Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Ultimate Act of Betrayal

I don't know which I feel more upon reading this article; fascination or disgust. If we were to take this article at face value it portrays both John and Elizabeth Edwards as being the lowest possible degenerates of society. As some may recall, I supported Edwards in his early days for the presidency. I liked his personable demeanor and populist platform and thought he was a nice mix of experience and change (see Barack v. Hillary).

To have Edwards invade our televisions to drivel on about standing up for impoverished members of society and then blackball a faithful campaign staffer when the cameras weren't on, really hurts the core of anyone who supported Edwards at anytime. I feel like I've lost a little respect for all politicians today, who can you trust when you don't know what happens behind closed doors?

It's like finding out there isn't a Santa Claus or that the Tooth Fairy will no longer be bringing you cash in exchange for clunkers (teeth). It all boils down to...who can you trust?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What Did We Learn?

I hate it when national correspondents are of the notion that they have a beat on the pulse of a town or city. The Two-Line Pass, a hockey-themed blog, is a great example of this. While covering the American Portrait's favorite team (The Philadelphia Flyers), he had the audacity to make this statement:

"End of an era. Randy Jones was put on waivers as the first step to getting his 2.75-million cap hit off the books. But it begs the question, who is going to attempt to cripple Patrice Bergeron and have Flyers fans falling all over themselves to defend it come Winter Classic time?"

For those who don't know, Randy Jones was probably one of the mildest tempered Flyers on the entire team last year. While he did perform an illegal hit on a Bruins forward, it was hardly of the vicious variety. If you had read the Two-Line Pass, you would probably think him something along the lines of a Marty McSorley or a Tie Domi. So at the very least, you could critize this blog for being grossly misinformed, and at the worst, the author being an enormous a**hole for perputrating the bias against Philadelphia fans. But then again, he's just being another "national" writer, and we do seem to collect them these days, don't we?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Eagles Players Come to Town

Take a look at the sweet picture I snapped, when Philadelphia Eagles linebackers Chris Gocong and Omar Gaither came to the local PNC Bank for a photo opportunity. They were very nice and friendly in person and chatted with me for a few minutes regarding the Eagles.

Nancy Pelosi: Living In America

You may remember Eric Cantor (R-VA) scoffing at Nancy Pelosi's fear of violence in regards to the current political climate. He felt she was "living in a different world". Apparently that world is America, as a U.S. Census Bureau worker was attacked and killed in rural Kentucky. Normally this wouldn't have any relation to the happenings of Washington, except for the minor detail of "Fed" being written on the man's body.

We haven't heard a peep out of Cantor regarding this, nor any of the Republican establishment for that matter. When people carry out signs portraying Obama as Hitler, brand Democrats as Socialist and openly muse as to if the Census will lead to WWII Japanese-style internment, how can they be baffled when the fringe of their party takes it to heart.

Having tea parties is one thing, but people need to understand when they are going too far. The President isn't evil, he is not a reincarnation of Satan, he is not the anti-Christ and he will not eat your first-born. It is ok to disagree with him on the issues but to brand him as if he were a creature out of Grimm's fairy tales is not only misguided, but as the events regarding the census worker have proven, very risky.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dan Aykroyd & I: Best Friends

Dan Aykroyd happened to be in the Maryland area the other day, promoting his new line of wine and Crystal Skull vodka. I apologize for the picture quality, but that comes with a low quality cell-phone camera I guess. Like some famous people, I would describe him as being quirky but not elitist or overly smug. He is most animated when talking about things of a metaphysical or paranormal nature. From what I heard, his brother is a practicing medium/psychic.

A Lack of Understanding?

I've gone on record saying I do not like religious extremists or people who attempt to force feed you their religious principles whether you like it or not. Jay Riemersma, a bench-warming former Pittsburgh Steeler, thinks he has seen the light and decided to make a run for congress. His claim to fame is a little editorial gem entitled "How could Christians vote for Obama?"

He feels any Christian who voted for Obama did so from a "lack of understanding". Translated, this means: unless you agree with me and vote the way I like then you are not a true Christian. His brillance continues with: "Moving forward to the next election, I implore all Christians to base their vote not on a political party or a polished politician, but rather on Biblical principle."

I strongly dislike people like that. Nobody has mandated that Jay stay in this country if he dislikes it so much. Perhaps he had too many knocks to the head from his playing days. Sometimes the bench jumps up and bites you I guess.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Obama Health Care: Good or Bad?

I am one of the very few people in America who is truly on the fence about President Obama's proposed health care overhaul. On the one hand, health care is broken and desperately needs to be fixed. There are many people who simply can't afford health care or have decent jobs that just don't offer health benefits. Rather than pay outrageous health care premiums, some go without any insurance and just "cross their fingers" that they will never need it.

However, there is also the school of thought that wonders if Obama-Care will turn into the New Jersey DMV with long waiting lines to see doctors, countless forms to fill out, and a general degredation in service for all. If given the choice between the two, I would take the former every time. United States health care is the best in the world and it seems like people are always coming here from socialized countries to get better care.

Is there a common ground compromise? Well I for one, like most Americans unfamiliar with the intricacies of health care, have no idea! I would be hesistant to create a "tiered" system of health care because there would be a tendency for substandard care at the lower levels. It seems at the moment, the status quo will continue to prevail as far as this issue is concerned.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Twitter: The Website Nobody Is On

If you were an alien from outer space and your first desire upon coming to earth was to turn into CNN's morning program with John Roberts and Kiran Chetry, you would get quite the wrong idea about earthlings. CNN seems to be obsessed about Twitter, tweeting and all other associated verbs and nouns one can make in conjunction with the website.

However, how many people do you know that actually tweet? I could probably count on one hand, the people who are on it and have advertised that fact. In my opinion, Twitter is the most popular website, nobody is on. I would recommend a huge buyer beware for any company thinking about using Twitter in any marketing campaign. It will definitely be going the route of the furby and crocs once people realize nobody is on it!

I also think Twitter doesn't add any value to the current lineup of social networking options. In my mind, tweeting is just a glorified Facebook status update. Thus, I will not be joining the (soon to end) craze of tweeting, and when it's all over just remember, I told you so!

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Petition For A Mouse

There is a poem that sums up how I approach the world and all of it's treasures. Why do people help ducks cross the road? Why do people care about the environment so much? I believe it lies in the deeply held knowledge that all of creation is a beautiful thing and even if an action does not benefit a human, it is still worthwhile because it's the right thing to do. If there was an all-powerful force out there (god anyone?) that had the power to assist you with a small exertion of its energy, you would want it to.

I often think about a story where a girl is throwing many starfish that have washed up onto the shore back into the sea, there are hundreds of them and an old man walking by tells her that there are too many starfish for her to make a difference. She picks another one up, throws it back into the sea and tells the old man: "It made a difference to that one". And with that, A Mouse's Petition by Anna Barbauld:

Oh! Hear a pensive captive's prayer,
For liberty that sighs;
And never let thine heart be shut
Against the prisoner's cries.

For here forlorn and sad I sit,
Within the wiry grate;
And tremble at th' approaching morn,
Which brings impending fate.

If e'er thy breast with freedom glow'd,
And spurn'd a tyrant's chain,
Let not thy strong oppressive force
A free-born mouse detain.

Oh! do not stain with guiltless blood
Thy hospitable heart;
Nor triumph that thy wiles betray'd
A prize so little worth

The scatter'd gleanings of a feast
My scanty meals supply;
But if thine unrelenting heart
Theat slender boon deny.

The cheerful light, the vital air,
Are blessings widely given;
Let nature's commoners enjoy
The common gifts of heaven.

The well taught philosophic mind
To all compassion gives;
Casts round the world an equal eye,
And feels for all that lives.

If mind, as ancient sages taught,
A never dying flame,
Still shifts tho' matter's varying forms,
In every form the same.

Beware, lest in the worm you crush
A brother's soul you find,
And tremble lest thy luckless hand
Dislodge a kindred mind.

Or, if this transient gleam of day
Be all of life we share,
Let pity plead within thy breast,
That little all to spare.

So may thy hospitable board
With health and peace be crown'd;
And every charm of heartfelt ease
Beneath thy roof be found.

So when unseen destruction lurks,
Which men like mice may share,
May some kind angel clear thy path,
And break the hidden snare.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

An Endeavor Of Plastic Proportions

Anyone who knows me knows I hate fast food with a passion. Every now and then I will indulge in a Wendy's Homestyle Chicken Fillet but that is it! However this was before Burger King introduced the Star Trek toy in its Kid's Meals. I went to the local Burger King and stepped foot in the establishment which I hadn't visited for at least five years prior. I ordered a hamburger, apple fries and a fat-free milk (this seemed to be the healthiest Kid's Meal option I could get).

My joy at receiving my Star Trek joy was quickly replaced my several points of chagrin. First off, I wanted either Kirk or Original Spock but would have settled for a Enterprise Ship or a Warbird. Instead I got ****ing Sulu! WTF! Sulu's voice is a mubled and irrelevant "Warp Three Sir". I wanted to just throw it out, but I kept it because it was the whole point of me going there.

I plan to go to B.K. several times this week and hope to add to my current collection of Scotty (gift from a friend) and Sulu. Lets hope I get something decent!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Thoughts On: Black Holes

I've always been the nerdy type, especially when it comes to science and space and matters of that sort. I love telling people my "crazy" theories on the inner workings of the universe and black holes do fall in that category. I take a revolutionary theory on exactly where the "stuff" goes when it is sucked into the black hole.

If you reference my picture above (clickable) you will notice the flow of matter going down into the cone, the cone represents the black hole itself, but you must picture the cone in 3-D for it to be truly representative. Notice I label two universes, no this is not a typo. I truly believe there are more universes than one we are aware of. Our universe consists of all the galaxies we can see and things we can't see.

My theory is that these universes border each other much like cells border each other in the human body. If you picture the selective permeable membrane of the cell than it should be easier to understand the diagram. The black hole "rips" and fuses the barriers between the two universes creating a pathway for matter to travel from one universe to another. The force of the creation of the black hole is the driving force behind the "pushing" of matter into the secondary universe.

However the "Red Shift" theory of space would seem to refute the theory of multiple universes or at least, cloud it. Perhaps this universe is expanding while others are contracting, perhaps some light is able to travel between the universes, who knows! Call me crazy, but it seems you won't be able to prove me wrong for a very long time.

Monday, April 13, 2009

RIP Harry Kalas

I'll never forget the moment the Phillies captured the World Series, and I can still hear the call from Harry Kalas. Although he will be "Outta Here" forever, he will always be in the memories of true Phillies Fans.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Browny The Cat

This is Browny, she is quite an interesting cat. She acts indifferent to the family I would say 90% of the time or so, but when she thinks you are not paying attention or are asleep, she likes to curl up beside you, especially between your legs at night when you are sleeping. She is also an excellent hunter and likes to bring the family "gifts" on occasion that include mice, rabbits, squirrels, birds, butterflies, frogs and etc.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

In Defense of Socialism

During the 2008 election campaign, socialism was branded as a deviant philosophy marked by "Peter taking from Paul", quasi-communist morals and utter rejection of all things capitalist. I'm inclined to think this was not a fair representation of the philosophy. Socialism is not evil, nor should it be shunned as something "anti-American" or "anti-capitalist".

Socialism at its roots depends on the willingness of each individual to contribute equally to the cause of progressing the entire society. In theory this is an admirable endeavor as it seeks to pool the skills and labor in a society to benefit all. The inherent weakness in this lies with human nature as humans can be lazy, unproductive or unwilling. Is this a flaw with socialism? No, because socialism requires all participants to be active and willing. This flaw lies with human nature itself.

The idea of Utopia is also regularly lumped in with socialism because the two have similar ideals. Utopia, like socialism, doesn't account for the flaws of human nature. The principle is a good one because who wouldn't want a perfect society? Although I think the idea of a Utopian society and the application of socialist values will never be valid for human beings, the foundations of the philosophies are noble. Humans are just not perfect enough to make them work.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Y-33 Chromosome Testing

I ordered the Y-33 (33 Markers) Genetic Testing kit yesterday. For those that don't know, I am very into genealogy research. I have spent countless hours researching the family tree, collecting family photos and interviewing family members. I currently have a database with over 750 members in it, all somehow linked to me!

The test was $65, somewhat expensive, but worth it in my opinion. The test will match you up with other testers who have submitted samples that are genetically similar with yours thus helping to find the fringes of your tree who may not share your surname.

I would encourage everyone to participate in this genetic study. If you can't stomach the thought of spending $69 for it, there is also a free study being done by the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. You send them your address and they will send you a cheek swab kit. While they won't give you a lot of frill like will do, your results will be added to a search-able database with the goal of getting everyone's DNA in the entire world.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I Hate That!

Everyone has a few phrases or subjects that really grind their gears. When someone starts talking about something and your lip just starts to curl and you really have to restrain yourself to hide your grimace...that is what I'm talking about. I have a few subjects that really seem to get under my skin:

1. Snow & Cars: I hate it when people discuss how they are in the market to buy a new or used car and you proceed to make a car suggestion and they say "I don't think that is good in the snow". What do we live in Buffalo, NY or something? How many days of the year does it snow, like four maybe? In short, unless a person lives in an extreme northern climate, I do not like it when their car purchase hinges on the car's ability in the snow.

2. Reading Books is Un-cool: I dislike it when someone scoffs at someone else because they read books. Just because someone is reading a book doesn't give them a disease or anything, it means they either want to be enlightened by a subject or they are not content to have television dictate every story to them. Whatever happened to imagination!

3. Gym Grunting: Please don't grunt in the gym or workout room. Yea we get it, you're a man. You don't need to prove anything to us. You will never hear me utter a sound in the gym. Please do the same.

4. Pink (The Singer): I've never liked any songs by Pink. I can summarize all of them with the following: "I'm really angry because (insert man) has dumped/left/slighted me, let's get crazy and drink/be violent/hang with our girls."

5. Ugg Boots: Dressing with eskimo-esque footwear is apparently a fashion statement now. Travel across any college campus in the thick of spring/summer and you will still see furry boots gracing the feet of our nation's young women. What's the point?!?!?! I think they are almost as bad as crocks.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Barack Obama Cartoon

I really didn't get the cartoon even if we put aside the fact that monkeys are often used as a derogatory representation of African-Americans. Does it mean the crazy monkey was actually the author of the bill due to its outrageous spending or does it mean something else. Just a plain old bad cartoon in my opinion.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Rap Music/Thug Culture Destroying Black Youth?

People display culture, emotions, artistic skill and inspiration through the music they make. Does music have the ability to be detrimental to an entire race? While having a discussion with a friend about the subject, we seemed to be on opposite sides in terms of our viewpoint.

Some (such as Bill Cosby) feel that societal and cultural "pressure" to conform to a "gansta" mentality in African American communities is destroying youth (particularly young males) and creating broken households. Others think the music is merely an outlet for impoverished communities and an apparent lack of upward mobility for black youth.

It is also possible that there is a bias in American culture to view black youth (especially young men) as violent and aggressive. However, I think there is some merit to the argument that rap culture while maybe not hurting, is certainly not helping. There has been statistical proof that black youth are more likely to grow up in a single-parent home (63% of all black households). Why is this? Are the demons of slavery and racism still felt or is this a product of black culture itself? No clear answers here...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My New Car!

As a finance major, there are two things that I was taught by a professor I had a great deal of respect for:

  • Never buy a new car, always buy a used car. Used cars don't have the "lot depreciation", are usually better these days because of services like Carfax and Certified Pre-Owned programs.
  • Never finance for longer than four years. If you can't afford it in four years, then you can't afford it!
With that said, I bought a "new" car yesterday. Because I bought used, I was able to get all the features I wanted, and not pay a hefty price tag. Take a look at my new baby! 2006 Honda Accord EX.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Middle East Situation

Hidden behind the scenes of the rocket fire in Gaza is over fifty years of conflict and struggle over the boundaries of Israel and Palestine. The underlying issue here is over the creation of the Jewish state in 1948 and whether it was the right thing to do. Overturning centuries of Palestinian rule and inserting Israel in a narrow strip of land surrounded by enemies was certainly a risky maneuver and may take hundreds of years to achieve success with.

From an American perspective, imagine the U.N. stepping in and giving the Taliban (or other U.S. enemy) an entire U.S. state to create their own homeland with. Then imagine Russia immediately supplying this new nation with arms and the capability to defend itself. Although this is an extreme example, it more than likely provoked a reaction in you as soon as you read it. To Palestinians, Israelis are in some cases hated and despised and viewed as an American would view the Taliban. From a Palestinian perspective, you can replace "Taliban" with Israelis, "U.S. state" with Palestinian territory and "Russia" with the United States.

Will a solution ever be reached? Probably not if history is any indication of how things will play out. It would be naive to think western powers such as the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia will remain powers forever. Rising countries such as China, India and Pakistan will more than likely have a say in how things play out. Without western support, Israel would have surely fallen by now, and its fate will lie in the hands of whomever the greatest power is.
As a caveat to this, I think the ultimate downfall of the western powers will be over the struggle for water and natural resources. As third-world nations grow, they will have an increasing demand for water, energy, land and etc. It is not inconceivable to think they could rise up to overthrow other nations.

So where does that leave us? Well after my rambling statements here, I do not know. I, as most other people, worry about the future of the middle east and even the future of my own country. I think as the planet warms and resources become more scarce, things will definitely change in my lifetime and spheres of power will definitely shift. The only question is when.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Around The Horn: Inauguration Blunders!

Sorry I've been a little lax on doing Around the Horn, it's hard fitting it into my schedule to blog anymore, feels like I have so many activities!

1. Hoboken411 has an uplifting and inspirational post about an Employer's letter to his employees. I really felt good about the world until I hit the second sentence or so. If you're in a really good mood and you don't should be...then hit up this post!

2. BaristaNet has the visit from Susan Werner all covered. My only question is...who the @*%# is Susan Werner and why do we want to see her?

3. Dan Cirucci is taking a moral high road again, he's using his expert psychological and relationship experience to dissect the marriage of Caroline Kennedy. Well I guess the silver lining is that we got him off his favorite topic of abortion for all of two seconds.

4. Cleary's Note Book is all over the saving of a 68 year old woman's life by a Houston-Metro police officer. I guess that is why they tell you to say away from the yellow line! There aren't treats and goodies on those tracks...

5. Channel Surfing wants to vote on the person to replace a resigning senator. Sheesh that is just crazy talk, we can't vote for the people that will be representing us, no democracies up in this house.

6. Obama the next Reagan? Jersey Attitude seems to think so, as he compares the one-liners of Obama and Reagan.

7. Thinking about going glove side? Don't do it against the kid featured in Bayonne Now, what a trapper this guy has!

8. Capitol Quickies is applauding Jon Corzine for his restraint. He only spent $90,000 in personal campaign contributions in November. At least he hasn't been caught with his pants down...yet.

9. MoreMonmouthingMusings is not a fan of Rush...Holt that is. Rep. Rush Holt gets the blame for some kind of Navy low-income public housing. As a Monmouth County resident, I guess I should be concerned about this?

10. The Cranford Pundit is all about abbreviations as he thinks NJ is really short for "No Jobs". Can't it also stand for No (Propety Tax/Income Tax Relief, Congested Roadways, Polluted Water Supplies, Inept Politicians) Jobs.


I watched all of President Obama's inauguration at work, as we were able to watch a live-feed over our network at our workstations. The inauguration and events were amazing as it seemed everybody in Washington, D.C. was having a grand 'ole time. Aside of John Roberts making the worst botch in presidential history, it seemed like everything went on without a snag.

I thought the "first-dance" between Barack and Michelle Obama was probably the most interesting part of the evening as it gave some interesting insights into their personal relationship. They seem to be genuinely in love and not afraid of personal displays of affection, which would contrast with the stiff relationships of Mr/Mrs Bush 41/43 and the obvious lack of love of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

One thing I am a little disappointed about is the lack of hot twins in the White House. Sasha and Malia, while very cute and adorable children, are much too young for such pining by the likes of me. They are also not twins, which you may have noticed on your own. On a related note, I think one of the twins is getting married or is at least engaged. So much for that...

I am excited about Obama's presidency, although he does have a lot to live up to, some things unfairly placed upon his shoulders by popular culture and media and other things self-afflicted. I am interested to see how he handles the pressure of being such a historic person and having the entire fate of a nation in his hands.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bloggin' Hazzards

Apparently, a South Korean blogger was arrested for spreading "false economic information" over the internet. This incident raises serious concerns over internet freedom of speech and if there is such a thing. If this was China, we would be able to attribute it to the totalitarian press-control of the Chinese Government. However, this happened in South Korea, a supposed democratic bastion.

Should someone be charged with a crime because of something they write on a blog? I am inclined to think not, as I am a blogger myself and shiver at the thought of being arrested for my opinions. The government might try to get around this by calling his actions "treason" and detrimental to the country.

I'm hoping the man gets released or it will have serious implications on bloggers around the world who might refrain from spreading information as they would fear the backlash against them. An additional thought...shouldn't the U.N. get involved in this?

Monday, January 5, 2009

An American Idol Experience: Part II

When people watch American Idol (and other shows) on TV they see little of what goes on in the "background" of the production. Many of TV's viewers will never see the strange people I encountered, the grueling dedication contestants had to give to the show or the sheer size of how massive the auditions were.

I left my apartment at 4:00 in the morning for the Idol Auditions which were in East Rutherford, NJ at the Izod Center. After an hour of driving I arrived to find a massive car line for people who did not have E-Z Pass. Luckily for me, I had E-Z pass and was able to escape the massive car line from people who had come from all over. After waiting in line from 5:00 am to 8:30 am we were finally let into the actual stadium itself. I had pre-registered the day before and thought I had made a smart decision and would be at the front of the line. Turns out everyone had pre-registered and I was very close to the end of the 18,000+ contestants.

So for the rest of the day I walked around past teenage divas who had dragged their parents along for the misery, misunderstood "superstars" who had yet to become discovered, thug types who "thought" they could sing and various other interesting groups. I did not get auditioned till 10:00 pm. For those counting, that was 18 hours from the time I left my apartment till I was seen. Even though I had brought a backpack full of food, I battled hunger, insanity and off-key singing all day. Would I do it again? Probably, the experience was something I was glad I had, so I could know exactly the struggle and dedication it takes to become a "star".

An American Idol Experience: Part I

I have always been fascinated by Reality TV shows in the sense that I wonder what really goes on behind the scenes when the show is being filmed. In August I made the decision I would try out for American Idol in New York City. I knew I was probably setting myself up for an intense adventure in America's greatest city but I was suprised at how undaunted I was in pursuing it.

The first thing I was made aware of is the fact that the auditions were in New Jersey and not in New York although they claim to be in New York. The reasoning for this is that the audition is actually split up into multiple days. The first day is held in a stadium or arena and can feature as many as 20,000 applicants. Simon, Randy and Paula are not at this first event. People trying out audition with producers from the show and the producers themselves select the people who will advance to the "next" round.

This next round involves a contestant who has progressed to this point to audition in front of several A.I. producers instead of just one. The contestant must also change their song selection and may be asked to sing a certain song by the producers. If the contestant makes it past this stage they will be asked to return to a new location at a different date to audition in front of Simon, Randy and Paula.