Monday, January 31, 2005

Greensboro101 Announces Editorial Board

Roch Smith, founder and designer of, today announced the first ever editorial board. The board consist of Laura Steel, Ben Hwang, Sue Polinsky, and myself. The board will serve a three month term and then decide where to go from there. I am excited to work with such talent and to be part of this board. Advise, ideas and comments are welcome anytime by e-mailing me. I intend to contribute heavily, as much as time allows. One thing I would like to do is compile a tutorial of "What is a Blog?", since that is the question we all get from the uninformed or yet to discover. I would like input from all of you on this. We all have a different idea of what a blog is and what it is used for. I hope to serve the site and you all well. Thank you Roch for the opportunity.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Belated Inauguration Rant- Updated

I finally had a chance to watch the Presidential Inauguration in it's entirety. I have been working a lot of hours, finishing up a painting job. I used my Time Warner DVR to record seven hours of CNN coverage. It was a lot to sift through, but...well ya know... I don't have anything better to do.

First off, is this an inauguration or Sunday mass at church. Benedictions, songs about God and a speech that mentioned God more times then anything including Iraq(which he didn't mention at all). I am all for freedom of choice, freedom of speech and freedom to follow your religion. I thought we had a Democracy in this country not a Theocracy.

Secondly, did anyone who watched Bush take his oath notice anything weird. Weird like Chief Justice Rehnquist sounding like Darth Vader swearing in the Emperor. His trach ring was supplying all kinds of Star Wars audio special effects. It was eerie. Bush is the Emperor, Cheney is General Moff Tarkin, and Rehnquist is Darth Vader. I'll make fun of the Democrats a little too. Kerry is Luke Skywalker, Edwards is Han Solo, Hillary Clinton is Leia, Howard Dean is Yoda, and Bill Clinton is Obi-Wan Kenobi. That way I am being fair and not just a Bush-basher.
I was waiting for the Imperial March music by John Williams to come on, instead I got a pre-recorded version of "Let the Eagles Soar" by John Ashcroft .

Lastly, I want to draw attention to the fact that Dick Cheney messed up his oath and no one has said anything. Is what he said legally an oath if it is not word for word? If I didn't recite my marriage vows exactly, I wouldn't be married legally. I have tried to find laws on the books for things like this and so far have been unsuccessful. If anyone knows, I would appreciate the info. This is what Cheney messed up on:

Dennis J Hastert and Dick Cheney- VP Oath of Office

Hastert: I Richard Cheney do solemnly swear
Cheney: I Richard Cheney do solemnly swear
Hastert: that I will defend and support the constitution of the United States
Cheney: that I will support and defend the constitution of the United States
Hastert: against all enemies, foreign and domestic
Cheney: against all enemies, foreign and domestic
Hastert: that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same
Cheney: that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same
Hastert: that I will take this obligation freely
Cheney: that I take this obligation freely
Hastert: without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion
Cheney: without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion
Hastert: that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of my office
Cheney: that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office
Hastert: on which I'm about to enter, so help me God.
Cheney: on which I'm about to enter, so help me God.

My thoughts: How can you trust a man who can't even repeat an oath of office to be a pulse away from running this country. Bush didn't mess up on his Oath. I am sure he practiced a whole bunch, but come on, Cheney should have nailed this. I am curious if it is even a legal oath, if he did not recite it properly.

All in all, it was seven hours of drab coverage. A few favorites for me were a live report from the protesters bleachers, and a man yelling(audible over everything else) on CNN, "Fuck Bush", over and over. A protestors sign that reads, "Represent my Ass". I found that funny. At the end of the parade, which it cost to go see(up to $125 per person), Bush goes to the reviewing area. This is the area that he sits, and the administration and friends watch all the marching bands. If you watch very closely, you can see Bush say, "Do we have to really sit here?", as he leans over to Laura and the kids. I know that the seats are a little less comfortable then your Barcolounger back at the Crawford Ranch, and there is no remote to change the channel to Fox news, but it's part of your job. Deal with it.

My biggest complaint in this whole boring piece of history is the sanctioned protestors. Is that not an oxy-moron? What ever happened to getting arrested for your cause and causing havoc to get your point across? It was a weak display of protesting and that kind of mentality will never get anything changed. To top it off, they had to pay for their bleachers section at the start of the parade. You shouldn't have to pay to be heard. It was disgraceful to watch.

That is all, just another boring inauguration, boring speech, boring parade, boring coverage. There was more security forces on the ground then there probably is in Iraq. There was also more armor on the vehicles, but this is a whole nother story.

UPDATE:Correction: In the 3rd paragraph, I corrected John Anderson to John Williams. I confused my composers and as punishment, I will lose a force power. John Anderson is the singer of Yes and a composer and John Williams does numerous scores for movies, including Star Wars.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A 31 And A Half Year Streak Ends

For 31 and a half years I have had a streak going with regards to my health. I have never been cut on, no broken bones(one hair-line fracture), no surgeries. Two of those happened today. I was cut on this morning in surgery on my back and neck. The surgery was for removing two cysts that could become a problem down the road. I was just given a local, which was the more painful of the process, and then Dr. B cut away. He did a great job. The cyst on my back was on a large symmetrical tattoo. Dr. B took that into consideration and cut vertically instead of horizontally and sewed back together the symmetry of my back piece. Not a lot of doctors would be that kind and flexible. I am feeling fine right now, but I am sure I will be a bit sore later in the day when the Lidocane wears off. For now I will rest, watch the news wires, and hopefully blog some more later today.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Number 9 Makes Me Happy

Check out number 9 on this list of 10 new tax laws that will affect people in 2004. The hybrid, fully-electric law is kind of a bummer, but at least we might be able to get back to buying cars for the car and not the tax write off.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Johnny Carson- A Legend Passes

NBC and CNN are reporting that Johnny Carson is dead at 79.

I have no words to say, tears and respect is all I can show for this funny, revolutionary man. His family has confirmed his passing from Emphysema at 79 years old. Rest in Peace Johnny. Your laughs and brilliance has had a positive effect on our nation.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Another Aggregator?

I was guilty of checking out stats on my site today. There I said it. I did find however a beta version of another aggregator. I am not sure if it is local or not, but it is pretty cut and dry. Check out Our Words .

The Shu Didn't Find This

I found a new Greensboro blogger today. D Brown is writing ArePigsFascist? Welcome to the blogisphere. I happen to know D Brown very well and he is a great person. He called me to tell me about how he started blogging due to my influence and continuous talking about our great blog community here in town. So, The Shu probably would have found him, but I had the skinny before anyone else. What a cheater I am, huh? Anyway, welcome and I expect to read interesting stuff from ArePigsFascist. Check him out.

A Rare Rail Site in Downtown Greensboro

I was finished running errands and paying bills this afternoon and had a fever for the flavor of a Green Bean Mocha and the latest issue of YES Weekly(Greensboro's newest newspaper). So, I turned down Elm St from E Lee and there it was. A single rail car. Looked a little weird so when I got home I checked into it. It turned out to be the Federal Railroad Administration's lone T2000 Track Geometry Inspection Vehicle. You can check out a picture here. This inspection vehicle covered over 24,000 miles of railway in 2004. It's purpose is to check every foot of railway for defects that could cause derailments. I am not sure how often this railcar makes it to Greensboro, but it made an appearance around 4pm in Downtown Greensboro. I am going to try to research what the Greensboro rail data is and do an update if the info is available to the public.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Social Un-Security

As we all know, the Bush administration is touting Social Security reform. Bush told Congress that unless they act immediately the system will go bankrupt.

I watched Lou Dobbs tonight on CNN. He had a guest on to discuss Social Security named Pete Peterson. Peterson is the former Commerce Secretary to the Nixon administration and current chairman of the Concord Coalition(a non-partisan group that advocates fiscal responsibility), and the co-founder of the Blackstone Group(a financial firm).

Dobbs said, "We have a 2 trillion dollar surplus. What is the crisis with Social Security?"

Peterson went on to say some very revealing things. A lot of which we all probably knew to some extent, but here is an insider telling us the people what the problem is. Peterson first said, ''Social Security is basically a trust fund. It is a fiscal oxymoron. You should not trust it and it is not funded." About the surplus, "The money is spent". About what it will take to save it, "According to the Concord Coalition numbers, to fund Social Security from 2018-2045, it would cost 5.4 trillion dollars and you would have to do one of three things. You could borrow the money, you could raise taxes from 11% to 18%, or you would have to cut benefits."

Neither Dobbs nor Peterson thinks that the big problem is Social Security right now. They agreed it is a problem, but not a crisis as the current administration would have you believe. They do agree the big problem is Medicare. Petereson says, "Medicare is 3 to5 times the problem Social Security is. It is the big elephant in the room. No one wants to talk about it or point it out." Dobbs asked why? Peterson said, "Medicare is not the big issue because it is tougher to solve. The problem is tougher and deals with the critical choices of life and death."
Dobbs pointed out that Medicare has a quarter of a trillion dollar surplus that is being eroded a lot faster then Medicare.

It seems to me that if Medicare is a tougher problem and deals with life and death, our government would want to solve the problem. In case no one noticed, a few months back the Bush administration raised the amount an elderly person has to pay for Medicare by 17%. The benefits are less then the elderly need to get by and now cost more to boot. You may ask why I care about either issue? Social Security will not be there when I am old enough to collect, no matter how much I pay in. If you are 52 today, in 2018 when you are 65, all the money you payed in will not be there. Medicare is going to be extinct as well. By the time my generation gets old enough to collect Medicare benefits, our grandchildren will be reading about it in school text books as a thing of the past. I care because we need to protect our futures and our children's futures. If we do not fight for personal Social Security accounts and personal Medicare accounts, neither program will exist to aid us when we all need it most. If you don't work, no future. The more you work, the better future you will have. There, I have solved three problems in one long blog post.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Western Union

I received a Western Union money order from my mother-in-law yesterday. It was a pleasant surprise. I definitely was not expecting it.

Here's the scoop. I went to go cash the money order today and had a ton of problems. I do not have a bank account. I do not believe in giving an institution my money so they can make money on it. I also never have enough money at one time to have an account or start an account. I went to the one place that made the most sense to me... Western Union. Guess what? They do not cash their own money orders. The only way to cash a Western Union money order is to deposit it in a bank account or go to a check cashing service (that may or may not cash it) that will take a fee out to cash it.

I went to a not very helpful Western Union website, and tried to find out what I could do to cash this money order. The only thing that they have listed for cashing a money order is take it to a bank or go to a check cashing service.

I want to know why Western Union will gladly take your money, but they make it the largest pain in my ass to get your money? Sounds to me like I need to get into this racket. I'll gladly take your money, but I can not give it back unless you do six laps around town and guess what number I am thinking of. That's what I did and I guessed the wrong number.

I Have Time To Write Again

I have been hard at work doing some painting. Working on getting my finances straight after my lay off. I have time to write again. What a feeling.

The blogger's meetup group is going to meet next Wed. at the Greene Bean on Elm St. at 7pm. I will be there. The first two meetings have been good. Hope to see all of you there.

I am going to attend the Triangle Bloggers Conference in February. Chapel Hill is taking the same steps we in Greensboro started to take at our conference. A lot of brilliant minds at this event. I am looking forward to it.

Thanks again for all the kind words and help during my time of need. It is much appreciated.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Update on Help

I haven't had much time to be online recently. I wanted to give everyone an update on my situation. I have got some responses on my plea for help. Looks like two job contracts right now. I start one Monday. I can still use the help, so if anyone needs to get in touch, you can e-mail me at . Thank you for all the warm and kind wishes. There has been some interesting conversations, as well as, the one person I didn't expect to help, who is. I have had the opportunity to talk with some people who have read my blog for months now, that before this I did not know at all. It is a promising time for my family and I, and the people responsible are right here in our golden blogging community. Thank you all.

Monday, January 03, 2005

I Need Your Help

I feel like I am begging for work by writing this, but essentially I am. I just got layed off of work and I am posting this to see if anyone is in need of a good house painter to do some work on their home or if you know anyone who needs a painter. This is a trade I have been in since I was 17. I am 31 now. Tons of experience. I have paint discounts. I can do jobs from small to large. I have a wife and kid to feed and a roof to keep over our heads, so any help would be appreciated. You don't know how hard this was to post, I am a man full of pride. Thanks for listening to my woes, it means a lot.
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