Friday, September 30, 2005

Quote Of The Day

"The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Eat Right! Exercise! ... Die Anyway.

Between all of the newspaper stories, tv commercials/shows and radio advertisements/programs, it has become abundantly clear to me that all of us suffer from some type of ailment, allergy, disease, or chronic condition. GIVE ME A BREAK! Theories of creationism/evolution aside, after being on this planet for a good many years, we all happen to be that so frail? So delicate? So feeble??? Our predecessors were not afraid to come out of the cave during a "high pollen count" ... THEY NEEDED TO EAT! The pioneers did not fear smoke from the campfire, THEY NEEDED TO STAY WARM! There is an inherent problem with life ... that with it, comes death. No matter who you are, where you are, and whatever you do, this prospect is unavoidable. Try spending a little less time worrying about your self absorbed aches, pains, and personal phobias, and a little more time being concerned with your family and friends. They someday may be overtaken by their own serious malady without warning, while you were at the tennis elbow support group.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The eBay Factor

Online auctions ... everybody loves them. But why? Is it the fact we can buy something that we have always wanted at a discount price? Maybe it's the thrill of the hunt and chase. Some possibly just enjoy the fact that they go to an auction without ever leaving their home. No matter where your interests are, online auctions such as eBay and other companies have a gold mine on their hands. (The numbers don't lie.) And for the rest of us have an outlet to buy and sell on the world market. Everybody wins. So whether you're looking for dried sea oats, seven glass buttons, or a brand new corvette, it's all out there for the highest bidder.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Sometimes, "Help" Is Implied ... Not Spoken

I saw a episode of ABC's 20/20 that disturbed me some. The crew of the show set out to place actors in the park and have them fake an argument. Next, the crew placed cameras and microphones around the area to record if there was any public intervention. This "fake fight" was on the verge of becoming physical, and yet most people walked by as if nothing was wrong. I am a firm believer of minding my own business, but when a man clearly has a physical and/or psychological advantage and is starting to shove the woman, I would think it's time to break it up and have each party move on. What was more amazing is that when the situation was reversed, nobody stopped to help the guy when he was being abused. Interesting. Have we all become that cold toward one another? What if the next time you saw them was in the obituary?

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Reason Why Assembly Directions Come In So Many Languages

If anyone has contacted any customer service help desks lately, then you know about the overwhelming amount of jobs being outsourced to other countries. We all hear about it on the news and in the paper, but don't really comprehend how widespread this problem is. Logistically speaking, how can it be cheaper to manufacture an item, warehouse it, ship it across the ocean, re-warehouse it, deliver it and sell it for less than a rival company on the other side of the state? I personally do not know the answer, but it happens everyday. Now that we have this "global economy", will today's workers be the generation that live below the monetary standards of the generation before? Are we as a country too demanding of higher pay and benefits from our employer? Just a thought.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Spam Central Station

It's no secret to those who know me, that I posses only a bare amount of computer knowledge. In fact, as simple as this blog is, it has taken several hours for me to set it up and a great many phone calls to my "I.T." guy. With this crash course in website management, I have been spending a good amount of time on my computer and cannot understand the concept of spam emails. If nobody reads it, why do some waste their time even sending it? It goes without saying that these junk emails are nothing more than a frustration to anyone who desires to have a legitimate email inbox. Honestly, it's a sad day when we are forced to use free supplemental email accounts to reroute any attempts of junk mail that may be thrown our way. It's too bad we can't "return to sender", like in the old days.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Hurricane Hunters Or Rating Reachers?

I understand that hurricanes making landfall anywhere in the world is news, but standing out in the torrential rain and 80+ mile per hour winds to give the home viewer a first hand look is a little over the top. It's hard to take any newscaster seriously when they make a special trip to the affected areas, only to stand out in the elements and advise all of us not to go out in the storm. Keep in mind these are the same people we all rely on day in and day out to stay on top of weather conditions so we can all plan our day accordingly. Quite honestly, if I was as incorrect as weather forecasters seem to be all the time ... I wouldn't have a job. I think they made a better assessment years ago by guessing. Maybe all this Doppler radar and satellite imagery is just too much information, and they get confused. But then again, it's hard to screw up a hurricane. Anyway, I have taken a new outlook on weather conditions that impact me, I go outside and look up. This particular technique never fails, and is correct 100% of the time. What you see is what you get.

Friday, September 23, 2005

What Are Your Kids REALLY Learning In School

In the last year, the area in which I live (Northeastern PA) has been getting hit hard by public school teacher strikes. It seems that no matter which school district residents may live in, at some point in the last three years the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA ... teachers union) has had a strike. The sticking points in almost all of the cases are health care and salary. The local newspaper at one point published the pay for these educators and it became abundantly clear to me after that, teaching is not about shaping the future by educating our children ... it's about big business. $42,000 dollars a year with 180 work days, equates to $233.33 a day. And as all of us know, teachers do not work an eight hour work day. A good teacher is worth all the money in the world. But unfortunately, the one or two good apples in the bunch are forced to the bottom by the grappling hands of greed. One more observation, I thought when a union or organization was on strike the standard was to walk the picket line. Around here, that only happens when the weather is nice and between the hours of 6-11 a.m. (just enough time for the news to come and take some footage) I have nothing against anyone wanting to make a good salary. But if big paychecks are your ambition teachers, go into private industry. There is no need to do it on the taxpayer's backs.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Buckle Up ... It's Going To Be A Bumpy Ride!

Vehicles on the road today are without a doubt safer than their predecessors, and I can only imagine they will continue on this path with all future makes and models. In fact, the well being of a car's occupants has become so paramount the auto makers (well ... and insurance companies) have devised a crash test rating system. But who buys a car on how well it crashes? That's like purchasing a house by how well it may cave in, or how fast it burns down! I don't recall anyone ever buying a certain brand water heater because that particular company had the least amount of explosions on record. I can honestly say my choice of vehicles always seemed to be a little more on the practical side. Typically, only two factors played any kind of role. The first being what I could afford, followed up by what suited my needs. Personally, I would be somewhat insulted by a sales representative initially attempting to sell me a car based on crash performance. Does he really think I'm that bad of a driver?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

It's Okay To Ask "Why?"

While pulling through a "royalty" fast food drive through, I saw a sign posted on the menu that caught my eye; "Picture menus available upon request". At first glance, one may think that this very considerate franchise is looking to accommodate any and all customers that may have either literacy issues or language barriers. At second glance, if you cannot read English, due to any of the above stated reasons ... How would you know what the sign said? Here is another one; The next time you use a drive through ATM, take note of the braille embossed on the buttons. Many people have told me that this is because visually impaired people may need to bank after hours. This is a wonderful observation and probably true, we all need more hours in the day to get things done. Only one problem with this theory, how did they find the machine located in the parking lot ... they're blind!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

... This May Be Hard To Swallow

While on the way home from work the other day, a local radio station had a guest in the studio with a very unique talent; a sword swallower. And from the sound of it, I can only imagine he was giving a live demonstration to the dj's. (Proof? One of the radio personalities was apparently in some sort of digestive distress.) In fact, this particular gentleman was one of the few who actually can dine on multiple swords at the same time. This truly amazing feat of scoffing a saber is something I have never witnessed, but it must be completely astounding to see in person. Which led me to wonder, how on Earth would any of us ever know we possessed such a capability? It's not like we wake up on a lazy Saturday, go out to the garage to find a sword, and see if we can touch our large intestines with it. And in the event you wanted to seek full time employment in this field, is there some sort of sword swallowing trade school? Or, is this home study only?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Free Traffic, Free Traffic ... Read All About It!

Has anyone out there been completely frustrated about lack of traffic to their site? It seems no matter where you search, the same lines keep coming up over and over. Free Website Traffic!, Guaranteed To Be More Website Traffic Than You Can Handle! and my personal favorite, Check With Your Web Host Because You Will Get So Much Traffic They Will Charge You. And or course, these services come completely free. If it was that easy get real targeted web traffic, all of us would have so many hits that we would need to turn back the hit counters. Let's face it, everyone is looking for a quick fix to boost their numbers and exposure. I'm personally going the old fashioned route, if viewers like what they read they will tell their friends about it. And hopefully, in time, my stats will be on the rise.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

A Better Community, One Way Or Another

I always thought that people who were involved with community service had only the betterment of the community in mind. The idea is simple; everyone doing a little bit adds up to alot, and ultimately forges a stronger and more cohesive locality. But somehow, possibly from society's "if it doesn't somehow benefit me, why should I bother?" attitude, taking part in this selfless action has evolved to a payment of a debt to society. Doing something good for a stranger or community is punishment handed out by the legal system? Punishment? Does anyone see anything wrong with this? It's no mystery why organizations cannot find volunteers. The one's that are good enough to find the time to donate, are forced to work with felonious people who have no ambition to be there of their own will. I can only imagine the positive working environment that must create. And when society gets the idea that community service makes good retribution for crimes, I would only think this outlook would hamper any prospective volunteers from becoming involved. But to everyone out there who participates in their respective communities with no other payment other than a thank you and a good nights sleep knowing they did their part, I applaud you. Whether it be; Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, volunteer fire departments, volunteer ambulance companies, church groups, and wherever else you may serve, THANK YOU.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Animal Justice ... Gone To The Dogs

If pets are part of the family, why then are there such lackadaisical laws about their mistreatment and abuse? The other day a local television news station reported on the evening news, that a home that housed horses on the property (I believe there were 9) was raided by Humane Society, SCPA, and local police. What they found was disgusting. Horses living in filthy conditions (of their own making, if you know what I mean) and so malnourished three had to be put down. Of course the animals that had a chance were relocated to "foster care", and abuse charges were filed against the couple that lived on the premises. Well, our justice system again has demonstrated it's ability to punish lawbreakers. Each of the persons was fined $2,000, and also ordered to pay for veterinary costs incurred and associated the neglected animals. Just a thought, the two probably saved much more than that by not feeding them. Who made out better here?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Who Is Being A Racist???

It's all over the headlines of newspapers and foaming out of every computer surfing the web for news. This so called racial discrimination has surfaced it's head again, only this time it's because of a national disaster in the south. I guess any time activists can find a camera willing to tape them beating their drum in a public spotlight, they have to take advantage of it. With all of the ways to spread the word of your cause, it does nothing but demonstrate how desperate some are for air time when it needs to be done on the backs of people that just lost everything. Statistically, more people of African decent live in the southern states. So, I would think the amount footage taken by the media outlets would reflect the same. I cannot help but think that some of these defenders of racial equality have tipped the scales in the opposite direction. Hence, affirmative action. Companies are not quick to hire a candidate that is qualified (which I am presuming is why the are hiring in the first place) because employment priority must be given to persons with ethnicities other than white. Personally, I would be outraged to know I was hired not for my capabilities, but my color. Hmmmmm, isn't THAT discrimination? Of course not! Not when it benefits the minority.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Web Nexus Network No More!!!

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Really, I Think It's A Joke. Why Else Would It Happen?

You're cruising down the interstate, when you come up on a lane closure ahead. Now you're stuck in a bottleneck with everyone attempting to merge into one lane. With a yank of the wheel and a bite of your tongue, you maneuver in line and crawl at a mind boggling 3-9 miles per hour for what seems to be an eternity. About seven miles into this trek, you see the second lane opening up again and it dawns on you. You can't believe it's true ... no, it can't be ... it is. You have all been stuck in this single file silliness for absolutely no reason at all. I guess the road crew put out their full arsenal of cones for no purpose whatsoever other than to annoy us all. Everywhere you look, no workers, trucks, equipment, not even a lunchbox. Well, maybe they got called to something else that was of such magnitude, they had no choice but to leave traffic in disarray due to an insurmountable time restraint. Nope, stuck again tomorrow. I could be wrong, but I swear I caught a glimpse of a screaming green vest in the woods, and he was laughing at us all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Anyone who has watched Jay Leno's "Jay Walking" before, has undoubtedly seen first hand that quite a bit of us in mainstream USA are lacking some of the most fundamental life skills and basic common sense. Now I'm sure there are many takes in which alot of people answer questions correctly and are very knowledgeable. But the ones we do see ... WHOA! Of course, not everyone is an expert in everything. (I think it's quite obvious that my grammar and sentence construction could use a refresher course.) But not being able to differentiate the weight difference between a ton of feathers and a ton of bricks, in my mind, would absolutely qualify somebody for at least some public embarrassment. Which leads me to today's thought; Are schools putting too much emphasis on computer skills, and not the ABC's and 123's?

Monday, September 12, 2005

If You Met You, Would You Like Yourself?

I have noticed that just about everyone is guilty, in some degree, of having a superiority complex. Time and time again I see motorists yelling at other motorists about parking places at the mall. Or, customers flustered because they had to wait in line for five minutes while the checkout clerk changed the paper in the register. But, my personal favorite the person who pushes in front of you while you're waiting in line, and has the audacity to offer up some lame excuse while cutting in. Why do we all get so upset over the smallest things? The bottom line is this; take a step back, and evaluate the way you treat others. Honestly, we all have good and bad days, but as a whole how would you rate yourself? How do you think others would rate you?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Four Years Later

9/11/01, FDNY, - 343. You will never be forgotten my brothers. On this day, please take the time to thank your local Fire Department personnel for their unwavering commitment and selfless dedication to their communities. 5 5 5 5

Saturday, September 10, 2005

More Is Less

Some years ago, in the height of the Space Race, this country spent a considerable amount of money to invent and develop a pen that would write in a zero gravity environment. The Russians just used a pencil. Which space craft would you rather ride in?

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Pocket Toolbox

If necessity is the Mother of invention, I came across a product today that qualifies for the inbred category. Since I can remember, there has been a certain knife manufacturing company that prides itself on having just about everything conceivable tool built into a pocket knife. Good marketing, yes. Practical, no. Having a common screwdriver, philipshead screwdriver, three knife blades, metal file, hacksaw, bottle opener, toothpick, tweezers, scratch awl, corkscrew, spoon, fork and wood saw(and whatever else that somehow fits in there), has far surpassed any real world "in the field" user friendliness. If I really needed those tools with me all the time, I'd just drive a van.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Physical Labor Not Included

Yes, the rumors you may have heard all over the web are unfortunately true, my t.v. has somehow become incapacitated. But fear not, I have installed the 13" bedroom receiver on my wife's kitchen step stool inside the entertainment center.(elevation needed for a better visibility factor) Unlike my normal purchasing habits, I actually purchased a five year service plan with this set, so I gingerly picked up the phone to call for my free repair. Well ... the service people cannot get there for two weeks, so I guess I'll just have to be stuck in Smallville for a while. That happens. But here's the kicker, to quote the repair center, "The in home service personnel are not responsible, in any way, to move or carry the unit. And also keep in mind that if the set can't be fixed in your home, they may need to take it back to the shop for further evaluation" HOW??? Am I supposed to carry it for them???All the way to the shop??? Am I hearing this correctly??? I thought manhandling heavy t.v.'s was a given on the job description. That's like calling a roofer, and being told he will not carry any material to the roof ... that's your responsibility.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

... Because Nice Matters

Have you ever noticed that some people say "thank you" to a police officer after they have just received a traffic citation? Why? I am not proposing that law enforcement officials be treated with disrespect, they are just doing their job enforcing the laws that society has implemented. So, let's take this one step further. Is it commonplace to offer gratitude to the grocery store clerk who inadvertently put a humdinger of a dent in your car door while steering a shopping cart chain gang? How about a nice warm hug to the kid down the street who put one "out of the park", over his hedges, and through your second story bedroom window? Just an observation.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Give Me Bacteria, Or Give Me Death

I have come to this conclusion (after watching this morning's news programs); No matter how much we spend on an education, common sense just cannot be bought. For about a week now, the devastation hurricane Katrina brought has been posted all over many media outlets. It goes without saying, many of our fellow countrymen are in desperate times. But as if having your home, job(s), pets, and in some cases family members swept away in storm water isn't enough, a major network's morning story is about the bacteria concentration in the flood water. My guess is, that even the untrained eye (and nose for that matter) would probably be able to determine that flood water may have just a "hint" of bacteria in it. One could only ponder the thought that if the city is immersed in two or more feet of water, the likelihood of the sewer system being completely functional is farfetched to say the least. But wait, it gets better. Water samples were taken and sent to be analyzed, thus yielding a high count and wide range of bacteria. So the major network newscasters did what they do best, inform the public via television. They advised all people that come in contact with the flood water to clean themselves thoroughly to prevent possible infection and illness. This very insightful broadcast only had two flaws; nobody in the flood zone has electricity to see this educational piece, nor the clean water to spare for personal hygiene.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Home Team Advantage

Why does it take some sort of natural disaster or attack on this country to make us all band together as a nation? Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that when a catastrophe strikes some people dig deep to contribute whatever they can, whether it be a monetary gift or the volunteering of services. Is it too much to ask that all of us, on a daily basis, try to be just a little more compassionate toward each other? If 9/11 and multiple hurricanes haven't proved to anyone yet that we are all in this together, I would like to see how the naysayers felt when they were in need. Sooner of later, everybody needs a helping hand. Everybody.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Why is it that a good portion of the population feels the need to "give advice" to people that they don't even know? Yesterday, I had a complete stranger come up to me and inform me of certain health risks associated with my personal habits. I stated to this good samaritan that I have never met them before, and they are entitled to their personal opinion. At which point she told me I was not setting a good example for children. (I suppose teaching youngsters to advance on adult strangers, to tell them what they should do with their lives, sets a much better example.) I did not seek this person out and try to push my personal beliefs on them, and would only expect a reciprocation of the same respect. After all, she went out of her way to approach me. I am willing to bet that in some aspect of her life, she partakes in something I would find objectionable, but that is her right. It is not my place to comment on things that do not affect me directly. We all make decisions that have consequences in our lives everyday, and only we are responsible for the outcome.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Can You Hear Me Now ... Are You Sure That's "Good"?

Since the inception of the telephone, communication between us all has never been the same. How ironic that the more portable these gadgets become, the more we become attached to them. In fact, all of these digital devices have caused a good majority of us to lose some of the most basic etiquette skills toward each other. Just last night I sat in a restaurant having a nice meal, when in walked three (late teens/early twenties) young ladies. They were seated right behind me and two of the three were talking on their cell phones, obviously to two different people, for a considerable amount of time. How about the third one? She took the time to go out to eat with her friends and she can only just sit there patiently waiting for her companions to finish, by the sound of it, not so noteworthy conversations. And in the middle of all this, my coincidental dining neighbors must have been seated in a non-celling section because there was an apparent loss of signal ... very apparent. I guess that when any type of communication device is not performing correctly, the proper user response is to yell into it. This must somehow make the appliance aware that the operator is not happy with it's performance, and compel the unit to try harder. Anyway, my point is this. If people take the time to see you, return the favor by spending some time with them.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Giving You Frustrations The Bum's Rush

While wandering the streets of New York City's business district, I came across a panhandler with a different method of personal income. His approach begins with a good vantage point, located outside a major financial firm, that must have been carefully calculated for maximum visibility to potential customers. I guess bummery, somewhat comparable to real estate, is all about "location! location! location!" Due to inherent occupational funding constraints, this man's advertising budget was blatantly limited. He wielded a hand crafted cardboard sign with the word "ABUSE" written on it in permanent marker. To put it simply, for a small fee, any passerby could verbally assault this guy on any topic whatsoever. What better way to blow off some steam after a hard day of stock trading. Therapeutic for the abuser, and a source a revenue for the abusee ... everybody wins. I was glad to see, with this quaint demonstration of supply and demand, that capitalism is still alive and well in this country.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

"Doctors Are Like Car Mechanics, It's Their Job To Find Something Wrong" - My Father

There is no doubt about it. The medical profession today has convinced this entire country that we all have some sort of disease, syndrome, or condition. It goes without question that there are legitimate health concerns and conditions for people no matter what their age. But honestly, we have far surpassed the point of warranted doctor's visits and genuine illnesses. Every time we turn on the television we are greeted with another acronym ailment. This especially bothers me when it comes to children. If the parents want to live their lives afraid of everything under the sun, (and even the sun) to each their own. But unfortunately, kids learn by watching Mom and Dad. So every time they get a sniffle or frog in the throat, we take them to a physician and pump them full of medication whether they need it or not. Consequently, today's youth pretty much gets a "get out of jail free card" for any type of activity. What happens when this comes full circle and the children of yesterday become the caretakers of today? How will we be treated? Just a thought. The bottom line, in my opinion is this; People have been on this Earth for quite a long time, give yourselves some credit for surviving all these generations. Humans are a little tougher than most give them credit for.