Friday, December 24, 2010

things I think about

If you're addicted to cold turkey, is it easier to quit?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dress Size Matters

Many moons ago (and suns and stars and other celestial objects that are, I'm happy to report, much older than I am), I moved from deep inside the Yankee territory of New Hampshire to the deep redneck recesses of North Carolina. Unfortunately, no one told me that I would need a Southern-to-English dictionary to make my transition a smooth one.

A few months after my life-changing relocation, I confused my lust and loneliness with love and married first girl who gave me the time of day. I'm not sure exactly when I finally came to my senses but back then I would do anything for my blossoming 100 pound beauty who quickly bloomed to about 200 pounds.

At that time, she had a thing for French designer clothing. And not the almost perfect items that you could find for pennies at Salvation Army. No, she had to have it right off the rack with that fresh wound of a new hundred dollar price tag still attached.

One day, when I was still slightly groggy after trading my plasma for cash to support the fashion sensibilities of my new wife, I stopped by one of the local fancy women clothing store. Through my woozy haze, I heard the sales girl say in a thick southern accent to one of her customers that she had "the most darlin' one-of-a-kind Pa Tate dress that everyone wanted." A genuine French-sounding labeled garment was just what I was looking for. I immediately swaggered over (well, more of a stagger) and asked to buy that dress. The sales girl nervously obliged me.

Thinking back on that moment, I should've inspected the dress a little closer. But that's all right. My extra-sized blushing bride did that job for me as she held up that exceptional item of petite clothing (definitely not, "Pa Tate") next to her wide form and demanded, "How am I supposed to wear this?!" "Over your head as an ascot." I said ... to myself. "As a belt?" I suggested hopefully. That's what I learned the importance of keeping ALL those sort of comments inside ... deep inside.

another toy bits the dust .. instead of the baby

Here's a new Christmas toy idea from our friends in China -- a baby teething ring that plays music and warmly vibrates while being chewed. You don't have to worry about this little treasure clogging up the landfill with tons of batteries. Rather, it's powered by plugging it into an electrical wall socket. That's right, one end into your house's 120 VAC and the other end into your baby. Fortunately regulatory heads have banned this unique toy from being imported into the United States. This justifiable interdict is kind of sad. Isn't this the time of year where you're supposed to "make your children's eyes light up"?

Friday, December 10, 2010

One of these days

Sometimes I thinks my family is the most ungrateful lot that a body could be married to. I should've known something was up when her family showed up to our shotgun wedding with a shotgun, an M-16 and a Sherman tank.

Now, I've tried to do right by my country wife and all of our young'uns. A few years ago I got us into a house with indoor plumbing and you would think they would be happy about that. But nooooooo! Building a house over a running stream wasn't good enough.

Last year, the kids were going on and on about us gettin' in a home entertainment system. So I worked a bunch of overtime and got 'em a pellet gun and a bird feeder. Judgin' by all the complaints, real birds and squirrels ain't as good as the ones on tele-o-vision set.

And for the past month, my wife been a-naggin' about how we should get one of them fancy Kichler outdoor lighting setups like the neighbors. For some reason, a baggie full of fireflies next to the bug zapper just doesn't make her happy anymore.

Well, I am sorry! I'm doing my bestest to feed all these whinin' mouths. I'm just lookin' forward to the day when I can come through the door and say, "Pack your bags, folks! I've won the lottery! I don't care where y'all go but you ain't coming with me!" Well, I cans dream, can't I?

Ho Ho Ho :: sob ::

It's that time of year to begin fatten up our favorite holiday object – the credit card. Time to buy gobs of gifts for the young ones so that they can spend hours and hours playing with the boxes that once held their over-hyped holiday presents. And as long as you squander your money online through sites that adhere to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (in other words, they're using pci hosting), you shouldn't have to worry about unintended parasites grabbing your hard-earned wealth for themselves (Congress and your local politicians withstanding).

Remember, if you let your credit card feast heartier than a tick in a puppy factory, I guarantee that you will be well rewarded in January. So take time this month to stock up on antacids and lots of job applications. When you get that over-sized bill next month, remember how pleasant you made the holiday times for others. After all, it's the thought that counts. And all I can say is "what were we thinking?"

Saturday, December 04, 2010

keep your enemies close and your friends ... off of facebook

To keep on top of technological trends and to give the impression that I'm an awesome dude on all things electronics (after all, techno-geeks are now the new James Dean), I've been signing on to the latest social media sites. Linked-In, Facebook, and Twitter are my top time-wasters, I mean, family-following, friend-stalking news gatherers.

Unfortunately, I've noticed that some of my contacts post such embarrassing things ... things that are beyond the red-faced level of OMG ( "OMG" ha! Told you, I'm hip). You know, those hideous little moments that they normally wouldn't even admit to themselves that they did. But, shine the light of a monitor in their eyes and touch their itchy fingers to the buttons with letters on them and it's confession time.

As for me, I'm keeping my life on the down-low :). ("down-low" AND a smiley face! I amaze myself sometimes.) First of all, I don't need someone else reading a tell-all accounting of my life until I'm ready to publish it for a 6 figure contract (preferably in dollars). Second of all, I don't need to give my present bosses or potential future employers any reason to promote me to the ranks of the unemployed. This leads to a slight paradox - in order to get on the social media hype-wagon, I've had to be anti-social on these sites. ("hype-wagon" is my contribution to the hip vernacular. You're welcome!) Strange times that we live in, indeed.

SO "friend" me if you like and say hi. I may reply back with that lengthy of greetings "hello" and probably little else. I'm not avoiding you. I'm not playing coy. I'm just being as social as safely possible ... until I win that lottery ticket. Then you can try friending me through the news media ....

Venimus, vidimus, vicimus

After working a long 70+ hour week, I spent Friday night doing what every loving father would do --- 11 PM found me standing in long line with my daughter so she could buy a copy of "Twilight: New Moon". In comparison between enduring prickly heat and standing for an hour to buy a movie that we could instantly buy the next day for a couple dollars more, standing is slightly better. Slightly.

Now the difficult part wasn't that you found fatherly me there, listening to the idle gossip from mothers waiting with their excited daughters. There was a couple of other bleary-eyed fathers whose expressions of "how did I get talked into this?" matched mine. The stressful part was being a couple of families ahead of a man who really needed a video on personal hygiene. Because of his 500 pound bulk, he had to get around using a motorized chair provided by the store. The large basket on his chair was almost overflowing with a cornucopia of chips, pork rinds, candy and other things that doctors warn us to stay clear of. His loose fitting tank top made you hope that he would make a stop in the lingerie department for bra. From the complexion of his ravaged face, you would think he'd spend his money on a "how to treat acne" DVD instead of buying one about clear faced vampires battling shirtless shaggy werewolves who can become hairlessly muscular in the blink of an eye (or quicker since my daughter didn't blink once during those parts of the movie).

In the end, it didn't matter. Venimus, vidimus, vicimus -- we came, we saw, we conquered the line and got the movie. I survived the night. And my daughter has a keepsake of our adventurous time together. I understand that the next episode of this long series comes out in a year. I can hardly wait. By then she be in college and I will be asleep ...

Thursday, December 02, 2010

It's Wesley verses Charlie in the battle of social justice

For the past few years, Wesley Snipes has been protesting the federal system by not filing tax returns. Oh, he And his accountants made sure that he paid his taxes. But as part of a national protest group, he just didn't fill in the sacred forms. As a result, a federal judge decided last week to make an example and sentenced Mr. Snipes to couple years in prison. Was justice served? (Maybe Mr. Snipes' real crime is he is an actor. Had he been Mr. Obama's treasury secretary (and head of the IRS) who didn't even pay his taxes, we wouldn't be having this post.)

As I write this, Congress is debating whether they should censor New York representative Charles Bernard Rangel for a few "indiscretions". Now, Charlie (as his pork barrel benefactors fondly call him) wanted Congress to just reprimand him. When a legislative reprimand happens, someone makes an entry in the Congressional log that basically says "Bad, Congressman Rangel! Bad! Bad! Very naughty!" and then life goes on. However, Congress didn't think that was severe enough. So now they're voting on a sanction of censure. OOOoooo, censure! Very scary!

If they all agree to that action, they will make Mr. Rangel stand in front of Congress and say to him, "Bad, Congressman Rangel! It was very naughty that you didn't pay your taxes. It was very bad that you filed false tax returns. And you should not have used your position for personal gain." In other words, a public shaming. What a terrible fate! Then after a few minutes of a stern scolding from Nancy Pelosi, Charlie will have to ... well, do nothing. He's no longer head of the committee in charge of the taxpayers' cookie jar. But aside from that, very little will have changed for the Congressman.

"Oh sure," you might say to me. "What about his loss of public respect?" I might then have to ask you if you knew that he is a member of Congress. Also, considering his major accomplishments after 40 years of service has been mainly to get porkbarrel projects to his supports, then you know he hasn't had any true public respect since Nixon was president.

So I have to ask you, between Mr. Snipes and Mr. Rangel, who has has done a better job at benefiting society? Between Wesley and Charlie, who got the raw end of the justice stick?

4G or not 4G

There's a lot of buzz in the news lately about various phone companies get ready to release their "4G" networks in the next few weeks. The only problem with these promises of high tech, high speed wizardry is that their "4G" isn't real "4G", at least not this initial go-around. To be considered 4G, a network technology has to meet a set of specifications known as IMT-Advanced.

For example, 4G standard means digital speeds at 1Gb/sec. Yet, when Verizon and its friendly competitors release their version, you get to enjoy paying higher prices for almost at a 1/10 of that speed. So right now, "4G" is just marketing hype.

Of course, some people don't mind paying for things that are cleverly marketed. They are the kind of people who will rush to a beach resort to buy "limited edition" sea water. Or they will hike into the hills to find that special stone quarry shop selling "new and improved" rocky mountain boulders (something you can't take for granite after a few eons). Or you will find them sweating away to get an exclusive exercise facility so they can purchase gourmet phentermine diet pills (bet you can't eat just one). You know the types ...

Anwyay, if Hamlet had a cell phone, he'd asked the same perplexing question that you should be asking yourself for the next several months, "4G or not 4G, that is the question!" He'd want to know "whether 'tis noble in the pocketbook to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous hype or to take arms and fingers against a sea of misleading claims and by opposing, end the madness. To wait -- to dream of better service that matches the overpriced monthly charges. By a dream to say we end the heart-ache and the thousand unnatural shocks that our cell phone bills render." I'm paraphrasing but I'm pretty sure that's what Hamlet would say.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

another win

Last month, I submitted a few ideas to the latest Cartoon Caption Contest and learned today that I scored in the top three places as well as had a couple in the "honorable mention" category. Sadly, I thought one of my other entries would have made it: "With best friends like that, who needs anemones?"

Still, each time I entered the last few contests, I managed to place in the top three. This is encouraging. Either that or not enough truly funny people are entering ...

Maybe Spammers Will Catch a Cold from Blogger In Draft

You may have noticed a few changes that I've recently made to this blog. I've started using the beta version of the "Blogger In Draft" editor. Google's Blogger team have released several experimental features with layout and design and monetizing. One handy feature that has been the handling of legitimate comments while quarantining spammy ones as it is submitted. Lately, spam has been reigning king, so separating the wheat from the chafe has become a quick and easy process. My only other option would be to erase all the posts in this blog. But that would be like cutting off my head as one of the more drastic scalp eczema treatments – effective but deadly all the same. So for now, I'm settling for the quarantine method until Google releases its next feature – targeting the IP addresses of spammers and nuking their computers.