21 December 2007

Out for the Holidays -ns

I wanted to take the time and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I will be off for the holidays and will return on the 2nd. In the meantime, check out my top rated articles:

Boston Tea Party and Ron Paul?

Will the Internet Help Ron Paul Win in 2008?

EA pulls topless girls from promotion

BBW Nude Appreciation Revisited

BBW Nude Appreciation

Murder by Tylenol

Does your vote count?

Ride the Seattle Slut

Religion and Nudity

Passing of a Generation

Top 10 Reasons I Love Tivo

Air Force SSgt in Playboy

New lights on the subject?

High Speed Rail in America

Enjoy the articles and enjoy the holidays! I will see you all next year!

19 December 2007

Top 10 Geek Movies

10. While this probably isn't a true geek movie, it still had quite a following. Killer Klowns from Outer Space was a hilarious attempt at a horror flick. If you're looking for a horror movie that has the same feel as "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", then this movie is for you.

9. As much as he annoyed us, Pee-wee Herman seemed to fit the bill when it came to nerds. We all seemed to hate him out loud, but deep inside we had a desire to keep watching this movie again and again. So, Pee-wee's Big Adventure comes in at number 9 in my Top 10 Geek Movies list.

8. While these guys were never nerds or geeks, they sure were outcasts, and therefore fall into the same category. Plus, who can fault a bunch of high school guys for trying to get into a strip club? Porky's comes alo
ng with two sequels and a fair amount of female nudity. If you've never seen these classics, take the time to rent these.

7. Of course, this movie is a fan of many. The 40 Year Old Virgin not only has some great comedy, but also some gratuitous nudity. Andy is a geek who hasn't had sex in his entire life. His friends push him towards sex, but he ends up finding romance instead.

6. Summer school was never this exciting when I went, but this group of students makes class exciting. Then again, the teacher had just as much fun. Summer School has a lot of great comedy with
a young Courtney Thorne Smith and Kirstie Alley.

5. The guys from Weird Science really play the role of the geek. Although I can't blame them for using a computer to try and summon out Kelly LeBrock. The one downfall to this m
ovie is that there was plenty of opportunity for nudity, yet none was ever shown. For a movie like this from the 80's I would have expected some, but it was directed by John Hughes.

4. A big cult followed this movie after its release and it became a great hit. Napoleon Dynamite is the ultimate geek. He is able to use his great dance "skills" to become a legend at his school. Filled with a lot of great subtle humor, it is a great movie for all.

3. You can't think of nerds without thinking of this next movie. Revenge of the Nerds really shows the stereotypical nerd of the 80's. Today nerds and geeks can more safely roam the halls of our high school or college...as they know we can fix their computers and gadgets. Not to mention, we usually make a decent amount of money for our knowledge. Filled with great geek humor, and of course boobs, this movie is great 80's fun.

2. This movie really got me interested in computers and what I could do with them. Although it is made in 1983, it is still a great movie even though the technology is dated. This was back in the day when a hacker was a true hacker and not a script kiddie. All in all, this movie made me want to become a nerd. WarGames is an excellent geek movie, which is why is it number two on my list. Matthew Broderick plays a nerd who stumbles upon a government computer with his modem and gets into some highly classified trouble. This is a great movie for all.

1. After watching WarGames and essentially becoming the geek I am today, I stumbled across my number 1 movie. This, I decided, was what I wanted to ultimately do with my skills. I wanted to overcome any obstacle, have plenty of smart nerdy friends, and use the newest technology. While I may have fell a bit short with my goals, this is exactly what goes on in Sneakers. A group of nerds go after a corporation that has technology that could be used for the wrong purposes. In the process they show some great innovation and interesting technology that made me want to follow in their steps.

Well folks, that was my top 10 geek movies. Did I miss one? Let me know if you think there was one that should have been on my list!

16 December 2007

Boston Tea Party and Ron Paul?

On December 16th, 1773, American colonists entered Boston Harbor and climbed aboard British ships. Once aboard, the colonists proceeded to throw all the crates of tea overboard in protest to being taxed without being represented in Parliament. Large amounts of American colonists also began to boycott tea imported by the British government or their companies. Some believe that these actions helped stem the American Revolution a few years later.

Fast forward 234 years and you will find a tea party of another kind. Ron Paul, a Republican candidate popular on the Internet, has organized a fund raising campaign. The goal is to gather donations from citizens around the country interested in changing how America operates.

Ron Paul is on record for wanting to pull the troops out of foreign wars (i.e. Iraq and Afghanistan), tighten our borders and above all, reduce government involvement in our lives. He feels the government places too many restrictions on our daily lives and looks to the Constitution as his reference.

At the time of this writing, Ron Paul's “tea party” has raised over $1.4 MILLION dollars. These donations come from average citizens looking to change America to begin a new trend of defending our own borders with our own military, remove troops from other countries, reduce government involvement, and protect our environment.

If you feel like these are policies that affect you and are important to you, then you should consider contributing to Ron Paul's campaign to protect the American way of life and our liberties.

14 December 2007

Will the Internet Help Ron Paul Win In 2008?

The Internet seems to be a great predictor of many outcomes, but will it allow Ron Paul to ride to the Presidency? Recent research compiled by Compete indicates that Ron Paul is getting almost double the traffic than his closest competitor, Mike Huckabee.

Forbes also shows that if the race for the Presidency were to take place online, Ron Paul would overtake Hillary Clinton. They show that Ron Paul is the most Googled candidate, even though in the news media he is a relative unknown.

Others have pointed out that the Internet has become the ultimate equalizer. News media still controls which candidates they favor, and if you aren't on the list, chances are you are going to get the votes at the poll.

I'm very excited to see that other candidates can use the Internet to their advantage and overcome this media obstacle. Hopefully this will encourage the media to be more open in fair in their debates and coverage. Ron Paul could be paving the way for other great non-traditional candidates to be heard. Imagine a Presidential race that has an independent third party candidate in the lead!

I'm also on the Ron Paul bandwagon as he preaches against the corruption in Congress, the bloating, and the negative issues that stem from there that others seem to ignore. He also stems from a libertarian background, believing that less governmental control is better.

I hope that Google, Compete and Forbes are correct and Ron Paul can pull into the Presidency and reclaim this Country.

13 December 2007

How To Buy a Digital Camera

Whether finding a replacement camera or shopping for a gift, choosing digital camera can be a difficult decision. Today we are going to go over the different features of a digital camera so that so can make a more informed decision when shopping for a camera.

Zoom is one of the most confusing features of a digital camera. Usually there are two zoom numbers listed; one number is optical zoom and the other is digital zoom. Optical zoom is the camera's ability to move the lens towards the subject to enlarge the image. With optical zoom, there is no loss in quality because the lens is optically enlarging the subject. Digital zoom uses technology to enlarge the image. It can cause the image to become blurry or grainy because it uses the digital processor to manipulate the image. I usually ignore the number indicated by the digital zoom because I don't feel this is a true zoom. Of course, the more optical zoom a camera has, the bigger the lens has to be and therefore the bigger the camera.

The size of the camera can also be a determining factor. Many customers prefer a slim camera for casual use and than can fit in a purse or pocket. When choosing cameras of this size you usually limit the amount of optical zoom to about a 3x. If you go without the restriction on size there is essentially no limit to the amount of optical zoom you can achieve, but typically your standard point and shoot will go no higher than 12x to 15x.

When also handling a camera, some like to have a big LCD screen on the back of the camera to take pictures or to review pictures that have already been taken. Others see the LCD screen as a burden or a battery killer. Personal preference reigns on this decision as it is up to each person what they like. The screen can drain your battery when in use, so take note of how much you use it.

There are two different battery types in use on digital cameras today. Proprietary and standard alkaline are the two choices you are left with to ponder. Proprietary batteries come with their own charger or charging cable and cost around $20 to $50 to replace. Their advantage is that you do not have to pay to recharge them when they are depleted. Standard alkaline batteries are easily found and purchased (usually standard AA or AAA) and can be replaced easily when they are finished. The down side to alkaline is the cost involved to replace them. Of course, you can always tried rechargeable lithium-ion AA or AAA batteries, but these typically don't hold a charge long.

Many people think that the more mega-pixels that they have the better. Which in the overall view is correct, but in most cases anything over six mega-pixels is overkill. Unless you edit your photos on the computer (by cropping or digitally altering) then you probably won't need a high mega-pixel camera. That's not to say that if you find a great deal that you shouldn't go for it, I'm just admitting that it shouldn't be a high selling point (unless you are editing).

Of course your camera has to have some way to store the digital pictures, and this is where the memory comes in. Some cameras offer memory in the camera, but it is usually a small amount; enough memory to hold only a dozen pictures. Most all cameras require a memory card to be inserted into the camera to store the pictures. Different manufactures have different requirements, so make sure you get the correct type of memory. Unless you have a lot of other devices that use a particular kind of memory (or have a specific type of memory card reader), I don't see this being a high selling point.

These are the main points to buying a digital camera. You should prioritize which features you would like to have and then narrow down your camera selections. I suggest you look online for reviews of the cameras that you have selected and use them as a starting point. Of course, nothing beats checking the cameras out in person and seeing what you like as well. Sometimes what looks good on paper doesn't feel great in the hands.

Overall, use your newfound knowledge of the digital camera and find the camera that suits you or its recipient. Taking your time researching can pay off in the long run, so make sure you don't rush. Enjoy shopping for your new digital camera!

12 December 2007

Free Anti-Virus Software

Most people who buy new computers don't realize that their brand new machine does not come with virus protection. (link to wikipedia) Some computers come with a short trial of McAfee or Norton AV, but then you are required to pay to keep the service. Personally, I believe both programs are bloated and slow your system down. Today I'm going to talk about three free alternatives that will give you the same great protections, but at no cost to you.

AVG has been around for a while and provides great anti-virus protection. The do not provide support for their free software, but they do provide regular updates to keep you on the front line of defense. AVG also received a 5 star rating from the editors of C|net.

avast! adds a few features that are not covered in AVG. As well as providing anti-virus protection for your files, avast! also protects files coming through your network and through instant messenger. This application also updates on a regular basis to keep you protected.

ClamWin is another great freeware anti-virus scanner. It provides regular updates to keep you protected, and a scheduler so you can schedule regular anti-virus checks. Unlike AVG and avast!, ClamWin does not provide resident protection. This means that you have to initiate a virus scan or have one scheduled on a regular basis to have your files checked. This can be pro or a con depending on what you are looking for in your anti-virus program.

Based off the descriptions above, you can choose the virus protection that is right for you. All are free to use for personal use and provide regular updates. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages depending on what you seek.

Of course these are not the only freeware anti-virus scanners out there, these are just the most popular of the bunch. Feel free to examine each one or research other possibilities. If you feel that I've left out your favorite anti-virus application, leave a comment so that others can read and learn about it.

11 December 2007

How to buy a Computer

I was thinking about this Christmas season and how I don't have a second job selling computer this year. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the extra money, but explaining the ins and outs of computers got old pretty quick...as did the people just looking to get the cheapest thing, even though it may not do what they wanted.

Since I'm not selling computers this year, I figured that I would write to tell you how to buy a computer, so that you may be the hero of your household. There are a few things that you must know before buying a computer, but don't worry, I'll walk you through it all.

The first thing you need to know is what you are going to be using the computer for? Is it going to be for just internet and email, games, school work, or video or image editing? Most people will know what they will be doing with the computer. Don't look too deep into the question...I mean do you plan on doing any of those tasks in depth.

Most all computers can do simple image/video editing for personal use; most can play simple games as well (although you get what you pay for here), and all can do internet and email now days.

So, once you have figured out what you plan to use your computer for, I will tell you what you will be looking for. Also, one thing to note is that most boxed computers from the store do not come with a monitor, so watch for that added expense.

Internet and Email - Many people out there just need a dependable computer out there that will just allow them to keep in touch with friends and family through the internet and email. This is easily done as most new computer will be able to handle this task with little problem.

You will be able to get by with a computer that is under $500. If at all possible find a computer with at least 1 Gigabyte (GB) of computer memory, or RAM. This will allow the computer to keep up and is an inexpensive way to speed up your computer.

Games - This category can be much trickier as there are a lot more options to look at. Some stores sell some "gaming computers", but these are for the hardcore gamers and wouldn't effect most who are shopping over the Christmas season.

The main thing when looking for a computer that you would like to play games on is the amount of RAM (computer memory) in the computer and the type and speed of the processor. For RAM, you want a minimum of 1 GB (Gigabytes), but 2 GB is recommended. As for the processor you will want to try and stick with the Intel Core 2 Duo series of processor.

If you follow these guidelines you will be able to run most games out there today without breaking your budget. If you want to make sure you get a good gaming experience, I also suggest you invest in a decent ($150) video card as well. Most places such as Circuit City and Best Buy can install these for you. Be prepared to spend $650 to $1,000.

Schoolwork - This type of computer is along the same lines of a internet/email computer, with a few additions. You can still get by with a minimum of 1 GB (Gigabyte) of computer memory (RAM), and minimum processor depending of what type of schoolwork is required.

For grade school through high school an internet/email computer (sub $600) computer should do just fine. Depending on the needs of your student, you may need to splurge for Microsoft Office to allow them to complete certain assignments. Otherwise a free substitute (very compatible and similar in features) is OpenOffice.

For college students, I recommend getting a more advanced computer as the requirements for certain classes can be demanding. I would at recommend 2 GB (Gigabytes) of RAM, although you should be able to get by with 1 GB in most cases. Hard drives are going to need to be above 100 GB as well and I would stick to a Intel Core 2 Duo series processor.

- These are just the quick basics of buying a computer. Remember to ask plenty of questions when buying a computer. Most sales members at box stores around the holidays may have trouble answering your questions as they are hired for the holidays only. If at all possible, try to bring a tech savvy friend or relative with you.

Just try to remember these few things:

- 1GB RAM (memory) is plenty for most computer users, but if you can find a good deal with a computer that has 2 GB it will help performance.

- As long as your computer comes with at least 80GB of hard-drive space you should also be fine, but obviously the more space available the better. Shop around.

- Sales people at box stores are required to try and sell you extras. Some can be worth it, such as Microsoft Office (if needed). They are also able to install the software for you, which can be worth it if it is a gift, but if you feel you or the person can do it for themselves it will save you money.

- All computers need anti-virus protection. New computers do not come with this, and if they do, it is usually just a short trial. Circuit City and Best Buy both offer services to install anti-virus protection for you. Be prepared to add and additional $75 to $100 for this. The two alternatives are to buy the software yourself and install it, or to download free anti-virus software and install it. Your options depend on time and how proficient you are with computers.

If you have any questions or would like to see more articles on certain topics, please let me know and I will try to help out in any way that I can. I enjoyed selling computers for the two years that I did so, but did not like the pressure of having to push the extras.

Enjoy your Christmas and New Year!

10 December 2007

5 Easy Ways to Help the Environment

I will have to begin this to say that I'm not a treehugger, but I have thought about a lot of common practices in our American lifestyle that are wasteful. Some of this is out of convenience; some of it is out of ignorance. Below I am going to list five easy ways that you can adjust your lifestyle, or make simple changes to help the environment.

1. Adjust your thermostats
Try lowering your home thermostat to 68º Fahrenheit (20º Celsius) in the Winter or 78º F (26º C) in the Summer. Also adjust your water heater to 140º F (60º C) or lower. You will be surprised on how little you will notice the difference. My house is an older house with some single pane windows, therefore I keep my thermostat a bit higher at about 72º F.

2. Switch your regular incandescent light bulbs to Compact Florescent Light bulbs (CFL).
CFL's are more efficient than standard light bulbs as they convert more of the energy supplied to actually producing light. I blogged about CFL's in April and I have switched to them in my house as well. They create a nice light and work just as well as regular lights. I have seen my electric bill drop quite a bit because of this change.

3. Turn off lights and appliances
You would be amazed on the amount of money you can save by just making sure that lights are turned off in rooms that are not occupied. Appliances can also be a big drain on your electric bill as well; keep appliances on standby if you have to.

4. Recycle
Recycle all your paper waste as well as cans and bottles. Most communities have curb-side pickup available, but if they don't there are usually convenient drop off points for your recyclables.

5. Transportation
Try to eliminate unnecessary travel by planning out your route and make it as efficient as possible. If possible try to use alternative forms of transportation such as bicycle or public transportation. Even one day a week can make a difference.

Hopefully those of you reading this will take the time to use these tips and help preserve our planet a little bit longer. Most of these tips don't take much to implement, so try them out and you'll be surprised on how you will readjust quickly.

Global Stewards
Practical Environmentalist
Development Crossing

08 December 2007

Car Disabling Device Could End Chases

A new device created by Eureka Aerospace could end car chases as we know them. In work since 2003, the High-Power Electromagnetic System (HPEMS) uses microwave energy to disrupt a car's electrical system, causing it to shut down.

The military could also be interested in this technology as it could help with vehicles charging checkpoints. This device would enable the soldier to disable the vehicle without harming the occupants.

Currently the prototype is 5 feet long, 3 feet wide and a foot thick; it also weighs a hefty 200 pounds. The max range is around 50 feet, but the developers are looking to increase the range to 600 feet as well as reduce the size to something that resembles a plasma TV.

Mounted in either a police vehicle or helicopter, the HPEMS device could really save lives and stop criminals before they get too out of hand. Sometimes car chases are fun to see on the news, but many lives are at stake and held in the balance of the one who is driving. This device will give the authorities a safe alternative to bumping the car to stop it, keeping everyone safe.

Eureka Aerospace is also developing a perimeter defense system that will disable vehicles up to 5 kilometers away. This could be used in many applications that require vehicles to remain at distance. Base security, refueling operations, and stealth operations.

07 December 2007

A Day Which Will Live In Infamy

December 7th, 1941. On this day the United States was attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Most of the Pacific naval fleet was wiped out, but a few ships were able to be salvaged and returned to duty. Some ships, such as the U.S.S. Arizona were not so lucky.

Fortunately, for the U.S., none of our aircraft carriers were in harbor at the time. That could have spelled disaster for the United States in the Pacific theater.

I would like to take the time to pay my respects to all who served in World War II, specifically those who lost their lives in Pearl Harbor. I respect any person who has the courage to serve their country, and I especially respect and honor those who give their life for this country.

God Bless all the service men and women out there as they continue the tradition of our volunteer armed forces.

05 December 2007

EA pulls topless girls from promotion

EA Sports figured that sex sells and decided to use the Sun's Page 3 girls, Becky and Amii to promote their new game, Need For Speed Pro Street. These ads were only released in the UK where it is a bit more acceptable for topless women to be in advertisements.

Since the internet makes everything so accessible, the ad did not stay within the United Kingdom. As word got out about the advertisement for an ESRB "E" rated game, EA began to do damage control and pull the ads from circulation.

After some digging, I was able to find a video of the photo shoot, which is embeded below (NSFW). I also have a picture collage of the photos (NSFW via the ROFLMAO.com) that were in the ad, but I was unable to find individual pictures.

Personally I feel that EA did the right thing in pulling the ad. You usually won't hear me say things like this that involve boobs, but in this case I think it was the right thing to do since it was an "E" rated game. Promoting it like they were was only going to give the game a bad image.

Becky and Amii for Need for Speed - Watch more free videos

03 December 2007

Missouri Football Gets Rejected

The day after losing the Big 12 Championship game to Oklahoma, Missouri awaited the BCS Bowl selections to see how they faired. Missouri finished at 6th in the BCS standings, after being number 1. When the BCS Bowl selections were released, Missouri was surprised to find that they were not listed.

It turns out that the Orange bowl committee decided that Kansas would be a better team to have in the bowl. The same Kansas team that Mizzou beat the week earlier and finished higher in the rankings. Kansas finished 8th in the BCS rankings, two spots behind Missouri, yet they got the BCS bowl over Missouri.

The Jayhawks do not deserve the Orange bowl. They lost that bid when they lost to the Tigers. It is a shame that nothing more can be done about this because the Tigers deserve better than this. After being ranked first in the country a week ago, they do not get a bowl game. West Virginia, who lost this week as well as the number 2 ranked team, still has a BCS bowl game even though they lost to an unranked opponent.

Now I will be rooting for Virginia Tech to crush Kansas in the Orange Bowl and do so decisively. Good luck to Missouri in the Cotton Bowl versus Arkansas...you're going to need it. What a crazy year in College Football.

01 December 2007

Mizzou loses Big 12 Title Game

As a fan of the Missouri Tigers, I have to tip my hat to the Big 12 Champion Oklahoma Sooners. They played a great game and beat a difficult adversary. I only wish the outcome had been different. The Tigers weren't the best team in the Nation, it just happened upon that rank due to LSU losing last week. Not to say that the Tigers weren't a great team...they were.

Their defense stuck in there until the fourth quarter. The game is sixty minutes long and you can't stop playing a minute too soon, and after the only turnover in the game, Mizzou seemed to lose steam and give up.

I'm so angry I could throw something through my T.V. at the moment, but I hesitate because I know the damage it would cause. Mizzou has not beat Oklahoma in five years and they couldn't stop the trend tonight. What started out as a great defensive game between both teams opened into a great offensive second half by the Sooners.

It seemed that Mizzou lost the agressiveness that they had playing Kansas and decided to play it safe against this tough OU defense. Instead they were predictable and played right into the hands of Oklahoma.

I wish the best to the teams of Missouri and Oklahoma. I won't hold a grudge, yet I will be ready for Missouri to finally crush Oklahoma. I don't like my team being dominated by another (as I'm sure any other fan feels the same way), so I will keep rooting for my Missouri Tigers and hoping that they still are offered a BCS bowl.

Good luck to the Sooners, may you do well in your bowl. To the Tigers, have peace that you did well in your conference and that you will perform to a higher level next year.

Legal Hemp in North Dakota?

First, for the uninitiated, the hemp plant is different than marijuana. Although both are derived from variations of the Cannabis sativa plant, the subspecies indica is the one that is referred to as marijuana. Hemp (Cannabis sativa subsp. sativa) contains no or very little THC, the compound that gives marijuana is psychotropic properties. The plant differences don't stop there; the hemp plant is taller and easily made into a variety of different products, while the marijuana plant is very short and bushy.

North Dakota is the first and only state to allow commercial hemp production in the country. Hemp production is a growing industry all over the world, while the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) does not allow the production of hemp as it deems all Cannabis sativa as marijuana, despite the distinct differences.

Dave Monson and Wayne Hauge are two farmers from North Dakota who decided to make a good business out of selling industrial hemp. They met all the state's criteria for being a hemp producer such as, unannounced inspections of their fields; provide geo-positioning coordinates to their fields; ensure that they use seed that contains less than .3% THC and pass a background check. The DEA does not seem concerned that was is being cultivated is hemp. To them, it is nothing more than marijuana and a violation of United States Federal law.

According to the DEA, Federal law prohibits the cultivation of the Cannabis sativa plant in all its variations, to include hemp. To them, they are enforcing the law as written, even if the laws were misguided. At the moment, a judge has promised the farmers a decision within the month regarding the situation.

To me, the situation is another gaff by the United States government and their attempt to control and protect the innocent. In their infinite wisdom, they decided that marijuana was a dangerous drug and banned it, but in doing so banned the entire plant species Cannabis sativa, not just the subspecies indica. In doing so, they crippled the hemp industry and it died out giving way to plastics, cotton, burlap, and tree pulp. Now it is going to take Congress to change the law to allow production of this very versatile plant.

I won't list all the uses that it can be good for, but the list contains insulation, paper, hair conditioner and food products. The crop is also very good for farmers as a rotational crop to replenish the ground with nutrients. To read more about hemp and its uses, go to Wikipedia.

I don't see how we cannot begin to cultivate this plant in the United States, as it has tremendous uses and properties. It is old thinking and clouded minds that keep this plant from seeing its true potential in the U.S. Already manufactures here are importing hemp and using it in various products. When is our government going to see that we a losing out?

29 November 2007

Free Store Credit

If you live near a Staples or an OfficeMax, and have a surplus of empty inkjet cartridges (Lexmark, Dell or HP originals), these two stores will give you a $3 store credit for every one that you bring in. The credit (no pun intended) for this goes to the bargain section on About.com.

The stores will let you use up to three credits (read: $9) at a time. With this you will be able to find some really good deals on various items as both stores have great value sections. So whenever you see an empty inkjet cartridge laying around, go ahead and pick it up, it will give you $3 in store credit!

28 November 2007

Reduced Cable Bill?

Over the past few years advocates have been touting that A La Carte cable TV packages would be much cheaper than the way packages and tiers are sold today. The cable companies say that this is not feasible with the technology today. Personally, I think that both sides don't see the whole picture and whatever gets worked out, hopefully it is a good compromise.

The FCC published a study in 2006 that stated consumers could save as much as 13 percent on their cable bill if they could choose channels a la Carte style. They also noted that the average household only watches 17 channels. While I don't know about the percentages, but I could agree that the average family watches only 17 channels. Although the New York Times article does not address how the prices would be reduced, it just states that they could.

The New York Times has now reported that an a la Carte channel selection would be bland and actually cost us more. They state as an example that ESPN costs $3 per subscriber while everything is packaged, whether the subscriber watches the channel or not. In their scenario, ESPN would have to charge more for their channel if it were not included as a package to keep the same profits. The scenario says that they may have to charge up to $12 per subscriber.

Personally, I feel that ESPN will not have a problem keeping subscribers as it is one of the more popular channels. Opponents of a la Carte programing feel it is the smaller lesser known channels that are going to lose out on the deal. Because the smaller or independent channels are less likely to be known or wanted, they will have to charge more to keep the same profit, something most people are not willing to pay for.

Both scenarios have their ups and downs and I'm not sure if the grass is really greener on the other side. Would I like to have a la Carte programing? In short, yes. But I feel that in some way my bill wouldn't decrease by much. The programmers and cable companies will make sure that they still profit and that their revenues will not decrease. Until a new startup company comes in and creates some competition, prices will continue to rise.

Competition is the answer, I feel. I don't think satellite is really providing much competition to cable, but if IPTV or fiber optic cables become common place, I think that we might see a drop in prices as competition would be in full swing. The possibility of this happening is not too far from the present as AT&T is beginning to use phone lines to deliver TV, and Verizon is working on new technologies as well.

Hopefully we will be able to choose the channels that we would like to watch and have the cheaper price that we want as well. But until that day most will still spend an exorbitant amount of money for their cable.

25 November 2007

BBW Nude Appreciation Revisited

By far, the most traffic to my site comes to my article about BBW nude appreciation. I guess sex sells, and I'm not going to complain if it gets me a few extra readers in the process. Besides, I feel that the topic should be presented to the public, as I don't feel like a majority of the population understands.

As I stated in my previous article, I believe that many men feel that they will be ridiculed for stating a preference for chubby, BBW or curvy women. They feel that they must keep this "secret" to themselves, for fear of being taunted. I have seen this first hand before, and I must say that after a while, your true friends won't care and in fact like your honesty.

In our society it has always amazed me how stick models have made it this far. To me, when I can see the rib cage or bones, it is a huge turn off. But it seems in the fashion world, that if you are above a size six then you are "fat". To me, the perfect size of woman is anywhere from a size 8 to a size 22, but that is subjective. Beauty is how you see it.

I do find it encouraging that there seems to be more online shopping for BBW woman. Many stores do not carry items for larger women, so many have to resort to clothes that don't fit properly, or not fashionable. There are stores out there now such as Kiyonna and Zaftique that cater to the girls that are curvy.

Porn will follow anything that sells, and since there is a small market (and rising) for the BBW, it is becoming more noticeable. The movie Alter Ego demonstrates that a curvy woman can be beautiful as the photographer Carlos Batts (NSFW) will attest to as he filmed his wife April Flores (NSFW). Below is the trailer to his video "Alter Ego", it shows no nudity, but may be unsafe for work.

There seems to be a small movement for the BBW camp, I just hope that it keeps pushing forward and makes a statement that beauty can come in all sizes.

I would love to hear your comments on the subject. My last article had quite a few hits in just a couple of days, but only two comments. Let me know what you think!

Update (12/01/07): I got an email from a person who choses to remain anonymous, but he sent me a video of his BBW wife that he would like to share, keep in mind it is NSFW. Enjoy.

Missouri beats Kansas

There are plenty out there that don't know much about the Missouri-Kansas rivalry, but it is the second oldest rivalry in the country. This year it couldn't mean more; Kansas is ranked #2 and Missouri is ranked #4. The winner of the game would become the Big 12 North Champion, proceed to the Big 12 Championship versus Oklahoma and be one win away from a National Title game.

For Missouri, Quarterback Chase Daniel racked up 361 yards passing and completed 40 of 49 passes. The Heisman trophy hopeful did not seem to be bothered by the stakes of the game and dominated the Jayhawk defense. Kansas, who had only seen one ranked opponent in #24 Kansas State, was not prepared for the high powered Missouri offense.

Missouri's defense showed signs of fatigue during the second half as the Jayhawks were able to come within six points before a safety with twelve seconds left, sealed the fate of the Kansas hopeful.

Now Mizzou must contend with West Virginia for the #1 ranked spot. Many say that #3 (BCS) West Virginia will jump to the #1 spot after the LSU and KU loss this week. The BCS standings are released Sunday and we will see who has come out on top.

Bot West Virginia and Missouri have faced four nationally ranked teams this season and each has lost one of those contests. Out of West Virginia's schedule, no team has been ranked higher than #18, while Missouri's schedule boasts two top 10 teams. West Virginia's only loss was to #18 South Florida, which is the highest ranked team they have faced. #2 Kansas just dropped to Missouri, giving Missouri a win over a top 5 ranked team.

As a fan of Missouri (Go Tigers!), I would like to see Mizzou in the #1 spot. Fanhood aside, I still believe that Missouri should be the top team in the BCS as they have faced two top ten ranked opponents and defeated one. West Virginia has yet to play a team in the top ten (and will not) in the regular season. I don't see how West Virginia can take advantage of the #2 Kansas loss to #4 Missouri.

Since #1 LSU lost to unranked Arkansas, that left that slot vacant for one of the teams below them. Then #2 Kansas suffered the same fate to #4 Missouri. Since Missouri was the team to defeat Kansas, they should leapfrog West Virginia and take the #1 spot. The BCS calculations had West Virginia edging out Missouri by .0171 last week, so I can't see West Virginia staying on top over Missouri.

19 November 2007

$1 Gas Tax

In the past six years, the price of a barrel of oil has increased almost $65 by going from $25.50 to $90. Apparently after the tragedy of September 11, 2001 occurred, many called for a gas tax of one dollar to allow for more energy efficient designs from American automotive manufactures, and to keep revenue from going to the very countries that oppose the United States of America.

But the government decided that it would be in their best interest to not interfere with the free market and the price of oil has steadily increased. The tax was to be phased in over 12 months, and was to help Americans switch to more economical friendly automobiles and to be more energy conscience.

Personally, I think Americans have become spoiled in how we use our energy. Many always state that we have the freedom to do this. My question would have to be, "At what price?" The United States is one of the biggest polluters in the world and we don't seem to care.

While I'm not as dedicated or severe as a tree-hugger, I feel that if we can do minor things (that have a big impact) for the environment, why not do so. Unfortunately, others do not feel the same and need to see a change in their pocketbook before they will initiate change in their life. This is where the tax would have helped.

Americans do not rely enough on personal transportation (i.e. bicycles), or mass transportation, but instead climb into a huge 8 passenger SUV to transport usually just themselves (at 13 MPG). When gas prices peaked at over three dollars a gallon, you began to see a change in this trend. Many found alternative forms of transportation because they were forced to because of a change in their financial situation, not because they wanted to help the environment.

If the United States leaders care at all about the environment, they would initiate a stronger gas tax. But since the U.S. did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, I doubt the government is interested in helping the environment. They only worry about their status and popularity; creating another tax or changing our way of life would disrupt how they are viewed and therefore the status quo prevails.

The $1 tax in itself would probably not do much for Americans other than cause them to spend more on gasoline...and complain. Some day others will realize that reducing emissions and oil usage will be beneficial to the environment and people. Hopefully it is not too late.

16 November 2007

Back from Deployment

For those of you who follow this blog, I wanted to let you know that I have returned from deployment. It was only a month long, as I was replacing someone who needed to get home. Unfortunately, where I was at does not allow access to Blogger or any other blogging site. So that left me without a way to post to the blog. Hopefully I will figure out a work around before I have to head out again.

I will try to be back up on my feet here within the next day or two so that I will have content flowing again. I wanted to thank all of those who sent emails and comments while I was gone, I really appreciate it.

19 October 2007

Out on deployment

One thing I've never really mentioned in here is that I am in the United States Air Force. I never thought it really needed to be mentioned, but now I am mentioning it because I will deploying within the next few days and posts will be sporadic for a while until I can get a good rhythm going. I know I don't have that many readers, but those that I do have, I wanted to make sure that you were aware of my posting had stopped for a bit.

I hope to be up and running soon, take care.

17 October 2007

Want to stay fit?

For most people, keeping fit is very difficult and takes dedication and initiative. You find yourself making excuses as to why you can't go to the gym and little by little you eventually stop going altogether.

But when you do go, you like the rush that you get after a great workout. You like seeing the positive results that you get. For some the results may not be as great, but that may be because they are not using the right exercises.

Enter in, CrossFit.com. This website shows you how to perform exercises correctly, what the exercises are good for and lists how they are effective. There is a long list of exercises available, so you'll find various different ones for your needs.

CrossFit.com even has a section for children as well. This section will keep kids active while keeping them physically fit. Give CrossFit a try for yourself and see how well you can do!

14 October 2007

Sound Barrier Broken

Prior to 1947, not many thought that the sound barrier could be broken. Many believed that it was a barrier that could not be surpassed; that is until Bell created the X-1. Chuck Yeager was selected as the pilot of the X-1 after Bell's own test pilot demanded money (presumably for insurance) before flying.

While I do believe it takes great skill to fly an airplane, I don't like to give that much credit to Chuck Yeager. If it wasn't him flying the plane, it would have been someone else. If the X-1 were to have crashed, then another aircraft would have been built and another pilot used. I see the technology here as the big winner, but a lot of people look past that.

Many other pilots and planes went on to compete as the fastest in the world, but on this day in history in 1947, the X-1 was king.

13 October 2007

Gay Rights Around the Corner?

A recent poll has revealed that 50% of straight people feel that gays should have the same rights as everyone else. Although the release does not reveal who conducted the poll, but claims that 2,000 people were polled.

Many gave religious reasons for not speaking more openly for gays, even though they feel that they should have equal rights.

Being religious myself, I feel that every person in America should receive the same rights, no matter what their sexual orientation, race, or gender. I know it is not the religious standard to give gays rights, but our laws should not be based on religious preferences. It is stated that we should have a separation of church and state.

I don't see gays getting equal rights in the near future, but possibly in 5 to 10 years. What are your thoughts on the matter? Leave a comment!

12 October 2007

BBW Nude Appreciation

Spock, er...excuse me, Leonard Nimoy has created a book called the Full Body Project which shows an appreciation for all those not a size 2. Actually, from the looks of the pictures (NSFW), it looks as if the the appreciation is for those above a size 12. In fact, Mr. Nimoy insists that his models meet a required weight.

I applaud Leonard's efforts, as I think that many woman have a complex about their weight or size from how women are portrayed in our society. This book won't really change the American culture, but hopefully it will be able to make a few people change the views on the "ideal" size of a woman.

Some people prefer skinny or athletic girls, but there are some out there that prefer those with something more to them. A lot of these men are afraid to step up and testify to their preference, which is another reason why I think women think that being a little chubby is bad.

Overall, I believe that the size of models should change and actually extend up to size 12 or so and not have size 0 or 2 women leading the way. Most normal women (even the ones that keep in shape) are nowhere near a size 2. I would like to see this movement gain some ground and have some people take an interest.

10 October 2007

Patriots vs. Cowboys

The battle of the unbeaten. Neither team has managed a loss so far this season, but Dallas tried to give the game against Buffalo away last week. New England has a very potent offense, with Tom Brady leading the league with a 128.7 passer rating and Randy Moss topping all receivers with 551 receiving yards. But don't count out the Cowboy's defense; Anthony Henry leads with four picks this season.

Although New England may have a very competent Quarterback/Wide Receiver duo, Dallas still edges them out in Yards Per Game (YPG), with 429.6 yards versus 427.8. Despite Tom Brady's great arm, most of the Patriot's yards come on the ground, while the Cowboy's are the opposite, choosing to take to the air more.

The defense for Dallas will need to step up this week. Being a home game for them will be a big help, but the front defensive line will need to step it up and surge into the backfield to create pressure for QB Tom Brady. One downside to this is that the secondary needs to be in place, because Tom Brady is not one to get flustered by pressure in the pocket. Dallas will need to have the receivers covered as well, otherwise Tom Brady will pick them apart.

Even though New England hasn't showed signs of weakness this season, I really believe that Dallas will give them a run for their money and will edge out the Patriots by 6 points. The game will air at 4:15 P.M. (EST) on CBS.

08 October 2007

Send Voice Email from Your Phone

Have you ever been somewhere and needed to write something down, but only to find out that you have nothing to write with? Welcome to Jott. This free service allows you to call a toll-free number to send yourself a message to your email, or just set a reminder. There are many uses for this service. Check the link and let me know what you think!

06 October 2007

Free phone headset

Have you ever found yourself driving and talking on your cell phone? Wouldn't it be nice to have a headset to use with your phone? Well, if you head on over to FreeHeadset.org, you can! For just the price of shipping ($3.94), you can have a headset for your phone.

This is not an advertisement! I just received an email from a friend who said that they saw Rachael Ray talking about this on her show. I've already placed the order for mine, now I'm just awaiting for it to arrive.

The website says they are doing this in the interest of public safety, and from the research I have done, it looks as if this is a legitimate website and company. The owner says that he pretty much breaks even.

Give it a shot and get your free headset.

04 October 2007

Mall Living

Imagine if you can, your own apartment above your favorite mall. For 36 year old Michael Townsend, it was more than a dream. With the help of seven friends, they created a 750-square-foot loft above the mall parking garage. While living up there for up to three weeks at a time, the hidden bungalow lacked basic running water and sewage.

The group was able to keep the loft hidden for four years, accumulating a T.V., game system, couch, love seat, and dishes. They built a simple cinderblock wall with a door to keep them separated from the outside world. Michael was arrested this past Wednesday on trespassing charges. He was released on probation. Mr. Townsend released an apology on his website that thanked the police and security teams in their professionalism and "good humor".

I applaud Michael's efforts, even if they were illegal. I would like to see a documentary on this sort of living, and the trials that they went through.


02 October 2007

Universal Health Care

For many Americans, it is either difficult or impossible to get health care because they either carry little insurance or none at all. A Universal Health Care system in the U.S. would fix this problem. Proponents say that it allows all to receive health care, no matter what income level or injury you have. Opponents blast that the coverage is inadequate and wait times are too long.

Many developed countries across the world have some sort of Universal Health Care. In fact, the United States is one of the few developed countries that does not offer free medical care. In the U.K., the health system is primarily funded by taxation, while conversely, Canada's health system is funded through taxes, yet at least 30% is paid through the private sector or individuals.

I know that American's don't like to be taxed, in fact, I bet you can ask pretty much any one in the world and the answer would be the same. In this instance, I believe that the U.S. could possibly reduce income taxes and basically create a Universal Health Care tax, in which all medical charges would be paid through.

Of course this would really throw the system we have in place into an upheaval. Doctors are used to making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. How would this affect their salaries? I'm sure that they would have to decline. Some of these salaries are outrageous. Although, I know a lot of this ends up as malpractice insurance and also helps to offset the costs of medical school, but past that, it is all money in their pocket.

I believe that medical care is one thing that should be given to all citizens as a protection of their government. If we can't properly care for our citizens, who will we have left?

01 October 2007

Child Identity Crisis?

While public schools have taken a hit from the No Child Left Behind act, some are becoming involved in a battle involving student privacy. With this one might think about the student's rights while in school, but something new is emerging: biometrics.

Biometrics is a way of uniquely recognizing humans based upon one or more intrinsic physical or behavioral traits. Basically, it is a way to identify a person based on a fingerprint scan, retina scan, or facial recognition. Although there are many other methods these are very popular.

The school district in Boulder, Colorado wanted to find a quicker way to get children through the lunch line. Fingerprint scanners were brought up as a possible solution as it would be easier for the younger children who would have a hard time remembering a six digit PIN number. Parents were outraged at this proposal. Activists believe that the information stored in the database about a person's biometrics could be compromised and lead problems such as identity theft or being unfairly tracked by the government.

Some schools use fingerprint scanners to allow students to check in for class. This allows for a more accurate count, while allowing the instructor to dedicate time to other duties. Some States have already enacted laws barring the use of biometrics in the classroom, such as Michigan and Iowa.

Personally, I really don't see where the problem lies. This is a quick, efficient and easy solution to some schools problems involving attendance and accountability. While I understand that some people don't like their personal information being stored, at this point, what could someone use their fingerprint data to access?

I understand that if someone had my fingerprint data from when I attended school and I ever became a person of importance that they may be able to use this information if fingerprint scanners ever became common place. As of right now though, I see any of our biometrics as being just as important as our Social Security number, and many people let that number fly around more often than they should.

I feel as long as the information is stored securely, by a reputable company, there should be no problems. Like I stated above, many people shout out their Social Security number to clerks at shopping malls and retail stores when applying for credit, while trusting the clerk that they will not use the information later. Fingerprints will be more secure, yet not completely free from abuse.

Any method you use will be subject to abuse in some form or another. It is up to everyone to help each other find the best method that works with minimal abuse.

29 September 2007

Murder by Tylenol

Mary Kellerman, a 12-year old of Elk Grove Village, Illinois, woke up early and complained to her parents of a sore throat and runny nose. They gave her an Extra-Strength Tylenol Capsule and retreated back to bed. They arose at 7 a.m. to find their daughter collapsed on the bathroom floor. She was pronounced dead after being immediately taken to the hospital.

It was September 29, 1982. The day had barely begun in the greater Chicago area and it had already claimed the life of a little girl. This was just the beginning to what would later be labeled a tragedy.

Paramedics had arrived on the scene at the residence of Adam Janus, a postal worker, to find him barely clinging to life. He was rushed to the hospital and the attempts to resuscitate him failed. Mr. Janus had become the second victim to what would labeled the Tylenol Crisis.

By October 1st, there had been a total of seven deaths related to Tylenol, including two relatives of Adam Janus. Authorities and medical officials were able to ascertain that all the deaths involved the popular pain killer Tylenol.

Upon further investigation, it was found that the bottles of Tylenol that led to the deaths contained cyanide. Investigators found that certain bottles had been tampered with and placed back on the shelves of certain stores. Johnson & Johnson, Tylenol's parent company, proceeded with an expensive recall of all its products.

Because of all this tragedy, the FDA mandated anti-tamper measures be implemented on all over-the-counter medication. With the help of product consultant Calle & Company, Tylenol released the invention of Gelcaps, which were effectively tamper-proof capsules.

Tylenol took a big hit in sales due to the product tampering, but was able to overcome with effective pricing and marketing. The investigators were not as lucky; the culprit of the tampering was never found.

28 September 2007

Are Traffic Cameras Fair?

I have heard many people protest the idea of traffic cameras to catch those who speed. While I know that they can have some errors, I would rather see them in use to keep people honest. Some say that this isn't fair, but I think if you are breaking the law, then you should pay the consequences. Most don't feel the same way as I do, and it shows when speed cameras become targets of vandalism.

A company in Holland has developed a speed camera that is near indestructible. The Innovative Digital Enforcement Environment, or IDEE, stands at 13 feet tall and can withstand heat, tampering, and impacts. It has sensors connected to the base to alert authorities when it is being tampered with. But at a cost of up to $100,000, is it worth it?

In my opinion, no. People will still find cheap ways to tamper with the cameras, such as spray paint, tape, or Vaseline. The cost of upkeep will be huge and people will begin to learn the locations of such cameras and either adjust their speed around them, or take alternative routes.

If there was a way to hide the cameras so that no one saw them, then that might work, but as long as people are aware of them, they will be avoided or vandalized.

I'm not for speeding as I see it as dangerous, especially on residential streets. I have debated with others over this and most of them say it is their right to go the speed that they choose. Now, I'm not saying that speed limits don't annoy me from time to time, but I believe that if there is a posted speed limit, then it should be enforced.

Enforcement of speed limits is difficult and labor intensive. That is why an automated system works best, but whenever technology advances, so does the general population in finding a way to beat the system.

27 September 2007

Does your vote count?

When the Constitution was created, there were provisions included within Article II that provided us with a body of electors from each State. These electors were to cast their ballots for who they wanted as President and then cast a separate ballot for who they wanted as Vice-President. Each State is awarded a certain number of Electoral votes based on the number of Senators and Representatives in the House. When all votes are tallied in each State, the electors will compile their votes and the candidate with the most electoral votes will get those electoral points.

Here is where it becomes redundant. 27 of the 50 States require the electors to vote the same way as the popular vote. Some of those States even have penalties for those who do not do so. I'm not saying this is wrong, but what I don't understand is if they are required to vote the same as the popular vote, why have the Electoral College at all? Why not just tally up the popular vote and the candidate that wins in that State receive those electoral votes?

The answer lies in Article II of the Constitution and Amendment 12 of the same document. These require States to have electors. There have been a couple of attempts to change this, but nothing has ever come close to being passed through the House or Senate.

I don't believe we should have electoral votes or points at all. Like we saw in the 2000 election, the candidate with the most popular votes did not win the election (Al Gore). Although this is very rare, it should not happen. There should not be a reason why the candidate with the most popular votes should not receive the Presidency.

Direct popular vote would also encourage more third party candidates. Since most third party candidates are not funded as well as their more popular adversaries, they find it difficult to travel to a lot of States and try to "win" each. With the popular vote, they could easily be seen on T.V. debates, or on the internet and people would know that their vote did not get wasted because of the electoral college process.

Of course, the Electoral College has at least one benefit. When and if there is a recount needed, it is only done in the particular state where there may have been a discrepancy. There may not be a way to differentiate votes by State in a popular vote contest, leaving a recount to the whole country.

Overall, I see the electoral process as a big waste of time. I feel that if people thought that their votes really counted in an election, such as with a popular vote contest, that there would be more people at the polls.

Are there any other opinions on the subject?

For more information: NARA FAQ

26 September 2007

Chinese High-Speed Rail

By the end of the year China will be operating their first domestically produced high-speed rail line. Operating between the 71 mile (115 km) Beijing-Tianjin route, the new rail line will reduce the trip from 70 minutes to a half hour. Capable of moving 600 passengers, the line will be just in time for the Beijing Olympics next August.

Nine months ago, I brought up the idea that America should have its own high-speed rail. It seems that I'm not the only one with this idea, as Wired magazine wrote an article on the topic. To me, it just seems like this would be the perfect competition to airlines and bus travel, neither of which are looked at fondly.

The Midwest High Speed Rail Association is also looking to increase the awareness of high-speed rail in the central United States. There are many existing tracks that could be upgraded and straightened to create viable high-speed rail lines. In many places tracks have been upgraded and used as high-speed lines and the ridership has increased.

I believe that people would use high-speed rail if it was available to them as a comparable alternative to driving and flying. For most comparisons, the distance is limited to 500 miles, or a three hour flight. I would be more inclined to take rail if the prices were comparable, even if it meant that it would take an extra hour in travel. Passenger rail cars are more spacious and comfortable. They can provide better than an aircraft can, so I would have no qualms about taking rail.

Now, if we could just get the government and investors on board.

25 September 2007

New Defense Weapon

Raytheon has developed a new less-than-lethal weapon that utilizes millimeter wave technology to essentially "warm" the target and force them from the area. Similar in overall effect to tear gas, tasers, and beanbag shotguns, the Silent Guardian allows the user to disperse a crowd, protect a checkpoint or engage in non-lethal force.

This system provides many benefits over other less-than-lethal systems. Unlike tear gas, the Silent Guardian can target a single individual, making it effective against a rogue protester. It also provides the benefit of being able to be deployed from a distance, something that a taser cannot accomplish. The system is very versatile as well; it can adjust from a narrow beam, targeting an individual, to a wide beam to disperse a crowd.

This could help those in the military with base perimeter defense or enforcing checkpoints. On the civilian side, it could help with crowd control or riots. Although this device provides many advantages, it is not without its detractors.

Some believe that the device could be used for purposes other than what was intended, such as torture. Since the device leaves no marks of its use, this would be perfect for those looking to inflict pain, but leave no trace. There is also some concern of what would happen if someone with a weak heart or pacemaker was exposed to the rays of the device.

I believe that device will do more good than harm. I see it being used in military applications to help save lives. Any device that is created can be used outside its designated purpose, and I don't feel that the Silent Guardian is any different. Just like any weapon created, you want to keep it out of the hands of the enemy. Even in civilian utilization, I see great uses for this product.

All in all, this should be a great product, and should provide law enforcement and military personnel with a tool to help prevent disasters and save lives. Let me know what you think.

24 September 2007

Wii Zapper

Ever since I was little, I was brought up with guns. On my tenth birthday, I received a BB gun. On my sixteenth birthday, a small gauge rifle was my present. I never grew up to be a serial killer, nor an armed robber. True, I was taught the proper way to handle a gun, and the safety involved with it. It seems now that some parents are in outrage over a new attachment for the Nintendo Wii called the Zapper.

Now this little piece of plastic, when aimed at your TV screen will simulate a gun. It will be used for certain games to emulate a gun. This is what has parents in an uproar. They believe that this will increase gun violence in children. First of all, most of the games that will be using the gun will be either rated Teen or Mature, which means that most of the kids will be old enough to know the difference between real and fake. It is also up to the parent to be involved (*gasp*) and let the child know that there is a difference.

Why do some people think that the government should help protect their kids from things that parents should be doing in the first place? The first Nintendo console that came out also had an attachment known as a Zapper. It was my second gaming console (after the Atari), and I was younger at the time, so I don't know if there was a big deal made about the use of a toy gun in a game. I really doubt it. But in a time of school violence and lack of parental involvement in children's lives, parents are wanting the government to control their lives and teach their children.

I found a blog from a New Jersey newspaper that states that they had plenty of response that said that the Zapper should be banned. From the comments I was reading on the blog, I found plenty of support for the Zapper and hardly any condemning it.

Grow up parents! Learn to be a better parent.

22 September 2007

Mint Money Management

Have you been wondering where all your money has been going after you've been paid? Are you not sure what percentage of your paycheck goes towards food? Gas? Then maybe you need a program like Mint.

Mint is a web based program that tracks your money in real time. Once you create an account on their website, you enter in your bank and credit card information along with passwords and it downloads all transactions for you and categorizes them. Mint just recently received the TechCrunch40 Top Company award and is seeing a new influx of users.

I have to admit that I'm still a bit leery of entering in my bank information with passwords; especially to a startup company. But if you read Mint's TOU, you will see that the account information is actually handled by Yodlee. Yodlee handles online portfolios for 32 of the top 50 banks in the U.S. Even with another reputable company handling the account information, I'm still uncomfortable releasing all my information. Unless some sort of insurance is given in case of fraud, I probably won't use the site.

Now, for those of you that weren't scared off from the previous paragraph, Mint does look to be a good program for tracking your finances and it is free. It provides you with percentages, graphs and charts for you to easily determine where your money is being spent.

If you are comfortable releasing your bank information to another company, then try out Mint, as it looks to be a very good financial program. If you're not sure about releasing your information, give it time, as Mint might change the way the information is stored or offer some sort of fraud insurance in the future.

21 September 2007

Free Classic Movies and Cartoons!

If you are one that enjoys a good classic movie, then you should take a look at Entertainment Magazine. They have over 150 movies and cartoons to choose from, including Tom and Jerry, Woody Woodpecker, The Little Shop of Horrors, Zorro and many others.

I took a film study class while I was in High School and recognize quite a few of the films that we studied. Don't be put off by black and white films, most were really good. I would have to say when I began my film study course, I was a bit timid about watching a black and white film. I must say that I quickly overcame that shyness and learned to love them as much, if not more than some of the cinema blockbusters today. Just because they use a multi-million dollar budget doesn't mean the movie is going to be good.

Give the site and some of the movies a try. Let me know what you think.

20 September 2007

Ride the Seattle Slut

People in Seattle have learned that changing an acronym can help change your attitude about things. When the South Lake Union Streetcar's 50.5 million dollar project ran into problems, many residents became resentful and took to bashing the project.

Then, among some of the public, the word streetcar changed to trolley. A local coffee shop began making T-Shirts announcing "Ride the S.L.U.T.". The name has taken off and become a favorite of a lot of the working class locals.

Personally, I think it is a great affectionate name to help promote the streetcar line and help boost their revenue. On the other hand, I can understand the company not promoting it because of the acronym's negative connotations.

There should be another T-Shirt that reads "I rode the Seattle S.L.U.T.".

Wanna be an Astronaut?

NASA has released today that it is looking for new astronauts for its 2009 class. Who as a child never thought of becoming an astronaut? I know I had always thought about roaming around the cabin of a space ship; leisurely floating while doing experiments.

There are a few requirements though. To apply you must have a bachelors degree in math, science or engineering. You will also have to be physically fit. The training that is entailed is rather intense, but the benefits are many.

The site lists some various locations you may visit during your training and missions, such as Texas, Florida, California, Russia, Kazakhstan, the International Space Station and the moon.

This is definitely not a quick process. The training and evaluation process can take up to two years! That seems like an awful long time to train for something that you may never get the opportunity to do.

This position is open to all civilians and military. It gives me a little motivation to finish up my bachelors degree...

19 September 2007

Everyday Weekender

As I was cruising around the blogs I read, I ran across a blog called Everyday Weekender. It has all sorts of posts dealing with recreation and fun. Just from reading his blog for a few minutes, I really enjoyed it and have already bookmarked it.

In exchange for people reviewing his blog, he will back link to your blog as well. It is a nice gesture that I am sure to appreciate. Now, I'm not writing this review just for the back link, as I really do enjoy his site. I couldn't post an entry on a site that I didn't like...

So, check his site a look and let me know if you like it. One thing that stood out for me was the post on the floating beer cooler. Go check it out.

U.S. Woman advance to quaterfinals

The U.S. Women's World Cup Soccer team advanced to the quarterfinals last night on an early goal. With only 55 seconds expired on the clock, the U.S. jumped ahead of Nigeria on a goal by Lori Chalupny. This goal was enough to hold the lead for the rest of the match and give the U.S. women a spot in the quarterfinals.

The U.S. team had not been playing well up to the game versus Nigeria. Although Nigeria finished last in the division and is eliminated from the competition, the U.S. showed significant improvement over their previous matches.

By winning their division, the U.S. has avoided playing Germany in the quarterfinals, and will instead compete with England. Both teams have struggled through the tournament, but the U.S. looks to have improved and should hold out over the Brits.

The match begins on Saturday at 7 a.m. CDT and will be broadcast on ESPN2.

18 September 2007

Religion and Nudity

From the day we are born, we are naked. And on that first day we are covered up. Mainly we are covered up for protection from the elements and to keep things sanitary. But past that, what is the main reason we wear clothing? Why do most religious groups get so uptight about nudity?

I believe that being nude is a perfectly natural thing and that people, especially Americans are uptight about it. What is wrong with seeing someone nude when it is not tied to a sexual scene? Set aside the fact that it might be someone you wouldn't want to see naked, but overall, there is nothing wrong about being nude.

Now, I don't walk around my house naked, mainly because I feel like a reptile most of the time. I really think I'm cold blooded. My wife on the other hand will walk naked around the house a lot of the time, or at the very least topless or bottomless. No one in our household thinks anything weird of it because we are used to it. If people were raised around nudity, then we wouldn't have so many people uptight about it.

The truth is, is that too many people tie being nude to sex. This is what creates the problem. I have never raised my children this way and when they see topless woman on the beach or in a movie, I never hear them snicker, point or stare. Whereas I have seen plenty of other children do this as they were not raised around nudity...to them it is funny, taboo and naughty.

As a libertarian, I feel that the government should back off and allow its citizens to live freely and without regard to what I should wear or not wear. But maybe it's getting better...did you know in New York City it is legal for a woman to be topless?

Here's hoping that we can all learn as a country that nudity is natural, and normal. But something tells me it won't be that easy...

17 September 2007

Gmail offline?

I found a post on TechCrunch about India’s Hindustan Times article about the possibility of an offline Gmail client. Presumably running off Google Gears, the offline Gmail client would be beneficial to many people who do not have internet access everywhere they travel.

For those people who travel via public transportation or commute in ways where internet access is not available, an offline Gmail client would enable those to download their email before they disconnect from the internet and travel, just as they would if they used a email account from an ISP. Then, while traveling, they would be able to reply to emails and get work done when they were unable to before. As their device connects back to the internet, the Gmail client will then synchronize and download new email while uploading all replied and new emails.

I see this as a great innovation for Google and competition in the web based email category. Personally, since switching to Gmail over a year ago, I dropped my Hotmail account because it was too much a hassle and the interface was lacking. Since then, Hotmail has switched to Windows Live Hotmail and revamped their interface. I must say, it does look nice, but I can't bring myself to switch back from Google, as I figure they won't be long in surpassing Microsoft once again.

Google has done so much lately and created so many new products that I have been really pleased with what they have done. I just hope they don't loose their roots and become another Microsoft.

10 September 2007

Passing of a Generation

I found this through an email I had received. I decided to post this exactly as it is on the original web page for a couple of reasons. First, the web page is very poorly designed and has a really distracting background. Second, I believe that this generation deserves to be recognized before they are all gone. Everything you see below is an exact copy from the web page. Thank you to all who serve and have served in our Nation's Armed Forces.


I am a doctor specializing in the Emergency Departments of the only two military Level One-Trauma Centers, both in San Antonio, TX and they care for civilian Emergencies as well as military personnel. San Antonio has the largest military retiree population in the world living here. As a military doctor, I work long hours and the pay is less than glamorous. One tends to become jaded by the long hours, lack of sleep, food, family contact and the endless parade of human suffering passing before you. The arrival of another ambulance does not mean more pay, only more work.

Most often, it is a victim from a motor vehicle crash.

Often it is a person of dubious character who has been shot or stabbed. With our large military retiree population, it is often a nursing home patient. Even with my enlisted service and minimal combat experience in Panama, I have caught myself groaning when the ambulance brought in yet another sick, elderly person from one of the local retirement centers that cater to military retirees. I had not stopped to think of what citizens of this age group represented.

I saw "Saving Private Ryan." I was touched deeply. Not so much by the carnage, but by the sacrifices of so many. I was touched most by the scene of the elderly survivor at the graveside, asking his wife if he'd been a good man. I realized that I had seen these same men and women coming through my Emergency Dept. and had not realized what magnificent sacrifices they had made. The things they did for me and everyone else that has lived on this planet since the end of that conflict are priceless.

Situation permitting, I now try to ask my patients about their experiences. They would never bring up the subject without the inquiry. I have been privileged to an amazing array of experiences, recounted in the brief minutes allowed in an Emergency Dept. encounter. These experiences have revealed the incredible individuals I have had the honor of serving in a medical capacity, many on their last admission to the hospital.

There was a frail, elderly woman who reassured my young enlisted medic, trying to start an IV line in her arm. She remained calm and poised, despite her illness and the multiple needle-sticks into her fragile veins. She was what we call a "hard stick." As the medic made another attempt, I noticed a number tattooed across her forearm. I touched it with one finger and looked into her eyes. She simply said, "Auschwitz." Many of later generations would have loudly and openly berated the young medic in his many attempts. How different was the response from this person who'd seen unspeakable suffering.

Also, there was this long retired Colonel, who as a young officer had parachuted from his burning plane over a Pacific Island held by the Japanese. Now an octogenarian, he had a minor cut on his head from a fall at his home where he lived alone. His CT scan and suturing had been delayed until after midnight by the usual parade of high priority ambulance patients. Still spry for his age, he asked to use the phone to call a taxi, to take him home, then he realized his ambulance had brought him without his wallet. He asked if he could use the phone to make a long distance call to his daughter who lived 7 miles away. With great pride we told him that he could not, as he'd done enough for his country and the least we could do was get him a taxi home, even if we had to pay for it ourselves. My only regret was that my shift wouldn't end for several hours, and I couldn't drive him myself.

I was there the night MSgt Roy Benavidez came through the Emergency Dept. for the last time. He was very sick. I was not the doctor taking care of him, but I walked to his bedside and took his hand. I said nothing. He was so sick, he didn't know I was there. I'd read his Congressional Medal of Honor citation and wanted to shake his hand. He died a few days later.

The gentleman who served with Merrill's Marauders, the survivor of the Bataan Death March, the survivor of Omaha Beach, the 101 year old World War I veteran, the former POW held in frozen North Korea, the former POW held in frozen North Korea, and the former Viet Nam Corps Commander.

I remember these citizens.

I may still groan when yet another ambulance comes in, but now I am much more aware of what an honor it is to serve these particular men and women.

I have seen a Congress who would turn their back on these individuals who've sacrificed so much to protect our liberty. I see later generations that seem to be totally engrossed in abusing these same liberties, won with such sacrifice.

It has become my personal endeavor to make the nurses and young enlisted medics aware of these amazing individuals when I encounter them in our Emergency Dept. Their response to these particular citizens has made me think that perhaps all is not lost in the next generation.

My experiences have solidified my belief that we are losing an incredible generation, and this nation knows not what it is losing. Our uncaring government and ungrateful civilian populace should all take note. We should all remember that we must "Earn this."

Written By
CPT. Stephen R. Ellison, M.D.