Thursday, August 31, 2006

Glenn Ford Tribute - Dead At Age 90

After a long life of 90 years, movie star Glenn Ford died yesterday. What a great talent this man had when it came to acting in movies. I first remember him in a movie that was made before I was born, but one that I saw a few times on television as I got older. That movie was called “Ransom” which was the original script that was released again years later with Mel Gibson as its star. What I remember most about Glenn Ford is his soft spoken style and the way he remained calm in a situation when everyone else seem emotionally out of control.

Over the years Ford appeared in other movies which I remember. One of, which was the first “Superman” movie in the late 1970’s, which had an unknown actor at the time, named Christopher Reeve. Ford played Superman’s Earth father and once again he was a soft spoken man who guided a young Superman into his real reason for being on Earth and he gave him the knowledge and advice about life most people would love to have received from their own father. Even in some of the old western’s that Glenn Ford started in he always had this same kind of quite demeanor when acting in a movie.

So many of the great actors of the past 100 years are starting to pass from the Earth and over time new generations will rediscover their work and appreciate what good acting was all about before million dollar special effects made movies more about explosions and high technology and less about an actors true abilities at their craft. When I heard of Glenn Ford’s death yesterday I was happy that he lived a good long life and that he was able to do something which most of us only dream about and that is using our lives to make other’s happy. There is no doubt that many generations of movie goers have watched and enjoyed movies where Glenn Ford was either the lead actor or an interregnal part of making that movie successful.

In conclusion I would like to mention another great production which had Glenn Ford as its start and that one was “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” where he played a single dad raising a small boy played by Ron Howard. I was very young when that movie was released but I still remember hearing mom and dad talking about it in a positive way. With the invention of the DVD, most likely someone in the movie industry will decide to release many of these old Glenn Ford movies so future generations will be able to watch them again from time to time. Look for late night infomercials coming soon advertising these Glenn Ford classics for sale and for once I might just be a customer because Ford’s work does stand the test of time.

Related: John Spencer Tribute, Bradley Got Heart, Another Great Loss, Steve Irwin Remembered, President Ford Dead

Racism On Survivor - Just Another Ratings Stunt

When I heard recently that the popular TV show “Survivor” was going to divide their show contestants by race I was shocked. I believe this is the wrong move to make and frankly I am surprised that CBS television went along with the idea. The people of the United States have struggled with the issue of race relations for generations and most experts believe that for our nation to continue to expand its thinking in regards to race, everyone must try as best as they can to become color blind. I see this latest move by the producers of “Survivor” as some kind of stunt to increase the shows ratings, but there should be some boundaries that even a reality TV show follows when it comes to the topics they put on national television.

I saw parts of an interview conducted by Harry Smith on the CBS Morning Show where he was critical of “Survivor” producers for dividing contestants in this way and I am in complete agreement with Smith. This latest controversy proves to me once again that Hollywood will do almost anything to make a buck and while many celebrities express their openly liberal views in the press, in reality those views always take a back seat to the number one goal of most folks out there and that goal is making big money anyway you can. I have lived in Texas all my life and have friends from all ethnic backgrounds. The reason I have these friends is because I do not judge them based on their race and neither do they judge me on that criteria.

As far as I am concerned racism isn’t a liberal or conservative issue, but one of common decency based on the principles of the Holy Bible. The “Golden Rule” states that we should do unto others as we would wish them to do unto us and this decision by the TV show Survivor producers doesn’t follow that rule. People who do judge others based on the ethnic backgrounds usually do so because of the way their parents raised them. Old racial judgments have been around forever and it is very hard to change hearts and minds about an issue like race when those ideas are implanted into the minds of children at a very young age. Working to create a color blind society in the US is a very hard thing to do and unfortunately some short sighted, profit driven folks who run the “Survivor” franchise are doing a terrible injustice to a nation which has worked hard to bring about equality to people of all ethnic backgrounds.

While this latest decision to divide tribes on the new Survivor season will not destroy years of hard work in US race relations, it does show what is truly in the hearts of that shows owners and producers and that is success at all cost. There are so many other things in this world, which are more important than money. However, in the world of reality TV shows, producers don’t seem to realize this fact.

Related: Crash The Movie, Local Immigration Laws, Oscar Night Again, Latinos Leave GOP, MLK Birthday Celebration, Children of Hate, Racism Run Amuck

Racism On Survivor

Biggest Bush Blunder - Stay The Course In Iraq

As most Americans have soured on the War in Iraq and the wisdom of the Bush administration to invade that country in the first place, the powers that be in the Republican party are hoping once again they can keep their control of power in DC by painting all Democrats as “cut and run” cowards. Personally I believe much has changed in the country since the 2004 elections and part of the previous winning strategies of Republicans in painting Democrats as cowards might be coming to an end in this next election. Just like with other issues the Republican leadership is trying to paint Democrats who oppose the war as somehow unpatriotic while Republican leaders are the strong voices of reason in a dangerous world. The truth is that once a majority of Americans lose faith in their commander in chief, insulting their personal opinions will not restore faith and downplaying the mistakes the Bush administration has made in Iraq and with other important domestic issues will do little to motivate voters to the polls.

I saw an interview with President Bush on the NBC Nightly News the past couple of days and like always, the President believes we should stay the course in Iraq until final victory is achieved. Now that the country in the final months of a national campaign for control of Congress, the Republicans who are really in a bad way want to portray anyone who disagrees with their Iraq strategy as somehow being un-American. This strategy worked when most folks still supported the Bush policies in Iraq, but now that over 60% of the people believe the Iraqi war was a mistake, it is political suicide to insult that many people as cowards in the final few months of an important election. The truth is that it is not just Democrats who think the War in Iraq was a mistake, but millions of Republicans as well. When Republicans start insulting their own by calling them cowards or even worse, Democrats, then the entire party can’t be that far from total collapse.

I am preparing myself for an endless stream of Republican propaganda the next few months as the mid-term elections draw closer. What I believe we have here is an administration, which doesn’t have the ability to admit the mistakes they have made and will never back down from their ill-fated mission in Iraq. Republican strategist are hoping beyond hope that they can somehow fear the American people into voting for them once again, but I really don’t think this strategy of insulting your own voters will be a winning one in November. There seems to be little or no contrition in the Bush administration when it comes to mistake they have made in planning what would happen in Iraq after the war was over. Most members of the Bush administration have been saying we should stay the course now for years and no one who looks objectively at Iraq believes that things are getting better in that country by following this policy.

There are major problems in this world and just throwing bombs at them will not solve the problem. It has always been easier to destroy something than to create it in the first place. While I don’t oppose the use of military force in defense of the United States, it is the wisdom of our leaders that should be questioned when they use the massive force of the US military without provocation against a country that never attacked us. I have no problem with the Afghanistan invasion because the evidence was clear they harbored terrorist who attacked us on 911. However, Iraq is a different story and I sometimes wonder if future generation won’t learn a powerful lesson in the use of military power against an enemy who never attack us first? It is much too late for any senior members of the Bush administration to admit they made a mistake in Iraq, but the polls are becoming more clear everyday that the American people do believe this war was a mistake and rather than continuing down a dead end road, some how and some way we need to extract ourselves from this poorly thought out and conducted war in Iraq.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Rebuilding A Family After Painful Divorce

I was fortunate yesterday because my only daughter came through town and we had lunch together on her birthday. She is an adult now, but back when she was eight years old her mom and I were divorced and it wasn’t long until she wasn’t my little girl anymore, at least in the way we got along. I try not to remember back to those days because the feelings inside of me are still raw with the hurt of losing someone who was so precious to me. Don’t get me wrong, we still saw each other all the time. For years she would spend the night with me on Wednesday night and she spent every other weekend at my house. However, over the years our relationship started to dwindle to the point where a few years ago we hardly spoke at all anymore.

I wonder how common it is for fathers and their daughters to drift apart after a bitter divorce? Over the years she seemed to drift away from me and I could not think of anything I had done wrong, but after we had a long talk about six months ago there were things I had done wrong, which at the time I felt were the right thing to do. She told me that as she grew into her teenage years, I kept trying to make her grow up before her time and become an adult to fast. I didn’t not realize I was doing this and in my heart I just wanted her to become an independent woman who could make her own way and decisions as she went through life. I believe my problem was that I was so far out of the loop when it came to her daily life that I made the wrong suggestions during those impressionable teenage years and over time she started to hold that against me.

After our long talk about six months ago, I apologized for not letting her be a kid when she was a kid and I have been trying to make a positive effort at rebuilding my relationship with her. My love has never wavered even during times when it would be one year or more between our visits. In reflection, I now see how hard it is to keep a close family bond with a child who isn’t in your primary care. Even if you see that child a couple of times every week, they grow up and change so much on a daily basis that eventually they outgrow the parent, which doesn’t put them to bed every night. So now I am in a rebuilding mode when it come to my daughter. I love her and I know she love me, which makes this process much easier. The hardest thing for me are the changes, which I must make in how I communicate with her and also making that hard transition from being the father of a little girl to being the father of an adult woman.

She told me yesterday that she had met a man who was very important to her and it was easy for me to see by looking in her eyes that she cared for this young man very much. I am so thankful to God that my daughter is back in my life and I hope when she marries someday, that her first marriage doesn’t turn out the same as the one between her mom and I. Most likely she will make better choices than we did simply because she knows first hand what can happen to a family when two people don’t think out that decision to get married in the first place. While the years went by with little to no contact with my daughter, I never gave up hope of reconciling with her and many times that hope was the only thing that kept me going.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Problems With Education - SAT Scores Fall

A new report out today stated that SAT scores for 2006 were the lowest in over 30 years. I have a feeling that education in our high schools is going in the wrong direction and rather than fix the problem, many educators would rather continue throwing money at the problem. I’m an older guy and when I attended high school in the 1970’s we always started classes on the day after Labor Day. However, over the years the school year has become longer and longer to where now some schools give only a two-month summer vacation to students. I also wonder if high school might not be going in the wrong direction when they decide what all students might need when and if they go to college? I know it is not realistic to believe a boy or girl in their teens is old enough to really know what they want to do with their lives, but with so many different fields available in college these days, isn’t it a bit much for colleges to ask for all students to know a little bit about everything?

I also have a problem with some schools not teaching the very basic things that all adults will need to master when they graduate from high school. Simple things like being able to balance a checkbook or budgeting their money for the important things in life. I think without these basic challenges being learned at the high school level, too many times what we end up with are educated fools graduating from noted Universities around the country. Don’t get me wrong, most things being taught in our high schools are important, it is just the amount of time devoted to certain math and English abilities which I question the need for. Not everyone is going to be an engineer or doctor. I wonder if colleges are not putting too much pressure on high schools to do all the work when some of these basic skills related to professional fields could be covered in the first year of college?

Politicians are always saying that education is their number one priority, but here we are in 2006 and SAT score are lower than ever. This problem isn’t present just because a few schools are bad, but it reflects on the entire way children are taught in the US today. I certainly don’t have a better plan, but even I am smart enough to realize when something isn’t working. Other counties have learned how to educate their kids better than we have in the US and I think it is time to take a look at how other nations are able to succeed where we too often times fail. There is one thing for certain and that is US teachers are grossly underpaid for the job we expect them to do. It is amazing to me that most schools are able to staff their classrooms for the meager amount of financial reward given to teachers at the local level. My guess is that the best teachers don’t spend long teaching in high schools around the country because if they are good, colleges will be beating down their door offering them much more money.

There has to be a better system for teaching than the one we have in the US right now. I know change is hard and no one really wants to do the heavy lifting it will take to turn this monster around and put a better education system in its place. However, there is no doubt that the current system is broken and something must be done to provide a better learning environment for our kids who will be the future leaders of the country.

Boom And Bust - Cycles Of The U.S. Economy

The US economy has a history of first we boom and then we bust. Folks who enjoy learning all they can about our new Republic will find this written in history books. To me, it is just the nature of the beast and while the US economy has been booming now for many years, it is only a matter of time before millions of people will be hurt by an economic bust which will cost jobs and reduce the savings and retirement income of many people to dust. Over the years I have asked myself why this continues to happen in America and the only answer I can come up with is that a capitalist economy always rewards big growth and when that growth gets out of control on the upside, like stacking dominoes, eventually the stack will become unstable and all fall down.

The good times in the US economy hit their peak in 1999 as millions of people were rushing into the stock market and basically getting rich quick with high flying Internet stocks. As the NASDAQ crashed, most people started moving their assets to the housing market and that move has sustained them until recent months, as that market too appears to now be on the verge of collapse. I just read a report about how long it is taking the average home to sell at this time and it is up considerable from only six months ago. Most people who follow these types of boom and bust events more closely than I suggest that a soft landing will probably be the result of a major housing slowdown in the United States.

While a soft landing would make everyone happy, most likely a housing bust is in our future because of the huge run up in evaluations that happened over a fairly short period of time. In recent months I have read that some folks were buying and selling condos in Las Vegas and Miami and never even moving into them because they could just wait a couple of months and sell those condos for a big profit. This type of activity is a sure sign that a market is at its top and a complete collapse can’t be that far away in the future housing market for areas which have get rich quick folks churning real estate in such a way. The final days of the NASDAQ bubble looked very similar because even well educated people will find themselves trapped into an economic process where they can double their money on investments several times in one year.

I am not currently in the market to purchase any property, but if I was I would try and control myself and not rush into this housing market and get stuck with a piece of land or a home which will go down in value over the next few months. The real bust will happen as adjustable mortgage lenders start raising house payments by hundreds of dollars per month as the actual value of the property goes down dramatically. This is the point when it is possible that millions of people will go into bankruptcy which will place lending institutions in peril and also put great stress on the entire US economy.

Related: US Style Economy, Stock Market Declines, Follow The Money, Bipolar Stock Market, Finding Good Investments

Boom And Bust

Just Not Right - Flood Damage And Insurance Delays

The past couple of days I have been reading about thousands of residents of the Gulf coast who have received little or no money from their insurance company after Hurricane Katrina. Insurance companies have used the biggest loophole in the history of the United States after this massive hurricane and that loophole is called flood damage. Even I knew that floods were not covered under homeowners insurance and I don’t live anywhere close to a large body of water. However, there is little doubt that most of these homes were demolished by category four hurricane winds hours before any water moved in. However, most major insurance companies are choosing to refuse claim request because of flood damage.

I remember last year about this same time experts from around the country were saying that Hurricane Katrina would put many major insurance companies out of business. So it is now a year later and what has really happened? 2005 was one of the biggest profit years in history for the US insurance industry even with the largest national disaster occurring that same year. Isn’t there something wrong with this picture? Of course there is and the real problem is that major insurance companies have paid out millions of dollars in campaign contributions to members of both the Republican and Democratic parties for years and now they are being paid back in a round about way by the federal government not requiring them to pay their fair share of damages cause by Hurricane Katrina.

In future years it will we the US taxpayers who will eventually get stuck with the bill for clean up and reconstruction, not the companies who made billions of dollars because they found a loophole which allow them to get out of paying for damage which was truly their responsibility. It will be a cold day in July before anyone in the Bush administration holds these huge insurance companies responsible for the promises they made to their policy holders and the sad fact is it will be the average taxpayer who will eventually be forced to pay so millionaires don’t have to. This is just another of the many problems which face the United States when lobbyist are allowed to wine and dine our representatives in Washington. With huge tax cuts to the richest Americans, the financial responsibility of these claims will fall once again on the middle class and not the people who should bear the burden.

I guess there is a chance that Democrats will pick up at least one chamber of Congress after this November’s elections and I hope they will hold hearings which will expose this large loophole insurance companies have used to run up profits at the expense of the people they said they would protect with hurricane coverage. While most in the national media have not picked up on this whole story yet, it is just a matter of time before the real truth will come out and hopefully some new leaders in Washington, next year, will bring to account these insurance companies who decided not to do the right thing.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Same Old Media - Rushing To Judgment

The past week to ten days almost everyone in the media had convinced themselves that John Mark Karr was the killer of JonBenet Ramsey. Many of them hired hand writing experts who saw similarities in Karr’s hand writing from high school and the ransom note left the night of JonBenet’s death. Some have even found a strange guy who remembers Karr on a bus that Christmas night in Boulder and all anyone with a sound mind would need to do is listen to this guy for five minutes to see his story doesn’t pass the smell test. Then this afternoon word is leaking from KUSA in Denver that Karr’s DNA does not match that of an unknown person found at the crime scene six years ago and KUSA is reporting that the Boulder DA has decided not to file charges against John Mark Karr for the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.

I keep wondering when the American people are going to get totally fed up with the news media and their ever grown need to “rush to judgment” in high profile cases like this one. Most of the coverage I have seen revolving around John Mark Karr has been pure speculation or even worst trying to read tea leaves to somehow put him in a place where he could have somehow committed this crime. In their rush for ratings gold, what most in the media don’t take the time to consider is that if John Mark Karr didn’t commit the crime, that means someone else did. Unfortunately some folks want to pin the murder on someone and being guilty doesn’t matter much to these folks. The sad truth is that if the police and DA trump up charges against an innocent man, then the real killer will never be brought to justice which creates two terrible wrongs.

If today’s report that the Boulder DA will not prosecute John Mark Karr for the murder of JonBenet Ramsey then real justice will most likely start to take place against this man in California on previous charges of possessing child porn which he fled the jurisdiction on many years ago. At some point in time, a court somewhere is going to need to commit this man for some kind of mental health treatment. His mind isn’t right and I believe he can not distinguish the difference between fantasy and reality and when he starts talking about his life the fantasy’s he has seem all to real even to him in the real world. I am just so discussed that once again the major news media was ready to convict an innocent man without any real evidence. I don’t think they learned anything from the Richard Jewell case and neither did the small numbers of the public who followed their every word even when it didn’t make any sense at all.

It won’t be long now before John Mark Karr’s 15 minutes of fame will be up and he will face real justice back in California. The real tragedy of this whole Karr’s case isn’t what the police and DA in Colorado did to investigate this crime, it was the way the media turned into a bunch of wild animals in their pursuit of blood against a man who probably never met JonBenet Ramsey.

Disappointing Emmy Awards This Year

I watched the Emmy Awards last night and I thought the show was well hosted and it was nice to see none of the presenter’s go off on some left wing tirade against President Bush and other Republicans. However, most of the shows and specials, which were nominated over and over again, were productions I had never heard of. There are always a few programs which originate on paid TV channels which we do not subscribe to, but there were a bunch of programs last night that I had not even seen advertised for the public to watch. It is still too early to know if the ratings for this years telecast were bad, but I would bet they were really bad because I was tempted on several occasions to just turn to another channel, but there wasn’t anything else on better to watch.

The Hollywood community has always tried to shun successful movies and television shows because they believe if something is popular; it can’t also be good. This is such an arrogant attitude, but I have learned to just accept the fact that many in Hollywood look upon themselves as somehow smarter than the rest of us and that attitude isn’t going away any time soon. The truly successful folks in the entertainment community just keep making popular television shows and movies and laugh all the way to the bank when these uptight jerks keep locking them out when it comes to awards of achievement. One of the best award shows is the People’s Choice Awards because real people and not Hollywood elitist vote for the winners.

I read somewhere the whole nomination process for this years Emmy awards was changed and that is why so many unknown or canceled shows were nominated for awards last night. While I am not Hollywood insider, last nights show was terrible and hopefully they will scrap this new type of nominating process and at least give the shows which most people prefer to watch a chance at winning an Emmy. I thought it was strange that many of the people who received Emmy’s last night said in their acceptance speeches that they were grateful to people in charge of the network for not canceling their shows. My guess is that many of the shows is saw nominated over and over again last night are not very popular with the general public and were given these awards because some small elite group of people in Hollywood thought the show was good, but the general public didn’t see it the same way.

I did notice a strong negative undercurrent with many of the winners and presenters when it came to reality programs on television. It does make sense that these actors would not like reality programs because they take away valuable broadcast and cable time from projects they would like to produce. However, if leaders in the Hollywood community won’t follow the wishes of their audience, then network television executives are going to find a way to give the public what it wants whether the Hollywood elite’s like it or not.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Comair Plane Crash In Rural Kentucky

I woke up this morning to news that a small jet aircraft had crashed just after take off in Kentucky. While flying on commercial airlines are much safer than driving our own cars down the road, when one of these planes crash, the death toll is usually high as it was today. Late word says that the pilot mistakenly tried to take off from the wrong runway. From the information I have been able to put together so far, I don’t understand why they would have been on this wrong runway because it was still dark outside at 6am and the runway they attempted to take off from didn’t even have lights on it. This wrong runway was only for small aircraft to take off and land on during daytime only hours.

The NTSB already has agents on the scene investigating this accident which took the lives all people on board with the exception of one person who is in critical condition. Both flight recorders, (black boxes) we recovered in good condition so maybe they will hold the answers to the question everyone is asking right now about why two experienced pilots tried to take off from the wrong runway before sunrise. Over my life I have found myself taking these small commuter airplanes to larger airports for connecting flights with bigger jets. Here in Waco, Texas where I live, there is an airline called American Eagle, which offers short flights to DFW airport in Dallas for connecting flights around the world.

It was probably at least seven or eight years ago when I last flew on one of these small commuter aircraft and with the exception of the plane being loud because my fights were on turbo planes, the ride was smooth and quicker than I expected from a non jet aircraft. When folk’s lives in middle sized cities like Waco, our options are more limited when flying to destinations around the world. We basically have two choices. We can either drive to a major airport like DFW and pay up to thirty dollars per day to park our cars or we can park free at a small regional airport and take a short commuter flight to reach a larger airport with connections to where we need to go.

I feel so bad for the families of the people who lost their lives in this Comair crash today in Kentucky and I hope that their deaths will not be in vein. There is really no logical reason why a pilot should mistakenly get on the wrong runway at a small airport that only has two runways to begin with. Also, in a small airport when only one runway is lit, it should be a simple thing to find the correct place to roll an aircraft for take off. I will update any late breaking information about the Comair crash, but most likely it will just be chalked up to pilot error and while everyone will be looking for someone to blame, in reality the folks who are probably to blame also died in the same crash that took the lives of most of the passengers.

Read more: Accidents, Seaplane, Fear, Video, Memorial

Comair Plane Crash

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Some People Are Asking - Is Donald Rumsfeld Senile?

I know this title might seem disrespectful to the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America, but in recent months, Donald Rumsfeld has been acting crazier than ever and I wonder if he is really able to fully understand what US troops are facing in Iraq and able to debate the American people on the situation in that war torn country? The real truth is that Rumsfeld might be as sound as a brick wall mentally and he is just acting this way to provide political cover to President Bush. However, if he has moved off the reservation, then there might a cause for concern in the United States because Rumsfeld is a very active Secretary of Defense and while uniform members of the military do carry out day to day operations in Iraq,Rumsfeld is pretty much controlling the overall agenda.

I’ve written before about past ideologues that thought the Vietnam War could have been won if US forces just didn’t pull out of that country. In reality, the US could still be fighting in Vietnam today if past administrations used this current line of staying until the job is finished. There are some wars and conflicts which will never be finished and the true test of leadership is to know the difference between wars which can be won on the battlefield and those which must be eventually negotiated to a compromise. Just using the example of Israel and Palestine should cause any rational thinking person to realize that military superiority alone can not win all wars. If pure strength was the main ingredient in winning in these types of conflicts, Israel would have won years ago.

From a purely personal standpoint, I like Secretary Rumsfeld and I think he is a smart man who has proven his intellect in the Defense Department’s top job. However, he is aging and in recent months I have had person experience dealing with friends and family members who are finding it more difficult to do certain everyday activities in life, but not admitting that something inside their brain is not as sharp as it use to be. Unfortunately we all will eventually suffer from this type of problem because no one wants to admit they are not up to their job because father time has caught up with them. This whole War in Iraq situation is causing most Americans to question the judgment of President Bush and other Republicans who have follow his policies for years while most folks in America have gone in a different direction.

If we the people of the United States are to guarantee that our country will continue for years to come, we must continue to watch and question our leaders, even if they are in a political party that we vote for most of the time. While supporting ones party can be a very important responsibility, at the end of the day we must all remember that we are Americans first before any other political party affiliation and in the end it is the will of the people who will ultimately decide the future of this great country and not any one political party.

Related: General Pace Comments

Is Rumsfeld Senile?

Meaningless TV Shows - John Mark Karr Saga

On Friday night, Rita Cosby had a telephone interview with a guy that said he was riding on a bus with John Mark Karr on Christmas night in Boulder Colorado. First, I could not believe that any major network would do such an interview without checking it out further and second, this guy completely lacked credibility during the interview. It is a sad day when magazines like the National Enquirer have more credibility than a national cable television network with NBC and Microsoft in their name.

A few years ago, I made fun of Fox News because most of their coverage was based on speculation and the opinions of guest who sometimes didn’t know anything about the subject they were interviewed about. In the past couple of years, MSNBC has become worse than Fox News, probably because some folks like Cosby have relocated to that network. Of course, I understand why they are following the lead of Fox News and this is because the television ratings at Fox News are much higher than those at MSNBC.

I know the world has become more tabloid oriented over the years, but in recent ones the problem seems to be getting worse and I don’t think that is good for anyone. No one in the national news media seems to care about finding out if a story is true before they go live with it. This latest Rita Cosby report is one of the worst I have seen in a long time. The guy she was interviewing on her television program couldn’t seem to even follow the conversation she was trying to have with him. In my view all he really remembered about that night was that he needed a light for a cigarette and no one would give him one.

This is why I’m glad we have access to the Internet these days. My rule is that if I don’t see the same story reported in the same way from three pretty reliable sources, I don’t believe it. In the past there were certain organization that were above reproach when it came to truthful news reporting. However, I don't know of any single news source that I trust completely anymore and that truly is a sad state of affairs for all people who call journalism their occupation.

My Wife Loves Spending Saturday With Mom

People have discussed for years the way fathers and sons often times build a wall between each other as the son become older and often times doesn’t follow in the footsteps of the father. However, there is another equally strange occurrence between daughters and their mothers which isn’t talked about that much, but it is most definitely real. My wife loves traditions and there is one she has performed ever since we first met. That tradition involves picking up her mother early on Saturday morning and the two of them travel around to various garage sales and malls doing a little bit of shopping.

They usually eat lunch together and my wife drops off her mom back at her apartment around 2pm. Many times on these Saturday visits my wife comes home all uptight because something happened during their visit which hurt her feelings. I believe there are always issues between mothers and daughters and each person knows what buttons to push to get the other person angry without anyone really fighting. Usually, after a few hours back home, my wife starts to calm down and forgets about the whole thing. I think there are some really strange forces at work in these types of mother daughter relationships and most folks have never taken the time to examine them.

First of all there is no doubt that my wife and mother love each other very much, but I have noticed that both of them seem to pick on each other over small issues which are really unimportant. To me it almost seems like both of them try to mother each other when it comes to the best way to run their house, what kinds of food to cook and worst of all how the other should take care of their health. It is like both of them believe they know what is best in the others life and rather than just keeping that information to themselves, they say something out of concern which is taken the wrong way by the other.

My mother and sister fight about the same issues and this has been going on since my sister was in high school. Over the years, either mothers and daughters finds ways not to pick on each other, or their relationships will eventually start to suffer. I have also noticed that mothers and daughters always fight with words, which each know will somehow effect the other person, but will mean absolutely nothing to anyone else who might be listening. To me it doesn’t matter how another person is hurt, it sill does damage to the relationship and things will only get worse until one person decides they don’t want to play this game of hurting each other’s feelings.

While I am speaking about problems between moms and daughters here today, they are certainly better than fathers and sons at making up and trying to get along again at a future date. Too many times fathers and sons get angry with each other and some times don’t even speak again for years, if ever. This type of stubborn attitude is stupid, but has been going on for as long as man has lived on this earth. The truth is that in all disagreements, no one person is totally wrong or totally right. Until both parties are able to agree to disagree about the issues which separate them, hurt feelings will just keep occurring like a bad dream in the lives of millions of people.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Adam Sandler's 'Click' The Movie Was Good Entertainment

My wife and I did something tonight we have not done for years. We were bored because there wasn't anything good on television to watch, so we decided to go see a movie at night rather than going on Saturday or Sunday afternoon. The movie we picked was called "Click" staring Adam Sandler. It was a pretty good movie but a little bit long for our tastes, about two hours in length. On the way home from the movie house I told my wife that Adam Sandler was sure making more mainstream movies these days. When he first started making movies they were most of the time made for a much younger audience that us and we didn't see any of them.

If you haven't seen this movie yet, I won't ruin it for you by giving away all the various aspects of the show. However, will say that this movie called, "Click" was not what I was expecting and I was pleasantly surprised with the overall plot and flow of the movie. As usual, we went to the dollar show, which cost one dollar and fifty cents for movies that start after 6pm. The audience tonight was filled with complete family units unlike the shows we see on the weekends. I was happy to see young families doing things together like I remember them doing when I was a kid. There was a young couple that sat in from of us at the theater and my wife and I had a nice conversation with them before the movie started. They seemed like really nice folks with two young girls.

On the way home from the movie tonight it was still hot and humid here in Central Texas and Valley Mills Drive, which is the main drag for high school and college students, here in Waco, was loaded with traffic around 9pm at night. This was another aspect of Friday night we had not experienced in many years. When I was young, dragging a popular boulevard was a popular past time as well. The big difference now days are the amount of money some of these young folks spend on their rides. It is not just the type of cars they drive, but all the accessories they install on their cars. I saw several cars which had these new types of lights installed under the car body, which makes the street light up when they are traveling down the road. I may be an old fart, but I still think stuff like that looks pretty neat.

I'm always telling my wife that the best way to put off getting old is to always work at not falling into a rut and to change our normal pattern from time to time. There is nothing wrong with being home bodies if at least a couple of times per week we do something totally spontaneous like deciding to go see a movie at the last minute. I remember doing this type of thing when I was in high school. Back to the "Click" movie. If you like to laugh, but also like to see a movie which will make you think, check this one out.

Related: 2006 Movie Favorites

Click The Movie

Religious Right Conservatives Attacking Plan B

I have never in my life seen a more stubborn group of people than the pro-life and pro-choice group of ideologues. In the past few days, the FDA made a ruling on the OTC sale of "Plan B" which seemed perfectly reasonable to me, but these two groups of extremist don't like the new plan, but for different reasons. The pro-choice crowd doesn't like the fact that kids under the age of 18 won't be able to purchase this supercharged birth control pill without a prescription. While the pro-life forces don't want the pill on the market at all, even as a prescription. In my view, the FDA did a pretty good job at threading this nettle, even if it did take several years to accomplish.

As years have passed I have discovered that both of these organizations are completely out of the mainstream of America. While both seem reasonable when being interviewed by the media, the truth is that pro-choice radicals wish to allow abortion up until the moment of birth, while pro-life forces are even against adults taking any type of birth control. Neither one of these groups will often admit these goals, but down deep inside that is what they are both really all about.

Almost every week I write about people and organizations who are out of the mainstream in America, but who have gain tremendous political power because while their hard core followers are small in number, they are very well organized and are able to get the faithful to the polls on election day and these folks are one issue voters. The US system was based and still is on compromise. That is why our Republic has been able to stand the test of time. However, it concerns me that I'm starting to see too many people who want the country to follow their narrow view even if others don't believe the same way.

When I listen to extremist on either side of the abortion debate, I see what is wrong with this country right now and I hope that the nation will eventually move back toward the middle politically. The FDA decision on "Plan B" seems like a middle of the road decisions and the one thing that should make everyone feel good about it is that neither extreme is happy about when the FDA decided.

Related: Right Wing Politics

Attacking Plan B

So Much Extremism In Life Today

The whole world is so extreme these days. To most people I know and meet they are either one extreme or the other politically and in most other aspects of their lives are extreme as well. It is no wonder there are so many people who are either sick, becoming sick or are facing mental health challenges. I would like to discuss some of these extreme issues and put my two cents worth into an idea that extremism of any type isn’t good for a person’s body or spirit.

Most likely this road to extremism starts when we enter the school system as young children. So much emphasis and pressure is placed on children and parents to obtain a good education these days that little else is discussed or taking into account in these small kid’s lives. When I first enter the US school system in the 1960’s the world was very much different than it is today. Back then there were other things than just a basic book education learned when attending the public schools. One of the biggest of these other activities were sports which helped young folks learn how to compete with others, just like they will need to do in life. In my view too much emphasis is being placed to advanced education these days and not enough on the human development which is just as important to a young child.

Another area of most folk’s lives which cause extreme behavior is unfortunately found in their religion. Too many religions preach an extremist version of the bible, which I do not see when I read the scriptures. From everything I know of the Holy Bible, Jesus was sent to this earth to save it, not to punish the people who do not follow his teaching to the letter. No one is perfect and everyone is going to make mistakes. It is not realistic for church leaders to try and get their parishioners to live perfect lives when God intended them to live in such a way when he created them. Unfortunately, people who have a tendency to become extreme in the first place my find salvation in a house of worship but may also never find true happiness during their lives because it is impossible to be a perfect person. In my youth this type of preaching was called, "fire and brimstone" and it has emerged into something else today which is called fundamentalism.

While all of these other areas of extremism are bad, probably the biggest and worst form of extremism practiced in the United States evolves around our diets and the extreme measures which most Americans take in maintaining their weight and the loss of excess pounds. Millions of Americans choose to over eat or eat the wrong type of foods for an extended period of time and then decide to take all of that excess weight which was placed on their bodies in a fast and uncontrolled way. There are thousands of diets which were designed to help folks lose weight fast and most have become very successful because if anything takes much work or takes too long, Americans will not be interested in the diet, no matter how good it is for them in the long run. Research studies prove that while these weight loss programs are successful in the short run, almost all of them fail in the long run because once they are completed, most folks go back to extreme eating again which got them in this situation in the first place.

Mac Davis recorded a song once called, "Stop and Smell the Roses". This song was about how important it is to slow down in life and take some time and smell the roses along your way. It is almost impossible to maintain a happy life where we can get along with others if we fall into an extremist lifestyle. The truth is there is much more to life than trying to control everything and everyone we meet. It is so important to just trust God, rather than trying to do his work for him. As Mac Davis said in that song, we should all slow down, think about how much we have to be thankful for and relax a little bit.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bad Sony Batteries - Laptop Computers Explode

A few days ago I wrote about some bad Sony batteries in Dell laptop computers which were being recalled because they could explode while in use. Today, Apple Computer said that a million of so of their computers sold could have the same problem, so now we are looking at almost five million laptop computers with batteries installed from the factory which could be at risk of exploding and catching on fire. While this news is back for Dell and Apple Computer, the really bad news is landing at the door of Sony Corporation which manufactured these batteries and who will be spend hundreds of millions of dollars of their profit next year on replacing them.

The truth is that no one in corporate America would wish this problem on his or her worst enemy. What caused this battery problem was that technology is moving faster than the infrastructure needed to keep up with it. I’m typing this on an old laptop computer right now and I love this computer. The battery, which came with the unit when it was new, died a long time ago. In fact, after the Dell recall a few weeks ago I removed that battery and now I just run this old computer on pure A/C power. All the things, which make our lives easier in the computer world, don’t all advance at the same pace or go on sale at the same time.

Now I would like to make a few comments about Sony. For years I have known that Sony Corporation has made products which are above the standard of most other “cut rate” companies. In fact, decades ago I spend a bunch of money on one of the first Sony “Betamax” video recorders even thought there were VHS system which were cheaper. Why? Because I saw at that time the BetaMax format was better than VHS and even though the tapes were more expensive and didn’t record as long, I preferred to have the best, even thought most other consumers didn’t feel the same way at the time.

Over the next few weeks, many in the major news media will try and promote this laptop battery issue into a Sony problem and they will use their narrow minded reporting techniques to try and brand this company in a negative way. My thinking is that Sony somehow messed up in their manufacturing process and rather than trying to blame someone else for their own problem, they are going to do the right thing and take this negative and eventually turn it into a positive for their company because that has been what Sony has always done. No one wants a laptop computer, which bursts into flames, but most things in life happen for a reason and most likely, in the end, Sony will be a better and stronger company because of this exploding battery problem in laptop computers.

Daily Archives: | 02, 04, 07, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28

Millionaires Love Fighting With Each Other

I guess when people have more money than they know what to do with; they must find some way to try and act normal. How else can anyone explain the current battle between Paramount Studios and Tom Cruise? While these two Hollywood giants act like they are each other’s enemies, I wonder if we the public are not being played in a game which will do nothing but make each side in this supposed battle richer? No one really cares what Hollywood celebrities think or say except the famous people making the comments. The problem I see with this Cruise/Paramount story is that when you strip away all the BS what you are left with are a couple of guys who are rich beyond most folks imagination.

I don’t think it is any accident that while the John Mark Karr story is leading the news headlines this week, we are also seeing two giant Hollywood forces displaying their dirty laundry in pubic. Mr. Redstone and Mr. Cruise might just be like a couple of lawyers who are doing all they can to make sure the attention of their case is front and center on the evening news. In Hollywood, I’ve heard that the only bad news is no news at all and something in my gut tells me that is what we are all witnessing right now with this Cruise/Paramount fight.

While the rest of us are trying to figure out some way to pay all of our bills and make ends meet each month, many of these rich fat cats in Hollywood and those in charge of corporate American are thinking up new ways to manipulate all of us into making themselves even richer than they already are. In fact, if you really want to know the truth, I read today Redstone's own son was suing him to try and gain control of his company Viacom. For most of us out here in the real world, we are not suing our children or having them file suit against us. For regular folks, life is hard enough without looking for silly battles, which should never be fought in the first place.

Never think for a minute that it is just politicians who are playing you for either political power or money. The entire entertainment complex in Hollywood is concerned about little else than what you think, what you read or what you watch on television on movie screens. The giants of the movie and television industry have turned manipulating people into dollars an art form for generations and unfortunately they are always able to find enough folks to fall for their games to continue their million dollar lifestyles for another day or week. The truth is that the average American need’s entertainment to escape from what they believe to be a boring life. Just remember to never forget that this entertainment doesn’t come without a cost to your wallet, but also to your personal integrity.

Spent An Interesting Day In Court

I spent a few hours inside a courtroom today because my ex business partner was trying to get his child support reduced. Like always when it comes to a court of law, things never seem to get started on time because of previous cases. Since everything was running so far behind, I decided to take a seat in the court room and listen to a couple of other cases which were going on. I had not been able to sit in a courtroom and listen to a case in a long time.

I was very interested listening to the different lawyers presenting their cases to the judge and I enjoyed listening to the judge’s rulings and advice he gave to the various participants. While the actual court sessions ran slow, I was very impressed with the patience shown by the judge and the way in which he did his job without being too judgmental to either side. The judge in court today was a very quite man who sounded very intelligent not only about the law, but about human nature as well. The cases I listened to all involved family disputes of one kind or the other and it was pretty easy to see that both sides in these cases had folks who were extremely tense with the litigation.

I learned today that it is so important for a judge to be a calm individual who must rule against someone every time they rule on a case. However, that judgment was tempered extremely well today by this county court judge. After a few hours my ex business partner was able to get his case before the judge, but fortunately he and his ex-wife were able to work through their difference outside the court room so my testimony was pretty simple and just a matter of record. While most people try to stay as far away from a court of law as possible, I was pleasantly surprised by the professionalism of the judge and the entire court process I witnessed today.

I love being an American and it did my heart good to see a court room first hand today and watch what most people will never witness unless they are charged with a crime or serve on a jury. I have served on a jury before, but the whole legal process is much more interesting as a spectator. I think all Americans should take one day of their vacation each year and spend a half a day inside a courtroom as a spectator. It is very interesting and unlike what most of us see on TV, real life court rooms are about real life people who use our judicial system of government to solve their disputes instead of taking the law into their own hands.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Vacation Boredom Effects People That Enjoy Work

As I mentioned earlier, I am on vacation this week and I must admit the first few days of the week, I spend a great deal of time sleeping in and just relaxing. However, now it is Wednesday night and I’m starting to get a little bit bored. I knew this was going to happen from past experiences. I think my wife believes that I have a hard time just sitting back and relaxing and maybe she is right because I do enjoy going to work each day. Part of my problem is that I don’t like prime time television at all. I will watch the cable news channels from time to time, but this week all any of them are talking about is John Mark Karr and I could really care less about that story unless his DNA matches that found on JonBennet’s body.

I also enjoy watching the History Channel and Discovery from time to time when they show programs, which interest me. However, most of the shows on those channels the past couple of days have not interested me that much either. So here I am doing the second favorite thing I do most days and that is write in this blog about the news of the day. I did watch the NBC Nightly News tonight and saw that Brain Williams was reporting from St. Louis. I told my wife that he was probably on the road in preparation to hold onto his lead in the ratings when Katie starts work at CBS early next month. There was an interesting story on the NBC Nightly News tonight about how bloggers and other video sites on the Internet are changing the face of US politics.

Speaking of blogging, the Joe Lieberman race for reelection to the Senate from Connecticut has been big news not only on the Internet, but also on regular television newscast. It is understandable that a power tool like the Internet would effect the future of politics. In the past, most elections were mainly covered by members of the press and network television crews. However, now there are millions of voices, like mine, which are writing about their political opinions and the candidates who are running for office. In my view, the more voices that are heard will be a good thing for the future of democracy in the US. While no one blogger will make the difference in any US election, in unison they can and will make an impact on how the public views the candidates and could effect how they vote.

I guess if I don’t find anything else that is interesting to do the next few days of my vacation, I will continue to express my views on the various news items of the day right here. I am please that traffic to my blog has increased over the past year and I appreciate the folks who come by every few days to see what my opinions are on some of the news of our day. There is another interesting aspect of blogging to me and that is it not only relieves boredom, but in some small way it seems to be good therapy for me. Rather than being angry about some of the injustices in this world, I write about them with commentary which makes me feel like I am doing something about the problem, instead of just sitting around getting more upset.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

President Bush Plays Democrats Like A Violin

The Bush administration and United Nations are being played like a violin by the leadership in Iran. From my prospective, in a few years we will have to learn to live with Iran being a nuclear power. While most folks have hardened themselves either into the pro Bush administration position of being hard-liners or they are more like France and want to do nothing. The real rub here is that many aspects of the world today are falling apart because each nation is choosing up sides either as a hawk or dove on this issue and these nations who threaten all of us, like Iran, are able to get what they want by doing the wrong thing.

I guess if I had to choose which side to be on in these kinds of situations I would choose hawk over dove, but if this world is to survive over the next 10 to 20 years with dozens of nuclear nations, a new more moderate strategy must be developed which most nations of the world are willing to sign on to. The US made a huge mistake by invading Iraq and dividing up old friends, which we will need someday. The biggest problem with hawks are they can’t see the forest for the trees. In their view if someone doesn’t do what you want, then you just blast them with your military power. Now that policy really worked in Iraq, didn’t it? To me, the biggest problem with doves are that they want to keep taking crap, over and over again without any consequences and that type of attitude won’t work either.

There was a time when cooler heads prevailed in the UN and the US where these issues were thought out without following ideology from either side which won’t work on its own. The US has seen this ideological divide grow into a 50/50 split of the population over the years and unfortunately the whole world is becoming the same way. I call this the “my way or the highway” type of thinking where both side believe the only way they can prevail is to force their ideology on everyone else. This won’t work and never has worked, but mankind somehow thinks that they can force others into their point of view either at the butt of a gun or using laws to force certain types of moral behavior.

I see so many similarities in the position of President Bush and many of the enemies of the United States. Our enemies want to force everyone in the world into some kind of Muslim state and President Bush wants to force democracy on the rest of the world. I will say this in benefit to President Bush, I don’t think he would kill innocent civilians just to see his policies go into effect and that is the biggest difference between the folks in Iran and the Bush administration. On most other issues, what we have here are two ideologies which are trying to impose them themselves on the other side and over time, if the world doesn’t come up with some type of middle grown that all sides will respect, we are all in for one heck of a lot of problems down the road.

While I’m talking here about ideologies, please don’t mistake out right terrorist like Osama Bin Laden into that mix. I really don’t think he is an ideologue at all. To me, Bin Laden is more like a serial killer that is trying to use religion to destroy the world, as we all know it. Just like ideologues in the Muslim movement will never succeed in convincing the world to follow their narrow view, the Bush administration will also be unsuccessful at pushing democracies on nations who don’t want it. There must be some moderate thinking person out there who can bring all side together at some point in time. Blowing up building and killing innocent people or going to war and killing innocent people isn’t the answer to what is wrong with the world today. The problem is that no one wishes to compromise because each side wants everything their way or they want nothing at all.

Just Fix It - Auto Repair Nightmares

My wife got her car inspected the other day and it turned out that she needed a couple of new tires and windshield wipers. Everything went well at the repair shop that did the inspection. Of course, like everyone else this isn’t what happens, sometimes, when we take our car in for repair at some shops. It was about 20 years ago right after my wife and I first got married that she had one of the worst experiences I’ve heard of with an auto repair shop.

At the time she drove an old Toyota station wagon which was not in very good shape at all. I think she bought it for cash a few years earlier for about $600. One summer that car started heating up every time she drove it so one Monday morning she took it to a car repair place she had used before. After a few hours, they called her back and said that she needed a new water pump and that would fix the problem. The water pump part was kind of expensive, but she told them to go ahead and do the work and she picked the car up later that same day.

The very next day, Tuesday, the car heated up again on her way to work, so she called the repair place back and they told her to bring the car back in so they could check it. This time they said that her radiator was stopped up and needed to be reamed out. So she told them to go ahead and she picked the car back up after work that same day. On Wednesday morning, her car heated up again on the way to work, so she called the repair shop once again and of course they told her to bring it back in for repair. At that time they told her she needed a new radiator to fix the problem.

She went ahead and told them to install the new radiator and picked the car up at the end of the day on Wednesday. On Thursday, the car was still heating up on the way to work, so I decided to take the car back into this same repair shop myself and see if I could persuade these folks to finally get the problem fixed. When the repair guy came out to talk with me I told him that all my wife and I wanted was for the car to be fixed and not to call us back until it was. It took until Friday, but they called back and said they had the problem fixed and we could pick up the car. From that day until we got rid of that old wreck, the car never over heated again.

I believe the moral to this story is that some people in auto repair don’t take women seriously and some of them just tell women who don’t know any better that they fixed problems when they really didn’t. While I wasn’t rude to this man, I think he got the message that we were tired of spending money and getting nothing back in return. Almost five years later my wife took another car to another repair shop and when I went to pick her up I saw this same man and he said I remember you, you’re the guy that just wants the car fixed. While it is hard to believe someone could remember a person after that many years because of one sentence, this guy did remember me I guess because I didn’t want to hear BS, all I wanted for him to do is his job, the right way, the first time.

Pondering Own Mortality After High School Friend Dies

The past 24 hours I have been pondering my own mortality because yesterday I received word that an old friend from high school died in her sleep on Sunday. The lady who died was 48 years old, like me and I don’t think I have seen her but a few times since our graduation in 1977. I was reading a report the other day, which said that humans are the only life forms on earth, which are able to understand death and know that eventually they will die. I had really never thought about this before, but I believe it to be true.

Every single night we all go to bed expecting to dream and tackle the problems and challenges of this world again tomorrow. However, for some people there will be no tomorrow because for some unknown reason their heart will stop in their sleep and they will die during the night. I have always been know to tell friends that when my time comes to die, I hope I am fortunate and God takes me in my sleep. However, I would like to live a few more years before that date comes, but the death of my friend from high school proved to me that none of us have control over that part of our lives.

While talking to my sister today, who was a couple of years behind me in school, she said that my friends father died in the same way and at about the same age. While medical experts have made great strides in genetic research, I still don’t think they are able to explain completely why some families experience these types of early deaths. I feel certain that some type of genetic flaw caused the death of my friend and her father. The same way I feel that my odds of eventually dying from cancer are high because my father, uncle and grandmother all got that disease at some point during their life.

Today, when driving down the road I was thinking back to the days when I was in high school and reflecting on how much my life and opinions have changed since that time. On the radio, they started playing a song which was popular back in 1976-1977 and I felt my whole emotion well being fly out the window of the car for a few minutes as my mind went back to that period of my life like it was yesterday. I’m sure that song effected me today because of the death of my friend, but not only did these events trigger old emotions from the past, but new ones too about my own mortality and when it will be my turn to pass from this earth.

Dallas Cowboys Beat New Orleans Saints

I watched the Dallas Cowboys beat the New Orleans Saints last night in Shreveport Louisiana. It was game of Monday Night Football with ABC hosting the show. Of course, one of their other networks, ESPN, stepped up and did a fine job hosting the game. I’ll get to the game in a minute, but first I wanted to say it was so hard watching the Saints play football outside of New Orleans. Their normal playing field, The Super Dome, is still being reconstructed after damage from Hurricane Katrina last year.

My wife and I have visited Shreveport/Bossier City many times before and enjoyed their many gambling hotels and entertainment. Many local people call going to these two cities as visiting the “boats” which is where all casinos must be located in the state of Louisiana. Back to the game, poor New Orleans never really had a chance in this game because the Cowboys dominated them from the first kickoff. I honestly can’t tell yet whether the Cowboys are that good this year or the New Orleans Saints are that poor considering that they had to start this season off with only half the number of returning players they had last year.

I was very pleased with the play of Drew Bledsoe who is coming right along as the Dallas quarterback. He looks so much better than he did last year and if he can just make it through the year without getting injured he might just be the guy the Cowboys needed to take them to the playoff this year. The big talk during last night’s game was that Terrell Owens was injured and not able to play the game. However, in a late game interview with Dallas owner Jerry Jones, he seems to suggest that T.O. will be ready for play within the next three weeks.

I still personally feel that owner Jones and head coach Bill Parcells are taking a huge chance by adding T.O. to the Cowboy’s team, but its their team to either make a winner or tear apart and the rest of us fans have to just sit on the sidelines and hope they know what they are doing with this addition to the team. While I believe Terrell Owens means trouble, maybe Bill Parcells and Jerry Jones will be able to mold this young man in a way to allow him to use his tremendous talent to help the Dallas Cowboys on the road to victory.

Last night the Dallas Cowboys looked fantastic in their win over the New Orleans Saints and as most Cowboy fans have learned to do over the years, I will just sit and wait until the regular season gets underway and take this season, just like the rest, only one game at a time.

Monday, August 21, 2006

2006 PGA Champion - Tiger Woods Again

I spent most of my Sunday afternoon watching Tiger Woods, once again, do amazing things on the golf course as he won the final major tournament of the year, The PGA Open. Like all great sports professionals, Woods makes the game of golf look easy and at least right now there isn’t anyone in the professional ranks who can compete on a weekly basis with this man who plays golf more like a machine than a human being.

Also every expert talks about how far Tiger can drive the ball or how well Tiger putts that ball once on the green. However, the real success of Tiger Woods isn’t in his driving or putting ability, but in his mental discipline and how he can stay focused whether he is leading the field or trailing other great players. One thing is for sure and that is Tiger Woods is good for the game of golf and that has been proven over the years as this once “whites only game” has branched out into different races and broke the once attitude that the game of professional golf is a rich mans game.

When I look at Tiger and the maturity he shows at such an early age it makes me thing back to when I was in my early 30’s and while I thought I was mature for my age at that time, in reality I was a baby compared to the wisdom and strength shown by this young man. I have no doubt that Tiger’s dad, Earl had a lot to do with molding Tiger’s golf game and the way he handles life, but I must say that I also believe that Tiger carries some kind of great genetic inside his body or he would not be able to excel at golf and act in such a mature way at such a young age.

Sunday was the first time I had watched Tiger play a tournament this year from hole number 1 to hole 18. I wanted to watch the whole day on Saturday but I was interrupted by telephone calls. On Sunday I saw Tiger Woods put everything he had into ever single hole and I saw him make miracle shots out of terrible drives and I also saw him make miracle putts which no one expected him to make. I think the secret to Tiger’s success in inside his brain and not in the way he drives and putts the ball. In so many ways golf is a mind game and there is no one better at that game than Tiger Woods.

Read more news about the PGA:

British Love Tiger
No Golf Weekend
Tiger's US Open
Loving Father Dies
Mickelson Wins Green

Daily Archives: | 02, 04, 07, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28

Sunday, August 20, 2006

President Bush Appealing Federal Judge NSA Decision

The Bush administration has come out fighting against last weeks ruling by a federal judge in Michigan that NSA wiretapping without a warrant in unconstitutional. The Bush administration is planning to appeal that ruling and hoping to find more friends on the court at some future date. I must admit that this issue is a sensitive one for me and millions of other people. On one hand we want to be safe from terrorist, while at the same time not letting this fear destroy what has been a bedrock principle of the US and that is constitutional rights.

A young friend of mine at work, who is much more liberal than I said to me Friday that President Bush believes that the ends justify the means, so he (President Bush) feels like anything he does to protect the US is OK under that type of scenario. While I don’t agree with much politically this friend has to say, I do agree with him on this issue. President Bush is obsessed with the national security interests of the US and I believe he is willing to use current law and mold it around a policy he believes is in the best interest of the United States.

Here is where the rub comes in for me. Once anyone starts down a road where they believe that the ends justify the means, it won’t be long until all heck starts to break loose and some folks will eventually think that a person should get the death penalty for a traffic violation. It is so important in cases like this NSA spying deal to remember that while our nation is at war, we don’t want to tear apart the very fabric which has held it together for almost three centuries. I personally believe it was a mistake for President Bush to bypass the court system with this NSA spying decision and unfortunately he will eventually face the consequences for that choice.

In the end, the only thing that really holds the United States together is our three separate but equal branches of government. Political leaders have been on the attack recently against the judiciary because judges are not ruling the way some politicians want them to. In reality, the last thing we need are rubber stamp courts that go along with who ever is in the majority at any particular period of time. The American people are always changing what they believe to be important and the most important thing any of us should count on is a court system, which is above politics. This hatred of the courts started when conservatives believed a liberal court allowed abortion under the constitution. That decision was a mistake and now the country is still paying for that mistake years later.

I hope the courts and Bush administration will find a way to work through this issue of NSA wiretapping because I believe it is needed in some cases. It just needs to be done in a way where no one branch of government has too much power over the people.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Microsoft Already Offering Vista Live Updates

Microsoft’s new operating system has not even been released to the general public yet and already they are offering “Live Updates” with patches for security holes which have been discovered during Beta testing. I guess in this world we are all going to have to learn to live with constantly having to update our operating systems against security threats, but in my view when a company is force to offer these software updates when their product hasn’t even been released yet, how in the world is that product going to hold up once it is installed into millions of computers around the world?

I’m not a Microsoft basher and this posting isn’t designed to jump on Microsoft as a company because it is big, so it must be bad. I’m just concerned that many of the software engineers at Microsoft haven’t learned anything from their previous platforms and are unfortunately going down the wrong road again with Microsoft Vista. It must be hard to develop a computer operating system, which is easy to use and compatible with thousands of other applications and still offer some type of security for the end user. However, it doesn’t seem like the operating system industry as a whole is moving in the right direction if they must offer these “Live Updates” to Beta 2 testers.

To date, no one else has stepped forward with a better idea that Microsoft when it comes to an operating system which is user friendly to all levels of computer users. I also know it is not fair to compare Apple to Microsoft when it comes to these security issues, but after years of having to check for these live updates over and over again, I am beginning to wonder if Apple doesn’t have the more secure platform. I also wonder if Microsoft isn’t building newer and better things on old OS technology rather than writing a whole new system, which eliminates the previous problems, rather than just patching them?

I have gone through many emotions over the past year or so in regards to the “Microsoft Vista Operating System” while I was once again looking forward to buying this new OS sometime after the first of the year when it is release, now I find myself reluctant to give up proven technology and move to a maybe secure operating system. I still feel in my gut that Microsoft is using at their core a system which might be flawed and just adding on to it like someone might do with a house which has a bad foundation. All the additions in the world won’t stand the test of time unless the foundation is removed and replace with something more secure in the first place.

Like everyone else who is interested in newer and better computer technology, I will continue to follow Vista developments with great interest and hopefully when it is finally release the first people to buy this new operation system will be able to enjoy it without being forced to run a “Live Update” upon their first connection to the Internet.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Hollywood And Choices - Most Make Bad Ones

I still remember the first time I saw Haley Joel Osment in the “Sixth Sense” starring Bruce Willis. I knew at that time if this young man stayed in the Hollywood community he would eventually fall prey to the massive temptations, which have brought down many young actors before him. The truth is life is tough and it’s really tough when you are a young man or woman living in the land of dreams called Hollywood. Why is it so hard to keep focus while living in the Hollywood lifestyle? Well, in my opinion, it has a lot to do with the very process of growing up in the first place.

When we all were children we had to learn hard lessons from our parents when temptations and other bad influences came along. However, when a young person lives in Hollywood, which in entirely based around fantasy, then reality will most times take a back seat to the huge temptations, which are always present in a world dominated by fantasy. Haley Joel Osment and many other young stars are pulled into this quagmire of an easy life well before their brains are able to realize what exactly is going on.

Too often times, parents of these young stars are themselves captivated by this lifestyle too because when they were young they only knew financial hardship. Now that their child is living out not only their own dreams, but also the dreams of their parents, all evolved get sucked into a pattern, which will eventually sink the dreams of everyone involved. When I read tonight about the possible six month prison sentence facing Haley Joel Osment after he wreaked his car a few weeks ago and the fact he was drinking and had drugs in his car; I knew that this was Osment’s wake up call to reality and whether or not he is mature enough to realize this fact is still to early to know.

We all love a healthy fantasy life and the trick is to know that fantasy is something the brain does to help us get over hard times in our life. However, fantasy isn’t something where normal people can live their lives in the real world because it is just like a movie. It is not real and if anyone tries to make their fantasies into reality, big problems will be facing them down the road. In Hollywood, sometimes people lose the ability to separate reality from fantasy and when this happens it won’t be long until a divorce or a rehab center will enter their future.

The truth is that people in Hollywood are no different than anyone else when it comes to real life. If anyone decides to check out of real life and enter a totally fantasy based world, they will eventually end up laying flat on the floor wonder how in the world this happened to them. I hope Haley Joel Osment decides to start making the right choices in his life. If he doesn’t he is in for a big “dark world” ahead of him in the Hollywood community.

Related: Hollywood Tabloid Style

Hollywood And Choices

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Did John Mark Karr Murder JonBenet?

I must say the arrest of John Mark Karr in connection to the JonBenet Ramsey murder almost ten years ago has me scratching my head wondering what else the Boulder Police and DA’s office have in the way of evidence against this troubled man. Don’t get me wrong he may be guilty as sin of committing this decades old murder, but judging him only by his statements to the world press yesterday in Thailand I’m beginning to wonder if he even has a clue of what is happening to him to now?

I spent some time thinking about this arrest last night and so much about it doesn’t make any sense to me and already the evidence against John Mark Karr isn’t adding up either. His ex-wife says he was in Alabama the entire Christmas season of 1996 when the murder of JonBenet was taking place in Colorado. Of course, the ex-wife could be wrong about the date or year, but most likely she is not. Also, when asked last night, John Ramsey said he had never heard of this guy before and had never met him.

I believe this whole case is going to come down to DNA evidence. If John Mark Karr’s DNA is proven to be on JonBenet’s underwear and under her fingernails, then I would say there is little doubt that Karr committed this murder. However, if he is not a match to the unknown DNA which was recovered from JonBenet’s body after her murder, then I believe this whole episode will turn out to be a false confession by a man who most certainly is suffering from mental problems. According late reports yesterday, John Mark Karr will be returned to the US on a Visa violation early next week and hopefully a DNA test will determine whether he is a killer on a person just looking for notoriety.

This whole case brings up the continuing problems with the mainstream and tabloid media. The same folks who were ready to send John and Patsey Ramsey to jail for murder ten years ago are now ready to pin the murder on this new guy, Karr. While searching the Internet for news about this arrest I saw headlines like, “Solved” and “Guilty” on some mainstream news sites. Don’t these media folks every learn that just because someone is arrested it doesn’t make them guilty and/or just because a police source believes that the parents did it doesn’t make them guilty, either?

There is such a “rush to judgment” in the US media these days and maybe they are just reflecting the attitudes of most Americans. However, when someone decides to go to work in the press their first obligation should always be to the truth and not to popular opinion or police leaks which often times are eventually proven wrong.

Safety On Planes - Passengers Going Crazy

This week another person went nuts on a commercial jet flying from the UK to the United States. When the event was over, the lady responsible for all the commotion was arrest and faces charges related to the incident. I have often wondered why some people seem to go berserk on airliners? Most likely they are claustrophobic in the first place and then something happens on board the plane which cause them to lose control of their reasoning powers. These types of incidents happen hundreds of times per year on commercial jet airliners and most of the time people didn’t give them a second thought until the events of 911.

The most disturbing thing about this latest lady who lost it on a fight from London to Washington DC is the fact that when FBI agents searched her carry on luggage they found a screwdriver, several cigarette lighters and matches. All of these items are banned on commercial flights, so something terrible went wrong in London with the passenger screening process. I remember several years ago when a guy lost control on a Southwest Airlines flight here in the US and was killed when passengers apparently used too much force in their attempt to restrain him.

I don’t fly much anymore, but if I did I would be aware of people around me and if they began to get out of control, I’m sure I would take step to try and either get them to calm down or try and find someone on the airliners staff to help me restrain the person. I am not the kind of person who believes in putting my nose into other peoples business, but since 911 we have all learned that it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to airline safety. Those poor people onboard those planes on 911 did what they were taught to do when confronting a hijacker and in the end they died because they didn’t make a stand against the terrorist.

I would encourage anyone who has problems in closed in spaces to think long and hard before they climb onboard a commercial airliner these days. Most passengers are going to take action to make sure that if you lose control you don’t endanger their lives in the process. In this latest London to Washington incident I didn’t hear that an Air Marshall was onboard that flight, which makes me wonder why all flights from London to the US are not manned by Air Marshall’s at this most dangerous time only days after a major terrorist attack was averted by British authorities?

Cooking Our Bodies - Soaking Up Vitamin D

In my apartment complex, like most others, we have a swimming pool and many folks take advantage of it this time of the year. In previous years I have noticed that most of the people who hang around the pool are either teenagers or in their early 20’s. However, this year I am noticing more and more folks who are 40 years old and even older spending a bunch of time at the pool. While swimming is fun and can be great exercise, most of the older folks I see hanging out at the pool are reading a book and just soaking up the sun.

Truth be told we humans need sunlight for Vitamin D production. However, from what I’ve read we only need about 10 to 15 minutes per day to get all the Vitamin D required. There was a study done a few months ago which looked into the possibility that over exposure to the sun could create addiction in the body similar to that of a narcotic. Apparent what happens as the skin burns is that the body produces a “morphine type substance” to relieve the pain from our burning skin. Over time, people grow accustomed to this internal drug being released into our bodies and some people become addicted.

While the sun might be good for some things, I still believe over exposure to sunlight is bad for our bodies and will lead to many problems down the road. The good news is that folks who are not extreme thinkers are wearing more sunscreen these days and even when only taking a short walk I'm noticed more people who are covering more of their skin and wearing a cap or hat while outside. Like most folks, I think a tanned body is very nice to look at, but there is little doubt that as folks age, that short term “nice look” they get from over exposure to the sun will turn into a bad thing as their skin ages before its time.

Here I go again talking about moderation and how important it is not to get carried away and do things to an extreme. Of course, most folks will not listen to this advice because they are only living for today and when people advise them that what they are doing will hurt them in the years to come, their minds unfortunately are unable to think that far ahead.

Friday Night Football - Great Texas Tradition

While driving down the road a few days ago I saw some high school boys going through their annual ritual of “2 a day workouts” in preparation for football. In Texas, very few things are more important to folks than watching High School Football on a cool Friday night in September and/or October. It took Hollywood years to finally recognize how important these games are to millions of people, but when they finally did and produced the movie, “Friday Night Lights” they got it write their first time out.

There are hundreds of small towns which dot the Texas landscape and these towns contain just plain people who work hard during the week and have very few entertainment options on the weekend. I know this because I grew up in one of these small towns and just about everyone in my small hometown loved to talk about and watch Friday night football games. What these players are doing right now in the “2 a day workouts” is getting into physical shape. This involves a lot of running and conditioning.

In a few weeks they will put on their pads and start learning new plays and finding out how well they play together as a team. Here in the Central Texas area there have been a few cases of alleged arson involving the “field houses” of several small schools. I’m not sure if these fires were caused by someone who didn’t make the team or by someone who doesn’t want to play but is being pressured by their family. While I don’t believe any arrest have been made yet, I’m sure authorities will find who is responsible, eventually.

The one thing that made my heart feel good about the aftermath of the alleged arson fires was how quickly other school volunteered workout equipment to the effected schools. Remember many of these small schools with high school football programs don’t have much money and they need all the help they can get when something bad like this happens. I look forward to seeing a few Friday Night Football games this years because unlike College and Professional games, these guys play the game just for the fun of it and not for money which brings out the true spirit of the game.

More 911 Tapes - Real Life Horror And Death

Almost lost in the news of yesterday, more tapes were released to the public, which were recorded on September 11th, 2001 after two planes deliberately flew into the two World Trade Center towers. Before I left for work last night, I was able to watch a small portion of the NBC Nightly News where they did a segment on these newly released tapes. While my wife and I sat on the couch listening to the various rescue workers, dispatch operators and just regular citizens on those tapes, my mind went back to that day once again and I had to wipe tears from my eyes.

I don’t think any event in my life has come close to effecting me as much as what happened in the United States on 911. In fact, sometimes late at night I still dream about the events of that day when so many people died. In addition to the horrific site of two large jet airliners hitting the two tallest buildings in the United States, I most remember those small neighborhood billboards where hundreds of people had tacked pictures of their loved ones hoping someone had found them alive.

Until September 11th, 2001 I really never pictured the United States as a “war zone” where regular folks were killed by the enemy. I had to readjust my thinking after the terrible day and realized that bad things don’t just happen in other countries, but right here in the United States as well. On these latest tapes which were released today I heard the voice of a young woman who was certain she was going to die while at the same time a rescue official on the telephone kept trying to reassure her that she would not die. Unfortunately, that lady caller did die that day and I wonder what must have gone through the mind of that dispatcher in the months and years since that day?

There were also voices of brave firefighters who were climbing the stairs of the World Trade Center if full gear trying to get as many people out of those buildings as possible. One of the men who died was a Fire Captain, who was certainly not required to enter such a dangerous situation, but did so anyway because he felt the need to help. So many brave people in the NYPD and FDNY rushed into those burning buildings that day, not in a suicide mission, but as just regular citizens who could not sit by and watch their fellow New Yorkers burn to death in these magnificent towers.

We are just a few days away now from the 5th anniversary of 911 and I believe it is time for everyone to hear and learn exactly what happened that day so all rescue workers can learn how to respond more effectively if, God forbid, something like this happens again.

Related: Laughing 911 Hijackers, Terror After 911, Ground Zero Video, 9/11 - Four Years Later

More 911 Tapes