9-13 Spring Recess

December

1 Thanksgiving Recess

24-31 Winter Recess

May

25 Memorial Day / School Closed

January

1-2 Winter Recess

19 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day/Schools Closed; Offices Open

23 Staff Development Day

June

8 Last Day for Students and Teachers

Can anyone guess what's missing? Anyone?

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Are you going along with #dontgo ?

On Friday, the GOP minority in House of Representatives began to demand a vote on a new energy policy. Speaker of the answered by shutting off C-SPAN, shutting of the lights in the House, and dismissed the House body and headed out on 5 week vacation.

The members of the House that stayed behind, in spite of having the light turned out on them, began to blog and Tweet about their discussions and plans, even without the Speaker or any Democrat remaining behind.

In order to provide a simple method to track all related Tweets, the Reps started tagging their posts with . To follow their discussions, go to http://dontgo.us/ (where you can also sign their petition).

Even if Speaker Pelosi is proud of her do-nothing Congress, you have to admire these Congresspeople for staying and making their point known. Who knows? Maybe even the MSM will report on their actions!

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House GOP tries to salvage lackluster year

Friday afternoon, (D) used her mighty gavel to end the House session, to begin their 5 week summer recess, in spite of protests from the GOP minority, who continued to discuss ways to lower fuel prices and ensure a more secure energy policy in the future.

Ms. Pelosi was so impressed with the efforts of the legislatures trying to, ahem, legislate that she turned off the lights and C-SPAN cameras and promptly headed for home.

If you've struggled to explain why the Congress' poll ratings are even lower than 's, you should have no trouble now.

On the upside, the GOP's new spine seems to do well with their constituency (why they haven't read my blog all these years is a mystery!), and as such they are planning to continue discussing the issue today, even without Madam Speaker and the rest of the House.

What is not being reported in the MSM is the simple fact Mrs. Pelosi will not allow a vote on drilling because she knows she would lose, since many of her own party now want to pursue off-shore drilling, and possibly even at , too. So instead of showing leadership, by working with members of her own party, and with the GOP, she'll turn off the lights, put her fingers in her ear and sing la la la la la I can't hear you la la la and ignore the issue. Talk about leadership.

I had high-hopes President Bush would call for the House to reconvene, but that has yet to happen.

Now that even has flip-flopped (or is it caved in?) on off-shore drilling, what will Speaker Pelosi do when she returns from her vacation? Who knows? She may well preside over a session that actually does the nation good, because, after all, this Congress really has little to show for itself.

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Friday, August 01, 2008

Quick Hits

With an average daily traffic currently reaching 421, including a visitor from Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan (Google Map) interested in my take on Randy Pausch, it's time for more Quick Hits...

  • Gas Prices decline: If you were to look at my cell phone, you'd see a photo of the gas station prices at my local retailer near home (I have several dozen photos I neglect to transfer... leaving them there is a bad habit). I paid $3.68.9 this morning. That's hardly anything to cheer about, but it's better than the $.30/gallon more I've paid in recent weeks. Could it be the President lifting the Executive Order on off-shore drilling? Could it be China's decision to end subsidies on oil imports? Perhaps both, because they both feed into the supply-and-demand equation. Strange, isn't it, that Speaker Nancy Pelosi decided to block any vote on offshore drilling.... I guess she likes the people of America paying a lot for fuel. More importantly, the GOP minority has seemed to grow a much needed backbone in recent weeks, continuing to discuss the issue even after Speaker Pelosi turns off the House lights. Had the GOP realized sooner the error of their ways from the 2006 election, they'd be in a much better position, but better late than never.
  • HAPPY 20th ANNIVERSARY: No no, not mine (got many months more before I cross that threshold), took to nationally syndicated airways 20 years ago today (and the critics said he'd never make it!). Love him, hate him, or anything in between: you have to give him props for that accomplishment. Even non-paying members of his website can visit his virtual LIMBAUGH MUSEUM OF BROADCASTING ... hear clips of the show, discover background information on Rush, see video clips of President Clinton made famous by Rush ... well worth your time, indeed!
  • Start your engines! If you think that my living less than an hour away from Pocono Raceway means I would have been to many a race in the last 16 years, YOU LOST (kudos to ). However, tomorrow my 12 year old and I will be at the track for the days festivities and afternoon ARCA race. I know, it's not quite as good as either of the two senior circuit races, but believe me tickets for them are not cheap. So I do what I can. Our estimates are that the 6 year old wouldn't have fun in all the noise, and neither would my MBH (which is ironic because she's the big auto racing fan in the house). I am bringing a camera (in addition to my cell phone), so I hope to post some pics.
  • Speaking of cell phones and irony: Got me a voice mail message today from a head hunter. Could prove interesting...

1 Yeah, I know it used to be more: compared to many blogs, that's not exactly an impressive number. But hey, it's my blog, and I like it.



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Challenge: end of week two

Continuing with the HUNDRED PUSH-UP CHALLENGE .... (see results for end of week one here)


Still working the program according to the chart for Week 2:

On day 1 this week I did 12/12/9/7/30 push-ups. Day 2 (Wednesday) I did 16/13/11/11/35 . Today I hit 15/15/12/12/37. As it's the end of the week the program asks me to perform the maximum push-ups possible. After a brief rest, I cranked out 45 perfect push-ups; I did another 5 that were, at best, wobbly.

Since I arrive at work before anyone else, I do my push-ups in the office. Doing them before 5AM just doesn't sound at all attractive, and if I push myself too much at the office, I'll be a sweaty mess, so hitting 45 is not at all a bad target for me.

I like how this schedule allows the user to build up endurance. By Labor Day I ought to be up at the goal of 100 consecutive push-ups. I

Shout-outs to Derek Semmeler, who turned me on to this program, and to the other challengers: Mark, Bill Shaw and Jughead.

I'll be checking for their status tonight!

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