Friday, December 28, 2007

Intelligence in Congress?

No, I did not lose my head. Okay, my illness made me woozy, but I'm not drain bamaged yet.

Don't believe me? Just read this article by the Tenth Amendment Center, and get on board!

Oh, the Irony

The Quipper family had a wonderful Christmas. We were a busy crew, but everything went well.

  • My brother and his fiancee visited from California. She asked for snow - lots of it - and got her wish. So much that family and friends were joking with her to stop asking for snow. Within 24 hours of their arrival, the snow started falling. So, of course, things needed to reverse as they prepared to go back home. Within 24 hours of their departure, the snow disappeared. Guess when they left? 8am on Christmas morning. Yep, green Christmas. They were able to spend practically the entire Sunday before Christmas with us, and were able to relax for really the first time on their "vacation". Everyone had fun, and Marie did a great job with food prep.
  • We had our traditional Christmas Eve with the Artist and Engineer. No guests, just us. We had a fun time doing what we do on Christmas Eve, which includes reviewing what we did over the past year and what we want to accomplish next year (I know, that has nothing to do with Christmas, but that's when we do it), attending Divine Service, and opening gifts afterwards. And Marie did a great job with food prep.
  • We went to Worship Service again on Christmas morning, but not before the kids opened what was left in their stockings by Santa Claus. (Yes, the Artist knows better, but she still plays along for the Engineer.) In the afternoon, both sets of parents and Marie's brother-in-law joined us for good food, fun, and gift opening. And Marie did a great job with food prep.
  • On Christmas evening, friends joined us and had a surprise in stow for their children. Their grandma flew in from Florida, and they didn't know it! You should have seen the looks of surprise and joy on the grandkids faces. They loved it, and so did we. And Marie did a great job with food prep. (See the recurring theme?)
But, Rick, what about the irony?

I explained the snow irony already; white pre-Christmas, green Christmas. Okay, so Marie called it a brown Christmas. Oh, well. At least we didn't have to shovel the driveway on Christmas as part of visitor prep at the house.

The other irony: I did not use all my vacation time at work this year. Since we are now on a "use it or lose it" policy, I planned as much as I could; however the company changed Christmas Eve and New Years Eve to holidays, so I lost two planned days. What am I doing today? Sitting at home, sick. Doh!

Happy New Year everyone!

Final note: if you are looking for good Christmas music to play throughout the day, and have broadband access, I strongly recommend using Pandora. You can register for free, and set up your own radio stations. I set up a Christmas station by asking for Silent Night, then selecting a version that was sung by a choir. For the rest of the day, my "radio station" only played religion-based Christmas songs (I wouldn't call them all hymns, though); no commercial Christmas songs hit the Quipper Family airwaves. It was a nice touch.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Pleasant Mistake

I realize that it is only Sunday evening, and Christmas Eve is a day away. Tomorrow is jam packed. I don't plan on hitting the blog, so I would like wish you all a Merry Christmas, and leave you with a pleasant "mistake":

I work with a Puerto Rican gal and an Italian gal in Florida. One is naturalized, and the other is on H1 visa but in the process of being naturalized. Both are professional gals, not too far removed from their native cultures and traditions.

Within the past week, each has notified their peers of their vacation, indicating they would not be in the office until after the new year. They made a "mistake" in preparing their notifications. Both said, as they were taught to say back home:

Happy holydays!

'Twas not a mistake to me. Christmas is a holy day, the day of the birth of our Lord. The unintended message was a comfort in these hectic times, a remembrance of God made man, who died and rose again for our salvation.

Happy Holy Day everyone! Christ, our Savior, is born!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Eight Points!

Our help desk manager got into the holiday spirit last week. One day, she wore a red cap with deer antlers sticking out. While walking through the halls, I noticed her hat, and commented to a passer-by who happened to be a hunter.

I said, "Look, a ten point doe!".

He looked, and said, "No, it's only eight points."

As I walked further down the hall, he caught up to me and said, "Hey, Rick, doe don't have antlers." I said, "I know. Just making sure you were paying attention." :-)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Beware Who Funds You

Have you heard? Senator James M. Inhofe delivered his latest report about the growing number of global warming skeptics. The report identifies over 400 individuals who have scientifically expressed their healthy skepticism via peer reviewed papers.

Al Gore's response? His spokeperson declared that 25-30 of these skeptics may have received funding from Exxon.

If I were a lib, I would jump on that and say, "See! It's industry that is promoting and funding the skeptics. Without Big Oil, there would be no skepticism because it is all manufactured anyway."

After months of not knowing how to address this, I finally figured it out:

Well, no one in the scientific or green community would fund their efforts to dispute the status quo. Where else should they go to get funding?

Funny how lib educators and scientists can exhaust all opportunities for fundraising so they can conduct their research. But when a skeptic does it, they are bad for going to bed with Big Oil.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

This Isn't What Christmas Is About

I won't steal Scott's thunder. Just go to his post to see the sacrilege that is masquerading as a "cute Christmas message" in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS). Scott's comments are excellent. I, like he, fail to see the cuteness in this bit.

A Quipper News Service Exclusive - 12-19-2007


The federal government, in order to cut down the occurrence of knife usage in cafeterias, kitchens and restaurants across America, passed a bill scheduled to take effect on February 29, 2008. If signed by President Bush, all food placed before the public would need to be presented so that using a knife is no longer necessary.

Congress recognizes that this issue cuts to the heart of the ever-increasing violence issues in schools and elsewhere. "This issue has teeth," said one congressman.

President Bush is expected to sign the bill. His spokesman said, "There is no need to slice up this bill."

"We are incisively following this concern," said Dee Sagust, chairwoman of the nonpartisan organization Parents for Bliss. "There is sharp division between us and our opponents. We believe no child should be put in a position of hurting themselves or others. The temptation to do evil here is too great. It's not like we are talking about condoms; we are talking about kitchen utensils."

Congress has not yet dealt with the issue of knives used in meal prep. As a long term resolution, Congress believes that serving only pureed food is the safe option. WalMart is pre-emptively bidding to provide below-cost pureeing plants in China, while Tyson is offering to provide the service inexpensively by hiring only aliens with criminal records to perform the work.

An adult's eye view of beef puree, rare

The prickly issue of violence caused by fork tines will also be eliminated by the longer term solution.

Sagust says, "As long as people only use spoons, the world will be a much safer place."

The food service industry is carving out a response, as restaurants have the most to lose by this proposal. On the other hand, Gerber and Beech-Nut are enthralled with the new bill.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Freakout Mode

In my career as a project manager, I have devised a number of trite phrases that define what I do, or what other people do, and situations that pop up on occasion. Some of the phrases need no explaining:

  • I take the slings and arrows from all comers and still make sure the job gets done.
  • Project management is like herding cats, only harder.
  • Project plans are never "fact"; they start as "fiction" then go straight to "history".
  • You wouldn't need project managers if people would just do what they already committed to doing.
  • The five business days prior to a project being implemented for everyone to use are called "hell week".
  • You can't cram for a project implementation like you can for a final exam.
Then there are the funniest ones. Not that they are really funny, but I look back at the situations where I've used them and laugh.
  • Freakout mode - that is the period after people realize that they have responsibility for a project - much later than when the responsibility actually started - and try like crazy to make up for lost time. Depending on the person and the importance of the activity, some people may go into freakout mode before hell week. But most don't. Freakout mode is always preceded by the last item...
  • The "OH, SHOOT!" factor. Yes, I cleaned it up for public consumption. No matter what amount of planning, conversing, and reminding you do with some people, you cannot help them avoid this moment. Bribing, encouraging and cajoling do not help. So, you do all you can to avoid it, but you can't.
It's funny - okay, not really - when an entire department collectively hits the "OH, SHOOT!" factor. I get it a lot.

Fun times.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Train Wreck

A train traveling to Los Angeles leaves New York City at 10:00am, due west, at 100 mph. Another train, traveling from Los Angeles to New York City leaves at 2:00pm, due east at 110 mph. Assuming that neither train makes any stops and are traveling on the same track, at what time would they crash? (Note: all times are EST.)

That would be quite a train wreck, wouldn't it?

All things considered, Running in Circles had a pretty good gig last night. We were more pit crew than band prior to the gig, because the venue was hosting a benefit that ran 45 minutes late. Instead of staging our equipment and then setting up, we went into fast-forward mode. Hence, we were not allowed to bring in any equipment until folks cleared out. This worked against us in two ways:

- The place was packed...for the benefit. Which means it looked full before we started, and anyone who popped their head into the venue would see there were no tables available, and go elsewhere.

- We were hurried and not in good form on a couple songs in the first set. We recovered, but were somewhat frustrated. Our cover of American Girl, by Tom Petty, always goes over well. This time, we got our wires crossed during the intro, but too far into the song to declare a mulligan.

The result...train wreck. It was the only one. Looking back, I realize we hadn't had a good train wreck in over nine months. I guess we were due, but I would have preferred it to happen in the last set, and not in the first.

This is the second weekend in a row where I have been to a gig that occurred right after a benefit. Last week, I watched Disco Inferno go thru the same thing; crowd loss, first set not tight as it could be. Fortunately for us, a number of patrons actually approached us and the venue manager to compliment us on our performance and song selection. The manager liked us, too. Can't complain about that.

But this is Sunday, Rick. Isn't this the time you craft some wily, wooly Idiots of the Week post?

Of course. Let's talk train wrecks:

  • The one that almost happened by My Idiots, the Cleveland Browns. They forgot that the games run for four quarters again, and made a can't-miss win a nail-biter again. It seems to me the coaching staff is still learning on the job, too, based on some decisions they made in the second half. Neither the players nor the coaches know how to close out games they should win.
  • The Detriot Lions season. The Lions were 6-2 at one time, and have since lost the last five. That is not significant from the sports perspective, but from another. After the Lions won their sixth game, QB John Kitna, a born-again Christian, declared that God destined their team for the playoffs. I hate when people do that. I will not go further here, but you can add your thoughts as you post your comments.
  • The Miami Dolphins season. Terrible, absolutely terrible. The road to 0-16 is more interesting than New England's road to 16-0. It is ironic, too: the only team to go undefeated for an entire season was the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

Now, for the Idiots:

Win - The Browns defensive coaching staff, for playing the prevent defense for practically the entire fourth quarter. It almost prevented another victory; they gave up twice as many points in the fourth quarter as they did the rest of the game.

Place - John Kitna, QB for the Detriot Lions. Shut your mouth, and play football.

Show - QB Derek Anderson. for the second consecutive week. He has problems throwing passes in less-than-optimal conditions. He had problems in this game, and in the Steelers loss. No nail-biting this game if he throws a couple good passes in the third and fourth quarters.

Honorable Mention - The Miami Dolphins, who are redefining "incompetence".

Friday, December 07, 2007

Gateway Crime

I broke the law today. Yes, I admit it.

Since I had a vacation day today, I decided to stay up late last night, learn some new songs, and traipse around my favorite blogs and sports web sites. I finally went to bed around 2:00am...

...which meant I slept in until around 9:00am. Being garbage day, I needed to take the garbage out.

Before 8:00am.

In our suburb, it is illegal to place your garbage on the lawn after 8:00am on garbage day.

So what does this crime lead to? Not taking out the garbage at all?


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Bittersweet Returns

I watched the value of my stock holdings increase at a satisfactory rate over the last couple of days. So I am jumping for joy, right?

No, not really.

But there was an upward correction, and all is right in the stock market again, isn't it?

No, not really.

But confidence is starting to rise again, isn't it?

No, not really.

But President Bush threw his weight behind government assistance for the country's mortgage issue, didn't he?


That's exactly why I am not satisfied with the general uptick in the market.

Where the stock market was somewhat based on principled fundamentals and commitment to long-term investment, and driven by market forces, it is now driven

Good grief!

Yes, it has been driven by emotion for some time. Welcome to our "modern" world after all, where feelings are more important than objectivity. Where immediate returns are better than long-term prosperity. Where uncalculated risk-taking is better boring old saving and "buy and hold" investing.

We sure could use a little good news today, right?

I don't believe the last two days' gains for the Dow are good news. Not from the societal perspective, regardless of how good the gains look financially.

The Dow improved because the government communicated a proposed "amnesty" (my word) for the public relative to their mortgage woes.

Since when is it a good personal business decision to acquire a mortgage that you can't afford?

Since when is it a good corporate business decision to lend money to those who aren't a half-way decent credit risk?

Since when is it a good national business decision to prop up a consumer economy, when the propping will only make things worse in the future (higher taxes to maintain the amnesty or a steeper fall of the stock market)?

Good news? No, not really.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Truth Shall Set You Free

Too bad the author of this article writes for, and not a rag that would also be read by people that aren't sports fanatics.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Curious Questions

Some of the muck going around in my mind today:

1) If an Allah-loving jihadist celebrates his religion's victory over an infidel by shooting his AK47 in the air, but forgets that bullets do not defy gravity and therefore kills a fellow jihadist, is the killed man considered a martyr?

2) If a Muslim man despised a woman because he couldn't have her, would he rape her so she could be executed on account of her promiscuity?

3) The British teacher that was pardoned for naming a stuffed animal Mohammed apologized sincerely. Since Islam is the religion of peace, will she be forgiven by those that wanted her murdered?

4) While the crazies in the U.S. want to ban smoking to lower the costs of health care for society, and are doing their best to ban trans-fats, why don't they want to reduce the occurrence of conception out of wedlock, which would have greater utilitarian benefit?

5) On the subject of health care, why is prevention a valid option for everything except AIDS and HIV?

I know the answers already, but the questions were churning in my mind anyway.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Bad Behavior

I thought it might be safe to table the Idiot of the Week awards for a while, but I was mistaken.

Before I go there, I would like to say how much the Browns' offense reminds me a bunch of the Brian Sipe-led Kardiac Kids of the late 1970s. When the Browns are behind, the opposition must be scared stiff. It seems this team responds best while under duress, which isn't where you want to be against the better teams in the league. They almost pulled out another win today, in a game they had no business winning.

"Why?" you ask? That's a short list:

  • The offense only really played for two quarters again.
  • The special teams didn't show up at all.
  • The defense lost their head on a few bone-headed plays that either resulted in points given up or yards lost for our offense.
Yet they still almost won. If these guys ever learn how to play as the favored team, they could go far. Until then, we have to watch this team take their lumps.

Drum roll, please...

Win - Leigh Bodden, cornerback. After the defense stopped the Cardinals to bring up 4th down, Bodden kicked the ball off the field of play. This is a penalty, called "unsportsmanlike conduct". Instead of the Cardinals punting, they were awarded an automatic first down, and proceeded to score a touchdown. There are seven points that should not have been on the board.

Place - Simon Frasier, OSU Buckeye alumnus and Browns special teamer and defensive lineman. He head butted a Cardinals player as our special teams were returning a kickoff to set up for our final drive of the game. Penalty again. 15 yards further to drive, requiring more precious seconds to tick off the clock. Dumb, just plain dumb.

Show - QB Derek Anderson. He knows how to play from behind, but gets too relaxed (or lazy, maybe) when expected to win. His first quarter play was horrendous and directly cost us seven points, although he almost made up for it at the end.

Honorable Mention - The BCS, for not finding a BCS game for Missouri. It's time for a playoff system in college football.

Kudos to Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards for their spirited play today. Winslow's end of game catch, although being pushed out of bounds, is highlight reel material. Too bad the ref swallowed his whistle instead of a) calling pass interference, which he should have (the hit came before the ball touched Winslow's hands), or b) declaring that Winslow was pushed out of bounds, as everyone was griping about.

They get to try again next week. Hopefully they will have learned their lessons.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fed Up

That's it! I've had enough!

I'm sick of that huge, mammoth industry.

The one that takes in significant revenue.
That gouges its customers.
That hurts the environment and doesn't care about the children.
That continues to do things the way it always has.
That keeps putting gobs of money into R&D, but doesn't really think outside the box.

Money grubbing pigs! Dirty rotten filthy stinking rich!

No, I'm not talking about Big Oil. I'm talking about Big Politics.

And I'm not talking about government, but about political parties and interest groups.

How much money is taken in for conducting polls? For PR? For demographic research? For identifying and retaining marginal political talent that won't rock the boat? For non-lobby lobbying groups?

What percentage of the GDP goes to politicking? How much is spent per year, per person? I don't know, and wonder if those numbers can be found anywhere.

How much money goes into reporting about politicking? How many cable television channels exist and talking heads are employed simply because of Big Politics? Ultimately, we are paying for their existence.

To heck with lowering taxes or changing the underlying tax structure. (Okay, I still want that, too!) Let's eliminate Big Politics and their accomplices in the media first.

(Photo is the cover art for Warrant's album, Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

An Honest President?

I read this at the Populist Party website. I don't agree with the second to last line; I would rather vote for none of the above, or maybe even Mickey Mouse. But the article is interesting.

Idiot of the Month

I have two posts ready for public consumption, but I couldn't pass up this one. It is my first Idiot of the Month post.

The winner is:

If you don't know who this character is, I will give you a few clues:
  • He is a restricted free agent for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
  • No other team in the NBA tendered him a contract offer. Not one.
  • The Cavaliers tendered him an offer higher than what is expected for someone of his tenure, let alone his level of performance.
  • He rejected the offer.
  • He is sitting around, being all mopey in his homeland of Brazil.
  • Because of his being mopey, he couldn't even represent his home country in the Basketball Tournament of the Americas. Way to take one for the team!
  • He says the Cavs' GM, Danny Ferry, has not treated him fairly. Pretty good, considering the Cavs were offering him more than he is worth, yet he has no offensive skillz. (Shall I say those skillz were offensive?)
  • He wants a sign-and-trade, where the Cavs sign him to a "respectable" contract offer, then immediately trade him to another team. Yeah, right. Give him more than he is worth, even more than what the Cavs originally offered him, then trade him to a team that didn't want to afford him in the first place. BWAAAHAAAHAAHAAAHAAH!!!
His nickname, if you care, is "Wild Thing". His real name is MUD!, I mean, Anderson Varejao.

Congratulations, Andy! You win my first Idiot of the Month award.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A 'Must Read' Website

I don't care if you are a lefty or a righty when it comes to politics. Most of it today is all the same.

If you want to get your feathers ruffled, but for legitimate reason, I encourage you to visit The Tenth Amendment Center. Many of the articles make me cringe, until I read them all the way through a couple of times and really try to understand them.

This doesn't mean I end up agreeing with everything I read there. I do end up, however, with a much better idea of what our government should be, as opposed to what politicians and the media tell me it is.

Deja Vu All Over Again

I had my Idiot of the Week post conceptualized on Saturday evening. Operative word being "had".

Let me explain.

This time last year, I remember watching a superior OSU football team almost lose to the Illinios Fighting Illini, a miserable team that was the laughingstock of the Big Ten. The Buckeyes raced to a 17-0 lead at halftime, then proceeded to lose. Well, almost. The final score was 17-10. OSU survived a scare, beat That Team Up North, then got pounded in the BCS Championship Game.

At the start of the third quarter of yesterday's OSU-Illinios game, I got the feeling I had seen this act before. The Illini were energetic, prepared and eager to win. The Buckeyes were, well, business-like; no emotion, no spirit. Oh, and they looked slow compared to the Illini, too. It looked just like last year's game.

Then, it hit me: this looks like the BCS Championship Game all over again. The Illini defensive linemen were too fast for OSU's offensive line. Their special teams were popping harder. The kicker, though, was that the vaunted OSU defense could not defend against a multi-faceted quarterback who could pass, run, and orchestrate an offense based on misdirection.

Much like in the BCS game. Against Florida.

Earlier this morning, I read that the Illinois head coach, Ron Zook, was fired as head coach of - get this - Florida. Most of his Florida recruits were playing last year in the - yep - the BCS Championship Game against OSU. Maybe the guy knew what he was doing after all. Or, maybe he wasn't good enough to compete in the SEC, but is good enough to be a top tier coach in the Big Ten. Makes you wonder.

Looks like the rest of the "big" Ten will need to learn how to recruit to defend against the kind of team Illinois has. Maybe then the "big" Ten Conference will become strong again.

Deja vu

So, that was the post I mentally structured last night. Enough to identify some Idiots of the Week, right? I thought so, too. Then, Marie and I joined the Evil Genius and BrikWarrior at a local watering hole to watch the Browns-Steelers game. BTW, BrikWarrior would likely say it was the Steelers-Browns game. No big deal, just saying. :-)

We enjoyed the food and the company, and 3/4s of our party was enjoying the first half of the game. But, wait, I've read this script before. Browns have a double-digit lead, in Pittsburgh. Steelers make adjustments at halftime; Browns don't. Browns show they are learning to win instead of knowing how to win. Steelers, especially QB Ben Roth----burger, show they know how to win. Joshua Cribbs, Browns return specialist extraordinaire, makes matters worse by returning a kickoff for a touchdown, giving the Steelers the ball back, with our defense already on its heels. It's the second time in three years Cribbs has done this. Whodathunk returning a kickoff for a touchdown would hurt?

It did. Steelers scored again, and the Browns game-tying field goal attempt landed just short. On the mark, but short. Steelers won by three.

All over again

So, here it is, 6:00pm on Sunday evening in Cleveland. Two consecutive days of Groundhog Day, but with different scripts. Maybe Yogi Berra wasn't making a malapropism when he said, "It's like deja vu all over again."

That being said, it's time for the Idiot of the Week awards.

Win - Romeo Crennel, Browns head coach. Late in the game, he calls a timeout to determine whether to protest a touchdown pass caught by a Steelers receiver. He loses the reversal - it wasn't even close - thereby losing a second time out. Two time outs blown in no time at all. Give the Browns the time outs for their last drive, and they come back with at least a tie and OT.

Place - Darnell Dinkens, 3rd (or 4th) string tight end for the Browns. He made a dumb penalty on Pittsuburgh's final kickoff to us. Instead of starting with the ball at the Steeler's 38-yard line, they got it at their own 33-yard line. A 29 yard difference; not good. Without the penalty, the Browns at least would have the ball at mid-field, a 17-yard improvement from where they started. Take 17 yards of Phil Dawson's missed field goal attempt, and it's no longer a missed field goal.

Show - The Buckeyes, especially Jim Tressel. Looks like his folks are too slow to go against the strong and swift defenses. And his game plans do not have an answer for any team that has a quarterback that can run and pass successfully. Times are a-changing, and Tressel needs to show that he can change, too.

Honorable Mention - Willie McGinest, linebacker for the Browns. He had Roth---burger in his sights a couple times, and tried to tackle him high each time. If he tackles at the waist, he stops at least one Steelers drive, if not two.

The Browns' lessons learned should be too obvious to state: draft defensive linemen; get younger and faster in the linebacking crew; learn how to play offense against the Steelers (maybe let Cribbs get in for a few plays to loosen things up a bit); don't waste two time outs when the game is on the line; don't run the "prevent offense" in Pittsburgh; and assign someone to follow Roth---burger wherever he is.

The Buckeyes' lessons learned aren't so easy. How do you change what you've done for decades when it's always worked, and recently been the gold standard for the Big Ten? Now, that gold standard looks more like fools gold, especially since a coach who couldn't continue coaching in the SEC made the Big Ten's best look average.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ninety Percent Participation

Man, when I read this, I got jealous. I know I shouldn't get jealous, being that we are talking about church participation. But the number looks really good.

I thought variations of the 80/20 rule applied everywhere. I was wrong. Talk about enthusiastic people looking to grow.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Pacifists, Peacemakers and the Difference

I was going to post another Definition Warp. The topic: "pacifists and peacemakers". To me, they were not the same thing. My perception was this:

* A pacifist is someone who is against war in particular, and against any use of violence in general.
* A peacemaker is someone who recognizes the need to make peace, but prepares for all possible circumstances.

I know people who are pacifists. I know people who declare themselves peacemakers. I know people who declare themselves "pacifists and peacemakers". To me, peacemakers are people who desire and strive for peace, but are aware that other options may be necessary.

When I looked up the definitions, I learned I was wrong:

Pacifism (from the American Heritage Dictionary):

1. The belief that disputes between nations should and can be settled peacefully.
2a. Opposition to war or violence as a means of resolving disputes.
2b. Such opposition demonstrated by refusal to participate in military action.

Peacemaker (from

A person, group, or nation that tries to make peace, esp. by reconciling parties who disagree, quarrel, or fight.

What did I learn? First, that my definition for "peacemaker" was incorrect. Second, that a peacemaker kind of sits above it all; they are not necessarily part of the fray, but are involved in stopping the fray.

What does this mean to me? It means that those labeling themselves as "pacifist and peacemaker" are not being redundant. They are against violence at all costs and find themselves not to be in the middle of the fight. If I thought that of myself, I could justify my idealism, too, and refuse to acknowledge the reality that I may have to prepare to defend myself. Or allow others to defend themselves.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What Idiots?

Can you declare someone derelict in their duties if there was no duty?

My beloved "idiots", the Cleveland Browns, resemble a pretty decent football team right now. I have been tentative at the beginning of each game, but turned generally excited as each game progressed. So, what's to do with an "Idiots of the Week" post when you are not in the mood to nitpick? :-)

Hence, those of you looking for an "Idiots of the Week" post have been profoundly disappointed. You haven't mentioned this to me yet,! You know who you are.

I take the defense to task practically every week. Looks like the loss of playing time to Ted Washington has improved the defensive line, ever-so-slightly. Our safeties, who still can't figure out how to play pass defense, have excelled in stopping the run in those fourth-and-short situations. Opportunistic defense, indeed! They have not reached the level of "good" yet, but I can say that they are improving.

Wazzup with the special teams, though? There is need for improvement there. I did not think that would be necessary coming into the year. For the most part, they are decent, but they had some pretty bad miscues last Sunday.

So, here we are, at Big Week #2. I won't mention what happened in Big Week #1.

Maybe I will.

Charlie Frye stunk. The offense was a mess. The defense was better than the offense, I think, but I didn't have a frame of reference since the starting point was "negative infinity". (I officially declare my love for the SEC, BoSox, Yankees, Wolverines, Pistons and Steelers to be at a "negative infinity", too.)

Things have looked up. I have a strange sense of confidence in the offense, and this odd feeling that the defense might actually step up for a series or two each game. Joshua Cribbs is always exciting to watch, and I can't wait to see what weird contortions Winslow and Edwards will make with their bodies in order to catch an otherwise un-catch-able ball. (Is that a woid?)

So, here we are, at Big Week #2. (Didn't I say that already?) Going into the game, I don't know what to expect. Embarrassment on the football field would be a disappointment. Anything else...tune in next week to get my thoughts.

You still want Idiots of the Week? Okay, here goes:

Win - Shaun Alexander, running back for the Seattle Seahawks. Granted, he played injured for a quarter or so, but looked tentative in everything he did. That really changed the Seahawks' game plan. I give him credit for trying to play injured, but against a porous Brown's run defense, he still could have made them pay had he given any effort at all.)

Place - Mike Holmgren, Seattle's head coach. If you know you can't gain a yard on fourth down via a rushing play, why not try something different? Hasselback can run; why not try a bootleg instead?

Show - The Brown's special teams. They missed an extra point, pooched a kickoff out of bounds, and gave up a touchdown on another kickoff. Browns win by three in overtime, but could have one by eight in regulation. I know, it would have killed the "feel good" story if it had happened that way. I no longer care about gutting it out to win the close games. I want blowouts all the way, man. No more of this stressful stuff. Not until after one Cleveland team wins a championship.

Honorable Mention - Whoever owns the #2 spot in the BCS rankings from week to week. It looks to be the kiss of death to be ranked #2. Maybe that means another SEC team will blow it this week, eh? (LSU currently holds that highly regarded, highly coveted #2 ranking.)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Watcha doin' on New Years Eve?

Why not join Running in Circles at the Michaud's New Years Eve Bash in Strongsville, OH?

We will perform from 8:00pm-1:00am. Each room will have a different band.

You can get the details here.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Selfish Desires, Part II

To: The Cleveland Indians
From: Quipper
Subject: Winning the ALCS

Dear Cleveland Indians,

Thank you for reading and responding so positively to my previous request. It was a pleasure to watch you clinch the division title live from Jacobs field. I also enjoyed watching you take it to the Yankees in four games in the ALDS. It was great to hear the silence in Yankee Stadium after you won game four and eliminated them from the playoffs.

I have been paying close attention to the ALCS, too. Always near a radio or TV, it is tough for me to concentrate on anything else during your games against the BoSox. While the first game was kind of a bummer, the second game gave me hope that you can achieve success in the ALCS, and advance to the World Series.

Running in Circles was scheduled to play at Spectators Grille last night, and we were to start performing after Game 2 of the ALCS. Well, you can guess how that went. The game ended at 1:44am - wow that's late! We didn't perform, but being the homers that we are, we cheered you on through each inning. We were excited that you pulled out the victory and are coming home with home field advantage in what is now a five game series.

I have a new request for you. The band is scheduled to play at McCarthy's Ale House this coming Saturday. I understand that, if the ALCS goes to game 6, the game will be played on Saturday, most likely starting at 8:20pm. This ALCS is a heavyweight battle; like with the ALDS, none of the games are fast, but all run close to four hours. And, if you go into extra innings again, who knows how long the game could run?

I'm sorry for babbling a bit, but here is my question: Could you close out the BoSox in Cleveland, and win the series in five games? It seems a bit improbable, but you have had a heck of a season so far. I want to celebrate the Tribe's ascension to the World Series. I just want to do it on the night of October 18 - or, shall I say, the early morning of October 19. :-)

Thank you. Go Tribe!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Offensive Showing

This weekend was rough. I started getting sick on Friday, and it carried through the weekend. I didn't watch any football on Saturday, but logged into a couple times to find that the College "Top 25" were doing their best rendition of the Iraqi Republican Army. Slogan: RETREAT!

Yes, half the top 10 lost this week. Parity in college football? Whooda thunkit?

USC, the top-ranked team, almost let Washington beat them, the same Washington team that OSU beat soundly two weeks ago.

Remember Florida, the team that killed OSU in the championship game last year? They scored 17 points against two-loss Auburn. West Virginia's high-flying offense scored a whole 13 points. Oklahoma's was averaging over 50 points,; they only scored 24...and lost. Clemson mustered a whole three points.

Some mighty offensive showings by the alleged "Top 25" teams in college.

Then, you had the pro games, like Bills vs. Jets at 0-0 by halftime. (It wasn't because either team is a defensive powerhouse, either.) The Rams, once billed "The Greatest Show on Turf", scored one touchdown. The Chargers, one of last year's overpowering teams, lost to the Chiefs after only scoring 16 points and committing four turnovers. The Eagles have scored three points, and there are only two minutes left in the game.

No problems for the Brownies, though. They won, 24-13, and scored 24 or more points for the third consecutive week. I told Marie before the start of the game that, if the Browns would score 20+ points, they'd win. The Ravens offense just isn't good enough to score that much, even against a much-maligned Browns defense.

Talking about offensive showings, here are this week's Idiots of the Week:

Win - Brian Billick, head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. Did he forget his team was playing the Browns this week? I was surprised he didn't have his quarterback run the no-huddle offense throughout the fourth quarter. It wasn't as though the Browns' defense was stopping the Ravens, they were stopping themselves.

Place - The Browns defense. Yes, the Browns won, but they still allowed another running back to gain more than 100 yards rushing. They haven't shut down an offense in three weeks.

Show - The Pittsburgh Steelers, for graciously losing to the Arizona Cardinals, who were led by Methuselah, er, Kurt Warner. The high-flying offense was shut down by Arizona, whose head coach and defensive coordinator were candidates for the Pittsburgh head coaching job after Bill Cowher left. Now the Browns are only one game out of first place, although I don't expect them to get there.

Honorable Mention - Me, for strongly recommending that people not pick the Browns this year. Looks like the team could actually be competitive in many of this year's games. (BUT...don't pick them next week; they are playing the Patriots.)

Maybe the Browns' offense is pretty good. Oakland and Baltimore are supposed to have two of the better defenses in the league. We'll see next week.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Green Investments

In July, I wrote this post, asking about investment opportunities in climate change industries. I have since done a little bit more of the due diligence that I expected to do. I was primarily motivated by this article that I saw on the Drudge Report. It talked about the "new millionaires" by way of environmentally friendly companies. I chose to investigate the three companies mentioned in the article to see what investment options they had for me, a U.S. investor.

Here's what I found:

  • EcoSecurities: based in Britian, sold only on one of the British stock exchanges, not registered for sale in the U.S.
  • Novera Energy: based in Australia or Britian, sold only on one of the British stock exchanges, not registered for sale in the U.S., Australia, Japan or South Africa.
  • Solar Integrated Technologies: Incorporated in Delaware, based in Los Angeles. Looks good, eh? Nope. Stocks are listed on one of the British stock exchanges, not registered for sale in the U.S.
What does this mean, "not registered for sale in the U.S."? It means that a U.S. citizen or someone in the U.S. can buy, sell, broker or trade these shares. Now I was getting confused. Why would a U.S. company, Solar Integrated Technologies, not make its shares available to U.S. citizens? I e-mailed the company:

Original request for info:

From: Rick ***
Sent: Saturday, September 08, 2007 9:00 AM
To: Dona ***
Subject: US investor question


I was curious why your company, which I learned about from the internet,
does not permit investment to U.S. citizens, even though you are
incorporated in Delaware and based in Los Angeles. Can you please
provide more information so I can understand?

Thank you,
Rick ***

Round 2: Dona's response
----- Original Message -----
From: "Dona ***"
To: Rick ***
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2007 11:35 AM
Subject: FW: US investor question

Thank you for your interest in Solar Integrated. SIT shares are not
registered for sale in the US.

If I can be of further assistance please let me know.

Thank you,
Dona ***

My next question:
----- Original Message -----
From: "Rick ***"
To: "Dona ***"
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2007 9:30 PM
Subject: Re: US investor question

> Hi Dona,
> Thank you for responding. I was already aware that SIT shares were not
> registered for sale in the US. I would like to know why they were not
> registered, especially since the company is a legal entity of the United
> States.
> Thank you,
> Rick ***

Dona's next response: {crickets chirping}

Yep, no next response. First response only took them nine days to give a non-response. When I asked for more specifics, I received no response.

Why is it that they can't be forthright? Do I need to take this up a level - to the SEC - to find out what this company doesn't want U.S. investors to know? I mean, the company deals in industrial solar panels, not some freakish, space-cadet type of product. Why not let the U.S. investor - you know, the one whose government(s) allow them operate as a business in the first place - invest in your company and your product?

I am deciding what to do next. Any ideas besides going to the SEC? Has anyone else seen or experienced the same thing?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Big One, Elizabeth! part 2 (The Show)

The lineup for the Hi Fi concert highlighted three distinct musical styles: eclectic anti-establishment, hardcore punk, and rock.

The first band, Below Jupiter, was led by key-tickling front man Josh and drummer Chris. Yes, a two-piece band, and they pulled it off well. Josh’s piano playing is front and center for the band, and he is an outstanding performer. Chris’s drumming style fits perfectly with Josh’s performance abilities, making for a unique sound. The band’s style is hard to describe, even for the band, so they just go with “eclectic”.

Below Jupiter performed songs from their upcoming release, “Saul” as well as other concept-related pieces they have been performing for the last year. Their anti-establishment, anti-forced-religion themes came through loud and clear in their songs, especially “Political Robots”. The band and their sound were, at first, a curiosity to the crowd. However, as they continued to play, you could tell that interest in the band was growing, and the band morphed from “curiosity” into legitimate performers in the eyes of their audience. Keep an eye on these guys as they grow on the indie scene.

The second band rolled in from down the street, or so it seemed. No, wait, they really did! Dead Man’s Curve, from Lakewood, OH, came up to the stage, ready to take prisoners and name names with their no-holds-barred brand of hardcore punk. I was ready to put in my earplugs on the assumption that they would “turn it up to eleven”, but they didn’t. The sound was awesome, their music tight, and you could tell they were having a great time on stage.

This three-piece outfit – starring Jason on guitar and vocals, Mike on bass and vocals, and Dustin on drums – was “on” from the moment they hit the stage. They reminded me of 80s punk, when bands like the Misfits, Social Distortion and Suicidal Tendencies ruled the realm.

The band’s loyal audience was in full force, and showed their appreciation by whooping, hollering and singing along with the band. Dustin’s drumming was crisp, and Mike and Jason put on a great performance. Not just with their playing, but with their antics, gyrations and smirks on stage. They know what they’re doing, and they know how to do it. For all the new fans that bought DMC t-shirts at the gigs, DMC also threw in their demo CD. Awesome!

(Rumor has it a big-time punk band asked Dead Man’s Curve to open for them when they come into Cleveland. Let’s hope DMC gets the props they deserve and are able to do the show.)

As the witching hour approached, it was time for the headliners to take the stage. It had been three years since Pauly left Cleveland to pursue his dream in L.A., and he looks like a good fit with his band mates in Elegantly Wasted – Lenny J. on guitar and vocals, Queen D. (Diana) on guitar and vocals, and guest bassist/vocalist Fred. They have a good chemistry on and off stage, and have similar tastes in music. Can they find that label that understands their talents and sound, the one that would market them so the rest of the world would know what the folks in L.A., Cleveland and Europe already know? Let’s hope so.

EW did not disappoint. They started the night with “Sickhead”, the first song off their new CD, “Desolation Row”, and played most of the songs off that CD. They also threw in a three songs from their first release, “Greetings from a Strange Place”. (You can hear samples of all of their available songs at

The show sounded like their earlier rehearsal: crisp, fun, and engaging. Lenny J. had a great rapport with the audience. The gestures and facial expressions he makes while he’s singing help convey the emotion and meaning behind the songs, and draw you into the performance. Diana kicked butt on guitar; she is calm and cool on stage, a great compliment to Lenny’s performance style. Fred and Pauly not only keep the bass and beat going strong, but are two of the most energetic performers I’ve seen in a while. They exemplify chaos under control.

The band threw in a couple curve balls by playing their renditions of “Ring of Fire” and "Rockin’ in a Free World”. They also covered a Bob Dylan tune, but I hope someone comes to my rescue by telling me the name of it.

Since this was Pauly’s homecoming, the band let him have a little fun with his family, friends and co-workers, and begrudgingly (I’m sure) let him own the mic while he rapped all the lines to Beastie Boys anthem “Fight for Your Right”. Before that, though, Pauly had a big surprise for a very important member of the audience. A friend of his and his brother joined the band onstage to play a special rendition of “Tonight, It’s You” by Cheap Trick. The song was dedicated to Pauly’s girlfriend, Brittany, who flew in with her sister, Erin, to see the show. Little did Brittany know the surprise waiting for her at the end of the tune: an engagement ring and a marriage proposal. She was probably the only surprised person in the club, but she said what we all expected her to say: yes. Good times all around!

After Pauly and Brittany had a couple minutes to collect themselves, the band played another cover tune with their friend, Trevor, playing bass, and finished the set with their smoking-hot song, “Too Much, Too Soon”. (A should-be classic, imho.) For an encore, they played “Rockin’ in a Free World”, with a great guitar call and response segment between Lenny and Diana that was a pleasure to watch and hear.

When the show ended, they were all spent, er, I mean “wasted”. They had given the audience their all, and were taking a well deserved break before taking down their equipment. They were readily available after the show, and talked freely to everyone who approached them. Rock stars? Yes, talent wise, but without any of the annoying attitude. It was great to see.

These guys are excellent performers. I could have watched any one of them all night. They all bring different styles to the table, and have different ways of showing off their talents. To watch them do it together, and blend they way they did, was a treat. I wish them all the best, and hope to see them perform again soon.

(cross-posted at my myspace blog)

Disclaimer: Show review does not indicate agreement with some song lyrics or themes.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Big One, Elizabeth! part 1 (preview of Hi Fi show)

Friday night was the date that many of us have waited for, seemingly for eons. Fresh off its third European tour, the band Elegantly Wasted kicked off its first American tour right here, in greater Cleveland, OH.

If you haven't heard of Elegantly Wasted yet, you must have just crawled out from underneath a rock. This hard hitting quartet recently started its run towards stardom and is starting to get the accolades it deserves. The band rocks the house, the way rock should be played! Each band member is truly a master of their craft. The guitar parts and styles are complimentary, the vocals are on target, and the rhythms are infectious.

No emo crap, no whining and whimpering, no screaming unintelligible lyrics into the defenseless microphone. Their lyrics are easy to understand and tell a good story in each and every song. You will relate, I guarantee it. Why? Because EW is a group of down to earth people, relating experiences like those you and I would have.

At times you will hear influences from Guns and Roses, Alice in Chains, Foo Fighters and others. But your ultimate impression will be that EW carries a distinct sound, style, professionalism and performance ability that are missing from most of today's music.

I was privileged to first see the band two years ago in Hollywood, and again during their rehearsal on Friday afternoon. They were hanging loose, cracking jokes, and getting things ready for their first show with local bands Below Jupiter and Dead Man's Curve at the Hi Fi Club, a rockin' joint in Lakewood, just west of Cleveland. They were definitely ready to go; now, only a mere nine hours until showtime!

more coming soon, stay tuned....

(cross-posted at my myspace blog)

Roller Coaster Week

If you're expecting this post to include the Idiot of the Week Awards, I will sadly disappoint you. There had been so many things going on this last week, that the Awards were not near the top of my priority list. Needless to say, it was a roller coaster week.

It looked something like this:

And went something like this:
  • Ups! - asked to play piano accompaniment for a baptism in October.
  • Downs - didn't hear back about the baptism during the week. Getting concerned.
  • Downs (how low can you go?) - work situations, and their affect on my projects.
  • Ups! & Downs - running interference before the Elegantly Wasted gig last Friday night. (Everything went great, it was just time consuming.)
  • Ups! - Bought Tribe tickets for the last home game of the year - could they clinch then?
  • Downs - Saturday's Running in Circles gig canceled; the bar double-booked.
  • Ups! - baptism accompaniment is on! I will learn "Mother's Prayer" by Celine Dion.
  • Super Ups! - The Elegantly Wasted concert on Friday night! (separate post on the show coming soon, links to many of their songs here.)
  • Triple Super Ups!!! - Brother proposed to his girlfriend at the show, and she said yes!!!
  • Ups! - Relaxed on Saturday; watched "Back to the Future" with the family.
  • Ups! - Watched "Oh, Brother, Where Are Thou?" with Marie.
  • Downs - Browns defense. Bummer.
  • Super Ups!!! - We were at Jacobs Field to watch the Tribe clinch the Central Division Championship! It was awesome.
It was a whirlwind weekend. The gig was great, and I got to see many people I had not seen in years. All the bands did really well, and baby bro's girlfriend had no idea what was happening, when even her sister, best friends, and everyone else on planet earth knew. :-) The Tribe game was the clincher (sorry, had to say it).

BTW...for my New York readers, Elegantly Wasted is coming to Brooklyn, NY tomorrow night! They'll be at The Trash Bar:

256 Grand St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Cost : $5

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Selfish Desires

To: The Cleveland Indians
From: Quipper
Subject: Clinching the playoffs

Dear Cleveland Indians,

As a lifelong fan of you, my hometown team, I am excited that the team is ever-so-close to clinching the Central Division pennant. I have waited a decade for this to happen. I remember the Tribe-Mariners series in 2001, when Robbie Alomar didn't give his all and potentially caused us to lose the series to Seattle. I watched the 1995 and 1997 World Series, heartbroken but not crushed. I watched Mark Shapiro trade Bartolo Colon, but knew it was the right thing to do. Others complained, but I bought into the plan.

I strayed slightly last year, seeing that the whole package wasn't there. It was not hangover from the season ending meltdown in 2005; I liked the team, but something just didn't seem right.

This year is different. There have been points of frustration, but I kept on listening. The family even afforded to attend one game this year. Our 5-yo boy got to see Jacobs Field for the first time. We had fun watching our first baseman bat, having great call-response fun with "Garko!"..."Polo!" I eagerly await the reduction of the Magic Number from three to zero, and anticipate celebrating that success with my family.

However, I have an issue. You see, as much as I want you to clinch this weekend, my band, Running in Circles, has a gig on Saturday night. We are supposed to start at 10pm. The locale is a very popular watering hole, and has televisions set up all over the place so patrons can watch the home team play, no matter what the sport.

In these situations, the bars usually delay the start of the gig until the game is over. Knowing how this works, I imagine that, if you clinch on Saturday night, we won't start until 11:30, maybe midnight, because of all the celebrating. I won't be at home, and won't be able to celebrate with my family.

In conclusion, seeing how (mostly) loyal I have been to you, can you please do me a favor and not clinch until Sunday? Your consideration would be most appreciated.

Thank you. Go Tribe, but don't go too quickly.


Update: they got my memo. Ha ha! :-)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Definition Warp iii

Word: apolitical

Definition: not political; of no political significance: an apolitical organization. (

Warp: doesn't exist any more, at least in terms of describing principles and beliefs.

Over a decade ago, I started complaining to Marie that certain subjects and issues should not be of no significance to governments. Or, at least, government should be diligent not to legislate on either side of said issues.

Now, no subject has merit, per se, unless it is politicized.

What happened to our liberties again?

He's Right!

Yes! For the second time in a couple months, a Democrat got something right.

Charles Schumer, Democratic Senator from New York, said the following:

I think the American people are getting tired of sending the money with no end in sight.
He is right; I am sick of sending the money with no end in sight, to:
  • The war on poverty
  • The war on drugs
  • The IRS (to enable that awful organization)
  • Corporate welfare programs
  • State entitlement programs
  • Pet projects for Congressmen and Senators
  • Political campaigns
Oh, but that is not what he is referencing. He is talking about funding the soldiers. (See article here.) We should all use his own statement against him, and against all those re-running for political office in 2008.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

One Frye Short...

...and it's still not a happy meal. Nope, even with the possible addition by subtraction, the happy meal has not returned to Cleveland Browns Stadium.

In case you had not heard, but cared to know, the Cleveland Browns traded scapegoat quarterback Charlie Frye to the Seattle Seahawks. I'm not saying that he is a great quarterback, or that it was a bad move. It was just, well, convenient.

Last year, I frequently told Marie that the Browns had to replace their Offensive Coordinator, Maurice Carthon, and get a decent offensive system in place before they could truly evaluate their talent. They did that. However, I did not get the result I expected. Instead, the change confirmed more weaknesses.

  • The coaching staff has no idea how to prepare for a game
  • The coaching staff can't make decisions, which means...
  • The coaching staff has no idea how to make game time adjustments
The offense is often late in getting play calls into the huddle. They are often rushed, and out of place. A little birdie (i.e. an inside source of one of the local talk radio hosts) indicates that it's a good day if wide receiver Braylon Edwards runs 60% of his routes correctly. Did I mention that he attended That School Up North?

How does a Michigan football player introduce himself? "Hi, I'm ________, and I'm here to help you...lose."

We'll see if Braylon's route running increases to 100% precision now that a different quarterback - whomever it may be - is at the helm. Hard to judge your quarterback if your wide receivers can't run their routes correctly, but someone on the field was bound to take the fall. So Charlie became the scapegoat, wandering away from Cleveland, complete with the sins of the Browns hierarchy placed firmly on his back.

Again, I'm not saying that Frye was the answer. He had happy feet. He held onto the ball for too long. He made bad throws. I can't say he threw to the wrong spots on the field, because we do not know how many receivers are running the wrong routes or cutting their routes short.

To Charlie, I say: Good luck. I hope that the system in Seattle treats you kindly, and that you have a chance to learn from people with successful coaching experience.

To the Browns, I say: You are still many fries short of a happy meal. Your leaders are next on the chopping block.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Half Baked

Last night, the Artist went to bed, knowing that the next morning she would be making cinnamon rolls as part of a nutritious breakfast. She was so excited, she woke up at 3:00am, and couldn't go back to sleep. Finally, at 5:30am, she decided to get out of bed and make the rolls. Somehow, she managed to do it without waking up anyone.

The Artist presented the rolls to the family, and served them herself. I bit into mine, and realized they were a little underbaked. Poor girl, in trying her best not to wake up anyone, watched the oven instead of setting a timer. She misjudged a bit, but it was no big deal; we stuck the rolls back in the oven, and - Presto! - in ten minutes, we had fresh baked rolls.

Before that, they were half baked, and needed go back into the oven to finish....kind of like the Cleveland Browns.

There was a football game in Cleveland today, I think. The Steelers showed up, but I think the Browns should have been arrested for impersonating the Michigan Wolverines. :-(

And so it goes, here is our first installment of the Idiot of the Week awards for the 2007-08 football season. Get ready for a bumpy ride.

Win - Charlie Frye - the winner of the quarterback derby managed to get himself demoted by the middle of the second quarter. He missed passes, threw an interception, and made several bad decisions. Not a good showing at all, may fall to third on the depth chart if he is not careful.

Place - Romeo Crennel - the team looked ill-prepared to play. No energy, no emotion. Looks like they never reviewed film of the Steelers defensive schemes. Bad, Romeo, very bad.

Show - Brady Quinn - why? Because he held out. If he must play due to quarterback injury or sheer ineptness, that missed time may become a factor in how much he picks up. I am not a proponent of starting Brady now. However, by week 6 (the Brown's bye week), they may give him the starting position if the season is a loss. That is a possibility.

Honorable Mention - That Stinky Team Up North. Any time Michigan can be embarrassed in two consecutive games, both occurring at their home stadium, the football weekend is not a total loss.

And the rolls turned out yummy. Good recovery, Artist!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Definition Warp B

Word: go-getter

Definition: an enterprising, aggressive person (

Warp: specifically, a person who gets results by cajoling, bruising egos, and throwing away common courtesies. To apologize would be a sign of failure. To give someone else credit would risk their own promotion. To be kind would risk looking weak.

Example: an aggressive person cannot get along with anyone, yet because this person gets results, he is noticed and respected by top tier management. He is the proverbial bull in a china shop on every project where he is involved, but management does not see his messes. On the other hand, a highly productive employee, who works on the same projects and makes everyone else on the team more effective, is ignored because he works quietly, courteously, and effectively. He cleans up the "go-getter's" messes, but doesn't look for accolades.

The term "go-getter" used to have a positive connotation to me, describing anyone who could get the job done and look forward to the next challenge. Now, I see it used as a politically correct term to describe a person who gets things done, but leaves a bunch of dead bodies in their wake.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Warning Signals

Every industry and work environment has them. You know, those little phrases, statements or questions that, when asked, let you know exactly how little someone knows about what you do.

In my line of work - system development - you hear these doozies:

  • "But it's just a one line coding change, isn't it?"
  • "Can't you just change a couple lines in a table?"
  • "Can't twice as many of you do it in half the time?"
  • "We can just do the same thing we did ...."
On one hand, you want to whack the people upside the head with a 2"x4". On the other hand, you want to pat them on the head and say, "Don't worry, one day you, too, will become smart."

What statements do you hear, in your profession or place of employment, that let you know someone knows not what you really do?

Friday, August 31, 2007

But They Are Such Nice Boys

I am talking about the illegal immigrant "children" that make up the gang MS-13.

Coming to - oops, I mean present in - a community near you. Read it here, courtesy of Maverick News Media.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Definition Warp

Word: materialism

Definition: (from Preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values.

Warp: I've heard this term used as defense against a host expecting a guest in their house to respect their property and possessions.

Example: Friends of ours were hosting a family for dinner. After repeated attempts to get the guest's children to be careful - the guests would not do it, you see - the kids finally damaged something. When the host called out the guests for not keeping a close eye on their kids - setting boundaries, respecting what wasn't theirs, etc. - one of the guests told the host that she was materialistic.

How's that? The issue was shifted from one of parental responsibility and discipline to one of materialism.

Let's turn this around...a co-worker of mine who is married, but childless, refuses to let her nieces and nephews have a drink anywhere but the kitchen table or dining room table. She catches grief about it from her family - she cares about her furniture and carpets more than the kids, blah, blah, blah. Funny thing is, it's the only house where the kids know the rules and gladly oblige. And she's the favorite aunt.

New Post on P&T

Yes, it took us a while, but we've finally started our next post at Patriots & Tyrants.

I would tell you about it, but then that would possibly stop you from reading it for yourself. :-)

What the heck, why not give you a teaser: It is about a federal government organization. You did not elect its leaders; they were appointed.

Here it is.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Entitlement Mentality

Marie and I were discussing some family-based current events. The kids were completely disinterested in our conversation, but I thought it was important to bring the Artist into it.

She regularly hears the following exclamation from me:




(with the dreaded three exclamation points)

I do. I really do. Laziness, to me, is when someone chooses not to do something they are capable of doing, or chooses not to attempt to do something. Rather, they will be content with doing nothing, even if it is a detriment to them to do nothing. Or worse, they will wait until someone else does it for them.

Marie and I stopped our conversation, and I turned to the Artist, asking, "Have you heard of the term 'entitlement mentality'?" She gave that weird, deer in headlights look, and said, "I don't think so". We introduced the concept to her, explaining the concept in terms of money.

Dad: Let's say I gave you money every day. You didn't do anything to deserve it, but I continued to give it to you.

Artist: Okay.

Dad: Then one day, I didn't give it to you. If you are like most people, you would say, "Hey! Where is my money?" You would be expecting it, even though you didn't earn it.

Artist: Oh

Dad: Is that good?

Artist: No

Dad: Well, that is very common. There are people who are either too lazy to do something for themselves, or they find someone who is willing to do it for them. They come to expect the kindness ("charity", "love", pick your word) to continue. And when it doesn't, look out! They will get angry, upset, let you know that you don't care about them anymore, you're not fulfilling your 'responsibility' and all that stuff.

From there, Marie, the Artist and I discussed how this happens in families, in public, and even in churches. People become very comfortable having someone else do something for them, never attempting to do it for themselves yet getting angry with others when those others stop doing for them.

It's bad, spiritually speaking, because people become lazy and envious of others that have more. It's bad, socially speaking, because people harbor inappropriate expectations of their community, their church, and their government (ick - the worst of all!), and spend more time determining what they can get away with instead of how they need to grow.

We were pretty blunt with the Artist. How do you discuss these topics with your children?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Blinkers, please!

To: The driving population
From: Me
Subject: Using your blinkers

As you get in your car, place your key into the ignition, and turn the key, don't look up so quickly next time. Instead, look at your steering wheel and your dashboard. You may find something you've never seen before. On the dashboard, you will notice left-pointing and right-pointing arrows. Surprisingly, they do not exist to point you to the front seat doors.

Extending from the left side of your steering column, somewhere between the 9:00-10:00 positions, you will find what looks like a handle.

As odd as it sounds, this handle and those arrows work together. You push the handle down, and the left arrow lights up - and off - and on - and off - until the handle returns to the regular position. You pull the handle up, and the right arrow lights up, just like the left arrow did when you pushed down the handle.

In what may be the biggest surprise to you, this handle and these lights were not part of your car's option package. Seriously, I'm not kidding. They weren't put there for your kids to gaze at when your spouse is stuck in the store, buying milk.

The lights are called blinkers. I think you can figure out why.

The neat things about blinkers is they are not accessories. They are not put there for your enjoyment. They are there to save your life, or at least stop someone else from getting into an accident with you.

That's right, they were assembled into your car to help you. When you oppose another car at an intersection, and both of you start traveling through that intersection, people assume you are going straight if you don't have on your blinker. If you are turning left and don't have on your blinker, let's just say that they have a good argument on their hands if you try to say they hit you unprovoked. Actually, it was your fault for not signaling. You didn't communicate your intentions.

Pedestrians appreciate the use of blinkers, too. It helps them understand that you are really not trying to plow them over, but have a specific intent in mind.

Use your blinkers. They communicate your intentions, and show your respect for the other drivers on the road. Mostly, they will protect you from you.

Thank you.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Making Scott Proud

Found this article on what to do in the case of a nuclear or terrorist attack.

Scott is our resident survivalist. No, I did not say "wacko", I said "survivalist". Big difference

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

End Times

Prognostications, made by prognosticators

These guys always get it wrong
They set dates, miss dates, revise dates

They say they had to tinker with their research, their translation, their computations.
It's never that they really don't know and can't tell.

They reassess and start again,
As though they are perfect and we just don't understand.

Oh, I'm not talking about evangelists. I'm talking about climate change prophets.


And by the way, why wouldn't the environmentalists be for reformed Christianity, American style? Specifically relative to the rapture? After all, if the rapture is real, a la Left Behind style, millions upon millions of human beings would be removed from the earth, leaving only the truly intelligent (i.e. the unsaved) who would know best how to raise children and reduce CO2. And they wouldn't have those pesky Christians to deal with. :-)

They would also have a better human/animal/vegetation ratio. After all, they think the optimal planet population would only be a couple million people, don't they?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Arabs Arguing

You'll never see this in America, although everyone should see it. Watch the video at this link.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Those Cwazy NASA Scientists

1998 wasn't all that hot. Just ask the NASA scientists. (Courtesy of Michelle Malkin.)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Efficiency, shmishency

At work today, I had the sheer delight and pleasure of working with one of the must curt, disrespectful managers within the company. This individual knows there is only one way to do things: her way.

I explained to her a way that I collaborate with one of my highest profile users, a manager in the Finance department. The gal I was talking to didn't like the method. To be precise, she said, "that's so darn inefficient".

She's right. The method is inefficient. But it's highly effective and garners much-needed good will for me and my department.

You tell me...what's the difference between efficiency and effectiveness? And when do you focus on one over the other?

I guess you can call this a test.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Virtual Pastors

Wow! And I thought this was just fantasy. (Snicker)

I first saw the story at Locusts & Honey.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Constitutionality of Income Tax

Found this on the Constitution Party website. Interesting.

Investor Sanity Check

For those of you that have stuck with me for the past year or so, you know that I can get pretty snarky. I get sarcastic, play with satire, conduct "tests", and so forth. Based on the content of this post, I am compelled to issue the following:


As you read this, you may think I am conducting a test. Or that the other shoe will drop. Or that there is a "right" answer to be presented at a later date.

The reason for this post is for you to answer the question: Am I missing something?

Let me explain.

Regarding global warming, I give up. Not that I believe in global warming, not at all. Having a business sense, however, I can watch trends and sense where businesses and political organizations are heading. I'm not ready to say that the "green" industry is a hit, but the number of people and organizations jumping on the bandwagon have led me to look into investment opportunities.

Based on what I've either casually or intentionally read over the past year, I've realized that there could be some positive gains on my hard-earned money for my family. Not that I want to get in on the ground floor; I am not wealthy, so I don't have the capital to risk by being a wholesale investor (not that I'm actually qualified to be one). You won't see me invest in IPOs or subsequent stock issuances. Bonds, maybe, but my preferred investments are of the retail variety: stocks and mutual funds. In other words, I won't help a company get started, but I'll trade on the exchanges.

Thus, my growing interest in green industries. I've monitored fuel cell companies for over a year. Recently, I started looking at the carbon credit exchange programs mentioned by Al Gore to learn more about them. If the gravy train is moving on, I figured that folks that have some money to invest ought to have a way to do so.

Here's where I am stuck. I haven't found that way. A number of Google searches have educated me on what "carbon credit investing" is, but it doesn't seem to present a market, per se. It looks to be an inter-company and inter-country exchange, brokered by well-meaning, well-placed individuals. But I can't find how or where average Joe can get involved.

Hence, my request. Is something right under my nose that I'm missing, or am I reading this right, that the average Joe has no play in this game? Please send links that answer the question in either direction.


Friday, July 27, 2007

BIG NEWZ on the Music Front

Local boy has a chance to make good in his home town after moving to the left coast to get his start. After completing three successful European tours, Pauly and his band Elegantly Wasted will be making their Cleveland debut! The band is performing an 18-and up show at the Hi Fi Club in Lakewood, OH on Friday, September 21.

How do I know Pauly? Well, rumor has it that we are related. He's on the far left. Can you see the resemblance? :-)

Okay, so he looks "mean" there. But the Die Hard Equestrian got to meet him a few weeks ago, and thinks he's not such a bad guy.

He's not...I know.

But wait, there's more!

I know there are a lot of "24" fans that read this blog, and Pauly's news gets even better. His band is working to get signed by Kiefer Sutherland's music label, IronWorks Music. By linking to this site, find the "Burn Right Through" video link and watch the video. Then, do your civic duty as a rock and roll loving American, and VOTE for his band!!! (Use the big red button that says VOTE.) Elegantly Wasted is the last name on the ballot. One vote per e-mail address, so make as many new addresses as you can and vote often. I'm already in the process of exhausting my e-mails.

You can also hear samples of their music at the following locations:

  • Their Myspace site (four full-length songs)
  • Their CDBaby site (twelve 2-minute samples)
So, get geeked out by the awesome rock! Then contact me for tix. Nothing better than experiencing a successful homecoming!