Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Please Stop Apologizing

This was Bill Maher's closing monologue on his Real Time show a few weeks ago.
I agree with this 100%.
As Americans, it is not a RIGHT to not be offended. Whatever happened to "sticks and stones...?"
The coddling and cow-towing of special interest groups in this country has become sickening.
It's especially refreshing to see this view coming from a liberal. It's usually liberals that are the ones that are always trying to make sure no one's feelings get hurt.
I've always said that the difference between conservatives and liberals is that conservatives want to keep you from saying "fuck," while liberals want to keep you from saying "fuck you."
It should be noted that the lines in bold are my doing for personal emphasis.

Please Stop Apologizing

Published: March 21, 2012
THIS week, Robert De Niro made a joke about first ladies, and Newt Gingrich said it was “inexcusable and the president should apologize for him.” Of course, if something is “inexcusable,” an apology doesn’t make any difference, but then again, neither does Newt Gingrich.
Mr. De Niro was speaking at a fund-raiser with the first lady, Michelle Obama. Here’s the joke: “Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?”
The first lady’s press secretary declared the joke “inappropriate,” and Mr. De Niro said his remarks were “not meant to offend.” So, as these things go, even if the terrible damage can never be undone, at least the healing can begin. And we can move on to the next time we choose sides and pretend to be outraged about nothing.
When did we get it in our heads that we have the right to never hear anything we don’t like? In the last year, we’ve been shocked and appalled by the unbelievable insensitivity of Nike shoes, the Fighting Sioux, Hank Williams Jr., Cee Lo Green, Ashton Kutcher, Tracy Morgan, Don Imus, Kirk Cameron, Gilbert Gottfried, the Super Bowl halftime show and the ESPN guys who used the wrong cliché for Jeremy Lin after everyone else used all the others. Who can keep up?
This week, President Obama’s chief political strategist, David Axelrod, described Mitt Romney’s constant advertising barrage in Illinois as a “Mittzkrieg,” and instantly the Republican Jewish Coalition was outraged and called out Mr. Axelrod’s “Holocaust and Nazi imagery” as “disturbing.” Because the message of “Mittzkrieg” was clear: Kill all the Jews. Then the coalition demanded not only that Mr. Axelrod apologize immediately but also that Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz “publicly rebuke” him. For a pun! For punning against humanity!
The right side of America is mad at President Obama because he hugged  Derrick Bell, a law professor who believed we live in a racist country, 22 years ago; the left side of America is mad at Rush Limbaugh for seemingly proving him right.
If it weren’t for throwing conniption fits, we wouldn’t get any exercise at all.
I have a better idea. Let’s have an amnesty — from the left and the right — on every made-up, fake, totally insincere, playacted hurt, insult, slight and affront. Let’s make this Sunday the National Day of No Outrage. One day a year when you will not find some tiny thing someone did or said and pretend you can barely continue functioning until they apologize.
If that doesn’t work, what about this: If you see or hear something you don’t like in the media, just go on with your life. Turn the page or flip the dial or pick up your roll of quarters and leave the booth.
The answer to whenever another human being annoys you is not “make them go away forever.” We need to learn to coexist, and it’s actually pretty easy to do. For example, I find Rush Limbaugh obnoxious, but I’ve been able to coexist comfortably with him for 20 years by using this simple method: I never listen to his program. The only time I hear him is when I’m at a stoplight next to a pickup truck.
When the lady at Costco gives you a free sample of its new ham pudding and you don’t like it, you spit it into a napkin and keep shopping. You don’t declare a holy war on ham.
I don’t want to live in a country where no one ever says anything that offends anyone. That’s why we have Canada. That’s not us. If we sand down our rough edges and drain all the color, emotion and spontaneity out of our discourse, we’ll end up with political candidates who never say anything but the safest, blandest, emptiest, most unctuous focus-grouped platitudes and cant. In other words, we’ll get Mitt Romney.
Bill Maher is host of “Real Time With Bill Maher” on HBO.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Gotta love these emails that try to get you to divulge personal info and get money out of you.
The sad part is that some people actually fall for these things.
My favorite part is the "Note:" at the bottom. ;-)
By the way, I don't recommend that you follow any links contained in the text below. ;-)

Federal Bureau of Investigation  fbi@gov.org
 1:56 PM (7 hours ago)
to undisclosed recipients

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Counter-terrorism Division and Cyber Crime Division
J. Edgar. Hoover Building Washington DC.
Attention Beneficiary,
Records show that you are among one of the individuals and organizations who are yet to receive their overdue payment from overseas which includes those of Lottery/Gambling, Contract and Inheritance. Through our Fraud Monitory Unit we have also noticed that over the past you have been transacting with some imposters and fraudsters who have been impersonating the likes of Prof. Soludo/Mr.Lamido Sanusi of the Central Bank Of Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Aziza, Bode Williams, Frank, Anderson, none officials of Oceanic Bank, Zenith Banks, Kelvin Young of HSBC, Ben of FedEx, Ibrahim Sule, Dr. Usman Shamsuddeen and some imposters claiming to be The Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The Cyber Crime Division of the FBI gathered information from the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) formerly known as the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) of how some people have lost outrageous sums of money to these impostors. As a result of this we hereby advise you to stop communication with any one not referred to you by us.We have negotiated with the Federal Ministry of Finance that your payment totaling $2,000,000.00 will be released to you via a custom pin based ATM card with a maximum withdrawal limit of $15,000 a day which is powered by Visa Card and can be used anywhere in the world were you see a Visa Card Logo on the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM). We have advised that this should be the only way at which you are to receive your payment because it?s more guaranteed, since over $5 billion was lost on fake check last year 2011.
We guarantee 100% receipt of your payment, because we have perfected everything in regards to the release of your $2 million United States Dollars to be 100% risk free and free from any hitches as it?s our duty to protect citizens of the United States of America and also Asia and Europe. (This is as a result of the mandate from US Government to make sure all debts owed to citizens of American and also Asia and Europe which includes Inheritance, Contract, Gambling/Lottery etc are been cleared for the betterment of the current economic status of the nation and its citizens as he has always believed ?Our Time for Change has come? because ?Change can happen?).Below are few list of tracking numbers you can track from UPS website to confirm people like you who have received their payment successfully.
Name :William quiring
UPS Tracking Number: H8444456084 (http://wwwapps.ups.com/WebTracking/track)
Name: charles dick
UPS Tracking Number:H8444456084 (http://wwwapps.ups.com/WebTracking/track)
To redeem your fund you are hereby advised to contact the ATM Card Center via email for their requirement to proceed and procure your Approval of Payment Warrant and Endorsement of your ATM Release Order on your behalf which will cost you $297.00 only nothing more and no hidden fees as everything else has been taken cared of by the Federal Government including taxes, custom paper and clearance duty so all you will ever need to pay is $297.00 only.
Contact Information
Name: Mr.Samuel Carlton
Email: atmdept73@aol.com
Do contact Mr.Samuel Carlton of the ATM Card Center via his contact details above and furnish him with your details as listed below:
Your full Name:....................................................................................
Home/Cell Phone:.................................................................................
Your Address (where you will like your ATM CARD to be sent to):.........
On contacting him with your details your files would be updated and he will be sending you the payment information in which you will use in making payment of $297.00 via Western Union Money Transfer for the procurement of your Approval of Payment Warrant and Endorsement of your ATM Release Order. After which the delivery of your ATM card will be effected to your designated home address without any further delay, extra fee or any authority raising eyebrow.Upon receipt of payment the delivery officer will ensure that your package is sent within 48 working hours. Because we are so sure of everything we are giving you a 100% money back guarantee if you do not receive your ATM CARD Shipment Confirmation within the next 48hrs after you have made the payment.Once again we are so sure of you receiving your payment at no any other cost as we have taking it upon our duty to monitor everything in other to cub cyber crime that is perpetrated by those imposters.

Note: Disregard any email you get from any impostors or offices claiming to be in possession of your ATM card, you are hereby advice only to be in contact with Mr.Samuel Carlton of the ATM card center who is the rightful person to deal with in regards to your payment and forward any emails you get from impostors to this office so we could act upon it immediately. Help stop cyber crime

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Yes, but can it core a apple?

I was just in a Shop Rite checking out, and as the cashier was taking the money from the guy ahead of me for his order, he offered to give her a quarter in addition to the bills he had already given her. I believe the amount of the order was something-dollars and 23 cents.
Well, since she had already entered the amount of the bills into the computerized register, after momentarily looking like a deer in headlights, she told him that it was not possible because she had already entered the amount of the paper money.
I found it quite disturbing that we now live in a society where a teenager cannot comprehend giving back 2 cents and one more dollar than the computer says rather than the 77 cents originally calculated by a soulless machine.
Whether she thought it would screw up her register or that she simply was incapable of figuring it out is irrelevant (I'm guessing it was both). It just goes to show that youth today has come to rely too heavily on automation. They no longer have the basic skills that most of us learned at a very young age.
Remember years ago? Before the computer age? The three very basic skills we were taught were reading, writing, and arithmetic. Somewhere along the way we dropped two of those primordial elements of our life. The penmanship of most of the kids I've seen lately is absolutely atrocious, and they don't know basic math.
On a related note, I was floored to discover that many kids today do not know how to tell time on an analog clock! Are you kidding me?
Look, I understand that we've made great strides in technology, but does that justify an evolution towards complete dependence on it? Shouldn't we still be raising kids with the basic skills to be self-functioning in the event there's ever a situation where there are no machines to function for them?
Make no mistake, I am not one of those stubborn old fools that is resistant to change and advances in technology. In fact, I take advantage of it to the fullest. I am composing and posting this from a small computer/phone/media player/camera/video recorder/etc., while sitting in my car.
But here's the thing...if I didn't have this little device, I am capable of picking up a pen and paper and writing all this down in either legible printing or script (another thing that seems to have gone by the wayside).
I can also figure out taxes, tips and change without the use of any mechanical device. Hell, when I was in college, I worked as a cashier on a manual cash register where I had to add the tax myself. With the tax rate being 5% at the time, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out tax; but it's a basic math skill you'd be hard pressed to find in todays youth.

So, to paraphrase the question asked by Ed Norton to chef of the future Ralph Kramden, with all these fancy new fangled technological advances, can it core a apple?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

45 Life Lessons (and 5 to grow on)

This has been going around email circles for almost 10 years now, and seems it's making the rounds again.

Written by Regina Brett who, contrary to the email's claim that she is 90, is actually 55 years old.

This is some really awesome yet simple advice.


Originally published in The Plain Dealer on Sunday, May 28, 2006

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.

It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here's an update:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don't ask, you don't get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition

Just received this in email and found it thought provoking:

Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition‏

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced
goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor.
This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift-giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands.
Yes there is!

It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?

Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamins on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.
There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big national chains -- this is about supporting
your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?
Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom?
 Mom would love the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I know I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner-operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theater.

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you really need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.
You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring
about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.

THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.
This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn't that what Christmas is about? 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

An End Of An Era

Sad news, and all the more reason to not miss this one.
I am glad that they're not letting it just fade away on this past year's cancellation.

Official NEARfest Press Release October 17, 2011


In 1999, the North East Art Rock Festival was started as an effort to return progressive rock music to the area where it thrived back in its heyday. In the 1970s, the Philadelphia area was a well-known hotbed of fandom for the brand of rock music featuring exemplary virtuosity. With the re-emergence of progressive music worldwide in the early `90s, festivals became a novel way to feature both new bands and re-invigorate some from the past. A few festivals had come before, namely ProgFest (CA), the ever-present ProgDay (NC), BajaProg (Mexico), and the short-lived ProgScape (MD), plus several after, but none have taken on the notoriety NEARfest had achieved. In just a few short years, NEARfest became the "most prestigious progressive rock festival in the world" and has remained so for over 12 years.

From its inception, NEARfest has strived to merge extraordinary bands from the global Prog Rock underground and the devoted community of eclectic music fans on this side of the pond. It was felt that otherwise, never would the two meet, especially en masse. This emotional combination of musical dedication has produced many a weekend of musical bliss. Ask any former attendee of the festival and you will get a different list of highlights from years past, which is validation in itself of NEARfest's dedication to a diverse lineup of Prog Rock subgenres. Favorites will range from Camel and Keith Emerson to Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Miriodor; from Steve Hackett and Banco to Echolyn and Hidria Spacefolk; from Magma and Univers Zero to Kenso and Kraan; from Eddie Jobson and Three Friends to Cabezas de Cera and Beardfish; from Porcupine Tree and PFM to Anekdoten and Änglagård. And that's only a fraction of the over 120 bands that have performed at NEARfest to date.

And now, the time has come to complete the cycle.

2012 will mark the final edition of the North East Art Rock Festival. NEARfest has always employed a model, for right or wrong, where lineups were typically anchored by legends of the greater genre and featured a plethora of world-class bands spanning the broad range of subgenres. Part of the success of NEARfest and its rapid sellouts was its ability to attract legendary progressive bands that had played only infrequently, if ever, on the East Coast of the United States. As time has marched inexorably, it started to become clear that this headliner-centric model would not be sustainable indefinitely. Too much of a change in the model and those dedicated to attending and supporting the festival may feel that it is no longer in the spirit of NEARfest itself. Therefore, we have decided to retain the marriage of our successful model to our NEARfest brand name.

After the unfortunate events leading to the cancellation of NEARfest 2011, we could not allow the legacy of NEARfest to end with a dark and empty stage. The festival has meant too much to too many, including us, to just disappear without at least making an attempt at a joyous swan song. Therefore, since the spring of 2011, the three of us have been conspiring to put together a final NEARfest, one true to its roots and special to its faithful. We are happy to say that this will indeed happen.

NEARfest Apocalypse will be held over the weekend of June 22nd, 23rd, and 24th, 2012 at its rightful home, the Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University in beautiful Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This will be a true celebration of progressive rock music as well as a "raising of the glass" to everyone who has made NEARfest so special to so many of us over the last 13 years, including our outstanding crew and production team, the wonderful staff at Zoellner, and everyone who has ever bought a ticket to NEARfest. There are plans for activities beyond the norm for the weekend, which will be detailed as the festival draws closer. For now though, we can tell you that both Roger Dean and Mark Wilkinson will be involved in the artwork for this final special event. We will also do our best to make sure that both of these fine gentlemen are in attendance.

In the coming weeks, we will announce the entire NEARfest Apocalypse lineup live on the air on the Gagliarchives radio program. The exact air date will be determined shortly and announced online NEARfest.com, our Yahoo mailing list, Facebook, Twitter, and Progressive Ears. Stay tuned!

We sincerely hope that you will join us for the final chapter of NEARfest. After all, the world ends in December 2012 anyway, right?

Most humbly, Chad Hutchinson Rob LaDuca Kevin Feeley

Links: NEARfest Website, http://www.nearfest.com

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Forever in our hearts and minds

It was an absolutely gorgeous Tuesday morning. Try to imagine a perfect day in your mind, and that was it. I was working for the Kraft Pizza Company; running my usual route in my truck driving on Rt 206 South in Hillsborough, NJ en route to the Shop Rite of Montgomery. Howard Stern was on the truck's radio, the first of a trio of daily radio shows I listened to, with the Radio Chick and Opie & Anthony to follow, respectively.
Howard was talking about Anna Nicole Smith when news came in that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. Thinking it was some sort of errant bi-plane and as yet unconfirmed, it was quickly dismissed in favor of resuming the talk about the blonde with the big boobs.
Shortly thereafter, the news came in that a second plane hit the towers and Howard immediately said, "We're under attack."
It wasn't very long after that that the towers that dominated the NY skyline for 30 of my 38 years collapsed, forever to be a memory.
It was at that point that I started to feel a sense of being violated that quickly turned into anger and sorrow. I didn't know anyone at the towers, nor did I know anyone (closely) that lost someone there. Nevertheless, I felt that sense of violation that you feel when your car or home gets broken into, but obviously on a much grander scale. EVERYONE in the country knows this feeling. A feeling of helplessness and ensuing fantasies of hurting those responsible.
In the weeks that followed, we experienced an unprecedented (in modern times) sense of solidarity and patriotism. Any civil unrest based in race, religion, or politics was put on hold. It was US against them. There were no sides within our borders (save for the ignorance-based backlash towards anyone from the Middle East). The accessories common among everyone were American flags and FDNY hats and shirts.
As was to be expected, the car flags soon tattered and were not replaced. The FDNY hats once again became exclusive to very few other than actual fire fighters.
This is of little relevance. What matters is that most of us hold in our hearts and minds the true sense of unity and loss of that day. 2,977 deaths in 102 minutes. 9/11/01.
Never forget.