Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Day!

And it's almost over. Sniff.

BTW...I'm two rehearsals into a second band project. This one will be primarily 90s and 00s rock, with some old stuff thrown in. Dance is not the goal here, but "jump value" - you know, head bobbing and foot stomping - is. Everything from Santa Monica, to Otherside, to No One Knows and Paralyzer. Then we want to throw in some curve balls, like an 80s-revised rendition of Puff the Magic Dragon (don't ask...just run with it, okay?), some Lonely Ol' Night, and Ice Cream Man. Maybe some STP and Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters and - well, you get the idea.

The four band mates all knew (or knew of) each other. The same guy assembled all the bands we are in now. We each looked to gig a couple more times per month, and approached him separately - within a couple weeks of each other - about starting or joining another project. How about that! We'll see how it goes; we hope to start gigging in late summer.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Question

This is not a test. It's absolutely, positively 100% open for discussion. I hope it turns into a nice, long, meandering thread, because it should.

Question: when does it become a national security interest for the federal government to prop up the economy?

I'm sorry, but "never" is not a viable response on this thread. I want to see reasons for every response.

As most (if not all) of you know, I am conservative in my political ideals. I prefer that government be left out to the fullest extent possible when it comes to the economy, and definitely when it comes to trampling our liberties. Even as a Christian - confessional Lutheran, to be precise - I don't like religion being pushed down my throat. I'm not for tweaking or skewing the Constitution, and I despise that none of the branches of federal government utilize all of the checks and balances they've been granted. I also don't like that those state-to-federal checks and balances aren't used.

That's where I start. Which leads back to the question: when does it become a national security interest for the federal government to prop up the economy?

Doin' Anything this Friday Night?

My employer is raising funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and our Policy Services department wanted to do an after-work event. One of the managers was asked, "Why don't you ask one of your band friends if they will perform?" So she asked me if Running in Circles would perform.

Happily, the band said yes. This is a good chance for us to expand our audience - I've been trying to get some of these folks to come to our gigs for two years - and raise money for a good cause. We will be playing at the Mavis Winkles this Friday, February 22 starting at 8:00pm. Cover is $5, with proceeds going 50/50 to JDRF and the band.

For the employees, appetizers will be provided between 5:00-7:00pm. No, those of you reading are not employees, and I will not lie for you. :-p

Mavis Winkles is located in Independence, OH, in the Crown Centre Building on Rockside Road. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sinking Sand

I read this article, which sounds pretty much like doom and gloom. But I am not sure it is.

After all, if the economy is based on emotion, consumption, and the uncontrolled granting of credit, the bottom has to fall out some time. The scenario sounds more like a huge correction than doom and gloom.

That being said, even approaching the worst case scenario could cost a lot of people their savings and their 401(k)s. Many companies could have problems. Banks could go out of business. There could be mass hysteria, rioting in the streets, people mandating that government provide for them (oh, that last one is happening already, I forgot). Maybe even governments defaulting.

So that means the federal government must step in, right? The writer of the article tends to think so. But isn't it the government that has fostered all of these moves - lending credit to those who don't deserve it in the name of fairness, attempting to control the markets through the Fed, and promoting an economy based on consumption - that put us in the situation we are in?

I will truly be sorry for the U.S. if this scenario happens. Many people will have built their financial foundation on what they believed was right: retail investments, such as stocks and bonds. They may lose that foundation after decades of building it, or retire with drastically less then they had 5-10 years prior.

The wise will keep both eyes on the economy and the markets. But that is not the rest of the story....

Not all our wealth comes from the markets. It comes from the gifts and talents we have been given...our ability to think and reason...our ability to bend, but not break...our ability to work...our ability to live below our means. You know, the stuff WE were taught - and hated to hear - when we were growing up at home.

The traditional, orthodox method of survival: working hard, saving what you could, and investing what you had left over. It's still the best program for success. It keeps us humble and aware of our environment. It keeps us from thinking the almighty markets or, heaven forbid, the government can straighten things out for us. It keeps us from becoming lazy, and keeps us mentally acute.

And last but not least...when were we supposed to depend on the markets, anyway? I cannot remember a time when Christ said to lean on government for our livelihood, or look to the market to financially save us, or to strive for the work-free lifestyle. Those are all by-products of our society, not the teachings of Jesus. We praise God for the good times; let us remain faithful in Him when all about us are flailing because of their reliance on mammon.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Did Someone Say "Dissolving Rights"

Not good, yet approved by Congress.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Fine Tuning

It was time to clean up the right side of my blog. I like the not-so-new Blogger, but there is some formatting I would still like to do on my own. Being relatively HTML-ignorant, I was helped immensely by this site for making the little changes that I wanted to make.

What did I do?

  • I removed the CLC Radio graphic, and replaced it with a link in 'My Links'.
  • I put all my links into one form. I also added the links Scott and I had on the Patriots & Tyrants site, and then added a sports links section.
  • I removed the Labels section. I display the labels at the bottom of each post, so I didn't see the necessity of cluttering up the right side of the blog with that info.
  • I added more AdSense stuff, and will likely add an Amazon or Musicians Friend store in the near future. (Thanks for the idea, Scott!)
'Tis all for now. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Strike That. Reverse It.

I was sooooooooo excited about my latest work project. We were going to convert our financial systems over to our parent company's system. It was going to be a full-year project. We were going to take our Senior Vice President of "I'm in the middle of everything" out of the picture for month-end closing activities. (Not eliminate him, just no longer have him be the single point of failure.)

We brought in a consultant who, in previous engagements, successfully conducted conversions to the system our parent company uses. She was just starting to understand our company's lingo, if you will, and make some productive gains.

Yesterday evening, around 5:15, I get the e-mail:

Subject: Ding, dong!

If you've ever been at a company where they FINALLY terminated that awful employee, or transferred them to another department, you know what that means. It means the awful horror is gone, as in, "Ding, dong, the witch is dead!"

I really didn't need to read the rest of the e-mail. Knowing who sent it, and to whom it was addressed, I knew. My project was terminated, thwarted, stopped, permanently delayed.


Talking to the parent company yields one set of reasons. Talking to our CFO and CIO yields another. I got better info from the grapevine from a peer who is working on other projects to integrate our systems with our parent company's. It is likely a case of not enough planning, then realizing that the conversion is, um, "bigger than a breadbasket". It was not like converting from Money to QuickBooks. The approved funding would not be enough, and would be better spent on another project.

So, that's the "strike that" part of the post.

I also had to tell our consultant and her recruiter that her services are no longer needed at the end of the month. She only started two and a half weeks ago, and was starting to make good progress this week. I hate that stuff; so does my boss. I called a face-to-face meeting with the recruiter to let him know what happened. Yuck!

I then had to call my systems administrator in Florida, and let her know the project wasn't moving forward. She is an expert with the current system, but was looking forward to the cultural change of everyone moving to a new system, and being educated by professionals on the right and proper way to use that system. So much for that. She and I convened today, figuring out how to make lemonade out of lemons. Only time, patience, and a swift kick in the pants to some of the Finance staff will tell if our ideas will be successful.

In other words, I am back to where I was in October.

That's the "reverse it" part.

Now tell me, without using Google or any other search engine, YouTube, or Wiki (or anything of a sort) what movie is my post title used?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Too Bad, So Sad

President Calderon of Mexico is upset at the anti-immigration tone in the United States. Just read what he says here.

Ironically, our pro-security President (maybe I should have put that in quotes) is working on a $1.4 BILLION stimulus/security package for Mexico, which would focus on securing Mexico's southern border.

Two plus two equals four.

Before you say this doesn't add up from the U.S. perspective, it adds up perfectly. At least, if you are Bush.

2 - Bush wants amnesty for illegal aliens coming across the Mexican border. Primarily, these aliens will be Mexicans.


2 - Calderon wants to secure his southern border from Central Americans. They just don't fit into the US/Canada/Mexico single-economy model.

= 4 - another step toward an American Union.

Monday, February 11, 2008

In a Nutshell

If you've never read the daily comic Non Sequitur, I think this strip is a good introduction. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Par for the Course

Patriots and Tyrants is going bye-bye. Based on blogs we had participated in prior to starting P&T, Scott and I believed more people wanted to discuss solutions for the U.S. rather than just gripe. Maybe, some day, we'll be able to start a similar site in the future, and get more action.

Would have probably helped for us to have posted more frequently, too.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Changing the Primary System

Update: I added a survey about the political parties to the right side of my blog. Take a look at the parties' platforms, then answer the survey.

What's wrong with having a national primary?

No, I don't mean where the highest vote getter for each party gets all the delegates, then automatically gets their party's nomination. Heck no, think of all the revenue the parties would lose by not having to hold a national convention. (snicker)

No, I am talking about keeping all the state rules for delegates, but having all of the primaries on the same day. Talk about shaking things up? Then, the left-leaning RINO's in New Hampshire, and the liberals voting as independents in the open primaries in other states, wouldn't have as significant impact on my voting options.

Lookie here:

  • Mitt Romney - out before Valentine's Day
  • Rudy Guliani - out before February
  • Fred Thompson - out before February
  • Duncan Hunter - out before February
  • Tom Tancredo - out before the new year
So my "choices" for my Republican vote in the March Ohio primary are:
  • John McCain - who moves to the left on issues of importance to me when it's time to govern.
  • Mike Huckabee - who attracts Christian voters, but would be labeled a Democratic nominee if you just looked at what he did in Arkansas without looking at title or faith.
  • Ron Paul - libertarian/constitutionalist at heart, but with whom I disagree on matters of defense and foreign policy.
Be honest...where's the "choice"? I'm not being negative; I'm being a conservative realist. Would I choose the pro-amnesty, pro-election "reform" candidate? The tax-raising, amnesty-happy, Mexican-consulate creating "populist" candidate? Or the isolationist, we-are-the-problem, get out of everywhere NOW candidate?

I can honestly say none of them represent me to my satisfaction. Some of the eliminated candidates may have, much more than the remaining crop. And that was my thought before Romney suspended his campaign.

So, why not set up primaries so that I can at least vote for who I believe does represent me, and let the voters sort it out? Who's to say Vermont wouldn't select Paul as the 'R' candidate, while Arizona selects Hunter, and Utah selects Romney? If none of them get enough delegates, good for us! We arrange a do-over. :-)

I would also add a binding "none of the above" option for all primaries, without a do-over for the party whose winning candidate is "NOTA".

If I did that though, I would also level the opportunity to begin a campaign. We conservatives always talk about equality of opportunity, while being against equality of results. In terms of elections, we have neither, thanks to the goofy election laws.

So why not make our vote really count, instead of making only our "hold our nose" vote count?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Class Action

Can I sue the Republican Party?

That's a serious question.

The Republican Party has given up the ship. Every remotely conservative candidate is out of the race. Except for Ron Paul, of course, for whom no "thinking" conservative would ever cast a vote. Well, that's what the media AND the Republican leadership say, isn't it.

Since the Republican Party is no longer as advertised, what is the opportunity for filing a class action lawsuit against the party for false advertising? The Dems are bozos, idiots, pacifists, , but for the most part, they are as advertised. The same cannot be said for Republicans.

Since I am still a member of the Republican Party due to the one $30 donation I made fifteen years ago, and the party has left me, can I seriously consider creating a class action lawsuit against the idiots who try to tell me, "I represent you, dammit, so vote for me!"?


Read this article. The points are well founded and make sense.

But that's not why I want you to read it.

After you've read and digested it, then let it settle in your brain for a little bit, I want you to tell me what's wrong with it.

Monday, February 04, 2008

That's Entertainment!

After not paying attention to the Super Bowl hype, I got home from band practice just in time to sit in front of the tube with the whole family and watch "the big event". The Engineer, front-runner that he is, was rooting for the Patriots. The Artist didn't really care about the game; she was rooting for the commercials. Marie was doing the same, conducting research for the next day's post.

In a post I submitted a couple weeks ago, I said I didn't care who won. As the game went on, though, I found myself slowly getting excited about the opportunity for...for...for...


As the Giants hung on via their stifling defense, I couldn't help but start rooting for them. After watching them play the Patriots so well during the last week of the season, I thought they had a chance; they wouldn't be blown out, but I didn't know if they could win. But, as they kept thwarting the Patriot's offense, and Eli Manning kept not looking like an idiot (see his last three years to understand this), I grew more excited for the Giants.

Enter the fourth quarter. New England took the lead with less than three minutes left. You could even hear Marie groaning, "Oh no, not the Patriots!" As the Giants took over on offense, I thought, "They have enough time, they don't need to rush." They earned a couple first downs, then got themselves into a third down situation when this happened:

Awesome. The most awesome play I have ever seen in a Super Bowl. Probably the best non-trick play I've ever seen. David Tyree caught the ball with his right hand AND HIS HELMET! Talk about concentration. Talk about strength. Wow!

At that point, I knew they COULD win. Then, with less than 40 seconds left in the game, the Giants scored a touchdown, and stopped the Pats from scoring again. Game, set, match: New York Giants! I actually ended up rooting for a New York team. Imagine that!

All over a game I didn't care about two weeks ago. It was the best Super Bowl I have seen in my lifetime, all 39.912328767123288 years of it. I guess I waltzed into the den thinking, as some of my band fans say, "I'm coming to watch you play; DON'T SUCK!" Well, the Giants didn't. Neither did the Pats. The better team, on that day, won the game.


Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers played an excellent halftime show yesterday. They sounded great. Looks are a concern, though. I wasn't sure if I was watching Tom Petty

Or Red Green

Maybe they are related.


And finally, here are the songs Running in Circles chose to learn. Or, will at least attempt at our upcoming practices:

*1. Dirty Little Secret - All American Rejects
2. Over You - Daughtry
*3. Authority Song - John Mellencamp
4. Love Song - Sara Barellies
5. Absolutely (Story Of A Girl) - Nine Days
*6. Anyway You Want It - Journey
*7. Talk Dirty To Me - Posion
8. You And Your Hand - Pink
9. Lovefool - Cardigans
10. Kiss Me - Sixpence None The Richer
*11. Paralyzer - Finger Eleven
12. Who Says You Can't Go Home - Bon Jovi
13. Life Is A Highway - Rascal Flats
14. Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond
15. Fire - Red Hot Chili Peppers/Jimi Hendrix
16. Give A Little Bit - Goo Goo Dolls / Supertramp
17. Saturday Night Is Alright For Fighting - Elton John

Songs marked with (*) are songs that, for various reasons, I am ready to perform.

Lot of variety, although I think we are becoming more of a family/party band than a bar band. We'll see where that leads us. (p.s. It is not worth watching the RHCP version of Fire. Trust me on this one.)


So, when's my birthday? Marie, the kids, and anyone with our church's calendar cannot venture a guess. (That includes you, Scott!!!)

Sunday, February 03, 2008


While Nero fiddles, and 90% of Rome along with it:

(talk about gibberish)

There are actually some leaders (10%, hopefully on the increase) who think something ought to be done about it.
And if you don't like the way Congress runs its operation, you may want to get behind this bill.

No one forcefully constrained us into supporting only two political parties. We do it to ourselves.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Is There a Football Game Tomorrow?

Somebody told me ("you had a boyfriend". Sorry, I couldn't resist.) that a pretty important football game being played tomorrow. Last I recall, it didn't include the Cleveland Browns, so it cannot be all that important.

It has been a busy week, and I actually haven't thought about the game very much, only when asked. Beyond that, it was a typical week:

  • Someone in the family was sick (poor Engineer - he's okay now)
  • Someone in the family went to the hospital (my mom - she's okay now)
  • Construction crew continued the kitchen improvements, which went slower than expected because the crew chief/owner was sick.
  • I started working with a consultant/business liaison on the big Finance project at work, then...
  • Our parent company asks if they can leverage my consultant's experience on similar projects. Um, that was never part of the deal....
Along with that, I'm learning new songs to play with a second band that will rock out more than Running in Circles, but won't fill the dance floor nearly as much. And, tomorrow we are celebrating my father-in-law's birthday at lunch, then I am leaving the lunch to attend band practice for Running in Circles. Each band mate is bringing a list of songs for the band's consideration, as I mentioned in a prior post. I chose...

I'll let you know which of my songs the band chooses...after the break.

I'll get home from practice between 5:30-6:00pm. Just in time to eat dinner. Then log into work to submit my time sheet and prepare for tomorrow. Then obtain the songs that RIC has chosen to learn. Then start learning them.

Oh, yeah. Is there a football game tomorrow?


What song contains the lyrics in quotes in the first line of my post?