Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 - A Year In Review

The year 2008 started as any year does – Dick Clark pitifully stumbling through the Rockin’ New Year’s broadcast, but humbly being supported by Ryan Seacrest. While I spent the next morning rising early and feeding breakfast to my kids, most people my age went to bed already hung-over and wishing they were someone else.

The year was full of fun and exciting events, some good, some bad, most depending on your perspective. Without any further waste of your time, here is the year as I saw it:

January

Professional con-artists Martin O'Malley gleefully announces that tuition at the University of Maryland system will not increase, making higher education more affordable to the hard working people of the state. This was one of his election priorities, along with raising taxes and increasing spending. While tuition does not increase at the University of Maryland system, mandatory lab fees are raised from $150 per semester to $25,000 per semester.

Actor Heath Ledger was found dead in his apartment. The toxicology report indicated that his body contained 6 different drugs and was ruled an "accidental overdose". How taking 6 drugs and dying can be considered accidental is beyond my comprehension. Ledger will best be known as the gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain and the crazy Joker in The Dark Knight.



February

The New England Patriots and the New York Giants meet in the Super Bowl. The Patriots enter the game with the longest winning streak in NFL history and a perfect season. The Giants of suburban New Jersey promptly embarrass the boys from the suburbs of Boston. At the conclusion of the Super Bowl, Brett Favre retires from football, but before more overpriced bad commercials can air he changes his mind and decides to play until he’s 57.

Mid-February saw the end of the Hollywood writers’ strike, ending nearly 2 months of reprieve for the viewing public. Unfortunately, some of the terms of the deal included more reality television shows and 6 new versions of CSI.

The billionaire Dictator of impoverished Cuba, Fidel Castro, announces he will resign from office effective February 24th. Officially his resignation is due to declining health, but rumors have been circulating for several years that he has been dead. Miraculously his brother Raúl is unanimously elected to be his replacement by the Cuban National Assembly whose members voted under gun point by Fidel's troops.

March

New York Governor Elliot Spitzer resigns after it is revealed that he's been having a relationship with a prostitute. Comedians across the nation have a field day. How obvious do the jokes have to be when your last name is 'Spitzer'? I mean, that's a hard joke to swallow.

Brett Favre continues to make his annual retirement announcements. The Green Bay Packers finally declare that Aaron Rogers is their new quarterback, prompting Favre to unretire. Unfortunately, the Packers are tired of his ritual and do not offer him an invitation to training camp.

Arizona Senator John McCain seals the deal to become the Republican nominee for President. At 106 years old, he’s the oldest nominated candidate in the history of the United States. And by the way, he’s a maverick.

April

Kansas defeats Memphis in overtime in the NCAA basketball tournament. Unfortunately, Big South conference power-house Winthrop University didn't make it past the first round.

A polygamist camp in Texas is raided on a tip that men are marrying more than one woman and having sex with underage girls. Federal authorities safely remove 416 children from the government-funded compound. The brain-washed zombie mothers are interviewed on television and deny that the men are polygamists. The thought of being with multiple ladies briefly excites the majority of the male population of the country. However, their attitudes quickly change when they realize that one nagging wife is difficult enough. Imagine if all 25 of your wives were nagging you while you were trying to watch the football game. It just wouldn't be worth it.

May

Nothing significant happens in the entire month of May. So to fill space, have you seen the new Baltimore Sun lately? Due to cut backs and continuing decline in revenue, management makes some more cuts to the staff and the printed paper. The paper now consists of 2 sections – the front page and the back page. My – how times have changed.

June

With just a couple of weeks until summer, the Detroit Red Wings defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Championship. The most popular souvenirs are the Red Wings tank top/Bermuda shorts combo and the Pittsburgh Penguin bathing suits. Less important, Detroit wins the series 4-2, but Sydney Crosby scores 2 goals in the series and ESPN declares him the best hockey player of all-time during their annual 15 seconds worth of hockey coverage.

A couple of weeks later, the Boston Celtics defeat the Los Angeles Lakes in the 75th NBA finals featuring these 2 teams. Interestingly, the NBA first had to overcome a logistical nightmare when they realized that the playoffs actually overlap the ‘08-‘09 pre-season schedule by 3 weeks. The problem is initially blamed on George W. Bush’s failed economic policies, but later attributed it to 2008 being a Leap Year.

Hollywood celebrated the birth of Jamie Lynn Spears’ baby. Jamie Lynn Spears, the former star of Nickelodeon show Zoey 101, was 16 when she got pregnant. Additionally, she is the hot-mess sister Britney Spears, the former hot-mess pop-singer turned hot-mess basket-case socialite. Nickelodeon promptly drops the show in favor of new teenage sitcoms starring actresses that they hope can stay sexually responsible for at least a few seasons.

Anti-religion comedian George Carlin died at age 71. The often-cured drug and alcohol addict is best known for his 7 deadly words routine, in addition to many other profanity-laden skits. He once said that we should think about how stupid the average American is, then realize that half of the country is stupider than that person. Surprisingly he did not die from drugs, alcohol, or abusive language. But after arriving at the Pearly Gates, God looked at him and said, "Are you F-in kidding me? You want to come in here?

July

Oil prices hit $147 per barrel, causing gas prices to spike to $4 per gallon in most places across the country except in California, where they are even higher. Environmentalists predict $1000 per barrel oil by year-end, hurried global warming, and the total annihilation of the polar bears. Meanwhile, July goes down as the coldest July in recorded history.

Perennial presidential candidate John Edwards admits that he's been having an affair with Elliot Spitzer. He says that he asked his wife for forgiveness. Then he asked God for forgiveness. No word on whether he asked for forgiveness from the thousands of obstetric doctors that quit their practice in North Carolina after he sued them for millions of dollars for malpractice while he was a trial lawyer.

Maryland House of Delegates member Kumar Barve gets probation before judgment for his drunk-driving arrest after he repeatedly points out to the judge, one of his fellow drinking buddies, that he has taken a tough stance on drunk-driving laws.

August

The summer Olympics are held in Communist China's capital of Beijing. To help with the inhuman health conditions of the city, China bans automobiles for several weeks, limits the amount of time that its citizens are allowed to breathe, and paints the grass green. Furthermore, the military jails tens of thousands of civilians that they suspect will cause problems. China is unable to imprison Michael Phelps and his giraffe-like arms and he swims away with 8 gold medals. Unfortunately, the medals are tainted with led paint and have to be recalled.

Democratic Presidential candidate Obama selects Joe Biden, a U.S. Senator from Delaware, to be his running mate. Obama must have been impressed when Biden said, "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man." (February 9, 2007)

Brett Favre signs with the Jets, then announces his retirement. When he unretires 5 minutes later the Jets get rid of their quarterback, Chad Pennington.

Republican Presidential candidate McCain announces that in addition to being a maverick, he has selected Alaska Governor Tina Fey to be his running mate. Her twin sister Sarah Palin returns to Saturday Night Live to spoof her. Do I have that backwards? I'm not sure. But I am sure that McCain would have done better if had selected Tina Fey as his running mate.

September

Hurricane Ike slams into Galveston, Texas doing millions of dollars worth of improvements. Hundreds of residents whine, cry, and complain that their million dollar beach front homes are ruined and demand a bailout.

Joe Biden, while speaking at a political event, shows some more grace under fire and says to wheelchair-bound Missouri state senator Charles Graham, "Stand up, Chuck, let ‘em see you."

The world's largest insurer, A.I.G. comes to the Federal Reserve, hat in hand, and asks for a bailout for bad investments. When asked how much, A.I.G. responds with $85 Billion. Asked how they came up with that number they say it came out of this hat in their hand. Over the next several months, A.I.G. gets billions more with threats that the financial world will collapse if they don't get it. A.I.G. then throws a huge multi-million dollar party and gives its executives millions of dollars in "retainer" fees. IOU’s are then converted to FU’s.

Still one of the handsomest men in showbiz, 83 year old actor Paul Newman succumbs to lung cancer. Upon arriving in heaven, God quickly pushes Carlin aside and allows Newman fast-track entrance because Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Sting are among God’s favorite movies.

In one dramatic day Lehman Brothers declares bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch is sold to Bank of America. These 2 former mighty organizations blame their collapse on big bets on subprime mortgages that were made to people who didn't qualify for mortgages. To save face, both organizations articulately explain their shock when calculations reveal that most people that make $25K per year cannot afford $4000/month mortgages. Congress immediately starts making pledges to stop this housing crisis and help keep people that aren't qualified to own homes to remain in their homes.

October

The World Series features 2 of the most unlikely of opponents - the Tampa Rays (or whatever they call themselves this year) and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies win it 4 games to 1 giving the city of Brotherly Crime its first championship in 25 years. The Flyers and the 76ers are relieved as they can now go a few more decades with abysmal records before someone notices. In a related story, the Orioles are mathematically eliminated from the 2009 playoffs.

Vice Presidential Candidate and former plagiarist Joe Biden criticizes John McCain by saying, "Look, John's last-minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the number one problem facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word; jobs. J-O-B-S." However, Biden is later criticized for not recognizing that McCain is a maverick.

With the economic crisis in full swing, Circuit City, Kay-Bee Toys, Linens ‘n Things, and the Maryland Republican Party file for bankruptcy, all claiming they have no resources to continue operating successfully.

November
Election

After 6 years of election campaigning, it is finally over. Americans decide that they are tired of Republicans and boot most of them out of office. Barrack Obama wins on a pledge of change, a change which he never specifies, but does mention that he's cool and wishes there was a college football playoff, a national policy that most Americans can relate to. The 2012 Presidential campaign can now officially get underway.

On the other side, Americans and world leaders announce that they now look forward to a world without Bush. Playboy responds that there hasn't been any Bush in 15 years.

In Maryland, condescending hard left-wing liberal Governor Martin O'Malley and his fire breathing socialist cronies in the General Assembly decide to allow Maryland voters to decide if slots should be allowed in the state. O'Malley, who had previously been against slots when he was busy attacking former Republican Governor Ehrlich who backed the idea, suddenly favors the plan as a way to generate much needed revenue for the state. However, in a move of pure genius, the Constitutional referendum absolves him and other Democrats of having their name tied to the vote and makes it nearly impossible to remove slots from Maryland. It will take Marylanders decades to figure out how to get out of this one.

General Motors and Ford fly their executives on luxurious private jets to request billions of dollars of bailout money from Congress. They claim they need the money to continue paying their union employees more than $30 per hour and to refuel their luxury jets on the flight back to Detroit. This move receives mass criticism from the press, so on their next journey to Washington to ask for billions of dollars, both hitch rides in '72 Pintos.

December

In another act of brilliance, Obama selects former carpet-bagging Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State. Not only does this remove her from a highly respected and powerful New York Senatorial role where she can openly criticize him, he now also has the power to fire her.

Unconvicted murderer O.J. Simpson is convicted of armed robbery in a Las Vegas hotel. Leaks indicated that the jurors wanted to put him up for the death penalty, but were talked down to 9 years to life in prison. When asked if the harsh sentence was retribution for the failure of the jury to convict him of murder back in the 1990’s, one insightful juror pointed to Karma, but didn’t rule out the bloody glove.

Illinois Governor Rod Blogojevich is arrested by the FBI for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery when he attempts to sell outgoing U.S. Senator Obama’s seat to the highest bidder. Most experts admit that the FBI does not have enough evidence to convict him, but perhaps they can still hold him indefinitely at Gitmo for having the worst haircut in the United States.

Martin O'Malley receives feedback from the panel members that he appointed to review the death penalty. The members, all of whom he selected for their vocal hatred of the death penalty, shockingly recommend that the death penalty be abolished. Gun-toting thugs in Baltimore City rejoice at this recommendation by murdering over 234 more people this year.

The New York Yankees sign C.C. Sabathia for $161 million, A.J. Burnett for $82.5 million, and Mark Teixeira, who has no cool first initials, to $180 million. Add that to the existing contracts of Alex Rodriguez' $275 million and Derek Jeter's $189 million and the Yankees have a payroll higher than the GDP of France. Rumors spread that A.I.G. and General Motors ask the Yankees for a bailout loan.

In other O'Malley news, he announces furloughs of state employees. This will save the state $34 million dollars. In his humble sad way he claims that this is a tough decision, but fails to cite raising the budget by several billion dollars last year as one of the causes.

Oil sinks to under $40 per barrel, a 71% decrease from the July peak. Polar bears are thrilled.

The NFL regular season ends and Brett Favre announces that he needs surgery, which may mean that he has to retire again. The Jets then decide to promote their backup quarterback to starter, but then realize that he now plays for the Miami Dolphins.

After weeks of taunting Israel with rocket attacks, Hezbollah-controlled areas of Gaza are flattened by Israeli F-16's. The world reacts in horror wondering how Israel could be so callous.

And there you have – all that you need to know about 2008. Let’s hope for a good 2009, but keep expectations realistic. Most likely it will suck.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Package

This was going to be a substory to my previous post, but decided it was worthy of it's own post.

My wife and I decided not to exchange gifts this year to save money, because, despite the governments' declaration that inflation is in check, stuff costs a hell of a lot more than it did last year and money is running short. If only I could find a way to get rich by blogging! So here's the story of what my "kids" got me.

A couple of weeks before Christmas I was looking at the credit card statement online and I noticed a charge to HP for a hundred and some dollars. Curious and always suspicious I immediately emailed my wife. Do you know what this is? Yes! Okay, I'll take a hint.

That got me to thinking. What could it be? A ZZ Top key chain? Nah, HP doesn't make this. Reece Witherspoon? Nah, can't buy her. Ah - an external hard drive. I did mention that I wanted one. All those pictures I take with my Nikon D40x are starting to eat up the space on my computer's hard drive.

A few days later I was talking to my friend at work (the ENFP), and he said that he got a new printer/scanner. I mentioned that I would love to get a scanner and he said that maybe he'd give me his old one. Maybe. He's very generous. I told my wife this. I said that I could scan all my old pictures and post them on Facebook. She was thrilled. Aren't there enough pictures of you and your mullet in the world?

A couple of days later my wife is on the phone and I ask her who she's talking to. No one! Go away! What? Go Away! Why? What's going on? She smiles and repeats - GO. AWAY! Okay, okay. She's either on the phone with her boyfriend or she's talking about me. I suspect the latter.

Christmas day my kids give me this GIANT box. I open it and within 1 second 3 major thoughts go through my head at lightning speed (or so it seemed). The gift is an HP Printer, Copier, Scanner. It's really nice. However, my thoughts overtake my emotions:

1) This isn't an external hard drive. Damn, now I have to go out and buy that on my own. I wonder if Best Buy is having any post-Christmas sales on external hard drives. I wonder if Mrs. Eludius would be mad if I went out and bought one. I wonder what time Best Buy opens. Do I really want to get up early tomorrow? I'm going to be really tired after running around all day.
2) We already have a printer. Why would she get me another printer?
3) This is huge. Where am I going to put this? The space where the current printer is located is too shallow and not tall enough. If I place this next to the computer than the baby will mess with it. Can I run a line upstairs to the bedroom? I wish I had an office. I could use a computer desk with a lot of desktop space. Kevin has a nice office. If I had his office I would have no trouble finding a place to put this.

A little while later my wife mentions that I didn't seem too thrilled to receive the printer. I then realize that my thought process must have been visible externally. I didn't mean it that way. I do like it, but the logical side of me took over. I much prefer this printer to the one I have. And to have one peripheral as opposed to 2 (the scanner), this is much better. I just need to figure out the logistics of it.

So to my wife - I'm sorry I didn't act as happy as I really am. Be mad at my logical side, not my emotional side.

Monday, December 22, 2008

You Can't Unzip in North Korea

I was working from home over the weekend trying to get a project wrapped up by the end of the year. I had a developer send me some files, which he zipped (compressed). My UnZip program wouldn't open it, so I downloaded another unzipping program to see if that would work. It didn't, but that's not relevant to this story.

What caught my attention was the EULA (End User License Agreement). It looks like the software companies are doing their part to stop terrorism, because this was a harsh warning. I know that most terrorists would be stopped dead in their tracks after reading this.

I hereby agree, certify, and warrant that:
I am not located in or a citizen/national of, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya, Sudan or Syria or any country that is subject to an embargo by the United States (the "Prohibited Destination"). I am not obtaining this software for any person who is located in or is a citizen/national of a Prohibited Destination. I am not obtaining this software for any entity located in a Prohibited Destination.
The United States Government has not suspended, revoked, or denied my Export Privileges. I am not obtaining this software for any person or entity whose Export privileges have been suspended, revoked, or denied by the United States.
I am not listed on the U.S. Treasury Department’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List. I am not obtaining this software for any person or entity on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List.
The software will not be used for any nuclear activities or for the design, development, production, stockpiling, or use of missiles, chemical or biological weapons. Nor will the software be used at any facilities involved in such activities.
This software product(s) is (are) subject to U.S. export control laws and regulations. I will not export, reexport, or divert this software contrary to any such laws and regulations.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Helicopters

You may think that helicopters are either those flying machines or the spinning seeds that fall from the maple tree in the spring. You would be correct, except that there is another acceptable definition. A helicopter is also a nagging parent in the eyes of the school.

The term can probably be applied to many arenas. Do you have that annoying coworker that won't go away and just hovers over your desk all the time? Helicopter. That pestering neighbor that always seems to show up every time you go outside? Helicopter.

But for the sake of this discussion, a helicopter is the parent that nags the crap out of the teachers. Their objective is for their kids to be the best in their class. First these parents hold their children back so that they can be the oldest, the smartest, and most athletic in their class. When half of the class does this there really is no advantage. Your kid will just be graduating from high school when they are 19, from college when they're 23 (probably later), and thus earning less money over their career. But this is not important. It's up to you to vicariously make yourself a better person.

So here's your survival guide to being a helicopter parent. This is based on events that have transpired at Carrolltowne Elementary School in Eldersburg, Maryland.

1) If you want your child to get good grades, then do their homework for them. Most 1st grade teachers will not realize that your child's journal has no spelling mistakes and contains grammatically correct sentences.

2) If you want your child to get good grades on projects, do those, too. Teachers in elementary school totally expect the children to create carousels of spinning animals, newspapers with professional layouts, and shadow boxes with ornate decorations and scenery.

3) If the teacher moves the students to new seats and your child no longer sits next to his/her friends, call the teacher immediately and demand that your child sit next to their friends because it's just not fair. Adamantly state that despite your child's annoying behavior and inability to quit disturbing the class, your child's fragile emotional well-being, overwhelming insecurity and acceptance in the social network is much more important.

4) If your child is not placed in the advanced or gifted and talented level, immediately demand a conference with the principal. At this meeting express your outrage and inject doubt about the inability of the school administrators to properly test your child. If you still don't get your way talk louder and act more dramatically. This method always works.

5) Once your child is in the advanced or GT classes, be sure that your child is given good grades. If your child's grades falter, insist on another meeting with school administrators demanding that the advanced courses be made easier because your child's needs are not being properly addressed.

6) Contact your child's teacher as often as possible. Use email and phone calls to constantly harass (pronounced ha-rass', not hair'-ess) your child's teacher to ensure that your child is getting the most attention. This will help your child smoothly move to the next grade.

These are proven methods. They will work. Other than all of the teachers hating you and your child there are no downfalls to using these methods. Good luck to you and your above average child!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Heard at Work

I was heating my lunch in the cafeteria over by the Diet Chocolate Water bottling plant, which is just south of my administrative building here at American Corrugated Conglomerated Associates of America and I heard the funniest conversation.

This super dork was standing next to this short portly woman who would have made Rosie O'Donnell look like a beautiful tall slender woman. The Super Dork starts the conversation and it goes like this:

SD - So, I hear you're getting married.
SPW - Yeah!
SD - So, who's the lucky guy? (that's certainly a matter of delusional opinion)
SWP - my fiancé.

It was all I could do to restrain myself from saying, "No shit! You're marrying your fiancé?!!!"

Missing Christmas Lawn Crap

I am on the Board of Directors for the Lake Greenwood McMansion Home Owner's Association. We receive emails from homeowners whenever they need something or wish to complain. Over the weekend we received an email from someone on my street that read:

"Someone stole me lighted reindeer from my yard. Who should I contact to file a report?"

We informed him that all property damage and theft claims can be made directly with the Carroll County Sheriff's Office. They are very responsive.

Then - yesterday we got this letter in the mail. How funny is this?




Tuesday, December 09, 2008

That Cold?

On Sunday you may recall that it was really windy and really cold. We have a pond just beyond our property and my 6 year-old son asked if we could go over and see if the pond was frozen. So we did.

The pond was about half-frozen. We tossed some sticks onto the ice and watched them slide across to the other side. That' was pretty cool.

We also have a beaver in the pond. And lately he's become a menace. He took down a 30 foot tree this week and there's evidence that he's working on 5 other trees. I think he may "accidentally" disappear before the winter is over.

Anyway, on our way back into the house we got caught in one of those really powerful wind gusts. It was probably a 40 mph gust of brisk, skin-stinging cold air. The prompted my son to say, "It's like a cold tornado out here!"

A Cold Tornado. Awesome. That's now my favorite weather term.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Whoa, Is Winthrop

I enjoyed my time at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. I was a transfer student and finished my degree in 2 1/2 years. 1 semester shy of graduating on time. I wasn't a bad student, but I certainly didn't push myself as hard as I could have.

In the last 12 years the basketball program really took off. When I attended college there, if the school was .500, then it was a good year. We did, however, give everyone a run for their money in the Big South tournament in the early 1990's.

Then there was the Gregg Marshall era. He pushed his Division-1 leftovers to compete and compete hard. The school made the NCAA tournament 9 times under his reign, even defeating Notre Dame in the first round one year.

Then coach Randy Peele inherited Coach Gregg Marshall's recruited class after Marshall skipped town for Wichita State. Peele had a good first year making the NCAA tournament for the 10th time in school history. This year is a different story. The men's basketball team has started the year 1-7, with their only win coming over D-II opponent North Greenville. It's like Mr. Peabody and I jumped back into our Wayback Machine and sped through the time continuum back to 1991. Hopefully the basketball program can get back on track.

Aesthetically, Winthrop is an interesting college. Most of the buildings were constructed during an era when form was just as important as function, unlike the squared structures wrapped in glass and cement of the current era. All the buildings were brick and stately in manner, very similar to the Georgian style of building.

The school was a girls school up until the late 1970's. It's primary purpose was a state teachers' college, much like Towson State University was until they started pretending that they were something else.

By the time I arrived in 1992, the school had become Winthrop University, but was still 5-1 girls, not that I had a problem with that! The school was also very diverse. I don't have a problem with that either. South Carolina, if I am not mistaken, has the largest concentration of blacks in the United States, about 30%. And Winthrop reflected this demographic - as it should.

The other day I got an email from the alumni association informing me of all of the upcoming events. There's homecoming, Thanksgiving, fall graduation, and finally the Black Alumni Council Reunion. White man say what? That's right. A black alumni reunion.

Now, I understand that South Carolina is still a bit peeved by the outcome of the Civil War, a war they choose to call the War of Northern Aggression. And I'd be a fool to say that there were no tensions between the whites and the blacks while I was there. It was not uncommon to see a bumper sticker that read, "If I knew it would turn out like this I would have picked my own cotton." That mentality has just become part of the culture in the South.

However, I do recall a court case led by future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (a Maryland man) called Brown v. Board of Education that struck down a former ruling named Plessy v. Fergeson, which allowed for separate by equal. Marshall argued that despite the law, accommodations for blacks were not equal. The Supreme Court agreed and determined that separate by equal was therefore illegal.

Furthermore, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, thus ending most legal restrictions based on race, except for some anti-misogyny laws that were finally struck down in 1967 with Loving v. Virginia.

So back to Winthrop - what in the world makes them think it's okay to have a black reunion? Am I invited? If not, I think they would have some serious problems. Is there a white reunion? I think not. But if there was one, would it be equal to the black reunion? Did Winthrop not get the memos about those aforementioned laws? How can they even endorse such an idea?

I had so much hope for my alma mater. But I'm afraid it appears that the gravity of political correctness has forced the college back to the dark days of the early 1950's. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Time Already???

On Friday morning my kids were driving us crazy. But that's like saying Maryland is run by a band of wild condescending liberals - it's a given. So my wife made the kids a promise. If they clean their rooms and the play room we would put the Christmas tree up. And away they went.

Their rooms have never been cleaned so quickly. We should randomly tell them that we'll put up the Christmas tree throughout the year if it achieves our objectives.


When the inspection concluded and their rooms passed I started lugging the plastic crates of Christmas crap upstairs from the basement. Up went the authentic fake Christmas tree. Luckily this year I inserted most of the branches right-side up. Last year I put ALL of them on upside down and I wasn't made aware of this until I had hung the lights and tinsel.


It was a lot of fun watching my 15 month-old daughter watch us. It's the first Christmas that she remembers. Come to think of it, next year will also be the first Christmas she remembers. It's sort of like being an old person, but cute.


The process from start to finish took about 3 hours - about 2 hours and 59 minutes longer than it takes State Senate President Mike Miller to act like a bunghole during a caucus meeting.


We played Christmas music from Lite 101.9 all during the trimming. This would be the 4th week that they've been playing Christmas music. I heard Christmas music playing in Wal-Mart (apologies for shopping there) the day after Halloween. Nothing gets me in the mood for Thanksgiving more than some Christmas music.


The next day I called my brother to come over and help me put up the decorations outside. Unlike the majority of Americans, he enjoys being outside in the cold and hanging up Christmas lights. We spend a couple of hours untangling lights (piece of crap lights).


My brother is an electrician and fortunately for me he has an interest in testing burnt out light bulbs and electric lines. I had tossed 2 $2 lines to the side to be replaced. He spent about 1/2 an hour testing them and got them fixed. He saved me $4!!! So all is done.

Have you put up your Christmas decorations yet?

Go Home Early!

Every year it's the same thing.

Wednesday at work started off the long weekend on a grumpy note. Every year I somehow seem to get the ha-ha beat-down. Normally the day before a holiday they let us go a couple of hours early. That's a great idea.

Here comes the beat-down part - my manager, no matter who it is, always takes off that day before the holiday, as does his manager. The message comes from above to let everyone go early. However, there's no one that represents me to get the message. Then, upon hearing us bitching and complaining another manager from another department will come around at 3:15 and tell us we can all go home early and that we should have left already. Yeah! I get to leave 45 minutes early!

So that's great. I should have left early. But here's the part that really gets me - I come to work at 7am. I leave at 4pm. We are supposed to work 8 hours with an hour lunch. Meanwhile, the majority of the clowns around me come in at 8, 8:30, 9am. So when they let us go at 3:15, I get to leave 45 minutes early while the other clowns get to leave 2-3 hours early. Argghh!!!

Now, I realize there is plenty I could do about this. I could just leave at 2pm and hope they let us go early. I could tie my coworkers to their desk and not feel bad when I leave early and they can't because they're tied to said desk. This is actually my favorite option.

I could send out a fake email that says, "Our boss, Mr. Johnson, told me to tell everyone that we could leave 2 hours from the time you SHOULD be leaving today." The problem with that is Mr. Johnson would probably end up getting wind of the email. Not that Mr. Johnson would care too much. He's a pretty cool guy, but he has his bipolar moments and that could come back to haunt me.

My wife, the smart one, says that if I was as smart as her, I'd go in late like my fellow clowns and then leave at 2pm and hope for that early dismissal. I've only been working for company for nearly 12 years, so I'll probably figure it out eventually.

Friday, November 28, 2008

No New Taxes

I thought about this idea this morning while taking a shower because I do most of my good philosophizing in the shower.

One of the platforms that Obama espoused was of raising billions of dollars to redistribute to the poor and middle class by raising the capital gains tax. I think the last few months have proven that there will be no wealth distribution because the government cannot afford it at this time. Instead, they will raise taxes by every means possible in order to pay back the interest on the nearly $1 TRILLION that they have borrowed from the Middle East and China to prop up banks.

But more importantly, one needs to understand capital gains. A capital gain is the positive difference between what you paid for a security and what you received when you sold it. For example, if you purchased $1000 worth of stock last year and it is now worth $1500, then you would have a capital gains tax applied to the $500 difference. However, if you sold your stock at a loss, you have a capital loss. You do not pay taxes on the difference when you sell stock that is now worth less than when you bought it.

Then you need to understand the difference between long-term and short-term capital gains tax. If a security was held for less than a year, you would pay a short-term capital gains tax rate. If you held it for more than a year, then you would pay a long-term capital gains tax rate. Because the government wants to encourage investment it rewards you with a lower tax rate for holding onto a security for more than a year.

Now the problem is that if you have been paying attention to the stock market, then you know that it is down nearly 40% in the last few months. And that's for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is a compilation of 40 stocks, not the entire stock market as most media fools believe.

Look at some stocks. GM stock is down to its lowest levels in 60 years. Ford is at decades-low. Even the stock here at Consolidated American Conglomerated Industries of America is down 65% in the past few months. I have been buying our stock for over 10 years and my cost basis is such that I no longer am in the black. My cost-basis is now higher than the value of the stock, meaning I spent more money to buy it than it's now worth.

How is this important to Obama? If I sold all of my stock in CACIA Inc, then I would not be paying any capital gains tax. I'd be receiving a capital loss that would count against the amount of tax that I would pay. How does this help Obama when he's actually getting less taxes? I'm not blaming this situation on Obama, but I think it's clear that raising capital gains taxes will not accomplish anything that he wants.

And let's not forget - you cannot tax a society back to economic recovery. If people have less money to spend, then they will be spending less money. Duh! If anything Obama needs to find ways to stimulate rich people (that's right, rich people) to invest more money into production so that they hire more people. This will not be accomplished by taxing them more. If you tax rich people, they stop investing money into the means of production and the pool of needed workers will shrink. It's simple economics.

So, what's my point? If you want to be smart you should take a shower with me, because we can get some great thinking done, but only if you're a hot female.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Vote Now!

Here is your opportunity to make a difference. Go in and vote. Vote for one of the charities that is not sponsored by our misguided Governor.


www.allstateyourchoicecharity.com

We can't let him take any more credit for things that he didn't do. It's up to us.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Letter From Roscoe

Dear Mr. Eludius:

I am writing to inform you that I have received your request for Presidential Inauguration tickets. Please know that if you live in the 6th district your name and information has been added to the waiting list and if your name is selected from the lottery you will be contacted.

The President-elect is in the process of forming a Presidential Inaugural Committee which is responsible for handling ticket requests for all balls, galas, receptions, parties, and the parade. Further information about these events can be found at: http://inaugural.senate.gov/2009/. Information regarding participating in the Inaugural Day parade or providing entertainment at any of the events can be found at: http://www.afic.northcom.mil/about.html.

If I can be of further assistance please do not hesitate to contact my staff at (202)-225-2721.

B Sincerely,



ROSCOE G. BARTLETT
Member of Congress

RGB: FPSincerely,
Roscoe BartlettMember of Congress

Change?

It appears that President-elect Barack Obama is making his choices for his cabinet positions. As you remember, his entire campaign was guided by the promise of change, none of which he could describe or provide any details. My best guess is that it is a change because it's not George Bush. Now it appears that he's going to go back to the good-ole boy politics of the Clinton administration, rather than bipartisan cooperation.

The Secretary of State seems to be going to the wife of former Democratic Wonderslut President Bill Clinton. Oh, yeah, that Hillary chick that ran against Obama. Our first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, is now shitting in his grave down at Monticello.

Former liberal hard-liner from South Dakota, Tom Daschle, appears to be in line for the Secretary of Health and Human Services, a basically useless position, but perhaps perfect for a useless human being. If you recall, Tom Daschle was defeated in his bid for reelection in the Senate for being a total incompetent ass. Actually, he was quite competent at being an ass, but incompetent as being the Democratic leader. As it appears so far, Daschle will be the token white guy in the administration.

Janet Napolitano, the Democratic Governor of Arizona, is queued up for the Secretary of Homeland Security, replacing Michael Chertoff.

So, Obama's promise of bipartisanship seems to be going the way of the wagon wheel, meaning he has absolutely no intention of honoring that promise. I didn't expect him to. Every candidate says they will reach across the aisle and they never mean it. This is what helps politicians get hated. But they don't realize it. To them governing is a game, not a responsibility. You rarely hear a politician conceding to the other party. You're more likely to hear, "JENGA!!!"

Where's WALL-E?

If you looked at my blog between noon yesterday and 7am today you noticed a review of the PIXAR digitally animated movie WALL-E. I posted that to the wrong blog. I realized this late yesterday but did not possess nearly enough ambition to do anything about it. So I just moved it to the proper blog - www.fromzekescouch.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What's West is North

One of my 3 million pet peeves is people that are directionally dysfunctional. It's one thing if you are a child and don't know North from South. Heck, I'll even give you a break if you're a Baltimore City School graduate or even a Democrat. But weathermen?

Channel 11 in Baltimore has Sandra Shaw. I'm sure you know her. She dresses very inappropriately for her job - leather skirts, loud shiny tight silk blouses. She either thinks she's 18 years old or a prostitute.

Anyway, this morning she mentioned that the area saw some snow. Not in Baltimore, but further up north in Carroll County and Frederick County. Since when is Carroll and Frederick counties north of Baltimore? Since they started using this new map. Idiots.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Like My Cuban With Egg

It is being reported today that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is being charged with insider trading.

For those of you whose knowledge of Wall Street is from watching The Daily Show, insider trading is when you sell or buy a stock based on information that is not available to the public. For example, if you are a majority stockholder of the company and the Chief Financial Officer tells you that the company does not have enough money to make payments to bond holders and this information will be announced tomorrow, and you sell your stock today, that is insider trading.

So when Mark Cuban got some bad news that wasn't announced to the public, he sold his shares of Copernic, Inc. and saved himself $750,000 in losses. Fortuntely for us honest guys, the SEC found out about it and is charging him.

Potential penalties for Mark Cuban could include the following:
  • Expunging the money he didn't lose from the sale
  • Ban from being able to buy and sell stocks
  • Prison
and perhaps the 2 biggest penalties:
  • 2 draft picks in the 2009 NBA lottery
  • Ban from any reappearance on Dancing With The Stars.
The SEC does not mess around!

flsho-bgth

That's right! flsho-bgth

If you read www.foxbaltimore.com, the news website for Fox 45, you'll see this article about a murder investigation in Woodlawn. And I guess flsho-bgth is the best way to describe the progress.

flsho-bgth
November 17, 2008 11:17 EST
WOODLAWN, Md. (AP) -- Baltimore County police say a second man has been arrested and charged in a homicide in the Woodlawn area.Twenty-one-year-old Xavier Antonio Hall of Baltimore was arrested last week while walking near Rolling Road and Rolling Bend Road. He's charged in the Nov. 3 murder of 25-year-old Cletus Gittens in the 7100 block of Security Boulevard.Timothy Bean of Baltimore was charged with first-degree murder Nov. 5.Police are looking for one more person in connection with the shooting. Police don't know of a motive.

Sock Her? Oh - Soccer.

This weekend was the last weekend for soccer. Unfortunately, it rained all night on Friday and the weather forecast for Saturday was more of the same along with heavy wind. I called the weatherline and all games were cancelled with no scheduled make-ups. Boooo!!! My daughter's team was scheduled to play a crappy team and I was looking forward to the win.

So here is wrap-up for the season. I think my son's team won all but 1 game. And we pretty much destroyed everyone we played. I had one player that we'd let get 3 goals in the first 25 seconds of the game and then I'd have to stick him in goal and as a fullback for the rest of the game. This kid was so good that he could score from behind the mid-field line. I'm sure he'll be on the travel team next year. And I think we got really lucky. We had 15 really good boys on the team that played hard and were talented. Every team that I've coached before had at least one slug and one La Idiota. Though I must say that I did have a couple of block heads, but they were still decent kids.

My girls' team was a lot of fun. The girls are older (age 8-10), so unlike the boys, they have personalities and you can have conversations with them. And when you talk to them and try to teach them a new skill, you can tell when they understand. The only thing that drove me a little bit nuts was that out of 13 girls, 11 of them are Type A and loud and wanting to be the center of attention. If you were on the soccer field and ever heard, "GIRLS - EYES AND EARS!!!!" then you know you were near my team. But all-in-all they were a great bunch of kids.

Our record was not that impressive. We were 2-4-4, 2 wins, 4 losses, and 4 ties. But had we played the sucky team 2 more times like we were supposed to, we would have ended the season 4-4-4, a much more respectable record. Now that I have a year as a head coach under my belt, I think I am better able to run a team. It's really not as easy as I thought it would be.

I got a lot of positive feedback from the kids, too. I had one girl tell me that I was a lot cooler than her father. Not exactly the kind of thing you want a kid saying about their parent, but I appreciated the sentiment. And this morning I got the following email from one of the parents:

Coach Eludius,

I am sure you hear it all the time; you have an amazing coaching style.
You did such a great job motivating the girls without being too firm.
The girls responded well to this style. My daughter had even mentioned
that she thought you were "very cool". Too many times coaches forget
that the whole point of the game is for the kids to have fun, and they
get way too much into the game. But you found a nice balance on trying
to get them to do what they needed and gently getting that point across.

So, thank you so much for making this season so enjoyable for both my
daughter and her parents. I hope we get you again for next year if you
decide to coach again.

Sincerely,

A Parent

It really makes you feel good when you get positive response like this. And at the Soccer Party yesterday, I was awarded with 3 $25 gift certificates - one to the Noodle Company and one to Famous Dave's and one to Chili's, three of my favorite fine dining places. Yes, I don't get out much.

So if you have kids or when you have kids, don't be afraid to get out there and be a coach. You don't have to know what you're doing. Do like I did and just fake it! (which makes me wonder why more women don't coach - I'm kidding!!!)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Proceed to Checkout....

Few things make a parent more proud than watching their children grow up and learn new things. However, I'm now at a point where I question my daughter's new-found love.

For my daughter's 9th birthday she received several gift cards to Limited, Too, the preteen clothing store that sells overpriced trendy clothes that they will wear for 3 months before it is so out of style.

She found the website on the gift card and decided to take a look. Then while on the website she discovered that if she liked something, she could add it to her shopping cart. She kept asking my wife if she could add this and that. My wife had to remind her that she had a limit that she could spend.

Now, I fear that she will use shopping cart to add her favorite clothing. I see her on the website all the time, days after she cashed in her gift cards. If I checked her shopping cart right now I'm sure I'd find hundreds of dollars worth of stuff that she just has to have. When did a 9 year old become a 16 year old?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Don't Be Late!

I had an appointment at the doctor's office today. The appointment was at 9:30. Do you know what time I arrived? 9:30. Why did I arrive at 9:30? Because that is when my appointment was scheduled.

Meanwhile, when I walked in a confused old man was in front of me. Unfortunately he was able to meander to the sign-in clip-board before I could get there. He took his time signing in. But I waited patiently because he had his Navy Veteran's cap on indicating which ship he served on during WWII - you know. The big one.

Anyway, when he finally finished and stepped away and the shadows had moved so gently across the floor, I stepped forward to sign in. Being curious, I looked at his information. The current time? 9:30. His appointment? 10am. Yes. You must always be half an hour early to an appointment.

If they took him before me, by God, I was going to swipe that cap of his. Fortunately for him, they took the patients according to when they were scheduled or sometime thereafter, which for me was 9:45.

Ugh.

Happy Veterans Day!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Mock Election

I meant to post this earlier in the week but you know how time gets away from you.

On Monday my 6 year old son came home from school and said that they had an election at school. My BIL asked who he voted for. My son replied "John McCain". Sensing parental influence in his answer, my BIL asked for the reason he voted for John McCain. Proudly my son boasted, "Because Barack Obama wants to raise taxes." Needless to say, BIL was a bit stunned, though admiring of his answer.

Later that night I asked my daughter for whom she would have voted had she not missed school for illness. She paused, then said she didn't know. I asked why. "Because Barack Obama wants to raise taxes and John McCain wants to continue the war in Iraq."

How politically astute for a 9 year old? This girl is really thinking for herself. I am very proud of her.

Finally, I asked my 15 month old daughter who she voted for. She said, "Deedle-deedle-deedle-Bah!" I think this means Obama, because he is a deedle-deedle. We'll have to work on her a bit.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Def Leppard Sighting

Def Leppard and Taylor Swift will be on Country Crossroads on CMT on Friday, November 7th at 9pm. Don't miss it!

Cabinet Predictions

I have been thinking - who will Barack Obama appoint as cabinet members to his administration? There are 4 important offices, so I will stick to those.

Secretary of the Treasury - Paul Volker
Secretary of State - John Kerry
Secretary of Defense - Sandy Berger
Attorney General - Andrew Cuomo

Why do I predict these?

Paul Volker - former Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Appointed by Democratic President Jimmy Carter. Minus - he's 81 years old. However, he's still as sharp as a tack.

John Kerry - current Senator from Massachusetts and former Democratic candidate for President. He probably won't make any money in the movies like Al Gore, so he needs a bone. Plus he wants to reach out to foreign countries.

Sandy Berger - former national Security Advisor under Bill Clinton. This position is usually filled with someone familiar with the military or national security. Berger fits the bill.

Andrew Cuomo - like his father Mario, he's a tough Democrat. Andrew took over the New York Attorney General's office when Elliot Spitzer got elected to be Governor, but then got caught with his dick in a hooker. I think he'd like to make a name for himself and what better place to do it than as the United States Attorney General?

Wild Cards
If I'm wrong, here are some other possibilities

Secretary of the Treasury
John Corzine - current Governor of New Jersey, former Goldman Sachs chief executive

Secretary of State
Bill Richardson - Governor of New Mexico, former Democratic candidate for President
Tom Brokaw - NBC news editorialist and short-list Vice-Presidential candidate for John Kerry
Richard Gephardt - former Democratic Missouri Congressman

Secretary of Defense
General Wesley Clark - retired General and former Democratic Presidential Candidate
General John Shalikashvili - former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Clinton and advisor to John Kerry's Presidential campaign.

Attorney General
Janet Reno - former Attorney General under Clinton who deported Elian Gonzalez back to Cuba
Jennifer Granholm - former lawyer and current Governor of Michigan

Others Who May Get Appointed Various Seats:

Martin O'Malley - dying for an office with a big mirror
Anthony Williams - former Mayor of Washington, D.C.
Kwasi Mfume - former Maryland Congressman and former head of NAACP
Donna Brazile - political strategist
Tom Daschel - former Democratic Congressman from South Dakota
Oprah Winfrey - yeah, why not?

What are your predictions?

Post Election Analysis

So here we are - the day after. The election went as expected. The media people are as happy as larks. And who should be surprised? Most people hate George W. Bush and this was a good reason to sock it to the Republicans.

We can't blame this all on GW. The Republicans in general ran a pretty shitty campaign. Liz Dole lost in North Carolina for criticizing her Sunday school teacher opponent as being Godless. Not too smart.

Andy Harris ran ads that never told you anything about himself. Every ad was about how his opponent is too liberal. Well, Andy, perhaps you're too conservative. In a heavy Democratic state, right-wing conservatives rarely win. Moderate conservatives win.

So what should we expect now? If the Democrats are smart, which they are not (and neither are Republicans), they will not go around saying that they now have a mandate from the people. The Republicans made this mistake 8 years go and they may be paying for it for a long time. Partisan mandates do not endear the majority of voters who fall in the middle of the political spectrum.

Harry "Radical" Reid and Nancy "Pork" Pelosi will start ramming through radical liberal programs and will go against the beliefs of half of this country. But don't worry, they're perched at the top of their tree and there's nothing we can do about it.

The economy will recover as it always does and Liberals will take credit for it. And they can because Obama will make companies hire more people. And Obama will make people spend more money. These are the 2 things that get you out of a recession. From my tongue-in-cheek point, the government does not have THAT much control over the economy. It goes in cycles. Always has. Always will. But it's nice and convenient to be the party in charge when things get good and Obama will probably be there.

We can expect Gay Marriage to be addressed. I honestly couldn't care less either way. Gun control will take a turn for the worst. Criminals will get more guns. Honest citizens will find it more difficult to get guns. Troop levels will be diminished in Iraq, but we will still be there at the end of Obama's term. We're still in Cuba. We're still in Germany. We're still in Korea. We're still in Japan. Heck, we have bases in Great Britain and Spain and we weren't at war with them at the time. Imagine if China wanted to put a military base in California? Barb Boxer and Pelosi probably wouldn't be against it, but I could probably find 350 million others that would be. And Joe Biden could find 100 million middle class families that are against it.

Obama will reach out to other countries. I am happy with that. I did not like the arrogant "if you're not with us you're against us" attitude of the Bush Administration. However, I do not want to see us seeking consensus from France and Belgium about what our national policies should be. Keep them involved, but we should ultimately decide what's best for us. Our destiny should not be determined by the Euro crowd.

Taxes will go through the roof. They pretty much have to if Obama wants to reduce our deficit and increase the social programs. Obama has already pledged to raise taxes on what he defines as rich. Capital Gains taxes will double or triple. For those of us "middle class" people, we'll be screwed. Obama claims that the wealth will be redistributed, but watch. It will go to social programs, not cash distributions. That's not quite the redistribution that his proponents are expecting.

I'm sure a Supreme Court Justice will retire. Antonin Scalia and Anothony Kennedy are 72. Radical Liberal David Souter is 69. Extreme radical liberal Ruth Ginsburg is 75 and has cancer. Odds are at least one of them will die and a couple will retire. Obama will claim to rebalance the Supreme Court and appoint all very-liberal thinking justices. Of course, since the Senate is mostly Democrats, all will be confirmed.

Obama will claim to work on fixing health care, but in the long run nothing will change. The same goes for Social Security reform. However, you can't escape from the fact that soon there will be more recipients of Social Security than there are contributors to the program. Benefits will have to be cut and taxes to fund it will need to increase dramatically. This is change.

So what do you think an Obama administration will mean? What do you think will change?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Voter Problems

My operatives in Prince George's County learned that many people suspect the Republicans of trying to stifle the vote in this heavily Democratic county by making it rain. I don't think it's true that the Republicans are making it rain, but if it's keeping people from voting for idiocy, I'll take it.

My other operatives throughout the state are also reporting that Republicans are being blamed for various issues.

In Greektown in Baltimore City, I learned that Republicans are being blamed for really low voter turn-out. In Towson, Republicans are clearly at fault for the heavy traffic on the Beltway. In East Baltimore, it's the high crime rate that is their fault. And finally, in Annapolis, it's Maryland Republicans that are being besmirched for Martin O'Malley's lousy haircut.

As you can see from this anecdotal evidence, we'd all be better off if it weren't for that Republican minority in this state. As State Senate President Thomas V Mike Miller once said the Democrats were going to bury the Republicans of this state so far down that it will take 20 years for them to get out. I think he said this to a room full of donkeys.

Election Day Hits From Live Journal

I'm getting a lot of hits today from LiveJournal, but I can't seem to find the link. I welcome all viewers, but where is everyone getting the link to my blog? Details! I need details! Help me with my analytics!

Voter Hatred

People always say how hateful the Republican right is. They hate poor people. They hate minorities. They hate people in general. Whatever.

Today I have been reading comments left on articles about the election. If the Left thinks that the hatred is only on the right, they need to look in the mirror. Here are some of the comments I have found:

I can't wait until all the asshole Republicans are out of office.

Can't wait until Obama wins the White House. Were going to paint it black!

Do not be intimidated. Reports of GOP thugs posted outside of polling places have been intentionally overblown by the press to keep black voters at home.

There is enough of a sweep to ensure that Bush and Cheney will face a military tribunal for their war crimes.

All evidence points to a nationwide effort of Election Fraud, Voter Suppression and Voter Intimidation conducted by the National, state and local GOP offices.

Sarah Palin believes in witches

here's hoping for an Obama landslide and we won't have to re-invent the phrase "Somewhere in Texas a Village is Missing it's Idiot" to "Somewhere in Alaska a Village is Missing it's Idiot"!!

I can't wait to see if you losers will show your faces out here tomorrow morning while I dish up your just desserts.

Come on, GOP! Stop preventing Americans from voting!

I Voted

I just got back from voting. Fortunately, the lines were not too long and they were organized. I was easily outnumbered by the elderly 10-1. I got in the longest line, yet it had the least amount of elderly in it. And guess what? I was registered quicker than if I had gotten in any of the other lines.

However, I must say that I an extremely concerned on 2 fronts. First, I cast my vote for Chuck Baldwin. This is what transpired:

You selected Chuck Baldwin. Did you mean Obama?
No.
Please reselect your choice for President.
Chuck Baldwin.
You selected Chuck Baldwin. Martin O'Malley endorses Obama. Would you like to change your selection?
No.
Please reselect your choice for President.
John McCain
You selected John McCain. Did you want to change that to 2 votes for Obama?

I finally got through that mess and on to the 2 referendum questions.

The first referendum question asked me if I was in favor of a change in election procedures allowing voters in Maryland to Vote Early and Vote Often, meaning they could vote outside of their district and vote on a day that wasn't the election day. This allows the Democratic machine to manipulate the vote and it is very difficult to prove. I voted against this.

The second referendum question asked me if I was in favor of slots. Again, here is what transpired:

Do you favor Question 2 allowing slots in Maryland?
No.
You selected no, meaning that you are against allowing slots in Maryland. Did you mean to vote Yes, you favor slots in Maryland?
No.
The Baltimore Sun hypocritically endorsed slots after decades of adamant opposition. Do you want to reconsider your vote to No?
No.
Your vote has been recorded as being in favor of slots because we know that is best for you.

I really think those voting machines are rigged. And to top it off, the election judge only let me vote once. Can you believe that? My civil rights to vote as often as I wanted have been violated. Leave it to the Democratic state of Maryland to suppress the Republican vote!

Finally, the other thing that concerned me (and this is for real) is that you fill out some form with all of your information including name, address, and party affiliation. This was kept in a clean plastic folder on the side of the voting machine for all to see or reach in and take. Linda Lamone fails the voters again. This time she put forth a system that violates our privacy. Way to go, Linda! We can always count on your incompetence!

Election Humor

While walking down the street one day, a US senator is tragically hit by a truck and dies.
His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance. "Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in," says the senator.

"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."

"Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the senator.

"I'm sorry, but we have our rules." And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him. Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne. Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises.

The elevator goes up, up, up, and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him. "Now it's time to visit heaven." So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

"Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity."

The senator reflects for a minute, then answers: "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell."

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above...

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder. "I don't understand," stammers the senator. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?"

The devil looks at him, smiles and says... "Yesterday we were campaigning. Today you voted."

Election Day

I don't think I ever mentioned the candidates that I will be voting for on Election Day. Since Ron Paul did not get the nod from the GOP, I will be going with Ron Paul's endorsement of Constitutionalist Party Candidate Chuck Baldwin. How can you disagree with these positions?

For Congress, I am voting for Roscoe Bartlett in the 6th District, though it pains me to vote for him again. I am not a proponent of the career politician. But I can't vote for the other guy here. Maryland already has 6 Democrats in the Congress out of 8 Congressmen and if the Republicans lose another seat (like if Kratovil wins), then Republicans will not be represented in the state at all.

I drive through and work in the sprawling gerrymandered 7th District that is represented by Elijah Cummings. Cummings admitted that the government doesn't work and it has failed the American people. Since he is one of those government people, then I will assume that he considers himself a failure. Therefore, I endorse Mike Hargadon.

In the 2nd District, where much of my family lives, I endorse Richard Matthews. He is running against Charles Albert "Dutch" Ruppersberger III. Not only is his name too long, he also supports government confiscation of private property to sell to other private businesses. And Matthews has the best commercial of any candidate this year: "If you go Dutch, you will pay."

Get out and vote!!!

More Reasons To Question Obama

In case you're still thinking of voting for Socialism and casting that vote for Obama, here are a couple more things to think about:

1) Obama mentioned in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle that he wants to shut down all of the coal companies and force them out of business. Why? Because next to all of the hot gas produced by politicians, burning coal is the second highest source of pollution.

I won't deny that fact. However, one thing Obama forgot to do when he opened his pie-hole was to check his facts. Whether you like it or not, coal is the #1 source of electricity in the United States. The Liberals forced the electric companies to stop using cheap and clean nuclear power in the late 70's and 80's. So if we shut down all of the coal fired power plants, we also shut down the source of most of our electricity. And if there is less electricity produced and the demand keeps rising, guess what that does to the prices? That causes the price to spike! Yes, despite government interventionist arguments from Harry Reid to the contrary, Supply and Demand does determine price.

And who digs up all that nasty coal? Oh, yeah. It's all those ignorant people in West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana who cling to their guns and religion. Why does the Democratic Party hate these people so much????

2) Obama and his Clintonesque cronies want to pass a wind-fall tax on the big oil companies. How will they determine what a wind-fall is? Is it a percentage of revenues? Is it all the money that the wind blows off from the top of the pile? Do Democrats realize what the oil companies will do when they pass this windfall tax? They will leave the country and/or do creative accounting to show that they made less money.

Another factor that Democrats forget is the old scientific fact that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. All of those people that have oil company stock in their retirement plans will suffer. The value of their retirement will be drastically diminished because no one will want to own stock in a company that has their profits confiscated by the government.

And why just attack the oil companies? Why not Wal-Mart? Wal-Mart makes BILLIONS of dollars each quarter, as well. I think if you pass a wind-fall tax on the oil companies, you should pass a wind-fall tax on Wal-Mart.

Democrats are stupid. They legislate with emotion rather than logic. But you have to give them credit. They never let the facts get in the way of bad legislation.

Early Election Preview

As I drove to work this morning I passed two polling places. And let me tell you - there are a LOT of people voting today. In fact, I think I saw the same person at both places. Cars stretched down the road in either direction for about a quarter mile because the parking lot of the church and school that I passed were totally full. If you didn't get to vote 3 or 4 times today, you are getting screwed. Someone is repressing your right to vote and vote often.

I have been talking to all of my conservative Republican and Libertarian friends and they are all voting for McCain or Chuck Baldwin. I haven't talked to anyone today who is voting for Obama, so perhaps things are better than I anticipated.

I'll be in touch with my band of roving reporters today who are visiting polling places to get the pulse of the election. Stay tuned.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Facebook Initiated Reunion

I am officially coming out of the closet. No, not that closet.

I am an addict of Facebook. Though, I must say this is a relative thing. I know people, (Duckman), who are WAY more addicted than I am.

However, I must say that like my methadone and prostitute addition, it does have rewards. This weekend I got together with 27 friends from grade school.

Grade school, you ask? I went to a private school, St. Anthony's in Baltimore for 8 years. This school doesn't exist anymore. I think they call it Sister Mary Mother of the Multiracial Diversified Non-denominational Requiem in an effort to attract more members.

Anyway, when I first got on Facebook in August, I started first searching my current friends. When I exhausted that, I started looking for older friends that I haven't seen in years. I searched by typing in their names, but wasn't getting very far. Then I realized that when I selected my high school, I could change the year and it would bring up graduats of selected year. Learning this, I changed my strategy.

Most of my fellow classmates continued their private-Catholic education at one of the dozen or so Catholic high schools in the Baltimore area. Therefore, I found the homepage for the high school, then found the class of 1990.

The first school I searched was John Carroll, in Bel Air, because I knew a few girls from St. Anthony's that went there. I found one right away, let's call her Dani Stark. After reconnecting with her, I decided to create a St. Anthony's page and started directing people there.

After that, I searched Calvert Hall, Curley, Notre Dame Prep, Seton, Keough, Boys' Latin, St. Paul's, Gilman, Towson Catholic… The next thing you know I had a bunch of people.

Then Dani Stark suggested that we have a reunion. I thought that was a great idea. However, I warned her that I work full time, coach 2 soccer teams, and don't have too much free time on my hands. Being a stay-at-home mom, God bless her, she started doing all the leg work. She made the phone calls, sent the emails, and got the word out. The next thing you know we have about 50 people out of 90-some. About 30 committed to the unofficial reunion.

That day finally came on Saturday. It was great to see everyone. I pretty much lost touch with everyone after 8th grade graduation. We moved from Baltimore to Bel Air and my parents wanted nothing to do with driving me back and forth to see my old friends, so I was pretty much forced to find new friends.

So I reconnected with Greg and Dave and Chuck and Steve, 4 of my closer friends at the time. I saw the twins, Kathleen and Kristine. I could name everyone, but they know who they are and you pretty much don't. However, I did learn that one of my fellow former classmates is good friends with a mutual friend of mine. Small world? And another's mom works here at American Amalgamated Corrugated Conglomerates of America. And 2 girls married classmates of mine from Bel Air High School.

I took a bunch of photos and uploaded them in Facebook. Everyone was excited to see them. Those that couldn't make it were even more jealous when they saw the pictures. We all agreed that we will have another reunion next year when the weather gets warmer and hopefully get more people.
One funny comment that came back was something to the affect of - "I'm disowning my current friends and going back to all my St. A's friends." Another one was, "I would so much rather go to a St. A's reunion than a high school or college reunion." I share those sentiments. It's amazing how much of a bond you can have with people that you haven't seen in 22 years, yet only spent 8 years with. But it sure was good to be there.

So thank you, Facebook, for bringing us together. So, if you're a hater, Facebook is not just for high school punks and sluts trying to tally up hundreds of people that they call friends. It's there for the rest of us, too.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Joe Biden the Math Idiot

I have never been a big fan of Joe Biden. In fact, I'm not even a little fan. Ever since he ran for President and was plagiarising speeches, I lost all respect for him.

In grad school, if you plagiarise, you are expelled from the program with absolutely no hope of ever getting into another college to continue your pursuit. It's that serious. Unfortunately, in politics, you just throw out some rhetoric about how you want to be get back to doing the business of the people and stand up for the hard working middle classes folks.

I hear so much crap about the middle class that it almost makes you think that they don't give a flying poop about the poor. And they imply that they're damning the rich, when in fact, most politicians are rich themselves, their friends are rich, and their donors are rich.

"Pssst. Hey, Bob. I know you're rich, but in my speech tonight I'm going to talk about how you need to pay more taxes and how I'm really looking out for the middle class. Just wanted to let you know ahead of time that I don't really mean that. You and me are buddies. I've got your back!"

This is the conversation that politicians are having with rich people.

So anyway, back to my point. I was watching CNN at the gym yesterday and Joe Biden was giving that aforementioned speech. He said that the failed economic policies of Bush and McCain have hurt over 100 million middle class American families. 100 MILLION middle class American families. That's a lot!

Wait a minute! If the average family has 3.5 people in it, that's 350 million people. And considering that there are 300 million people in the United States, that's quite an accomplishment! Bush hurt more people in one category than there are people in the whole. So, according to Joe Biden's math skills, there are no poor or rich people in America. We are all middle class.

Perhaps Garrison Keillor is a speech writer for the Democratic Party now. Who knows. But Joe, we're not ALL that stupid. Some are. But not all.

Joe the Tree Trimmer

We hear a lot about Joe the Plumber these days. According to Obama, Joe the Plumber does not make $250,000, so his "Tax the shit out of the rich people" plan won't affect Joe the Plumber. Well I disagree.

Assuming Joe the Plumber works alone or works for someone else, yes, this may be the case. However, let's think about this realistically. I will use my brother-in-law's business as an example. So instead of Joe the Plumber, we have Joe the Tree Trimmer.

My BIL makes over $1 million per year. Sounds awesome, doesn't it? Oh, wait. He has 12 employees. Let's say they average about $45,000 per year. That's $540,000 per year in salary. Half of his money is gone!

Let's not forget about unemployment compensation that he has to pay for each employee. And payroll taxes. And then there's the gas for the 6 trucks that runs about $6000 per month. And when he takes down a big tree he has to rent a crane. You can't exactly go out and buy a million dollar crane when you're Joe the Tree Trimmer. And disposing the debris, yes, he has to pay for that, too.

By the time all is said and done, he's way under $250,000. And because Obama refuses to provide any details about any of his plans, we are not really sure how his taxes would affect small businesses. Therefore, if you are a small business owner, be scared. Be very scared. Obama plans to run you out of business. He wants to stick it to you so that you pay your fair share.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Elmer Gantry

I just finished reading Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis this week for the simple reason that Frank DeFilippo referenced it in one of his opinion articles on WBAL.com and I had no idea what he was talking about.


If you have never read a Sinclair Lewis book, you are in a good situation. When I informed a coworker that I was reading the book he told me to put it down and just go watch the movie. This is one of the few cases where the movie is WAY better than the book. I haven't seen the movie, but I already agree.


Sinclair Lewis' style of writing is not very literary. It's more sequential and matter of fact. And the sequence is not fluid. In one chapter I read about Gantry in college in great detail. The next thing you know he's hob-nobbing with important people. Then a couple chapters go by that elapse many years of his life. Then all of a sudden we have several chapters dealing with the same era. It's like only 5 different years of Gantry's life were important and there is no need for much transition between the years.


So if you are wondering who Elmer Gantry is, he is a arrogant religious zealot with dreams of running the world in his ultra-conservative style, yet he is ultimately flawed with the characteristics that he condemns, especially his sexual appetite for young ladies. That's really all you need to know. Now you can tell all your less-educated friends that you know all about Elmer Gantry.


To use him in context, if you hear about Obama endorsing abortion or liberal social agendas, you can say, "Boy, Elmer Gantry would not have agreed with that." All of your friends will will turn to look at you with awe and respect you for your well-rounded educated opinion.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Andy Harris' Friends

Is anyone else tired of hearing about Andy Harris' friends? I'm sure you've heard the ad. They only play it EVERY commerical for EVERY program. Sure, Andy Harris' friends probably aren't my friends, but I'll bet it's also safe to say that Frank Kratovil's rich lawyer friends aren't your friends, either.

Sure, attack ads are just part of the political process. You say that you're awesome and your opponent sucks and then you make exaggerated outrageous claims against him that are entirely out of context and everyone thinks the other person is a jerk. Then the opponent plays the same ad, but changes roles, and the game continues.

For example, Frank Kratovil said that Andy Harris likes Big Utilities. Harris voted in favor of Big Utilities and got campaign contributions. Then Big Utilities raised our rates. Hello! Pretty much everyone in the Maryland General Assembly voted in favor of Big Utilities. And nearly all politicians, Republican and Democrat, including our humble Governor, Martin O'Malley, received campaign contributions from Big Utilities (e.g. Constellation Energy, aka BGE).

So, Mr. Frank Kratovil the hard-left leaning Liberal lawyer: when you get elected, which I unfortunately predict you will, let's see how much money you don't accept from Big Everything and stay true to yourself. I'll bet it lasts 2.3 seconds. As soon as you're in office, you'll be accepting money and voting in favor of your biggest contributors, not the voters in your district. Be honest - you know you're a dishonest crook just like the rest of them. That's oxymoronic, isn't it???

And here's a message for the Republican Party of Maryland. Maryland is full of Democrats. You are not going to win seats by running ultra conservatives like Andy Harris. The only Republicans outside of Western Maryland that can get elected are moderates. If Andy Harris loses this seat for Maryland Republicans, we will be left with 1 Republican in Congress - Roscoe Bartlett. And guess what? The district map will be redrawn in 2010 and you better believe that the uber-liberal O'Malley will redraw that district to go down into Montgomery County with the ultimate plan of permanently eliminating Republican Congressmen from Maryland.

We're outnumbered. Stop playing the game arrogantly and start playing it intelligently.
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