Friday, November 30, 2007

Ron Paul

Having already said that all the other candidates are pretty much the same and not really worth talking about (because I can't really say anything about them that hasn't already been said), now it's time to get to the one candidate who has sparked at least enough interest for me to comment about here. Check out this article about Ron Paul and how he differs, not just from the other Republican candidates, but from the vast majority of politicians, Democrat or Republican.

Thing is, Paul has run before - way back in the 1980's, actually - but back in those earlier times, there wasn't an Internet and other hi-tech stuff to help reach out to potential voters. This makes Paul's current campaign success a creature of the modern age, and unique because he's attracting both disaffected Democrats AND Republicans. The only other comparable candidate who got such a cyber boost was Howard Dean in the '04 election, who was humming right along until the infamous "primal scream" basically helped bounce him out (it was more than just that, of course, but the 'scream' didn't help).

While Paul may be riding the wave of frustration of voters not happy with either major political party, he's also more than just a "I'm not one of them" candidate. Based upon what I've read on him so far, he's truly dedicated to the concept of "public servant", which is what appeals to a lot of people. There hasn't been this kind of candidate since Ross Perot almost did the same thing way back in the '92 election. Perot did well enough that both the Dems and GOP truly sweated it out until Perot stumbled and bumbled at the worst possible time by constantly delaying on whether he'd run or not (basically, he was the '92 version of Fred Thompson today).

Ron Paul has views that land all over the ideological spectrum - from being anti-abortion to being against the war in Iraq, so I'm like a lot of people in that I like some of the views he has, and I'll put up with some of the views that I disagree with, because they're not such that I would count him out as a result. I really like the fact that he's pro-life, because not many candidates have that kind of courage of convictions to stick to such a view. For that alone, he almost has my vote.

I say "almost" because it is the nature of politicians to say and do anything to get someone's vote, and I want to make as sure as I can that Paul isn't just another one of those kinds of politicians. This is largely because I am keeping in mind that old saying that "if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is". Call me cynical or skeptical if you will, but we've all been sold these bills of goods before only to find out that we elected a dodo bird (the past two presidents, basically).

I want to believe that Paul is who he's portrayed to be. If he is that person, then he's the kind of person that we need right now. We need such an independent minded person who's out to serve his constituency rather than his political party. If he is not selected by his party to be the GOP candidate for president (which is virtually 100%, since he is opposed to the Iraq war), then I hope he becomes an independent candidate. Yes, his party will rip him for "taking votes away from the GOP and helping Hillary win", but both parties need to see that the U.S. is fed up with the way things are. Not only do I hope he'll become an independent candidate, I hope he also wins. What a thing to drop into the laps of both parties!

However, first I want to see that he is who he says he is. One thing at a time. But right now, I like what he's said so far than what I've heard from all the other candidates. I'll keep you good folks updated. There's still almost a year to go, after all!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The 2008 candidates for President

I've been meaning to get back to this all month, and now the month's almost over. Dang!

For starters, here's a link to the New York Times' listing of the candidates: Election Guide 2008 - Presidential Election

That link provides a list of candidates, along with brief bios and other info.

I had planned on discussing each candidate separately over the course of the month, but as I did the research, I noticed that there just isn't a whole lot of difference among them. We all know that the Democratic candidate is going to be largely left wing and that the GOP candidate is largely going to be right wing, so discussions of the differences among the individual candidates is, in truth, irrelevant. In other words, with the Dem candidate, you're getting someone who's pro-choice and who largely believes in a collectivist philosophy when it comes to the role of the government, regardless of whether you pick Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or John Edwards.

You might as well be picking among the jacks in a deck of cards, because no matter which one you pick, it's going to be a jack. So really, what's the point of having this very early start to the campaigns, and what's the point of all these debates? And while we're at it, why are some of the early primary states so concerned over which one of them holds their primaries first? We know what we're basically getting, so why go through all that? Just pick one of those Dems and run with it. Same with the GOP candidates.

The only one that has sparked something of an interest for me is Ron Paul. I'm going to do more research on him, and he'll be the only candidate that I'll discuss separately later in the week. However, pretty much I'm very likely to vote for a 3rd party candidate for the very first time ever - so unimpressed am I with the current slate of candidates. Paul is something of an oddball when it comes to his views as compared to both his party's views as well as compared with the views of the Dems. You'll see later what I mean.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Christmas is only - X - days away!

In case you don't feel the pressure of getting ready for Christmas yet, this site tells you how much more time there is to go. Then you'll get the ol' heart rate going up. ;-)


After all, it don't feel like Christmas is coming until you feel the panic of knowing that you have only so much time left to do your shopping!

Now hurry up and get stressed! :-O

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Assorted Thanksgiving Goodies

Just a quick note that I'll be away celebrating Thanksgiving with the family tomorrow, and I probably won't post again until Monday to get caught up on other stuff. In the meantime, enjoy the Thanksgiving-related goodies below.

John A.



Subject: FW: Turkey Poem-

When I was a young turkey, new to the coop,
My big brother Mike took me out on the stoop,
Then he sat me down, and he spoke real slow,
And he told me there was something that I had to know;
His look and his tone I will always remember,
When he told me of the horrors of..... Black November."

Come about August, now listen to me,E
ach day you'll get six meals instead of just three,
"And soon you'll be thick, where once you were thin,
And you'll grow a big rubbery thing under your chin;"
And then one morning, when you're warm in your bed,
In'll burst the farmer's wife, and hack off your head;"

Then she'll pluck out all your feathers so you're bald 'n pink,
And scoop out all your insides and leave ya lyin' in the sink;"
And then comes the worst part" he said not bluffing,"
She'll spread your cheeks and pack your rear with stuffing."
Well, the rest of his words were too grim to repeat,
I sat on the stoop like a winged piece of meat,
And decided on the spot that to avoid being cooked,
I'd have to lay low and remain overlooked;
I began a new diet of nuts and granola,
High-roughage salads, juice and diet cola.

And as they ate pastries, chocolates and crepes,
I stayed in my room doing Jane Fonda tapes;
I maintained my weight of two pounds and a half,
And tried not to notice when the bigger birds laughed;
But 'twas I who was laughing, under my breath,
As they chomped and they chewed, ever closer to death;

And sure enough when Black November rolled around,
I was the last turkey left in the entire compound.
So now I'm a pet in the farmer's wife's lap;
I haven't a worry, so I eat and I nap;
She held me today, while sewing and humming,
And smiled at me and said: "
Christmas is coming..




Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cool nerd gadgets

It's been awhile since I did a "Note on the Journey to Nerdville". Today's note is not about something that I've recently purchased, but about a recent issue of Parade magazine, which had an article about cool nerd stuff that you might consider getting. Here's a link to the article: Gadgets that work for you.

Other articles from that issue of Parade:

Simplify your Electronic Life

Home Smart Home

Join the Home Theater Revolution

From Original to Digital

And last, this article on Digital TV Transition and Public Safety.

If you haven't already thrown out Sunday's paper, be sure to grab the Parade (November 18, 2007 issue) and hold on to it. Or you can just create a bookmark of this particular blog entry. :-)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cheerleaders suspended for Spears routine

Watch the video below, and let me know what you think. This note continues after the video.

So were the cheerleaders suspended over the routine, or over their defiant behavior when asked to leave? Just from what the cheerleaders themselves are describing, it sounds like they were being obtuse when asked to leave, thus the cheerleader coaches had little choice but to up the punishment.

So what do you think? Did the cheerleaders deserve what they got, or were the coaches over-reacting?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Hey, maybe I was wrong about "ho ho ho"

Maybe I was too quick to judge those people yesterday wanting to ban "ho ho ho".

Remember that song, "Santa Baby"? Below are a few of the lyrics:

Santa Baby,
Just slip a sable under the tree
For me
Been an awful good girl
Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby,
a '54 convertible too
Light blue
I'll wait up for you, dear Santa baby,
so hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of all the fun I've missed
Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed
Next year I could be just as good
If you'll check off my Christmas list

Aha! See that one line? "I'll wait up for you, dear Santa baby". What's going on there? Why would she wait up for him - unless she knew for sure that he was coming? Sure, Santa may be delivering toys for the most part, but - what's he doing on the side??? That song just might be giving us a clue!

But also, consider the song, "I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"! Some lyrics of that song:

Wow! mommy's kissing Santa Claus!
I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus
Underneath the mistletoe last night
She didnt see me creep
Down the stairs to have a peep

She thought that I was tucked up
In my bedroom, fast asleep
Then I saw mommy tickle santa claus
Underneath his beard so snowy white
Oh, what a laugh it would have been
If daddy had only seen
Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night

So! Santa's also fooling around with married women! Boy, this just explains a lot, doesn't? I wonder of Mrs. Claus knows about this? Surely there's an elf private eye who can get the goods on Santa and his - extracurricular activities - so that Mrs. C can nail him for everything he's got!

In light of this, ol' Santa make Bill Clinton look like a choir boy by comparison!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sidney Santas told not to use "ho ho ho"

Read this story! It's hilarious! PC run amok!

Apparently, in Sidney Australia, the Santas there are being asked to not use "ho ho ho" because it can scare little kids, and also because "ho" is a slang American term for whore.

For one, Santa's been saying "ho ho ho" for generations, and only NOW are these people concerned that this greeting would be scary to little kids? And I don't think ANYONE ever believes when Santa is going around saying "ho ho ho", that he's soliciting for prostitutes!

Aren't there better things for these people to worry about?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Miniature photography of non-miniature subjects

Check out this site!

It's a style of photography that makes the subject look like it's a miniature model. How'd the photographer do it? He used a near-sighted camera! Next he's going to get the camera some - corrective lenses! Man, I crack me up. ;-)

Anyway, be sure to click the link at the bottom to learn how the photographer took some of those shots. Below are a couple of images from that site:

A Really Big Show

Investment experiment

On December 26th, I'm going to try a yearlong experiment. I'm going to take $250 and invest it somewhere to see how much it can make in a year's time. This is just to see what one can do with such a small investment. In other words, I'm hoping to make this a lesson in economics.

I'm the first to admit that I'm not the wisest investor, but I hope to learn more. And in the process, hopefully you'll learn as well on how to invest your money on something other than beer, clothing, or comic books. However, what I want to do until December 26th is to ask your advice on where I should invest that $250. E-mail your suggestions to me, or post a reply to this entry.

Once I've made that investment, I'll try to post monthly progress reports, and then on December 26th, 2008, we'll see how much my original investment managed to make. Hopefully I will have made SOMETHING by that time. And this is also if we haven't elected a Democrat for president in November of '08 (bada-BOOM!). ;-)

If my experiment is successful, then I'll try it again the following year, perhaps by re-investing the new sum. I'll keep you all updated - in the meantime, send those suggestions.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Christmas season starting VERY early

Some of you regular readers know that I love Christmas, and that I'm the kind that says "Merry Christmas" instead of the generic "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings" (What kind of greeting is "seasons greetings" anyway? Why the hell are we greeting a season? I never understood that). I've had columns and blog entries on this very topic, but in short I've said that, just as I can wish a Jew "Happy Hanukkah" or a Muslim "Holy Ramadan", a non-Christian can say "Merry Christmas" to me. None of us have to belong to the faiths of those holidays in order for our wishes to be sincere.

However, this year I noticed that many stores had already put up Christmas decorations when it wasn't even Halloween yet. It made their displays a scene right out of the movie, The Nightmare before Christmas. I love Christmas, but even I have to admit that this is too durn early! Yes, retailers need to make their money, and the Christmas season is their season to make their money. But how much more money are they going to make by starting the season before Halloween as opposed to starting it at least closer to Thanksgiving? Traditionally, the Christmas season started the day after Thanksgiving, in which at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Santa Claus would appear in his sled and reindeer.

I suppose that retailers would reply by saying that, with all the time, planning, and investing it takes to set up the Christmas season, they need more time to get things going, and with so much depending upon a successful season, they need to maximize the duration of the season so that they can maximize their profits. It's all about money, in other words. Christmas didn't use to be the big deal that it is now - the familiar hustle and bustle of the Christmas season is largely their doing.

But it's not just the retail outlets that are starting too early. Radio station KVIL in Dallas is already playing Christmas music 24/7! See, 24/7 Christmas music is another issue altogether! How many times can you hear the many variations of "White Christmas" and "Winter Wonderland" before going nuts? And I do not wish to hear "Frosty the Snowman" (what does he have to do with Christmas anyway?) and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" in any way, shape, or form for many, many years to come.

So by the time you're bombarded with holiday decor at retail outlets and from holiday music on the radio (not to mention all the holiday specials on TV), one gets a case of Yuletide Overload - by which time that one is tired of Christmas - and it's not even Thanksgiving yet! Part of me thinks that there is a conspiracy out there by the anti-Christmas crowd to give us too much of what we want, so that we get tired of it, but then I think, "Well, they're being bombarded by all that as well - and why would they put themselves through more of what they don't want?"

Nope, the profit theory makes the most sense. So put up with the blinking lights and cheese holiday songs, folks. It won't be over until - gasp - next year.

And here I am talking about all this! ;-)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Old video archives related to the JFK assassination

You history buffs - especially those of you into JFK assassination conspiracy theories - will find this site interesting.

It's from the video archives of Dallas' CBS affiliate, KDFW Channel 4. It presents videos that aren't available anywhere else, and more will be posted later.

JFK Video: The Dallas Tapes

Hillary Clinton's recent performance in the debate

For those of you who have asked, my thumb is better. Still not 100%, but certainly better than Monday when I last posted. At least I'm able to type at close to normal speed. Let's hit the ground running, shall we?

Hillary Clinton

I'm going to discuss Hillary some more later in the month, but I had to mention her now well-known subpar performance in the last Democratic debate, as well as her less-than-stellar defenses afterwards. One tactic she needs to leave out of her defensive arsenal is the "I'm just a girl" defense. I refer to her claim that all those men "ganged up on the woman" in the last debate. That's an "I'm just a girl" defense. They "ganged up" on her because she's the front runner in the polls right now, and not because she's a woman. That's what those lagging in the polls do to try to get the lead for themselves. (by the way, if I were one of those other candidates, I'd keep bringing that up each time Hillary tries to use it).

Hillary, as the first prominent female candidate for president, you'll be setting the example for other women to follow. Yes, certain expectations are going to be put upon you that are not put on men, but in turn, you will not have certain expectations placed upon you that are put upon men, so it balances out, thus it's not a legitimate argument to bring up in your run for office. Plus, one of your selling pitches is that you can handle the office of president like any man could. Here and now is your chance to prove it.

You can't have it both ways, claiming to be tough one minute and throwing out the "I'm just a girl" gender card the next. You will be flagged for it each time you use it, and it will certainly be used against you by the GOP later if you end up being the Democratic nominee.

I'm certain that she's been told this, but I am highly doubtful that she will be able to resist resorting to it if she feels such pressure again. In light of that, this suggests that she doesn't have the mental toughness to be president - and that has nothing to do with her gender. Someone described the difference between Bill Clinton's public persona and Hillary's in this way: Bill is Bugs Bunny while Hillary is Elmer Fudd. I couldn't have put it better myself.

Below are two YouTube clips of the debate, parts A and B. Below that is a link to Part C so that you can view the other parts of the debate, which is broken down into other parts identified by the alphabet.

Part C

Feel free, of course, to agree or disagree with what I've said above. I will note here that I have not yet seen all parts of the above debate, but I will try to. At the next Democratic debate, a magnifying glass the size of sports stadium dome is likely going to be over Hillary. The only advice I will give to Hillary is, don't use the "I'm just a girl" defense, 'cause it'll sink you faster than Bill can score a cheap date.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Taking a short break

Just a quick note, folks, that I'll be taking a short break. Not because I've run out of stuff to talk about, but because I've injured my thumb from trying to relive my glory years when I played backyard football. Don't worry, it only hurts a little bit (I've had worse injuries during my glory years), but right now my thumb does not like typing, so I'm going to give it a rest so that it can recover. If all goes well, I'll get back to posting on Friday.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Testing - Embedding videos

Hi! I'm testing how to embed videos into my blog. Enjoy!

Curly Shuffle video:

Superman punching Darkseid:

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Editorial Statement for November 2007: Election 2008

Don't blink. Next year at this time, we will be very close to voting for our next president. A year will go by just like that. Just look how quickly this year has gone by!

For this month, I'll be discussing each of the presidential candidates. Now's the time to do it, because by this time next year, we'll be down to two - or maybe three, if there's an independent.

And in truth, I hope that there is an independent candidate. Even though I'll be talking about each of the candidates, I don't really like any of them so far. Both Democrats and the GOP are trying to play it safe and are sticking to candidates that won't upset their respective apple carts too much.

Ralph Nader, a candidate in 2000 and 2004, is suing the Democratic party over their alleged efforts to keep him off the ballot in 2004. I hope the case goes to trial, and I hope that it becomes very public, because I want one of these parties to get exposed for their efforts to keep third parties from growing. We deserve more choices than Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum. I'll be posting the text of the article after I finish this entry, because the articles don't generally stay up for more than two weeks, and I want us all to be able to follow the progress of this lawsuit.

Anyway, I'll be discussing each candidate one at a time during the course of the month. During the weekend, I'll post a schedule of which candidate I'll discuss at what time. And then later in the month, I'll try to introduce some of the third parties out there so that you know that they are out there.


Ralph Nader sues Democratic Party (Yahoo! News Oct. 30, 2007)

WASHINGTON - Consumer advocate and 2004 independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader sued the Democratic Party on Tuesday, contending officials conspired to keep him from taking votes away from nominee John Kerry.

Nader's lawsuit, filed in District of Columbia Superior Court, also named as co-defendants Kerry's campaign, the Service Employees International Union and several so-called 527 organizations such as America Coming Together, which were created to promote voter turnout on behalf of the Democratic ticket.

The lawsuit also alleges that the Democratic National Committee conspired to force Nader off the ballot in several states.

"The Democratic Party is going after anyone who presents a credible challenge to their monopoly over their perceived voters," Nader said in a statement. "This lawsuit was filed to help advance a free and open electoral process for all candidates and voters. Candidate rights and voter rights nourish each other for more voices, choices, and a more open and competitive democracy."

Among other things, the lawsuit alleges that the DNC tried to bankrupt Nader's campaign by suing to keep him off the ballot in 18 states. It also suggests the DNC sent Kerry supporters to crash a Nader petition drive in Portland, Ore., in June 2004, preventing him from collecting enough signatures to get on the ballot.

The lawsuit seeks "compensatory damages, punitive damages and injunctive relief to enjoin the defendants from ongoing and future violations of the law."

Nader's attorney, Bruce Afran, argued that the DNC would be terrified of having the case come to trial. He said he hoped the committee would choose to settle the case and apologize.

"This is a case designed to make sure other independent and third party candidates will not be subject to the same kind of conspiracy in the future," Afran said.

Nader received 463,653 votes in the election, or 0.38% of total votes cast.

DNC spokesman Luis Miranda declined comment on the suit, citing a policy on pending litigation.