Friday, March 31, 2006

So Much For Friendly Skies

People employed as commercial pilots may have finally met their match ... pilotless planes. Some undisclosed airlines have been testing such aircraft for reliability, feasibility, and potential for future commercial uses. I guess that recent airline bankruptcies and perpetual pilot strikes only furthered the desire for such technology. Besides, computers are not afraid of box cutters ... so maybe it's not such a bad idea.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Hostage Or "Low Interest" Loan?

Today, Jill Carroll (a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor) was apparently released from captivity after she had been kidnapped some three months ago. Since January 7, Carroll has been held against her will at an unknown location, and the captors stated they would kill her unless all women detainees in Iraq were set free by no later than February 26th. Well the 26th came and went, and there was no word on what happened to Carroll ... until she turned up unharmed earlier today at an Iraqi political party office. After reading this story, I can't help but think this entire caper was nothing more than preliminary leg work for future book/movie deals. Let's face it, the track record for hostages in Iraq isn't very good. But yet, Carroll was lucky enough to receive deluxe hostage accommodations, such as a furnished room with a working shower, and was also permitted to watch television and soak up an occasional newspaper. She even went so far as to praise how nice her captors were. Either she was hit one too many times in the head with a rifle butt, or she was laying the ground work for her star on the Hollywood walk of fame ... I'm leaning toward the latter.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Round 'Em Up And Send 'Em Home

A few days ago, thousands of protesters in various cities across the country took to the streets to convey their dissatisfaction with the immigration laws coming up for vote in Congress. Many of the protesters chose to wear masks while demonstrating, possibly to hide their faces because of their illegal status in this country. Out of the thousands that showed up for the march, oddly enough these false face wearers were the smartest of the bunch because they at least had the foresight to conceal their identity as to not be arrested. Unfortunately, INS really missed the boat on rounding up all these illegal immigrants ... face it, it's not often that criminals come to you when your in the law enforcement/deportation business.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Be Careful What You Say ... The Dolls Have Ears

Did you know that in 1999, the National Security Agency actually issued a Furby Alert, because the dolls (which came with sophisticated computer chips that enabled them to record and mimic human speech) might "overhear classified information" and repeat it back without warning ... inadvertently passing secret information to potential enemies. While the rest of the country, and the world, braced for the looming Y2K computer glitch that supposedly was going to shut down all computerized operations at every level, the NSA focused their national security efforts on Furbies. What's worse is they were right ... the cute computerized pets WERE actually the greater danger.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Fun Police

The Philadelphia Eagles Dhani Jones was charged with a misdemeanor count of failure to observe a lawful command the other day, because he was reportedly dancing in the street. Although I understand that both obstructing traffic and failing to heed the commands of an identified police officer are both crimes, I personally found it refreshing to read about an athlete that was arrested for something so light hearted. Lately it seems as though major league players do nothing more than take steroids, get drunk and smash cars up, or leave a long list of abused women wherever they go. Finally ... someone arrested for doing nothing more than just being happy, without chemical stimulation.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

An Interesting Perspective

"I'm afraid of planes, I don't trust the oxygen mask. The little orange cup ... attached to the bag that's full of nothing. Maybe I'm cynical. I don't even think that it's an oxygen mask ... I think it's more to just muffle the screams." - Rita Rudner

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Roe Vs. Wade For Men??? ... GROW UP!

Men's rights groups are now claiming that if a man has no desire to become a father, and that his partner understands these wishes, he should have no financial obligation to support the child. Maybe these boys (real "men" own up to their obligations, not run away from them) that have nothing more in mind than personal selfish gratification, should consider the basic reason for sex ... reproduction. If you don't want kids, perhaps you should look at "taking care of yourself" instead. The risk of pregnancy from sexual relations is inherent no matter what provisions are taken ... the chance is always there and the possibility, no matter how remote, is just that ... a possibility. For all you ladies out there that may hook up with these irresponsible and selfish boys, please remember that there are real men out there that are not afraid to accept the responsibilities of their actions. And besides ladies, he obviously doesn't respect himself with that attitude ... why would he respect you at all?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Safety In Numbers

Today, I came across another prime example of engineering over-thought. The Ford Motor Company, for years, has offered a keyless entry system that has a numeric keypad built right into the driver's side door. To enter the locked vehicle, the user must either use the ignition key to manually open the door, or enter a series of numbers to gain access. This idea really is a nice feature, but there is a flaw. The numbers are broken down to two digits per button, looking something like this; [1|2] [3|4] [5|6] [7|8] [9|0]. So, why not just have the numbers 1 through 5? Because when you push the [1|2] button on the keypad, the car doesn't know the difference ... there's only one sensor, so 1 and 2 are really the same thing. The only reason for having ten numbers on the keypad, is to make customers feel better about someone else not having the same code ... that's all.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Presidential Spontaneity

I happened to catch some of President Bush's speech from Wheeling, West Virginia on Wednesday, and found it to be nothing more than a haphazard (and halfhearted at best) attempt to raise public support for the war in Iraq. Obviously, President Bush has finally come to terms with the reality of his terrible approval ratings. Because whenever there is a substantial amount of public uneasiness about what's going on in Washington, you can bet George W. Bush will soon be having a public speech/forum from some small blue collar town, U.S.A. factory ... it never fails. And his speech writers must have just come off a bender, poor George appeared as though he quickly skimmed the teleprompter machine and didn't like the material he saw ... and anyone who happened to catch the speech can tell you, the President's ad-libbing skills have much to be desired. But finally, a chance at the end for the common citizen (that was hand selected and checked multiple times by the secret service for any security risks) to ask our nation's leader an impromptu (preselected and pre-approved) question about the war in Iraq ... what a joke!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Armstrong And Crow Sharing More Than Hugs And Kisses?

Has anyone else noticed that after Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crow's relationship ended, all Subaru commercials no longer feature a world class cyclist saying inspirational phrases such as "driven by what's inside", but rather have reverted back to the typical type car commercial with a musical background of Sheryl Crow's greatest hits?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Forget The Luggage ... Just Buy New Clothes When You Get There

It has been estimated that about 300,000 pieces of personal luggage get lost or stolen every year throughout the airline industry. And in defense, airlines collectively spend around 2.5 billion dollars a year tracking down and returning luggage and compensating passengers for lost items. I fortunately have not been a victim to lost luggage ... yet, but many of my friends have, and I have been told it's quite frustrating. But I really wonder if this disappearing personal paraphernalia mess could easily be avoided by simply employing a system that works. UPS alone claims to have delivered 16.8 million packages a day equating to 6.1 billion deliveries a year ... over twice the amount all the airlines combined handle. Yet, United Parcel Service has a lower package lost/not claimed rate. And, in my opinion, UPS has a greater challenge ... the owner of the goods does not accompany it in transport. Obviously, their system works. Isn't it amazing that a letter or package can make it around the world in two days, yet your baggage can't manage to get from one plane to another in four hours?

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Price Is Right

How ironic that we, as a country, have finally priced ourselves out of business. Today I went to the local plumbing supply house to buy a couple pipe fittings. The parts I needed were very small and did not cost much, but I couldn't help notice they were made in China. So I asked the counter guy if he had anything made in this country ... and yes, I was willing to pay more. He replied, "I got some made in Taiwan." ... not funny. I started to try and comprehend how something made across the world could possibly be sold here, in this country, at a lower cost than the same item made in the U.S.A. And then it hit me ... simple capitalism. Cheaper labor (unions, health care benefits, and retirement plans) and less expensive raw materials actually offset the price enough that it really is cost efficient to ship an item around the globe, and ultimately sell the product for less than the factory down the street can. This all leads me to one question; Who, globally speaking, would actually want to buy things manufactured in this country with such a high retail price?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

How To Give Your Protest Exposure

The other day, I caught a story on the radio that really made me question some peoples reasoning skills. The World Naked Bike Ride 2006 was exactly that ... a chance to gather a large group of people to ride bicycles naked in protest. Protest what you ask? Oil dependency. Where the correlation of oil and nudity come together ... I'm not really sure, but the bicycle part at least makes sense. Personally I'm all for people publicly protesting what they believe in, so long as is it done in a peaceful manner. But riding around on bikes naked has no other purpose than shock value. And truthfully, ten nude bikers would not draw nearly the attention that 2,000 clothed bikes would ... so why even bother to go in a birthday suit? Any chance your organization had of being taken seriously was just "stripped" away. What's next ... gang brawls at the library to promote literacy?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Botox Bonanza

Many people are apparently either afraid of the realism that they are getting old, or feel that are judged by their appearances. I read some statistics tonight the were shocking. Minimally invasive procedures are 53% in the past five years, and 3.8 million injections of Botox were given in 2005 alone. I'm sorry, but seeking medical intervention to cure laugh lines and crows feet, to me, is nothing more than a recreational doctor's office visit. Honestly, if you don't like yourself (internal and/or external) ... why should other people like you? And if you feel that you are judged by your trivial physical short comings, perhaps a psychological doctor may be able to help better than a plastic surgeon.

Friday, March 17, 2006

It's All About Covering Your Doopa

Just about everything anymore come with some sort of disclaimer that releases companies, manufacturers, individuals, and who knows what else, from the "wiggle room" sought out by lawyers to make a quick buck because conditions (regardless of how trivial, obscure, or even relevant) were not brought to the attention of their client. Well, today I saw one that just flat out made me laugh. I happened to walk into the room during a commercial break and caught an advertisement for the game Scene-It. For those who may not know about this game, it's basically a game that utilizes a DVD player and a television to show scenes from movies, and the players must guess from what movie the scene being played is from. During the course of this commercial, I couldn't help but notice a disclaimer that was at the bottom of the screen that stated "DVD player and television not included" ... yeah, that's what it really said! Now, I understand that the makers of this game want to cover their bases ... but you don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the DVD player and the television couldn't possibly fit in the box (which, by the way, is the size of an average board game). Then it hit me ... some idiot somewhere must have tried to sue the company because they purchased the product and expected it to work even though they didn't own a DVD and/or t.v. set, citing they were victims of discrimination. What's even worse ... I wouldn't have even seen the disclaimer if I didn't have a t.v., so why not just say DVD not included?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Enough Already!

Here we go again ... now Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are now rumored to married soon. Why is it that no other celebrity, even the pope, can muster up the amount of publicity that these two can? As far as I can tell, other than the paparazzi and journalists, NOBODY CARES WHAT BRAD PITT AND ANGELINA JOLIE DO! For crying out loud, Phil Collins and his wife of six years Orianne have recently announced they are separating, and you will never see them get the press coverage Brad and Angelina have endured. With all the things happening everyday in this world, domestic and abroad, media outlets must have nothing better to do than keep their eyes on these two. Personally, I get insulted when I tune into the evening news and one third of the broadcast is about the Aniston-Pitt-Jolie love triangle ... it's just not important enough to warrant that much media coverage. But then again, a groundhog takes the limelight for an entire day in February.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Looks Like You Have A Severe Case Of JK Syndrome (JKS)

Mad Cow disease, SARS, Bird Flu ... it's always something. You can't open a newspaper or turn on the television without being bombarded with stories about these illnesses that "will soon reach epidemic levels". But really ... seriously, when is the last time you knew of anyone (anyone at all) that contracted these ailments that are taking the world by storm? Just for fun, I'm going to put together an email about a completely made up sickness ... just to see how much time elapses until my fictitious fevers, counterfeit coughs, and bogus blotches start appearing across the country. And I'll really be proud of my work if it goes international.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Nature's Self Cleansing Process?

There are times when I really question the intelligence level of human beings ... and today is one of those times. In an article on, I read the following; Tara Rose McAvoy, 18, was walking Monday near railroad tracks when she was struck by a Union Pacific train, and killed. McAvoy, who had been deaf since birth, had recently won the title of Ms. Deaf Texas in June. Now I never claimed to be one of stellar intelligence myself, but I do know that trains, during the course of normal operation, do not leave their tracks. So, Ms. McAvoy was not walking near the tracks as the story states ... she was walking on them. Out of all the places a hearing impaired person could go for a stroll, what would possess them to take a hike down the railroad tracks? That's like a blind person taking a motorcycle for a ride to unwind at the end of the day. "Survival of the fittest" ... I think Darwin was on to something there.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Why Not Move Your Business To Canada, Eh?

Yesterday I had an interesting thought. Border patrol officers report the number of illegal border crossings from Mexico to the United States is at an all time high, and shows no sign of letting up. Yet every time I pick up the newspaper, I read about another business packing up, and heading south of the border. Many people that have been caught attempting to enter this country illegally state they merely wanted a better life for their family ... and honestly who could blame them, who doesn't want the best for their loved ones? But with NAFTA enacted and so many corporations relocating to Mexico, why are good paying jobs not in abundance? Was the whole point of NAFTA nothing more than a way to give large corporations enormous tax breaks, prevent them from adhering to local, state, and federal regulations (such as pollution ... just to name one), and to ultimately provide cheap labor without the aggravations of unions and the burden of paying health care benefits? I'm really starting to wonder. Honestly, why else would you want to move your entire business operation to a country, that in many parts, advises people NOT to drink the water?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Land Of The Free Alright

How many times have you seen this scheme? You log onto a website, and are overtaken by a gargantuan and obnoxious "click here for your free gift" ad. Yeah ... ok ... some company is giving away ipods and home computers to any yahoo that clicks on their ads with no strings attached. As pathetic as this advertisements are, they must work. Because if they didn't, the entire idea would have been tossed in the shredder. Like the old timers say, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." My personal favorite, are the emails that we all get everyday about mortgage offers with unbelievably low interest rates and free closing costs due to my excellent credit rating and prompt mortgage payments (which, by the way, I have been receiving since I was 14). I guess people really will do almost anything just to get something for nothing ... even if they don't need what they're getting, so long as it was free.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Thinking Outside The Box

Recently, researchers have found evidence of water pools on Saturn's moon Enceladus. Many experts believe that such a find, coupled with the right conditions of oxygen and an abundant food supply, could yield life elsewhere other than Earth. Honestly, I think these scientists, due to the very nature of their work, really need to start thinking outside the box. If life exists somewhere else in the universe, why must it adhere to the same rules as ours. As we all know, it has been proven time and time again that a living organism will adapt to it's surrounding environment in order to survive. So maybe ... just maybe, extraterrestrial life may thrive in places that organisms from Earth cannot. You would think when twenty-some scientists all sat around together (for who knows how many years waiting for this space probe to get there), someone would have already come up with this theory.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Advertising An Attack?

Today, I saw a billboard ad that stated "If an emergency happens, is your family ready?". My first impression was that the Feds were attempting to promote emergency preparedness on a household level ... probably stemming from lessons learned with recent natural disasters. And I agree, every family should have some sort of an emergency plan. But a closer look at the sign prompted more questions. On the lower right corner of the advertisement was the seal of the Department of Homeland Security, and on the lower left was the Ad Council. The Ad Council is responsible for many public service ads that promote safety and public awareness, so having their logo on the sign didn't surprise me at all ... but the Department of Homeland Security emblem did. If the intent was to remind the public that emergencies can and do happen to ordinary people, and to suggest that families prepare some kind of survival kit, the billboard would have been sponsored by FEMA. After all, FEMA is the one responsible for emergency management on a federal level, not DHS. Why does DHS care if my family and I are ready for anything? I thought their job was to take a proactive approach and prevent a catastrophe from happening in the first place. So, what are they trying to tell me? I guess I'll be sure to include duct tape and plastic sheeting in my survival kit.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Rain Check

It's been a really long day (as you can see by the time stamp on the post), and for once I actually have nothing to say. Tune in tomorrow, I'll be sure to make up for this loss of words.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Taking Care Of Business

Robert McCormick, formerly of the Savvis Communication Corp., racked up a reported $241,000 on his company American Express card from frequenting a local strip club, $20,000 of which was allegedly spent on one night in October of 2003 alone. (I would only think you could fit a certain number of VIP visits into one evening ... but I could be wrong.) Anyway, both Savvis and McCormick refused to pay the balance of the debt causing the credit card company to file a lawsuit against the club, the corporation, and McCormick. A settlement was reached between all parties, and the suit was dropped. But the entire thing left me thinking; Robert McCormick will probably never be able to live down the self inflicted corporate black eye and exploitation of company trust that he so blatantly abused for the sole purpose of nothing more than personal enjoyment ... but he must be one heck of a guy to party with! And after tossing around that much dough, I'm sure he'll land on his feet somewhere after making so many new friends at the club.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


In today's morning newspaper, I caught a story that was more than just a little out of the ordinary. A local man took his SUV to the dealership for a headlight that was burnt out. When the mechanic went to replace the headlamp, he found way more then just your typical wiring accessories. Upon removing the access panel to the headlamp assembly, the technician found sixteen pounds of marijuana neatly tucked away in there. The dealership contacted the police, and the owner was questioned. Judging by the age of the contraband, the cops felt as though the drugs were placed there well before the current owner had possession of the car. Apparently, the vehicle was originally sold to a rental company, then went to auction in New York, was purchased by a local dealer, and then resold to the present owner. Due to the fact the police probably will not be able to determine who put the dope there, they asked (in the article) that the owner of the marijuana to come forward to claim it. Yeah ... right ... they'll come forward ... about the same time D.B. Cooper turns himself in.

Monday, March 06, 2006

"Running" Into The Same Problem Over And Over

I read this story about a sixteen year old girl that had her prosthetic legs stolen ... twice. The girl was struck by a car two years ago, and had her right leg amputated below the knee. In November, the leg was stolen for the first time when someone cut a hole in the screen door, reached in, and took the leg. It mysteriously turned up in the families backyard sometime in January. Then, on Valentine's Day, both versions of the right leg (regular and sports model) were again stolen from her home and returned last week with graffiti on them. My point is this; It's very easy to feel overwhelmed and frustrated with the pressures of daily life, but sometimes reading a story such as this reminds us of the everyday things we all take for granted ... like walking. What's worse, is some sicko gets enjoyment from harassing a young lady who obviously shows more determination and strength than they ever will.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Fat Tuesday ... And Wednesday ... And

It's no secret that humans are now living longer than ever before. This is probably due to the extensive and relentless research of pharmaceutical companies that continuously produce life saving medications and breakthrough medicines. Also, many people are choosing a more healthy outlook in their diets and personal lifestyles ... but are they? I know many are quick to jump on the smoking bandwagon citing that the health effects of such behavior are ultimately dire, and personally I agree that the long term affects of smoking are probably not too good. But the one thing that really plagues me is obesity, Americans are fatter now than ever before. And for some reason, this issue is sticky enough that nobody really wants to acknowledge that obesity related illnesses have far surpassed the amount of ailments of chronic smoking and abusive alcohol consumption. Why? Because fat people are only hurting themselves? (Insert wrong answer buzzer here.) Quite the contrary, obesity related illnesses cost the average American way more. Although health officials were worried about Joe Camel swaying kids to smokes, ... at least that would prompt them to walk to the store and get some exercise.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Taik Mee Owt Tu Thuh Bawl Gaim

Fans of the New York Yankees wishing to catch their favorite players in a pre-season game were greeted with an apology statement informing them that Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon and Bernie Williams would not be participating, due to their involvement in The World Baseball Classic. As if traveling to Tampa, Florida to see these big names in baseball perform and finding out they had prior commitments wasn't bad enough, the sign misspelled the team's name printing it as "The New York Yankess". It gives you that warm bubbly feeling inside knowing that many colleges give away free educations to sports athletes in the form of scholarships, for the sake of having an accomplished sports program ... in other words, a winning team. What's really a shame is how many bright young minds will never have the chance to acquire such an education because their families just can't afford the tuition costs. But at least those financially challenged kids can hold their heads high ... they at least know how to spell.

Friday, March 03, 2006

What Would Our Ancestors Think?

Our ancestors came from all over the world bringing traditions, foods, and languages with them that now gives us a unique cultural diversity the sets us apart from any other country. But even though all of our ethnic backgrounds differ, our predecessors shared a common thread; all of them were willing to learn new customs and languages to be able to communicate and survive in this new country. Somewhere between then and now, that sense of pride and allegiance has not only been misplaced ... it's been forgotten about. For example, public safety employees are (in some cases) forced to learn Spanish to facilitate an open line of communication with the Spanish only speaking public. These members of society have no ambition to even attempt to learn English, and for some reason the rest of the country is slowly becoming bilingual to accommodate them ... rather than convince them to learn the language that is indigenous to the United States. Once again, proof positive that the good of the few will always outweigh the good of the many.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Let It Snow

As predicted, we here in the Northeast got hammered by a crippling snow storm that dumped an astounding three inches of snow over a period of twelve hours. Whew ... good thing the local meteorologists spent such a good portion of the newscasts over the last four days preparing us for the expected blizzard. Really, who would have ever thought such a storm would have ever popped in March ... in Pennsylvania? But what I really find amusing, is that these scare tactics employed by local weathermen actually work. The night before an encroaching storm, local grocery stores see a surge in late night customers buying bread, milk, and eggs ... the "French Toasters" as my wife and I call them. Then when the storm does get here, the unlucky few of these panic stricken souls that are forced to venture out into such intolerable and inclement weather, drive down the road at 5 MPH ... yes 5 MPH with their four ways (hazard lights) on causing all other motorists to perform evasive maneuvers just to avoid smashing in to them. If people really are that frightened by Mother Nature ... perhaps moving to where she has a more favorable environment for your tastes would be your best option. That way, the rest of us can go about our lives without interuption and handle problems that really matter.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Sometimes You Need To Diversify

Well, Blogger forced me to do it. The new Is It Me? (, although I'm still working out the kinks, is (a)live. I as many other bloggers, have finally gotten fed up with crappy templates choices and constant "maintenance outages". I will continue to post here daily, but look forward to giving readers a more interactive experience with the option of publishing their own stories and/or weighing in on the message boards.