Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Best Undiscovered Web Sites of 2008

It is ironic how the printed press is slowly folding their tents and going home or joining the rest of us on the Internet. PC Magazine is one of those publications making the switch and with their last print issue they did some great work on the "Top 100 Undiscovered Web Sites of 2008".

This is a good list and you will find some sites that do the expected. For me sites like Jott.com, Meebo.com and YouConvertIt.com jumped to the top of my must explore list.

Check out article on the Top 100 here, or, go directly to the list by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How To Rob A Vegas Poker Room


Like this....


...but who plays at the Sahara anyways?  

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Definition of Politics

Politics comes from two words. Poly, meaning many and tics - a blood sucking parasite. Based on this breakdown I guess many of those that represent us are blood sucking parasites.

Do you need additional explanation?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fill In The Blank

Sometimes I go to write on my blog and after having tremendous ideas I simply go blank - like tonight. I want to write something profound, something inspiring, but I am at a loss.

It is not as if there is a shortage of items to write about....I just can't summon the patience or organization in my head to put it on this screen so here is my latest blog.

Fill in the blanks.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Heading to Vegas!!!


Earlier today I won the American Poker Invitational Quarterly Invitational and August Monthly garnering the top prize of a sponsored trip to the 2009 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, NV. Needless to say I am excited about this and worked very hard to win...today everything just fell together and I was very clear and focused on the plays I made at the table. So now I pat myself on the back, thank my lucky stars and look forward to a great showing at the 2009 World Series of Poker!!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wassup!!!!

I am not an Obama fan, but I have to give this video props for its creativity and humor. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Meadows Lane

In response to my good friends blog, Steele Street, I decided to create my own and utilize this Internet thing - I think it is finally catching on! In homage to Jason's naming strategy I am called my blog Meadows Lane. My first choice was eMeadows, but some guy has already reserved it to blog about his pathetic cyber life and lack of any female interest.

My blog is about what is on my mind - travel, life, politics, relationships, poker, flying, boating, tennis and any other subject I deem myself an expert (or a pseudo expert).

I hope you enjoy my rantings - on a side note...isn't it ironic that people only ask you "are you enjoying yourself" when you aren't?

Let the games begin...or continue depending on if you have read any of my blogs before.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Inconsistentcies of Philosophy

When it comes to abortion and the death penalty people are as polarized as my latest pair of sun glasses, but as you peel back the onion and start to think about the platform position of democrats and republicans it becomes clear to me that both have major inconsistency.

Let's begin with abortion - probably the most polarizing discussion you can have with someone. Personally I don't think the current state of Roe - versus - Wade is going to change anytime soon, but generally speaking democrats support the right to abortion and republicans oppose the right to abortion.

Now onto the death penalty. In this case the democratic platform generally opposes the death penalty and the republican party resoundingly supports it.

Do you see a problem here like I do? Doesn't it seem a bit inconsistent in that if you supported right to life you shouldn't support the death penalty and conversely if you support the right to abortion you should support the death penalty?

I personally cannot reconcile it - and no matter what justification is thrown on the table I don't think they can either.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mandate = Fools

I am convinced that although Barak Obama won the Presidential election his ascension to the oval office was not a "mandate" for expanding the democratic parties definition of change via the pretext of the current financial crisis and election results.

History buffs will be familiar with the circumstances surrounding FDR's rise to power in the 30's, but many forget that along with the positives there were many negatives enacted like the National Recovery Administration. Emily Shoals of the New York Post does an eloquent job of putting this into perspective and I encourage you to read her column here. I believe the democrat party of today will overstep what the majority of Americans expect and force their old ideas onto the public costing them dearly with a majority shift in both houses of congress in 2010 and 2012, even though Obama wins reelection.

I think a solid argument can be made that a mandate requires a significant uptick in votes for the incoming party, but when analyzing the 2008 election we find that Obama defeated McCain by only 1% more than Bush defeated Kerry in 2000. I wouldn't call that a mandate. I would call it the people looking for change in leadership and given the financial crisis I think the vote count was less about Obama and McCain as a change in what we as Americans expect from the party in power and their satisfaction with the current economic environment.

Additionally it is interesting to point out that according to a recent article from the Pittsburgh-Tribune Review by Ralph Reiland the massive turnout of voters predicted by the media driven by get out the vote drives by Democrats never materialized, " despite the pictures of four-hour lines at the polls, American University's Center for the Study of the American Electorate reports that voter turnout in this year's election was the same in percentage terms as it was four years ago --- or at most had risen by less than 1 percent."

In closing, Democrats beware. You do not have a mandate, you have a license to correct what is wrong and for many independent voters like myself I simply suspect that you are going to over reach and further mortgage our countries future with debt strapping each of us with a burden worse than we are strapped with today by implementing your policies from the past and misinterpreting a standard election margin as a mandate to change more than is needed.

Automakers Bailout Useless

I understand why Nancy Pelosi and her crew on the "Hill" are advocating a bailout of the American automakers, but let's be real and realistic at the same time - this is not a bailout of the automakers - it is a bailout of the UAW.

While we are at it why do these companies need taxpayer money anyways? Don't we have bankruptcy laws that are used by businesses to reorganize without pressure from those that they owe? The only reason that Pelosi and her crew don't want bankruptcy to be entered into by the Big 3 is that it will allow them to break their UAW contracts - a major constituency.

Let's face facts together - without fundamental changes to the core costs of U.S. automakers they will never be relevant or competitive in the global market. With hourly costs averaging $73 per hour versus $47 for foreign makers with plants in the United States they won't be competitive.

Let the Big 3 declare bankruptcy and reorganize the way they should, under the existing laws that we have and not leaving the United States taxpayer on the line for a bailout or loan that we have no chance of ever seeing repaid.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Advice to Same Sex Marriage Advocates

It may surprise some of you that I don't oppose same sex unions, but I must admit that I am surprised that those who advocate same sex marriage just don't seem to get that marriage is not a right - it is an agreement and that they have all the same rights that married men and women possess. What they desire is an expansion of their rights to include and enforce "same sex marriage" and with the recent passage of Proposition 8 in California I think it is time for me to offer them some advice. Here it comes...

Most people view marriage as a religious ceremony between a man and a woman, period. Get over that fact and stop asking for "marriage", simply ask the legalization of same-sex unions and stop challenging the popular religious mainstream by using terms they endear and will fight to protect in mass.

As a good friend of mine often says, "it doesn't matter the content or intent if the delivery is off."

Monday, October 27, 2008

D) None of the above

To me politics is becoming much like a multiple choice test. Based on the question you determine your answer, but far too often the questions are misleading, rude or are solely in place for entertainment value and never hit the mark of what really matters in elections.

A perfect example of this is the recent interview between Joe Biden and Barbara West. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out on YouTube - better yet - don't waste your time.

In short, I am fed up with this election. Although I cast a ballot I find myself voting for the person I feel has the fewest negatives instead of the person with the most positives and that aggravates me. I know the issues, I believe I get what needs to happen in this country and I know that none of the candidates from any of the parties have any real answers - only pacification and pandering.

I officially retract my vote and replace it with answer "D". None of the above.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

3 Letters or 4 - What's the Difference

Joe Biden and his latest gaffe.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Can I Have Some Wealth Too?

...or do I not qualify? Obama revealed.

Read it in print here, or view it below.



WTF? Ever heard of Wealth Redistribution - that is the actual economic agenda of Obama and the Democratic Party.

Elect him and enjoy. I will be waiting with baited breath for my check too.

ACORN's Fraudulent Voter Registrations

IT JUST GETS WORSE: ACORN Registers Mickey Mouse. That's the headline on Drudge. Again, where's the Department of Justice on this? Have they somehow overlooked these stories?

The Excitement Builds

Shortly I am heading to Japan for a bit of rest and relaxation with my favorite person (she knows who she is) and the excitement we both have towards this trip is palatable.

Here is just a taste of some of the things we are doing while in Japan:

Feeding the Deer in Miyajima


The Great Buddha of Kamakura


Seeing Cirque du Soleil's ZED

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Take a Bite Out of Atlanta


More than 70 restaurants will offer food samplings and wine tastings this weekend at Taste of Atlanta. The event will be held on the streets of Atlantic Station, a lively midtown district refashioned out of a former steel mill.

Your admission price (starting at $25) lets you try dishes from a list of restaurants that includes Rosa Mexicano, Sambuca, and The Capital Grille. The ticket price includes 10 Taste Coupons, which work sort of like tokens; restaurants will be selling tastes for a certain number of tickets. Additional coupons are sold in $5 and $10 increments.

Read the entire article here...

Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Twelve Atlantic Station, 361 17th St NW. Tickets are $25 per day in advance or $35 at the door; children under 12 are free. You can buy tickets online.

And I Thought McCain Was the Fiscal Conservative

I like reading about technology, aviation, poker, travel and politics. So a document I recently read front to back caught me a bit off guard since I generally align my values towards fiscal conservatism and social liberalism with fiscal issues taking precedent.

The document, published by the US Budget Watch titled Promises, Promises: A Fiscal Voter Guide to the 2008 Election, projects the deficit of the United States in 2013 based on today's baseline and the spending proposals put forth by John McCain and Barak Obama. Of course one would assume the projections would show McCain to be the fiscal conservative, but that doesn't bear out based upon how the calculations were carried out. Here is a summary.



Senator McCain

Senator Obama

Projected Baseline Deficit

-$147 billion

-$147 billion

Tax Policy

-$417 billion to -$485 billion

-$360 billion

Health Care Policy

-$54 billion to -$65 billion

-$65 billion

Energy Policy

$0

$0

Other Spending/Savings

+$291 billion to +$304 billion

+$139 billion


Now this was a real surprise to me, but it did not take into account spending cuts since neither candidate will name specific programs they would cut - only ones they would increase.

Still this gave me pause and makes me wonder if we are even going down the right track as a nation? Will there ever be a candidate that gives it to us straight and is a true fiscal conservative?

One can only hope - and that when he or she does come forward it is not too late.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Real Bailout Story

Funny that SNL gets so close to the truth. Great satire of Barney Frank too!!

News Stories by Presidential Candidate

Is there really a bias to how Presidential Candidates are covered? Take a look at this widget and decide for yourself.

Americans Don't Undersand Taxation

Given the complexity of our tax code, the failure of our government to simplify the tax code or replace it with a system like the Fair Tax it isn't surprising that most tax payers don't know who pays the bulk of the taxes in the United States - confusion and sound bites are a politicians friend.

Check out this exert from a recent Wall Street Journal article citing research from the Tax Policy Center:

"As it happens, the top fifth of earners currently pay 67% of all federal taxes -- including not just income taxes, but payroll taxes, corporate taxes and death taxes. The top 1% of earners pay 26% of all federal taxes.

If the McCain proposal were passed, the top fifth would actually pay a greater share of total federal taxes and the top 1%'s share would decline by only 0.3%. In other words, high earners carry the vast majority of the federal tax burden and, despite what the media portrays as a shift from Scandinavian egalitarianism to Latin American inequity, would continue to do so under Mr. McCain's plan.

The fact that high earners pay the vast majority of all federal taxes will come as a surprise to most Americans, who believe the middle class bears the tax burden while the rich get off scot free. A 2007 Gallup poll found that 66% of Americans believe upper-income people pay too little federal income taxes. Media reports play into these beliefs by focusing on how the candidates' plans would change the tax code, not on what the tax code would look like after those changes took place."

I knew that the top 5th of earners in the United States paid the vast majority of federal taxes and that the top 1% of all income earners paid a large portion of federal taxes, but I did not know the numbers.

So much for the evil rich who aren't paying their fair share.

Political Debates Bore Me To Death

Last night was yet another presidential debate and it bored me to death. I found the entire thing boring. Here is how I rated it:

Moderator - Tom Brokaw: Boring.
Audience Questions: Boring and unimaginative.
McCain: Boring
Obama: Only slightly more boring than McCain by a narrow margin

Obama was only slightly more boring than McCain because he is leading in the polls and his job last night was to avoid mistakes. McCain, on the other hand, had to push harder to make some headway. I just don't see that he did it.

I came to the realization that politicians are not good debaters. Why you might ask? Because they spend the vast amount of their political lives trying not to tell people what they really think.

I think skipping the 3rd Presidential Debate and using that time to clean out my garage sounds like a great trade off.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Obama Leads, McCain Stumbles, Biden goofs, & Palin Kept Limited

Obama leads in all the major polls nationally. Some large margins, some smaller, but, significant.

McCain still gained ground in key states. But, he hasn't moved much to take over, and can he at this point? If you can't hold Virginia and Colorado from the Democrats, you don't deserve to win Senator McCain.

Just as Al Gore lost not only because of Florida, but, because he did not hold West Virgina, and lost his home state, and Bill's home state - popular incumbents don't do that. He did.

Obama has not had to do much, most of this lead is due to the economic news and hysteria in the last two weeks. He just had to sit back, and enjoy the free ride on that. The 'other' party, whichever one it would be, has a major advantage on the issue. Fact. Totally fair as well. It's just an obvious conclusion, and it's very fair to give that advantage to the other party.

Obama is 75% of the way to the White House as of today. He has only not to mess up in the debates, and it's his.

The media adulation and assistance to his campaign doesn't hurt either. It's been over the top, but, so common now, why bother saying anything much.

McCain however has stumbled, he has let an easy issue get away from him.

He had only to say, hey, I told you this would happen, and play that soundbite of his predicting this from 2006, over & over on TV and radio. He didn't.

He had only to say the Congress should bite the bullet, and take the lead, and lead it himself.....an incentive package, a less gigantic bailout package with lots of paybacks required, and an energy bill tied to it, now.....

He has only to say, this is where bipartisan support matters, and I'm the master of doing that, not Senator Obama.

Instead, he blamed Chris Cox, what? He blamed greed and Wall Street. Ugh. You sound like a Democrat, people will vote for the Democrat, not the RHINO.

He blew it going on The View. He blew it going on with Letterman, why bother?

Hey, John, call, Rush, Laura, Sean, Larry, Michael Medved, Mike Reagan, and get the activist base ready to battle for you with a quick call into their shows, something he has done only a few times, and in short time frames. He avoids it.

Biden - what is with this guy? I will enjoy 4 years of his gaffes. They will be fun to see and hear. He's making Dan Quayle look like Einstein. Really, that's the Joe Biden I have grown to love and admire.....Keep it up. It's comical relief.

Palin - Fundraising and crowds and enthusiasm, yeah, she's doing it. Give her credit, she's pulling up her VP end on the ticket. But, McCain is holding her on a tight leash....not letting her do many interviews, or TV spots. Fearful she may goof up. So what? Let her talk John. We like her, we want to see & hear her. He's also afraid, I'm sad to say, she is more popular than he is. Crowds come to see her, not him. Fundraisers sell out for her, not him. TV likes to dissect her every word and move, not his (good and bad).

Senator, if you're going to lose, and it looks like you will (good fight though), you should let Pailn get out there on her own more....she can help that way more, than tied to you.

To the George Wills and David Brooks of the conservative side, they hate Palin, they wanted an older guy with experience in there....that would only have led to one thing: McCain down by 25 at this point. Romney or Ridge or Rudy or Thompson or Kyl would not have added much to the ticket. Certainly, no excitement or enthusiasm, and that's what McCain needed.

Not like she is going to say 57 states, ask a guy bound to a wheelchair to stand up or forget who was President in 1929 like Biden did.

From Samsung 101 at Tennis Forum.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Free Admission to Disney on Your Birthday!!!

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced today that in 2009 it will offer free admission on your birthday to its theme parks in California or Florida.

"Birthdays are the one occasion that we all share every year. We thought a free birthday ticket would be the icing on the cake," said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney parks and Resorts at a press conference today.

The new policy follows up on 2008's popular "Year of a Million Dreams" promotion. Disney wants to focus on guests and the special occasions they're celebrating on their trips. ("Celebration vacation" is their term for these trips.)

Guests will need to provide a valid ID showing their date of birth. For more details, visit disneyparks.com.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Beware Home Depot Customers

For those men who may be regular Home Depot customers. Over the last month I became a victim of a clever scam while out shopping. Simply going out to get supplies has turned out to be quite traumatic. Don't be naive enough to think it couldn't happen to you or your friends.

Here's how the scam works:

Two seriously good-looking 20-something year-old girls come over to your car as you are packing your shopping into the trunk. They both start wiping your windshield with a rag and Windex, with their breasts almost falling out of their skimpy T-shirts. It is impossible not to look.

When you thank them and offer them a tip, they say 'No' and instead ask you for a ride to another Home Depot. You agree and they get in the backseat. On the way, they start undressing. Then one of them climbs over into the front seat and starts crawling all over you, while the other one steals your wallet.

I had my wallet stolen July 5th, 6th, 7th, twice on the 11th, 12th, 13th, & 26th. Also August 2nd, 3rd, twice on the 9th, 10th, 11th, 16th, 17th, three times last Saturday twice last Sunday and very likely again this upcoming Labor Day weekend.

So tell your friends to be careful.

P.S. Wal-Mart has wallets on sale for $2.99

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New York, New York

I LOVE NEW YORK!!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

China's Gold Medals Found to Have High Lead Content - Phelps warned of hazard

China's impressive haul of gold medals at the Beijing Olympics was tarnished somewhat today when it was revealed that 'abnormally high levels of lead' were found in the first-place medallions.

The medals, which were supposed to be made entirely of gold, were instead found to be composed of 99% lead alloy and coated with a gold-colored lead-based paint.

The shocking revelations roiled the Olympic complex today and sent officials looking for answers from the Chinese manufacturer of the medals, the Wuhan One Hundred Percent Gold Medal Corporation.

'We are trying to determine how exactly so much lead got into those gold medals,' said a spokesman for Wuhan , China 's largest exporter of gold medals. 'Until we do, we are urging all first-place athletes not to lick, taste or suck on their medals.'

The news about the potentially toxic gold medals spread panic among Olympic champions, especially U.S. swimming phenom Michael Phelps.

'I am very, very concerned about my extensive contact with gold medals,' Mr. Phelps told reporters. 'But what am I supposed to do? Stop being so awesome?'

In other Olympic news, China 's hopes for winning more medals in women's gymnastics were dashed when one of their leading gymnasts vanished down a bathtub drain on Tuesday.
Immediately after Jiang Qimin's disappearance, Beijing authorities launched a search for the acclaimed seven-pound athlete.

Jiang had been the subject of speculation earlier this week as many foreign observers doubted China 's claims that the two-foot-tall gymnast was sixteen years old.

In an interview with NBC's Bob Costas on Monday, Jiang sparked controversy with this response to a question about her age: 'I want my sippy cup.'

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Life Gets In The Way

I just realized that it is already August and I haven't posted a new blog in close to 10 days, but let's face it - life happens and mine is moving full steam ahead.

At work we are beginning a new year (our fiscal year runs from August to July) and with all my new responsibilities and the organizational changes that come with it I have my hands full on that front.

I have also been spending a good bit of time with my girlfriend, who I believe to be close to the perfect women, time with friends, and playing tennis. Looks like now through November is going to be very busy with things clicking off at a record pace right into the holiday season.

Hence, my lack of blogging - not that I am sure many people read my blog - but if they do I hope it entertains and informs.

That is all for now.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Media Nailed for Bias

In a recent editorial column by William Tate in Investors Business Daily the bias of media is called out towards left leaning candidates.

I found this editorial funny and saddening at the same time and granted I believe Barak Obama has done a good job of making his own good luck, it would be asinine for any of my friends on the left to make a good case that he hasn't had a lot of help from the media after reading this article.

A few items I found interesting were that donations from Fox News Channel, who is consistently criticized for having a right wing bias, actually saw 100% of their donations go to -- wait for it -- can you guess -- Democrats! Now that doesn't seem fair and balanced, does it? I think Fox gets this wrap from other media outlets due to their commentators - not their reporters and considering the bias that the media shows to democrats the picture is starting to get clearer.

As the old adage goes, follow the money and boy what you learn when you do. I encourage you to read William Tate's entire editorial by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Binomials and Poker

In a March 2008 blog post by Phil Gordon called "Binomial Love" on ESPN's Poker Site he talks about the probabilities of winning and losing tournaments. Now Phil is a very smart guy. He attended very good schools and I personally know some of the crowd he runs with it doesn't surprise me that he posted a blog based on the binomial formula.

What the heck is a Binomial Formula you ask? Thanks...here is the answer:

P(k out of n) =- n! / k!(n-k)! * (p^k)(q^(n-k)) Here, "P" represents the probability of something happening "k" out of "n" times, given that the event has a probability of happening of "p", with the probability of it not happening equaling "q". To nut it down to 8th grade math - it is Algebra.

Still with me or ready to lay down from your head spinning? Let me sum it up for you so we can get out of the mire of mathematics. The binomial formula simply states the probability of something happening in the form of a percentage.

For example, in the poker league I play in called API, if we assume that all the players are average and there are a certain number of players in each event we can figure out how often you should win that game, but let's look at what some of us are planning on doing this year.

A small group of players I met in API are focused on playing in WSOP circuit events for the remainder of 2008 and 2009 leading up to the 2009 WSOP in Las Vegas .

Assuming we are average players with a 10 percent chance of cashing in an event, and plan on playing 10 WSOP events this year what are the chances of getting shut out?

n=10, k=0, p=0.10, q=0.90
P=34.86 percent (almost 35%)

Keep this in mind next time you hit a cold streak playing tournament poker and it will help you get back sooner rather than later and remember that tournament poker is a game of failure with only fleeting glimpses of winning - don't get discouraged and keep working on your game.



ESPN WSOP Coverage Begins Tonight

ESPN airs the first coverage of the 2008 World Series of Poker tonight on ESPN at 8:00 p.m., but if you are expecting to see the main event don't get too excited just yet.

Tonight their coverage is of the $10,000 pot-limit hold'em event - # 1. Their main event coverage doesn't come on until September 2nd so that they can run it right up to the Final Table Pre-Show on November 4th before airing the pre-recorded final table on November 11th. Check the World Series of Poker site, BLUFF, CardPlayer.com, or PokerNews.com if you want to know who won the final table before ESPN edits the final table for "excitement".

Here is the actual schedule:

July 22 -- 8-10 p.m. $10,000 pot-limit hold 'em - Event #1
July 29 -- 8-10 p.m. $1,500 no-limit hold 'em - Probably Event #2
Aug. 5 -- 8-10 p.m. $5,000 mixed hold 'em - Event #4
Aug. 12 -- 8-10 p.m. $1,000 no-limit hold 'em with rebuys
Aug. 19 -- 8-10 p.m. $50,000 HORSE - Event #45
Aug. 26 -- 8-10 p.m. $10,000 pot-limit Omaha - Event #50
Sept. 2 -- 8-10 p.m. $10,000 no-limit hold 'em main event - Event #54
Sept. 9 to Oct. 28 -- 9-11 p.m. $10,000 no-limit hold 'em main event - Event #54
Nov. 4 -- 8-10 p.m. WSOP main event final table preview show - Event #54
Nov. 11 -- 9-11 p.m. WSOP main event final table - Event #54

To read more about my experience at the WSOP and previous blogs click here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Props Panned By Health Inspector

I am not one to kick a person when they are down, or wish ill on others - so before going off the deep end and assuming I have it out for Props and Hops keep in mind that I am just posting facts...followed by my opinion. As Paul Harvey would say, "and now the rest of the story".

I live in Cherokee County, Georgia - BridgeMill to be specific. I keep my boat and WaveRunner at Victoria Marina on the "A" dock. I have been eating at Robert's Hideaway and now Props and Hops for many years - long before there was poker at either incarnation. So today, when a good friend of mine sent me this out of the Cherokee Ledger News I was a bit disgusted. If you don't want to click on the link here is the report on Props and Hops from the Cherokee County Health Department:

Props n Hops
1001 Victoria Landing, Canton
Inspection date: June 5
Current score: 61-U
Previous score: 98-A (opening)
Violations: Person in charge must maintain managerial control in food prep areas (multiple cooling, temperature, sanitization issues). Employees must wash hands between glove changes and after hands become contaminated. No bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food. Can opener, meat slicer must bee kept clean. Dish machine not sanitizing, use three-comp until serviced (ran six-seven times). Expired food must be discarded. Do not cool large portions of chicken together, use shallow pans, single layer and place in walk-in cooler 135-70 in two hours, 70-41 in four hours. Par-cooked fries must also be properly cooled. Keep wipe cloths in solution at 100 ppm chlorine, replace when soiled. Multiple food items (potentially hazardous) at 48 degrees to 54 degrees in three-door cooler (all discarded). Cooler must be serviced. Coolers in need of maintenance. Ambient temperature should be 36 degrees. Cooler by grill and flip-top cooler leaking excessively. Condiment cooler needs servicing. Walk-in needs to be turned down. Unnecessary equipment must be removed (inside and outside at back door). Need thorough clean-up in food prep and storage areas.

I went to Props and Hops last night and ate dinner there. Although the food wasn't bad I am glad I read this after I ate it and not before. Fortunately I do more drinking at Props than eating and apparently the beer cooler and ice machine are operating within health guidelines. I must say that the service at the place has diminished greatly and I am soon to introduce a new side game for all the players called "catch the waiter".

This is all a shame in my eyes - I like this game, I really like the players and I really love the location, but it seems to me that Props is in the early stages of implosion. Maybe I am wrong. I take that back - I hope I am wrong and they pull it together.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

HTU TLA's and FLA's

I work in technology for a great company, Cisco (CSCO) - and no we don't sell food, and from the beginning of my career I bet I have dealt with more acronyms than any other career path or profession (save maybe government and medical).

Long ago, my friend and former roommate, Jason Steele coined a phrase for these acronyms. He called them "Hard To Understand Three Letter Acronym's and Four Letter Acronym's" and to be appropriate in the world of techno geeks we ran around with we shortened that up to HTU TLA's and FLA's.

Over the years this has never quite caught on, but I am now toying with the idea of putting this saying on a t-shirt along with one of my other friends favorite sayings which I won't disclose here just in case we decide to trademark it (we have been threatening to do this for 2 years).

What I find funny is that when you use a TLA or FLA how people just nod like they know what you are saying. Are we too proud to ask someone to speak plain English anymore? What I find even funnier is that I put "HTU TLA" and "HTU FLA" on my resume and no one even bothered to question it (must be how I got my current job!).

Now you are in on our little secret, so don't be afraid to tell the next person that throws an acronym at you to cease and desist with the HTU TLA's and FLA's and watch the expression on their face change from smug to confused and feel free to put it on your resume to see if your future employer is really paying attention.

Friday, July 11, 2008

WSOP Update #2: Survive 3 - Make Bank

Day 4 starts with 474 players. The money broke on day 3 (yesterday) with hand for hand play starting at 10:30 a.m. PDT and #667 - a.k.a. as "bubble boy" - being some guy named Steve Chung. Wouldn't it suck to be the bubble in a tournament you paid $10 dimes to play?

The news wasn't all bad for Steve. Milwaukee's Best Light ("the Beast") awarded him with a $10,000 seat in the 2009 main event. After the money was cracked the fever pitch of players getting eliminated sped up as many players claimed their $21,230 and happily trotted off to Sapphire. Play wrapped up at 2:00 a.m. so day 4 will not start today until 1:00 p.m. allowing players time to rest.

To get the full feel for the "bubble" and what it sounded like check out this podcast from Tao of Poker.

According to CardPlayer.com notable knockouts from Day 3 before the money included Scott Clements, Jennifer Harman, Erik Seidel, Phil Gordon, John D’Agostino, Alex Kravchenko, Toto Leonidas, Noah Boeken, Chris Moneymaker, Barny Boatman, Steve Zolotow, Jason Strasser, and Nenad Medic.

Notable KO's after the bubble included:

651: Men “The Master” Nguyen
645: Pat Pezzin
635: Jason Gray
625: Vanessa Rousso
618: Brandon Adams
616: Bill Gazes
600: Thor Hansen
536: Farzad Rouhani
526: Bob Slezak
518: Chau Giang

Pros still in the tournament of note include Johnny Chan, Hellmuth, Mike Matusow, Jean-Robert Bellande, Allen Cunningham, Evelyn Ng, Jeff Madsen, Brandon Cantu, Hoyt Corkins, Adam Levy, Jon Friedberg, and Victor Ramdin.

There is a list of the money finishers from day 3 from at Tao of Poker if you care to take a look.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

WSOP Main Event Update - Event 54

This years main event had 6,844 entrants. It was going to be 6,845, but I was not able to undo my cracked pocket Aces; therefore, never made it into the starting field.

Of the 6,844 that started a about half - or 3,068 - remained in the field as of 12:42 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday, July 9th. This year players started with 20,000 tournament chips and 2 hour blinds which has led to a slower tournament and for the most part a more deliberate pace. Each of the first days (there were 4 of them) lasted 10 hours, or 5 levels.

The payouts were announced as well - here they are:

666 get paid - ironic, I know.

1st - $9,119,517
2nd - $5,790,024
3rd - $4,503.352
4th - $3,763,515
5th - $3,088,012
6th - $2,412,510
7th - $1,769,174
8th - $1,286,672
9th - $900,670
666th - $21,230

Some notable players no longer in the tournament are Scotty Nguyen, Alexia Portal, and Erick Lindgren (Chased down by ESPN cameras for interview. "Hey America I'm so fuckin happy right now!". He then flipped the bird).

Ray Ramono of "Everybody Loves Raymond" is still in and has been moved to the feature table (for TV).

Quote of the day:

"At least four hundred players were stuffing their faces with pizza. The geniuses at PizzaHut makes out like fuckin' bandits. Installing those stands in the hallway was a grandslam. $6 for cold pieces of stale bread, government cheese and fourth-rate ketchup? Disclaimer: I consume at least three or four per week but I am not a paid endorser, nor do I own any stock in Tricon Global which owns PizzaHut, Kentucky Fried Pigeons, and TacoSamonella."

I ate one of those little disks last week and this is the best analysis I think I have seen!

From TaoPauly's Blog - you should follow this guy on Twitter.

For updates check CardPlayer.com, Bluff Magazine, WSOP, and Tao Pauly's Blog. I used all of these sites to complile this information - some more than others.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Our Visit with the Rat Pack

Here in Vegas there is evidence everywhere of the love and admiration of the “Rat Pack”. There are streets named for Sammy, Dean, and Frank all close to the strip, but what I have noticed most is that behind Elvis impersonators – impersonators of the Rat Pack run a close second.

On Tuesday evening after we arrived here in Vegas, the “API Rat Pack” attended the World Series of BBQ Party at the Golden Nugget hosted by Howard Lederer and Phil Ivey. The event was tremendous and we all felt privileged to attend and get our photos taken with, and to speak with the limitless supply of celebrities and professional poker players in attendance. Jerry Yang, the 2007 WSOP Winner approached us, introduced himself and spent a few minutes encouraging us to believe that we too could win at the WSOP. Mike Spencer had his wet dream come true when he got his picture taken with Shannon Elizabeth and Jennifer Tilly. Mike Matasow took individual and group photos with us and spent some time telling us how he got back into shape and every time we saw him this week has said hello to us. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy that has the “brat” image only on the stage he plays. Raphe Furst introduced us around and answered our poker questions – yes Mike Spencer asked about playing pocket 3’s! I finally met my favorite poker player, Phil Gordon, and got a glimpse into his life as he brought his newborn child to the party along with his wife and mother. I spent a good amount of time chatting with Phil’s wife Barbara and his mother talking about the impact of having a newborn in their life, and with his mother about their life back in Georgia when they lived in Stone Mountain. All of this was fantastic, but there was one surprising person we met that all of us related to immediately.

His name is Tom Stevens. Tom came to the party dressed as Dean Martin and anywhere you looked you could see him posing while seemingly playing the fool, so naturally we approached him to learn more. It turned out that Tom Stevens is a singer and impersonator with a show on the strip in the Riviera. As we all got to know Tom better he invited us to his show the next day at 4:00 p.m., told us he’d give us 50% off our tickets, and we decided to give it a shot having expectations that you could describe as limited. As it turned out I think Tom was surprised when we showed up at his show and instead of giving us 50% off told us he liked us and gave us the $50 face value tickets for free. We graciously accepted and headed into the showroom.

In short, Tom Stevens is by far the best, most entertaining, talented performer I have ever had the opportunity to see in Las Vegas. His one man show will not only is energetic, upbeat, fun and you will never believe how well he does the impressions of various performers from Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis, Jr. to Cher, Sean Connery, and Louis Armstrong. What is amazing is that he not only impersonates somewhere close to 35 different celebrities in his show, he sings some of their songs to a such perfection that if you close your eyes you would swear Elvis had risen along with Ray Charles and many others.

His show may not be the best known in Vegas, but this man is extremely talented and should easily be enjoyed by young and old alike. Thanks for your hospitality Tom. We loved it!

WSOP 2008 Not Complete Bust

Written on 7/3/08.

Today was the day I was going to qualify for the Main Event at the 2008 World Series of Poker, but alas it was not to be this year. By my standards I had good success this year. I definitely did better than last year when I lost 2 single table satellites and exited each early. In contrast this year I won a single table satellite tournament a couple of weeks ago enabling me to stake one of my fellow players into a $1500 No Limit Holdem Event. I won another single tale satellite to enable me to play in a $1030 tournament and I came close, but got a bit blindsided by a set of 6’s that moved ahead of my pocket Aces on the turn. I put the other player on a big pair and called his all in move after time had been called thinking I was ahead given the betting patterns and his previous hands that had been shown down. I was wrong.

One of my main challenges in poker, and in life, is beating myself up for mistakes I make – taking responsibility is not an issue, but I usually take it too far. I found myself very disappointed after the hand, and now 6 hours after busting out, I was discussing it with my roommate, Mike Spencer, and he gave me some great advice that he read on some CardRunners.com materials. It was essentially “that you are going to lose and you must live with the reality that losing is going to happen more than winning.” In poker this is a universal truth and a point well taken.

I think it is a good time to put my loss today in perspective and stop beating myself up. I did well. I invested a total of $225 over 2 weeks and came 7 spots from winning a $10,000 seat in the most lucrative, biggest poker event on earth – the one everyone wants to play after only playing poker for 3 years. It is my dream to get into the main event, but there is always next year and I am finding each time I return I am a better player more capable of achieving my goal and I must credit some of the pros I had the opportunity to spend time with like Raphe “The Catalyst” Furst, a Full Tilt Pro and Expert Insight principal, for giving me some advice on how to have success at the WSOP. I couldn’t use all of it this year, but I will apply his tips and tactics to my game plan for my 2009 trip.

Overall this trip has been amazing!! I must say that the professional poker players are not only approachable, but serve this great game and themselves well by graciously posing for pictures and welcoming their fans. Also, Twitter, has turned out to be a great tool for knowing what is happening with other players in the tournaments around Vegas and I especially recommend subscribing to updates from TaoPauly, Taylor Cabby, Bob Buttrey, and me - emeadows. Next year this tool will be fantastic if more players use it to micro-blog what is happening with them.

Tonight I am playing with some other API players in a relatively small MTT at O’Shea’s with my spirits up, my friends around, and very positive memories on my participation in this year’s World Series of Poker.

Friday, June 27, 2008

SHE DID IT!!!

My mother graduated from the Kennesaw State University Continuing Education Programs Paralegal Program last night. Our entire family and our friends are so proud of her for going after what she wanted and changing her life. I have put together a video for those of you that could not attend to see how much fun we had!




Congratulations on your achievement mom!!!!





Thursday, June 26, 2008

Twittering Isn't for Twits

Again I find myself sitting in an airport waiting on a flight back to Atlanta. I love being able to blog about what is on my mind, but have you ever heard of twitter or twittering?

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send "updates" (or "tweets"; text-based posts, up to 140 characters long) to the Twitter web site, via the Twitter web site, short message service (SMS), instant messaging, or a third-party application such as Twitterrific or Facebook. I have also found there are some great mobile applications for Twitter.

Updates are displayed on the user's profile page and instantly delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. The sender can restrict delivery to those in his or her circle of friends (delivery to everyone is the default). Users can receive updates via the Twitter website, instant messaging, SMS, RSS, email or through an application.

If you want to download the application you can get it and more information at Twitter.com.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

You Are Not In Kansas Anymore

Yesterday on my drive from Memphis to Little Rock I saw something that amazed me and had me thinking in the end that "I was not in Kansas anymore." What was this thing that so enthralled me - this thing that has me scrawling a note on my virtual message bulletin board? Are you ready? No really? Here it comes....

It was a tornado. Granted, this was not a large tornado and I didn't feel in danger at any point. On the F-scale this think might have been 1/2. In fact the sky was about 50% covered by clouds and I found the formation of this tornado to be unusual, but it was there....off to my left in a farm field near a barn twirling away. At first I thought it might just be a good sized dust devil, but as it began picking up dirt you could clearly see the core and the definition of the funnel went about 3/4 of the way up to the cloud that spawned it. It wasn't raining either, which I thought was weird and the funnel appeared to be barely moving from West to East and as I passed it I kept looking back over my shoulder to remind myself that I really had seen a tornado.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Spanking the Monkey in Phoenix

So right now it is close 2:14 a.m. on the east coast and I am sitting in the Phoenix airport people watching as I wait for my flight back to Atlanta - yes it is a red eye.

As I was sitting here I realized I neglected to mention the training I had done on Cardrunners.com before I came out to Vegas for this trip. Where I concentrated was on end of tournament strategy and I believe the videos I watched prepared me well to befuddle my foes and help me keep the pressure on others at the table. In poker it is always better to have others make decisions than for them to have you make decisions and the three Cardrunners videos I watched illuminated that point to me when it comes to short table situations.
Now some random thoughts.....

Who the heck designed this airport? They forgot to put power plugs in the walls so I can recharge my laptop!!!

Earlier tonight I played a $6.50 SnG on PokersStars waiting for my flight to PHX in LAS. I started about 40 mintues before the flight was set to board and actually won the SnG on the jet way as the flight attendant asked me if I was the last one. I was in fact the last one to board the flight. The guy I ended up playing heads up was pissed at me because I was shoving with any 2 good cards and in the end pushed with a 3-5 to get it over while he called with A-K. Of course nothing hit except for my 5 on the river. He called me a donkey and I will take the criticism, but he doesn't understand I was working on a time limit.

I look forward to sleeping in my own bed and resuming a normal schedule...at least until Tuesday when I travel again.

My girlfriend rocks!!!!

Enough random thoughts for now. Think I will pull up Cardrunners and watch a couple videos.

Winning at the WSOP 2008

Today marked a milestone for me in my ever continuing quest to become a better poker player. Why? Because today - Friday, June 20th - I won my first ever "anything" at the WSOP. It was only a single table sit and go for a $175 buy-in, but considering my showing last year this was great! In the end I chopped the prize with another player, but I had commitments to meet and was very confident I could have taken him down as I had already eaten into his chip stack several times and he only got even by taking out the 3rd place finisher garnering close to 3000 chips to make him just barely the chip leader.

I must admit I was a bit nervous out of the gate, but settled in after I entered my first pot eventually folding my pocket sixes to an unfavorable board of over cards and a sizeable bet from another player. I believe that my table image was that of a weaker player as I folded more than once from the blinds and finally annouced my presence during my second hand when I was dealt A-K in the 25-50 blinds under the gun and raised to 350 leaving me 400. I had one call from an aggressive player and the flop came A-Q-5. I pushed all in for the rest of my chips and the other player tried to get me to talk to him about my cards. I eventually told him, "you don't have the nuts to call me" and after another couple comments from him I told him "to stop putting on a show and fold", which he did. This put me back in the game and from there I took down some sizeable pots avoiding trouble I typically find myself in by limiting my starting hand range based on position and making several moves once I had established my image as a solid player that didn't play junk.

I proved to myself today that I can play with just about anyone and more importantly know what I am doing. It is funny because just prior to entering the tournament today I was questioning my abilities and this went a long way towards building up my self confidence.
If you are coming to the WSOP this year with Team API, or on your own and have never been here before take the time to chat with those of us that have so you don't feel overwhelmed when you first enter a tournament. We all want to win and I know the skill of many of the players in API is good.

Here is to more winning stories for us at the 39th WSOP.

Friday, June 13, 2008

My $240 Dish Network Decision

I have a big decision to make - to cancel my Dish Network agreement it will cost me $240. I am thinking it may be worth it since I have 13 months left on an 18 month agreement and since I am already paying them nearly $80 a month for service. Their loss will be greater than my own in the long run (they lose $80 a month - I lose $19) or to net it out I save $800 over the next 13 months by canning these clowns.

In fact it gets even better...if I cancel them I don't have to pay their flaky goon to come to my house and fix their terrible system for $29 making it an even better deal.

Considering all the problems I have had with Dish Network (twice) this seems like a no brainer.

Free over the air HDTV - here I come!!!

Mr. Customer - Bend Over and Take It

You hear it all the time from friends, family and acquaintances. You see it all the time on the news. What is it you may ask? I'll tell you - "more and more companies offer a poor customer experience" - and what's more they really don't care!

In the last month I have had absolutely terrible service from my television provider, Dish Network, on more than one occasion. I am constantly losing my signal, they installed my second receiver in the wrong place and want to charge me $99 to fix their mistake, my neighbors and I are fighting over changing channels on each others receivers, my main receiver had to be replaced and now for the ultimate insult -- they are going to charge me $29 for their technician to come to my house to figure out why I am having a problem with their service!!!! This is my second go around with Dish Network and now I remember why I threw them out more than 6 years ago. Why does a company think they can dump on their customers and keep them? In Dish's case it is because of an 18 month contract that I won't be renewing and if you are thinking about signing up with them I strong urge you to reconsider.

Example number 2: My girlfriends experience with ADT. ADT is a provider of alarm and security services to homes, business, and government. They installed a system at my girlfriends house and she pays them each month to monitor it. Twice in the last month the alarm has gone off in the middle of the night for no reason and not performed as advertised - ADT's answer - give us $25 and we will come out an look at it again! Considering she had to pay them once already to come out and "fix" it the first time does it seem reasonable or responsible for them to charge her again. Companies like ADT don't get that bad news travels fast and users of their services influence new customers - like me - I was considering ADT for the new alarm system at my house but now they are disqualified for simply being stupid.

Example number 3: My friend Jason's experience with United. Suffice it to say he does a much better job of explaining his frustrations than me because I don't fly United, but here is a synopsis. He used miles to fly his wife and child to Israel in first class and they were treated like second class citizens. I know United is having financial issues, but again don't they understand it takes a lot more work to gain back a customer than to keep one happy?

I have come to the conclusion that I won't use any of the companies named above if I don't have to - take note Dish Network, ADT, and United Airlines - I think you all suck and my dollar will go a lot further with one of your competitors. If I want to pay someone to abuse me I will seek out some type of government service or find a practionier of BDSM - I don't need you to treat me or anyone I know like shit. Word travels and in the Internet age I am sure that more than one person will read this and it will factor into their decision of where to spend their dollar and in these tough financial times losing my purchase might not hurt, but as word spreads I am sure the impact will be real. So keep treating your customers like mushrooms and making us pay fees for baggage, to service your equipment, and put common sense to the side and suffer the consequences.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Tackling the Unseen

If you have ever been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition you will understand what I am about to discuss. In late January 2008 my doctor told me I was diabetic - that is I have diabetes. Diabetes is when your body doesn't use, or properly use the insulin created by your pancreas to deliver glucose to your cells. My A1C was off the chart indicating I had an average blood glucose level of 250, which is far outside normal limits. I took it hard. I was in a serious state of denial for several months. It is partly genetic and partly my fault for not taking care of myself better through proper diet and exercise, but rest assure that I am focused now and have several important reasons to make sure I manage my condition.

I am at the beginning of a long road. I have committed myself to a new diet and exercise regimen and an overall more active life style that minimizes the risk of complications from being a diabetic. It took me a while to come to grips with this "unseen" adversary, but through the help of my doctor, friends and a diabetes/nutrition education program from Northside Hospital I see the light, not the end.

If you are a friend or acquaintance of mine I ask for your support in changing several habits I have had for a long time. As one of my nurses told me, "being diabetic is not your fault, but it is your responsibility." This rings very true. The other think that springs to mind is "one must admit they have a problem before they can address it." This is my address, message and challenge to what I cannot see, what I did not want to admit, and my pledge to tackle it head on.

I simply ask for your support.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Hooters and Poker

So tonight I worked late and then went to dinner at Hooters. One thing I noticed about the Hooters here is that the waitresses were much younger and more attractive than other Hooters I have been too. Let's face it, Hooters is not what it used to be - or I just got a bit older and now know better - take your pick. It helps that there are 3 universities around the area to draw from and I would have to say they have picked well.

After I got home from Hooties I played one SnG on PokerStars.com with a $5.50 buy-in. I played very well in the tournament irght up to the point I got knocked out at 4th - on the bubble. Let's just suffice to say I put him on the right cards and called anyways. He had A-K offsuit. I had A-Q suited. I missed the flush by 1 (a.k.a. as an Alabama flush). I am a bit irritated with myself because I know that even if I had folded I could have come back into the money and you must be at the table to get into the money. So I screwed up. Lesson learned and documented here for all to see. On the bright side, I am playing better and feel like my tune up for the WSOP in Las Vegas is going well and I did win a SnG last night so the sky isn't falling just yet!

Business Meeting Double Speak

I am sitting in my office near Raleigh, North Carolina listening to a conference call that one of my co-workers set up. I have no involvement in this call...he is just taking it here because we have the room and have been working on other items for the better part of the day.

What I find funny and frustrating is the double speak that is going on with his call. As far as I can tell they know what they want to accomplish, but every other person goes off on a verbal diatribe about something not relevant to the overall conversation. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard various buzzwords used, like "synergy", "transformational", and "cross sell". It makes me want to gag and go print out a game card to see how soon I could stand up and shout "Bull Shit"!

Don't get me wrong...not all calls are like this, but when one comes along it gets your ire up and loses your attention all at the same time.

That's it for today. I just needed to vent.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Trunk Monkey - The Date

Someday I will have kids and I want one of these!!!!

Trunk Monkey - Donut Bribe

Trunk Monkey is one of the funniest series of commercials I have ever seen. Here is one I call "Donut Bribe".


The Difference

John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barak Obama were walking down a Washington, D.C. street when they came upon a homeless man.

John MCain gave the man his business card and told him to come to his office for a job. He then took $20 out of his pocket and gave it to the homeless man.

Hillary was very impressed so when they came upon another homeless person she decided to help. She walked over to him and gave him directions to the welfare office. Then she reached into John McCain's pocket and got $20. She kept $15 for her administrative fees and gave the homeless man $5.

When they came upon yet another homeless man, Barak told him to "have hope...change is coming..." and gave him nothing.

Now do you understand the difference?

NOTE: I did not create this, it was emailed to me and the author is unknown, but I thought it was poignant enough to post to my blog.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Gasoline Is Cheap! Four dollars a gallon is outrageous! We should be paying much more.

This was posted on Slate by Robert Bryce...I think he makes some good points. Read the entire article before you comment.

The next time you have to take out a loan just to fill up your tank, remember this: Four-dollar-per-gallon gasoline is cheap.

There's no doubt that high fuel prices are hurting low-income consumers, and high energy costs are placing a tax on the economy that is slowing investment while sending billions of dollars overseas. It's unsurprising that presidential candidates and members of Congress issue new proposals practically every day to lower gas prices: Stop filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve! Suspend the federal gas tax! Open ANWR to oil drilling!

These proposals are delusions, and Americans are living in a fantasy land when it comes to energy and energy prices. Over the past few years, consumers have been inundated with news stories about the soaring price of gasoline. Invariably, these stories include comments from a motorist who is outraged at the evils of a) Saudi Arabia, b) OPEC, c) Big Oil, d) all of the above.

Click here for the entire article.

Quote of the Day

If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead. - Johnny Carson

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Defining Liberalism and Conservatism

If you have every been in a discussion with someone and all of a sudden they ask you to define a concept or idea that you are familiar with, but not intimate, it can be intimidating.

I have one good friend that asks people all the time when discussing government to name and describe the roles of the 3 branches of government and it is fun watching peoples reaction (granted I am sure I had the same one the first time he asked me the question). Likewise in discussions with people on the current presidential race or politics in general the words liberal and conservative are often bantered about synonymously with Democrats and Republican, but they have very little to do with the groups and more with personal views.

To me Democrats and Republicans can be liberal or conservative and quite frankly in the last 12 years or so I have not seen a bit of difference between either group.

To me a liberal values bigger government, more taxation, less personal responsibility, which leads to less overall personal liberty.

A conservative values smaller government, less taxation, more personal responsibility which leads to more overall personal liberty.

Following these definitions I would fall under a conservative. Which are you? How would you define these differently? What are your values?

Think about it the next time you go to the polls you can make an independent and informed decision without following the pundits and false prophets.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

TripAdvisor.com's 2008 Travelers' Choice List

2008 Travelers' Choice World Destinations:


1. Milford Sound, New Zealand
2. Queenstown, New Zealand
3. Philipsburg, St. Maarten
4. Cayo Largo, Cuba
5. Rhodes, Greece
6. Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
7. Cruz Bay, St. John
8. Bridgetown, Barbados
9. Banff, Canada
10. Lake Tahoe, California



2008 Travelers' Choice U.S. Destinations:


1. Lake Tahoe, California
2. Big Sur, California
3. San Francisco, California
4. Poipu, Hawaii
5. Sedona, Arizona
6. New Orleans, Louisiana
7. Carmel, California
8. Napa, California
9. Lahaina, Hawaii
10. La Jolla, California



2008 Travelers' Choice Europe Destinations:


1. Rhodes, Greece
2. Salzburg, Austria
3. Amalfi, Italy
4. Bath, England
5. Siena, Italy
6. Dingle, Ireland
7. Bruges, Belgium
8. Lucerne, Switzerland
9. Vatican City, Italy
10. Edinburgh, Scotland



For the complete 2008 Travelers' Choice Destinations list, visit here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Man Without Gloves

Imagine a man who wore gloves throughout his life. The gloves allowed him to experience, but not truly feel the gifts and experiences he encountered. Sure, he did some phenomenal things....traveled, learned to fly, fulfilled many of his dreams in life - but never really felt the joy and completeness of his accomplishments - or more likely these were not the accomplishments he sought?

The gloves were his shell...his protection keeping him safe, but never allowing him to put himself out there - keeping him from being hurt again - keeping him from feeling the complete ends of the spectrum of emotion whether that be hurt or complete infatuation. They kept his essence from his true potential and the realization of what he wanted out of life.

His gloves are off now and they have been for a while. He sees what he wants. He knows what he sees. Most importantly he can experience these things like never before.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Clinton and Obama to Appear at Laugh Factory

Oops. I am sorry. I meant to say that Clinton and Obama make me laugh! Why? Simple - when it comes to gas proposals they are both idiots.

Recently Obama began running ads in North Carolina and Indiana denouncing Hillary Clinton's "gas tax holiday" proposal ticking through a number of points of his plan - what he neglected to tell voters was that his plan is virtually identical to Clinton's with the exception of the suspension of the gas tax. Both plans want to implement a windfall profits tax on the oil companies, both want to fund $150 million in alternative energy research, and both accuse oil companies of price gouging. By the way - Obama is right that no economists have come forth and said that Clinton's plan will save any money at all, but come to think of it none of have come out for him either!

Price gouging? Don't we live and operate in a free market and hasn't the FTC done an number of inquiries on behalf of congress that have time and time again determined there is no price gouging - it is free market dynamics at work! I believe the Federal Reserve has done as much of a disservice to the American consumer by cutting rates, weakening the dollar, causing additional speculation in oil driving the market price up - ever heard of a Petrodollar? Are these presidential candidates even aware of the increased consumption by India and China.

Then we have Hillary speaking on This Week May 4th about the lack of economist support for her gas tax ideas stating the following:

"Well, I'll tell you what, I'm not going to put my lot in with economists, because I know if we get it right, if we actually did it right, if we had a president who used all the tools of the presidency, we would design it in such a way that it would be implemented effectively."

I tend to believe someone who speaks like that has a rectal cranial inversion - or in short has their head up their ass. Now you and I know the President has a lot of cool tools, but come on -- does it really come with a tool to suspend the laws of supply and demand? If it does - impressive.

And finally let's look at oil company profits. It is true that oil companies make a net profit that is larger than the S&P 500. The S&P 500 averages 8.5% and oil companies average 9.7% in the S&P Energy Sector - but compare their net profits with those of Google and other companies. Google showed a net profit of 25% in their most recent quarter far out performing the S&P 500 or the oil companies. Should we have an online advertising windfall profit tax?

I think FactCheck.org puts it best.

"In a nutshell, Clinton and Obama are offering nearly identical energy plans. Both imply that price gouging is partially responsible for rising prices without providing adequate proof that price gouging is actually occurring and both want oil companies to help fund research into alternative energy. And neither candidate has a short-term plan that will, in fact, help families cope with rising gas costs."

Laughing complete.