Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Message

OLD CITY BAR



In an old city bar
That is never too far
From the places that gather
The dreams that have been

In the safety of night
With its old neon light
It beckons to strangers
And they always come in

And the snow it was falling
The neon was calling
The music was low
And the night
Christmas Eve

And here was the danger
That even with strangers
Inside of this night
It's easier to believe
Then the door opened wide
And a child came inside
That no one in the bar
Had seen there before

And he asked did we know
That outside in the snow
That someone was lost
Standing outside our door

Then the bartender gazed
Through the smoke and the haze
Through the window and ice
To a corner streetlight

Where standing alone
By a broken pay phone
Was a girl the child said
Could no longer get home

And the snow it was falling
The neon was calling
The bartender turned
And said, not that I care
But how would you know this?
The child said I've noticed
If one could be home
They'd be already there

Then the bartender came out from behind the bar
And in all of his life he was never that far
And he did something else that he thought no one saw
When he took all the cash from the register draw

Then he followed the child to the girl cross the street
And we watched from the bar as they started to speak
Then he called for a cab and he said J.F.K.
Put the girl in the cab and the cab drove away
And we saw in his hand
That the cash was all gone
From the light that she had
wished upon

If you want to arrange it
This world you can change it
If we could somehow make this
Christmas thing last

By helping a neighbor
Or even a stranger

And to know who needs help
You need only just ask

Then he looked for the child
But the child wasn't there
Just the wind and the snow
Waltzing dreams through the air

So he walked back inside
Somehow different I think
For the rest of the night
No one paid for a drink

And the cynics will say
That some neighborhood kid
Wandered in on some bums
In the world where they hid

But they weren't there
So they couldn't see
By an old neon star
On that, night, Christmas Eve

When the snow it was falling
The neon was calling
And in case you should wonder
In case you should care

Why we're on our own
Never went home
On that night of all nights
We were already there





http://www.trans-siberian.com/

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All About (Christmas) Eve (repost)

I had only known Karen for three weeks when I extended the invitation. "I know these family things can be a little weird," I told her, "but my folks are great, and we always have a lot of fun on Christmas Eve."

"Sounds fine to me," Karen said.

I had only known my mother for 31 years when I told her I'd be brining Karen with me. "She's a very nice girl and she's really looking forward to meeting all of you."  "Sounds fine to me," my mother said.

And that was that. Two telephone calls. Two sounds-fine-to-me's. What more could I want?


I should point out, I suppose, that in Italian households, Christmas Eve is the social event of the season- an Italian women's raison d'ĂȘtre. She cleans. She cooks. She bakes. She orchestrates every minute of the entire evening. Christmas Eve is what Italian women live for.

I should also point out, I suppose, that when it comes to the kind of women that make Italian men go nuts, Karen is it. She doesn't clean. She doesn't cook. She doesn't bake. And she has the largest breasts I have ever seen on a human being.


I brought her anyway.
So begins the beloved Christmas story I repost year after year in my annual Holiday Chestnuts collection for your enjoyment, ...more...

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Merry Christmas 2010

What's this?  An actual, authored post (as opposed to a re-post)?

Yes, yes it is.

I have neglected this humble blog through much of this year, and while it is regrettable, the rate of posting is not very likely to increase much in the new year.  I'll do what I can, but that's about all I can promise.

Christmas is upon us, and I hope yours is filled with peace and happiness.  I realize, all too well, that for many happiness is hard to come by, especially this year.   The office I work in is becomming depressed, with the pending closing of this facility come the summer.  At our holiday pot-luck yesterday the mood was tempered with the good fortune that we'll all be working come January, and throughout at least half of the year (under the current plan), which more than a lot of other people we know can say.

In other news, this year has been a roller coaster for many I know:  an engagement, a divorce, a new baby (er, for the record, those things happened to more than one person!), new careers beginning, existing (a/k/a old) ones ending with little warning, or in the case of a single mom I know - no warning. Nothing horribly tragic, but few exceedingly bright spots to remark about this year.
I've spent less time with this blog as I pursue social media in my real persona with the goal of marketing myself in the job market.  My goal is to select a intellectually stimulating position, with a lateral (or better) salary, possibly with a more healthy commute (anything less than 2hr drive).   With my company still not informing me of their intent to relocate me to the new offices in Maryland, I still have time to be choosy.   Should I take whatever relocation offer they make me, that will be my PLAN B.  My PLAN A will be a new position that meets my stated goals (perhaps I'll settled for 2 out 3 of those goals).  Something will break in my direction, sooner or later... getting to that point is the challenge.

Those seeking to link to my real persona will be disappointed to learn that in real life I AM BORING.  I don't discuss politics (not much, really), I keep the jokes clean,  I avoid things that are controversial.  I figure that at my age I need a social media presence, but by the same token I don't want to turn off any potential hiring manager.  I spend most of time alerting those linked to me of the latest scam affecting Facebook, or help those who have been scammed by some foolish app to clear up their profiles.  Like I said: boring!

I will repost a few of my favorite Holiday Chestnuts for your enjoyment.  I bid to you all a Merry Christmas, and a joyous and prosperous New Year!

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A Christmas Carol and its oddities

Repost from 2007:

Has anyone else noticed what a weird story "A Christmas Carol" is?

We start with Scrooge, who is built up as a man who is only concerned with himself and his money. He runs a successful business, but doing what exactly, we're never told. All we know is that his business only benefits Scrooge, and people give him lots of money for some reason, while no one ever boycotts him or gives their business to a competitor. Apparently Scrooge does something where he can just command people to give him money, and they do.  Read more...

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

THE PADDY AND THE YANK

A favorite Irish tune celebrating Christmas:

Holidays and Christmas go hand in hand
Like lovers and loved ones, right throughout the land
Drink and be merry, it’s tradition that’s why it’s here
And the Yanks and the Irish drinking whisky and beer.

We are happy and proud of nations
Especially when we’ve all had our fill
The gargle is mighty when you keep it down
Otherwise its messy for all those around

So drink and merry, think of those you love
But don’t get so jar-eyed you forget the man above
Come on ye boys in green,  come on red white and blue
Don’t forget the fireman, and the PDs too

We’ve all got this in common - we know how to celebrate!
Sufferin in silence  - hear the bells on Christmas day

So drink and merry, think of those you love
But don’t get so jar-eyed you forget the man above

It’s the one night of the year when the husband is let loose
The wife gives dispensation for himself to cook his goose!
Greasing back his hair,  wearing his Sunday best,
Reminding him as he shuts the door tomorrow he’ll have no rest!

We are happy and proud of nations
Especially when we’ve all had our fill
The gargle is mighty when you keep it down
Otherwise its messy for all those around

So drink and merry, think of those you love
But don’t get so jar-eyed you forget the man above
Come on ye boys in green,  come on red white and blue
And don’t forget the fireman, and the PDs too

For after all it’s Christmas -- it comes but once a year!
Give thanks and praise to everyone – celebrate with might cheer!

Drink and merry, think of those you love
But don’t get so jar-eyed you forget the man above

Drink and merry, think of those you love
But don’t get so jar-eyed you forget the man above

I transcribed this version from Ronan Tynan's I'll be Home for Christmas.  Amazingly, I cannot find a stream of this song online.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Chestnuts 2010

Repeating previous years posts is a little cheap, since I haven't posted much at all this year.   But there's bound to be a few holiday posts that will make you smile.  


It's OK to say
Merry Christmas!


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Monday, December 13, 2010

Judge rules key-part of Obamacare unconstituitional

It's only a minor win on the way to the entire repeal, but a win is a win!

Today Federal District Judge Henry Hudson ruled against the Obama Administration on three essential points involving Obamacare:
1. Individuals who do not actively participate in commerce -- that is, who do not voluntarily purchase health insurance --  cannot be said to be participating in commerce under the United States Constitution's Commerce Clause, and there is no Supreme Court precedent providing otherwise;
2. The Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution cannot be used as a backdoor means to enforce a statute that is not otherwise constitutional under Congress's enumerated powers;
and 3. There is a difference between a tax and a penalty, there is much Supreme Court precedent in this regard, and the penalty provision in Obamacare is not a tax but a penalty and, therefore, is unconstitutional for it is applied to individuals who choose not to purchase health care.

Judge Hudson's ruling against the Obama Administration and for the Commonwealth of Virginia gives hope that the rule of law and the Constitution itself still having meaning.  Landmark Legal Foundation has filed several amicus briefs in this case, at the request of the Commonwealth, and will continue to provide support in the likely event the Commonwealth is required to defend this decision in the Fourth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court.  Landmark would also like to congratulate Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and the excellent lawyers in his office for their superb legal skills.

Landmark President Mark R. Levin declared:  "It is a great day for the rule of law and the citizenry.  Judge Hudson's ruling is ironclad, and General Cuccinelli deserves an enormous amount of credit for taking on this mater.  We look forward to continuing to work with him." 
Mark Levin

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Googling yourself

Besides the adolescent urge to giggle at the subject line, have you ever Googled yourself?

I've written before about googling an ex but this is closer to home.  As I build my personal brand - another buzz-phrase related to job seeking, I decided to Google myself - not CharliePATpk of course, but my real name - to see what a potential employer would see.  People have asked me over the years why I use a pseudonym online, and here's the perfect case in point. 

My skills and abilities are what should drive whether I should be hired or not (of course, how I present myself in the interviews, etc., but that falls under ability as well).   Whether I am a Conservative or not has nothing to do with whether I can meet/exceed the job description.  I've worked for people who are more Right-wing than I am, and I have worked for a Left-winger who said, to my face, if you are a Republican you must naturally be a racist.   I can work for anyone (although in the interest of full disclosure, I did seek a transfer from that idiot right after he called me a racist.  I had worked for him for over 2 years but could not get over his blatant hatred from that point forward), and while I obviously have strong political convictions I curb the expression of them when the job is at hand.      But my hire shouldn't be judged by whether you like or hate my politics. 
So while I expected to find a number of comments I posted to blogs under my real name - none dealing with politics - I was genuinely taken back to see a post penned by first-initial,lastname praising the passage new Healthcare Reform law!   Not a comment, but an actual post, 2 pages long, from the Spring of 2010, extolling the virtues of the law, and how we'll all be better off in the future because of it.

After checking and rechecking to see if I was misreading the blogger's name, the only thing that gave me relief was determining:

  • No one had commented on the particular post
  • No one had commented on the previous post
  • There were only two posts in the entire blog
So it's safe to assume I've probably given this guy (gal? no gender identification was provided) more traffic than previously recorded in a 2 day period.  It's also good that this post appears on Google's page 3 of results, meaning it's not likely to show up in any pre-employment search.  

But it is a wake-up call for you: Google yourself.  Find out what people with similar names to you (or same call-signs) are doing.  You may be surprised!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TSA Screenings... some questions

While I am probably not the first to pose these, please indulge me:

  • New York is the only state in the country where women can be topless legally, after a 1992 ruling in the state's highest court. That means any woman can walk around the city at any time with no shirt on. (Link: NY Daily News).  That means my much-better-half can present herself topless at the LGA or JFK TSA screening line in order, you know, to speed things up, right?
  • If I am online and either I object to the scanner or I am selected (for whatever reason) to go on the pat-down line, what if I am wearing those track pants with snaps up and down the legs, and underneath I wear only a Speedo and two pasties (say, the Obama logo) on my tits?  Won't that speed things up?  (In the interest of full disclosure: even during the height of my Taekwondo training I was not a pretty site au natural.  While I still try to work-out on my own, I am probably the pastie-white nightmare you imagine).

    OH LOOK!  Someone (much better looking) beat me to it:
    My TSA Stripdown: Nov 21 at Seatac from Furry Girl's Feminisnt.com on Vimeo.
  • Typically, we have restroom/dressing room attendants or pat-down agents of the same gender of the customer.  Say a gay person says I don't want any same-gendered agent frisking me because that I am uncomfortable with anyone of the same gender touching me there!  Would the TSA accommodate the request? 
  • What if a person (myself, or anyone else) insists on a specific-gendered TSA agent conduct the search?  Say I want that gal over there to frisk me, as opposed to that guy.  Or could I say anyone but him/her ?  
Your thoughts/comments are invited.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Good news for Philly Boy Scouts of America!!

PHILLY.COM Philadelphia would stop trying to evict the Cradle of Liberty Council Boy Scouts from its headquarters near Logan Square and instead sell the building to the organization at a cut-rate price, thereby ending a nearly decade long dispute, under a proposed settlement.

The city-owned building, which the scouts have occupied for 80 years, would be sold for $500,000. Both sides agree its appraised value is at least $1 million. In return, the scouts would not seek $1 million in compensation from Philadelphia that they are entitled to under federal law.
This is a story I've followed here on my humble blog for 7 years.  It involved the City to unilaterally decide to renege on it's 80 year old contract with the local BSA organization, and has caused unnecessary stress and monies spent in an attempt to change the values of the now 100 year old organization.  This is a case that clearly should never have been brought to trail, and in the end the BSA was vindicated.

I look forward to the National and local Council's public statement on this.  As near as I can tell, this was a best-case win for BSA.  And I, for one, will contribute to the fund to purchase their building back from the City.


Previous posts:

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dancing with the Glee Stars

I took some flack last night (No, Tina, not from you) because I voiced my opinions on two of TVs recent big-rating grabs: Glee and Dancing With The Stars

I saw the intro to GLEE, which showed a teacher pushing an obviously flu-stricken student to sneeze on the school's principal.  This, I am told, was a mechanism to get the teacher (the cheerleader coach) to become interim principal.

OK, so maybe I am getting old, but is this the story line that passes for prime time entertainment?   This show strikes me as FAME meets SAVED BY THE BELL.  I know I will be slammed by Gleeks but I think I'll pass on any more episodes.

Dancing With The Stars also took some criticism from me, in that I said I never watched an episode of the series. 

In the interest of full disclosure, let me make one thing clear: I don't dance.  I suck at it, and always have.  Days before my much-better-half and I tied the knot, I was in search of OSHA approved steel-toed white shoes so I could protect her feet. The times I have danced in public have led to no less than three public ordinances banning me from ever attempting to do so again.
This morning a co-worker in the next cube was playing a clip from access hollywood which recapped last night's episode.  I won't pretend to know the contestants - I know Brandy as a singer, and you'd have to be in coma not to have heard of Bristol Palin - so I have no horse in this race.   What surprised me was the seemingly obligatory videos of the stars recapping their most difficult times in their lives

Huh?

What the hell do testimonials have to do with dancing?  Who cares?  So if I were to compete on such a show (perish the thought!) and told a sob story, I could possibly beat any one of the other contestants?

My schedule is pretty full these days, so I don't get to watch much TV at all, but there are a few shows I won't ever go out of my way to watch.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Please, better series, less reality

Delaware are you? I don't know; Alaska!

OK it's a corny joke, but you're still reading, right?



I like Sarah Palin... both as a person and a politician, which I know annoys more than a few of my readers. Fine.



There's no way in hell I am going to watch Sarah Palin's Alaska, not because I dislike her, but because the whole idea of a reality series is tiring to me. I used to like THE APPRENTICE, but that jumped the shark when it moved to LA.

I watched 3 or 4 seasons of DEADLIEST CATCH, and enjoyed them immensely but became completely bored during the lead up to Phil's funeral.  Please, how can so much time be spent - during the season and with the spin-off After The Catch on a guy who abused his health the way he did?  Yes, Phil Harris was a great fisherman, loving father.... he died, next!    

And that's the point... what's next for DC?  Women on the crew, to show how well withstand the pressure of the job?   Or someone on the main crew drowning?  The show has had a good run, now let it sail off.

What's left for knowing Sarah Palin?  I read her auto biography, she's an outdoorsman, a mother, all great things, all wonderful.    So you make a series out of her summer??  I like her, but come on!

Whatever happened to TV?

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Older


You're older than you've ever been.
And now you're even older.
And now you're even older.
And now you're even older.

You're older than you've ever been.
And now you're even older.
And now you're older still.

TIME! Is marching on.
And time.. is still marching on.
This day will soon be at an end and now it's even sooner.
And now it's even sooner.
And now it's even sooner.
This day will soon be at an end and now it's even sooner.
And now it's even sooner.
And now it's sooner still.

You're older than you've ever been.
And now you're even older.
And now you're even older.
And now you're even older.

You're older than you've ever been.
And now you're even older.
And now you're older still.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Blogging and your career

I have been waiting for the decision that will affect my career: that being whether my company will offer me to relocate to Maryland or will I be laid-off instead.   The zero-hour currently is 1-August, which is the day my role will be in Maryland - whether I will be there or not.

I have earned an IT-related certification  -  CompTIAs Security+, an important and relevant cert - and I am actively working on another, in order to firm up my resume'.  

Many so-called career experts advocate blogging to help make your brand.  How ironic that I have been blogging since 2005.  However, as I am free to speak my mind on any topic I want because I am anonymous, I cannot point to this humble blog to promote my brand.    

Probably my biggest question is how, exactly, do I promote my brand ?  As a defense contractor for the last 14 years, I have experise on a variety of platforms and systems that are largely, sad to say, heading for extinction.    This will be the big test!

I have toyed with a blog under my surname for some time, and I am getting closer to it with each passing day.   I would post the link here, but then that would make my remaining anon here a hard sell, wouldn't it?

Do you blog your brand?  How do you separate your career profile from your personal one?

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Monday, November 08, 2010

Veteran's Day Week - 8th of November

I've written other posts regarding VETERAN'S DAY, and I will again this week. Big and Rich's 8th of November commemorates often overlooked heroes, and there's no better reason to feature the song on the anniversary date of the subject event.

There's plenty of homemade videos on YouTube, but the absolute best is Big and Rich's original video, which is linked here (but not permitted to be embedded). I encourage you now to click through and watch it.

And remember to never forget.

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Where are you going?



I realize the layout isn't very good, and there are a dozen different ways I could use to improve it, but I don't have the time today to do so. Meanwhile, click here for the toon.


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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Those racist teabaggers

The racist teabaggers have elected Marco Rubio, and Susana Martinez, and Tim Scott, and Nikki Haley, and Bill Flores, and Allen West, and... @PatrickRuffini

I am pleased, not happy, not excited, but pleased. The beginning of the beginning is done. I predicted 60 House and 10 Senate seats. Well, with 3 Senate contests still undecided, my prediction is officially wrong, as the best that can be hoped for is 9 seats. A win is a win, but my prediction lost.

A lot of self-abuse contributed to the defeat, no doubt. As in Christine O'Donnell having to fight not only the President and the entire DNC but many on her side of the aisle as well. Imagine for a moment: had the President and Vice President not spent so much time in Delaware, what would the outcome have been??

The beginning of the beginning is done; now the new members of the House have to prove they're worthy to stay in office, else they'll be primaryed and replaced, as were their (now) predecessors. Health Care abomination will be curtailed (or so I hope!), so we neither bankrupt the nation nor ruin the greatest system in the world.

We had 2 disturbances at my polling site, both involving Democrats who were just making noise to be noticed.  Sad.   The results in my precinct echoed the tune heard across the land on the both statewide and local candidates.  It was a good evening, indeed!

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Monday, November 01, 2010

The beginning of the beginning

Days like this I miss my old blogging habit.

Tomorrow is the beginning of the beginning.   A new start.  A new Conservative start.  This won't end the administration of President Obama, but it will end a number of incumbent legislative careers that ought to have ended long ago.  It will mark the beginning of the end of the Obama Agenda, of the radical, left-wing ideology that has been thrusted on the nation during the Recession that began a little over 2 years ago.  

Historically, recessions end in about 18 months, give or take.    Reacting to the changes in the market, and often with some monetary or tax-cutting measures, the economy adjusts and the recovery begins.  In the last 18 months, the Obama Administration has done to cause the recession to deepen than anything to help assuage it.  

The people have seen the results, and they're not happy.



Tomorrow I fulfill my public service obligation in the general election since I was electedI suspect there will be more turn-out than in May's primary, but I am hopeful of no surprises.    One of the lessons I learned from May: bring a Box o' Joe and comfortable shoes.   And be ready to speak the Constitution to those who only think they know what they're talking about!


The tides are changing.  The talk 2 years ago was all about change.  But as many have said - including many times myself in this humble blog -  the GOP Congress and President Bush spent wantonly, largely because they believed they would win over their Democrat opponents.  In the end, the GOP lost the Congress 4 years ago and the White House 2 years later:  You cannot out-spend a Democrat and expect to hold on to your base.   Now the Democrats have spent far more than the GOP ever did, and that has angered the Right and the Middle. 

The Tea Party is neither Republican nor Democrat:  they are, however, pissed.  The A-#1 advice that all legislators should take heed: do not spend foolishly if you expect to be re-elected.    In the short term, the Obama Health Care nonsense will not be able to be overturned, I am sorry to admit.  But it can be defunded, delayed.   The new Congress would do well to pass bill after bill, daring the president to veto them.  Those bills ought to be be for spending cuts and for the Conservative initiative that will secure their 2012 future.

Less than 2 years ago, JamesCarville  -- a pundit and professional whom I hold in great respect, even though I am 100% opposite him politically -- predicted the GOP would spend 40 years as minority party; it seems this is a prediction that was flat-out wrong.   I won't suggest the Democrats will be a minority for any such length, but I will state, again, my prediction that the GOP will take 60 HOUSE seats and I am still optimistic they will take 10 SENATE seats.  That's net gain of each, mind you.


Check back Wednesday... while Washington state won't be decided by then, we'll have a good sense of how close my prediction will be by then.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Being stupid with Web 2.0

A buddy of mine is connected with me on LinkedIn.  He's an all-around good guy, and I don't mean to sound like I am directly insulting him, but I am calling him stupid.   This is from his LinkedIn feed as seen in my Google Reader:


Now this guy (let's call him Dave) he's connected in Social Media, so he can have this info scraped to Twitter and wherever else online.  And everyone knows he's going out of town  -- in this example, he was out of town, but the point still remains.   His status shows how often he is out of town, and it is at least twice a month.  Suffice it to say it's not hard to locate his home and such online.

Dave is a family man, with a wife and two young kids.   I had a chat with him about this last month, because in this day and age, it's not really smart or safe to advertise when you're leaving town.  Now Dave's wife is not a shrinking violet, and for all I know can handle a gun better than I can, that's not the point.     The idea, however, of splashing online 'hey, I am leaving home for several days' doesn't strike me as a smart thing to do.

What's you opinion?

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

14 days: Change is coming

I don't have to tell any readers what event of national importance happens in just 14 days.   I have been largely silent on this forum, my humble blog, for quite some time.  But if you have any awareness of current events, and you are an American, you know it is election day in 2 weeks.  A midterm election, but one of greater importance than any midterm in recent years.   I get a front-row seat in my polling-place, as I will again serve in my elected position at precinct.  And unlike Mrs. Obama, I knew long before taking my oath what the laws are regarding campaigning in the polling place!
 
We were told, 4 years ago, that the Republican majority had to be replaced, to stop the agenda of then President Bush, who had at that time shepherded the nation through a recession that began prior to him taking office, a major attack and fiscal fall-out from September 11, the disaster that was Hurricane Katrina, two wars, and yet (again, at that time) the economy was doing well: unemployment  and interest rates low, stock markets high.

True, gas prices were quite high around this point in 4 years ago.  My daily 220 mile round-trip commute felt it.  And I recall Rep. Nancy Peloci campaigning that if Democrats were put in charge, the gas prices of over $3/gal would be reduced to $2/gal or less.   I still wait for that promise.

I still wait for the House swamp to be drained... meanwhile 2 powerful democrat Congresspeople have had their trials delayed until after the election... convenient, don't you think.

But the change had to come 4 years ago.  House and Senate Republicans thought the way to win the hearts and minds of voters on the opposite side of the aisle was to spend a lot like their minority counterparts; not quite as bad, but bad enough to drive many of the supporters to stay away from the polls 4 years ago.   It didn't help that President Bush never vetoed any of the reckless spending bills the GOP controlled Congress sent to him.

But none of this is news.  Anyone who has paid attention, and certainly anyone who has read this blog (or is inclined to read the archives) knows I warned the GOP of their foolish spending ways.   And the results were predicted.

Readers of this blog also know that I have acknowledged the given likelihood of the party in power losing seats in midterm elections... that's a no-brainer.  But this year is different. 

Democrats over reached.  They got greedy.  Not unlike the so-called moderate Republicans who thought they could buy votes by spending the Treasury with every bill they passed, the Democrats never met an earmark they didn't like.  And the TARP, the bailouts, the TARP 2, the Healthcare Bill ... all of these have lined up to be their foes for the upcoming election.

And the people are pissed.   The grassroots effort of the Tea Party will hold their feet to the fire, not just for a day in 2 weeks, but for the foreseeable future.  So the incoming congress members are on notice: fly right, or be replaced.

Now I realize some will take their chances that the Tea Party will dissolve, and will start buying votes again.  And some may actually withstand re-election.  But the majority will face the growing wrath of the electorate.

I am not so pie-in-the-sky optimist to think the results of the election will bring an immediate halt to Obamacare.  But I am hopeful it will delay any further implementation of this horrendous law.  The new Congress may actually pass a bill to repeal it, but we all know President Obama will veto it - he may be a lot of things, but he isn't foolish enough to surrender that easily.  All the Congress is absolutely required to do, in the next year, is to stop all funding of this monstrosity from going forward.  Then pass amendments to chip away at it.  Just as the 1994 Congress practically forced the hand President Clinton to sign Welfare reform, so must the new Congress do with Obamacare.

I said I wasn't pie-in-the-sky optimistic.  I am expecting great losses for the Democrats in 2 weeks, but I am not yet certain the GOP won't snatch defeat from the jaws of victory; look at Delaware.  Christine O'Donnell is hardly any different in her background and experience than Barrack Obama was 4 years ago, yet supporters and members of the GOP are seemingly hard-pressed to support her.   And there's no way anyone can tell me Chris Coons is a better bet for the GOP than Ms. O'Donnell.

Change is coming.  And even if the GOP doesn't win in as huge numbers as is widely predicted, the fact remains those winners will be held to their promises.   If they do not truly reform government, the same people that put them into office will replace them.  The inspiration crossing the country now isn't limited to one party, it's a revolution of voters who will no longer put up with unaccountable spending and attacks on our liberties.


As the Bard sang

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.


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Keeping tabs on kids gaming with PiggyBack

I am not a Mafia Wars kind of guy (if you knew my multisyllabic Italian last name, you'd undesrtand).   For a brief time I was involved with Parking Wars but it got boring (also too much like real life).    And Farmville?  please.

But that's me!   And I never said I was typical!

But these games and plenty of others are used and played by Facebook users everyday, especially by kids.  Social apps likes Whyville and Planet Cazmo are attracting kids to their worlds with their flashy colors and sounds, all geared to kids.   As a parent I first tried Facebook as a way to keep up with what my kids would likely get involved with, so I could at least be familiar with the environment.  But how do I keep up with all of the new game sites and social nets that are coming around?

Piggyback by Media Chaperone have partnered with several kid-friendly sites to offer a common user interface for reporting on your child's usage, from time spent online to their accomplishments in the games, so as a parent you can see what their doing.   Parents can use Facebook credits as a single payment system for all of the games the kids play. So virtual currencies, subscriptions, etc, all get managed by the parent using Facebook credits through a single site.  

Maybe I am getting old (maybe??) but I don't have the time to create my own accounts on the plethora of sites that are out there, from Webkinz to Nick to Woozworld, having a one-stop portal that shows what my kids are doing (and for how long!) is an easy sell to me!   And here's the kicker:  Piggyback is free!   An additional perk: Piggyback will alert parents when there are security or behavior issues that might pop up, as in user X asked Johnny for his password.

Any tools that make keeping my kids safe (and harmlessly monitor how long they're playing online) is a benefit in my book, and I am glad to see Piggyback is partnering with so many sites to help me keep tabs at a safe distance.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Condolences for near-total strangers

I had an odd experience involving an old buddy... and to call him a buddy is perhaps a stretch.

On Saturday a friend-of-a-friend reached out to me, or rather, the wife-of-a-friend-of-a-friend reached out to me, on the occasion of the passing of her mother-in-law.  Now some background information is in order:  I met the guy (K) through a guy whom became what I consider my best friend (J).   Now J and I hung out together and did a lot of crazy stuff -- back in the day.  And on more than a few of these adventures, K was there.  K & J are probably best friends, as I know through J they still see each other with regularity (a big help here is that they live nearby each other).   J was famous for his New Year's Eve parties, and those would account for some 90% of the time I saw K and the gal who would later become his wife (C).   Again, that was back in the day.

So I knew K & C, but it's not like we were ever close, nor have we remained even that remotely close over the years.   I believe the last time I spoke to either K or C had to be, more or less, the last time I saw them, and that's over 20 years ago.  The e-mail C sent last week was the first of any communication - verbal, written, or electronic - in all that time.  I cannot, in good faith, confirm whether they were invited to my wedding, so it's possible it's closer to 25 years since we've last spoken.

So to get an e-mail relating the passing of K's mother - whom I never met! - after 2 decades is quite startling.  What am I to do?  Emily Post, et al, suggests sending e-mail condolences is rude, but am I really going to drop everything for a guy who I haven't spoken to forever?  C included information that the mother's funeral will be this week coming -- in Florida.   What am I supposed to do with that information?

When my friend J's parents died (separated by 3 or 4 years), I was unable to attend either service due to severe, personal issues I was going through.  But as we stay in touch a few times each year by phone and e-mail,  a few long-form phone calls where I could recount the very fond memories of his parents was the very least I could do on his behalf.  But truth be told, because of the various pressures and realities of life, I haven't seen J in nearly 18 years!  And I call him my best friend!

So I am left with sending by e-mail condolences to a near-stranger, on the passing of his mother - whom I've never met.   After all: is asking for a current mailing address to mail a proper condolence card appropriate when there's been no communication all this time?    And as we were never really close back then, do I really have a need/want/desire/obligated to be so forward/inviting now?

There are people I know through my blogging, whom I've never met, but for whom I hold more concern and interest in their lives (and their parents, for example) than I do for K.  Case in point: someone I know online has related the details of the surgery this person's mother went through.  I never met the person, and certainly wouldn't know the mother if I tripped over her, but I was checking for updates to see how her surgery and recovery were proceeding.  But I have come to know the person over the last few years, so I can understand the concern for the person's mother, and the stress of the situation.

I am at a loss in this area where this guy K is concerned.

I do not think I am callous, but I just cannot see what  I am supposed to do for a person who has become all but a stranger to me.

What say you?

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Countdown underway (no, not for November)

Well I am in a place not terribly unfamiliar,   I am facing either a relocation that will be devastating in many ways or a layoff which will be hardly better.

In a recent post (as if there are many to choose from) I mentioned my position will be relocated as of September 1, 2011, but there's no guarantee I will be invited to join it.   So now I am inside the 51 week countdown.

Again, I know there are lot of people worse off.  Two co-workers got axed on a Friday afternoon, no warning. So whining is the last thing I intend to do.   Either way, I lose: if they offer me the position in Maryland, I lose because it will be 18-24 months before I am in the position to relocate the family (and that's assuming a rosy housing market, and thanks to President Obama and Congress, that's hardly likely).

I don't want a hand out, I don't want unemployment.  I want the economy that fell into recession to work it's way out like it has traditionally done.   I want the failed programs and foolish spending programs ended before they prolong the recession further (and likely make it worse).   I fear more than ever I may lose my health care and be forced into the Medicare program - the same one my kid's physician's have said they no longer accept. If I don't find work, and have to use the horribly planned federal program, what do I do then??

I know America is better than it is this year.  I know things will get better, but I fear not before they get worse.  This election is important to hold things from getting worse, but even if it acts as a referendum on the horribly Liberal programs (as I predicted more than 2 years ago), the damage Mr. Obama and Congress have caused won't be brushed aside very quickly.

In the meantime, I have to finish my certification test, get myself marketed in Social Media (a tough sell for someone who is so anonymous in general), and have a take-no-prisoners approach to finding work.   Should the very worse happen, let me go on record now: I pledge I will not be side-lined long.  If I am laid-off, it won't be more than a month before I find something - maybe not in my chosen field, but I will not sit and sulk... I stock shelves, pump gas, or even pump septic tanks... nothing will be beneath me.

I may have to deal with this oppressive government, but I won't let it ruin my spirit!

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Gift giving ideas

It's still the dog-days of summer, and I am writing about gift giving ideas, as in Christmas gifts? Why, yes I am.


First, this is an infrequent post in conjunction with Dad Blogs which is well-worth your time to visit.


Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

As I've written before, I am a bad gift receiver... I don't tell people, such as my family, what I want for a present for my birthday or for Christmas.   I am of the mind where if I need/want or something, I get it -- provided the item in question fits into the budget against the need.  Case in point, I really wanted an iPhone 4, but I got an iPhone 3G, because the cost ($50) was far more reasonable.   My thinking is if I want something, and it's reasonable, I'll get it.  If I need something, the cost is then measured against the need.   

Where gifts are concerned, I don't really enjoy getting them, because it's likely something I deem too expensive or something I don't want.  Yes, of course, there could be things I haven't thought about getting for myself, and someone like my much-better-half may be fortunate enough to pick out, but that's not something very common.

Mind you, it's not a two-way street: I do pretty well picking out gifts for others, such as my much-better-half, although I will spend many hours stressing over the choices.  So far, I seem to have done well with my choices.

I have been called insensitive by some because I don't make lists of things I want for birthdays or Christmas, but it's something I've never thought was comfortable or necessary.

But I am getting better.  I need a wallet.    Really I do:





I've been using a Sharpie to help stretch the life of the wallet, but as you can see it's time I retire this appendage of mine.  But instead of seeking a new one on my own, I'll sit back and wait out for December, since I know my sons, for example, will want to get me something, and I figure this would be a reasonable item for my youngest son, in particular, to give me.

So here's hoping this old wallet lasts another 4 months.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Where I stand

Well it’s been a week of changes. For some time I knew my job would be placed at risk in a few years. In 2009 I learned that the funding for the defense project I’ve been working on since 1997 would likely run out by 2013. Even as the economy has gone from mediocre (in ’97) to where it is today, I didn’t do much about that prediction. Yeah, I know…. Lazy.

Compounding the fact that the project funding would be reaching its sunset, my program is based out of Fort Monmouth, NJ. The Fort is among many sites that have fallen victim to BRAC - Base Realignment And Closure – a program with a dubious purpose at this time. We were told that our project, a legacy logistics operation, was essential but not off critical mass necessary to require relocation to Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland.

This week the first shoe fell: our corporate location would be shuttered by September 2011, and moved t o Maryland.

The other shoe will drop when I learn whether or not I am invited to relocate. I’ve got to wait less than 53 weeks to learn how that will play out.

Relocating to Maryland would not be a horrible idea, but one that couldn’t come at a worse time: whether it’s the impact on my kids and their activities or the depressed housing market, I am not looking forward to uprooting the fam in the next year. But the alternative – not being offered to relocate – would be far worse.
Readers know I drive 110 miles, each way, every day now. Commuting to Maryland would add an estimated 30 miles to that ride, and Google Maps estimates the commute time to increase 50 minutes… that’s upwards of a 3 hour drive, each way. So my much-better-half and I discussed the matter and the decision is clear: should I get offered to relocate, I’d make a test-drive to see if 3 hours is a legitimate estimate, but most likely I will be living locally and commuting home on weekends.

Not at all a good plan, but unless I can score suitable employment closer to home, that’s my fate. IF I get tapped to relocate.

Hey, it could be worse… I have what amounts to a one-year heads-up. Best I make suitable plans to improve my own situation in the mean time!

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Monday, August 09, 2010

Odds and Ends

A continuing series of posts covering various topics that are too short to warrant an entire post unto themselves.  Also called Quick Hits.    In reality, I am so out of the loop to post anything serious entries...

  • Comments are back:  A big thanks to Mrs.4444 for pointing out to me that my comments had vanished more than a week ago.   Blogger offered new functionality that I mindlessly approved, and that killed my Haloscan/JS-Kit/Echo comments.   Back in the day, my first website (pre-blogging days) was hand coded using notepad.exe and raw HTML.  After looking about for 30 minutes trying to reverse what I did to my own comments, I relented and contacted JS-Kit tech-support.  Their tech found the switch that my mindless-approval had activated.   Could it be I am getting too old for this crap?

  • TMI - Extreme Edition:  A gal I know is expecting (see previous posts about her here and here); her due date was yesterday, and being her first, it could be any day now (or next week).  She is an exec director of a group that helps some very deserving kids, so she is known by many people in the community.  Fine.   A mutual acquaintance of her and I - and by mutual acquaintance I mean this woman knows the soon-to-be-mom and knows that I know her, too, but is an utter stranger to me, personally - asked me if I knew if the baby was born yet.  I replied Well, last I had heard, she's still waiting for the big day!   

    The mutual acquaintance then asked, dead-pan and in all seriousness: Really??? Well do you know how dilated she is? 
    I swear to you all who read this, I blinked.  Twice. 

    Well, far be it for me to assume, but I think that's a discussion better left for Mom and her obstetrician, don't you think??        Later on, after the shock wore off,  I thought of an amusing retort along the lines of I've got my stirrups in the trunk, so I'll check with her and get back to you, but I don't think even I could have been so bold to say that out loud.  

    Am I that disinterested, or is this woman way out of line??
  • E-Z Pass annoyance - I have 2 E-Z Passes, and with my commute its no wonder.   My much-better-half's pass, however, stopped registering when she last used it, so I called the PENN DOT office about it.  They explained that the batteries in the devices are good for 4 years and since both of our passes were 5 years old, it was time to replace them.  Fine.   They sent me two passes, with instructions to mail back the old ones.   Annoyance?  They didn't include pre-paid mailer or label... I'm on the hook for $3.25 (apparently) in postage.  Gee, thanks.
  • George Carlin once opined If you have a bunch of odds and ends, and you get rid of them all except one, what's that one thing called?

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Comments are missing

Thanks to Mrs4444 I've learned my comments are gone.


With all that's going on, it may be a few days before I can address this mess... 


Although it pains me to concede, this blog may have become too much for me to maintain much longer.

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24: Life imitates art (that imitated life)?

This may be a stretch, but just work with me:

One of the best television shows of all time (IMHO) was 24, and while I blogged a.lot.about.it in past years, I completely neglected it this season.... some suggested I was in mourning, I say I was just too busy.  Regardless, stick with me for a minute:

The main character JACK BAUER is often faced with incredible situations that demand immediate and often incredible choices to be made.  What made the stories so convincing is the great, personal risks Jack took for the greater good (My personal theory is that there are quite a number of real-life law enforcement officers who do a lot of things like Jack Bauer: unsung heroes without which we'd all be worse off in the long run).

(minor spoiler alert!)

In Season 5, Jack Bauer kidnapped the sitting president, Charles Logan, and tried to force a confession of treason from him.   Logan never broke, and the secret service eventually broke up the party, but not before Jack planted a listening device on Logan's person.   Later on, Logan boasts about his crime, and this leads to Jack's exoneration and Logan's removal from office.

In the most recent season, Jack had incriminating evidence of a conspiracy involving another sitting president, and in order to hand it off to a friend of his (to prevent the evidence from being 'lost' by agents of the conspiring president), he orders his friend to shoot him.  When she resists, he points the gun at his head as a last resort.  Fans of the show know (as well as anyone can know about a fictitious person) he was about to pull the trigger to ensure the safe passage of the evidence ... in the end, however, she shot him in the left side of his chest (a through and through) and our hero, of course, survived the wound.




Andrew Breitbart took a video clip of a USDA official, Shirley Sherrod, and released an extended (but not total) clip of a speech she recently gave to the NAACP concerning her conduct in the past.   The clip led the modern-day viewers conclude she harbored racial prejudices.     The NAACP was outraged at her comments, and the Obama Administration moved to push her out of her appointed position.  

Now bear in mind: Mr. Breitbart never called for Ms. Sherrod's termination.  In fact he never commented on her speech directly.    Predictably, a firestorm erupted in many blogs and an several cable news programs, and yes, there were calls for her to be removed, and, as stated, she was.

Then Breitbart revealed the longer clip, which showed Ms. Sherrod having used that story as a basis of her growing, as a person, from when she harbored racial tendencies to where she later became a more civil minded person.    The transformation of Ms. Sherrod is admirable, and when viewed in total the speech she gave was not a reason for her to lose her job.

So why did she lose her job?

She lost her job because everyone - everyone - believed the story she told was not one of a transformation but was, in fact, how she believed, then and there.   And she lost her job because everyone also believed that her jaded view was acceptable in certain circles, just not in the mainstream view.   Case in point: the NAACP was quick to condemn her story only when they saw the Breitbart video, and not during (or immediately after) her speech at their event!  No one in attendance of her speech raised an objection or any form of dissent.  In fact, you can hear murmurs of approval!!   It seems as if the kinds of speeches they were suddenly objecting to were not at all uncommon at their own sanctioned events.

Laughably, the mainstream media bought the story - hook, line and sinker - because it was so credible.

To be fair: not everyone who is a member of the NAACP is a racist by default because those in attendance on this video did not denounce the presumed racism of Ms. Sherrod.   Nor should the members of the black community overall be considered a racist because the NAACP immediately condemned her statements only after the Breitbart video surfaced.    

And to be equally fair: just because there may be one or two sign-wielding idiots spouting racism at a Tea Part event does not make it right to brand all in attendance a racist.   

So Ms. Sherrod pulled a bait-and-switch on the NAACP, and Breitbart amplified the action and made quite a splash.  The media storm surrounding Ms. Sherrod will die down, and she is pretty much guaranteed some sort of high-ranking appointment in the government from here or out.

Andrew Breitbart, however, took a big risk, and while it paid off nicely, will cause every future video from him to viewed with a jaundiced eye.  Not from those who are upstanding and honest partners, but from everyone who accepts the so-called business as usual approach in what they do, since they will be wondering what Breitbart will reveal tomorrow.

For that, Breitbart's credibility has taken a hit in the media, but the benefits of that hit are so illuminating it is far from a bad thing.

Andrew Breitbart is Jack Bauer.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

I may have missed the World Cup ....

... but today I met a man from South Africa who had with him an authentic (so he said) vuvvuzela from his country.

There was a baseball game that began with an a cappella signing of the National Anthem;  I offered to accompany the singer with the vuvuzela, but was summarily dismissed.

The exchange student offered people a chance to blow his horn, and only a few could resist.  For what it's worth I think I did the best effort.

You don't suck at it! was the students commentary of my performance.

I think that was a compliment!

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Casualties of war

I want to state, out the outset, that I am not blaming President Obama for the deaths of servicemen and servicewomen serving in the Afghanistan theater.   I want that to be said up-front.

According to the website icasualties.org  the total, combined Coalition Military Fatalities as of this writing is 1936 since 2001.  Not surprisingly, the number of casualties has gone up since Pres. Obama started ramping up pressure with his surge, an overall strategy that I have agreed with for some time.

I invite you now to go back in your memory to when President Bush was in office.   When the print and electronic media continuously broadcast the number of casualties in Iraq, in particular, and occasionally in Afghanistan as well.

When was the last time you heard the total number of casualties in either war?

In 2010, 42 military fatalities occurred in Iraq, and 368 fatalities in Afghanistan.  A total of 279 Americans died this year in our ongoing war.  Why hasn't the media found it necessary to bang their drum as incessantly as they did just a few years ago?

Pres. Obama carries no more blame for the deaths of the brave servicemen than does President George W. Bush.   But when there is an utter disregard for the sacrifices of those soldiers because the media is afraid to make a particular president look bad, they are no better than the same media that shouted the same information in order to make a particular president look bad.




Tell me again there isn't media bias.

God bless our brave soldiers.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Just keep doing what you've been doing!

So I am just out of an all-hands meeting at work.  Naturally, whenever there's an all-hands meeting, this strip comes to mind:


Well, that strip and the fact that after the last all-hands, we were led to believe they all of us would be called to the main office individually regarding our job description and titles;  two of our team were called that afternoon, and were summarily discharged.   For the record, no one else was ever called to discuss their titles, leaving an awfully sour taste in the mouths of the survivors.

Regardless, the meeting had no such ominous requests or the like, but was just routine issues.  One of them was an item regarding weekly status reports.    It appears that several people have been forgetting to send them in on Friday, and it is becoming an issue (so we are told).   Officially, then it was announced, our annual performance reviews may be negaitively impacted if we do not take immeidate steps to get our reports in, on time.

No problem, right?

After the meeting I went into the boss office and asked about my status reports.
 He:  What about them?
Me:  What should I do about my group's weekly status reports?
 He:  Just keep do same as always, why?
Me:  My group hasn't sent you a weekly status report in 2 years. 
 He: What?  Impossible.  Who told you to stop sending them?
Imagine his surprise when I handed him the e-mail from him stating we were no required to send them anymore.

Truth be told, we do several layers of reporting, including calls received,  trouble tickets open/resolved/closed, and so forth, so it's not as if we have lack visibility.   But this guy apparently got dinged (from above) for not having reports from some other staff member(s), and decided to make a formal announcement.

Of course, I could have called him out in front of the all-hands, which would have made him look foolish in front the staff, but I decided to go quietly.  In these economic times, there's no need to piss off the boss needlessly.

Regardless, there is a definite bad vibe coming from upper management, and I have decided to become proactive in securing better employment, possibly even closer to home.  Times are hard, no doubt, but there's no reason I shouldn't start to position myself to jump on an opportunity.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Why the Boy Scouts Position on Gays Makes Sense

I was accused this week of being a homophobe because I didn't denounce the Boy Scouts court victory in Philadelphia.  I've written about this case previously, but decided a succinct approach is needed to state my position.

Full Disclosure:  For those who haven't read my blog: I was a Scout from the ages of 8 until 18.   For the last 7 years I've been active as an adult leader in connection with my sons being Scouts, currently serving as a member of Troop Committee and as a Merit Badge counselor.


Boys and girls do not camp together, in the same tents.  Yes, there is Venturing, the BSA program for co-eds, but that is a separate and distinct division of Scouting.   Girls and boys do not camp together, in the same tents (not even in Venturing), and I think we can all agree no one will argue with the whys: setting aside privacy issues and common decorum, no matter how much either John or Jane might promise not to do anything with each other, kids will be kids.  If we accept 'Boy Scouts' having boys and 'Girl Scouts' having girls, then we can stand firm on this point.

So let's carry this to a logical extension. Say boys who are open about their being gay are permitted. Now it shouldn't matter if John says he won't do anything in appropriate to Jim, if we're following the same logic as above. We would have to separate the gay boys.

So we assign gay boys their own tents. OK, if the estimate 10-15% of the population is gay, then it's easy to have, literally, and odd-boy out in his own tent.  Now we're isolating a boy in his own tent, because he's different; and this is acceptable ... how?

And if a unit had 2 or more gay boys, could we allow them to be in the same tent? Because as in the first example of boys & girls, perhaps the parents of the gay boys do not want them at risk of inappropriate behavior from another. The risk, again, is that kids will be kids, right?

One way or another, there will be segregation, exclusion. We're talking about children, not adults.

And if you wish to open Scouting to both genders, would you not still require the segregation?   Venturing has strict guidelines already covering this.  And then by extension, as above, a further segregation?


That's where I stand... tell me if you think I am wrong, but be ready to back up your position.


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Monday, June 21, 2010

You Don't Believe

My eyes with your vision
My choice but always your decision
My play with your direction
Well, it's my lead but always your connection

But when I look into your eyes you don't believe me
I can see it in your eyes you don't believe

My words, your expression
My land, always your possession
My song, your production
My expense is always your deduction

But when I look into your eyes you don't believe me
I can see it in your eyes you don't believe

And the face I see before me
Is both sides of a mirror
You really know you've got a hold on me
And the face you're looking in to
is both sides of a window
any way you look you see through me.



My fame, your reflection
My weakness is always your protection
Well it's my terms on your conditions
And they're my tunes but they're your compositions

But when I look into your eyes you don't believe me
I can see it in your eyes you don't believe

And the face I see before me
Is both sides of a mirror
You really know you've got a hold on me
And the face you're looking in to
is both sides of a window
any way you look you see through me.
When I look into your eyes you don't believe me
I can see it in your eyes you don't believe...

The Alan Parsons Project

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Random

Item -  I have been absent from Facebook for some time, and just yesterday realized that *all* of my tweets have been appearing on Facebook's NOTES page (I thought I was filtering @replies).... so I seem to have been spamming those who cared to follow me.   Not intended; I apologize to those who were bored.

Item - I managed a blog post or two in the last few weeks... far from the number I used to post.  In some ways I miss it, but in others I am bored by the process.  Have to re-evaluate my entire blogging effort, and even whether I'll continue this pseudonym at all.
Item - if you've followed me for any length of time, you know this isn't the first time I've debated giving up this non de plume.  But I have recently begun using a real profile of my real name... not at all like I've used CharliePATpk, but it's out there.  If you think maintaining one personna is hard, try two.
Item -  Am tired and not-quite-drunk, since I've polished off a bottle of Makers' Mark.  Note to self: buy more.

Item -

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Father's Day (repost)

To all the dad's out there:
On Sunday I'll be sure to raise a glass in your honor
(after the one I raise in honor of my dad).
To all dads - past and future - I also raise a toast in their honor! 


This is a repost done for FatherhoodFriday at Dad Blogs

Yep, it's Father's Day. Some people do it up big, others take a more reserved approach. I am in the latter category.

In my office, for example, there are two guys who are new fathers (one, for the first time a few months ago), and I know there are new dads and soon-to-be new dads who are frequent this blog, too. They're looking forward to their day. And in the case of moms at the office or reading, they're looking to have a big deal for their man. And they're all entitled.

I did some research this week and found it hard to find anyone else who shares my blasaie1 with Father's Day. My dad - father of 4 - always down-played it, as I am told his dad - father of 8 - did (which, considering our Italian-Catholic heritage, seems contrary to the reported history of the day). Men, ordinarily, don't go for this sort of stuff, but Father's Day is seemingly the exception for most.
From my research, the closest to my position is held by Stanley Bing, noted author, who concludes : {D}on’t tell me that Father’s Day is a big deal, because it’s not.

Now I know it already: some guys are firing up their e-mail or clicking on comments right now, about to let lose on me. And moms, too, are ready to tell me not to dismiss the day, in defense of their plans for their man.


Get this: I'm not trying to take anything away from you. I'm not saying it shouldn't be a big deal in your homes. If you want to have all the fuss, don't let me stop you. But like Stanley said, there are plenty of other days that rank higher, including:
Mother’s Day ... Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day (Indigenous People’s Day in Berkeley, California), Christmas, New Year’s, President’s Day, Independence Day, and the day the next Harry Potter novel is released.
...and rightly so. Statistically, Mother's Day trumps Father's Day by a landslide, be it long-distance phone calls, dinners out, or even greeting cards. So while you may not agree it isn't a big deal, no one can argue that it isn't as big a deal as Mom's day (and again: rightly so!).

So like Mr. Bing, I'll be more than satisfied with lunch at Denny's (or similar).
Sometimes less really is more.



1 Strangely, I cannot find a dictionary entry for blasaie. The word is used often enough, but I can't verify its proper spelling.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sending condolences via social media

A buddy of mine suffered the loss of his father Sunday.  He was 82, and the death was not at all expected (i.e. no compelling health issues, was not on life support, etc.)  I haven't heard all of the details, but the obituary says he died peacefully.

I've known my buddy about 7 years; we're on good terms, but close friends would not be apt description. I have never met his father,   I do know my buddy holds/held him in high regard, and was by every definition a good man.

The newspaper obituary links to a guest book.  At last count a dozen people have posted their condolences.  This strikes me as odd, to say the least. Who would think enough of the deceased and his family to NOT send an appropriate condolence card (which, btw, I have)  but instead (or, perhaps, in addition) have posted a comment on blog?  I cannot bring myself to make such a comment... it seems so ... wrong!

Let me ask the question like this: at a wake or a viewing, do you open each sympathy card given to the family, and read what was written inside?  Neither do I, so why would I participate in a blog comment?

Am I alone?  Is this now accepted by the masses, and I am just an old fool?  Do people use social media for such a serious purpose?  Am I going to be in the seemingly minority again, as I was in my post on Randy Pausch's death?

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Quick Hits

Some call it Friday Fragments (as in Half-Passed Kissin' Time), but I have long preferred Quick Hits (mostly because I can post them any day):

  • Business travel has sure changed!! I used to travel as much as 80% on business, but nothing like this ever happened: A friend of ours is expecting her first child in August.  She was on travel to business meeting and my 7 year old son happened to asked where she was.  I explained to him she was on a business trip to which he pointed a finger and said Right.... the baby!    I told him if she came back from Chicago with a baby in her arms we'll all be surprised!

  • Congressman attacks Student: I am opposed to all forms of gotcha journalism, regardless of who is in power.  I am even more opposed to physical confrontations.   Big Government links to a video of a couple of college students asking Democrat Congressman Bod Etheridge (D-NC2) if he supported President Obama's agenda:

    I don't believe asking a member of Congress for their position on the agenda of the president meets the definition of gotcha journalism but I do believe a certain amount of courtesy should be afforded our representatives. Case in point: were I the student in question here, after asking the Rep twice to release my hand, I would have either taken him down (softly) with a leg sweep or thrown a left jab to his face (anyone else would not have been given 2 chances by me).

    What it comes down to is this: Representative Etheridge and others are now feeling the pressure of backing far-Left policies, and are witnessing their less-than-positive effects on the economy. Congressman Etheridge's biggest worry is that voters in North Carolina will be asking Who are you? after he is ousted in the November elections.
  •  Schoolhouse Crock: Teachers Stage Protest at Ceremony of Students Enlisting in the Military  The teacher and school administration admit Mary Beth Verani, the teacher in question, speaks openly about her political positions.  Tell me how long any teacher would last if a Conservative view was expressed.    In the end, as I have said repeatedly, we all have a right to free speech, no matter how outlandish or ridiculous.  However, the results of that speech from others (not the state) - whether good or bad - cannot be escaped.   I would welcome an opportunity to debate this teacher - somehow I wonder if she would be willing to face an adult, since she's seems to prefer challenging the thoughts of children.
  • Telephone line, give me some time, I'm living in twilight... As some have heard me whining complaining, my smartphone has turned ill.   My 3 year old Samsung SGH-i607, a/k/a BlackJack, stopped synchronizing with my home PC Thursday night.   After determining it wasn't my PC nor my cable, I deduced it was either the phone hardware or OS (Windows Mobile 5).  

    Unwilling to crack the case - and noticing how careful I have been to not already have cracks in the case after 4 years -- I decided to execute a hard-restart to bring the unit back to the state it was in when I purchased it, figuring it would allow me to synchronize once again.  

    Well, it booted up with a 1-Jan-06 date, but it still was oblivious to my desktop.  Conclusion?  I am not better off, and in fact am worse off, since I no longer have my calendar or contacts.  So now I have to decide which of the following choices is the least unfavorable: s
    • settle for something less than a SmartPhone
    • buy a smartphone outright to avoid having to pay for a data plan
    • settle for a data plan on a device that will likely have WiFi, thus costing me far more per month than it ought to.
  • Lots of changes around the office....  while I had thought I was safe through 2014, I am now inclined to think I may be let go by the end of FY;  time to crank my personal branding into high-gear.
  • Tonight President Obama will address the nation in regards to the Gulf Oil spill (spill? leak? whatever).  I am certainly not the first to suggest this, but Pres. Obama has handled this issue in the same ways he criticized President Bush's handling of Katrina.  The big difference?   The federal government could do nothing for New Orleans until the Louisiana governor declared an emergency (on this fact there is no dispute).  As the BP disaster occurred in federal waters, there was no such need for state authorization.  In fact, Mr. Obama turned down offers of assistance from both foreign and domestic sources.  Politics has certainly taken first place over the needs of the Gulf Coast and its people... no spin can undo the damage caused by the mismanagement and delays of the Obama Administration.
  • THIS JUST IN:  Aspirin And Bottle Of Bourbon A Day Reduces Awareness Of Heart Attack http://onion.com/dr7pi3 (h/t The Onion)
Here's hoping I can post more than once-per-month!

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

What's for dinner?

Came home late Thursday when the following dialogue occurred between my much-better-half and me:

   Me: So what's for dinner?
MBH: I was shopping and saw a dish that reminded me of you: Jamaican Jerk Turkey
   Me: Umm... because it's hot and spicy like me?
MBH: (pause)   OK.... you can go with that reason if you want.

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