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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Politicians, Taxes & The Economy by Charley Reese

My wife forwarded this to me. Retiring journalist Charley Reese's Final Column for the Orlando Sentinel. I don't feel like I need to add anything - he says it all - and he says it so well.

By Charles Reese - March 31, 2011
He has been a journalist for 49 years.
He is retiring and this is HIS LAST COLUMN.

Be sure to read the Tax List at the end.

This is about as clear and easy to understand as it can be.. The article
below is completely neutral, neither anti-republican or democrat. Charlie
Reese, a soon-to-be- retired reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, has hit the
nail directly on the head, defining clearly who it is that in the final
analysis must assume responsibility for the judgments made that impact each
one of us every day. It's a short but good read. Worth the time. Worth
remembering!

545 vs. 300,000,000 People - By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then
campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are
against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and
high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations.
The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court
justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly,
legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems
that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was
created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty
to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central
bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They
have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a
congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if
they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the
power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is
the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what
they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of
party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount
of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood
up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The President can
only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole
responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving
appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? John Boehner. He
is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the
President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it,
they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545
people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and
irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not
traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth
that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must
follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.

If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it's because they want
them in Iraq and Afghanistan .

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan
not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire
and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they
can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from
whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the
belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy,"
"inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an
oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They and they alone, have the power.

They and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their
bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

What you do with this article now that you have read it... is up to you.

This might be funny if it weren't so sad & true.

Be sure to read all the way to the end:

Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table, at which he's fed.
Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him as a child that taxes are the rule!
Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat,
Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt,
Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he tries to think.
Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries tax his tears.

Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways to tax his ass.
Tax all he has then let him know that you won't be done till he has no
dough.

When he screams and hollers;
Then tax him some more, tax him till he's good and sore.
Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he's laid...
Put these words upon his tomb,
'Taxes drove me to my doom..'
When he's gone, do not relax,
Its Time to Apply The Inheritance Tax!!!

Accounts Receivable Tax,
Building Permit Tax,
CDL license Tax,
Cigarette Tax,
Corporate Income Tax,
Dog License Tax,
Excise Taxes,
Federal Income Tax,
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA),
Fishing License tax,
Food License Tax,
Fuel Permit Tax,
Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon in Florida , could be higher
in your area),
Gross Receipts Tax,
Hunting License Tax,
Inheritance Tax,
Inventory Tax,
IRS Interest Charges on Tax,
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax),
Liquor Tax,
Luxury Taxes,
Marriage License Tax,
Medicare Tax,
Personal Property Tax,
Property Tax,
Real Estate Tax,
Service Charge Tax,
Social Security Tax,
Road Usage Tax,
Recreational Vehicle Tax,
Sales Tax,
School Tax,
State Income Tax,
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA),
Telephone Federal Excise Tax,
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax,
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes,
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax,
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax,
Telephone State and Local Tax,
Telephone Usage Charge Tax,
Utility Taxes,
Vehicle License Registration Tax,
Vehicle Sales Tax,
Watercraft Registration Tax,
Well Permit Tax,
Workers Compensation Tax...

STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY?

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago & our nation was the most
prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest
middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What in the heck happened? Can you spell 'politicians'?

I hope this goes around THE USA at least 545 times!!! YOU can help it get
there!!!

GO AHEAD. . . BE AN AMERICAN FORWARD IT!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

So I Am Not Dumb After All?

At the beginning of the month I wrote about a survey which had conluded that I, along with the majority of people, as an Internet Explorer user was of "below average intelligence". Despite being carried by many major media outlets including CNN, the BBC, CNET, Forbes and Mashable to name but a few it turns out that the report was in fact a hoax. Among the many reports that the report was a hoax the Sophos "Naked Security" blog explains it best.

The paradox here is that while I postulated that I was not in fact a dumb *** and was not convinced that the report was valid the very fact that I was taken in by the hoax in and of itself could be seen to challenge my intelligence and that of everyone else taken in by the reported survey. So arguing that I was not a dumb *** proved that I was? Go figure!

Surfing With Flare - Red Bull Minor Threat [Video]

Surfing has always looked to be an exhilarating passtime to me - most likely I would not be able to keep ny feet if I tried of course and at my age; well what do they say - you can't teach an old dog new tricks [who in the heck are "they" anyway and how come "they" know everything.

Anyway check out this video of the Red Bull Minor Threat - whatever you think of surfing and whatever the eco implications of the stunt are [are there any? I have no idea what or how much a flare puts out] it sure does make for a stunning and cool visual.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

British "Arts" & "Culture" - Simply The Best

I have never had the greatest affinity for the classical arts and "culture". I do however find that the odd operatic performance can be quite moving; a top rate performance of Nessun Dorma would be a great example. Paul Potts BGT audition version on YouTube has over 80 million hits so I guess I am not alone there though I have to say personally I prefer Pavarotti with a mere 12 million hits [but man oh man is the maestro badly in need of a trip to the barber shop]; check out the tone in his voice at a minute 26 and the power and duration of the final notes. You might want to check out his Ave Maria as well once the video ends.



Having said that the idea of sitting though a whole opera puts me in mind of sitting on the back patio and watching the weeds grow - there are things I would prefer to do. Ballet does nothing for me; I can accept that the dancers are probably supreme athletes but honestly, effeminate men in tights prancing about like nancy boys and heavily muscled women that would be more at home in a music box. I don't think so. Perhaps the symphony, not really. Like opera there are snippets of classical music that can be very stirring but in my world music is for listening to while doing something else not for watching [anyone for the back patio again]. Maybe art galleries; heck no. The art world is a complete mystery to me; paintings that look like the subject I can appreciate at times but get into Picasso like stuff that a chimp could have done or the "modern art" world of piles of bricks or plastic water bottles and you have lost me completely.

So is there a cultural or "arts" medium that can melt the philistine heart of the Grumpy Old Limey? Despite being a British expat I cannot say there is anything from the old country that I genuinely miss but if I was forced to pick a few things I could get into then I have to confess I would probably return to my roots for some real "culture".

What could I possibly be referring to - check it out after the jump!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

MLM & My Calculated "Gamble"

So are you a gambler? Do you work the odds? Do you gamble sometimes and not others? Do you take gambles occasionally but only calculated ones?

If the answer is you NEVER gamble then this is not the article for you but most of us do from time to time if the circumstances are right or we just want to be entertained and for you I would recommend you read this.

First as the TV industry likes to call them "the up fronts"

You have all seen the hype around multiple internet marketing schemes. Make $10,000 a month for life with no recruiting. Work an hour a week from the beach and never work for the man again and so on. There is an old saying "if it is too good to be true it probably is" and the old saying is true. I am not going to tell you any of that. I am not even going to use the word investment. What I am going to do is tell you about a "gamble" I just made, why I made that gamble and then leave it up to you.

This is not a hard sell. Is it me telling you you might - note MIGHT – be able to benefit from this? Yes it is - I will talk about MY decision and the simple math and logic behind it - not the company hype - and then I leave you too it.

People always say do not work with friends or family, don't sell cars to them and so on - it can cause too much grief. I am telling those I know about this; I am also going to suggest my wife does the same [she may or may not do so - that is her decision to make]. Do I have a vested interest - honestly yes - BUT and I stress this - they are right about family and friends SO - if I did not think MY math was correct I would not be putting this out to the people I know.

This is will be a fairly long post and maybe no one will ever read it but the reason is simple - I want to explain, something most of the internet opportunities do not do. So if you have no interest have a good one; if you are wondering about this or just curious then:

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dressed Up Dogs & Eating Broccoli? [Video]

A couple of fun animal videos I came across. The first is just a compilation of dressed up dogs. Don't choose to do it to our dogs and frankly some look plain miserable about the whole thing but, after all that, I have to say some of them are prettyb darn funny. And the second video. Well lets just say I don't eat broccoli a whole lot but when I do I definately don';t eat it like that. Enjoy. Oh and there's a new cat themed video over on the Stange Youtube Videos page. I am just all about animals today it seems but I hope you noticed - no cows!





So I Am Of "Below Average" Intelligence!

The IQ Brain ViewSo the Daily Telegraph a UK daily reports on a PC World report on a survey that concludes Internet Explorer users have "below average" IQ. The study was conducted by a Vancouver based Psychometric Consulting company, AptiQuant.

The AptiQuant homepage has this to say about themselves - puff that chest up why don't you:

"At AptiQuant we help you select the right people. Our consultants help thousands of organizations worldwide make evaluations using scientifically validated psychometric tests. Use our personality and aptitude tests to objectively assess applicants and employees."

Now as an Internet Explorer user I am clearly a dumb *** so I really have no business commenting on this story but, you know me, I feel an irresistible urge to do just that.

So point number one:

Despite being a dumb *** I find fault [sight unseen] in whatever mathematical methodology was the basis for the conclusion that IE users have "below average" intelligence. While its market share has seen declines IE is still the dominant browser. If the majority of people use it then are we saying the MAJORITY of people have "below average" intelligence - seems like that makes no sense unless they used one of the less meaningful mathematical definitions of average of which there are many. To simple little me however it seems well - simple. The majority of people are probably average and smaller numbers are above and below average.

Moving on:

The results were derived from having people do intelligence tests online and then analyzing what browsers they used to do the tests. So here's the deal - I figure for the most part the people who take intelligence tests are likely to be the ones who are quite intelligent and want to prove it to themselves. Mr. Average ain't sitting there answering obscure questions [and I have taken such tests - the questions are often very obscure] just so he can find out what he already knew - he is Mr. Average. So the study is flawed. Any study that is to base its conclusions on what the "average" is must of necessity have a sample base of average people. This study clearly did not.

Yes there is more:

The study postulates that since IE is preinstalled on most PC's that the less intelligent among us don't change and the more intelligent do. Now I have tried other browsers, there is frankly little difference unless you are a cutting edge web developer trying to find ways to kill our bandwidth even more. So the question is why would changing to another browser be an indication of intelligence. In fact I would go so far as to hypothesize that the opposite is actually true and that changing to another browser is actually the indication of below average intelligence. What's the old saying" "If it ain't broke don't fix it!"

And finally:

Thankfully with my restaurant management days being a dim and distant memory [why in the heck would anyone choose to do that job] I no longer do any hiring. If I did I sure as heck would not use AptiQuant to do my Psychometric Consulting since they have proven with this study that they are of "less than average" intelligence - and in any case what on earth is wrong with the traditional interview?

Monday, July 25, 2011

One Man's Very Very Very Lucky Day [Video]

And on a lighter note check out this guy. Talk about having a guardian angel looking over your shoulder. I figure he had the whole heavenly host working on his behalf this day. It's a military funeral [Polish I think] and he is one of the soldiers firing off the gun salute. He is standing on the front row of two, third from the left in the front row. The guy in the back behind him aims a little low and actually shoots the hat off his head. Talk about a close call.

The Grumpy Old Limey's Birthday Sermon

CupcakeSo at whatever was the precise time of my birth today [well today 53 years ago] I had been around 53 years or 636 months or 19245 days or 464280 hours or 27856800 minutes [taking no account of leap years - and it is my birthday so I can be lazy].

So what has an old fart like me learned in all of those years?

Well for one thing life ain't easy but then I have never seen a rule book or anything else that said it should be. No one ever said it was fun either. At times it can be very trying and very stressful. However if you apply a few simple rules to your day to day thinking life can actually be enjoyable and fun.

If you care read on after the break.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Another Dumb Law & The Kangacoon [Picture]

So Virginia law contains the following:

http://leg1.state.va.us/000/cod/29.1-521.HTM
§ 29.1-521. Unlawful to hunt, trap, possess, sell or transport wild birds and wild animals except as permitted; exception; penalty.
A. The following shall be unlawful:
1. To hunt or kill any wild bird or wild animal, including any nuisance species, with a gun, firearm or other weapon on Sunday, which is hereby declared a rest day for all species of wild bird and wild animal life, except raccoons, which may be hunted until 2:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

The KangaccoonPersonally I am not much for hunting; I have not the remotest idea why anyone would take pleasure in inflicting suffering on another creature human or otherwise [though if I have ever come close it is humans who would drive me to violence rather than animals]. I can understand the need to keep vermin down under some circumstances; I can also accept someone living off the land and hunting for food but killing just for the sake of it - I say wtf.

But enough of that; this is not meant to be a lecture or rant about hunting though one may come one day - it is more about what the heck did the poor old Raccoon do to Virginia and what lunatic politicians with nothing better to do pen some of the ridiculous laws that are out there anyway. Oh and I think the picture above is a Raccoon - or maybe somekind of cross breed - a Kangaccoon?

The State of Virginia gives a day off to animals on Sunday, they cannot be hunted. Personally if I am under threat of death I could care less what day it is. The fact that I am not going to get massacred on Sunday is not much help when I know come Monday morning they are going to be after me with a vengeance. Either allow hunting or not but to say it's OK but not on Sunday - are you sure?

And then we get to the poor old Raccoon - everyone gets a break Sunday except the Raccoon - why? And what happens at 2:00 a.m. Sunday's that the rule changes - it is OK to stay up until 1:00 a.m. to attack Raccoons but at to do so at 2:15 a.m. no way - that would be a bad thing. It seems to me that allowing whoever created that law into the Virginia Legislature was also a bad thing. It would have been more appropriate to "allow" them into the local "nuthouse"

At least this little guy found somewhere to hide :)

You Wont Find Me

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Old Fella Rod Gregory AGT [Video]

So while we are on the Australia's Got Talent track there is a retired farmer by the name of Rod Gregory aka "The Old Fella" who is still in the running to get to the Grand Final. His stand up comedy is, shall we say, a little smutty and apparently his material has been cleaned up a lot just to get it past the aussie "censors" but he is pretty darn funny nonetheless and the wifey thinks he is absolutely hilarious [listen for the "turtle" joke in the second video]. All three of his performances from Australia's Got Talent are here starting with his original audition through the semi-finals and ending up with the performance in the finals that hopefully will see him voted through to the Grand Final. This is one funny guy.

The Audition



The Semi-Finals



The Finals

Chooka Parker - AGT Finals [Video]

So Chooka got voted past the semi-finals to the next semi-finals? Well they had the semi-finals and then voted through 18 acts to go into two shows where 5 acts from each show would go on to the Grand Final. Seems to me they were the semi-finals but who knows. Anyway young Chooka was not voted through to the final show [if I was an Aussie he would have got my vote] but here is his last performance. I still think he is an absolute prodigy and that he will get a career out of his adventure on Australia's Got Talent. Check it out for yourself.

Make Money - Online Business - Just Launched

I will be the first to admit that over the years I have tried many of the "get rich quick" schemes on the web. Suffice it to say I am not rich. Most require you to expend an enormous effort to recruit people and that is hard: a few manage it, I know one individual in particular who quit his job back in 2001 and has lived well on these things ever since. Not me.

All of these sites talk about no need to recruit, your matrix being filled with "spillover" and so on. The problem is by the time you get in they need way too many people to fill your matrix with spillover and everyone who is likely to join already has.

So, I stopped looking and joining. I waited for the time I could get in right at the beginning. Now I am no marketing whiz, I don't have a huge contact list and so on. What I am pretty good at is math and logic. Logic said to me that if I got in right at the start of something the math dictated that I WOULD get the spillover and that I would make some money [not get rich] by joining something if I was early enough.

That opportunity has just arrived. Still less than 24 hours old this was the one I had waited for. I am no fool; I have no expectations of a life changing income. However I do believe enough in my own logic and math to at least take a risk based on the belief that I will validate my theory and make some money along the way. Is there some risk - absolutely - I could quite simply be wrong - but the risk was worth it to me.

So; if you know me you know I am reasonably intelligent. I make no suggestion that you will get rich, I make no promise that you will not lose your investment [and that is actually how I see it]. Could you simply say goodbye to your money - yep.

But - if you ever look at the ads and wonder "is it true" or "could I really be making that money" now is the time to take the risk and try it that one time. At least you would have an answer. At least you would not have to continue wondering. You would finally know if all of the "blurb" about these "businesses" is just that "blurb" or if they have some merit.

Timing is everything; if you want to take a chance here it is.

If you do try let me know how you get on. I will follow up here with news as to how we do - but, if you want to take a chance don't wait for us to say "it worked" because the math says by then it will be too late.

It's a leap of faith.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Optimistic Weather App - Tomorrow Will Be Perfect

I have no idea what the weather is like where you are but I can tell you it is getting somewhat tiresome here. Mowing the yard at the weekends is like running on the spot in a sauna. I can work up a hefty sweat sitting on the patio at 10 o'clock at night and doing nothing more energetic than hammering another nail in my coffin by smoking a cigarette. The last water bill I got was pretty large - who knows what the next one will be but after investing time and money in the yard you can't let it die. And there seems to be little respite on the way - check out the 10 day forecast for lovely Dallas, TX [and I even got one in Celsius for all the limeys out there - darn those Europeans, when I lived back in the old country it was still Fahrenheit there too].

The Weather Sux 1

The Weather Sux 1

So anyway I got to thinking how nice it will be when there is a day the weather forecaster says it’s going to only be 90 tomorrow, or that it's going to rain [and I mean more than a 10% chance], or that there is going to be a nice refreshing breeze - any change would be something to look forward to. I am not sure what I was browsing for or how I got there but I happened upon a cool weather app [for Android] that basically gives you a better weather forecast or, more accurately, flat out lies to you. Check it out here.

Now, I guess when you got to tomorrow you could be disappointed, you might even be a tad irritated and possibly the more frenzied in nature among us might feel an irresistable urge to smash that indispensable mark of our technological advancement - the cell phone. Me I think perhaps it might not actually be such a bad idea. I am going to be pissed at the weather anyway once it gets here so if I can actually have a happy 24 hours in advance looking forward to the weather I want - well; could that be such a bad thing?

Obviously this app is British; the "little white lie" is that it is going to be warm and sunny tomorrow. It is for the Android market - I of course have an iPhone [and it is my employer that chooses the iPhone for us - I am actually not much of an Apple/ Mac person]. So I need some adjustments. I need an app for the iPhone and I need one that is going to forecast something like "tomorrow's high will be in the upper 70's with a light rain for a while in the afternoon and a gentle breeze all day".

So - come on all you iPhone app developers - have at it - you have at least one guaranteed sale.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Few Too Many At The Wedding [Video]

I have seen my fair share of drunks and, though it is distant history now, I have also had my fair share of hangovers and blurred recollections. I ran pubs back in the old country for many years and also a nightclub just outside London for a while - alcohol was the name of the game. It paid the bills but it was also the cause of every bit of trouble and stress in my life. All that pales in comparison to granny here - if ever there was a reason not to drink .. or maybe a reason not to go to weddings ... or maybe a reason not to do either ... it is this lady who is most definitely the worse for wear.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Epic Fail - Pug & A Hard Floor [Video]

Ouch - the poor Pug who made such a mess of its leap onto a table got up and seemed fine though not too interested in having another go; the breed obviously has a hard head because he/she sure hit the floor with a thump.



And - since we are on a dog theme this evening [I know, you are all asking yourselves what happened to the cows] how about this one featuring a young enthusiastic puppy and a close encounter of the third kind with a frisbee - note doubt he/she will get the hang of it in the end. Love the slo-mo.



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Friday, July 8, 2011

Hosting Migration - Possible Outage

Well having just built the beast now we going to see if we can break it. Over the next day or two we will be moving this to it's own domain. Depending on how that goes there may be outages or breaks in functionality over the next couple of days. What is it they always say - if it ain't broke don't fix it. Heck I often say that but here I go.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Roy Williams Proposal - The Audio [Soundbyte]

So Roy Williams is making the news again. Not a Cowboys fan? Roy is commonly thought of as an overpaid underperforming wide out with a penchant for putting his foot in his mouth. Me; I agree. This week he is making the news for something other than football; his sense of romanticism.

Roy has set the tongues a wagging and tickled many a funny bone with his wedding proposal. Now men - we are all romantics yes? We all came up with that wonderful, one off and unique marriage proposal yes? Any way like all good men Roy tried to come up with his own thing. What was it? Proposal by video - heck he could not even get up the nerve to do it face to face! Apparently he says that she had been saying the mail is always bad so he figured he would send some good mail - a video marriage proposal, a $76,000 dollar ring and - get this - $5000 so she could pay her bills. Marry me for my money anyone? Roy is quite the talk of the town following this story breaking and mostly the comments are none too positive.

Now it is not easy being grumpy. It's not I promise. You are sadly misunderstood by everyone and you just want to be a bouncing bundle of happiness and fun. Yeah right. Anyway I listen to 105.3 The Fan on the way into work and they do manage to lighten the mood of a Grumpy Old Limey sometimes. They did so today with a parody of what the Roy Williams audio might be and I thought I would share it. If you are not in the US, don't like the Cowboys or think American Football makes even less sense than cricket this may pass you by; if it does apologies. Click play and give the audio a minute to start up, takes a little to load up.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Speaking Of Cows - Again????

What can I say, no matter where I go in the vast expanse of YouTube and no matter what odd search parameters I use I always seem to end up with cows. I guess destiny and fate got together and came up with some weird obscure [and perhaps a little worrying] plan for me.

Anyway nevermind what the future might have in store for me right now for your viewing pleasure that always fascinating combination of bovines and music.



Can Anyone Say Elmo? [Video]

No need to say anything about this one. Enjoy!

How To Lose Weight - The 'Limey Way!

So I was cutting the grass this last weekend. We have a corner lot and a lot of grass. On a hot Texas summer day [it was about 100 as it is most days at the moment]. So I am covered in sweat by the time I am a quarter of the way through. I can lose anything up to about 4 lb's doing this at this time of the year. Made me think about weight loss and then the Grumpy Old Limey Diet Plan.

It is a highly exclusive, full time, four phase, residential program; there are only two places available at any one time [we only have two spare rooms]. The only costs are the cost of getting to Dallas and the cost of food. The program goes something like this and will help you lose weight and possibly help make The Grumpy Old Limey a little less grumpy along the way:

  • Fly to Dallas and move into The Grumpy Old Limey residence.
  • Do all the food shopping. This is useful for three reasons:
    • You begin to learn what you should and should not buy
    • It is hot out there and carrying all those grocery bags burns a few calories
    • It saves The Grumpy Old Limey from having to do it
  • Do all the cooking. This is useful for three reasons:
    • You begin to learn what to cook and what not to cook
    • You sweat a lot which helps lose weight because the A/C is up to save The Grumpy Old Limey some money
    • It saves The Grumpy Old Limey from having to do it
  • Do all the washing up. No fancy reasons for this one - I just plumb don't like doing it - oops did I say that? It's activity - any activity burns calories and so helps lose weight - that's it yes.
  • Do all the yard work. This is the mainstay of the program. In the Texas summer work outdoors is great for controlling weight. Cutting the grass, weeding, watering, and rounding up all the leaf litter and so on [there is a blower but doing that but by hand will help the weight more than using the blower]. All of these things will use calories and have you sweating and,  what's more, they will save The Grumpy Old Limey doing it.
OK everyone don't rush at once. The phone lines are open now!!

OK so perhaps it is not the best diet plan ever and I doubt there will be many [any] takers. However on a more serious note those who know me will know that a couple of years ago I did lose a bunch of weight that I have subsequently managed to keep off. Losing weight can be extraordinarily difficult. I wrote an article about the things that helped me lose weight over on InfoBarrel. There may be a tip or two there that just might help you lose that weight you have been trying to get rid of for so long so if you want to find out what worked for me just head on over to the article on InfoBarrel.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Inside The Egg [Picture]

Not much time today; a busy day at work. Just time to post this little pic I came across the other day. Never thought about it - must be pretty boring in there eh?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Epic Fails - Dog's Mess Up Too [Video]

More on the thread of "Epic Fails". We all know people mess up; it seems to be part of our nature but hey - what is life without a good laugh anyway. It seems the animal kingdom has its share of klutz's too. A selection of somewhat embarrassing dog moments for your viewing pleasure [do dogs get embarrassed?]

We all know a dog that just loves to feel the wind in it's hair. Car window anyone? Just remember to keep it closed enough so they can't jump out.



This guy has absolutely no intention of swimming today. Fate seems to have other ideas.



Why is this damn chair so big? Or maybe it is just me? They do say you have to recognise your own problems before you can address them. Maybe I need to join SDA [Small Dogs Anonymous].



All this "doggy stuff". Let the cats have a say.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

University Of Dundee Comic Studies Degree

It seems that it is not only the US education system that has gone completely bonkers. The University Of Dundee in Scotland is introducing a degree course in Comic Studies. Give me a break - that is not education but rather just an excuse for some individuals who don't want to grow up to not grow up at other people expense.

BBC News notes:

"Dundee University said the one-year Masters in Comic Studies would be launched by its English department in September 2011. The degree built on "strong local traditions" in the comic book industry, the university said. Dennis the Menace, Desperate Dan and the Broons, the inventions of Dundee-based publishers DC Thomson and Co, were all born in the city. Graduates on the course will study the impact of comics on the worlds of art, literature and popular culture. The degree programme will be led by Dr Chris Murray, one of the UK's leading authorities on comics, and editor of the Studies in Comics journal."

On a similar note in The Grumpy Old Limey recently announced that The Grumpy Old Limey Institute For Advanced Education was introducing a Masters degree in "sittin on my big fat rear and vegging in front of the telly studies." When asked for comment The Grumpy Old Limey said that he felt the course had entirely as much educational merit as the University Of Dundee course.

Joshua Bell Busks At A DC Metro Station [Video]

Thanks to the Limey's wifey for this one. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is an all too often quoted cliche though frankly in our modern society at times it seems like standards have been set that we all have to live up to. If ever there was something that went some way towards proving that the old cliche really does have some merit it is this.

The story unfolds something like this:
  • In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
  • After about 3 minutes a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule. 
  • About 4 minutes later the violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk. 
  • At 6 minutes a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again. 
  • At 10 minutes a 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.
  • At 45 minutes the musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.
  • After 1 hour the musician finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. 
Nothing very unusual or significant about any of that you are probably thinking. Not so my friend.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.
  
This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.
 
The questions:
  • In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?  
  • If so, do we stop to appreciate it?
  • Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
And what conclusions might we draw from this? One might be:
 
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . .
  
How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?
 
A very inciteful anonymous quote sums it up this way:

"It's not important the day we were born or the day we die...what is important is the dash between these two. It's the dash that tells how we lived!"

So son't be a "grumpy" like me - enjoy the dash, expect the unexpected and relish it, stroll through life with wonder in your heart at the marvels of nature and this world we all share. You just never know what is coming next but it just might be glorious if you take the time to stop and notice.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Skyrim: The Elder Scrolls V [Video]

Unless you live in one of the remote parts of the moon if you have even a passing interest in PC Gaming you must have heard the buzz about the upcoming [and likely instant classic] game from Bethesda - Skyrim: The Elder Scrolls V. The fifth installment in the popular and very successful Elder Scrolls fanchise Skyrim is slated for a November 2011 release. The fourth installment, Oblivion, was hugely popular though of course as with all games there were detractors and and a few issues. Though having a "third person" perspective available Oblivion was a "first person" single player RPG/Adventure featuring a huge gameworld and untold hours of gameplay. With a full construction set and an army of "modders" there is still new content coming out for Oblivion years after release. 

With significant enhancements to the game engine, user interfaces and yes, Dragons, Skyrim seems destined to be an instant and huge success. I for one cannot wait for the frustration of wanting to play and play and play and not having the time to do it. Darn those little things like sleep, food and work. 

My suggestion - be ready for the biggest blockbuster in years and pre order your copy now - Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 

Watch the video for an idea of what the buzz is all about and for more detailed information you can check out any of the following:


Friday, July 1, 2011

Life Is Hectic. Right? But Only Sometimes?

So yes The Grumpy Old Limey is sometimes - well - GRUMPY.

So we are all in a rush all of the time it seems. You just have to go out in the car to see that, the roads are full of idiots on a headlong rush to either where they are going or death. Or go to work, every task you get seems to have a deadline of yesterday. I don't have kids [thank the good Lord above] but I do hear that those who do are always on the go; football practice, band, choir whatever. It seems like there are never enough hours in the day.

SO WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH SACKING THE DARN GROCERIES?

I enjoy food as much as the next guy and, let's face it, it is kind of essential. Trouble is it does not magically appear in the pantry. The refrigerator does not mysteriously populate itself every night with new sweet treats designed specifically to sabotage the latest diet plans. We have to go to the grocery store; it's just one of those mundane things that has to happen.

I am, as most who know me would attest to, a pretty organized guy [others perhaps might go a little further - ADD?]. I like to shop with a list, I don't hang about browsing, I don't look for new things or new brands. In, out and home; no messing. That's the goal anyway and it is always fine until the checkout.

Ah the checkout! Who is at the checkout? As always it has to be someone who must be in one of those polygamous relationship with a huge number of kids judging by the amount of stuff crammed into the cart. Now given that everyone is always in a rush and that "octomum" here must definitely be in a rush - how could she not be with that many kids - I am absolutely gob smacked at the fact that she does not sack her own groceries or at the very least help to do so. But oh no - she stands there daydreaming off in lala land somewhere. She ran around the store; you just know she is going to scream out of the parking lot like she is being chased by a Tsunami [not a common occurrence in Dallas, TX let me tell you] but sacking - good grief that's not for her. To heck with the poor checker, screw the people in line behind who also have a day to be getting on with; it's all about me!

WHY IN THE HECK NOT SACK HER OWN STUFF?

Does she enjoy watching the checker struggling more and more to find a space to balance that last can of biscuits after scanning it. There is no more room !! The line is getting longer and more frustrated and then don't you know it; she gets out the check book to pay. No cash, no Credit Card, use a Debit Card for goodness sake. Who uses checks these days? Eventually it is done, the cart is filled up again - have to have a carry out of course - doesn't she realize that if there were no sackers and carry out people the grocery stores labor costs would go down and food might be a little cheaper.

So the next time you are in the grocery store help your fellow humans have a good day and sack the darn groceries.

Epic Fail - Couple Of Cars & A Cow [Video]

Epic fails for your amusement. Sometimes things just don't go the way they were planned!

Not the best parking attempt ever but hey, it's OK, there's no one about so just act like nothing happened and go try another parking lot. Shame about that video camera.



Maybe this was a badly judged attempt at a u-turn and not a parking attempt at all?



It isn't only humans that are subject to odd "Epic Fail"; sometimes animals have a bad day too! OK I know - it's another cow video - what can I say; for some unknown reason the other day I searched for cow videos. An aging and somewhat idiosyncratic brain is my only excuse.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Old Fella - AGT Aussie Style [Video]

Stand up comedy is notorious for being one of the harder forms of entertainment. One retired Aussie farmer showed he still has it on the Australia's Got Talent semi-finals.

$100M ATM Receipt. If Only! [Video]

Only time I will ever see this that's for sure!

Anybots.com - Your Personal Avatar [Video]

So you want to work at home tomorrow but there is an important meeting you really need to be at. Have to leave town for a few days but there is a lot going on at the office? There is an answer. These days there are greetings on cell phones, out of office messages in email and all manner of dealing with being away from your desk. $15000 however propels you to whole new level and places you right on the technological cutting edge as you introduce your "Out Of Office Avatar" to your colleagues. Described as "Skype on a Segway only more geeked-out" the $15,000, 35-pound, two-wheeled, self-balancing travel robot has two-way audio and video so users can interact remotely with co-workers or customers.

Anybots.com introduces your personal Avatar as follows:

"Be part of the action at work from home or anywhere. All you need is a web browser to interact with the whole office, lab, factory, or warehouse. QB glides around smoothly and quietly, giving you total access and presence."

It goes on to highlight your new found telecommuting independence;

"No longer do you have to rely on someone to reserve a room with video conferencing, remember an appointment or set up a conference call. Simply log in to QB and interact with people just as if you were there."

Check it the video review and then get with your boss; he has a big budget this year right?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Funny & Stupid Signs [Picture]

Figured since I had quite a few pictures of funny and/or stupid signs that I have saved from random places at various times I may as well share them with you. Enjoy. Oh and if the slideshow is going too fast just hover your mouse over it to get to the control bar.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Weird, Stupid & Dumb Laws

Texas

Wikipedia and TheFreeDictionary.com define the Supreme Being as follows:

















I fully subscribe to the idea that everyone is entitled to their opinion regardless of whether I happen to agree with that opinion or not. Based on that premise I am forced to accept that you would have every right to consider me a dumb-xxx. Equally I have every right to believe that while I am no Einstein I am, for the most part, a reasonably intelligent human being.

When I consider God I think of a Supreme Being. If you were to ask me to define a Supreme Being my answer would be a simple, single word; God. The definitions above would seem to suggest that my interpretation is a valid one.

The Texas Constitution has the following to say regarding public office and religious sentiments:


The Texas Constitution Source
Article 1 - BILL OF RIGHTS
Section 4 - RELIGIOUS TESTS
No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.


If the definition of a Supreme Being stands then my acknowledging or denying  the existence of a Supreme Being is, in and of itself, an expression of my personal religious sentiments because, by definition, I am choosing to acknowledge or deny the existence of God. The words Supreme Being and God are interchangeable. So what the Texas Constitution is really saying is that if I choose to deny the existence of God I can be barred from office even though I CANNOT be barred from office because of my religious beliefs. And you thought I was a dumb-xxx!

Check out another couple of dumb and stupid laws after the jump.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Brocolli, The Walnut & The Shroom

Source unknown. Found randomly browsing one day but to whoever - thank you.

What If God Took A Mulligan?

Most commonly used in relation golf Merriam Webster defines "mulligan" as follows:

So basically what we have is, for want of a better description, a do-over. I was out weeding the yard yesterday; Texas summer, hot as hell and not a whole lot of fun. Seems like a never ending task. Pull the last weed at the far end and it seems like the first one pulled has already poked its pesky little head up again. “Nature does not conform” as I like to say. For some reason it set me to thinking what might God change if He “took a Mulligan” or perhaps more accurately what would I have God change if He “took a Mulligan”?

Now before the flaming starts I recognize that spiritual beliefs and perception of/belief in God are very personal things. There are probably as many different views as there are people to hold them. I mean no insult to anyone’s belief system or to God; whoever or whatever you may perceive Him to be. All I figured was why not take a slightly irreverent and light hearted look at some things that might be considered for a do-over - after all God created us and he gave us a sense of humor; in my estimation that makes it highly likely that He has a sense of humor too.

So check out my top five do-over wishes after the jump.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I Love You - Doggy Style [Video]

I know what you were thinking. Sorry - the Grumpy Old Limey has not gone all XXX on you. This is actually a very cool video of a talking [and loving] Husky called Mishka.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

That's One Pretty Darn Smart Pig [Video]

What is the smartest species on the planet? Conventional wisdom has it that the answer is us; humans. I am not so sure I would agree with that. Name me another species that spends it time fighting wars, accumulating unnecessary possessions and destroying its own habitat, the very planet we live on. But that's a subject for another day. A look at a couple of sites that come up if you Google "What is the smartest animal?", Science On MSNBC and Animal Planet, suggests that there is no "right" answer. Some of the same species are common to both lists and some are different. If you look at other sites you will see the same thing; some species in common but no two lists the same.

Now I am no scientist and I do not for one minute suggest I can answer the question I posed of Google. One thing I did notice was that most lists had the pig listed somewhere [more often than dogs interestingly]. I was a little surprised by this but it did put me in mind of this video which strongly suggests that at least one pig, who goes by the name of Mudslinger, is indeed a pretty smart critter. Looks like a cut from an episode of something akin to "America's Got Talent" for animals broadcast on the Animal Planet channel. I have no idea when it was broadcast; I just recalled seeing it on YouTube one time and I searched it down. The video is titled "Funny Pig"; me I would have titled it "Very Smart Pig". Anyway; judge for yourself. I think it may might just have you thinking of pigs in a whole new light.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Skydiving Elite & Ultimate Journey [Video]

Stunning "Skydiving" related videos. Not sure how to describe the first one - a Skydiving Ballet? It is staged inside what I guess could be termed a skydiving simulator and is just amazing. I had no idea such technology existed. Next house I buy I want one. The second is a video of someone skydiving down a mountainside. I would imagine it was extremely exciting and exhilarating but probably scary as hell as well. Each in their own way is a very cool video - check them out.



Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Best Dog Smile Ever [Picture]

So I came across this picture via BuzzFeed; originally from a blog on tumblr I believe. Anyway I have seen it tagged as "The Best Dog Smile Ever". To be honest if you want my opinion forget the "Dog". I think it might just be "The Best Smile Ever".


Limey On The Road - Cool Architecture [Picture]

So I am still in DC. Walked past this yesterday and did not notice it. The Mexican Embassy [Pensylvania Avenue]. I have often seen pictures of older buildings surrounded by the modern. I have never seen one quite like this though. They built on both sides AND on top. Ends up being a very cool, interesting and unusual piece of architecture.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Limey On The Road - DC & The White House

So I just got out of one of my semi-regular meetings at the White House. OK - maybe a little of an exaggeration. All right; you got me, a lot of an exaggeration. Actually I figure if the Rapture came tomorrow and you all had been very bad and all that was left was the President and I it is likely I would still not be asked for advice.

However, I am in DC on business. I have never been here before and the business I am visiting is only two blocks from the White House so I figured why not; be a tourist for a few. So off I trundled to see the White House [and let me tell you when they say white they mean white; I don't think I have ever seen a white as clean and white as that white is].

Now you may or may not agree with the President's policies. Heck, depending on where you live in the world you may or may not like the US. We are not going to go there; political views are personal and often divisive and certainly not something I want to get into here.

What I do think we can agree on is this. The President of the United States is the most powerful individual in the world. Furthermore as each generation comes and goes technology and therefore power advances. If we accept that theory then we can argue that the current President is more powerful than previous Presidents. In short that makes the current President the most powerful human who has ever lived. Back to the White House; it's not as big or as impressive as I expected as a building BUT it's the hang out of the most powerful dude that ever lived - that's actually rather awe inspiring whatever you think of the man himself.

I have a photo. Did I really post that? I must have lost one of the few screws I have left. Check it out after the break.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Revisiting "Where In The Hell Is Matt?" [Video]

Most likely you have seen the "Where In The Hell Is Matt" videos. Matt of course would be Matt Harding and not that other Matt [Lauer; who has also been known to travel a bit]. I have watched these videos several times, and yet I still seem to come back around to them every now and again. They just seem to put a smile on my face [and maybe cause just a little hint of jealosy]. Talk about travelling and seeing the world. I doubt many see even a fraction of what Matt Harding has seen. I know it is highly unlikely that I will ever see most of the places he has visited. I particularly enjoy the 2008 video; I think it is partly the change up with other people dancing with Matt and I know it is the music [Praan by Gary Schyman]. The music fits with the video so perfectly but is also without any doubt a beautiful and enchanting piece of music that stands just fine on it's own.

There have of course been articles a plenty suggesting these videos were all an elaborate hoax, videos by Matt himself confirming that the whole thing was indeed a hoax and then videos by Matt saying the "hoax" was a hoax. I am absolutely of a mind that it is all real but I guess with the never ending advances in technology who knows. You can make up your own mind; or perhaps you already have. Google Matt Harding and you will find a bunch of references or check out his website http://www.wherethehellismatt.com/. Incidentally his website says he is doing another video; there is even a form to suggest somewhere he could dance [which also gets you a chance to dance in the video]. I haven't seen Dallas yet.

I will continue to come back from time to time and revisit these videos and maybe do a little idle day dreaming. "Where in the heck is The Grumpy Old Limey". Quite a ring to that don't you think? Well maybe not. But Matt was not the best dancer either and it didn't stop him so my two left feet should really not be a problem. I just need a sponsor; anyone?

2005 [The Original]



2006



2008

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hmmmmmmm [Picture]

I know some people are very proud of their cars and wash them with great regularity but really? As we say back in the old country "there's nowt as queer as folk".


Thanks to FunnyChill.com for the image.

Five Guys & The Sushi Train

So, I am here in DC. Got to the hotel [late of course - thanks AA], checked out where I needed to be first thing in the morning and on the way back through the mall to the hotel figured I would get something to eat. Saw a Five Guys burger place. Now I have never had one, never even seen one of their stores anywhere but I have heard a lot of buzz about them here and there so I figured why not.

The burger was great [Bacon Cheeseburger with mustard, ketchup, tomato, jalapeno, onion and mushroom] and the fries were piping hot and very tasty. A tad expensive [$10]. Much more than McDonald's, at least McDonald's in Texas, no idea about VA but it was bigger and better and well worth it.

However the thing that prompted me to write this was not the food but rather what to me was a somewhat odd and quirky element of their service style. Now I work in the restaurant industry, IT now but I was a store manager for years so I get that brands need to differentiate themselves. You need good food, excellent service and something that sets you apart from the others to be successful. Anyway I was waiting for my order to come up and watching the employees while I waited. I noticed the expediter filling a bag; couple of burgers, couple of fries in cups and then - a scoop of fries just thrown in the bag loose. Odd I thought. Perhaps he thought the initial portion was small. Anyway as I continued to watch he did this for every order including mine. It seems it must be by design; a point of differentiation. Now I am not one to shy away from large portions; there is a little bit of the "pig" in me but this did seem a little peculiar. Not the end of the world but to get to the burger I had to go through the fries. Take a look at the photo; yes there is a burger in there under the fries. Not really complaining and as stated already the food was very good and very filling. I am just not convinced I would have introduced that particular element into the service style of my business.

And what of the Sushi Train. Well on the way out of the mall I noticed what I immediately thought of as "The Sushi Train". I don't eat Sushi and the restaurant was not called the Sushi Train though that would have been so apropos [and no I don't know what it was called - it was in the Tyson's Corner Center is all I can tell you]. What caught my eye can be seen in the photo. The restaurant has a conveyor system that winds its way by every table. The dishes are color coded and the guests just grab the ones they want; the employees then add them to the check when they collect the empty containers from the tables. Like I said, I don't eat Sushi, but I found that to be an extremely interesting and innovative way to set up a restaurant.

Porn-O-Matic, Privacy & The Insanity Of Humanity

I am sitting at a gate at DFW waiting for a flight to DC. Not particularly where I would choose to be but I have always embraced the mantra “Don’t worry about the things you can do nothing about”. Seems like a worthy enough goal though sometimes not so easy to execute; I do try though. Like most of us I need to pay the bills so I need my job. Today my job needs me here; end of story. As it happens the day is not too bad so far. The drive to the airport was delay free, the parking lots were not full yet and for a Monday morning the line at security was almost non-existent. The line at Starbucks was longer; go figure. But I can live with that. The only downers on the day are not seeing my wife for a few days and that it is so noisy here; people on the phone left and right. Is it just me or do some people seem to have a propensity for shouting when they use their cell phones? Oh for a little peace and quiet.

So I had my first experience of the “Porn-O-Matic”; that microwave or miniwave or whatever it is full body scanner that has caused so much controversy. Did not seem like a big deal. Legs slightly apart, feet on the yellow “feet”, arms aloft, scanning arm does its thing [a couple of seconds] and I am out of there. Someone somewhere saw an image of me something like the one to the left [image courtesy of Wikipedia]. So what’s the big deal? My thoughts after the jump.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Twitter, Facebook & Grumpy Old Limey's First Tweet

So I just twittered my first tweet or is that tweeted my first twit or perhaps hash tagged my first "@" sign - who in the heck knows? Could we not just call them messages and have done with it? Anyway whatever it was I just did it. And what in the heck is a hash tag anyway [anyone who can give me a short review of Twitter terms please comment on this article and let me know; it would help me be a little less of a dumb-***].

And it was monumental in it's significance.

"How so?" I hear you inquire.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chooka Parker [Video]

Simon Cowell; gotta love him. America's Got Talent, Britain's Got Talent and so on and so on. I have the same first name but I certainly don't have the bank account. Anyway as a limey by birth and a resident of the US by choice it pains me to say that perhaps Australia's Got (more) Talent and Simon Cowelll was never on that "Got Talent".

So Chooka Parker is from out in the middle of the back of beyond somewhere and has an incredible talent. Only 16 and yet already a wizard on keyboard he takes it a step further by playing music he makes up as he goes along. He wowed the judges in both his audition and his more recent semi-final appearance on Australia's Got talent. He wowed me as well. Check out the videos; the first is his original audition and the second his semi-final performance. Final still to come and I for one am looking forward to that.



So A Leopard Can Change It's Spots After All

Heck I'm on Facebook. I am not sure I really believe it but no; I check again and there I am. Must be so.

Of course I have decried Facebook, Twitter and all manner of "Social Media" on an almost daily basis since the time the only "Social Media" consisted of Fred Flintstone, a slab of rock and a chisel. So, if you know me at all, you may be of a mind to ask "Is this really happening?" You may be prompted to say "I told you so. Social Media is the place to be" Is it true - you have not arrived unless you are Facebooking and Tweeting [and yes I am actually seriously considering Twitter though given my propensity for verbal diarrhea a 140 character limit could cause me insurmountable problems?. Perhaps your "self satisfaction bone" is tingling with the glee of being proven right after all and above all you may be asking "What on earth prompted the leopard to change his spots?"

Find out after the jump.

Friday, June 17, 2011

It's A Big Bad Internet - Tips For Safer Browsing

Protecting Your Computer from Viruses, Phishing & The Million Other Threats Out There In Cyberspace

If you are anything like me you spend a significant amount of time on line. Some may be just for entertainment, some maybe more serious; maybe a little online banking. Many of you may use your computer for your business also. Offline it might be your "photo album"; no more prints and what a disaster if you lose the files. We are all depending more and more on our computers and on the marvelous resources and information stores available online. Unfortunately as the internet culture grows and evolves so to do the malicious and parasitic elements that generate viruses, spam and the like. So without being paranoid how can we make the online experience relatively safe without making it a pain in the proverbial behind at the same time?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

So Why Do I Pay Property Taxes Anyway?

On the drive to the office this morning I heard an ad from a company offering loans to people who had not yet paid last year’s property taxes. I figure most people have the taxes rolled up into the mortgage so they should be OK. If not it can be a big lump sum at the end of the year so I can see where people might get into a pickle; if that is you my sympathies – I hope you get it figured out. Me; I chose not to do the mortgage thing and I save for the property taxes monthly over the course of the year [what was that old saying about looking after the pennies – I earn a few dollars interest over the course of the year]. We all have gaps in our knowledge and experience. I don’t believe anyone out there has a perfect skill set. I know I have my failings, perhaps more than most. Managing my personal finance thankfully is not one of them. I have the experience and discipline to save, and always have the funds when needed, for my property taxes though I do feel obliged to confess that that knowledge and discipline was borne of the angst of major credit card debt and the hounding of debt collectors in a somewhat less disciplined time. None of that however is the purpose of this post.

So what is? Well hearing that ad put me in mind once again of the fact that I question why I pay property taxes [or at least the most significant part of them] in the first place. Not for the first time did this thought occurred to me and it will likely not be the last. The bulk of the money goes to the local school district. I don’t have kids. I chose not to do so. I could never find a good reason to take my life along that path. I know most would disagree and that is fine and dandy – and the subject of another discussion at another time. But why am I paying taxes to the school district?

Take your chance now. You can likely see where this is heading. There's more after the break. If you don’t want to go there just don’t click.

Gotta Hand It To The NBA Champ Dallas Mavericks

As you likely know I am an English transplant. As such my list of things that matter in life does not include Basketball. Nothing against sports and frankly cricket would be a different thing altogether; I just feel that I don't really get Basketball. Having said that I do live in Dallas and I think the local franchise winning the NBA title was really rather cool. I actually watched the series and perhaps a little surprisingly found it somewhat interesting. With this coming not too many months after the same thing happened to me with Baseball when the Rangers went to the Worlds Series I can only conclude that I must be that anathema to the true sports fan, the "Bandwagon Fan". Oh well, we are what we are.
Anyway, after the final game I figured that was pretty much it. The team had won. A remarkable achievement in many ways; they don't have multiple stars, they are not the most athletic team, they are an older team and so on. Yet they won. I was proud for them, proud for Cuban and proud for the city. Having said that – now it is time to move on.
Memory and age seem to have a very close inverse correlation and I am not getting younger so of course I had forgotten about the parade. We have to have a parade. No problem, they will surely schedule it in the evening or at the weekend. BUT NO. It has to be at 10:00 am on a weekday morning. So - what did we have this morning? An estimated 250,000 people converging on downtown Dallas in drive time and streets being closed at 8:00 am - at 8:00 am; are you kidding!
I am all for recognizing achievement; in sports and anywhere else something remarkable or noteworthy takes place. Classy Cuban even went so far as to pay for the parade so the taxpayers of DFW did not have to [and how many sports owners would have done that I wonder]. But really, did we have to show a total disregard for the average downtown worker. Traffic is bad enough; the commute is a trial and a pain in the backside already. Did we have to take a positive and uplifting event for the area and turn it into a massive inconvenience?
I guess we did.