Monday, June 30, 2008

And then even more Political Issues

The topic for this post, Taxes. I wonder if there are any humans capable of deciphering all of the tax code? The complexity of the tax code is about the only thing on the planet I find more perplexing than the demonic excuse for a higher ed math class commonly referred to as calculus.
I must confess, the single most logical statement I have ever heard regarding taxes was when H. Ross Perot was running for president and referred to a "flat tax". The premise, one tax rate for everyone. For me, I have never heard a good explanation why when someone works hard, they are penalized by having to pay more of their dollar that someone who makes less money (not necessarily by not working as hard). I just don't think I can ever understand that.
All that being said, I understand the need for taxes but I just don't want to feel like I am being taxed to death. It's so discouraging to work so hard to earn more money only to end up having to pay more taxes and not really benefiting as much as the extra effort would indicate that you should.
Turns out I have no idea how to tackle this topic from a political perspective. Oh, one thing that needs to change are the "wealth indicators". I think that the only people that think a household income of say $120,000 per year (about 250% of the 2006 median house hold income) is alot of money are the people that make less. The fact is that it isn't all that much money and is even less when there are children, a mortgage, and other expenses involved. Dollars need to be factored into the context of the household in which they are earned.
That is for me for now on this.

A Laugh for Essentially Me...

...and if anyone else thinks this is funny, that would be delightful too!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mas Political Issues

In election speak, the issue I speak of here is climate change. Clearly the idea of climate change is a global one and the presidential candidates must focus on the US contribution to the global problem; what can we do here at home?
I think to truly formulate an entire long-term strategy for such a problem, one has to have a far deeper understanding of it than I do. My understanding is extremely basic but I think I have a couple of ideas that seem to make sense:
"Hybrids for all!" Evidence indicates that the manufacturers all have a version of a hybrid engine in place. I can only assume the main reason is that there aren't more available is a production issue. Okay, let's insist that only hybrid vehicles can be produced, or that for each gas only vehicle produced, 2 or 3 hybrids must be produced. Ease up production lines on gas only and I can only assume that will free up production time for hybrids. I would consider federal incentives to manufacturers who step up as well as federal assistance to revamp and step up production. I also think there needs to be a federal incentive system for the consumer designed toward getting them to ditch their existing car for a hybrid as well as making the technology more affordable.
All new construction must meet "green standards". I'm thinking geothermal, solar, recycled insulation, etc. There are some very readily available technologies that are expensive to implement on current properties but not nearly as costly when implemented from the start. Again, I think there needs to be some federal incentives to builders as well as owners/consumers.
This isn't an issue that our next president or even his/her successor will conquer. However, someone needs to break ground and I think it's possible to make a big difference by incorporating ideas that can reach the masses as quickly as possible.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Political Issues?

It seems to me that the idea that candidates for president and other political offices are involved in making decision about abortion and same-sex marriage. These are complex issues but not for the reasons that the politicians lead us to believe.

From a political perspective, abortion is a relatively simple decision because it isn't a political decision, it's a woman's decision. What the politicians need to focus on is education for everybody (so that hopefully we can minimize abortion as a form of birth control for example) and protection of the women who seek/require/need/choose abortions to ensure their safety.

Same sex marriage isn't all that complex, it only involves the acceptance of a small change in how society chose to define marriage at some point in the past. Marriage is the union of two adult human beings... Simple! I've heard that there have been some issues regarding the splitting up of same-sex couples. Aren't there often complexities involving the dissolution of opposite-sex marriages? All we need to do is change a few words and perhaps consider revisiting the processes in all marriages that make their existence and/or dissolution complex.

I am a strong advocate for Pro-Choice and for same-sex marriage. I also wish that the political world would do whatever is necessary to make both of these issues commonplace so that they no longer need to be issues.

I'll touch on a few more "political issues" in the days to come.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Weekend Updatery in Bulleted Form

  • Since the trip to Vegas is happening because of a conference for work, one that I am co-presenting at, this coming week my colleagues and I are going to collaborate on the actual presentation material.
  • I feel the need to accomplish something more than nothing but am not sure how to go about that.
  • I have not completely abandoned podcasts. Aside from being unmotivated at just about everything, I just haven't had the time and/or energy.
  • I'll be busing it down to NYC in August for a day or two. One of my main goals is to have a frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity, another is to touch base with my dear friend from high school Annmarie. Anybody planning on being in NYC in late August and wanna meet up?
  • I've decided I need to aggressively try to get on a friggin' game show.
  • Cuzzup!
  • I have a great story about me and a basketball but I may have told it here already. I'll do a search and either point to it or tell it sometime very soon.
  • 530

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My New Favorite Luxury Item

I love innovation, specially when it's something that steps beyond the boundaries of a useful gadget into the realm of smart (and dare I say attractive).

I've had quite a few coffee machines in my day and in fact, have two others that have now been reassigned to the basement. Here are the features that make this darling machine so wonderful to me:
  • programmable turn-on time (humans should have this feature)
  • programmable auto shut off
  • 30 seconds to hot coffee paradise
  • no filters
  • no mess
  • no clean-up
  • neat blue led lighting
It's a great machine. I love you Keurig :)
Look what I got in the email today:
Hi Chris,

I caught your post about your Keurig brewer. We certainly appreciate your enthusiasm for our products!

So, we'd like to send you some free K-Cups. If you're interested and reply to me with what kind of coffee types you prefer (light, medium, dark, flavored etc.) and/or what brands, I'll have a shipment sent out to you. Please also supply your shipping address.

Thanks for being a Keurig fan!

Erin Wormell
Internet Marketing Manager
Keurig, Incorporated

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Best is Yet to Come?

I grabbed some Chinese take-out the other day for lunch and in my fortune cookie, of all places, was something I'd never thought I'd find; hope. It read, "The best times of your life have not yet been lived."

Don't get me wrong, I have had some kick ass times in my life. There is a void however, something has been missing and I have to believe the best is yet to come or why bother waiting around?
In memory and mourning over the loss of George Carlin, I intentionally did not post yesterday. If this seems strange or odd, I don't care - he meant that much to me.
Enjoy some Robbie Williams, this song is all kinds of awesome (as you probably already know - in fact, I kind of get the feeling I may have posted this once before-hmmmm).

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Funniest Man that Ever Lived

Until Sunday evening, the title of this post made no difference to me because in my opinion, the funniest man that ever drew breath on this earth was still alive. However, Sunday afternoon, George Carlin, the funniest man that ever lived, died.

I have long been a huge fan of comedy and believe me, this is no knock on any other comics, it's is simply a tribute to the greatest.

George Carlin was never about shtick, his comedy never revolved around a single premise, it was ever changing with the times and maturation of the the man himself. Additionally, Carlin was easily the most prolific comedian of his time, if not ever, constantly crafting new material weaving his sharp, intelligent wit into the fabric of the world we live in.

Carlin never apologized for living his life the way he did, he simply accepted responsibility for his actions and moved on to whatever was next.

In his early years, listening back to his material, it was mostly about getting the laugh and nobody was better at it. There were characters, voices, and observations that were not only funny, but from a point of intellect.

The observational viewpoint and skits of the 70's and early 80's once again remained relevant, then and now, and are amongst the funniest works of all time, by anybody.

As the world got uglier, and the man got older, the material took on a more political slant and once again, new material changed the landscape of the comedy business and continued to break ground as the word legend began getting thrown around but just by marks like myself, but by his own peers.

I am deeply saddened at the idea that there will be no more new material but his body of work will always remain amongst my greatest treasures because for me, laughter is not just nice or fun, but essential.

George Carlin, Rest in Piece.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

U2 SNL and Other Bullet Items

November 20, 2004- U2 was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. Their performance was beyond electric, there were 3 songs performed on camera and a fourth after the show went off the air. Vertigo, Sometime's You Can't Make it On Your Own, and I Will Follow made it to air and onto my DVR where it has lived until I finally transferred it to the hard drive on my DVD recorder and as of last night, onto DVD. I think I actually did this step once before like a year or so ago but I can't find the DVD I burned back then for the life of me. So, now I once again have this spectacular performance burned onto DVD and watched it four times yesterday.
  • A former colleague back in Brooklyn used to say on days where allergies caused her eyes to itch much like mine are now, "I'd like to remove my eyeballs from my head, run them under cold water, then pop them back in." That's how I feel today.
  • As I write this, I am watching Giada stuff her face in Vancouver and am stunned at how hot she is even while stuffing her face.
  • The yesterday and today conundrum of the day: How do you get all of those great 90 minute "mix tapes" onto 8- minute CD's? (TGFMP3)
  • Driving a car that gets 15 MPG is getting increasingly difficult.
Later for now.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Catching Up without getting Caught Up

I feel so far behind. I feel like there's so much that needs to be done and I have no energy or motivation to do any of it. Perhaps its a touch dramatic but heck, I got dem old blues again and that's the ticket.

There are a couple of colleagues feuding at work and it's created a tension in the workplace that's quite uncomfortable. It's a silly feud ultimately as most are but being in the middle is tricky because I don't want to take sides - I just want it to pass, peacefully.

I finished digitizing the Steinbeck set, correctly this time...Joy, the mail will go out this week.

Out for now.

Friday, June 20, 2008

With the Arrival of Summer...

...I look forward to the occasional sneak on over to DQ for chocolate cone - cherry dipped (of course). occasional trip over to Walden Pond to prove that there is still such thing as tranquility.
...bathing in the humidity of the Northeast and loving every minute of hating every minute of it.
...Grande decaf Mocha Frappuccino (any chance they'll do the Mocha Coconut Frappucchino this year?).
...Sam Adams Summer Ale.
...A stroll down Newbury Street topped off with a visit to J.P. Licks.
...A long awaited visit with an dear friend whom I haven't seen in 20 or so years.
...24 days until Vegas.
...comes hope for at least one special surprise!
Peace y'all...530

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My Color (thanks for the link Sprizee)

you are aquamarine

Your dominant hues are cyan and green. Although you definately strive to be logical you care about people and know there's a time and place for thinking emotionally. Your head rules most things but your heart rules others, and getting them to meet in the middle takes a lot of your energy some days.

Your saturation level is medium - You're not the most decisive go-getter, but you can get a job done when it's required of you. You probably don't think the world can change for you and don't want to spend too much effort trying to force it.

Your outlook on life is very bright. You are sunny and optimistic about life and others find it very encouraging, but remember to tone it down if you sense irritation.

the html color quiz

NOTE: This isn't displaying quite like it's supposed to so I set the text color to Aquamarine.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Oops, I'm Doing it Again

I completed digitizing and editing Travels with Charley and burned the first CD. I popped the CD into the CD player and was surprised by the fact that the beginning wasn't the beginning I was expecting.

I pulled out the tape, popped it into my cassette deck and listened is slight horror realizing there was a mistake and hoping the severity wasn't all that bad. I soon realized that when I was making the track cuts that I was marking the end of tracks and the software is designed to read those marks as the start of tracks. Therefore, I cut the first four minutes from each of the tapes.

Worse, my conficockydence led me to erase the masters after I tracked them and now I need to start from scratch :(.

Oh well, that's what happens when a certain someone refuses to accept that it might be a good idea to read the directions the first time I use something! I'm half way through take two...hang in there!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Digitizing a Classic

Travels with Charley Travels with Charley is one of my favorite books. This is an unabridged audio version I bought on cassette a long time ago. What intrigued me enough to buy this version was that it is read by actor Gary Sinise; and after I listened to it, I was blown away. Sinise channeled the spirit of Steinbeck and really brought this non-fiction account of Steinbeck's travels across America with his dog Charley.
I had noticed my copy siting in the basement on a number of occasions and never really thought about it until I recently dug up some old video tapes and noticed some major deterioration on several, some as bad as having lost the soundtrack; this got me a tad worried about the Steinbeck set and had me thinking, "I wonder if it's available on CD?"
I hunted through a series of library catalogs and then Amazon and Barnes & Noble and came up empty handed. I realized that if I am to preserve the Gary Sinise read version of this book, it was going to be up to me to digitize it onto CD and take it from there.
I dug up an old cassette deck from the basement and wired it into my computer and began the process of digitizing and tracking and thus far have completed five of the six cassettes. What a job, but so worth it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

It Occurred to Me

I'm sitting here watching the 11 o'clock news and the lead story was that of another Iraq casualty, this time a young man from Taunton, Massachusetts.
In one of the interviews with a Taunton local, a woman said that the reason she was there with her little boy is to recognize that this soldier died for us.
It occurred to me, are any of the American casualties dying for us, or because of "us"?

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Cuzzups in Vegas

Cuzzup and CuzzHuzz have firmed up reservations to join me in Las Vegas next month and here's what's on tap for a Saturday evening....

Dinner at 5:

Show at 7:

Wish you were all coming along!

530...later for now.

R.I.P. Tim Russert

What a sad, tragic, and sudden loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Russert family. I've watched some of the press covering the untimely death of Tim Russert and have been moved to tears.

People who grab some level of notariety in the business that Russert did often are dehumanized as a result of the nature of the media they report on. IT is clearer to me now that Tim Russert was not only a talented and underrated journalist, but a good human being.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Funny (now funny) Prostitute Story

Got your attention? Actually this story has always been funny to me but to my buddy, whom we'll refer to as Mike ('cause that's his name), not so much - at least not when it happened.
This was back in the late high school days, we were bored and decided we were going to drive into Manhattan and "check out" the hookers. None of us had any intentions of getting action, we just wanted to observe them (really).
So were cruising the neighborhood and are at a stop light with the windows down. We noticed three hookers trolling the street just ahead and one of them looked our way and I'm guessing saw a car full of young testosterone and came on over.
So this hooker sticks the head right into the car, big ass smile looks around asking who wants the "first ride" of the night and then, reached down and grabbed Mike's package (over his jeans) then looked at him right in the eyes and said something that went sort of like this, "ooh big boy, what do you say you get first crack at this and everyone else can have sloppy seconds."
Before Mike could respond, which would have been difficult given that he fell into a state of shock, Bart (I think it was Bart, it may have ben one of the other guys) noticed that our little miss hooker had an adam's apple the size of Cleveland and yelped, "it's a dude!"
Everyone started laughing in a sort of nervous terror, the windows started going up, the hooker was trying to keep his arm from being severed while maintaining his firm grasp on Mike's peesh, and the car started moving. Once we shook off the terror we all jokingly assured that having a "gay experience" does not necessarily make one "gay" and we ribbed him good for quite some time.
Good times.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Top Chef Fan at Season's End (SPOILER)

As I write this line, the finale is 2/3rd's through and I'll reiterate, I'd love to be a judge on that show. I know that you'll get a thorough and entertaining walk-through over at David Dust's blog, this is just a very (very) brief shpiel.

I am rooting for Stephanie, mostly because she's the least annoying while still having talent; she also presented some excellent food. I do wish that she had more self-confidence, I think that is essential in her profession.

Richard is a real egomaniac but has some mad skills and consistently, as Tom Colicchio says, gets lost in his own ideas.

Lisa, I must say surprised me with what she presented and how she handled herself thus far (14 minutes left so anything can happen).

***Holy shit, Richard is an ass! He just said to the judges "Yeah, okay I'll say it, I think I choked tonight." What a freak!

I really like this show but my biggest criticism is one that I have for many of these judged reality shows. I strongly feel that these type of competitions should be more cumulative and not "week-to-week".

A new season of Kathy Griffin's "My Life on the D-List" begins tomorrow, Project Runway begins next month, We're two seasons in on The Mole, hey...this reality junkie is content.

***Pause - awating announcement of Top Chef Winner***

And the winner of Top Chef is...Stephanie

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

5 from 5

Here are links to 5 different posts on 5 different blogs, all of which either made me cringe, go hmmmm, or have some other effect on me.

1. Decked Out - as featured on Human Under Construction
2. Real Live WHORES!!! - as featured on David Dust
3. If I Laugh, I Might Cry - as featured on Skrinkering Hearts
4. Anonymous -as featured on Coming Home: A Journey Like No Other
5. Not Super Human - as featured on Radioactive Girl

Because I like my friend Egan too much to be the source of his hurt, let's make it 6 from 6:

6. The One I Can't Shake as featured on LesSinges: The Life of Monkey Boy

Wanderlust (Yesterday's Post)

I planned on posting a review of the new Gavin Rossdale CD yesterday but decided that I better get to sleep instead. Before I get into this, Brookem, if you are reading this, you may wish to consider this man for an HOH spot.

The other day I was perusing the iTunes store just looking for ways to spend down the balance of my account (all of which was either gifted or awarded via promotions). While I have "bought" a few individual songs, I had not yet purchased and entire "album" electronically before and thought that this was a good time to give it a go.

The selection I chose was "Wanderlust", the first solo CD from Gavin Rossdale, the former lead singer of Bush and the current husband of Gwen Stefani. I was very into the first Bush record when it came out back in, holy crap. 1994 (I can't believe 14 years have passed). There is a certain quality to Rossdale's voice that I find appealing, more so when laid over the melodies he writes.

The song on this CD reflect a slight shift in style without compromise of his signature vocal delivery resulting in songs that are clearly more accessible. I really like the result and while I thought Bush was far ahead of it's time, perhaps resulting in an (or contributing to) a shorter lived career as a band, Rossdale's current focus is the here and now (perhaps a result of marriage and/or fatherhood). I like it, a lot.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Faith and Humor

Today while sitting in church waiting for the start of the service, I had noticed the flags hanging from the rafters and it reminded me of a story that's funny; at least now it is.
Just a few months after I started coming to this church, right after a service one day one of the ladies in the Altar Guild has asked if I could lend a hand hanging some flags. I had no idea specifically what she meant but I also had no idea how to say no.
I asked her what I could do to help and she pointed to the flags hanging about 15-20 feet up along either side of the church. All of them, about a dozen or so in total, had to be changed. She told me where I could find the ladder and the flags, where to put the flags I took down,  thanked me by saying something to the effect that I was a doll for helping, and went on her way to complete tasks of her own.
While I wanted to be helpful, my greatest dilemma at this point was my fear of heights and ladders (not all ladders, just ones that are tall enough to reach the heights that make a difference). The only thing I knew to do at this point was to consider that I was inside of church and heck, God wouldn't let me get hurt in his own house, especially when I was helping him decorate - right?
I know, silly thoughts to have for a forty-something guy but that's what was going through my head. So, talking myself through that logic, I went to retrieve the ladder an set it up under the first flag. Once the ladder was standing and waiting for my first climb, it occurred to me once more just how high (for me) that darn flag was.
I began to repeat in a mantra like fashion that God wouldn't let me get hurt in his own house and began to climb the ladder; ever so slowly, raising my arms up  carefully to see if I was high enough to reach the flag rod and pull it out to make the changeover. Eventually, I got the job done but it was a painful experience that did nothing to help me overcome any of the fears involved at the start.
Fortunately, six years in I can say that looking back at this story, I can't help but laugh and if I have learned anything in those six years, it's how to say no, even in church.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

When a Kiss Isn't Just a Kiss

I read a story in the news this past week about an incident at Safeco Field in Seattle. Evidently a woman complained that an usher at Safeco Field asked her to stop kissing her date because it was making another fan uncomfortable. Her date happenned to be another woman.

I wan't there, so I don't know how intensely they were kissing. If in fact they were deep in the throws of passion neglecting to consider they were in a public place then perhaps there is a point to be made but not because they both happen to be the same sex, but because there is a line of everybody that shouldn't be crossed in public.

Beyond that, I find it utterly repulsive that the usher would even consider approaching the couple based solely on the fact that they are a same sex couple. I know that there are still people out there that can't fathom homosexuality, especially that close up, but it's time for them to get a grip on the real world, one populated with people of all sorts. Ultimately, they, we, are all people and each of us deserves the same respect.

For those that find it somehow shocking to see two people of the same gender sharing a kiss, perhaps these far more shocking realities in life are ones you should focus more on; and not for their shock value but for reason that are way too obvious to have to get into here:
  • The number of people who die everyday fighting a war that been senseless from the start.
  • Gas prices have essentially tripled since GWB became president.
  • Slavery still exists.
  • 1 out of 17 people die from a mosquito related death.
  • More than 38 million people around the world are infected by HIV/AIDS, 25 million in Africa alone.
  • ONE person in seven has no access to clean water for drinking, cooking or washing.
Do I need to go on? A kiss really is just a kiss, let's sweat the big stuff.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Time Has Come

I've supported Hillary Clinton throughout. I think she's an excelent candidate but the fact is that Obama will be the nominee and there has never been a more important presidential election in my lifetime than this one.

Quite simply, this country needs a democratic president and for sure, must not have McCain as our next president; that would be the start of Armageddon for sure.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I Have a Sexy Name

I feel a little better about myself tonight.

I typed in "Christopher", which of course, happens to be my name.

Your Name Is Damn Sexy! :)

Your name scored 157 in the "How Sexy Is Your Name Test"

Flash Toys at

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Response to Coming Home/Nat

Essentially Me has a (to borrow a word from Perez Hilton) brazilliant post on her blog. I happen to love this kind of comic relief, it's right up my alley. However, there is a funny reference to cooking on the engine of a car ("...I use the heat of the engine to cook my meals.") that brought up a memory of a funny story that I am going to share with you here.

Back in college I worked in a Video/Record store and there was a video customer whose name was Nat. Nat was an old timer, a short jolly black man who had been around long enough to live through some very difficult times. Nat was never bitter though, he had a great spirit, was warm and gentle, and loved to smile.

One time Nat and I were chatting about a recent trip I had taken to Six Flags Great Adventure, and I recall telling him about how I hated the food at amusement parks because it was overpriced and rarely edible. Then, Nat told me about he takes care of the food dilemma.

Nat drove an early 1970's Cadillac, a really big car. He was telling me that before he treks of on the long journey from Brooklyn to New Jersey with the grand kids, he prepares extra food the night before - usually fried chicken and corn on the cob. He wraps up each piece in "the tin foil" and brings it all in a cooler.

By the time they all reach the amusement park, around lunch time, the engine had been fired up for at least an hour and a half and was good and hot. He would take all of the individually wrapped pieces of food and place them on the engine block to heat them up before serving them. The whole family would eat right there in the parking lot and then head on in for the rides.

What a character!

Monday, June 02, 2008

States and Places

How many of the 50 states have you been in?

I've been in the following 16:

  1. Arizona
  2. California
  3. Connecticut
  4. Florida
  5. Hawaii
  6. Maine
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Nevada
  9. New Hampshire
  10. New Jersey
  11. New Mexico
  12. New York
  13. Pennsylvania
  14. Rhode Island
  15. Tennessee
  16. Vermont

By "been in" means I spent time there, at least a day, and not just in the airport. I have technically been in Illinois but only because of a layover at O'Hare airport, which I never left so I don't count that state. The same circumstances are true of Washington D.C.

I'm not overly travelled out of this country and have an oddishly flavored slate of countries/territories visited:
Puerto Rico
St. Thomas
St. Croix
The Republic of Kiribati

Places I want to go to:
The 34 states I haven't yet been

Before I go:
Jill, if you are reading this, bloggerville misses you.
Facebook, Im hooked.
Yesterday it occured to me that I haven't ridden a bike in well over a decade.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Mission Mission

Today, an old friend, The Rev. Ted Gaiser spoke to our church about mission trips. He showed some photos and told stories that were really amazing, heart wrenching, and beautiful. Have you ever gone on a mission trip? Have you ever thought about going on one?

There really is so much to learn.There was one story that really moved me I actually shed a tear and came really close to losing it. It was about a mission trip to Mexico that to men from our diocese went on.

The two priests were greeted by the entire village all dressed in their best, most colorful outfits and a feast. The gathering was extravagant and joyous and afterward, one of the men said the one of "the leaders", "look, I know you, and everyone traveled more than a day out of the village, you need to travel that much back, and you fed in in one day with what you would probably not use in an entire week, you gotta let me do something."

The response of the village leader is what really hit me hard,"Are you kidding me? Do you have any idea what you have done for these people? You are the first white men to come here who didn't want to steal from them or rape their children."