I have to admit I'm a bit of an oddball. I suppose most people try to "keep up with the Joneses". But as I look back on my life, I realize that I wasn't born for that. Like the title of the book about Ronald Reagan by Michael Deaver, I'm a different drummer. It is funny that I was born the same year Charlie's Angels and Black Sheep Squadron first hit the air. I also relate a lot to Rocky and Luke Skywalker.
I wasn't even born on the day I should have been. It should have been July 4, but it was May 19. I was born about six weeks early with hearing loss, and weighed only 2 pounds and ten ounces. I literally fit in the palm of my dad's hand. However, I didn't fit into the big world out there.
Well, for the first time in decades, I'm planning to throw a party for myself.
It doesn't hurt to self-indulge once every decade or two. I will send out invitations to people. If people can make it, great. If not, no problem. My idea for this party is to have a venue once I can find one complete with the usual. But I'm throwing in a little twist: a female mud wrestling tournament whereas I take on the eventual winner. Most guys go to bars or prefer women to take their clothes off and what not. I'm into mud wrestling for child's play, not adult entertainment.
So ladies, YOU will get to decide what to wear for this, not me or anybody else.
It doesn't hurt for adults to be like kids from time to time. I just wish adults would act like adults when the time calls for it.
I originally aspired to have a great career perhaps as a movie director or television writer, but I've not been in the industry for some time now. I still follow it and have regular contact with people in the industry. But I've done everything from unloading trucks to pulling pallets to everything in between.
I still dream about doing at least one movie and I will eventually sit down and write that screenplay I've been meaning to write for two years now. Basically, it is set during the 1920's in Chicago, but it is NOT a gangster movie. It has to do with another beloved yet forgotten symbol of that era: The Flapper. I love the flapper because she is so much like me. She flaunts at conventional norms, cut her hair, had petting parties, wore clothes that were outlandish for the time and even makeup.
All these people make a big deal about women burning their bras, listening to Rock N' Roll or even Charlie's Angels. Well, in the 1920's, they were dissing the corset (which I find to be interesting by the way), listening to jazz and bringing boys home.
Nonetheless whatever happens, I've learned especially in this past year, that it wasn't God's will for me to have a great career in any one thing. This is why my plan was diverted years ago. This is why I've done a lot of different things over the years and have a lot of interests, but no single minded goal for any particular career. I did a lot of family vacations when I as younger, but then during my college years and my 20's in particular, I have been too busy with real life to travel. So one of my big goals in 2009 is to travel further west than Nashville for the first time. Specifically, the Big Sur/Carmel area of California and maybe fit in a day to visit Oregon or Los Angeles. Later on, I plan to visit Chicago, Japan, the Cayman Islands to name a few.
I admit, I'm a 19th century man in a lot of ways. I don't talk behind people's backs. I keep my word. I greet a woman by kissing her on the hand (or prefer to anyways), complimenting her on her beauty and asking for her name or how she is doing. Contrast that with how men today are. But I'm also forward thinking enough to find women who can drive a car, shoot a rifle and knows what she wants in life to be interesting. Well, just as it doesn't hurt for a man to get a massage every once in a while, it doesn't hurt for a woman to wear blue jeans either.
The world seems to be falling apart and yes it is bad. But I operate ahead of the curve, plan ahead and will keep moving forward. Case in point is this recession we are in. It has been on-going for at least a year now, but it is only now officially being declared a recession. Yet, I saw this coming years ago. I also have come to the conclusion that based on what we are doing now especially in a policy sense, things will get much worse. You can't borrow, spend and tax yourself out of a recession. It only leads to a depression. Well, what happened after that? See my point?
My study of history gave me inferences to draw upon that while fashions, technology, communications, etc... may change in their methods, on a fundamental level, we are still humans and we do human things. I'm a man of few words, so I will leave it at that.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I have to admit I'm a bit of an oddball. I suppose most people try to "keep up with the Joneses". But as I look back on my life, I realize that I wasn't born for that. Like the title of the book about Ronald Reagan by Michael Deaver, I'm a different drummer. It is funny that I was born the same year Charlie's Angels and Black Sheep Squadron first hit the air. I also relate a lot to Rocky and Luke Skywalker.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Not too long ago, I had a dream about me riding a white horse and wearing what appeared to be an 18th or 19th century military uniform. But it was like a vision of the future more than just the casual dream that people have. It took a little time to interpret this dream and to come to a conclusion about it.
This link about horses gives me some clarity about this dream.
I believe that somewhere in the not so distant future, there is a great calamity that will overcome the Earth. In this vision, I am not certain what has just happened. The land looks destitute. I get the feeling that many people just died here, yet I see no bodies. There are physical and mental components to this soon to be epic struggle, but it will largely be a spiritual battle between good and evil. As I'm riding this horse whose name is Liberty and she is a lady, I charge across the battlefield obscured in smoke, mist, fog, etc... I get the sense that things are flying around me, but I don't see any muskets or cannon shot. Finally, about mid-way, I'm hit near the heart and I fall off Liberty. Liberty is also hit several hits and has a big spot of blood that is striking against her white coat. We both hit the ground. Then all of the sudden, everything seems to stop except the sound of a heartbeat. People are standing around as if time had stopped. A few people even cry almost to indicate that they were guilty of something.
I suffer greatly in this dream. Friends will become enemies and people whom I thought were my enemies become friends. Even complete strangers become friends.
I also age a great deal in this dream perhaps as much as 20 years in a few years time. My health takes a turn for the worse. But I do prevail in whatever is happening whereas many people die.
In essence, this dream is telling me that I will be called upon to lead the people through whatever calamity that we are going through. But as with my experience with people now, they are good talkers, but terrible listeners. I'm an excellent listener, but a man of few spoken words. I prefer to write. It is like there is a disconnect. This event will be one of many battles and involve millions perhaps billions of people. But on an individual level, it will be very lonely. The hit hear my heart is symbolic of suffering heartbreak, yet I don't die.
I even had a vision of my death. It reads on a futuristic looking calendar "July 4, 2076". Well, I was supposed to have been born on July 4, 1976. But it was May 19th of the same year. I'm surrounded by a few friends and family particularly a beautiful woman. But she appears to be around 90. Thus, I am unable to tell what she would have looked like in her younger age. I gradually pass away and then it fades to black like in a movie. No military funerals or big parades. Just fades to black.
I'm still in training, learning patience, humility, and grace while overcoming my insecurities. The knife, rifle and sword will be used, but in limited roles. Only God knows for sure what will truly happen. But I've come to realize that I was born to accomplish some great task that God has set before me. Ultimately, I've just realized that unlike most people, I wasn't meant to have a career. I have a calling.
For most of my life, I wanted to be like Han Solo. Cool, confident, in control of his environment. Yet, I came to realize, initially fought, but now accept that I'm more like Luke Skywalker. How does a simple farm boy even begin to muster the ability to take on something like the Empire?
Of course, we all have dreams and this is probably just another one. But this dream had me thinking about its meaning unlike most other dreams I've had or at least dreams that I remember snippets of. As one of my Facebook friends tells me, "I'd say the universe is telling you it's time to get ready to rumble."
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Some of you are dreading Christmas. Some of you are looking forward to it. Then there are those of us who are already working on plans for 2009 and beyond. What can I say? I'm a forward-thinking individual. My general thought on 2008 was good. Not great, but not horrible either. I like everyone have had my share of good, bad, mudane, boring, exciting, etc... Just go through my blog to get an idea of what I'm talking about.
Many people are going through layoffs. It is disappointing to a degree.
But from someone who has been through a layoff, it is not the end of the world.
Some of us are glad the election is over while some of us are already making plans for 2012. As for me, I'm mostly focused on taking giant strides in 2009 while aiming further down the road in spite of all that is going on around me.
I've been able to make many connections on Facebook, MySpace, my blog, etc... that could bode well for the future especially in terms of my social activities and career changes that I'm working on. I've also reconnected with a bunch of high school buddies and several people I knew in college.
I've always been a low-key guy, but lately, I've been wanting to break out of my shell. I even had a crazy dream the other night that I was a male stripper. LOL. Not telling who the ladies where in my dream. That's a hush-hush.
So what am I aiming to do in 2009? The economy is bad and I've been cautious about it. But I've managed to save, skimp, pinch pennies without starving to death in order to make serious inroads towards purchasing a house or something along those lines hopefully by this Spring or Summer. If that happens, I will be able to have my birthday party at my own place. I'm thinking about having the usual, but with a added twist thrown in for good measure. Here is a hint: it is a fad that came about in the 1980's.
I worked in television starting out while in college such as Community Television of Knoxville, Scripps Networks plus some free-lance production work. I've not been in the industry in a while, but I still keep in touch with several former co-workers and follow up on things. It may not lead to a job right now, but there are possibilities in the future. Besides, a resume and college degree don't mean much in and of themselves anymore. It is knowing the right people and being in the right place at the right time. Trust me! I know what I'm talking about. I am also working on several concepts for movie and TV show ideas. I came up with another one just this afternoon while soundly asleep (most of my ideas come to me this way) that certainly would be timely. I will give you one clue: it is about an investment banker who smokes a peace pipe.
I also have other ideas, but we will have to see. The main thing is to make connections and get some outlines, scripts, screenplays, etc...
I have also started writing songs in the past year. I'm up to about 30 or so now. Ultimately, I will go through the process of copyrighting, marketing, making connections, etc... So I think I would be up for this in the long-term. There are a bunch of singers, some established, some aged like fine wine, and some upcoming that I would like to work with. When it comes to music, I'm generally not picky about it. I like some of today's singers and songs, but I can just as easily listen to Foreigner, Madonna and Michael Jackson.
I also want to take several trips out west. I've been to every Southern state except Louisiana and Mississippi. I've also been to Philadelphia, PA, Cincinnati, OH, and Indianapolis, IN. I plan to visit California next year most likely around the Carmel or Big Sur area. I may also take a day long trip down to L.A. or up to Oregon.
I would also love to be able to meet Joan Fontaine if it comes to that. But only at her invitation. There are so many movie stars from the old days I would have loved to have met or worked with had the opportunity been there. Joan is one of the last from Hollywood's Golden Age, so it would be fitting.
That is about all I have time for now. What are some of your goals and plans for 2009? Please be more elaborate than "I want to lose weight, "I want to get married"? Don't we all? So, fire away!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
The Tennessee Valley Authority, better known as TVA, has a coal-burning power plant located near Harriman, Tennessee, along Interstate 40 between Knoxville and Nashville. The stuff that is left over after TVA burns their coal is called coal ash.
Coal ash contains mercury and dangerous heavy metals like lead and arsenic materials found naturally in coal are concentrated in the ash.
TVA has a huge mountain of this coal waste material stored in a gigantic pile next to their Harriman (Kingston) power plant, alongside a tributary of the Tennessee River.
On Monday morning Dec. 22 around 1:00 am, the earthen retaining wall around this mountain of coal ash failed and approximately 500 million gallons of nasty black coal ash flowed into tributaries of the Tennessee River - the water supply for Chattanooga TN and millions of people living downstream in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.
This Tennessee TVA spill is over 40 times bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, if local news accounts are correct.
To see an amazing aerial video of the spill - the big hunks and chunks in the river are mounds of coal ash.
Charles Ponzi started the first such scheme in Boston in 1916. He convinced some people to allow him to invest their money, but he never made any real investments. He just took the money from later investors and gave it to the earlier investors, paying them a handsome profit on what they originally paid in. He then used the early investors as advertisements to get more investors, using their money to pay a profit to previous investors, and so on.
To keep paying a profit to previous investors, Ponzi had to continue to find more and more new investors. Eventually, he couldn't expand the number of new investors fast enough and the system collapsed. Because he never made any real investments, he had no funds to pay back the newer investors. They lost all the money they "invested" with Ponzi. Ponzi was convicted of fraud and sent to prison for three years. After being deported to Italy in the 1930's, for a brief time, he became a economic adviser to Benito Mussolini. Then, he was sent to Rio de Janeiro as business manager for Italy's LATI airlines.
Just like Ponzi's plan, Social Security does not make any real investments -- it just takes money from later "investors," or taxpayers, to pay benefits to earlier, now retired, taxpayers. Like Ponzi, Social Security will not be able to recruit new "investors" fast enough to continue paying promised benefits to previous investors. Because each year there are fewer young workers relative to the number of retirees, Social Security will eventually collapse, just like Ponzi's scheme.
If an employer thinks the employee is subject to the tax, the employer should have to prove it. The U.S. Supreme Court has also already ruled that you can't be taxed for simply existing or exercising your right to work. "A state may not impose a charge for the enjoyment of a right granted by the Federal Constitution." Murdock v Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105, pg 113 (1943). In other words, such events must be taxable for revenue purposes and a law must have been enacted that imposes a tax on that activity or event. If it is law, it would be in the books. When the employer says you are required to submit a social security number or fill out a withholding form as a condition for being hired, is it based on a federal law or statute or just an employer making it up? I have a letter from the Social Security Administration that says "The Social Security Act does not require a person to have a Social Security Number to live and work in the United States, nor does it require a Social Security number simply for the purpose of having one."
On the IRS website, there is a paragraph that reads "Social Security and Medicare taxes pay for benefits workers and their families receive under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Social security taxes pay for benefits under the old age, survivors, and disability insurance part of FICA. Medicare taxes pay for hospital benefits." What this paragraph does is confuse the tax itself with the spending power. Taxes, regardless of their name are just that, taxes. They are not earmarked to any program regardless of the revenue act in which it is collected under. There is no such thing as a Social Security Trust Fund, nor is it anything related to paying insurance premiums. All these taxes, being uniform are taxes on certain activities and privileges and thus go into the general fund at the Treasury Department. 'We must conclude that a person covered by the Act has not such a right in benefit payments as would make every defeasance of "accrued" interests violative of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.'
Flemming v. Nestor, 363 U.S. 603 (1960).
According to the Social Security Administration, "Conceptually, the old-age insurance program was a social insurance program with an obvious connection between the taxes collected in Title VIII of the Act and the benefits paid in Title II of the Act. The taxing and spending provisions of the Act were placed in separate titles in the vain hope of convincing the courts that what was obvious was not the case--that is, so that the argument could be made that the taxing and spending provisions had nothing to do with each other."
The proceeds of both taxes are to be paid into the Treasury like internal revenue taxes generally, and are not ear-marked in any way. Section 807(a), 42 U.S.C.A. 1007(a).
Helvering v. Davis, 301 U.S. 619 (1937)
(a) The proceeds of the tax in controversy are not earmarked for a special group.
Steward Mach. Co. v. Davis, 301 U.S. 548 (1937)
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
"I just don't think it's a very good use of the units if they are not going to be doing combat advising in an effective way," says one Special Forces officer with recent experience in Afghanistan. "I don't know any Special Forces who think that's really what we need over there."
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
By Chuck Baldwin
December 16, 2008
My good friend, Tom DeWeese, chairman of the American Policy Center, recently issued an urgent alert regarding a revived effort to assemble a modern Constitutional Convention. Mind you, the United States has not assembled such a Convention since 1787, when a Constitutional Convention replaced the Articles of Confederation with the U.S. Constitution. Fortunately, the delegates to the Con Con of 1787 were composed of freedom-loving patriots who had just fought a bloody war for independence and were in no mind to reenact tyranny upon the land they had just fought to liberate. However, can one imagine what would happen if the current bunch of politically correct leftists in Washington, D.C., were to be granted the power to rewrite our Constitution? It would be the end of the United States of America, and that is no hyperbole.
The modern Con Con effort began back in the 1970s. Since then, 32 states have issued the call. The total number of states that are required to enact the Con Con is 34. Simple math reveals that we are only two states short of this disaster. As word of this potential calamity began to surface, the effort stalled with the total states issuing the call stuck at 32. With the election of Barack Obama, however, supporters of a Con Con have been emboldened and are now trying to resurrect the momentum. The state that is currently in the crosshairs appears to be Ohio.
States that have already approved a Con Con include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. A few of these states have since seen the error of their ways and have voted to rescind their approvals. This fact, alone, should be enough to kill the push for another Con Con, but don't expect the powers that be to see it that way. Therefore, it seems that if Ohio approves the Con Con, only one more state would be required, and upon the call of that 34th state, a Con Con would be seated. And, no doubt, state number 34 is already sitting quietly, but excitedly, in the wings, ready to act with "lightning speed" to seal the deal.
Lest anyone take this lightly or think that a Constitutional Convention is no big deal, DeWeese properly warned, "In truth no restrictive language from any state can legally limit the scope or outcome of a [Constitutional] Convention! Once a Convention is called Congress determines how the delegates to the Convention are chosen. Once chosen, those Convention delegates possess more power than the U.S. Congress itself."
DeWeese is right. If called, a modern Constitutional Convention could declare the U.S. Constitution to be null and void, and could completely rewrite the document.
For example, former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger once declared, "There is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention. The Convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda."
Given the fact that Washington, D.C., is comprised mostly of Big-Government liberals and neocons, it is almost certain that the founders' Constitution--which was founded on the principles of Natural Law that protects individual liberty--would be replaced with some sort of "collective rights" document protecting an ambiguous "common good." At that point, there is no more United States of America. There would be no more Bill of Rights protecting individuals from governmental abuse and overreach. Furthermore, the principles of Natural Law would be forever removed as a basis of all our nation's laws and statutes. The nation that had been bequeathed to us by our forebears would be gone forever.
Yes, it is that bad, and, yes, it is that close to happening!
In the short term, every freedom-loving American must do everything they can RIGHT NOW to prevent this from happening. Since the state of Ohio is currently in the crosshairs, it would behoove us to contact every person we know in Ohio and do whatever it takes to motivate them to be sure to let their Ohio legislators know how dangerous this is. Residents and citizens of Ohio need to make sure the Ohio legislature rejects the call for a Constitutional Convention. By the same token, it would be wise for all of us who live in states that have not yet ratified the call for a Con Con to contact our state legislators to make sure that they understand the issue, and that they will do everything in their power to resist any attempt to call for a Constitutional Convention. For more information on the status of a new Con Con and how to fight it, go to the American Policy Center web site.
In the longer term, there is another question that must be addressed. What will we do if and when a modern Constitutional Convention is called and our U.S. Constitution is declared null and void, with a completely new constitution enacted? Which states will reject the new constitution? Which states will declare their independence from any such new union? Or, will they all surrender their state constitutions and go along with this Twenty-First Century New World Order--a New World Order that will doubtless incorporate some form of North American Community or Union?
It might be a very good idea to immediately begin identifying those states that would unequivocally reject any new union, and would be willing to declare their independence from whatever government would evolve from a modern Constitutional Convention. Yes, I am saying it: we may need to resurrect the original Thirteen Colonies, except they would probably not number thirteen, and, in all likelihood, they would not be located on the East Coast.
I am convinced that there are still millions of Americans who are sick and tired of surrendering their liberties to Big-Government sycophants in both the Democrat and Republican parties, and that if a Constitutional Convention is called--and our U.S. Constitution is wiped away or rewritten--are ready and willing to declare their independence all over again. So, I issue the call: where are the new Thirteen Colonies?
We better start looking now, because there will come a point when the time for looking for good ground is over and the time to stand our ground will be upon us.
© 2008 Chuck Baldwin - All Rights Reserved
Chuck Baldwin is Founder-Pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida. In 1985 the church was recognized by President Ronald Reagan for its unusual growth and influence.
Dr. Baldwin is the host of a lively, hard-hitting syndicated radio talk show on the Genesis Communications Network called, "Chuck Baldwin Live" This is a daily, one hour long call-in show in which Dr. Baldwin addresses current event topics from a conservative Christian point of view. Pastor Baldwin writes weekly articles on the internet http://www.ChuckBaldwinLive.com and newspapers.
To learn more about his radio talk show please visit his web site at: www.chuckbaldwinlive.com. When responding, please include your name, city and state.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
On this day in 1887, Alvin York was born in Pall Mall, Tennessee. I have heard the legend of Sgt. York since I was a little boy and saw the movie Sergeant York for the first time one Saturday afternoon in late 1988. He certainly belongs in the same category as his hero Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett and others who were sharp with a rifle although may have preferred to be known for the other deeds they did in life.
This was also my introduction to Gary Cooper. Over the years, I have also come to enjoy many of his other roles like Mr. Deeds Goes To Town and Meet John Doe. But Sgt. York will always be the #1 Cooper movie for me. He was the personal choice of Alvin's to play him and the movie wouldn't have been made otherwise. I also thought Joan Leslie was as cute as a button in this movie.
You can also view more images from the movie by joining the Joan Leslie fan group.
Friday, December 12, 2008
The 21st century indeed had people remembering her just as she was. She became the subject of songs, biographies, Web sites, comic books, movies and documentaries. A new generation of fans bought thousands of copies of her photos, and some feminists hailed her as a pioneer of women's liberation.
Monday, December 8, 2008
The 20th Century was certainly one of tremendous transition. We crossed over from horses and trains to automobiles and aircraft. Empires crumbled and nations collapsed; it saw economic boom periods like the Roaring 20's, the 1990's as well as down periods like the Great Depression, the stagflation of the 1970's and several recessions.
The Spanish flu killed as many as 50-100 million people depending on which source you refer to. Another pandemic is long overdue in my opinion. The United States was on the move from the farms to the big cities after World War I ("The War To End All Wars") and then from the big cities to the suburbs after World War II.
The Soviet Union fell, but communism itself is alive and well.
As the case with life itself, nothing stays the same. The 21st century will be another century of rapid change. "They" are just now referring to this current economic downturn as a recession when those who study these events have known they would occur years ago. None of these things are surprising, although worrisome to a certain degree.
Most people can't even explain what caused the first Great Depression which is the very thing that is causing this one. So we can't even begin to address it. It is a by-product of human nature. Much like a person eating too much or people always being in a rush to keep up with the neighbors instead of slowing down and gaining a proper perspective.
I'm afraid we are going to have to undergo more painful surgery and complications before we finally "get it" and thus perhaps take a corrective course of action. Food shortages, military dictatorships, tax revolts for better or worse are all in the future. Another world war isn't out of the question either. Just brace yourselves, store up on necessities like food, water, gold, etc..., pray and determine a future course of action. It will just have to run its course.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Now that you have at least some idea of what to do and what not to do while in a public place, how about that girl you have an interest in.
For starters, while there are many things you can do to impress a woman from taking her white water rafting on a first date (shows you are thinking outside the box) to something as routine as doing the laundry, there are some almost surefire ways to NOT impress a woman.
Among these would include asking a woman her age and weight the first time you walk up to her (they are sensitive about this; don't ask me why), burping, farting and talking with your mouth full at the dinner table.
Now about dinner. I suppose dinner and a movie is so routine, that is is bound to not impress a woman in and of itself. I mean, have you ever seen a woman jump for joy about eating a chili cheese dog or those little bitty things that past for fries at McDonald's? So, she gets all spruced up by taking a shower, shaving her armpits and legs, putting on perfume, having her hair and nails done at the salon, putting on lipstick, putting on her necklace and ear rings, putting on her little bitty watch. Well you get the picture. Thank God she didn't have to bother with a bra and panties. Who needs those anyways?
Now if she being the "weaker" sex can do all of these days, then it shouldn't hurt to do at least half of what she did. I mean it helps to clean up and dress up a little. Or you can always do a Woodstock version of a date. No harm there. If the cold weather makes you feel homey, how about actually staying at home and showing off your cooking skills? I'm have my own version of hamburgers that is much better than fast food and sausage and shrimp jumbo that isn't too shabby either.
In my case, a goatee, mustache, full beard and any of the other variations of facial hair don't work on me aside from the three or four old day growth which would then have to be shaven off since it interferes with women's ability to see my baby face and to touch my baby smooth face.
Shaving one's facial hair, trimming nose hairs, ear hairs, pulling eyelashes, shaving chest hair, or whatever else you do should all be done in the privacy of one's home, apartment, cardboard box or where ever it is you reside these days.
I mean there is nothing more gross about having to eat soup that has one's long nose hairs in them. Right? Just be careful to not do so much that it indicates that you spend more time looking at yourself in the mirror than a woman does.
So after picking her up, or maybe she picked you up or maybe you both met at the restaurant, you should then go about your business. Now I suppose you could go to a bar and watch female oil wrestling, but I would think that would be taking things a little far on a first date.
I also advise that in addition to not taking her to a fast food restaurant on a first date (unless you are a teenager in love for the first time, but have no money), you should also try something a little more interesting than those chain restaurants. Nothing wrong with them in and of themselves. But come on! If you are going to take her to one of those, why not book a flight to the West Coast so at least she can have a different view of things. If you live on the West Coast, the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee are nice for a change minus the smog, but then why not get a resort for a weekend getaway?
Anyways, as you are entering the restaurant, if you are wearing a hat (and I don't mean the baseball version either), then remove it. Of course, if you were wearing something a bit classier anyways, it would indicate that you pay attention to small details. Besides, a hat is nice to have at this time of the year. As you are being presented with the table by the waiter, if she is wearing a coat, take the coat and hand it to the waiter. Engage in brief conversation about something other than the bad economy (I know this from personal experience), order your meal and then talk some more. Try to be attentive to her without staring and without indicating that you are actually more interested in her assets than anything else.
Don't dominate the conversation. This indicates that you have a fragile ego. With the economy being the way it is these days, no one from the chronically homeless to the investment banker on Wall Street (do they even exist as a occupation anymore?) can afford to have a big ego.
Take your time as this indicates you are more interested in getting your relationship off on the right track than your stomach.
Some other ideas while you are on a date would include:
Always open doors be it the car, house, a place open to the public, etc... Pretty self-explanatory.
Do not curse
Swearing is a big no-no. It shows that you don't have the vocabulary to express your thoughts appropriately. Furthermore, it is always very crude and impolite to be vulgar.
Do not speak loudly
When you speak loudly, it raises the stress level among company. It always implies that you can't reason with people and rely on "brute force" to get your point across. It also draws attention -- negative attention.
Do not spit.
A lot of men do this almost subconsciously. Spitting is very crude and not too pretty to look at. Do not spit in public unless you want to look like you were raised in a sewer.
Put on her coat
Always help a lady put on her coat or overgarment. This is a simple but powerful action.
Help with her seat
If an unaccompanied lady is sitting next to you, it is important that you help her be seated by pulling her chair out for her and gently pushing it back into place, with the lady seated of course.
Give up your seat
If a lady arrives at the table and there are no available seats, you should stand up and offer yours to her.
Stand at attention
Always stand when a lady enters or exits the room. This rule has been somewhat relaxed, so you can stand upon entrance but remain seated upon exit. Nonetheless, if you can do both, you should.
Give her your arm
When escorting a lady (that you know) to and from social events, you should offer her your arm. This is a little more intimate, but serves well when walking on uneven ground -- especially if she's wearing high heels.
Ask if she needs anything
This is one that most guys already do, but helps complete the gentleman in all of us nevertheless. When at social events, make sure to ask the lady if you can get her something to drink (or eat, depending on the event). Show her that you care about her comfort and needs.
Hopefully, this will be enough to get you started. I can't be everywhere for you anyways. So get going!
Saturday, December 6, 2008
(Part 1 in a series)
Now if you follow me (thank you very much!), you probably glanced at that headline and thought it was along the lines of "Let's take a scroll down Magnolia Avenue and pick up women who have no teeth". This is just me thinking like a newspaper editor. We have to attract readers somehow. (Forgive me if this has any typos as I'm trying to watch the SEC Championship Game. May the best team win!)
Anyways, at times I can get increasingly annoyed at how inconsiderate people can be these days be it men or women. Basically a lack of etiquette. I suppose it has always been like this to a certain extent. But even more so now. Or maybe social graces and good taste went out the window along with greeting a lady by kissing her on the hand. It is a bit old fashioned, but still illustrates the point. Of course, this is interpreted as being sexual today, so you would be inviting a sexual harassment lawsuit.
In the military, they are trained to say "Yes, Sir!", and "Thank you, mam!", clean, iron and hang their clothes and show up on time if not a little bit early.
To illustrate several examples of etiquette, I will use two examples I used recently. Just this past week, a woman with a toddler in her arms was getting a shopping cart. She pulled it into the store and attempted to put the child in the seat. It kept moving thus making it difficult to properly place the child there. Well, what would you do if you came across this situation? I, for one, would say don't stand there like a dunderhead. Hold the cart for her. So that is what I did.
Another example is on several occasions, a co-worker of mine (all 5'3", 105 pounds or so of her) would go on a smoke break. Obviously at this time of the year, it is colder and it was clear she wasn't enjoying it being outside. So, I offer her my coat. Of course, my coat is three sizes too big for her, but then it would be a nice blanket. She can either accept or decline.
These kind of these things would generally impress a woman more than say hooting and hollering at her. Save it for the guys when you all go to a bikini contest or something along those lines.
Now onto the social graces like things you should and shouldn't do at the dinner table.
Friday, December 5, 2008
"The newspapers were full of news about bankclosings, business failing, and people out of work...We were in debt with no way out" - Carmen Carter
In 1932 at least 200,000 young people and 25,000 families roamed through the country looking for food, clothing, shelter, and a job.
"I remember standing in the welfare line somewhere on Michigan Avenue where they were passing out sweaters for children" - Richard Waskin
"There was much hardship. Many people sold pencils on the street for 1 penny. Others were so devastated, they committed suicide by jumping out of windows of a skyscraper in New York City." - Thomas Johnston
On October 29, 1929, also known as "Black Tuesday," 16.4 million shares of stock were sold, compared to 4 to 8 million on a normal day.
"The reasoning of the authorities involved was as follows: if the Federal Reserve pumped excessive paper reserves into American banks, interest rates in the United States would fall to a level comparable with those in Great Britain; this would act to stop Britain's gold loss and avoid the political embarrassment of having to raise interest rates. The "Fed" succeeded; it stopped the gold loss, but it nearly destroyed the economies of the world, in the process. The excess credit which the Fed pumped into the economy spilled over into the stock market, triggering a fantastic speculative boom. Belatedly, Federal Reserve officials attempted to sop up the excess reserves and finally succeeded in braking the boom. But it was too late: by 1929 the speculative imbalances had become so overwhelming that the attempt precipitated a sharp retrenching and a consequent demoralizing of business confidence. As a result, the American economy collapsed. Great Britain fared even worse, and rather than absorb the full consequences of her previous folly, she abandoned the gold standard completely in 1931, tearing asunder what remained of the fabric of confidence and inducing a world-wide series of bank failures. The world economies plunged into the Great Depression of the 1930's."
Alan Greenspan, Gold and Economic Freedom, 1966.
The freedom to purchase food directly form the source is increasingly under attack. For those who have food allergies and chemical intolerances, or who are on special medical diets, this is becoming a serious health issue. Will Americans retain the right to purchase food that is uncontaminated by pesticides, herbicides, allergens, additives, dyes, preservatives, MSG, GMOs, radiation, etc.? The melamine scare from China underscores the increasingly inferior and suspect quality of modern processed institutional foods. One blog, commenting on the bizarre and troubling Manna Storehouse situation, observed that:
“No one is saying exactly why. At the same time the FDA says it it safe to eat the 40% of tainted beef found in Costco's and Sam's all over the nation. These farm raids are very common now. Every farmer needs to fully eqiped [sic] for the possibility of it happening to them. The Farmer To Consumer Legal Defense Fund was created just for this purpose. The USDA just released their plans to put a law into action that will put all small farmers out of business. Animals for the sale of meat or milk will only be allowed in commercial farms, even the organic ones.” December 3, 2008 7:09 PM
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
If you follow UT Vol football, by now, you know that Lane Kiffin is the newest head coach. As can be expected, there are already plenty of naysayers who say everything from he being too young for a top program like UT, not enough experience, bad with the Raiders, etc...
This to me is akin to saying, "Well, since she has children and is divorced, I won't marry her. I want to marry Miss Perfect!" Well, you will be waiting for a long time then.
Besides, Don Shula was only 33 when he became head coach of the Baltimore Colts. At least that didn't work out too badly. As long as the Raiders are run by Al Davis, they will be a messed up team as will the Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions. Personally, I think the owners of these teams are senile and blood doesn't flow to their brains either.
So, in a nutshell, give the man a chance before jumping to conclusions.
Monday, December 1, 2008
According to some sources, as many as 750,000 people have loss their jobs this year with more on the way. This past year has all the markings of a run-up to another 1930's style of economic calamity. I can say with absolute certainty that things will generally get much worse before they will get better. History may not repeat itself, but it often imitates.
Being a student of history, I've learned that the Civil War and the period leading up to World War I mirror the Cold War as empires fought for supremacy of the Earth. The 1850's and the Jazz Age bear many parallels to the 1990's.
The Great Depression of the 1930's parallel our current times or at least the very early stages of it.
Let's not think our modern technologies will protect us. You can't change human nature.
I just wonder when a Gulf of Tonkin type of incident will be used to trigger a war with China and India. Has it happened already? After all, they are the United State's largest competitors for the world's natural resources. But I digress.
Now what does this have to do with being laid off? Well, by studying history, we can learn how we got from there to here, perhaps draw inspiration and eventually although not likely to learn from our ancestor's errors.
One former TV anchor whom I've been a fan of for a long time, Daryn Kagan blogged about her own experiences and what to do about it.
As for my own thoughts on dealing with being laid-off, generally, while it is a bad experience, it is not the end of the world. After being laid off from Scripps Networks where I did part-time work as a free-lance worker and then as a media services specialist from August 1999 through November 2001, I realized within a month or so that it wasn't going to be as simple as just looking for another similar job and submitting my resume like it had been during those wonderful dot.com bubble days. In any event, like a car wreck, cancer or a near death experience would be for many people, this was my wake up call. I have grown from being one who was a bit naive about the world around me to a bit of a realist with idealistic intentions, but a realist nonetheless.
So, what practical steps can you take after being laid off aside from knowing it is not the end of the world? First and foremost, don't take this experience too personally. It is easy to think you are the only person this is happening to when in fact many people are experiencing the same thing or have in the past and will in the future.
Hopefully, while you were working, you managed to save up at least some money to tide you over for at least a few months. It may help to secure even a part-time job so at least you can cover gas and food for the week while you job-search.
Starting or joining a support network could be a good idea perhaps through your professional contacts or members of your church who are going through the same thing. Always keep your contacts handy. After all, it is who you know, not what you do that gets you the best work.
Inspire to start a new career. The biggest mistake I made after being laid-off in 2001 was thinking this economic downturn was temporary or that I would be able to find a similar job somewhere. Once the job is deleted, it is likely not coming back anytime soon. I thought the usual routine of just submitting my resume 1990's style would do it. You have to update your methods and your resume. But I've also learned that a resume (and a college degree!) are not a cure-all. Over the past seven years, while I've worked jobs I wouldn't care to make a career out of, I have also decided to focus on my future and most importantly I'm following my heart this time around. I've read a story about a Chief Financial Officer who had to take a job as a cashier at Home Depot after being out of work for six months because he couldn't find anything similar to what he was doing before. It can be a blow to one's self-esteem to do this, but nothing stays the same. But I've also watched a program once where a lady in her mid 50's after being in corporate America for most of her life, was laid off and then decided to start her own cookie baking business and says she is happy doing what she always wanted to do: running her own business.
I've learned that often times it is your own attitude and your view on being laid off that really counts. If it wasn't that, then it would be not getting admitted to college, getting divorced, a child dying from cancer, etc... It is a matter of perspective.
So while you are job-hunting, take up a new hobby like creative writing or rock climbing. Take that vacation you've been wanting to take for years now that you have time and hopefully money from your old job. Join a local social group on Meetup.com or get back in touch with classmates on Facebook.com
You never know where your contacts will lead you.
I know times are bad and will get worse. But, I'm focusing on the future. I've now learned to follow my heart and that is why I've embarked on working towards several new careers at once. I'm no longer cut out for the run of the mill 9-5 job pushing papers on a desk.
I also would love to be a football coach or teacher. I was too small in high school to play, but I've continued to follow the game and study the nuances of it. I'm attempting to at least work towards obtaining a position somewhere, but only time will tell. My relative lack of experience doesn't help, but you have to start somewhere right? At least I'm motivated, flexible with my options and willing to do what it takes including being on the road constantly recruiting players. I feel more at home with high school kids than I do with professional athletes anyways, but wherever there is an opportunity, I will go.
So, get out there and get it done!
Media Forced To Backtrack On Al-Qaeda Link To Mumbai Attacks
Paul Joseph Watson
Friday, November 28, 2008
After brazenly declaring that the Mumbai attacks were the work of Al-Qaeda, the corporate media has been forced to backtrack, while India continues to blame Pakistan in a dangerous escalation of rhetoric between the two nuclear-armed powers.
Bellicose propaganda about Bin Laden being behind the massacre, which was initially propagated by the BBC, London Times and Fox News amongst others, has largely evaporated, with the majority of the establishment press being forced to admit they have no idea who was behind the siege on India’s financial capital.
However, India’s claim that Pakistan had a hand in the attacks is beginning to find favor in the U.S., where one counterterrorism official told CNN, “the level of sophistication in the attack leads officials to believe that it might be tied to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (Army of the Pure), an Islamic extremist group that has carried out previous attacks in India.
Lashkar-e-Tayyiba would be a useful scapegoat because it has alleged links both to Al-Qaeda and Pakistani’s ISI secret service, but since the group has vehemently denied responsibility and terrorists normally like to claim responsibility for their handiwork, any attempt to pin the blame is likely to run out of steam. Lashkar-e-Tayyiba always claim responsibility for their attacks, so their outright denial is the death knell for this explanation.
That India would immediately exploit the tragedy to demonize their arch-enemy Pakistan was fully expected, but how Pakistan, which has recently made numerous peaceful overtures towards India, could possibly benefit from crazed terrorists indiscriminately gunning down innocent people in shocking scenes played out on international television defies belief.
But that reasoning did not prevent India’s Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee from telling a press conference today that, “Preliminary evidence, prima facie evidence, indicates elements with links to Pakistan are involved.
In reality, as we have repeatedly emphasized, the attacks were likely not the work of Al-Qaeda, Pakistan, the Mossad or the CIA, but Indian Muslims.
As author Tariq Ali points out today, “The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, has insisted that the terrorists were based outside the country. The Indian media has echoed this line of argument with Pakistan (via the Lashkar-e-Taiba) and al-Qaeda listed as the usual suspects.
“But this is a meditated edifice of official India’s political imagination. Its function is to deny that the terrorists could be a homegrown variety, a product of the radicalization of young Indian Muslims who have finally given up on the indigenous political system. To accept this view would imply that the country’s political physicians need to heal themselves.
“Why should it be such a surprise if the perpetrators are themselves Indian Muslims? Its hardly a secret that there has been much anger within the poorest sections of the Muslim community against the systematic discrimination and acts of violence carried out against them of which the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in shining Gujarat was only the most blatant and the most investigated episode, supported by the Chief Minister of the State and the local state apparatuses.
“Add to this the continuing sore of Kashmir which has for decades been treated as a colony by Indian troops with random arrests, torture and rape of Kashmiris an everyday occurrence. Conditions have been much worse than in Tibet, but have aroused little sympathy in the West where the defense of human rights is heavily instrumentalised.
The identity and motive behind the terrorists is reasonably clear, these young men are disenfranchised, revenge-driven Indian Muslims, along with a smattering of Pakistanis, Kashmiris and Bangladeshis, based in India not Pakistan, who hate Hindus and believe it is their duty to kick-start a wider tribal war, which is why the vast majority of those killed were Indians, not foreigners, Brits or Americans.
The terrorists were not dispatched on their mission by the Pakistan government or Osama bin Laden, they are mostly Indians who represent a domestic problem for the Indian government, which is why the authorities are seeking to deflect blame and exploit the tragedy to demonize Pakistan in the eyes of the international community.
The spin that the terrorists deliberately targeted American and British citizens is still being pumped out by the western corporate media, despite the fact that only one Briton died, himself being originally from Cyprus, in comparison to well over a hundred Indians, and despite the fact that the rampage was a completely indiscriminate massacre.
The western propaganda machine has taken a domestic problem, which expresses itself almost on a monthly basis in India with routine bombings and attacks, and amplified it beyond all proportion to claim that the attacks were an assault on western democracy, capitalism, and ultimately the Anglo-American power alliance.
The horrible slaughter of hundreds of mostly Indian civilians in Mumbai will now be used as a poster child for continued bombing campaigns inside Pakistani territory and an expansion of the ailing war on terror under President elect Barack Obama, which in the long term only means that more innocent lives will be lost.
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Here's an idea:
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
(I scored 97% on this test missing only question 29.)
WASHINGTON (AFP) – US elected officials scored abysmally on a test measuring their civic knowledge, with an average grade of just 44 percent, the group that organized the exam said Thursday.
Ordinary citizens did not fare much better, scoring just 49 percent correct on the 33 exam questions compiled by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI).
"It is disturbing enough that the general public failed ISI's civic literacy test, but when you consider the even more dismal scores of elected officials, you have to be concerned," said Josiah Bunting, chairman of the National Civic Literacy Board at ISI.
"How can political leaders make informed decisions if they don't understand the American experience?" he added.
The exam questions covered American history, the workings of the US government and economics.
Among the questions asked of some 2,500 people who were randomly selected to take the test, including "self-identified elected officials," was one which asked respondents to "name two countries that were our enemies during World War II."
Sixty-nine percent of respondents correctly identified Germany and Japan. Among the incorrect answers were Britain, China, Russia, Canada, Mexico and Spain.
Forty percent of respondents, meanwhile, incorrectly believed that the US president has the power to declare war, while 54 percent correctly answered that that power rests with Congress.
Asked about the electoral college, 20 percent of elected officials incorrectly said it was established to "supervise the first televised presidential debates."
In fact, the system of choosing the US president via an indirect electoral college vote dates back some 220 years, to the US Constitution.
The question that received the fewest correct responses, just 16 percent, tested respondents' basic understanding of economic principles, asking why "free markets typically secure more economic prosperity than government's centralized planning?"
Activities that dull Americans' civic knowledge include talking on the phone and watching movies or television -- even news shows and documentaries, ISI said.
Meanwhile, civic knowledge is enhanced by discussing public affairs, taking part in civic activities and reading about current events and history, the group said.
For more information, visit the ISI Report on Civic Literacy.
Friday, November 21, 2008
If you like to give gift cards around the holidays, you need to be careful since it is likely that the cards will not be honored after the holidays.
Stores that are planning to close after Christmas are still selling the cards through the holidays even though the cards will be worthless January 1. There is no law preventing them from doing this. On the contrary, it is referred to as 'Bankruptcy Planning). Below is a partial list of stores that you need to be cautious about.
Circuit City (filed Chapter 11)
Ann Taylor 117 stores nationwide closing
Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, and Catherine's to close 150 stores nationwide
Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January
Cache will close all stores
Talbots closing down specialty stores
J. Jill closing all stores (owned by Talbots) Pacific Sunwear (also owned by Talbots)
GAP closing 85 stores
Footlocker closing 140 stores more to close after January
Wickes Furniture closing down
Levitz closing down remaining stores
Bombay closing remaining stores
Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January
Whitehall closing all stores
Piercing Pagoda closing all stores
Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January.
Home Depot closing 15 stores
Macys to close 9 stores after January
Linens and Things closing all stores
Movie Galley Closing all stores
Pep Boys Closing 33 stores
Sprint/Nextel closing 133 stores
JC Penney closing a number of stores after January
Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores.
Wilson Leather closing down all stores
Sharper Image closing down all stores
K B Toys closing 356 stores
Loews to close several stores
Dillard's to close several stores
Thursday, November 20, 2008
It seems like everyone I know likes or love mushrooms. Personally, I never understood why since they are as tasty as rice cakes.
Why am I one of about ten people in the world who dislike mushrooms aside from their tastelessness of course?
Well about 25 years ago, when I was around 7 or 8, I was walking through my neighbors yard just wandering around the neighborhood. I came across two big mushrooms. I thought at the time that since all mushrooms are poisonous, I would do my neighbor a favor and destroy them kind of like getting rid of weeds. I kicked both of them really good and then tossed them in their trashcan. I then went on my way back to the house.
That night as I slept, I had a dream, er, soon to become a nightmare that I repeating what I just mentioned. Only this time, as I attempted to kick up the mushrooms, they opened up like they were a man-eating plant. As they devoured me, I woke up instantly and that was the end of that. I decided from then on, I would leave the mushrooms alone.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Reported by: Tenikka Smith
Contributor: Shane Myers
Last Update: 11/18 10:21 pm
A wheelchair belonging to 5 year-old Annabelle Hulgan, who has been paralyzed from the waist down since birth, was stolen.
MEMPHIS, TN -- ABC24/CW30 Eyewitness News will be holding a fundraiser for little Annabelle Hulgan who had her wheelchair stolen Monday, November 17, 2008.
Volunteers will be at Los Compadres Restaurant located at 2617 Poplar Avenue at Union Avenue Extended until 10:30 p.m., Tuesday, November 18, 2008.
Police say the $8,000 custom wheelchair was stolen from the front yard while Annabelle’s caregiver was carrying her inside the home.
Annabelle was born with spina bifida and is paralyzed from the waist down. Unless someone holds her in their arms or pushes her in a stroller, the wheelchair is the only way for Annabelle to get around on her own.
Caregiver Jackie Jackson says, "When I first came out to get the chair, I said maybe it’s in the car. Then like an idiot, I looked under the car. Then we looked on top of the car. We looked everywhere!"
Annabelle has her own theory of what happened. The five year-old says, "Somebody pulled in that driveway and came up here and stole it."
Police told Jackson it looks like someone tried to steal the license plate off her neighbor’s car and when that didn’t work they went for the next easy target, Annabelle’s customized wheelchair.
Christen Hulgan says after the theft of the wheelchair, Annabelle, “Just kept crying saying why would somebody do this to me? Why would somebody want to hurt me? Why would somebody bad do this to me? Her nanny Ms. Jackson says, "She’s upset because they've taken part of her. They've taken her legs."
Mom says, "She doesn’t want somebody to carry her around. She doesn’t want to be in a stroller she wants her wheelchair."
When asked the crook needed to do with her wheelchair, Annabelle simply answered, “Give it back.”
Annabelle's wheelchair took six months to custom fit and design for her special needs. The wheelchair cost $8,000 and the family tells Eyewitness News they cannot afford to replace it.
Police say Jackson found the wheelchair Tuesday while driving around the neighborhood searching for the stolen chair. She says she found it in pieces in a box.
The company that designed Annabelle's wheelchair says the family will more than likely have to replace it. The family has set up a donation fund at First Tennessee Bank. Ask to give to the "Annabelle Wheelchair Fund."
UPDATE: Here is an update from the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
US President George W. Bush (2nd-left) and Chinese President Hu Jintao (left) toast Saudi King Abdullah during a dinner at the White House for leaders attending the G20 Summit on Financial Markets November 14, 2008 in Washington, DC. Leaders of the Group of 20 richest economies and emerging economic heavyweights are meeting in Washington to craft a joint strategy to deal with the rapidly spreading global financial crisis.
November 16, 2008
WASHINGTON —Brother, can you spare a $300 bottle of wine?
The White House dinner Friday night for foreign leaders working to resolve the global economic crisis featured traditionally gourmet selections for such an august gathering.
There was no risk of a menu meltdown to go along with the subject of the meeting — austere markets, lost jobs and homeowners with mortgages they can't afford.
The White House said the menu included fruitwood-smoked quail with quince gastrique; quinoa risotto; thyme-roasted rack of lamb; tomato, fennel and eggplant fondue; a salad course of endive, baked brie and walnuts; and a pear torte to cap the meal.
Among the wines: bottles of Shafer Cabernet "Hillside Select" 2003 — about $300 per bottle — for the main course and the much cheaper Landmark Chardonnay "Damaris Reserve" 2006 for about $40 per bottle with the appetizer course. The Chandon DEtoile RosDe sparkling wine that accompanied dessert runs around $30 a bottle.
Presidents pay for their own groceries, even while living in the White House. But during official or state dinners, such as Friday night's, U.S. taxpayers foot the bill.
Bush's guests for the dinner included Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd; Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Joseph Harper; Chinese President Hu Jintao; French President Nicolas Sarkozy; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. About two dozen leaders in all attended the dinner in the White House's State Dining Room.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Toys are being collected in memory of Johnia Berry through December 5.
If you live in the Tri-Cities area, drop off new, unwrapped toys at any Food City location in the Tri-Cities by December 5. If you are not in the Tri-Cities area and would still like to make a donation, please call Dena HySmith at 865 604-4329.
Friday, November 14, 2008
If you have been following the UT Vols coaching search, so far, three coaches, Butch Davis, Jon Gruden and former Vols offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe have held press conference to say they are not interested in being considered for the head coaching job. Of course, we will see how things unfold once the season is over. Coaches are known to say one thing during the season and do the opposite later on. See Nick Saban. It isn't so much a lie as much as a desire to cut down on distractions while the season is still on-going.
Nonetheless, I don't think any of these coaches will ultimately be the final choice. It is a pretty sad state of affairs when your football program is in such shambles be it real or perceived that coaches are doing this sort of thing. At least from the perspective of Vol fans, the UT job would be thought of as one of the most blue-chip coaching positions out there. Apparently not.
While I don't think age should be a factor, given that coaches mostly retire by the time they are in their 60's, we would have to turn right around in about five years and hire another one. I prefer to build for the long-term. We need a coach who will make the long-term commitment required to turn the team and organization around. The new coach will need to instill a military type of discipline that is sorely lacking. Fulmer become complacent after signing that contract extension this summer plus he got too close to his players and it cost him. I also think that the next head coach should while recruiting nationally should also devote more resources to recruiting Tennessee high school players. If you can't recruit in your own backyard, why should you expect to recruit in California when they can play at USC or Oregon, or an Alabama kid playing at Auburn and Alabama, not to mention Texas Tech, Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida and LSU have all rebuilt their programs over the past few years. I think it is a crime to just let 15-20 of your best players in the state to just walk away scotch free.
Only time will tell how things shape up. I do feel that this program will be down for at least a few years to say the least. Of course, if Mike Hamilton has no takers say by January, he is free to contact me. I'm willing and able. One thing is for sure, I do not envy the position he is in now.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Anne Hathaway and Grace Kelly were born today. I first saw Anne in "The Princess Diaries" and was mostly reminded of Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. That aloofness and innocence won me over. Maybe one day, we can make a movie together.
Then of course, there is the real life princess Grace Kelly. I won't need to elaborate too much, but I will say this: Of all the relationship archetypes throughout movie history, whether it was Scarlet O'Hara - Rhett Butler,
Humphrey Bogart - Lauren Bacall, Katherine Hepburn - Spencer Tracy and countless others fiction and non-fiction alike, the one that I relate to the most are the roles of L.B. Jefferies and Lisa Freemont in Rear Window.
Jefferies: She wants me to marry her.
Stella: That's normal.
Jefferies: I don't want to.
Stella: That's abnormal.
Jefferies: She's too perfect, she's too talented, she's too beautiful, she's too sophisticated, she's too everything but what I want.
Stella: Is, um, what you want something you can discuss?
Stella: When I married Miles, we were both a couple of maladjusted misfits. We are still maladjusted misfits, and we have loved every minute of it.
Jefferies: Would you fix me a sandwich, please?
Stella: Yes, I will. And I'll spread a little common sense on the bread.
See where this is going?
So, anyways, Grace had (or has) that sophisticated beauty and elegance that is difficult to put in words. She may not be here in person, but she is still very much so in spirit.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
On this day, George S. Patton was born. I first read about "Old Blood and Guts" in the World Book Encyclopedia 1985-1987 set that my family had at the time. Then of course, there is the movie, "Patton" which probably has had more to do with his current fame than anything he actually done during the war. He was the only American commander that the Germans truly feared. I also genuinely believe that he had more to do with the eventual victory over the Nazis than any other commander as he had the ability to inspire his troops and lead from the front. I do know this for sure: The war at least would have went on longer had he not been around thus resulting in millions of more deaths in an already very destructive war.
"There are three ways that men get what they want; by planning, by working, and by praying. Any great military operation takes careful planning, or thinking. Then you must have well-trained troops to carry it out: that's working. But between the plan and the operation there is always an unknown. That unknown spells defeat or victory, success or failure. It is the reaction of the actors to the ordeal when it actually comes. Some people call that getting the breaks; I call it God. God has His part, or margin in everything, That's where prayer comes in."
As quoted in "The True Story of The Patton Prayer" by James H. O'Neill in Review of the News (6 October 1971)
Sunday, November 9, 2008
One of the state legislators that I like the most (which is a lot coming from me) is Susan Lynn. I first became aware of her in 2002 from a fellow libertarian Heather Scott (currently serving as Wilson County Commissioner District 22) when both of them were running for office at the time. Not to mention, she looks good in glasses!
She just put out an email about a hour ago regarding her race:
Thank you for your vote and support. It is discouraging that John McCain and Sara Palin didn't win but I do want to share what an exciting election night victory we had in Tennessee.
I was re-elected with 72.5% of the vote. I am very grateful for everyone that helped us knock on doors, make phone calls, worked at the polls, gave their hard earned money, prayed for me and encouraged me, and most of all, for everyone that voted! Thank you!!!
I hope you have heard by now that the Republican's won the Tennessee House of Representatives after over 140 years of Democrat control. I received a phone call at about 9:30 pm at my election night party from our Caucus Chairman Glen Casada - He was overjoyed as he shouted into the phone "Susan, come down town. We think we've won the House!" What a surprise! Every year we hope for such news and this year we finally did it.
The margin in the House is now 50 Republicans and 49 Democrats.
So what changes will that bring?
On January 13, 2009, when the legislature is scheduled to reconvene by Constitutional mandate, we will elect a Republican Speaker of the House. Most likely that will be our current Caucus Leader Jason Mumpower. We're very proud of Jason and of his hard work and planning.
Republican Representatives will be named to committee leadership positions for the first time (in 140 years). We will also have a majority on the committees.
We won't have to walk two miles to our legislative offices anymore because we will more than likely move to the Plaza.
On January 13, 2009, we will choose and elect the Secretary of State, State Comptroller and the State Treasurer. All positions elected in the past by the majority party.
We will also gain the majority on the State Election Commission.
In addition, each of our county Election Commissions will now have a Republican majority. For 140 years there has been 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans - this will now flip.
Best of all, many pieces of legislation that have been killed in the past will finally pass.
I'd like to address some rumors because I've had a few phone calls and emails.
Some have feared that the Republicans won't stick together and vote for a Republican Speaker. I can tell you that I am 99.9% sure that we will stick together. Each election year we have asked our members to promise that should we return with a majority that each will vote for the Republican Speaker nominee. Each year every member has taken that pledge. Tomorrow the Republican members of the House are meeting to sign a pledge to vote for our Republican nominee. That should put everyone's mind at ease until we vote on January 13.
Some have heard that the Republican members who have voted for the Democrat nominee for Speaker in the past are being rewarded or bribed for their vote with leadership and committee positions. This is untrue. We (the Republican legislators) have voiced our preference for committees but no one has been promised anything. In the past Speaker Naifeh asked us each year right after the elections what committees we would like to be on. There is nothing unusual about legislators asking for certain committees and no one has been promised anything.
Some have heard that Speaker Ron Ramsey is in favor of former State Senator Roslyn Kurita for Secretary of State. I have heard from a number of other legislators that they have heard that this is true. However, Speaker Ramsey has not sent us any word that she is his preference.
I have been called by former State Senator Jim Bryson and former State Representative David Shirley for the position of Secretary of State. Senator Bryson is very fine man and he would do a very good job. I've met Representative Shirley but I don't know him as well as I know Senator Bryson. He seems like a fine person as well and he seems to have a good reputation. I have told Senator Bryson that he has my vote should he continue to run.
Call or Email Me
I suspect that over the next few weeks we will continue to hear a number of rumors. Please don't become upset pre-maturely. Simply send me an email or call me should something concern you.
I know a number of Democrats read my letter so I hope all of the partisan talk wasn't too much :-) It is all brand new...give us a chance to get our house in order.
I want to say thank you one more time for your vote and support. No one does anything alone. It is not my win but our win. As always, please know that I am very proud to represent you in the Tennessee General Assembly. Please call, email or stop by the office if I may ever be of service to you in anyway. It would be my pleasure to help you!
215 War Memorial Building, Nashville, TN 37243
It seems that bloggers are having a field day with the Tennessee Democrat Party. Particularly governor Phil Bredesen and chairman of the Tennessee Democrat Party, Gray Sasser. Apparently, being the son of Jim Sasser isn't enough to run a state-wide party. I won't go into the details of various bloggers complaints. I am not privy to how either party's state operations are conducted. But I will say this: if you have to rely on Bredesen "to do something", you are already off on the wrong track. Granted, he is preferable over the the idiot he succeeded, Don Sundquist. But still!
I've been involved in several presidential campaigns for Michael Badnarik and Ron Paul, having served as county chairman for the Knox County Libertarian Party from 2002-2004 in addition to doing the legwork, phone calls, etc... that are associated with political races, I will say this: if you don't have a strong grassroots organization, you will lose especially at the local level.
I was born in 1976, and so I have a foot in both the Gen-X/MTV Generation camp and the "Net Generation" camp. It’s my experience that folks older than I am (especially people of my grandparents’ age – they were born around 1920) tend to look to central authority for guidance, whatever the setting might be. It’s not that they can’t exercise initiative, they’re just reluctant to use it; they tend to defer to guidance issued by “experts”, which is presumably better than their own judgment. I think this has to do with having grown up in a world that was “run by experts”– whether it was the Great Depression, World War II, the Fabulous Fifties, it was a world run (sometimes better and mostly worse) by an elite that was seen by many to have all the answers. And for a while, that world worked pretty well or so it seemed, especially after 1945.
People my age or of my parent's generation to a lesser extent grew up in a world in which it seemed the “wheels were coming off”. The 1960's was about Vietnam, Rock N' Roll, youth rebellion, etc... The economy basically went sideways (or worse) from the 1970's through the early 1980's. The Seventies weren’t anywhere near as bad as the Thirties, but from our perspective, still pretty bad. As I see it, looking back, it was a time when the “rule by experts” failed to deliver the goods, because it had reached the limits of what it could do.
Ronald Reagan, for all his faults, was such a breath of fresh air after the Suffocating Seventies. His message of smaller government and more reliance on individual effort and initiative was music to many people’s ears. Even as a kid, I was inspired. And his message worked. The ’80s were Good Times:
1) a roaring economy. Anybody out there remember the “misery index” from the Carter years? And do we hear about it now? I think not, and I think we all know why);
2) a Soviet Union in full retreat, after it seemed unstoppable just a few years before, and on its way to the dustbin of history; and most importantly of all,
3) ordinary people finally getting the message that they were indeed masters of their own fates, instead of being told that they were mere playthings of the experts.
Reagan’s message reverberates to this day. I think young people still want to “get involved”, but they’re not receptive to the “vibe” of “central direction” coming out of high places, a vibe leftover from the 40's and ’50s that failed so spectacularly in the 60's and ’70s.
All of which, is just a long-winded way of saying that if young people aren’t “getting their needs met”, it may be because the TNDP HQ and its field personnel are stuck in the past, and their message is turning off the young.
And the worst part of it is that the senior folks in the TNDP just don’t get it – the old ways worked for them, and now they can’t understand why they aren’t working today, or understand why those old ways are so repellent to young people. Kind of like Phil Fulmer who recently stepped down (fired) as head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers football team.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
As I was driving home from work this morning around 7:30, I came upon a two-car wreck that occurred probably not more than five minutes before I arrived. It occurred between Exits 398 and 402 in east Knox County. One vehicle was off in the medium with the front facing towards the highway apparently after being sideswiped. Another vehicle was in the middle lane and totally smashed up on the front.
I'm assuming it may have hit the other car possibly during a lane change or due to the morning glare blinding them. I will not elaborate on anything else I think may have happened. I will leave that to the local news media. But from all indications, it was pretty bad.
*Update on the wreck and apparently there was an earlier wreck too.
Friday, November 7, 2008
From what I've read so far, it seems that UT Athletic Director Mike Hamilton is going about the right way in hiring a new head coach by hiring Neinas Sports Services to conduct a search for potential head coaches. An executive search firm can bring about conducting a through search of interested candidates and weed out the list and certainly prevent an embarrassing public relations display of potential candidates shooting down interviews because they won't be taking a shotgun approach and just hoping to hit wherever it lands.
Hamilton should certainly seek input, but he alone will have to make the call. If I have one concern, it would be that he may allow politics or big-money donors to influence the decision making process. This is what happened to the BCS system.
The BCS is a central bureaucracy created to douse competitiveness and line the pockets of the rich and connected while defrauding the consumer of what is advertised. How American! I've been clamoring for a playoff system ever since the Nebraska-Penn State debacle in 1994.
Only time will tell how things go. Let's pray that it works out for the best.