Thursday, July 31, 2008

Look... Up In The Sky... It's Another Trial Balloon...

Is it just me, or are there more trial balloons being floated up by both presidential campaigns right now for their respective VP picks than there are actual balloons at your average 3-ring circus?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Got Meme'd Again...

Eric over at The Daily Eudemon tagged me with a meme yesterday (I could've sworn I did this meme six months ago).

The rules:

1. Link the person(s) who tagged you
2. Mention the rules on your blog
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours
4. Tag 6 fellow bloggers by linking them
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged

Since I've done this before, I'm going to do 1-thru-3, and the rest to anyone who reads this post and wants to run with it.

Okay... six "unspectacular quirks" of mine (and I'll try not to duplicate what I wrote last time):

1) I'm very particular about the music I listen to and the movies and TV shows that I watch (even though my tastes are wide ranging).

2) My favorite colors are deep azure blue or cobalt blue, sunset orange, and suntan bronze.

3) Add a stunningly cute, brown-eyed, dark-haired, 30-something, single female of Mediterranean or Latin American ancestry to that suntan bronze skin, wearing a deep azure blue bikini on the beach at sunset with the sky aflame and I am sooooooo there. Just point me the way. (Yeah, I know... I'm very particular about women, too. HAH!)

4) I have a tendency to talk to myself while I'm shopping at the store: "Now, where is that item I'm looking for? Ooo, it's on sale. What?! Out of stock? Oh, man. Hmmm... what else is there?" I'm sure people look at me strangely (also probably scaring away the women in #3).

5) I've always wanted to, at least once, fly in one of those glider airplanes.

6) My "first love" (career-wise) was in the field of Holography. It was 1979 and Pope John Paul II came to Philadelphia during his first U.S. visit. I was an usher at the outdoor mass/visit on Ben Franklin Parkway by all the museums downtown. The following day I was off from school, and the Franklin Institute had a brand new exhibit on Holography. I was hooked! I mean, seriously hooked!

I eventually wanted to do research and development in Holographic television (all these years later, and the technology is still in it's infancy). Unfortunately, calculus was the death of that dream. Although, I did get the opportunity to work at a hologram manufacturing company in Philly for two years doing product assembly. The last year there was my worst-paying job, but it was fun and interesting.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008



Just a couple minutes ago we just had an earthquake here in SoCal! According to this website it was a 5.8 just 2 miles from Chino Hills east of L.A. (between L.A. and Riverside).

More news to come...

I'm fine, but it certainly was a rock-n-roller here at work (70 miles away, by the L.A. County/Ventura County border).

Sunday, July 27, 2008


This weekend was the 15th Annual Oxnard Salsa Festival (olé!), and I just had to go on both days. No admission fee. Just walk on in at Park Plaza in downtown Oxnard. But if you want to taste the salsas it's just $5 to get a basket of tortilla chips and 10 tickets. Since I went both days I had the chance to try 20 different salsas - though I went back for seconds on a few of them.

Now, I'm a wuss when it comes to the hot stuff, but I can take a little heat... so I into the packed ten and went from station to station in my search for the best salsa. I was hoping to find a good chipotlé, but there was only one (and it was so-so). Overall, I have to say that there were three salsas that stood out.

First was a complex and savory green salsa from Barroco's Restaurant. Next was an awesome, sweet mango salsa with a hint of heat from Tomas Cafe (they're suppose to have a MySpace page, but I can't find it). Finally, there was an incredible salsa from La Dolce Vita Restaurant which won Best Mild Salsa at the festival (they also have a MySpace page here). I was lucky enough to be able to take home a small container of the mango salsa (which went great with my grilled chicken breast that I had for dinner. Yum!).

Outside the tent were vendors of all types. The carnitas tacos from Cabo's Seafood Grill were to die for. Finally, Pancha's Gourmet Foods (from Fontana, CA) had a unique and flavorful Chipotlé Raspberry BBQ Sauce that I just had to buy.

Plenty of other vendors and festivities, including plenty of lovely latinas in summer dresses displaying their fine curves (a testament to the beauty of God's creation -- *sigh*). And, of course, there was a lot of live salsa music, and a salsa dancing competition.

A bit later I'll try to post a brief video clip of some of the salsa dancing at the festival. Don't know how successful I'll be with that, though.

Here's Lookin' At You, Kid...

Last Friday, Julie over at Happy Catholic posted about a fellow blogger's dislike of the movie "Rocky" (I'm from Philly, so "them's fightin' words" - heh). The comment section lead to the question, "What is the "best" film ever made?" That is a tough question, and is fraught with subjectivity. I have quite a few favorite films, but in the end - for me - it has to be "Casablanca".

So, on Saturday I went to the 3rd Annual Ventura Book Festival with a friend to check out some of the latest books that were to be had. I was determined to walk out of there without buying anything (yeah, right). As I turned down the final aisle of tables, what do I see before me but this book:

Tom Barnes was a high school teacher for many years, and would get his students to participate in a trivia game about the film "Casablanca". His intent was to turn it into a game, but when the licensing turned out to be too expensive he decided to turn the idea into a book. He and his wife had just gotten the first batch of books from the publisher two days earlier, and I was his first sale (yeah, I bought the book... had no choice... it's "Casablanca").

Tom was gracious enough to sign the book for me (heck, he and his wife were beaming).

And his wife took our picture for posterity.

Tom's the clean-shaven one who could pass for actor Paul Sorvino's twin; I'm the one with the face fuzz. So, now you all know what I look like. The book's available from Papyrus Publishing out of San Clemente, CA, and will soon also be available from Tom's website. I urge all you "film-o-philes" to go get a copy.

Here's a little parting "Casablanca" trivia for yah:
Bogart's signature line, "Here's looking at you, kid!" was originally in the script as "Here's good luck to you, kid," until he changed it. His new line never appears in the script.

Here's good luck to you, Tom! Or should I say, "Here's looking at you, Tom." And good luck with the book sales!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bush's Mississippi...

There's a great little scene in the movie "Annapolis" (an otherwise poor film, except for the fact that it stars the stunningly cute Jordana Brewster). Two roommates (Jake and Twins) are going through basic training, and both are going through a rough stretch when Jake asks his roomy:

Jake: Look, I don’t get it. Why are you still here?

Twins: You want to know why I stay in this room?

Jake: Yeah.

Twins: Cause Jake, you’re my Mississippi.

Jake: I’m your what?

Twins: People who live in Arkansas, you know what their favorite state is?

Jake: No.

Twins: Mississippi. Cause Mississippi’s the only thing that keeps Arkansas from being the worst state in the whole country.

The President's recent approval rating is 31% in the most recent Gallup poll.

The Democrat-controlled Congress' approval rating is 14% in the most recent Gallup poll (the lowest in the history of Gallup polls). And fellow Democrats hold their own party's congressional approval rating at 11%.

Reid & Pelosi? You're George Bush's Mississippi.

Friday, July 25, 2008

When a Photo-Op is Denied, The Obamessiah Hides...

(Major Hat-Tip to RWN)

A U.S. military official tells NBC News they were making preparations for Sen. Barack Obama to visit wounded troops at the Landstuhl Medical Center at Ramstein, Germany on Friday, but "for some reason the visit was called off."

One military official who was working on the Obama visit said because political candidates are prohibited from using military installations as campaign backdrops, Obama's representatives were told, "he could only bring two or three of his Senate staff member[s], no campaign officials or workers." In addition, "Obama could not bring any media. Only military photographers would be permitted to record Obama's visit."

The official said "We didn't know why" the request to visit the wounded troops was withdrawn. "He (Obama) was more than welcome. We were all ready for him."

Why, ain't that nice.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

T. Boone Pickin' Your Pockets...

John over at RWN has a an eye-opening post about oil man T. Boone Pickens' PR campaign to get us to switch to wind power. This is definitely worth the read.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Urgent Prayer Request...

I just got word from my family back east that over the last few days two of my nephews are dealing with serious medical issues.

One nephew (V, 28) was caught up in the middle of a fight on Saturday night, trying to help a friend who was being assaulted and battered. V had a bottle broken over his head, had his eye damaged and eye socket fractured, and his shoulder dislocated. He may have to have eye surgery, but there's the potential of his losing sight in that eye if they do the surgery.

Then, yesterday another nephew, (J, 33 - my other sister's oldest son), was rushed into the hospital with an erratic racing heart beat (we're talking 180 bpm if he suddenly moves). J's currently in observation at the hospital and on meds to keep the heart in check until they can figure out what's going on.

So, any and all prayers would be much appreciated.


Monday, July 21, 2008

To VP or not to VP, that is the question...

(Hat-tip to HotAir)

American Spectator is reporting an inside scoop that Mitt Romney will most likely not be McCain's VP choice. The reasons (all of which I agree):

"Mitt tanks the ticket," says a McCain insider. "We lose fiscal conservatives. We lose social conservatives. We lose Catholics. We lose evangelicals. All the groups were spending time and money on bringing into the camp would be lost. He just doesn't help us enough to do something like this, as much as Mitt might think we should. He doesn't even win us Massachusetts."

He loses fiscal conservatives because he's a politician from Massachusetts (remember Michael Dukakis, Paul Tsongas, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, RINO Weld?). He loses Massachusetts because he's a flip-flopper and it's a national election. He loses evangelicals because he's a Mormon, and he's only recently (and suspiciously) become Pro-Life. He loses Catholics because of all of the above, plus the fact that he comes off as being way too slick (in a Bill Clinton sort of way, without the sleaze factor).

I've said it before, McCain needs to stop looking at anyone who ran against him in the primary. He needs to focus on some a combination of factors for the VP slot, these factors (whether you like them or not) are crucial for McCain to be able to keep the base in his camp come November.

1) Someone who is clearly and consistently both a fiscal and social conservative (yes to Pro-Life, yes to cutting spending, no to gay marriage, no to raising taxes),

2) Someone who is younger than him by at least 10 years,

3) Someone with executive experience, or untainted business-world experience,

4) Someone with name-recognition - a known quantity,

5) A female or a minority (to offset either the Obama or Hillary factor).

My choices for McCain? Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin (fits four of the factors - including the big bonus of pulling in the Hillary PUMAs - she's both socially conservative and a fiscal reformer, she gets bonus points because she's also known as a maverick, but she loses points because she's not well-known and she's only been governor for 2 years, but was a mayor prior to that). Former Ohio Representative John Kasich (young, well known, likable, conservative - downside: no executive experience, though he's mulling over a run for Ohio governor in 2010). Former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett (well known, conservative, likable, respected, has some executive experience in and out of government - downside: his age is 65, and he could become a political lightning rod, though he'd be able to handle it without any problems). Former Virginia Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (young, likeable, socially conservative, black, Catholic - downside: executive or political experience might be lacking, would've been better if he able to serve as governor, or if he had won his last razor-close senate race). Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (would be perfect if not for two key factors - he's only been governor for 6 months, and he's only 39 years old. But if he lives up to his reputation, look out for him in 2016! And he's Catholic.) Former PA Senator Rick Santorum (this will never happen because of so many factors - he was tossed under the bus by Sen. Spector and ended up losing his reelection bid, he's a political lightning rod, especially on social issues, no executive experience but plenty of political experience, and he's been vocally anti-McCain).

Actually, any combination thereof would like an excellent 1-2 punch ticket (who the hell needs McCain or Obama???).

If McCain chooses Romney, Huckabee, or one of his RINO buddies, he'll lose not only his base... he'll lose me! I'll do a write-in vote for one of the afore mentioned 1-2 combo tickets ("throw-away" vote be damned).

Monday, July 14, 2008

R.I.P. Russert & Snow...

Over the past few weeks two top-notch national media men have passed. First was Tim Russert, suddenly, from a heart attack. The other day it was Tony Snow, who succumbed to his three-year battle with colon cancer.

Their personalities - to a certain extent - were a bit different, and their core politics were on opposite sides of the political spectrum (Russert had worked for D-Sen. Moynahan and D-Gov Cuomo; Snow worked for both Bush administrations and for years was the main sub for Rush's radio program). But there were a lot more similarities than differences - and it was all good.

Both men took their work seriously, working diligently. But they never took themselves seriously. They laughed. They enjoyed life. They never held a grudge or delved into petty vindictiveness. They both commanded respect from their colleagues, as well as from politicians across the entire spectrum. They were both strong, committed family men, devoted to their wives and children. They were both devote Catholics, deep in their faith. And both died in their 50s - way too soon... but God knows best.

The media and political industries will miss the likes of such men. If only they could learn from their examples, things would run a lot smoother without all the unnecessary ugliness that tends to infect those institutions. Snow & Russert (unfortunately) were a rare breed; your can't find too many like them in the news & political realms. My prayers go out to their respective families.

A few bloggers have posted links to Tony Snow's commencement address at Catholic University in May of 2007. For those who are unaware of it, here is the link to that address. It is well worth the read. Some sage advice. Some points even I need to still work on.

Rest in peace Tony & Tim!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What the F*** is the Big Deal About WalMart???

I just had a visitor come to my front door with a petition in hand asking for signatures to put a proposition on the November ballot regarding WalMart. Some back story. Not too far from me is an empty K-Mart building (with a huge parking lot that is nearly empty except for the Trader Joe's customers - nothing wrong with T-Jo's, I just shopped there earlier today while my clothes were going through the dry cycle at the local laundromat).

WalMart has been interested in moving into the location, possibly expand the building somewhat. Of course, the NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) have to have their shrill voices heard yet again. I swear, this town at times seems to have it's priorities all frelled up. They also at times show themselves to be a bunch of frelling hypocrites.

Some years ago, there was an empty Montgomery Ward building across the street from the mall. Home Depot was interested in taking over the building. The townspeople bitched and moaned, eventually chasing away Home Depot. What did Home Depot do? They moved into a new location a mile away in the town next door. They're doing quite well there. What happened to the Montgomery Ward building? It became a Lowe's (a Home Depot clone). NO ONE bitched and moaned about Lowe's moving in.

There is a Target (a WalMart and K-Mart clone) store just several blocks from said mall. Target has been very successful. The mall has gone through extensive remodeling and expansion. Robinsons-May closed down as one of the anchor stores at one end of the mall. Target took over and rebuilt the Robinsons-May and turned it into a two-story Super-Target (just like the Super-WalMarts). They're also keeping the original Target open (the one just a few blocks away). NO ONE bitched and moaned about the Super-Target opening up in town, and so close to an existing Target.

Downtown used to have several local, independent coffee shops: Daily Grind, Cafe Voltaire, Caffe Bella, Kelly's Coffee, Coastal Coffee. All of these coffee shops were wonderful and added character to the downtown area. They're all closed. NO ONE came out to support them. Now, there's just two coffee shops in that area: One is a little place near the far end of the main drag (and it's just a "storefront counter" to a retail establishment). The other is Starbucks. Funny, but NO ONE bitched and moaned about Starbucks opening up downtown. They also never bitched & moaned when (in a mid-town shopping center) they opened up a Starbucks... and then also opened up a Starbucks inside the supermarket... just 50 feet away from the other just-opened Starbucks.

NO ONE seems to care that Starbucks sells overpriced bitter swill, but they'll cry their crocodile tears about WalMart selling Chinese-made goods on the cheap (funny, I seem to see those same Chinese-made goods in K-Mart, Target, Sears, the Gap, the local supermarket, even the little Mom-&-Pop shops selling trinkets to willing residents and tourists). I should know. Just a couple weeks ago I walked into a WalMart (in the the town next door) for the first time to buy the new Jouney CD - only available at WalMart. While I was there I took a walk around the store. I saw the same exact window fan that I bought just two weeks earlier at Sears for $21.99 (Target had the exact same fan for $24.99) being sold at WalMart for $11.99. Yeah, I was pissed... pissed that I could've saved ten more bucks.

Look. I am not a fan of large corporations taking over locations here and there. But corporations (in general) are not all evil. You wouldn't be able to have your cars, airplanes, computers, iPods, cell phones, TVs, medicines, etc. without them. Of course, I'd prefer that there were more Mom-&-Pop type places to buy and sell goods and services. But let's be friggin' reasonable people. And be friggin' consistent. Some common sense and perspective please.

With this weak economy, this area needs jobs... ANY jobs. This area also needs housing... AFFORDABLE housing (something that the people of this town continuously bitch & moan about, yet every time there is a development up for proposal it is always shouted & shut down by these same NIMBY idiots). The area could also use a place were people can buy things inexpensively, especially with the current state of the economy and with gas prices at over $4.50 per gallon. NONE of these things will happen with empty buildings and vacant lots. (Spoken by someone who not too many years ago was unemployed for exactly 500 days, at a time immediately after 9/11. Someone who also rents a shitty apartment, and has all but given up hope of ever owning a home in Southern California - where in just the last decade housing prices more than tripled. Yeah, that person I'm talking about is me).

I expressed these views to the poor lady who just came to my door, and who had NO answers to my questions of hypocrisy. Needless to say, I didn't sign the petition. I doubt, though, that she got the point. Nor will any of her comrades with their knickers in a perpetual knot.

*steps off the soapbox*

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What liberal bias in the the mainstream media???

(Hat-tip to Flopping Aces)

There's no liberal bias in the MSM, is there??? Riiiiiiight!

ABC News interviews 60 U.S. soldiers on who they plan to vote for in November. Fifty-four said they're voting for McCain. What did ABC News air on their broadcast? Five soldier - three voting for The Obamessiah and two voting for The Hildabeast.

And people wonder why I don't watch much TV news anymore.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Is Cool Still Cool?...

From FanNation:

"Cool, the onetime giant of sports culture that had long been in declining health, died in seclusion last month. In a measure of how forgotten Cool had become, the moment of its passing went largely unnoticed even though the event was witnessed by millions on television, shortly after the Boston Celtics won the NBA championship by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers. In the ensuing celebration Celtics star Kevin Garnett was asked how he felt about winning the first title of his 13-year career. He threw his head back and bellowed, "Anything is possible!" as though he had just accomplished something previously thought to be beyond human capability, like walking on the sun or deciphering the plot of Lost. With Garnett's scream, Cool took its dying breath.

"Authorities say that Garnett will not be held responsible for the demise of Cool, ruling that he was no more culpable than thousands of other modern-day athletes who have an overwhelming need for self-congratulation and a tendency to overdramatize. Those athletes avoided Cool like a subpoena during its final years, instead embracing midair chest bumps, primal yells and the kind of elaborate, multistep hand jive that grade-school girls do on playgrounds..."

It concludes:

"Cool's condition was terminal... There will be no funeral service, which is how Cool would have wanted it. In lieu of flowers, mourners are asked simply to appreciate players who don't feel the need to punctuate every accomplishment with an over-the-top celebration, who understand the beauty in letting a performance speak for itself. That would be totally Cool."

To wit, I say... nah... "Cool" is still cool.

It’s roots go back to the 1920s Jazz-era. Cool’s got staying power because it’s cool to say it. Unlike “bad”, “rad”, “dope”, “gnarly”, “bitchin’”, “hip”, “ill”, "hot", “crunk”, “killer”, “fat”, “far out”, “dah bomb chizzle”, and the god-awful “groovy” which all are nothin’ but era-locked fads.

In the end... it’s all COOL.


A different kind of bilingualism (heh)...

Alive and Young posted an innocuous list of common words/phrases used by the fairer members of the human species.

I shall not comment (I ain't stupid, yah know).

*silently nodding my head*

Just keep digging deeper BO, just keep digging...

RedState posted a video of The Obamessiah regarding multilingualism and felt obliged to respond.

I would also add:

First off, the reason for when and why the rest of the world can speak English is because that's the international language for BUSINESS. When a French company is in discussions with a German or Japanese company, they tend to speak in English because (a) the success of the American political and business industry has led the way in the world, and (b) it's a common language that every nationality can understand without everyone having to learn six-to-ten different languages.

Second, how successful has bilingualism worked in Canada with the province of Quebec? Hmmmmm.... not so well, huh? Some animosity there between QBs and the rest of Canuckville? Repeated threats of secession? Surprise, surprise, surprise.

Thirdly, perhaps The Obamessiah should've read THIS article before opening his mouth and proving once again how vacuous he is.

Let's Shake a Spear, shall we?

Eric over at Daily Eudemon posted an innocent little quote about Shakespeare, to wit I entered into the fray in the comments section regarding the Bard and the Ol' English language. I'd be interested to know if anyone else understands my point or even agrees with me.

"Alas, poor Trubador."

Monday, July 07, 2008

And now for something completely different...

With video games like "Rockstar" and "Guitar Hero", it's about time they started selling video games based on the REAL music industry. Something like.......... ROADIE HERO.

Yellowcake? What yellowcake???

Newsbusters has compiled several news stories on the transfer of 550 metric TONS of uranium "yellowcake" from just south of Baghdad to Canada. But... but... but... I thought Saddam wasn't trying to get yellowcake, that he wasn't attempting to build up a nuclear capability? *sigh*

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Hebrew tablet suggests tradition of resurrected messiah predates Jesus...

(Hat-tip to HotAir)

"A 3-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days.

"If such a messianic description really is there, it will contribute to a developing re-evaluation of both popular and scholarly views of Jesus, because it suggests that the story of his death and resurrection was not unique but part of a recognized Jewish tradition at the time.

"The tablet, probably found near the Dead Sea in Jordan according to some scholars who have studied it, is a rare example of a stone with ink writings from that era - in essence, a Dead Sea Scroll on stone."

Read the entire news story from the International Herald Tribune here.

UPDATE: Lest anyone be confused, I took the above story from the viewpoint similar to the following commentators - Mary Rose Rybak over at First Things who says:

"So, Knohl says this tablet is novel in that it mentions a suffering messiah. But didn’t Chapter 53 of Isaiah already mention that?"

and Domenico Bettinelli at BettNet who says:

"From what I can understand from the article, as an admitted layman and non-expert on this topic, this is supposed to show that three-day resurrection was not a concept unique to Christianity but has its roots in Judaism. That may shake some Christians, but Catholics have been saying for quite some time that the Jewish faith is the root of Christian belief...

"The tablet, as they describe it, does not change the meaning of the Last Supper one whit because we know that Christ came for the redemption of all. What does Israel—as firstborn of the covenant—and all humanity need redemption from if not from sin?"

4 Years & 460 Posts Later...

In what started out four years ago on this date as my lone voice in the webby wilderness, mainly (at that time) linking news & commentary posts and voicing my views & opinions on the then upcoming 2004 presidential election. There was a bit of a post-election drop-off after that.

Since early 2006, though, this place has become a hodge-podge of things, commenting on varied topics, and posting links to interesting bits of information. I try to post at least once a week on average (sometimes up to four times a week), and I hope to post a bit more often in the future.

As I've said before, it is what it is.

Thanks again to all who come by to visit!

Enjoy another of my recent "art" pics (below):


More to come once Blogger stops being so quirky with it's downloading connections.