Monday, December 29, 2008

I Should Be in Costa Rica

Here is a picture from last Christmas. Notice that I am asleep in a hammock with a coke in my hand. Also notice the camouflage hawaiian shirt (I actually bought it in Costa Rica the previous year). We saw the movie 4 Christmases this evening - it was entertaining - but my main takeaway was plan another trip to a warm area next Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Benjamin Zander: Classical music with shining eyes

I first saw Ben Zander at a P&G event - and over the course of 3 hours or so he covered everything from leadership skills to how everything is possible. His book is titled "The Art of Possibility" and it is an amazing read. Here is a short excerpt I found on youtube of one of his speeches - this is an neat exercise about taking something that is not that popular today (like classical music) and demonstrating the connections we all can have to it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Border Fence?



(Warning - this blog is among my "Swiftian" modest proposal type blogs)

As per the cartoon above - Aren't we all here illegally? It's like yelling "shotgun" or something, but as a nation we believe we should keep people from continuing to come here to try and find a better life even though that was the basis of how our modern society was founded (much to the dismay of the Native Americans who were here before us). But I want to quickly get to my point. I feel it isn't much of a stretch to state that many on the the right side of the political scale are for protectionism when it comes to immigration. A more extreme position has been to even identify and "round up" the millions of illegal immigrants currently living in the US and deport them (as if that were possible) but I'm not here to discuss that.

I'm going to take a tough "devil's advocate" position to defend in a recession (but thinking macro-scopically) - Doesn't this protectionism against immigration (either legal or illegal, which I will now call "pilgrim style") come from a fear of scarcity? As if there isn't enough to go around? That we need to block people out because they could be taking money from us either though "stealing jobs" or through public works projects and funds. I'm going to put that position against another "right side of the political scale" position of a free market economy.

What hit me this weekend when Dale showed me this cartoon, was that those on the right of the political scale who typically have a protectionism mindset on immigration are also generally on the side of a free market when it comes to the economy. Sooooo... why not just compete against immigrants for the resources - "free market" style. If it is so easy for "them" to steal "our jobs" then isn't that the free market at work? Besides isn't it a conservative position to take to say "everyone for themselves?" - yet we want government to help us keep "our jobs" and "our resources" and "our opportunities" just for the privileged of us who got here "Sooner".

In summary - my Devil's advocate position is to embrace an ever changing global world and remove artificial "protectionistic measures" and just compete for resources. This will drive the need for skilled labor, continuing education, and working hard. The best way to protect yourself is to make yourself move valuable to the economy through education, training, and work ethic. Besides - if someone wants to come to the US and is willing to work harder than some of our lazy, entitled teens, then our country will only be stronger for embracing the engines of the economy instead of fighting to protect the economic drains.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tips for Better Life in 2009

My friend Dave D. sent these to me an I wanted to share them with you!

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the
ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have
to.

3. Buy a DVR and tape your late night shows and get more sleep.

4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My
purpose is to __________ today.'

5. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

6. Play more games and read more books than you did in 2008.

7. Make time to practice meditation, yoga, tai chi, and prayer. They
provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.

8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.

9. Dream more while you are awake.

10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is
manufactured in plants.

11. Drink green tea and plenty of water.. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan
salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and
flowing energy into your life.

14. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of
the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest
your energy in the positive present moment.

15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are
simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class
but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a
college kid with a maxed out charge card.

17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the energy vampires away.

18. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

22. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

23. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey
is all about.

24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will
this matter?'

26. Forgive everyone for everything.

27. What other people think of you is none of your business.

28. GOD heals almost everything.
29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

30. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will.
Stay in touch.

31. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

32. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

33. The best is yet to come.

34. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

35. Do the right thing!

36. Call your family often. (Or email them to death!!!) Hey I'm thinking
of ya!

37. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am
thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.

38. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

39. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly
don't want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life so make the
most of it and enjoy the ride.

40. Please Forward this to everyone you care about.

May your troubles be less, May your blessings be more, May nothing but
happiness come through your door!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A Few Quick Hot Topics

I could probably write a blog on each of these but they are piling up too fast. So here's some flotsam and jetsam from the top of my head.

1) Giants WR Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg at a NY night club while carrying a concealed weapon. Apparently he used to have a permit for this weapon in Florida (I thought I heard it had expired) AND NY doesn't allow concealed weapons so he is facing 2 felony weapons charges. Apparently NY also passed what they call the "P. Diddy" law which carries a mandatory 3.5 year sentence for felony weapons charges (I guess P. Diddy got out of serving time for similar charges and NY wasn't about to let it happen again). Now here's where I have a problem. Michael Vick was sentenced to almost 2 years for executing and torturing numerous dogs, not to mention the abuse to the remaining 47 dogs who were rescued (and he was at this for years). Vick was intentionally and purposefully torturing these animals for his sick pleasure - and he may serve 1/2 as much time as Plaxico Burress who is - in my opinion - just an idiot. I am much less concerned about having Plaxico Burress roaming the streets than I am about Vick. I think Michael Vick is sick in the head and unfeeling people like that are dangerous. Plaxico on the other hand probably isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer - but I believe he is less a menace to be roaming the streets.

2) From a great debate I heard on the way home on the radio - A 24 year single old woman was denied a prescription for birth control from her doctor because he ethically disagreed with her choice to engage in sex before marriage (never mind all of the other reasons to be on birth control including regulating periods and acne but that's not the point). The doctor actually went so far as to lecture her about her morals. Now I don't have an issue with the Doctor having a religious opinion on the matter but I do object to the patient not receiving LEGAL medical options available today because her Doctor disagreed with it. In fact - I think it is in some ways discrimination. I think it is fine for the Doctor NOT to chose that for himself, but his job is to provide care for his patients and I was surprised to hear that it was possible for him to basically be the judge on whether or not you should be allowed to use contraception. In fact - this month Bush is pushing for a bill in congress which would give Doctors MORE authority to be selective in their care of patients based on religious beliefs. Now you can see things get murky - I actually don't have an issue with a doctor choosing not to perform an abortion based on the Doctor's views - but to leave that off the table for a patient who is relying on a Doctor to understand all of their medical options seems wrong. I was unaware how much of an issue this was in doctors offices today. In fact - apparently doctors are not giving patients all of their possible legal choices for health care based on their religious beliefs, and as you can guess this includes not informing patients on their options for birth control, abortion, and end of life issues such as being removed from a ventilator etc. I think if a Doctor doesn't want to perform a vasectomy that's fine - but if they are actually knowingly withholding medical information about LEGAL options from their patients then they have gone too far and probably shouldn't be doctors. Imagine if someone refused to sell you a house because they disagreed with your country of origin. There are laws in place in real estate to prevent discrimination and it should be similar in medicine. If you are in a profession but disagree with available and LEGAL options I don't think you should be able to impose your views on others who are relying on you as a resource. What if your Doctor witheld chemotherapy options from your inoperable cancer and you didn't even know it was an option until it was too late and your Doctor let you die because their religion (maybe scientology) didn't believe in chemical fixes? It's maddness.

3) Big 3 Bailout. I say no. Here's why - it's an entire industry in the US that is not competitive because of cost structure and the only way to get out of archaic union contracts is in bankruptcy. By keeping the existing companies afloat as is - it only prolongs the misery. In fact - the only people the current employees of the Big 3 should be pissed at are all of the previous generations of big 3 employees who retired on fat pensions and were paid above market values for labor that was locked up in union contracts. If you see an industry with gross amounts of waste - people working less than market hours for guaranteed salaries and contracts retiring with huge benefits (that are now crippling the companies) - RUN, don't walk, away from that industry as a profession.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cats being Brats!

When Meghan and I were cleaning and packing up to go home for thanksgiving - the cats were a little put off by not being able to be in the laundry room with Meghan. Here is a cute video of the cats being brats!

Manny is closest to the camera and content to dig in a grocery bag while Brady is trying to get Meghan to open the door.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pick One (Chris Kattan Edition)

OK. So somehow Meghan made me watch MTV's the Hills again this week (love Audrina) and it was reported that 2 of the "stars" just eloped this weekend and it will be on the cover of US Magazine. So I was looking at the article online and came across a collection of images of famous celebrities getting married. It was sort of cool - Obamas wedding picture was there - so was Bill & Hillary Clinton's.

I was most surprised by SNL's Chris Kattan's wedding picture. But first here's a reminder of some of his work (he's the monkey boy named Mr. Peepers). I never liked this series of skits.

Saturday Night Live - Mr Peepers


OK so now on to the Chris Kattan wedding picture.

The SNL star said "I Do" to his model-fiancee at the Chateau De Sureau on June 28 in Oakhurst, California.

So now - Pick One. How did Chris Kattan marry this beautiful model?
1) He's Rich
2) Who wouldn't want to marry Chris Kattan? He's a catch!
3) He's Rich
4) She just loves "Mr. Peepers"
5) He's Rich
6) He's really a nice normal guy
7) Did I mention he's Rich (but I suspect not rich enough to explain this)

Orange Eyed Cat

A friend of mine showed me a picture on his iPhone of a beautiful black cat with orange eyes. I asked for some better pictures and I wanted to share them because this little guy is amazing!





What a cute cat!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Buddhist Birthday Quotes

Happy Birthday to.... ME! I'm 31 and think it's a great age. Growing up - I always wanted to be older - in college I couldn't wait until I graduated and was making money. Now I am pretty content so I believe maybe my 30s will be the period of my life I have been waiting for.

So I've been reading some Buddhist stuff online - I think it was all provoked by Molly giving me a copy of Siddhartha to read a year or so ago (which was a really good book). I don't want to ruin the surprise since I haven't gotten it yet but Buddha pictured here to the left is the gift my family-in-law got for me for my birthday! He's a small hand-carved wooden statue and he looks pretty peaceful so I am excited about having him move in to the Willow! Anyway on this day of reflection I thought I'd share some Buddhist Quotes I have found and lump them into a few topics and maybe make a few comments. Here we go...

Law of Attraction
I'm not going to claim to be a law of attraction person ala "the Secret" however since almost 100 years ago Napoleon Hill wrote "Think and Grow Rich" on basically the same topic - I found it fascinating how many Buddhist quotes seemed to touch upon the same thing.

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.”

“He is able who thinks he is able.”

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world.”

“What we think, we become.”

“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draws it.”


Beware Nasty People
There probably isn't anything worse than rude or nasty people. They suck the life out of a room and aren't much fun to be around. It is amazing how many people seemingly choose to be a dark cloud rather than a ray of sunshine in life - and really they are the ones who pay dearest. What I find most interesting about these quotes is that they warn you to stay away from these people not because they are painful to be around - but because they are poison to your mind and spirit!

“An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.”

“Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten.”

“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned.”

“Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.”


Do Something!
These may be the most straight forward - but the message is a good one - it is better to do something (even imperfectly) than to do nothing at all.

“To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.”

“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.”

“However many holy words you read, However many you speak, What good will they do, If you do not act on upon them?”

“I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.”

“It is better to travel well than to arrive.”


Tough Ones
These are quotes I struggle to include in my life.

“He who loves 50 people has 50 woes; he who loves no one has no woes.”

“You only lose what you cling to.”

“Those who have passions are never able to perceive the Way; for it is like stirring up clear water with hands; people may come there wishing to find a reflection of their faces, which, however, they will never see. A mind troubled and vexed with the passions is impure, and on that account it never sees the Way. O monks, do away with passions. When the dirt of passion is removed the Way will manifest itself.”



Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Me - In Trophies

The last time I was home - I cleaned out my closet in my childhood bedroom. As a quick aside I feel like I had a unique experience in that my parents have lived in their home for over 30 years - so I grew up in that one house for the 23 years I lived in Massachusetts. Most of my junk was moved out long ago (and probably thrown out since) but a few things remained. So I found it amusing that I found 3 trophies from my childhood - and perhaps the only 3 surviving trophies. But if I could only pick 3 to describe who I am - these are a pretty good bunch.

The trophies are:
- 1st Place in a Problem Solving competition in Junior High (which is pretty representative of the Engineer in me).
- A Little League Baseball Championship Trophy (and I still play softball today)
- A Drama Award which I believe was for a play I wrote, directed and produced as part of our student written plays competition. I am most bummed that my creative side is not being utilized as much today as it used be be (be it acting, writing, music etc).



I guess if I were to take my own advice about "Not discarding any of your disconnected interests" I should look to find a regular outlet for the creative arts part of me now.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Worst TV Shows of All-Time - Small Wonder

Up for consideration this time is "Small Wonder" (1985-1989). What is most sad is that I actually remember watching this TV show. Who doesn't love a little robot girl TV show. If her robot voice isn't annoying to you check to see if your mute button is on. Maybe what is most upsetting is that this show was on for 5 years and a total of 96 episodes. I am pretty sure any one of us could have come up with a better TV show - so the question is what is today's "small wonder".




Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election Analysis (Intro)



Before some interesting analysis, let's take a look at how Obama made it happen.

Bush 2004 vs Obama 2008



What are my take-aways from the Electoral Maps above?
1) Obama delivered on his promise to change the map
2) It was an electoral college route (compare the blue states to the density of US population)

I believe this all happened because of the Obama grass-roots organization, of which I played a small part but for which I certainly felt a lot of passion and patriotism. As one small example here is the email I got from Barack right before his nominee speech last night:



I know it was computer generated to fill in my name - but it's a classy touch. And what I like best is that there is always a bigger picture to his messages and as you can see he is going to call on his grass roots organization to continue to work for the country. The local group I volunteered with sent out a similar email in summary stating "congratulations - where do we want to direct our volunteer efforts next?".

So what's the point of all of this? Well I want to comment on Karen's most recent blog who I know was a McCain supporter. What I like about Karen is that she is very open with her opinions (and isn't afraid of how others may take it) AND she isn't blindly locked in her views - so I hope she doesn't mind me stealing a quote from her blog but I want to use it to make a point. In response to what will happen in the next 4 years Karen said:

I want to see some of this [positive] change he’s been talking about. And if it does, and we’re on the right path, I’ll vote for him in 2012.


I too would like to have her vote for Barack in 2012 but let me tell you how I think it can happen. I really think Obama's email and volunteer list (and text messages) will continue as president and it's going to opened up to all American's now to join him in making the positive change this country wants. If Republicans can get the results they want for our country in the next 4 years too - then we would all benefit from Barack as president. And maybe our efforts will be small scale and local but they will be none-the-less meaningful. My goal in 4 years is to have my retirement savings recover to 2006 levels which is sad to think of losing 6-8 years of growth and lost time. So Karen - maybe the sentiment is you have as much say as to whether or not you see the change you want in the next 4 years as anybody else.

If that all sounds like pie in the sky talk - I submit to you the fact that Hamilton County turned BLUE this year!



I've decided to split this in two from my election analysis, please read that in my next blog below.

Election Analysis

Are you ready to embrace a new America? Some of these breakouts may be interesting!



I only added that image so you can see that Barack Obama got 53% of the votes, and John McCain got 46% of the votes. While not a "landslide" it is a pretty convincing delta considering that we have seen the winner of the popular vote lose an election.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg, take a look at some of these breakouts and see where you fall in line with America or where you are "out of touch" with Modern America (I say that only jokingly but everyone may see some surprises).



This was a surprise to me that both men and women chose Obama over McCain. Going into the election it looked like McCain might have a lead among men but that the huge delta among women would trump that - but instead both picked Obama even if men just slightly did so.



If you are over 65 you picked McCain - otherwise you picked Obama. OK, that's a generalization but that trend is a fascinating look at either 1) passing the baton to the next generation as leaders or 2) ageism plain and simple.



What stood out to me is that the wealthiest American's - those who unlike Joe the Plumber will actually have their taxes raise - they chose Obama! I think that people's reactions to paying higher taxes come from fear and a "scarcity of resources" mindset versus a feeling of abundance in their lives. As you may know I think all taxes should be raised as we not only need to balance the budget but we need to address out 10 trillion dollar debt which is really just stealing money from our children - but that's another blog.

I was NOT surprised to see the poorest Americans (bottom ~40% of American's) chose Obama because of the hope and help from government he represents versus a "you are on your own" mind set some on the far right may have. I'm in between certainly.



Here is one of the biggest surprises to me. Obama won across all education levels. I'm not sure I can easily articulate my feeling on the matter other than to say I underestimated the fact that democrats and republicans span all education and income levels, only vary in where they live (rural vs urban) as a trend.



If I had to pick a surprise here it's that Obama won in the suburbs - only barely but that's where 50% of us live.



While who these groups voted for is NOT surprising, maybe what is interesting is to see that MORE Americans believe the government needs to do more than it currently is (hopefully this opinion was formed BEFORE the bail out because the government is "getting all up in it" now!).



These results are obvious, as people often vote by party line - but what is interesting is to see that almost 8% more of Bush's voters switched to Obama this year than vice-versa - and that is how the Democrats won - in the middle and with those who did note vote before.



Another example that the majority of Americans are in the middle on ideology and that's where Obama won. I am surprised to see 34% conservative and 22% liberal - both of those groups seem bigger than I would have expected.



No stunners here for me. I think if McCain is the choice of Protestants who represent 54% of the US, he had to win bigger than he did.



I was surprised to see that almost 1 in 4 white evangelicals in the US chose Obama. I didn't think it would be that big.



I think both of these can be explained by - the younger you are the more likely you were to vote for Obama.



This is interesting - and to break any myths about Democrats - if you work full-time - the more likely you were to vote for Obama.



The gun ownership wasn't surprising - but to break another myth about democrats - look how close our military vets were split between Obama and McCain - they chose McCain - but by much less than I would have expected. I believe had there been a poll among those currently serving in the military it may have been more lopsided. I think some people's views on war may change with hindsight.

and now LAST BUT NOT LEAST....



I put this one in last so that you could look at the differences in how American's voted by a number of different breakouts and maybe spent some time thinking about where your views fit in and where America's views fit.

Now - Are you prepared for an America where Obama won the presidency by a safe 7% margin but he would have lost the election among whites by a wide 12% margin.

Let that one sit in for a second...

I think this one is challenging to some Americans but one I am pretty excited about it. America has always been a "melting pot" and a diverse country, but now as we continue to grow more diverse and more globally connected - I think the "center-right" description of America is sure to almost disappear and I think even today it may be a "center-left" country (refer back to the question about should government be more or less involved).

This is my point - are some morning the loss of a country run by those who were in charge in the past or excited by those we represent today. I think the old-boys club that even Sarah Palin was fighting against is becoming a thing of the past - even if a large percentage of Americans by morn its passing or be in denial about the Modern America. I think the Democratic Party is best positioned to capture the huge growth in minorities in the future. So as the Republicans huddle up and figure out what they stand for after this loss - they need to figure out how to grow their base more than pander to it (just my opinion).

A nod to Hillary and a statement on Sexism
It may be dangerous and irresponsible to try and hold the Barack vs. Hillary primary as a statement on the views in the US (otherwise the battle of the sexes on the tennis courts would have defined athletic ability) - but I will use it to discuss sexism - not because I think Obama won solely because of this , but because I think we got a preliminary view of sexism in politics. I think as an entire nation the US was more willing to accept a minority male president than a female president. I think the qualities we look for in a leader we see much more positively in a male candidate than we do in a female candidate. I think we saw that our stereo-typed gender roles trumped out racial biases, maybe not directly reflected in votes because people vote for candidates for numerous reasons, but because of how Hillary and Sarah were treated. Politics may be the oldest "old boys network" left in the US - next to Commercial real-estate I am told as many female real estate agents work in residential sales instead.

I also should add that I believe ageism played a factor in McCain's loss but I also think that the youth of the country have different fundamental views that previous generations so you could also argue ideology but I don't want to discount ageism.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Obama Blog

Barack Obama held a rally in Cincinnati tonight at the UC football stadium. The news said 30,000 people showed up. Earlier in the day I was definitely interested in going. I knew the rally was supposed to start at 9pm and doors opened at 6pm. I also had heard people started lining up at 2pm!

When Gloria (an Obama organizer) told me I could get reserved tickets to the rally by working for the campaign again today, I had to do it. So my friend Jake and I canvassed for Obama. We were able to get 2 extra tickets for Meghan and Molly and Gloria even gave me a ticket for my friend Nils since he took me out canvassing the week before so it worked out great!

We had "blue tickets" to the rally. When we got to UC the line to get in wrapped all over campus and it looked like a show stopper. When we found the line for people with tickets we were still discouraged. We then figured out the people in line with us had "yellow tickets" so we scouted out for the blue ticket gate. Once we found it we basically walked in without a wait and were right up front on the field! Hooray for the blue tickets!

It was great to see Obama in person - though the stump speech was pretty similar to the one he had been using all week it was nice to see it in person and be part of the crowd.



We had a great time at the rally, it was a fun and enthusiastic crowd!

video

If I get the energy I will have to blog about canvassing for Obama sometime. His organization is so impressive you wonder how McCain could even have a chance! Canvassing takes about 3 hours to knock on 100 doors of undecided voters, and while you probably only influence a handful on the fence who wouldn't have otherwise voted for Obama - it is nice to know your efforts are being multiplied by all the other canvassers times all the other days they go out. Most people were receptive to talking with us - I think this election has just about everyone's interest - and I think the personal touch of talking to them for Obama means as much as what we say. So I figure at least on Tuesday night I can watch the election returns and know I did more than my part for the person I support - Barack Obama.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Halloween Pumpkins 2008

Here are the pumpkin carvings for 2008!!!

Here are my 2 Pumpkins for Change (The before)


After

YES! Barak Obama came out better than I could have imagined!

Matt's Witch (Meghan's Brother)


Matt's Ohio State Pumkin


Matt's Scary Tomb


Nikki's Owl (Matt's Girlfriend)


Molly's Spider (Meghan's Sister)


Scott's Smiley Face (Meghan's Cousin)


Sean's Skull (Meghan's Cousin)



Last but not least - Meghan's Witch!

Meghan's pumpkin earned her the "Most Improved Pumpkin Award"

Let's take a stroll down memory lane....

Meghan's 2007 Pumpkin Attempt (I'm not sure what it was)



Don't forget to revisit the entire 2007 Collection HERE!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cat Mania

Cat update! OK - so our 10 month old kittens are 14 lbs on their way to a full grown 25 lbs. They are basically small tigers and they are a blast! They are so cute and have awesome personalities! I am so glad we got 2 cats at the same time, they love playing with each other and are never alone!

Some cat pics:

Cats on the Counter


Cats on the Coffee Table


Cats to Scale (10 month old kitten = 1/2 person)


Manny Eating Breakfast


Brady in a Bag


Manny Sleeping on the Floor


Walk like an Egyptian with Brady


Manny can drink out of the toilet with his paws still on the floor!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Poor use of statistics: Voter Turn Out edition

From an article about the high voter turn out expected this year:

McDonald said early voting is often a good prediction of the level of turnout on Election Day, and heavy early voting indicates that the turnout this year undoubtedly would exceed the 60 percent turnout in the 2004 election.

"We have a very good chance of beating the 64 percent turnout in the 1960 election," McDonald said. "We really could be looking at a historic election in modern American history."

That race saw the highest level of turnout in American history, save for the 66 percent in the 1908 presidential election.


Which bring up the point, why not just refer to the 1908 election as the record?

PS - I am the Home Run King in baseball - except for anyone who hit more home runs than me.

PPS - This is going to be a record positive year for the S&P 500 except for all of the years that actually were positive, and then exclude all of the "less negative years"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The most powerful force in ANY election

"Half of the American people never read a newspaper. Half never vote for president. One hopes it is the same half!" - Gore Vidal

We would like to think that as Americans we are intelligent enough to chose our own president. We believe we "know" what America needs and we understand the issues and where we want our country to go. I submit to you that the American Voting Public is a bunch of idiots. As you may recall from my previous blog - we continuously vote for people who will cut taxes when it is borderline immoral to do so and pass the expense of our national debt continuously on to future generations like a credit card we plan to pay off "someday".

So how will I prove that the American voting public is a bunch of idiots? I submit to you a thought experiment that regardless of the issues of the economy or a politicians stance on foreign affairs or how to win the war on terror - that the single most powerful force in ANY election is this hat.

This Seemingly innocent hat has more power than either political party, the "liberal media" or any number of swift-boat attacks. This hat can make the majority of the voting public change their stances on politicians.

I submit to you that regardless of the character of the politicians, their record, or their stance on the issues, whoever wears this hat for an entire campaign will lose. Every time. Let's look at the evidence. Would you vote for either of these two men?

Now this is a race even Nader could win (assuming he didn't wear the hat). It's a joke - really that our entire opinion of a politician could be based on such a superficial thing like a hat.

Now to get even deeper on you - maybe it's not a hat. Maybe the metaphorical hat is an African American (or bi-racial) candidate. Maybe the hat is a "strange" name like Barak. Or maybe the hat is a Catholic (JFK). Or maybe the hat is someone who is "an Arab" as that women at the McCain rally mentioned as to why she was so afraid of Obama. I think it is great that our country is almost at the point where we could have our first black (or bi-racial) president. Wouldn't it be an even greater testament to have a Muslim President soon as Campbell Brown discusses in her Commentary "So what if Obama were a Muslim or an Arab?"

So what? It scares me that ignorance has enough of a voice to make silly things like this an issue. And - in my humble opinion - for John McCain and Sarah Palin to even suggest that a US Senator such as Barak Obama is in any way a terrorist or sympathizes with terrorists is just fear mongering at it's worst. What's the implication? Does anyone really believe that once Barak Obama becomes President he will hand over America to terrorists? It's more than just irrational it's idiotic. Almost as idiotic as saying that if Sarah Palin became the VP, on her 1st day in office she would announce that her Husband is now the President of the independant country of Alaska (see Palin's Attack On Obama's Patriotism Legitimizes Questions About The Palins' Association With Group Founded By America-Hating Secessionist).