Thursday, December 24, 2009

On Christmas and America

In 1776, our forefathers created a new country, which they declared to be the United States of America. In the process of creating this new country, the wise men drafted an amazing document entitled the Constitution of the United States of America. This new document was filled with freedom, liberty, hope and promise.

Included in this document are a series of amendments that grant further specific rights and clarify others. Unfortunately, we have a group of idiots that call themselves lawyers that feel it necessary to over-think what our founding fathers had in mind. The issue specifically at hand is contained in the First Amendment to the Constitution. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." This amendment is commonly referred to as directing the separation of church and state.

Let's talk about what they really meant and how it actually effects us. All this document actually says is that Congress shall not enact any law that restricts the formation of a new religion or the right of the people to practice that religion. It may also be interpreted to mean that the government does not specifically sponsor any one religion as being the "supreme" religion. In real world terms, what were they thinking?

The answer is very simple. At the time the United States was founded, there had been a number of years of religious turmoil in Europe. Most of the religions were based on Christianity or the belief in God and his son, Jesus Christ. One church in particular concerned many people of the time, that being the Roman Catholic Church. It wasn't a question of the Catholics being bad or anything of that nature, but instead it was an issue with the structure of the religion itself. Within the church, there is a supreme member, called the Pope. Over the centuries, the Pope(s) became very powerful figure(s) and directed the members of the church in matters beyond the spiritual. It is these matters beyond the spiritual that concerned our founding fathers. Their intent was to create a government free of outside influence, in particular, one that would not be dictated to by a head of state or religion in a foreign land, but instead would be governed solely by Americans living in America.

So, what does all this have to do with Christmas? Once again, extremists have decided that the First Amendment says something that it really doesn't. They have decided that there can be no religion in America at all...no prayer in school, no ten commandments in a courthouse and no Christmas in America. These idiots need to go back and read the Constitution again...America was founded by Christians. Christians that, in their infinite wisdom, decreed that all religions would be free to practice within the confines of our country, including all those religions that make up Christianity! One of the other very important tenets of the Constitution pertains to majority rule. Read up...virtually every function of the Constitution and the Government of this nation are based on the will of the majority. Therefore, if the majority of Americans wish to celebrate Christmas, that is their right...granted to them under the Constitution. By the same token, other religions are also free to celebrate their holidays, feasts and festivals as well.

Go forth and be of good cheer....celebrate Christmas, celebrate Hanukkah, celebrate Solstice, celebrate Kwanzaa or Festivus or any other made up event you want. Just remember that I have a right to celebrate and enjoy my holiday...and I will remember and respect your rights too. However, if you think for one minute that Christmas in America should be stopped because one Atheist thinks it should....you are sadly mistaken. That one Atheist has the freedom to not participate in my celebration, but he does not have the right to stop my celebration. That folks, is the very important distinction that the lawyers of the world seem to have lost sight of.

Merry Christmas and may God bless each and everyone one of us! Be sure and take a moment of your time during this busy holiday season to remember those brave men and women serving our nation in far away places. May God bless and protect them too.

P.S. Don't forget to leave a snack for Santa!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Health Care, Education and other Federal Benefits for Illegal Aliens

I find it very interesting that people keep using the same lame argument, "your parents and grandparents came from somewhere" when the subject of dealing with benefits for illegal aliens comes up. The vast majority of Americans can trace their ancestors back several generations and in most cases can show that their ancestors came to America legally...they sought permission to enter this country and become citizens. More importantly, they didn't expect the government to hand them a new life on a silver platter.

Since the ultra-liberals want to keep using our grandparents as an example, let's take a look at the facts. There was no government health care plan in those days. You paid the doctor. There was no student aid or subsidized education, you attended public school as long as your family could afford to have you not bringing in an income, then you went to work until you could afford to go on to school, which in the case of most people of that era was never. When you wanted to get a job, a driver's license or anything else that required an application....the form was in English and you either learned enough English to get by or you did without. We didn't print forms in German, French, Italian, Polish, Japanese, Chinese or any other language. If you wanted to be an American, you learned the American way and adopted it...not a complicated concept. While we are on the subject, what about all the people that can trace their roots back to Native Americans? I suppose they don't deserve any rights because they have been here too long.

Seriously, why do we now cater to people that refuse to learn our language, our laws or our way of life? Why is someone that comes to our country illegally entitled to more rights and benefits than a citizen? What next? Are we going to take the alleged terrorists that are currently detained in Guantanamo and set them up in a Holiday Inn? Maybe we should give them flying lessons while we are at it. It is time to wake up, to speak up and to stand up for what is right, what is fair and what we can afford.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

9/11

Every year I expect it to get easier. Every year I expect to wake up and not want to hunt down the scum sucking vermin that felt it appropriate to take away our innocence. Every year I hope some idiot politician isn't going to tell me that we no longer need a military and we can just go forth and sprinkle sugar and honey on the rest of the world and they will love us.

Guess what....8 years have passed and it hasn't happened. My friends and colleagues are still dead. Many of those that went to help the dead and dying are now dying themselves, a very real and brutal by-product of the rescue and recovery process. I still want to personally string Osama bin Laden up by his scraggly beard, hook a set of jumper cables to his testicles and give him a little jolt every so often. I'd like every single American to have a remote control button they could press whenever they wanted...to give him a thrill too. I'd like to personally slap some sense into Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and every other bleeding heart that thinks you can make friends with terrorists or that they deserve the same rights and freedoms as Americans. They deserve nothing more than what they would get in their own country. They deserve no protection under the Geneva Accords...they represent no country, no government or state. They deserve to be treated by the same rules their victims and intended victims were treated to by them. They waged war on civilians, as civilians....time to pay the piper.

We need to draw the line with rogue nations. You are either on our team or you aren't. Pakistan....don't expect another cent in US aid until you turn over the people hiding within your borders. The same needs to apply for all these other places that don't want to help, but want our money...you want us to support you, then damn it, get off your asses and start supporting us. How long can your people eat sticks, weeds and dirt before they revolt? You want something from us...then give us something in return. Americans need to overcome their collective naïveté and understand that these people don't like us and never will...no matter how many times we kiss their asses, no matter how much money, food and medicine we give them or how many times we save them from being bombed back to the stone ages by other nations that are sick of their attitudes.

We can't even take care of Americans. We need a viable health care solution for this country and instead we have idiots dreaming up ways to complicate the process. Medicare and Medicaid have gotten so complex that doctors routinely spend a portion of nearly every day trying to get an opinion from some lawyer in Washington on how to treat their patients. Doctors should decide medical care, not lawyers. Just another example of how messed up this country has gotten. When it comes time to vote, people need to wake up and elect officials that are going to represent the interests of Joe Average citizen, not just the wealthy and arrogant.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Snake

As some of you know, I recently completed a cross country safari, that was a mix of both business and pleasure. During the journey home from Mesa, AZ, I experienced one of the funniest episodes of real life that I can recall. The experience was probably heightened a bit by the fact that my good friend Dan Campbell features a beleaguered rattlesnake in his comics, but there is also a good chance that the absurdity of the moment played a pretty big role as well.

To set the stage a bit, I am not a big fan of snakes. This wasn't helped any by a stop at a New Mexico rest area where the first thing that greeted you was a very large sign warning you to be aware of the crawling reptiles. I hopped out of the car with a fairly strong urge to use the facilities. A truck driver exiting them casually said, "Don't worry about the one over in the corner, he's just a little guy and won't bother you." A quick peek around the corner and suddenly I no longer had either the need or the desire to use the restroom. What looked to me to be a very large rattlesnake was lounging in the far corner under the sinks. I managed to wait another hour until I arrived at my hotel before I even had any thought of needing a bathroom.

The following morning, I set out from Clayton, NM enroute to Dallas to meet up with some friends and fellow photographers. The first leg of the trip took me from Clayton to Amarillo. While traveling south along US 287, I couldn't help marvel at the beautiful day and the scenery that was so foreign to me. Vast tracts of flat, interspersed with an occasional rolling hill or a carved out river valley...it was interesting and had my eyes constantly scanning for a photo opportunity. I could only wish to have filmed what happened next.

Ahead of me were a tractor trailer and a large 15 passenger van towing a trailer. I pulled out to pass and had just cleared the semi when I noticed something ahead of the van that looked like a large stick lying in the road. The driver of the van was unable to avoid it and the wheels on the driver's side ran over the object very close to one end. At this point, it became crystal clear that the object was a fair sized rattler...maybe a bit less than 4 feet long. Instead of balling up like most snakes do, this one did something a wee bit different. It stiffened and went straight as an arrow. The trailer wheels struck it and the snake was thrown into the air...still stiff as a board! The snake passed me in mid-air in somewhat of a heads up vertical position, only to meet the radiator shroud of the tractor trailer. Splat! The truck now had a hood ornament with the head of the snake looking back at the driver. Now, if I didn't know better, I could have sworn that that snake looked at me as he went by, with that whole "help me" look plastered on his face. I suspect that I can give Dan the credit for that vision.

The driver immediately slowed his rig and pulled to the shoulder...no doubt to remove his passenger. I, on the other hand, stepped on the gas and headed to Amarillo, chuckling at the absurdity of the moment and thanking my lucky stars that the snake hadn't come to visit my car.

Monday, May 11, 2009

2009- -A Time to Grow

There is a minor uproar in the mountains about a cartoon that seems to allude to the fact we might be more at risk for swine flu as a result of our penchant for being ignoramuses with a fascination for livestock. Sadly, other than a few vocal transplants taking offense, there seems to be little or no effort to break the stereotype.

Within the past couple of years, there have been numerous incidents that have done nothing but reinforce the notion that all the residents of western North Carolina are a bunch of ignorant hillbillies. The first and probably most painful blow was struck by the nomination of a local high school senior for a prestigious national award. On paper, the young lady was by far and away the most qualified recipient and was invited to NYC to the final screening process. Unfortunately, everything fell apart when she began speaking in the mountain vernacular, instead of using the more formal American English that she obviously knew. Sure, there is a certain charm to a subtle southern drawl....but this was far beyond that.

Local television affiliate WLOS-TV 13 does nothing to help improve the situation. It seems every newscast that they go out of their way to find people that only speak in near unintelligible gibberish to showcase on their newsreels. The subject matter doesn't seem to have any bearing...if they can find someone that talks like they have a mouth full of marbles, on camera they go. Not only that, but the less intelligent the comments appear, the more airtime they get. If you can come across as a total yokel, you virtually guarantee your appearance on the 5, 5:30, 6, 11, 5-7 and noon newscasts...if the story is hot enough, you might make the cycle on two consecutive days. And lest we forget, you will be shared over on the sister station WMYA-40.

There is nothing wrong with being proud of your heritage, but damn...the Civil War ended 144 years ago. It is high time to stop propagating the stereotype and move into the modern era. There are far more intelligent and well educated people living in WNC than there are hillbillies. It is high time to start showcasing the positives!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cherry Blossoms and a Whole Lot More

Once again, I am back home on the range after a whirlwind trip to our Nation's capital. A rare opportunity cropped up to meet with a group of fellow Canon photographers and shoot some of the sights and history of Washington. One never knows what to expect from gatherings of strangers...and even though I had previously met one of the other participants, there was still a certain feeling of trepidation leading up to the actual event. I can now safely report that any fears or concerns were totally unfounded. The group I met with just as crazy and fun in person as they are in our online sessions.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

DC and the Cherry Blossoms

The schedule this week calls for a quick trip to DC to meet up with some of the Canon photographers and see if we can get some interesting takes on the cherry blossoms. At least a couple of us also hope to spend some time shooting the National Mall after dark...perhaps get in a few monument shots. Should be fun for all involved. I expect to have pictures by Friday at the latest...maybe sooner if I have wireless service available.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Return to Reality


Vacation is over and the long drive from Central Florida to North Carolina is now just a painful memory. Sure wish there was a better way to do it....but I don't see anything on the horizon that is going to solve that problem.

On the way home, I stopped at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Even though the region is locked in the ravages of a drought, the bounty of wildlife and scenery was rather incredible. No, it isn't in the same league as the launch of the Space Shuttle...but it isn't far behind. Mother Nature provides some great treats for us as well! The whole purpose for going to Merritt Island was to gather some images of the Roseate Spoonbill, a very unique looking bird, with striking coloration and an even more striking bill.

It is going to take a while to process all the images from this trip...nearly 2000 shots...covering a wide variety of subjects....from the Everglades to the Shuttle and beyond. It was a great vacation...nice to spend time with my parents and my best pal...one of these days my wife might even get to come along too! I suspect she would have as much fun as I always do.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Greetings from Orlando


Haven't written much of late...busy recharging my batteries in sunny Florida. I've now been here a week and wish I had another week to do all the things I would love to do. For now, I'll just have to settle for the things I've done.

The main intent of this trip was to photograph the launch of the space shuttle Discovery. Originally slated to take off around 9pm on March 11th, STS-119 looked to be a full blown night launch...a small hydrogen leak postponed things for a couple of days and the new launch window called for a dusk launch...at 7:43pm on March 15th. From a photographic standpoint, it posed a few challenges...especially for someone that had no experience shooting a launch, much less one with tricky lighting. I will have to admit, at some point in the process, photography became less than important.

The site we selected for viewing was in the city of Titusville, directly across from the Vehicle Assembly Building and offering a slightly obstructed view of the actual launch pad. Ground level haze also added to the difficulty of shooting the event. Being 11 miles away, I was painfully short in the lens department. One of Canon's new 800mm lenses with a 2x teleconverter would have been just the ticket, especially when coupled to a tripod with a full gimbal head, which would allow for easy tracking. Instead, I attacked the problem with 2 cameras...one with a 300mm lens and stacked 1.4x and 2x teleconverters and a second one with a 70-200mm lens and a 1.4x teleconverter. While these equipment choices worked...I would definitely attack things differently for the next launch.

With me on this safari were my parents and my best friend Doug (who is also my step-mom's youngest brother). For those of you that don't know Doug, he has Down Syndrome. Perhaps his condition served to draw us together originally...starting the day we first met in Kindergarten some 47 years ago and continuing to this day. For whatever reason, Doug and I were drawn together that first day of school, a fact that didn't go unnoticed by our teacher, Mrs Cline. From that day on, she made a point of having Doug and I in close proximity to each other at all times. Even without the teacher's help, I am sure we would have spent most of that school year watching out for each other anyway, because for whatever reason, Doug and I have always had a special bond. Perhaps it came from our classroom, were we had a replica Mercury space capsule that we spent large amounts of our time in and around. Doug and I both liked rockets then and we still do.

As the countdown wound down, you could feel the excitement building. Suddenly, the timer hit zero...the sky lit up and Discovery began what appeared to be a gentle ascent into the twilight. I tried hard to juggle cameras and photograph the event...but suddenly I became more aware of what was taking place by my side...Doug was cheering at the top of his lungs...Go,go,go!!! Next thing I know, we were both cheering...slapping high fives and just plain dancing around with excitement. I tried to snap a few more photos...but a hug from Doug and more cheering just seemed a whole lot more appropriate. I honestly wished that I had a video camera with me so that I could have recorded that moment for posterity. Two small town boys from upstate New York had just flown over the moon without ever leaving the ground...fulfilling a nearly 50 year old fantasy and proving that dreams do come true. I can honestly say that I had leaky eyes for a moment...

I wish that I was a more skillful writer or even speaker, with the ability to craft this tale in a manner that would be easier for folks to fathom. I called my wife after the launch and tried to explain the moment. I failed dismally. She could sense the excitement in my voice, but she couldn't grasp the moment. If you have never had the experience of seeing a Shuttle launch in person, you simply can not begin to comprehend the enormity of a launch event. The sights, the sounds, the feelings...there is an assault on all of our senses...not a bad assault in the strictest sense of the word, but instead more of a sensory overload as the magnificent beast climbs to the heavens. There are only a few launches left on the calendar...if there is any way you could experience a launch in person...I couldn't recommend it any more highly! And I'm sure Doug agrees.

(I should also mention that my folks were pretty darn impressed with the launch too!)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Moronic Mom

Asheville has been the butt of American breastfeeding jokes for the past month, but this morning the torch has been passed to Kettering, Ohio. What kind of ignoramus would attempt to breastfeed while driving? While we are at it....let's toss in talk on the cell phone while resting the child's head against the steering wheel/airbag.

Feb 28, 2009 10:12 AM
The Associated Press

KETTERING–Police in Ohio say a woman has been charged with child endangering after another motorist reported she was both breastfeeding a youngster and talking on a phone while driving.

Police in the Dayton suburb of Kettering say the caller told them he saw the woman Thursday.

Officer Michael Burke says authorities used a license plate number to track down 39-year-old Genine Compton.

He said the woman told officers she was breastfeeding and wouldn't let her child go hungry.

Burke said the legal concern is that Compton had a child in her lap while driving, not that she was breastfeeding in public.

He said the child was under two years old.

Police say the woman faces up to 180 days in jail and a $1,800 fine if convicted of the misdemeanor.


If your child is that hungry...you stop the car and take care of their needs. Obviously common sense is not a part of this woman's vocabulary. Since this woman has indicated that she feels her behavior is acceptable, I hope the judge gives her the 180 days in jail...if nothing more than to keep her off the highway until the child is weaned!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My Dream Assignment



Appalachia: The Changing Face of Rural America

Capturing a slice of America that most people would never see or even know exists has long fascinated me.

Going back to a segment of American life that seems to have been overlooked by the mainstream. Documenting the foibles, follies and failures that are so often a part of mountain culture...yet also showcasing the lighter and brighter side of the region as well is the heart of my project. There is a whole segment of American population that the vast majority of people have no idea even still exist.

Your votes and support will help me fulfill this dream. Thanks!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Missing in action

My post from Saturday has become part of the great vaporsphere. Unfortunately, I didn't save a draft and I can't find it via the cache route...it may still surface, but I can certainly replicate the gist of it here.

Essentially, the post was just to let local readers know of today's planned protest at the local Denny's, where our local boob plans to make yet another statement in an effort to prolong her 15 minutes of fame.

With that background info in hand, suffice it to say that the big protest today was effectively a bust...hehehe There were a few that showed up...but once again the main focus was on our main boob. Dressed in bright red to be sure and draw more attention, she made a big production of nursing her overly large child in the parking lot....all the while complaining that Denny's owed her a huge apology for her outlandish behavior.

There was one fair well spoken young lady from South Carolina that presented some statistics on breast feeding from her county in South Carolina. To be honest, I am not sure what breastfeeding statistics from a neighboring state have to do with a controversy over an Asheville woman choosing to make a natural act into some sort of lewd spectacle, but nonetheless, the facts were presented for those in attendance to digest. The manager for Denny's explained that they have no policy prohibiting breastfeeding, they simply ask that any customer that is causing a disturbance or interfering with other patrons rights either act in a civilized manner or take their show elsewhere.

One can only hope that sooner or later this woman will just dry up and blow away. Maybe she can take her show on the road. That might be just the ticket for prolonging her time in the spotlight. She can make an ass of herself in some other town and Asheville can go back to being just plan Asheville, instead of the butt of every cheap tit joke going.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Broken Blog

Last night's post has vanished into the vapor. I have to go back and see if I can recover it via the cache. As for there being no posts showing on this page, I just remembered why....you have to post something! The posts are archived each week and if there is no fresh material....the column appears blank. Guess I need to get back on the writing stick. I hope to have yesterday's post restored before long. Thanks for looking in!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

Kick off your old tired fears and superstitions, not only is today Friday the thirteenth....it is also hug day. Go forth and share some hugs with your deserving friends and fans! Enjoy the prelude to Valentine's Day....

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Making a clean breast of it.

So yesterday, you heard all about the battle of the boob...today I have to declare the big story a non-story. Seems the young lady involved had a bit of an agenda and has since admitted that she went to the restaurant with the sole intent of causing a scene with the after church crowd. Pretty sad that she felt compelled to stoop to this level, let alone involve a child in her scheme. I am not going to dignify her cause by identifying her and giving it any further publicity. I certainly hope the mainstream media outlets jump on board...particularly the TV station that found it necessary to show her act over and over and over. She's had her 15 minutes of fame and then some...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Breastfeeding Brouhaha

Sunday morning in the mountains, pretty much like any other, first church and then a stop at a local eatery for a family brunch. You are enjoying your stack of pancakes when you notice a rather buxom young lady and her son walk in and take a seat near you. Nothing so unusual about that, there are lots of single moms and their children wandering around.

What happens next is where things get a bit unusual. The young man leaves his seat and climbs in his mother's lap. He then paws at her neckline until he exposes her breast and begins nursing. Before we go any further, let me categorically state that there is no refuting the benefits of breast feeding and that I certainly have no qualms about that at all.

What makes this a bit beyond ordinary breast feeding is the age of the child...we aren't talking about an infant here, nor even a toddler...we are talking a child that appears to be 4-5 years old. Several patrons that witnessed the event asked to speak to a manager and simply asked if the lady and child could be a bit more discrete. When a request from the management was met with scorn and a scream about rights and freedom...the local police department was called for a clarification.

There is no law or statute that prohibits breast feeding anywhere in the State of North Carolina. That part of the story is good...certainly it should not be left to the state to determine who, when or where should breast feeding be allowed. The police agency confirmed that point and stated that no crime had been committed under state law. However, they also confirmed that the restaurant was private property and as such, they were free to determine what is or isn't appropriate behavior in that establishment.

Had everyone remained rational and respectful of others around them, things probably never would have gotten to the point of having to address what is or isn't the law. Had the woman simply opted to be a bit more discrete, the issue would have been a non-issue and everyone would have been happy. Instead, she chose to make a scene and claim she was standing up for her rights. Customer after customer in the surrounding seats began departing the restaurant, tired of the shenanigans of this woman and her "baby". Eventually, management of the restaurant explained to the woman that she could either cover up or she could leave. After a heated exchange, she left the premises and immediately went screaming to any and every media outlet she could find.

The local ABC affiliate jumped on the bandwagon and went so far as to show this large child nursing during the interview. This set off yet another firestorm of controversy...was it really necessary to show this display on the evening news just to make a point? Once again, extremism rears its ugly head. At what point does breast feeding cease being a normal and natural act and transition to something that is just weird? Since when does the tail wag the dog? What ever happened to majority rule? What ever happened to common sense? What ever happened to common courtesy, respect and an understanding of the rights and feelings of others?

To hear the extremist crowd rant, you would think that they feel it would be perfectly fine if the woman's husband decided he wanted a little snack as well and that it would be within their rights to do so in the middle of a crowded restaurant. I think that might be a bit too far...what do you think?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

NASCAR at the crossroads (and every other major sport too)

Now that the first big event of the 2009 season is out of the way, it is time for the corporate fat cats to do some serious re-evaluation of their greed mongering ways. With the vast majority of the seats empty, NASCAR can only hope that lots of fans enjoyed the race on TV...

Track owners are totally out of touch with reality. Bruton Smith has certainly done some wonderful things for the sport, but he has also blacktopped his own wallet several times over. His comments suggesting that the driver's are to blame for slumping attendance show just how far out of touch the owners and promoters have become. I'm glad to hear that Dale Jr. fired back a very direct and to the point response. He (Jr.) is absolutely right, fans don't come to the race track to get autographs, they come to watch races and the autograph is just a perk. But if the fan can't afford to even walk through the gates, they will not get to watch the race or get an autograph...and they certainly won't be chowing down on $5 hotdogs.

The world of sports has gotten out of control. Somewhere along the line, people have lost touch with reality. Suddenly we are paying people 100 or even 1000 times more a year than we pay the people that protect us from crime, the people that fight the fires that threaten to destroy our homes and property, the people that make us well when we are sick or injured and most importantly, the people that educate our future generations of thinkers and workers. School teachers making $30,000 a year while a baseball or football player gets $30 million to play a game? Folks, you call that what you want, but I call it an obscenity. Fans around the world need to wake up. Sports are just games, simple diversions to give us something to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I have no problem with sports figures being well paid for what they do, because unlike the vast majority of jobs, athletes only have a limited career span. Even so, there is no way that a basketball player is worth more over the life of their employment years than a teacher. Throw in the fact that these people are supposedly college educated and therefore able to find alternative employment after their game playing days have ended, their already absurd salaries become even more insane.

Seems that the fans have been gouged, raped and pillaged for years. It really is a shame that folks in the world of sports have such a dim view of the people that pay their wages. And it is equally as sad that the fans have become such sheep that they continue to accept outrageous ticket prices, insane parking rates, bizarre concession fees and the host of other exorbitant fees that go along with watching a live sporting event. Perhaps our sick economy will finally generate enough of a shock wave to stimulate the fans to revolt against the out of control spending and greed they have been subjected to.

On a lighter note, did anyone notice I picked two of the top 3 finishers last night? I suspect I might have been 3 for 3 had Jeff Burton not been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Wal*mart Cup - The End of the Road

Just when it looked like Wally*mart was going to be the salvation of NASCAR, the whole deal has fallen apart. As a fan of competitive racing and fair play...I have to say I am disappointed that this deal wasn't put together. If nothing else to stop Chad Knaus from being rewarded yet again for being the biggest cheat in the whole garage area.

Speaking of trouble in the home improvement warehouse sponsorship camps....Home Depot has to make some decisions in the very near future. Do they hinge their good name on some sleazy little punk or do they get out before he embarrasses them big time. Joey Logano has already shown his true colors...he doesn't care who he wrecks and he has no remorse about it. Is Joe Gibbs trying to assemble the biggest cast of misfits on the planet?

I know Tony Stewart had a few rough moments early in his career and between Joe and Bob Nardelli, they were able to smooth the rough edges....but Coach Gibbs is a few years older and Bob Nardelli is now at Chrysler. So that leaves the incoming punk in the hands of the current two biggest punks in the sport. Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin setting an example for a kid that is already not much more than a common street thug....oh boy. How long before we have to have armed guards on pit row? Raw talent can only carry you so far on the track. Eventually your fellow competitors tire of your nonsense and take matters into their own hands. The problem with vigilante justice is there is always the risk of innocent victims falling prey to the actions. You won't see a lot of tears for Kyle or Denny or Joey getting stuffed in the wall...but nobody wants to see it happen at the expense of the other drivers on track with them. Suddenly I don't envy Greg Zipadelli...it would be great to see him join Home Depot in departing the Gibbs organization.

On a lighter note...it seems kind of funny to see the Burton name back on the Cat car...perhaps this will bring Jeff the same good fortune at Daytona that it brought Ward. A 14, 31, 29 top three tonight would be great...but it will be even better next Sunday! Here's to a great season for Tony, Jeff and Kevin. And a special shout out to Geoff...good luck in the coming week.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Wal*mart Cup - Day V

Just when things were starting to look promising, the greedy track owners have managed to set negotiations back almost to square one. Whoever the genius was that decided that local coverage blackouts would be a good idea seriously needs to be taken out back and flogged. Once that is complete, he needs to go in for a thorough head examination.

The economy is in the freaking toilet. People are worried about silly things like putting food on the table or even keeping a roof over their heads....and some Einstein wannabe thinks that blacking out local coverage of the races is going to increase attendance. I have news for you, not only will it not increase attendance, it may very well alienate some of your loyal fan base. The last thing you need to be doing is running off fans!

There is only one way to increase attendance at the tracks...make it affordable again. People simply have a budget these days...and if they have decide between necessities and luxuries, guess what is going to win. I can tell you that I have drastically cut back on my NASCAR related travel. I would much rather see a race in person than watch it on TV, but when the prices keep spiraling out of sight, I keep my dollars in my pocket.

This isn't rocket science that we are talking here. If a person has a $100 entertainment budget and that is stretching things....they are not going to spend $150 just to buy a ticket, which doesn't include parking or camping or food or travel. What the track operators need to realize is simply this....you can find a way to get that person to the track, into a seat, with a hotdog in hand and a beer on the side....or you can just get nothing. Do the math...100,000 fans in the seats @ $100 each or 20,000 fans in the seats @ $200 each. Me, I'll take the $10,000,000 gate and work with it....but the current crop of geniuses seem to think that they would rather take $4,000,000. Economics baby, simple economics...somebody needs to wake up.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Wal*mart Cup - Day IV

Negotiations are continuing at a frantic pace. It is enough of a done deal that teams and tracks have been notified to remove any and all reference to Sprint/Nextel in preparation for the arrival of the new Wal*mart Cup logo. Graphic designers back in the Bentonville, AR home offices are scrambling to come up with just the right catchy logo...to guarantee the fans will immediately recognize and enjoy. Rumor has it that the roll back the prices guy, holding a beer in one hand and a cheesy trophy in the other has the inside track. I wonder if the dangling James Deanesque cigarette will be incorporated as well.

We haven't seen the new championship scoring...but it is no secret that the "Chase" is history. Someone has finally discovered that it is the fans that actually pay for the sport and since they universally hated the artificial championship format....that sucker is gone. In an effort to instill a sense of fair play that NASCAR couldn't seem to grasp, any team penalized for cheating during the course of the season would be ineligible to win the championship. Face it, race fans aren't stupid...and they don't want their champions to be either...if you get caught cheating, you don't deserve to be champion. Also gone is the stupid penalty for a driver displaying a little emotion. Accidentally let slip the F-bomb and you won't be losing points and bucks...the folks in Bentonville only believe in censoring music! Really, think about it...Tony Stewart leads the first 450 laps of the race and is preparing to lap 43rd place Michael Waltrip for the 82nd time....when Michael's immense talent comes to a boil and he turns dead left into Tony in mid-pass...putting them both on the hauler. Do you really want to hear an interview where Tony tell us what a lovely sportsman Michael is, or would you really like to hear what he thinks?

It looks like we will still have to look at the ugly Cars of Tomorrow/Today for at least the immediate future, but expect that come the July race at Daytona...teams will be back in something that looks like a stock car...powered by "stock" motors....if the only engine a consumer can buy in a Toyota is a 4 cylinder...then the only engine in a Toyota on track will be a 4 cylinder. If the biggest V-8 available in the Chevy Malibu is 305 cubic inches...then that is going to be the maximum displacement come race day. One other little kicker will happen while the teams are refueling at the Murphy Oil/Sam's Club gas pumps....each car will be allowed a maximum of 30 gallons of gas for a 500 mile race. Wal*mart is all about green these days and fuel economy standards for the race teams will help reinforce that point.

I hope we have all the details ironed out before the start of speed week!

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Wal*mart Cup - Day III

Wow...just got wind of some exciting news about the impending Wal*mart/NASCAR merger. The changes are happening so fast that it is hard to keep track of them all. Here are a few of the highlights that have come to my attention in this morning's press releases.

Concessions...you know the little old ladies that push around the microwave and hot plate carts at Sam's Club? Well guess what? They are taking over the concessions at the tracks. They even have an agreement in principle that will allow them to keep those spiffy hair nets! There will be a veritable gourmet selection of items to choose from, the only catch being you are going to have to buy one of those industrial sized frozen packages if you wish more than the one bite sample.

Pit stops...the days of pulling into the pits in front to main grandstand is over. Starting immediately, all tracks will be reconfigured with an exit ramp that leads directly to the Wally*world Express Tire and Lube Center. Cars will be serviced by the crack teams of service technicians voted as the best in regional competitions among all North American Wally*worlds. Cars will be serviced on a first come, first served basis...and all the action will be displayed for the fans on the new Vizio big screens. As an added bonus for the fans, they will be able to purchase the TVs after the race...at demo prices!

Tickets...as was previously mentioned, you will be able to put tickets on layaway and make easy weekly payments. Yes, there is a down side to this method, a ticket that would normally cost you $100 will end up being $200...but you will be able to make simple $4 weekly payments. Ticketmaster and other ticket venues will be totally out of the loop...tickets will only be sold at the new NASCAR customer service desk located in Wally*world Supercenters. All tickets will become first come, first served items. Tickets for the following year's race will go on sale at 8a.m. Tuesday mornings following the completion of each event. Infield spectators and campers will now purchase tickets in the same fashion as everyone else. Ticket packages will come in 4 levels...Level 1 - The Springer Show Rejects @ $25 each - the first 10 rows at any track...Level 2 - Trailer Trash @ $50 each - the second 10 rows at any track, any obstructed view seat and general admission to the two road courses...Level 3 - Fancy Rich Bitch @ $100 each - all remaining grandstand seats from row 21 and up, also the base fee for all infield spectators and campers (each person and each RV in the infield must have a ticket)...Level 4 - The Fat Cat Package @ $999.99 - formerly known as the luxury boxes, now available to anyone with the cash. External camping is free with a $250 purchase that the trackside Supercenter or $100 with any lesser qualifying purchase ($150 minimum).

Watch this space for further updates!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Wal*mart Cup - Day II

I think more and more people are starting to embrace this concept. Face it...NASCAR, Wal*mart and trailer parks go hand in hand, just ask any Formula One fan. Cheap beer, generic cigarettes, trashy women, toothless Skoal chomping rednecks, jacked up pick-up trucks and Confederate flags....are common denominators for all three venues.

Somebody is bound to ask what trailer parks have to do with this. Have you ever been to a NASCAR event? One look around and you will see the ultimate mobile home park, one that relocates every single week for 36 weeks before retiring to Florida for a couple of months. It is hard to believe that they don't experience a tornado every single week, given that most of the racetracks are located in the heart of tornado alley. Under Wal*mart sponsorship...fans will have the option of putting their mobile homes up on blocks at their favorite track...they can pay their $50 weekly rent at the customer service desk.

In a radical departure from previous title sponsors, Wal*mart says that it has no desire to demand other sponsors be banned from the track, instead they will just roll back their prices until the competition cries uncle. That means great news for Chip Ganassi, who can now keep Target (to be pronounced tar-zhay from now on, so that it sounds more sophisticated) as one of the prime sponsors of his team. The cell phone carriers will all be back as sponsors too....as long as they agree to put kiosks in every Wally*world and Club Sammy.

Now for the real bombshell. Wal*mart is going to announce that Walgreens is actually a part of the Wally*world family and will be taking over as title sponsor of the former Busch/Nationwide series. They will be handing out free Viagra and condoms to Saturday race fans....and will offer free in-house early pregnancy screenings for 30 days after each race weekend.

Even with all these big changes in the wind...look for one more. Wally*world will absorb Camping World....and the truck racing series will become the Sam's Club Series. Your whole world...now under one macro-economic umbrella. Who could ask for more?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

NASCAR Needs a New Title Sponsor

Rumor has it that Sprint/Nextel is in dire financial straits. Layoffs are at hand and the stockholders are screaming for fiscal responsibility. As a direct result, Sprint/Nextel is canceling their title sponsorship of NASCAR and all other sports events.

Given this sudden financial void...what's a series to do? Certainly they can't fund it on their own....so who best to step in as the lead sponsor? The answer is simple...Wal*mart! Face it, Wal*mart already gets the bulk of the average NASCAR fan's paycheck each and every week...by jumping in as a sponsor, they have opened the door to collecting the entire paycheck.

Look for a huge new NASCAR branded section to slap you in the face the second you enter you nearest WallyWorld. Gone is the handful of NASCAR t-shirts from the men's department...instead you will find full blown souvenir trailers in every store...if it pertains to NASCAR....you will find it at your local store...from tickets to the next race to camping permits to race worn driver's apparel...you will find it on the shelves.

Each NASCAR track will feature a Super Wally*mart in their parking lot. Forget your sleeping bag? No problemo ace! Just wander over to Wally's and snag all your weekend needs. Want a better seat for next year's race? Again, no problemo...just put those tickets on layaway and make easy weekly installments! One stop shopping folks...we have you covered!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Iran

Simple one word title, crazy deep implications. I am thoroughly perplexed by Iranian fascination with my blog, my websites and my various social networking pages. I don't take pictures of potential terrorist targets. I have no affiliation with any government or government agency. I am not a lobbyist, nor am I connected to any particular politician. I live out in the middle of nowhere....where a terror attack is primarily going to scare some cows.

So, what in the hell is the fascination? I can't see that the average Iranian would have any burning desire to get into the world of a small town American. There certainly isn't any intrigue or mystery in my corner of the world.

Oh darn...I think I just figured it out. These clowns think my basement was Dick Cheney's undisclosed location....Guess again. I can also assure you that it won't be Joe Biden's undisclosed location either....Sarah Palin might have gotten an invite, but she wouldn't have been able to see Russia from here.

I know that someone will ask...how do I know that my various elements of web presence are being viewed by Iranians? The answer is very simple. You can't see it, but each and every page that I have includes some form of tracking device so that I can see what is popular or not, as well as who it is or isn't popular with. So regardless if you are in Boring, Oregon or Santiago, Chile...even Tehran, Iran, I have some idea who is checking me out.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Restored....Sort of

I couldn't save the photographs or the comments...but I did manage to save the substance of my posts from last year....restored to pre-hate mail status. I am sure that there are people that are not going to agree with the things I said...I suspect it might even irritate a few people, but that is not my problem. I have an opinion and I am entitled to it. I pose no threat to national security...I don't advocate anything illegal...I just share my opinions. If you don't like them...don't read them. For the folks that do read regularly, I'd like to say that I appreciate you taking the time to listen to my musings.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Originally Posted 10/3/2008

Tuesday's Trash
from The Daily Scream by Dan
When I went to bed last night, I was sure that I lived in the United States. But when I woke up this morning, it would appear that I have somehow moved to Israel. Why else would the Congress of this country be taking the day off in the middle of a national crisis to celebrate Jewish New Year? Yes...the Constitution of the United States guarantees freedom of religion...but nowhere does it say that our Congress is granted the right to celebrate non-traditional holidays. What are these fools thinking? It is understandable for the members of the Jewish faith to celebrate the day, but it sets a very poor precedent when the other members decide to blow the day off as well. What's next? A recess for Canadian Thanksgiving? Bastille Day?

Many Americans are wondering if we are teetering on the brink of the next Great Depression. Our elected officials would rather spend the day playing grab ass at the beach, instead of worrying about the concerns of the American public. How many of these clowns are up for re-election and just how many of them are going to get voted back in? Perhaps it is time for Joe Average to get off his ass and scream a bit...particularly at the voting booth. Time for a change. Time to take back the government that supposedly is by the people, for the people.

Originally Posted 10/3/2008

Wednesday Wonderings
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Ever wonder how in the hell Hillary Clinton became NY State's Senator? Seems that Senate seats are simply bought and sold. You don't have to be a resident of a state to be the Senator. How absurd is that? Why on earth was an arrogant house frau from Arkansas elected to represent people she has no knowledge of? The sale of Senate seats in NY is not a new concept, Bobby Kennedy bought one back in the 60s.

Hillary isn't the only example....Elizabeth Dole is only marginally better. Yes, she did live in NC eons ago...but left and hasn't been a resident or even much of a visitor for over 40 years. It certainly seems odd that we elect people to represent us that are totally out of touch with the needs and wants of the very people they were sent to represent.

On a slightly different subject, why don't we have term limits on ALL of our elected representatives? We decided we didn't want a president for life....the same should apply to members of the Senate and the House of Representatives....and it should trickle all the way down to the local level. Two terms in any elected post is ample....and we certainly aren't lacking for replacements. Share the wealth...let everyone have a chance to screw things up.

Interestingly enough, I had written the bit about term limits before the nonsense in NYC with King Bloomberg and his sudden desire to ditch the term limits he once supported. Makes you wonder why one person so thinks they are so valuable to the planet that things will just cease to function without their tutelage.

Originally Posted 10/3/2008

Thursday Thrashings
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Am I the only person that is totally annoyed by negative campaign ads? I swear, they just make me want to smack the boob that dreamed them up.

Almost as annoying as the negative ads is the latest trend of having people in commercials talk like they had just been harpooned. That pained, gasping speak is right up there with dragging fingernails across a blackboard!

In 1979, I owned a Ford f-150 pickup that routinely got 28-30mph....2 wheel drive with a 302 V-8 and overdrive. My last pickup was a 2003 Ford Ranger....on a good day it got 17 mpg....from a rompin', stompin' little 4-cylinder. And American auto manufacturers wonder why their business sucks.

How about that gas crisis in the Southeast US? The lies are simply amazing. I sure hope we never have a true national emergency....no one could respond because the gas all evaporates when there is even a threat. I suppose it could have something to do with the southerners tendencies to hoard things. Anyone ever seen what happens if the weatherman mentions snow? You won't find a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk or a roll of toilet paper. Makes you wonder what these people do when the storm comes...then again...maybe we don't want to know.

Originally Posted 10/3/2008

Friday Fumigation
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Much ado is being made about Governor Palin's lack of experience. Has anyone bothered to make note that Senator Obama is equally inexperienced. The big difference? One is a Presidential candidate and one is a VP candidate. I think I am a whole lot more concerned about a greenhorn with his finger on the trigger, than I am about one with a supporting role. The VP can gain a whole lot of experience in office without directly harming the nation....the same can't be said for the President.

The elections are still over a month away and the negative ads are coming to a fever pitch. Sure am glad the TV remote features a mute button. I want a TV that automatically cuts the sound off when commercials come on.

Anyone following the Wachovia/Citi/Wells Fargo saga? I think it is wonderful that there is some competition for my bank. I also find it pretty funny that Citi is screaming that since they made the first offer, it has to be honored. Wachovia has a responsibility to their customers to make the best deal possible. Certainly an offer for seven times what Citi was offering merits serious consideration.

Originally Posted 10/3/2008

It Must Be Fall
from The Daily Scream by Dan

I am not sure what the fascination is with this image, but it consistently gets 50-70 hits a day on my photo gallery. If you are looking for autumn images, be sure to check out the full gallery. http://www.pbase.com/woolburr/flora_fall_foliage_main

Originally Posted 10/4/2008

Hey...It's the Weekend
from The Daily Scream by Dan
And I wasted today. Just couldn't seem to come up with a good game plan for shooting today. Maybe tomorrow will find renewed motivation.

Dang goat has it made...just eat, sleep and be happy....no wonder he has that laid back look. Goat's eyes are kind of creepy though...I think I will keep my own.

Just signed on for another term on the judging panel for the POTN Photographer of the Year Competition. The only downside to being a judge is not being able to compete for the title. Then again, maybe that isn't such a downer after all. :) Between Photographer of the Year and version 3 of the book...there probably won't be a lot of free time for a while.

Originally Posted 10/5/2008

Sunday Summary
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Today marked a campaign visit at Asheville High for Barack Obama. Crowds were insane...much as I would like to have gone, staying clear seemed the prudent thing to do. Local TV provided good coverage both live and online....and the other media outlets have plenty of spin to share.

Speaking of marking things...today also made one week on the new fitness kick. Walking a mile or so every day seems to help with the breathing. One loop around my neighborhood is a mile....and it includes about a 200 foot change in elevation. Climbing the main hill is quite the attention getter...but I am sure it is good for everyone that walks it.

I love sports days like this...They usually never happen...The Giants, Colts, Phillies and Smoke all were big winners today!!! A repeat performance next weekend would be sweet! Especially if the Sabres can get their season off to a good start as well.

I didn't take my camera with me on the walk....stupid me...missed a great sunset shot, with a cow silhouetted on the skyline...beauty of a shot...missed. Oh well, I can expect this to be a perfect day. ;) I'm sure the shot would have rivaled the one I posted.

Originally Posted 10/6/2008

Monday Musings
from The Daily Scream by Dan
The stock market took a nose dive today...based on news from overseas. Sometimes having readily accessible media isn't such a good thing. I the past, there wasn't instant worldwide coverage of news and events....so the markets were nowhere near as volatile. By the time the American market reacted to trouble in Europe or Asia, those markets had already recovered and vice versa.

I suspect the media is also partly to blame for the increase to school violence. When it took 3 days for the people in NY to hear about an event in CA....it lost some of the glamor and punch. Also, by the time the story reached the more remote outlets it had been tempered considerably...and all the glitz and gleam were washed away. Instead people just saw the tragedy for what it was...a horrible moment in time, not the glorification of some loser seeking to make a name for himself the easy way.
How about some fall flahrs to brighten up a gloomy news day? Flahrs? What the heck are flahrs? I have to give credit to that to a drunken resident of a community treatment home just up the street from my old home in West Asheville. He stopped by the house one day...wanting to collect money for "flahrs" for old lady Battleaxe to commemorate her passing. Only trouble is....she isn't dead. I suppose it seemed logical to a drunk.

BTW...the Red Sox moved on in the play-offs. Dare I hope for a Boston-Philly Series?

Originally Posted 10/7/2008

Tuesday Tatters
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Since I am primarily a photographer and not a writer, perhaps I should actually focus on some photography instead of trying to save the world from the evil politicos! I actually spent time today doing basic camera maintenance. Sensor cleaning is not my favorite chore, but it isn't the nightmare some would have you believe. I prefer the Giottos Rocket Blower and LensPen SensorKlear route. A few puffs with the blower generally takes care of 90% of all cleaning chores. Today required a move to the next level....a few stubborn particles remained after blowing the large chunks away. A couple of gentle swipes with the SensorKlear and we are good to go again.

After completing the cleaning chores, I grabbed one of the cameras and a macro lens for a few trial shots. This was one of the results.

Originally Posted 10/8/2008

Wednesday Words
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Today was the monthly meeting of our local camera club. I see a meltdown on the horizon. For several years, there has been a bit of a secret society running the show. Suddenly they have all aged and are ready to take a less vital role in running the organization. Unfortunately, they chose to not include any younger members in the day to day operations. Now they are faced with the prospect of having people step down and no one with any experience or connections to take over. There are no officers, no elections and no real leadership....just a "steering committee" to try and run things. The next few months could be very interesting.

I did have the opportunity to play with the new Canon G-10...not a bad little camera. I wish it had a slightly wider zoom range...but it still is a nice option to use when a real camera is just too big. Also found some little visitors while out walking.

Originally Posted 10/9/2008

Late Thursday
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Fitness program is starting to pay off...made 2 full loops of the "block" today....no cramps and no being winded....it is a start, but there is still a long way to go.

There was a pretty sunset this evening, but nothing that jumped out as photographic. I probably should have taken a few shots, but it just seemed better to watch and enjoy. Besides, I was semi-busy making dinner anyway. Did chicken halves in the oven....with lemonade, olive oil, onions and garlic pepper. Very tasty.

Spent the evening watching the National League play-offs. Phillies beat the Dodgers 3-2...Go Phils!!!

Dharma and Woolburr had fun playing in the yard...they look like they are trying to kill each other...but we know better.

Finally, we have some local political news that just merits noting. One of the local tourism directors was busted for drug possession for the second time in less than a year. This time it led to her resignation....gee, what a shame...it was starting to give new meaning to tripping to Haywood County.

Originally Posted 10/12/2008

Saturday Stuff
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Today was a beautiful day for shooting....warm, crisp blue skies and the hint of autumn colors beginning to show. Did a loop of northern Buncombe and Madison Counties. Banged out a couple hundred shots...now just need to process them all. See more here.
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Originally Posted 10/16/2008

Politics as Usual...and an Anniversary too.
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Another day...another lie...can't we hurry this election along? The negative ads are a sure way to get me to vote for your opponent. If you both start slinging mud...then perhaps it is time to write in someone that just wants to do the job. The latest lie pertains to the southeast gas crisis. There are still only about half the gas stations that actually have gas...I seriously have to wonder what they have stockpiled in all those tank farms scattered around the region. You are going to play hell convincing me that those are all bone dry.

Spent Monday night celebrating the anniversary with my lovely wife. Whipped up a special dinner...Steaks (bacon-wrapped Fillet Mignon for her, a slab of prime rib for me), baked potatoes with sour cream, fresh sauteed mushrooms with onion and garlic and of course, the requisite shrimp cocktail. Hard to believe it has been a year both married and in the new house. Jan surprised me with a fabric art project she has been slaving over....a portrait of me. I have to say...it is pretty impressive. Time to celebrate...the Phillies are headed to the Series!!! Now all we need is for the Red Sox to bounce back and win the American League play-offs.

Originally Posted 10/18/2008

Friday...not Thursday.
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Once again the stock market stumbled and fumbled. People are refusing to heed the advice of the experts and are continuing to panic sell...the market should bottom out sooner or later...then it is time to snap up some bargains. Hell, today might have been a good day to snag a few, but I didn't have any spare millions laying around.

Discovered an old bank note floating around on eBay....signed by one of my customers back in the days of a childhood paper route...he was the president of the bank. It was a totally radical find....and again...if I had some serious extra cash laying around...it would be in my collection.

Originally Posted 10/21/2008

Shooting, Shooting, Shooting
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Autumn is in full swing and it is time to snag some images. I hope to complete a swing of the NC sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway over the next couple of days. I think I'll head to Cherokee tomorrow and shoot from the southern end of the Parkway back to Asheville...then drive over to Fancy Gap, VA the following day and take the Parkway back to Mt. Mitchell....it still remains closed between there and Craggy Gardens.

Did a partial of both trips on Saturday and today. Definitely want to do the whole route to get some better images for my website....plus I love fall colors. This shot is from the Devil's Courthouse...there are only a few days each year where the sun hits the rock just right at sunset to turn it red...I just happened to catch one.




Saturday was spent near Mt. Mitchell....and again....just happened to capture a rather unique phenomena...Stratus Topclouds

Originally Posted 10/21/2008

Enough Already!
from The Daily Scream by Dan
What the hell is with all these commercials? It seems like the major trend in advertising, be it political or consumer, is to use spokespeople that sound like they just lost their best friends. Lifeless monotonous voices delivering messages of gloom and doom....even when talking about happy stuff....there is even a depressing sounding Disney commercial...so much for the happiest place on earth!

Can't wait until the election is over so the lying and name calling can stop for a week or two. There are days it is hard to believe anyone could vote for any of these clowns. Sure would be nice if we took back our government...tossed all the career politicians out on their collective asses and re-established the government of the people, for the people, by the people. Then again....we might implode if Washington took on any semblance of reality.

Weather has screwed up the photography plans. Currently have hopes that tomorrow will be a better day....it looks like it might be...if so...then I will head to VA to head back down the Parkway. Come on sunshine! Don't want to lose all the color. The weekend forecast is looking nightmarish. We need rain...but it never rains in October!

Originally Posted 10/27/2008

Just When I Thought it Was Over
from The Daily Scream by Dan


OK....This crap has got to stop. We have a national do not call list and that should be exactly what it is. No political calls, no sales calls, and no calls from so-called charities. You select who you want to talk to...and who you don't. Lots of people pay for their incoming cell calls....why should I be charged for a call from someone I don't care to talk to or listen to?

The politicians don't dare put any teeth in the law, nor do they dare take away their ability to harass us. I've already told both Obama and McCain that I have heard enough from them...now the local scum are starting to call. Bad enough we have to listen to their stupid negative commercials on TV and radio....

On a happier note, the Phillies now have a 3-1 lead in the World Series. Go Phils!!!

Originally Posted 10/27/2008

Extremism: the Death of Freedom?
from The Daily Scream by Dan


One word...Why? Why is it that we have lost all sense of reason? Life isn't black and white...and there is no reason that politics should or even need to be. You can't hunt pheasants with an AK-47. You can't expect a 14 year old rape victim to bear her father's child. You can't believe that throwing money at foreign nations is going to make them adore us.

Perhaps you are asking why I called this condition the death of freedom...well, the answer is very simple. When you have no choice in an election...when there is no candidate that serves to protect your interests...you have no freedom. You have become a slave to the machine. It is scary to think that fruitcakes like Nancy Pelosi are actually serving in positions of power in the US. George Bush is proof positive that a complete moron can be elected President of the most powerful nation on earth today. Again, you ask why....

The answer is still pretty simple, as big of an ass as George Bush is, he isn't quite as stupid as Al (I invented the internet) Gore or John (if it weren't for the ketchup, I wouldn't be running) Kerry. Look at the choices for the top office this year...one fool would like you to believe that you will like his tax cut that gives you back $800 a year...only catch being that it is funded by $2000 a year in new taxes. He is the same guy that thinks we can just put the whole country on the Federal payroll, that should solve all the problems. Lenin and Marx? Nah...Obama and Biden. Then we have the nut job opponent that thinks medical research should be banned, you need that AK-47 and it is perfectly ok to impregnate your own children.

How in the hell can you vote for any of these clowns? Time to wake up people...we need some rules and we need some qualified candidates. Election day draws near and even if you aren't satisfied with your choices...do take the time to vote for the best option...whatever you may feel that is. Don't give up your vote just because you are frustrated.

Originally Posted 10/28/2008

Yesterday, Today and Maybe Tomorrow
from The Daily Scream by Dan
I got an email today asking if I was really one of those crazies that thinks that guns should be banned...Let me set the record straight right now...I believe in gun ownership, I own guns and I love to shoot. That said, yesterday was really about extremism, not about guns. You don't need an AK-47 or an AR-15 to hunt pheasants, I have a lovely 16 gauge Spanish double-barrel that is my favorite bird gun...for pheasants, grouse or quail. The Republican party has taken up the NRA line that if you restrict any gun, you restrict all guns. Bull...pure and simple...bull. Show me a legitimate reason for a homeowner to have an Uzi...or teflon coated bullets. Should a regulated, licensed, insured gun club with a legitimate armory have access to such weaponry? Why not? If they have a place to shoot it safely, if they have a place to secure it at the end of the day so that some nut job can't just walk off with it...perhaps that is an idea to consider.

The Republicans don't have a lock on being nut jobs. I really wonder why it is that the Democrats are so afraid of instituting a national ID program of any sort. You know, if there was a face attached to your fingerprints, attached to your Social Security number, attached to your driver's license, attached to your checking account and any other business you have....there would be far less chance of identity theft. It would be far easier to conduct a census, it would certainly make it clear who was and wasn't in this country legally. Why is it so important to allow people to conceal their identities? If you had to identify yourself, voter fraud would be out the window! Is the Chicago political machine that strong? Certainly it is no secret that they have made sport of having folks that have been dead for decades vote on a regular basis.

Today marked a departure from the norm for the media. I actually heard a couple of apologies for the way they have given Obama the kid glove treatment while ripping Hillary Clinton and later both John McCain and Sarah Palin. I guess they finally realized the Sarah clothing issue was absurd. Now about that experience issue...just exactly what leadership experience does Obama have? None? Imagine that...better vote for him. (for the web savvy...this is where I would normally insert that rolling eyes smiley!)

We have a rather heated battle for the Senate here in NC...on one hand we have Liddy Dole...who has managed to do a grand total of nothing during her tenure in the Senate. Ranked 93rd in overall effectiveness....there is something to brag about. The sad part is that Kay Hagan doesn't exactly have a real shining record either. Should be interesting to see how it all plays out. Should the Republicans lose this seat...it could mark a major shift of power in the Senate...virtually assuring the Dems have the ability to override any Presidential veto.

Tomorrow should bring an improvement in the weather...the World Series can resume...and maybe I can go snap a fresh photo or two.

Originally Posted 10/29/2008

PHILLIES 2008 World Series Champions!!!
from The Daily Scream by Dan
The title says it all!!! Go Phils!

Originally Posted 10/30/2008

Politics as Usual
from The Daily Scream by Dan

At some point, you have to draw a line when it comes to how nasty you can get in a campaign ad. Senator Elizabeth Dole crossed that line yesterday. Even after a judge ordered the ad removed from TV, Senator Dole said that she would not remove it. Stretching the truth is one thing, but making up a total lie is another. The voice at the end is purportedly Kay Hagan...in reality, it is an actor. North Carolina doesn't need someone as immoral and unscrupulous as Dole representing them. Anyone that thinks that ad is appropriate is borderline insane and anyone that would run that ad is a complete and utter waste of skin.

Originally Posted 10/31/2008

The End is in Sight
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Am I the only person that is flat out sick and tired of elections? I don't even care if I vote at this point...I just want it to be over and done. The constant stream of negative ads have simply worn me out. It all boils down to who is the best liar. Pretty sad commentary on our society.

Once this gets over I'll have to find a new range of topics...I might even have to talk about photography! The horrors.

By the way...I have every intention of voting, even if the politicians don't deserve it. The vote is still one of our fundamental rights and it needs to be exercised. There is nothing wrong with writing in a good candidate if there aren't any on the ballot. Perhaps a little recognition will draw them out for the next election.

Originally Posted 11/4/2008

Hooray! It is Finally Over!
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Wow...so nice to actually watch a few minutes of TV without annoying election ads. I bet Liddy Dole is regretting her decision to use the most repulsive attack ad ever crafted. No doubt it single-handedly derailed any hope she had of returning to Washington for a second term. Maybe we really will see some change in the politics as usual club...wouldn't that be a treat?

Went to vote this afternoon and was surprised by the very light turn-out. I guess everyone really did get into the whole early voting routine. Now we just need to develop a way to vote that isn't tantamount to a second grade popularity contest organized by the class clown. Paper ballots and coloring in little ovals in 2008 is beyond absurd. Give me one legitimate reason we stopped using the good old voting booth.

As I was traveling home from voting...I came across this fellow. Guess it was an omen. ;)

Originally Posted 11/7/2008

Friday Fun
from The Daily Scream by Dan
It's Friday and another week draws to a close. We elected a new president and a few new faces in the Congress. Some people feel that a huge mistake has been made and some folks think we have taken the biggest step in American history. Only time can tell. Presidential success and failure is seldom measured well until the term over and there is a new face in the Oval Office. I don't think it is going to take that to measure the failure of the Bush Administration. Pretty obvious to even a casual observer that they have totally mucked up everything they have touched.

Today is Billy Graham's 90th birthday. Shame that none of the other noted evangelists were able to follow in his footsteps and maintain a life of devotion and service that didn't include seeing how rich one could become. His own son Franklin certainly doesn't measure up...seems to be a major sleazeball with the sole intention of lining his own pockets and living high on the hog. Happy Birthday Billy!

Originally Posted 11/11/2008

Time to Reflect
from The Daily Scream by Dan

Today is Veteran's Day. In a strange twist of reality, almost everyone but Veterans has the day off. The men and women of our country that really might appreciate the chance to stop by the local VA Center, War Memorial or cemetery are denied that option. Lord only knows why the people that schedule the events of the day typically arrange for them to be held during typical work hours instead of the early evening when a few more Veterans might be able to attend.

I won't say that my family has a long standing military history, because I honestly don't know that to be a fact. What I do know is that my great uncles Ralph and William Wise served, my dad Robert Houck along with my two step-fathers Paul Blow and Andrew Stash served and my step-brother James Blow and I served. Those that did serve seldom discussed their service or their sacrifices, instead they chose to simply be active in Veteran's organizations such as the American Legion and VFW that supported and furthered the causes of the brave men and women that defended our nation. Uncle Will was a Charter Member of Legion Post 907 in Candor, NY...the post that Dad and I still belong to.

A lot of blood, sweat and tears have been shed to get our nation to the point we are today. Maybe our system isn't perfect, but I can tell you that I haven't found another that begins to compare. We have rights and freedoms that citizens of other nations can only dream of, including many nations that consider themselves to be democratic and free. One of the unique opportunities afforded me during my tenure with the military was being able to travel the world and see a large number of different countries and cultures along with their rights and freedoms or lack thereof. Ask any Veteran and they will probably tell you the same thing, there are many beautiful and exotic lands beyond the shores of America, but when it comes right down to it, there is no place like home.

I think I will venture out later today and pay a visit to the VA cemetery in Black Mountain. My former neighbor Charles England is buried there along side countless other brave men and women. It may be a small gesture on my part, but not one taken lightly. I am very thankful for the sacrifices of our Veterans and I am proud to be an American.

Take a moment from your busy day and reflect on your freedoms...then go out and thank a Vet!

Originally Posted 11/12/2008

Affordable Healthcare
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Will it ever happen? Are we going to see the day when every American can just go to the doctor of their choice when they need and not have to worry about starving for months to pay the bill?

Until someone in Congress finally has the balls to take definitive action, it will never happen. The first step to affordable healthcare in this country begins with capping these ridiculous awards for "damage" stemming from "malpractice". Sure, doctors screw up, nurses screw up, technicians screw up...anyone involved in the medical practice can screw up. Let's face it, we need to be realistic, a misdiagnosed hangnail is not worth 5 million dollars. We also need to become aware of the limitations of modern medicine. Just because we have the ability to keep a baby born with half a heart alive...are we doing the right thing? Spending millions and millions of dollars to prolong a life that is only going to be filled with suffering doesn't seem all that rational to me.

I'm not advocating playing God...we already have him to take care of that work. What I am advocating is providing comfort care for those folks that have no reasonable expectation of a realistic quality of life. Sometimes just letting nature take its course is the most humane course of action. Think about it, would you wish to spend the rest of your days in screaming agony, hooked to some machine that will keep you alive, just because it is possible to keep you alive...not because there is ever any hope of your recovery?

Modern medicine is a wonderful thing, but until we have effective tort reform, we will never see affordable healthcare. We are never going to see an answer to this until we quit sending lawyers to Washington to represent us. There isn't one of those blood-suckers going that would risk taking a penny from his own pocket...and let's face it...who gets rich off these lawsuits? Only the lawyers.

Originally Posted 11/23/2008

Happy Holidays
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Well, the holiday season is upon us. I don't know about everyone else, but I'm not feeling real festive this year. The bottom continues to fall out of the economy...the real estate market has tanked and people in general are acting pretty weird. Mother Nature is just adding to the fun by dumping snow and record cold temps on us here in the usually warm south.

Don't get me wrong, even with all the gloom and doom around, I still find plenty of things to be thankful for. My wife, my kids, and especially my two little monster granddaughters...Abby and Livvie bring me lots of smiles and make the days worthwhile. I don't want to forget the rest of my family either...Dad and my step-mom, my brother Jeff and his family and my sister Kristin and her brood. Somewhere out there I have another sister...but I haven't a clue where she even is...Washington state I think. Maybe someday I'll find her again.

One thing I am not all that thankful for is my birth mother...she decided to drag me home to America from Germany when I was only a few months old, so she could dump me on my grandparents (my dad's parents) and run off to Florida and play with her boyfriend. At some point, she tired of her boy toy and returned to NY...in time to flush my fish (Christmas presents) down the toilet...because they smelled funny to her...to wash my turtle (birthday present) with Ivory soap...because he smelled funny (he didn't survive the bath)...I spent a lot of time worried about how I smelled...just in case she decided I smelled and needed to die too.

Yep...dear old mom was a loving one...got bored with me and sent me to spend some quality time with her drunken parents...they had company over one afternoon to sit around and get drunk...and told me to get out of the house..."just go somewhere and don't come back until we call you"...so I walked over to a friend's house. Now, mind you, this is the same house that my mother used to go to as a kid...because her childhood friend was the mother of my friend. We spent the afternoon playing and having a good time just being kids. Around supper time, my grandmother showed up...drunk on her ass...swearing and screaming, she started beating on me with a stick. She finally got bored with that and slammed me in the car...the entire drive back to her house was filled with profanity and rants about what a worthless bastard I was. We got to her house and I was dragged from the car and beaten again. Then I was dragged into the house and beaten while I packed my stuff. The beating continued all the way to the car...several sticks and rulers were broken in the process. Once in the car the tirade began again. I was called every horrible name imaginable to a young boy. The old battle axe told me that she never wanted to see me again. We got to my home and I was yanked from the car yet again and slapped across the face several times. My mother stood by and said nothing. Over the ensuing years, that evil woman (mother's mother) never did speak to me again...she bought Christmas and birthday gifts for my siblings...but none for me. When the bitch died, my mother insisted that I be a pallbearer for her funeral. You have no idea how much I just wanted to take that casket and throw it off a cliff.

My mother went out of her way to make Christmas special. Every year she would ask me what I would like and every year I would get some crap that had nothing to do with anything I was even remotely interested in. One of the best was the year I asked for a set of screwdrivers and instead was given a guitar. I am not musically inclined...never have been, never will be. Hell, we even had a discussion about music and I told her repeatedly that I had no interest in it. Come Christmas morning I opened a very suspicious looking package and sure enough, there was this stupid guitar. I was a kid, I cried...I didn't want a guitar...I got my face slapped and sent to bed. Merry Christmas.

I will share more stories of a mother's "love" in the coming weeks.

Originally Posted 12/8/2008

Holiday Spirit
from The Daily Scream by Dan

Took a short drive to Bristol, TN last evening to see the Christmas light extravaganza at Bristol Motor Speedway. Every year the show grows bigger and better...takes about an hour to make the loop and you get to experience a bit of the high banks of the speedway to boot. If you leave there without a smile on your face, you are in need of a visit or two from Mr. Dickens' ghosts....obviously your name is Scrooge. I had the camera along and snapped off a few shots...some are ok...some leave a bit to be desired. The memories are still there...got to spend a few quality minutes with my wife, so that was an added bonus. You can see the photos here....http://www.pbase.com/woolburr/50_tn_bristol_xmas

On the trip home, I noticed what appears to be a Heisler thermal storage engine, 2 cars and a caboose in Elizabethtown, TN....I need to go back for photos.

Originally Posted 12/13/2008

Zen and a Fairy Tale
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Fall Floater
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The haunted forest?
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Originally Posted 12/15/2008

More Crazy Memories
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Now that I have spilled the beans on my bizarre childhood, some of the memories of it make a whole lot more sense. For example, one of my most vivid memories is of my bedroom at my grandparent's house. It now makes very good sense that it would be right off my grandparent's bedroom, since they were the ones taking care of me. For the longest time, I couldn't grasp the concept of why my bedroom would have been connected to their room.

I also have lots of memories of traveling around with my grandfather from a very young age. I guess since I was living with them, it would only make sense. I always felt like such a lucky kid...because my grandparents took me to all kinds of interesting places, to see all kinds of interesting things. One of my favorite memories were the Sunday afternoon drives, which always included a stop somewhere to look at trains. I don't know who was the bigger kid when it came to the railroad, Grandpa or me.

We often traveled to Corning to visit with Uncle Ralph (my grandmother's brother) and Aunt Clara....for some reason my memories of their house are usually very dark...dark in the sense that the inside of the house seemed to have a lot of dark colors and woodwork. They had a less than sociable Cocker Spaniel named Checkers. I seem to recall being told repeatedly that Checkers was going blind and to not bother him....but I also have a pretty vivid memory of sitting on the stairs with the dog with his head in my lap...

Uncle Ralph worked for the railroad...as a engineer. He knew of my love for trains and had promised that when I was big enough, that I would have a ride in the locomotive...unfortunately, he died before that wish was fulfilled. Some would think that might be classed as a bad memory, but I know he had every intention of getting me that ride. Two years ago, I finally got my ride...it was hard to hold back the tears...tears of joy. I know Uncle Ralph smiled that day....and so did I.

Our travels often took us to Pennsylvania. We would either go to Forkston, where my Aunt Arlene and Uncle Shorty (my grandmother's brother) had a summer home on Aunt Arlene's family plot, or to Harrisburg, where they actually lived. Uncle Shorty was anything but short...he was a fairly big character, retired from the Pennsylvania State Police as the head of the Governor's security detail. When you shook hands with him, you knew your hand had been shook. He had a grip like a vice and he expected you to have one too. It was always a contest to see if I could give him a shake that he would be proud of. Dad, Grandpa and I often joked about shaking hands and who would have a sore hand for the longest time afterwards.

Sometimes the travels weren't nearly as far, Uncle Will (yet another of Gram's brothers) and Aunt Hazel only lived five houses down the street. I liked to go there to visit...because Aunt Hazel had fish. I believe that is where the fish that my mother killed off came from...a gift from Uncle Will and Aunt Hazel. But we won't dwell on that...today is about happy memories. I remember going for a ride with Uncle Will on a couple of different occasions...and thinking...wow...we never go this fast when others are driving. Guess he had a bit of a lead foot.

There is one other memory of my grandfather that I need to share. I can remember anxiously awaiting him to get home from work, so that I could hop up in his lap and we could read the newspaper every day. Grandpa often had a cigar or his pipe while we read the paper, waiting for Grandma to rustle up supper for us. The big memory though, was Grandpa's thumbs...I still remember them as being huge...huge thumbs with huge thumbnails. I suppose to a kid three, four or five years old, that anyone's thumbs would seem huge...but I don't have that kind of memory of my dad...just Grandpa. Below is a photo of a smoker's stand similar to the one my grandfather had....except his rack was full of pipes and there was a large gold ashtray.



Time to stop for the day, before this gets much more disjointed. Thanks for tuning in.
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Originally Posted 12/17/2008

2009 Calendars
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Looking for a great calendar for your home or office? If you like flowers, then check out my 2009 Gallery Calendars. CLICK Frogdawg Fotografix CLICK

Originally Posted 12/20/2008

Closer to Christmas
from The Daily Scream by Dan
We are now another day closer to Christmas and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of holiday cheer this year. The economy is in the toilet, family is so far away and even the weather doesn't seem to be cooperating with enhancing the festive mood.

It seems like someone is trying to take Christmas away from us. Screw the politically correct and their lame happy holiday greetings....Merry Christmas! Peace on earth, good will toward men. If your religion doesn't believe in God or Jesus...you are granted the right here in the United States to not believe....but I am also granted the same right to believe. I am also granted the right to believe in Santa Claus or any other mythical, mystical, magical or otherwise figure that I so choose to accept as real. If I want to believe that reindeer can fly and have glowing red noses...so be it.

Someone decided to make up a holiday called Kwanzaa. If folks wish to celebrate it, it certainly is within their rights to do so...if I don't care to participate in that particular celebration, I also have a right to do so. The key element here is that while I might not choose to celebrate Kwanzaa, I have no right to expect others to not want to participate. Somewhere along the line we lost track of that concept. When the United States was founded, nearly the entire population was Christian and accepted the Christian tenets. Today, our cultural make-up is far more diverse, but the same laws, rules and regulations still apply. If someone wants to set up a Nativity scene, they have the right to do so...they are under no obligation to hide such a thing from view because it doesn't correspond to your beliefs, you right is your ability to simply walk away and not view or interact. Same thing applies if someone wishes to display a Menorah. That is their right, your right is again to walk away should you not find that display in line with your personal beliefs.

Whatever you decide to do this year, take a moment and slip a buck or two in the kettle for the Salvation Army. They don't ask victims of circumstance their religious beliefs prior to giving aid and comfort, they simply give in times of need. I spent nearly 30 years of my life working in emergency services and when the chips were down and people needed a hand...the Salvation Army delivered!

Don't waste your money making cash donations to the Red Cross, they spend more time attempting to sell comfort and trying to profit from the misfortunes of others than they do providing the aid they claim to dispense. Two huge events come to mind...during a major flood in NY, my father's cousin and her family lost everything to the flood waters, their house dislodged from the foundation and moved downriver. The Red Cross arrived on scene and tried to sell them a sample tube of toothpaste and a child's toothbrush for $3. Similar prices applied to any number of other trial and sample sized products. The Salvation Army arrived and handed the same stuff out for free. Several years later, northern NY State was hammered with an ice storm...power was lost and temperatures were hovering in the brutal cold range. Once again the Red Cross showed up and tried to sell relief...while the Salvation Army quickly set up their mobile canteens and began providing free hot meals to those that needed.

If you want to give to the Red Cross, give them the gift of blood, the gift of life. That is one area where they manage to excel and have yet to contaminate. Donations of blood are typically low this time of year and the need increases. This is a great gift to give, as it truly is a gift straight from the heart...with no strings attached and no expense involved!

Originally Posted 12/24/2008

APD Gives a Christmas Gift to the Parking Public
from The Daily Scream by Dan
It has only taken 8+ years for something to be done, but finally the Asheville Police Department has given an early Christmas gift to folks that park in downtown. After years of complaints of predatory towing, APD finally decided to attempt a sting operation...it didn't take long.

How sad is it that these sleaze balls would rig payment boxes to make it appear that customers hadn't paid...all so they could haul off the car and then charge exorbitant fees for the (questionably) safe return of the vehicle. How many visitors and even locals have been scammed? This gives the whole city a black eye.

APD...don't stop now. Based on the complaints, you have only touched the tip of the iceberg...it is time to put a stop to this nonsense and regain a small measure of justice for those folks that have been ripped off.

Originally Posted 12/25/2008

Merry Christmas
from The Daily Scream by Dan
Season's greetings. May your day be filled with peace, love and good cheer!
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Historic Day

Today marks the dawn of a new era in America. Barack Obama was sworn in as President of the United States. Some folks think that the simple act of assuming the role of President is going to be enough to effect sweeping, overnight change. I'm afraid they are in for a rude awakening.

As the old saying goes...Rome wasn't built in a day...and the US is not going to change in one either. It will take some time to implement any true change or meaningful new direction in the country. Obviously, the more cooperation from Congress and the general population, the swifter and easier change will come.

One of the grand ideas of the new administration is to get folks to volunteer. It is a great idea, but we have too many people in this country that think it is their right to sit on their ass while lesser people do the volunteering. It will be interesting to watch this one play out.

One burning question...who dressed the new First Lady for the Balls? Mrs. O is usually quite the striking dresser...the gown she had for the first dance looked like it was made from used toilet paper. That had to be one of the least fashionable and foolish looking things ever worn to an event of that magnitude. She should have stuck to wearing things from her own closet. At least they would have had some style.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Is Football Fixed?

Let me preface this post...I am just a casual football fan. I don't live or die by who wins or loses each week. I don't play fantasy leagues. I am more appreciative of good players than of good teams. That said, I do have a couple of teams that I would have to say qualify as favorites.

So, three of the four playoff games for this weekend are complete. We are already assured of having a Stupor Bowl. Philadelphia playing Arizona for the NFC championship? No way in hell....something isn't adding up. The two best teams in the NFC just played like they were really first year high school teams. I don't mean they had an off day, I mean they played like they had never even seen a football before. I don't think I have ever seen such pathetic play in the nearly 50 years that I have been watching the game.

Well then, since one half of the league did so poorly, one would have to expect the cream had floated to the top of the other. Guess again, that is not the case. The two top teams here have also been eliminated early, one last week and the second yesterday. There is no way in hell that San Diego or Baltimore could have legitimately beaten the Colts and the Titans.

Regardless of who wins from this point out, the NFL has lost all credibility. One Cinderella story a season might be possible...but there is no way that every single good team loses to a bunch of second rate, no-talent hacks. Hell, anyone that even thinks that San Diego or Pittsburgh deserves to be playing is delusional. I don't think I need to waste any more time watching the NFL...the bets are in, the games are fixed. This is just a shame.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Test


Just a test posting. No real content. Have a moon.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Littlest Hobo


Road Without End
"Looks like we're comin' into town.
Seems like this train is slowin' down.

Can't help but wonder what's in store.
Could be I've been here once before.

A-driftin'. The world is my friend.
I'm travlin' along the road without end.

Ridin' these rails town to town.
Sometimes I think I'll settle down.

But I know I'd hunger to be free.
Rovin's the only life for me.

A-driftin'. The world is my friend.
I'm travlin' along the road without end.


I find adventure everywhere
And friends with whom I'd like to share

This is my stop along the way
Don't really know how long I'll stay

Stop over. The world is my friend
Stop over along the road without end

Traveling around from town to town
Sometimes I think I'll settle down

But I know I'd hunger to be free
Rovin' is the only life for me

A-driftin'. The world is my friend
I'm travelin' along the road without end"
(Ronald Stein)

Anyone remember this show from the original 1958 movie or the 60s TV series? Great entertainment if you are a dog person. I was sad that they had removed the train tracks from my hometown....London couldn't come visit.