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Abandoned Work

Move BBQ

The BBQ never actually happened. Might have been for the best though—looks like we would have been serving radioactive lettuce on the burgers.

November 9, 2008   3 Comments

Moving On

Just a quick note in what I hope will be my last political post for a good long time.

Congratulations to Barack Obama on becoming the next president of the USA. Good luck. You’ll need it when you take over what has to be the worst job in the country.

Congratulations to John McCain for being an incredibly gracious loser. If you would have spoken during the campaign with the heart you did in your concession speech, you may have fared better in the final election results.

I didn’t vote for either of you, but am glad we can finally put campaigning behind us and work on the things that really matter to our country. The wonder of it all is that in January, the Executive power will pass peacefully from one man to the next, and the country will continue to move (hopefully forward).

Congrats to Karen Mayne, Dan Liljenquist, and the Hogle Zoo.

Congrats to Superdell who somehow convinced over 22,000 people that having a complete loon in the governor’s office would be a good thing for anybody.

Shame on the crackpots who voted to re-elect Chris Buttars.

And finally, as has been said in every livingroom in America tonight, God bless America.

November 4, 2008   Comments Off on Moving On

The Other Race

I just wanted to make sure all you Utah voters out there were aware that the Presidential Race isn’t the only race you’ll be voting in on November 4th.

And, Since SuperDell is still the top keyword used to find my blog, I figured I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least post his blurb from the Utah Voter Information Pamphlet (the image is from his website):

Dell Schanze For Utah Governor
Yes, that graphic actually says: “All of the Other Candidates Suck!”

“SUPERDELL is your only choice because YOU didn’t file. Huntsman took away your freedoms and raised taxes more than any governor in the history of Utah. Springmeyer has admitted that he doesn’t care about the constitution. The definition of the word insane is voting for the same people while expecting change.

“There is no question that Dell Schanze is different. There are only 3 people on the ballot and SUPERDELL is the only one that is NOT socialist. If you are unsure then fill your heart with love, completely open your mind and pray to God earnestly. You can’t afford to get this wrong and will be held accountable for your choice.”

I have no idea what most of that meant, but seriously—if you’re bored and need someone to entertain you, Superdell as governor would be 4 full years of entertainment.

Yes, there is no question that Dell Schanze is different. And if that’s one of his campaign promises, it’s one I’m sure he’ll keep if he ever makes it into the Governor’s Mansion.

Also on the ballot: John Huntsman, Jr. (R) and Bob Springmeyer (D).

PS- Before you vote for president, please read this.

PSS- If anybody uses that Einstein quote about insanity—including Chuck Baldwin, I’m seriously going to go insane.

October 18, 2008   Comments Off on The Other Race

About the Mess We’re In

I normally stay out of politics, but I can’t help it today.

Just a quick note. I have a friend who’s been buying gold and silver. You’d be amazed at how much gold you can get for $100. I mean how little.

Anyway, I decided to take a look at what the price of gold has been doing historically and especially in relation to the market swing of the past few days—just out of curiosity. As I did a google search though, I found a document that was making some good sense. It was written by Ron Paul in 2006. And while it wasn’t telling me much about gold pricing history, it was pretty interesting to someone who’s wondered about the dollar and the Gold Standard.

As I got deeper into the article, I read some things that blew my mind. Keep in mind this was Ron Paul in April 2006:

A soaring gold price is a vote of "no confidence" in the central bank and the dollar. This certainly was the case in 1979 and 1980. Today, gold prices reflect a growing restlessness with the increasing money supply, our budgetary and trade deficits, our unfunded liabilities, and the inability of Congress and the administration to reign in runaway spending.

The Fed tries to keep the consumer spending spree going, not through hard work and savings, but by creating artificial wealth in stock markets bubbles and housing bubbles. When these distortions run their course and are discovered, the corrections will be quite painful.

Then, probably the most telling part nails the bailout plan on the head:

Current policy guarantees that the integrity of the dollar will be undermined. Exactly when this will occur, and the extent of the resulting damage to financial system, cannot be known for sure – but it is coming. There are plenty of indications already on the horizon.

Me: hello, It’s here.

Even if it were recognized that a gold standard without monetary inflation would be advantageous, few in Washington would accept the political disadvantages of living with the discipline of gold – since it serves as a check on government size and power. This is a sad commentary on the politics of today. The best analogy to our affinity for government spending, borrowing, and inflating is that of a drug addict who knows if he doesn’t quit he’ll die; yet he can’t quit because of the heavy price required to overcome the dependency. The right choice is very difficult, but remaining addicted to drugs guarantees the death of the patient, while our addiction to deficit spending, debt, and inflation guarantees the collapse of our economy.

So what can we do? Pretty much…nothing. Maybe diversify a bit, buy some gold, start saving rather than spending on credit. While it’s no investment, it could be a great defense against the inevitable plummet of the dollar.

Oh—and maybe one more thing. Mr Paul says:

False trust placed in the dollar once was helpful to us, but panic and rejection of the dollar will develop into a real financial crisis. Then we will have no other option but to tighten our belts, go back to work, stop borrowing, start saving, and rebuild our industrial base, while adjusting to a lower standard of living for most Americans.

Anyway, I highly recommend the article. Take a 1/2 hour and give it a read, you’ll learn more than you ever did in that wretched Economics 101 course you took twice back in college.

And while our government continues (no matter who’s directing it in a few weeks) to create fake money in an effort to keep bubbles in the air, we might as well get a head start adjusting to the real world we live in. Tighten the belt, go back to work, stop borrowing, start saving, and adjust to a lower standard of living. Truth be told, you might actually find it to be more agreeable than trying to remember when your 0% teaser rate ends and what you’ll do with your balance then.

October 16, 2008   5 Comments

Golf in Alaska

October 9, 2008   Comments Off on Golf in Alaska

Occupational Hazard

Standups: why I’m glad I switched my major from broadcast journalism early in my college career.

If you want to get the full effect, you’ve got to see the closing shot of this piece where the camera pans across the scene with John Hollenhorst reporting from the trenches in true textbook fashion. It’s funny enough to make me update my blog after a month and a half of inactivity.

September 2, 2008   1 Comment

Competitive Advertising

click for full-size image

In light of Apple/AT&T’s apparent fumbling of today’s 3G iPhone launch, this is great ad placement by Blackberry. Not as good as the Apple ads on CNet for Vista’s launch (see here for one of the many), but still quite good.

July 11, 2008   1 Comment

Hello Shreveport!

Five or six years ago I bought a toll-free number that I use for some business. The number I picked turned out to be very close to another toll-free customer service line, and on an average day I get three or four calls from people who keyed in the wrong number.

The calls usually come from the South and are more of a nuisance than anything, the phone company charges me every time it happens.

At first, I had fun with them—mostly people calling to check the balance on their gift cards (as you’ll hear later). I’d ask for the card number, wait a few seconds, and then tell them they had $1,750.00 or whatever on the card.

They’d be like–

“Are you serious!?! I thought maybe there was 20 bucks on there, but $1,750!?! Are you sure?”

“Yes ma’am, that’s what I show here.”

“REALLY?!? That can’t be right, could it?”

“That’s the balance on the account. I can’t add money to your balance but I can make deductions—would you like me to go ahead and change it for you in the system? Did you say $20?”

“No, no, no! Don’t do that—it’s ok.”

Then, because I’d feel bad if someone went out and spent a couple hundred bucks on a meal they thought they wouldn’t have to pay for, I’d ask them to read me the card number one more time, and then tell them it looked like I was mistaken on the first time around.

It was fun for a while. But soon the novelty wore off (or my conscience got the best of me) and I’ve thought a few times about having the number changed. Thought I’d save a little money and some hassle (the worst are the calls at 6AM on a Saturday).

Every now and then though, I’ll get a great voicemail and figure it’s worth it to keep the number a bit longer. I got this message the other day when I returned from vacation. There are some seriously awesome lines in it. The lady’s trying to call about a TGI Friday’s gift card, and it took me about 4 listens to figure out what it was she was saying about Friday…might take you the same.

“Friday…after Friday, next Friday…and uh…TGY It’s Friday, I mean.”

Anyway, I opened it up in Audacity to edit out the callback number she leaves before posting it…but as I got ready to, realized that what she left wasn’t even a complete phone number. Enjoy the Southern charm. Listen here.

June 17, 2008   2 Comments

Taxes and a "Political Brownout"

I got an email from my brother this morning with a link to this article about how Warren Buffet doesn’t feel like he’s paying his fair share of taxes. It’s a valid point considering his secretary pays a greater percentage of her income to the IRS than Mr. Buffet does. I found the article interesting, but it also bugged me a little. Something I’ve been thinking about a lot since doing my taxes this year and (although expecting a chunky return after getting married last year) found out I owed the IRS more money than I’d already shelled out.

Being taxed at 16% (like Warren Buffet) means that you will work around 40 full days out of the year just to pay income taxes. Compare that to the average person’s “Tax Freedom Day” of 4 months, and 40 days actually starts to sound about right.

I’m not a bitter person who expects rich people to pay more taxes. Instead of asking for others to pay more, I just expect the poor to pay less.

Why would I expect anyone to work four months for the government (unless you actually work for the government, and not just to fund the government)? And that’s only talking about income taxes. If you only pay attention to your 1040, you’re missing a huge part of the tax picture.

Don’t forget we get taxed when:
1- We make our money
2- We buy something with our money
3- We keep the property we bought
4- We sell the property we bought
5- And in several other areas we probably don’t understand because of a tax code that is 16,845 pages long

It’s easy for rich people to say “Hey- I’m not getting taxed enough!” and get attention. But if they really want to pay more taxes, I don’t know of anyone out there stopping them. They can tell their accountants to stop finding all those deductions that they pay them big money to find. They can increase the wages they pay their employees. And they can increase the benefits they afford their employees (like company health care), just to name a few. If doing all that still doesn’t ease their conscience (or their need for attention), they can make a voluntary donation to the Treasury to help decrease the national debt—it IS allowed, after all.

If you want to hear some real reason on the subject, check out Thomas L. Friedman’s article in the NYTimes about Hillary and McCains pipe dream of a summer tax break on gas.

“The McCain-Clinton proposal is a reminder to me that the biggest energy crisis we have in our country today is the energy to be serious — the energy to do big things in a sustained, focused and intelligent way. We are in the midst of a national political brownout.”

And if you want to read about a politician who sees things for what they really are, check out this short Wall Street Journal article on The Tax Me More Act.

“It’s a great injustice that citizens wishing to fulfill their dream of paying more taxes cannot simply check a box on their 1040 form to make a donation…”

Oh- and what about that economic stimulus check set to arrive any day? Not only is it too little, too late—it’s a joke. “Here’s $600 if you’ll pretend with us that everything is OK. Pretend like you actually have $600 to spend. And while you’re at it, pretend that it’s going to make a drop of difference in the cesspool that is our current political and economic situation.”

Like Friedman said- “It is great to see that we finally have some national unity on[…]policy. Unfortunately, the unifying idea is so ridiculous, so unworthy of the people aspiring to lead our nation, it takes your breath away.”

Why don’t I want the government to raise taxes on the rich? Because one day I expect to be “rich”- and when I am, I’d rather give my money to individuals to use—not a government to squander.

By the way- if you need actual good ideas on how to use your stimulus check (assuming you’ll be getting one), check here. You’ll notice a new flat screen TV didn’t make the list.

May 1, 2008   2 Comments

Clinging to my Bitterness

Springfield Armory XD-9 4″ Service Model, Bi-Tone

The Crossroads of the West gun show was on Saturday right next to the Scrapbook convention. It was pretty amusing to see dudes with dirty white beards and AK-47s holding the door open for middle-aged women as they scooted their wheeled tote bags through the doors of the South Towne Expo Center.

The gun show was a lot more hodgepodge than I expected. There were Native American selling pelts next to guys with throwing knives and Chinese stars (the kind you throw, not the kind that act in movies). And nearly nobody at the show looked like an established business (unless you call a vinyl banner with clip art of a couple guns and a name like “Harry’s Guns & Ammo” sprawled across it “an established business”).

The best part was everyone’s sales pitch. I wanted to take a picture, but they didn’t allow cameras in (guns were ok) and I didn’t want to tick off the NRA who was set up near the best sign there. The headline: “The Gun Banners are Back!” underneath a picture of Hilary and Obama. Dudes peddling sniper rifles had pictures cut out of newspapers showing Obama next to whats-his-name-the-pastor that they’d taped to their tables. Seemed a little overboard to me. I mean, people are here to buy guns, right? Does telling them you hate democrats make them buy more?

Anyhow, the way I saw it, rather than buy a greasy manhandled pistol from a guy sandwiched between a candle company and the hot dog stand, why not go with the reputable dealer?

So Whittney, Adam, and I went to Cabela’s where they matched the price of a shop in Salt Lake and threw in a bunch of extras. Plus we got to see the fish tank and a polar bear while we were at it.

When I told my mom, she said she felt like she was having a heart attack. And then called me today to make sure I was still ok. When I told her I was, “Well that’s only because you don’t have any bullets for it yet,” was her response.

So, here she is—the incarnation of my “bitterness.” Whittney asked me what I was going to name it. I hadn’t thought about a name, but Albert seems to fit, I don’t know- I’m open to suggestions.

With the tactical light attachment (no light, but you can imagine)

Never look down the barrel of a gun.
More photos on myFlickr

April 21, 2008   14 Comments