Monday, October 31, 2005

What Chance Does The Small Guy Have?

I've been doing this blog for a few months now, and have been learning more everyday about search engine tactics and good keywords in your content to try and get some traffic. But unless the webmaster is willing to pay search engines money for hits or keywords, it is very tough to get a site off the ground. I have spent many hours tooling around the internet trying to find the best way to build up a reader base ... link trading, directory submits ... you name it. Personally, I very much enjoy posting everyday and will continue to do so. To all those who pop in from time to time, and those who stop by daily ... I thank you for your interest, and welcome any comments on posts. (I only delete those that are profane, or an attempt to be blatantly belligerent.) Thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Money To Burn?

I came across this one, and just could not resist the chance to weigh in on it. Who would have ever thought a 1975 Ford Escort would fetch $690,000? Well that's what the Pope John Paul's vehicle went for on the auction block. For some, this may be a chance to purchase a piece of history. For others, I can't help but wonder if it's an opportunity to show off their own financial well being. How ironic that a man who gave so much, so selflessly to others has his previously owned vehicle sold for nothing more than bragging rights. I am not a heavy hitter in the church department, but it is quite understood that there are some "people" you just don't mess with.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Thanks For Being True To The Badge

Paid or volunteer, it's a sad day when emergency workers abandon their responsibilities as public safety officials. Public trust to Police, EMS, and Fire Departments across the country should not, for any reason, ever be compromised. To just get up and leave your assignment, and the people you protect, goes against everything the emergency services stand for. Some may say, that these individuals departed to tend to family members hit by the storm. I would respond to that by saying, "Of all people to be prepared or evacuated, I would think first responders would heed the warnings of impeding storms and associated damage, and make sure their families did too." Although this exodus of emergency personnel was a disgrace to all who serve in the related fields, the general public should know there are thousands of highly skilled and dedicated professional (applies to paid or volunteer) people out there willing to help a stranger at a moments notice, for no other reason but the sake of knowing they helped.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Talk About "Things Going South" !!!

Yesterday, a local radio station sent one of their morning show personalities on the very first flight of a new carrier at the local airport. (Basically, a publicity stunt.) He was to catch a flight, hang out for an hour, and hop another ride back. This inaugural flight was set to depart Scranton PA, and arrive in Orlando FL. The trip did not experience anything out of the ordinary ... until the disc jockey called in, just before take off, to the studio via cell phone to join in the show. Although I did not hear the interview, the outcome was all over the local news here. Apparently, during the phone conversation (which was being broadcasted live over the radio station airwaves) the comment was made that the gentleman sitting in front of him looked like a terrorist. I'm really not sure how one is able to ascertain that from appearance, I guess the man was either wearing a t-shirt that said "I am a terrorist" or waltzed on the plane brandishing weapons in an obvious fashion. If neither of those happened, it's just a case of random ethnic stereotyping at it's finest. Anyway, when the plane landed in Florida, it was immediately sent to a separate area where the FBI and Homeland Security were patiently waiting to inspect the aircraft and all occupants. The "terrorist", was lead from the plane in handcuffs, and interrogated. Everything worked out alright and no charges were pressed. True story.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Politics As Usual

I am personally not interested, nor do I participate governmental politics. But, I do like to think that often times I offer a "kick in the pants" approach to the employment of common sense in everyday life. Unfortunately, politics sometimes is just that ... part of everyday life. Today, Harriet Miers took her name out of consideration for the Supreme Court amid a brewing showdown over White House documents. (So we are told.) I have not been following this entire process very carefully, but I do understand that this candidate has a lack of experience in the field. (Not to be held against anyone, but you kind of open the door to this sort of public scrutiny when you attempt to score a seat on the Supreme Court.) Anyway, my point is this; As a country, we give day care workers and garbage men a more rigorous assessment of job related skills than we do a Supreme Court Justice.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

"Based On A True Story" ... Based???

Has anyone else ever noticed that after almost any event that captures the national spotlight, one of two things always seem to happen ... books are written, or movies are made? Both, I guess, are created to appease the public appetite for the shocking facts of what really transpired. But taking that a step further, how many of the facts become stretched, or even fabricated to meet the expectations of the audience? (AKA the "Hollywood effect") Suppose, for one minute, that the real story was nothing more than media hype. Gee, that would never happen in this country. (Remember Al Capone's vaults? Do I need to say more?) The actual parties involved in the original incident are paid quite handsomely to keep quiet, and let the director/writer take over. Well why not ... gotta pay the mortgage somehow, right? Who wouldn't? But from the viewer/readers perspective, I can't help but question the authenticity of the events portrayed in relevance to the actual situation that happened.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Random Thought For The Day

Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else.
- Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)

Monday, October 24, 2005

He Who Laughs Last ... Laughs Last

It's only a matter of time, until someday, you find yourself calling a company and your call gets lost in an intricate maze of automated menus. The whole idea of sorting calls before they are answered is easier for company operators, and ensures the caller the correct department will receive their inquiry ... in theory. But today, I got tangled up with an auto attendant service for seventeen minutes ... and the company only employs four office people, and three "on the road" technicians who do not even set foot in the office. By the time I finally got through to a real person, I couldn't help but ask the point in having such a complex answering system that forces the users to try and fit the reason for calling into a limited amount of options, and ultimately sends them in a gigantic circle back to the main menu. She hung up on me, and the process began again.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Freedom Of Speech ... If We Can Manage To Think For Ourselves

By nature, most of take what we see at face value. But I can't help but wonder if news media outlets, for whatever reason, attempt to "contaminate" our basic deductive reasoning skills and sense of what is important. For instance, if the price of a half gallon of milk were to escalate 20 or 30 cents in one shot, I find it hard to imagine that consumers would be up in arms for weeks. But if gasoline prices go up 10 cents, buyers are quick to complain about the cost to fill their gargantuan, fuel hog SUV's. Suppose a cup of coffee at the local quick mart went up 15 cents overnight. Most would pay the difference without even noticing. What's really more important? Are we all that easy to taint ... just by the evening news telling you what to be concerned about? I wasn't aware Dan Rather knew all of his viewers that well ... to be able to custom tailor the nightly report just for them.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

It's All In The Interpretation

A few years ago, I met a gentleman who had the most positive outlook on life I have ever seen. No matter what problems this guy faced, he kept his spirits high and his sense of humor about him. One day I finally asked this witty man how he managed to always find the brighter side of things. He replied, "You have to learn to look at things from a different perspective". At with that, he silently stepped back, leaned his head to his shoulder and held it there. He made his point loud and clear without saying a word. The attitude in which problems are addressed dictates the outcome before you even start.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Failing To Prepare, Is Preparing To Fail

Well, it looks like the southern part of the country is going for the hat trick. Hurricane Wilma is looming ominously to the south, and creeping in our direction. As bad as I feel for these people that keep getting chased from their homes, I can honestly only hear the phrase "We've lost everything" so many times and see an endless number of windows being covered with plywood on the news until I ask the question, "If you live in a place that suffers many storms ... why not just build your house with the intent of home preservation from the storm?" Mankind, by nature, has always found a way to adapt to surrounding environments, or has chosen not to reside in a place where those elements are too harsh. California builders and developers, for many years, have constructed buildings to have a higher "survivability" to earthquakes and the results have been, for the most part, successful. Why not apply some of this effort to seaside residents? It sure beats making a last minute jaunt to Home Depot for plywood and saw blades.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I'll Find Someone To Point A Finger At ... I've Got Ten Tries To Get It Right

Today, legislation was passed by congress that prevents the firearms manufacturers from massive lawsuits by crime victims. Quite frankly, I was elated to see that the first stepping stone was put in place for personal accountability in this country. It's about time some law makers wiped the tears off their suits of family members looking to make quick money, and put the blame where it belongs ... to the holder of the weapon. Although modern technology and invention has produced some very unique and labor saving machinery that requires no human intervention to operate, guns still need someone to squeeze the trigger. Firearms are incapable of shooting themselves. But then again, if you sue the guy tipping over the mini market you won't get much money ... that's why he went there to begin with. Maybe I should sue all of the pen manufacturers ... because I failed my final exams in high school. Or, maybe I'll go after the speed limit sign makers for the "mental anguish" suffered from a speeding ticket I received back in 1994. I never really got over it, I've been carrying that harbored stress with me for years ... nothing a few million couldn't fix though.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Extra! Extra! ... Read All About It ... Local Man Digs Hole To China!

While standing at the checkout line of just about any store, one can't help but notice the vast array of "news publications" strategically placed for impulse shoppers. If anyone disagrees that the location of these fine works of journalism has nothing to do with spur of the moment shopping ... just look right below them and you'll find the candy section, that for inexplicable reasons, is only 2-3 feet off the ground. Every week on my jaunt to the store, I look forward to this weeks excellence in reporting. "B-52 Found On The Moon", "Jennifer Aniston's Secret Lover Is An Alien", "Bigfoot Arrested For Drunk Driving" ... the list goes on. As absolutely insane as some of the titles may be, I've actually heard some people say, and I quote, "They wouldn't print it if it wasn't true ... there's laws against that kind of stuff." But somehow in my warped mind, I find an extra bit of humor in the "press stoppers", by asking a few basic questions about the article. For instance ... after all the years of mankind gazing deep into space, somehow nobody ever seemed to have noticed an airplane on the moon. How interesting. Or ... I know bigfoot didn't get nailed for DUI, because if actually had a drivers license ... HE WOULD HAVE A REAL NAME! I would imagine most shoppers pick these up for entertainment purposes only, but there are always those few you wonder about.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

This Is A Prime Example Of "Things Coming Full Circle"

I received a letter from my local water company informing me that their records show that the water meter in my home is quite old, and I should contact them to schedule a free replacement. In other words, aging water meters have the uncanny ability of favoring the customer and we would like to change it. Not a problem. I am an honest person and believe in paying for what I use. But ... let's rewind a bit, to when I moved to this location from the other side of town. Two years ago, when I rented an apartment, I had to establish an account with the water company due to the fact I had never done business with them. With that I was charged a $35 account set up fee, and have always paid my bill on time and in full. When I purchased my home, which coincidently is serviced by the same water supply company, I was again hit with a $35 dollar account setup fee. I argued the fact that my bill has always been paid in a timely fashion, and I have never disputed any of the ridiculous surcharges that get tacked on to the statement. Hence, no need for another setup fee. But my requests went down in flames, and I was forced to pay the charge if I wanted water. Well ... WHO HAS THE UPPER HAND NOW??? Until I see a $35 credit to my bill (no interest ... I just want my money back), my current meter isn't going anywhere. Am I over reacting? ... Probably. But it's not like there are multiple water supply companies in the area, they have a monopoly. (And now a Mexican standoff) We'll have to wait this one out, and see who wins ... I'll keep you posted. Pardon the pun.

Monday, October 17, 2005

I Don't Know Enough, To Know That I Don't Know

It is said that knowledge is power. I don't refute this fact, but rather question the extent of the phrase. Just how do we decide who has knowledge and who does not? I'm sure we have all met people with lofty college degrees (or higher) that can't seem to apply their expensive education to any facet of their life ... at all. And on the other side of the coin, there are people with nothing more than a high school diploma or GED (and in some cases much less) that always manage to persevere and excel at any task or job. For some reason, most of us judge (and are judged) by the piece of paper acquired from a institution of higher learning ... whether we are able, capable, or even have any clue on how to do something, never seems to be figured into the evaluation process. I agree that an education, of any sort, is an invaluable tool to the success of anyone. But, I can't help but wonder how many companies, factories, and other corporations missed out on hiring the one person who may have invented the next "big thing" because their application didn't include a slew of certificates ... but their brain did.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Customer Service? What's That?

Has customer service gown down the drain? When is the last time you, as a customer, felt as though you were treated like the vendor actually wanted repeat business from you? Earlier today, I stopped by my local quick mart to pick up a few items. Of the two employees that were working there, one was slicing lunch meat for a patron that wanted a sandwich while the other tended to the lottery machine. So, I patiently waited at the counter for service. Obviously these people were here before me, and therefore were attended to by the workers accordingly. While standing there trying to recollect if I forget anything, I couldn't help but notice more customers enter the store and get in line for the lottery machine. (They must have come with the premise of only purchasing tickets.) Now, the associate saw me waiting my turn, but chose to keep on concentrating her efforts on the lotto customers. When I finally got service from the staff, I could not help but ask how revenue is generated by the sales of tickets. She replied "None ... unless we sell a winner." I guess it's a gamble for both sides. My vote would be in favor customer purchasing items to pay the store operating expenses, at least the owner is guaranteed that they are making money on them.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Sometimes, Kids Can Teach Adults

I was at function today in which a good portion of the people I saw were children. The average age of which was about seven years old. And out of nowhere ... it hit me. What happened to all of us? Remember when all we cared about was having fun? We didn't mind sharing with others ... even strangers. (If Mom and Dad said it was okay, of course.) Somewhere along the journey to adulthood, most us lost sight of all this by getting caught up in overdue bills, car payments, and mortgages. I found it very refreshing to see kids having fun ... and just being kids. With age comes responsibility, and with responsibility comes age. But I caught that seven year old inside me sneaking out to play, and enjoyed the fact I got to see somebody I haven't seen in a long time ... me.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Not Everyone Squirrels Things Away

A couple days ago, Fox News reported a drug bust in England that went a little hinky. Apparently when the police stormed the residence that the dealers were in, the merchandise (crack cocaine) was thrown out the window in a last ditch attempt to get rid of any evidence. In a strange twist of events, the goods were quickly snapped up by the neighbors ... that were squirrels. Yes ... that's right, the squirrels got it. And oh did they get it. Locals reported seeing the creatures feverishly running in circles for long periods of time with no particular direction or purpose. And, others were reported to have been digging random holes at an amazing pace, possibly in the hopes that more "stuff" may be discovered. As if all this isn't funny enough, just imagine how hard it will be to prosecute the crime. I can hear the opening argument now, "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

It's A Good Thing Dogs Can't Laugh

Yesterday, I happened to come across a commercial that was advertising bottled water for dogs. I can't say that I choose the most health conscious meals and lifestyle, but I don't begrudge anyone from persuing their own beliefs and practices for personal well-being. BUT DOGS?!?! These are the same animals that use rear end sniffing for identification purposes, eat rotten trash as a delicacy, and enjoy rolling in "presents" left by others with added bonus they can proudly wear their find like a badge of honor. I can't imagine this refreshing container of pure water would appeal to pooches any more than muddy pools one may find after a rainfall. So, it must be intended for the "parents". You know, the same ones who put the cute sweaters and raincoats on their "sons and daughters". Need I say more?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

First The World's Police ... Now The World's Red Cross

I was so pleased to see that our current administration pledged 50 million dollars to disaster relief efforts in Pakistan in less than 24 hours. I can only presume that maintaining foreign relations with third world countries is far more important than providing any sort of immediate aid to the very taxpayers who fund the government in the first place. This act of kindness, unfortunately, made many American wonder why the "investment" was made at all. Let's face it, Pakistan must have something to offer, or we wouldn't help them at all ... it seems to be the American way anymore. Isn't that sad? We only send assistance to people that can someday offer something in return, and not help people just because they need help? And yet, so many citizens of this country just can't figure out why other nations don't like us. Well, I wouldn't like us either with that attitude.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Life Lesson Learned At The Bus Stop

I am convinced that kids today have either no legs, or suffer from a debilitating physical/mental complication that renders them incapable of walking for than 100 feet at a time. All over the country, school bus services (public or private) bend over backwards to accommodate any parent that desires curb service pick up and delivery of their children. There are many life lessons learned at the local bus stop I think many parents fail to recognize. Children walking to the bus stop learn the importance of leaving on time (scheduling), how to deal with adversity (weather conditions and miscellaneous problems), how to overcome or negotiate social issues (other kids, other adults, "pecking order") just to name a few. If young people never get a chance to learn simple morals, such as these, because we keep them sheltered from anything negative, how will they ever learn to become self confident and self-reliant enough to handle situations when they become adults?

Monday, October 10, 2005

No Question About It, EVERYBODY Is On A "Fixed Income"

With the rising cost of living seemingly escalating everyday, how are the working class of this country going to make ends make in the near future? (Home heating to rise an expected 20%, building materials going up an estimated 15%,) I can only guess that standard food necessities are not far behind. No matter what your walk of life, I'm sure none of us expect to see a 20% raise in our paycheck to compensate. Again, the average hard working American has to absorb the blow. My only question is, how much more can the average family tighten their belts? A dollar can only stretch so far until it rips.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Yes ...Forrest Gump Was Right! "Stupid Is As Stupid Does."

Due to the inclement weather this weekend, I was forced to find indoor activities to pass the time. So, I hopped in the car and drove about five miles down the road to an area where a multitude of national chain stores are located. Well, my wife dragged me into a particular store that I am not very fond of to begin with. So, since there is nothing that interests me at this place I'll just make the best of it and profile patrons. (Previous post) I came across a young mother who opted to let her son, of about three years old, sit on the side of an empty shopping cart with one leg in the basket and the other outside while she casually strolled through the store. Needless to say, this child was well beyond the reach of Mom in the event he should fall. I turned to my wife and said, "She'll be the first one to sue the store if anything happens." And with that, not only did she agree, but so did the stranger standing out of my sight about five feet to the left. And just think, I was always one to find the non text directions for a shopping cart kids seat humorous. "Nobody could be that dumb", I would snicker to myself ... well, they are. The old timers were right in saying, "treat people like they're stupid."

Saturday, October 08, 2005


Tonight, my wife and I went for ice cream at a local "friendly" establishment. When I ordered an interesting problem arose, peanuts are not available as an ice cream topping. As I have said before in a previous post, in some weird new national trend, individual rights outweigh the rights of the many. Consequently, because a miniscule fraction of patrons have a peanut allergy, nobody gets peanuts. Nobody. Oddly enough peanut butter ice cream, Reese's peanut butter cup toppings, and even peanut brittle are all available on the menu to order. If you know you have an affliction or negative reaction with coming in contact with a particular substance, why (as a somewhat intelligent human being) would even go to a place where you know there is an exposure possibility? For the sake of complaining? Are some people that desperate for attention?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Is Your Head In The Sand?

Air pollution. Just hearing that phrase conjures up thoughts of diesel exhaust, commercial smoke stacks and urban smog. Obviously these are issues that need some attention, but that's not the direction I'm trying to go here. If we as a country are so adamant about healthiness, let's take a more in depth look at the whole issue. How about radio waves from am/fm radio stations, satellite tv, EMF's from power lines, wireless devices within our household, cell phones (held right up to our head) ... the list goes on. All of these things bombard our bodies every day. But, nobody really cares. Why is it that most people only seem concerned about what they can see, and not what they can't? Is ignorance bliss? Or are these aspirations of wellness merely a facade for all of us to admire? Let's face the truth, it is quite fashionable to be health conscience these days.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Money Won''t Just Burn A Hole In Your Pocket ... You'll Need A New Pair Of Jeans By The Time You Spend It!

I ran into an interesting series of events today. You and I, as consumers, have a unique problem that I find hard to believe exists anywhere else but in this country. Last night, while tooling around the internet, I found an item that I wished to purchase. But due to some kind of website error, I could not complete the transaction. So, I waited until today to call the company that manufactures the item so I might purchase it over the phone. Well ... it seems that business is SO good, that there is no need for a sales representative to return any of my phone calls. In fact, they won't ever answer the phone! In any department! I finally got through to a secretary at 11:15am local time! (... THEIR LOCAL TIME!) It is now 8:32 pm, and I am still patiently awaiting any type of return correspondence. Don't fret, I found a similar item from a competitor. The rivals price was a little higher, but I can only imagine the reason for this is to offset the cost of someone there to answer orders that come in by telephone.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Asleep At The Wheel


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

My Computer Called In Sick Today

What is the point of computer viruses? Just about all of us, unfortunately out of necessity, need to run some sort of virus protection/detection programs in our computers these days. It isn't like these afflictions are a product of a normal PC habitat ... they're machines, they don't get sick. If this is the work of frustrated computer programmers looking to settle some sort of score, to all of you I say "Get over yourselves you're not that important. There will always be someone who will work longer hours for less money and do the work in half the time. But if I may add some words of wisdom to turn this into something positive, age and experience will always overcome youth and enthusiasm." Sending computer viruses via either email or download raises one question in my mind. If you had a store that relied on a steady exchange of customers throughout the day, why would you as the store owner lock the door to prevent their entry? Handing out digital diseases to unsuspecting internet browsers just seems like shooting oneself in the foot. Ultimately, they really hurt themselves ... in the wallet.

Monday, October 03, 2005

"Signs" Of Taxpayer Irritation

Today, I saw a troubling sign of the times. While motoring up the highway, I couldn't help but notice a sticker on the rear bumper of a contractors truck that stated "Keep working hard ... millions on welfare are depending on YOU!" At first I found this somewhat humorous, a subtle reminder of the abuse of our welfare system. Wait a minute ... good point! There are countless masses out there working long hours, and in many cases multiple jobs, to make ends meet and keep the bills paid. And yet somehow, our hard earned tax dollars are handed out to people with fictitious injuries, made up mental conditions, and phony handicaps. (But don't worry, these individuals are interviewed annually by the finest case workers that State and Federal agencies have to offer, so we can all rest assured that the system is not being exploited.) As for all the working people out there, at least we all have something that comes with every EARNED paycheck ... PRIDE!!!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Maybe George Jetson Was Trying To Tell Us Something

I saw an advertisement yesterday that could only make me laugh. There is finally a product on the market that has a higher intelligence level than some of it's possible buyers. Oral-B has devised a toothbrush with a computer built in it that not only tells the user when it is time to change the cleaning head, but offers a multitude of different oscillation and pulsation settings (cleaning speeds), and will even let you know when you have brushed for the recommended two minutes. (Just in case anyone may have difficulty counting to 120.) Again, this is another exemplary display of marketing. But honestly, are we all as consumers that dumb? Years ago many scoffed at the idea of artificial intelligence. I would think we are well on our way.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Have I Got A Deal For You

What is the fascination with yard sales? People will come in droves to sift through forgotten about items that others just want to discard. Besides the remote possibility of finding a valuable gem in the piles of outgrown children's clothing and dilapidated yard machines, why is it some just cannot get enough of this vending experience? Here's my personal take on the whole thing. Over a period of time, all of us acquire items that either for some reason we do not need, or have since used to it's fullest potential/worn out. At which point, the items need to be eliminated from our lives and replaced with new items. From the sellers perspective, it only makes sense to try and turn a profit on used stuff, because taking it to the curb or dump may only incur charges for disposal fees. But on the other hand, from a buyers point of view, why would I choose to pay money for somebody else's junk? I know some may say, "I got a great deal on it." Well I would ask them, "Well, if it is that valuable, why are they getting rid of it? They must have a friend who could use it."