Saturday, July 29, 2006

What Does A Government Do Well?

I believe that a notion solidified in my mind when the Red Cross and Salvation Army's efforts to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina were turned aside by Louisiana state homeland security and FEMA officials. My notion: government isn't the answer for everything. I'd like you to take a moment to think of a few things that a government does well... here is such a list compiled by U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah. Personally, I see at least 5 in that list that are pretty laughable and a few I can agree with but that really isn't my point.

In several decades of questionable governmental spending which has brought about the much discussed $200 hammer and $500 toilet seat, do we really think that a government action is the best solution for all of our societal ills? Usually an incompetent elected government official is discarded during the next election (unless they resign, pass away or are removed in a special session) but an incompetent executive or employee can be sent packing or even sued a lot quicker. Funding is scrutinized much closer as the company, organization or business wish to cut costs to show acumen and possibly earn a bonus. Also, much government action goes through committee after committee with revision and addendum which pushes the project(s) back considerably.

I'm not saying that everything should be taken out of bureaucratic hands but I ask, "What does a government do well?"

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Life Update - 072606

It's been a very odd week. I guess usually it is good to start from one end of the spectrum and work to the other (bad news then good.) Back some time ago, I figured out that one of the biggest problems that I had with the master bathroom (other than the need to have it gutted and redone) was that it needed storage space. So I added a little cabinet on the only wall that was available. It keeps up with the wood look that is already going on in there.

Anyhow, it was a regular Monday (meaning that I was trying to get the newsletter done before heading off to work) and planned to save a little time by shaving off the weekend stubble growth. So, I grabbed my shaving cream from inside the shower (view of the shower and the cabinet from inside the shower.) I headed to the sink and started lathering up. I then returned to inside the shower to grab my razor. I headed back to the sink. If you ever had an obstacle around the house that you normally avoid out of habit, you know what happens when for some reason you break that habit... you trip, slip or hit something. I hit something -- the edge of the cabinet... right in the middle of my forehead.

So I firmly held a towel to it for about 15 minutes to cut down on the gushing blood and promote clotting followed by the application of Neosporin. It hasn't been without that salve and a band-aid for longer than 3 minutes since then. Doesn't look like it's bad enough for stitches (kinda made an L shape... can anyone say loser?) but should be interesting to see it if leaves a scar (hence the optimistic abundant use of Neosporin.) So far so good. The photo was taken just moments ago (it's almost 3:30 a.m.)

I also wound up returning from dinner with Kerry, Teri and Lloyd on Saturday night and found something interesting. That new front door that I had installed had a nifty foot print on it placed high in the middle (must have been at least a size 12+.) It wasn't long until I was out in the yard clipping the bush that obscures the door from the street by over a foot. With all the weird things going on around here in the neighborhood, it does give me more of a reason to consider placing a loud alarm at the door. Maybe, I've just seen too many home security commercials where the thief throws himself at the door and it opens with the alarm blaring.

After returning home that night, I lined up all the books on my headboard in cue for my reading pleasure. (You can also see the new $49.99 iPod stereo to the left and new Peter Kitchell print above it which I picked up at a yard sale for $12.00. The owner had a tag on it that said $35 and before I left she offered to sell it for $10. I felt guilty and added $2 more so she can proudly say she got more than she asked.) This book list was extended quite graciously by Teri and Lloyd who shocked me with a bag of books and a load of chocolate chip cookies (Teri used Alton Brown's recipe and they are great!) Yes, I don't say it often enough but I'm very lucky to have friends like them.

Lastly, I returned home this morning to an answering machine message from Mom. I believe that it is worth placing here verbatim for me to remember and for her possible future embarrassment:
"I'm looking at the clock and it's 11:56 p.m. 35 years ago, your Dad and I were traveling to the hospital at Sutter Memorial. And we checked in at 12:04 -- to avoid having to pay extra for the day before we had to wait until the A.M. And of course, four hours later my first beautiful baby was born. I'm so grateful for that. You are such a special special son to me. I'm so grateful to have you. I'm just want to let you know now, so I won't be calling you at 4:30 a.m. I'll see you tomorrow." Who says that text messages are all that fabulous when I can get an answering machine message like this? Love ya, Mom. Anyhow, I took today off for a change and am going to try to have lunch and/or dinner with the family (Mom is heading to her high school reunion this weekend which doesn't work with the standard Sunday dinner thing for family birthdays but it's all about enjoying your time together, isn't it. B)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Mid-East Musings

One of the two things that I find interesting about U.S. coverage on the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah are the way the latter is spelled. Essentially, it's a transliteration from the Arabic حزب الله but depending on how it's translated it's spelled in various ways: Hezbollah, Hizbollah, Hizbullah or Hizb Allah (commonly used by Al Jazeera.) As to what determines their usage of which spelling... who knows.

The other thing that I find interesting about the coverage isn't that rival cable news networks CNN and Fox News have chosen sides in the battle but that they are actually reporting from both sides of the battle (with some censorship.) This makes it pretty interesting for homes with multiple televisions as you can walk from one room where you were watching the launching of missiles to the other room to see where they landed and the damage taken. Kind of makes you wonder what some of our other military actions look like in multi-room view.

For some reason, I'm shocked that the Human League hasn't released a timely 2006 remix of their U.K. hit "The Lebanon."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Taking My Brain Back To School

Now to clarify my previous mention of CCSN. I've recently come to the realization that I went about my college education ass-backward. Sure, I heard "take your core requirements first" but I rushed into it and took any classes that fit my schedule. At UNLV, I took a science class and Philosophy In Ethics. What the hell was I thinking? Don't know. At CCCC (before changing names to CCSN), I took Nevada History (good class but I wasn't prepared for the essay work) and Music Fundamentals (which was pretty useless because I couldn't tell a whole note from a half-note at the time if my life depended on it.) After dropping most of those classes I went off to Reno and took a Creative Writing class as well as Biology at TMCC. The first went very well (if I recall, as I haven't seen the transcripts yet) and the other I'm pretty sure wasn't so good.

With all my reading, I've come to the decision that I should use some time to take classes and at least finish a degree (which helps with the appraisal field.) Heck, if I started when I started my job nearly 13 years ago, they would have paid for the classes. So I need to take advantage of it now, albeit a bit late. This also means taking placement exams. But, it should be another interesting adventure and if I can do the classes online... easier for me to fit it into my schedule.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Farewell Mr. Brooks

All bras hang at half-strap this week at Hooters as chairman Robert Brooks, 69, was found dead in his home on Sunday. The Myrtle Beach Sun News reports that an autopsy is planned for today. The man told Fortune magazine in 2003, "Good food, cold beer and pretty girls never go out of style."

I can't say the food is Emeril's or Wolfgang's but maybe I'll make a pilgrimage this week and pay my respects at the Hooters hotel with a beer and some wings. I mean, if it weren't for Hooters, Carrot Top's funnies joke (other than going through the Wendy's drive-thru with pigtails and hearing someone scream, "Oh no! It's the boss!") would be lost to all. (The joke: The Hooters application... which is similar to the one shown in the pixelated photo below.)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The New New York Adventure

Usually, this would be a great photo to use when talking about immigration. But, I put it up for another reason. It looks like I will be able to see it in person if time permits. I received a call from my father yesterday. Those photos that I showed you earlier from Tony Bennett's birthday party/charity auction were actually an early birthday for the crooner. Dad called to ask if I could get free from Aug. 2nd to Aug. 5th for a trip to New York City for Tony's real birthday party. This morning, I received confirmation on the vacation days that I put in for last night. So... I'm heading to New York City.

Now, I've been to the state of New York before. It was the furthest East that I've ever been. Oddly enough, it was for another event. I traveled with my friends Daniel Black and Jim Jerome to Syracuse for Jim's wedding. Prior to the wedding, we decided to hike to the highest point in the state (Mt. Marcy) and my legs were really sore from that. It was during that trip that I discovered how bad my eyes were. We also spent a day walking around Albany taking some odd photos. I'm sure that I have a bunch around here but then again, it was me taking the shots (I've always been better behind the camera than in front of it.)

So now, I'll be seeing the big city that I missed during that trip. So, I confirmed it with Dad this morning and he let me know that it looks like both my brothers Matt and Michael are going to make the trip. I then asked him, "Do you think we could visit 'Ground Zero?" The odd response back floored me, "Sure, we'll see if we can find a piece of the plane for you." I'm worried that he was serious.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mia's 1st Birthday - Attempt 23

So many photos that I wanted to post today. Yet, it seems that Blogger isn't liking me too much. I'll have to post the photos from Mia's 1st birthday later. Anyhow, I'm off to talk to CCSN. I'll explain the hows and whys of that later also. Maybe, I'll try one more time to get a photo in there. Oh sure, now it works hours after my first attempt as I'm getting ready to leave for work.

Mia really enjoyed her birthday cupcake. She ate all the icing and the cake itself wound up on her and the tray in front of her. I think Connor and Olivia liked watching someone else make a mess.

The other photo here is of Connor and Olivia playing basketball. We lowered the hoop extremely for them and they both made shots. I even got a few photos of their dad lifting them over the rim so they can dunk the ball. I guess you have to take those photos now or they'll be too big to lift. Instead of putting one of those photos in, I'm opting for a photo of Lillian with my sister Michelle. That way we have photos of all of them here. Ok, now that this is working... I'm going to be late heading to CCSN but I can do that tomorrow.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sins Of The Father

"Few of the sins of the father are visited upon the son."

This is a line from one of my favorite songs, "Forgotten Years," by Midnight Oil. I think about it often. When someone has wronged another, how long does it take to forgive them? If it's someone they love, it could be moments or years. Heck, many don't hold World War II over the heads of the people residing in Germany, Italy and Japan. We do hold the leaders of said nations responsible and still equate their names with evil in oration and textbooks. This can be said with many other wars, misdeeds and failures. Then, I think about the many years of calls for reparations to pay back those affected by slavery from those who made profit from it. Are any of those leaders still around? I wonder... how many generations have to go by before one can be forgiven for the sins of their forefathers?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Right Name

Well over a year ago, I was contacted by an online radio station that wanted a weekday radio segment of our weekly 80's Nuts newsletter. I had already done some radio news spots before at local radio stations and always had this weird dream of being a DJ myself (they really don't make much money.) So I started the 80's Nuts Update. It was pretty difficult at first to squeeze the contents of the newsletter into little 2 minute segments (less actually after the intro music and exit) but I had it down. Sadly, the radio station went off the air and even though another station wished to pick it up... it wasn't the same.

During my time doing the radio segments, I had talked with the station about the idea of podcasting. They were excited about the concept. At the time, I really didn't know enough about how to set one up to make it a reality... until now. The only thing holding me back from taking the next step forward is the lack of a good name for it. When I started the 80's Nuts newsletter, I had no idea that it might confuse some people. Some wanted movie and television news also. So then I acquired the domain name to go with my domain. This helped people understand that it was about the music and not about elderly testicles or collecting peanuts, pistachios and almonds from the 1980s (don't laugh, I got emails about both. The worst were the food preparation companies that called and emailed me when I ran the 80's Buffet DJ Service.) If I can find a name that says 80's music news without sounding that generic, I can feel better about this thing and worry about the technical issues. Any suggestions?