Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I figure that since the title of this blog includes the word Views, I had better add a few. Before the weather became too cold for afternoon strolls, I took my camera with me as I walked the local jogging trail. I also do this to highlight my oh so excellent and unprofessional camera. I have a Kodak EasyShare Camera and have taken close to 3,000 pictures with it. I have had camera store clerks scoff at it, but I still believe that it does a great job.

This was taken prior to the walk on my back porch. This plant of ours turns bright red in the fall.

Self Portrait - Reflection in the Creek

This was an experiment to see if I could capture a car going at least 45 miles per hour through a bridge railing.

Souring - How High Can You Fly?

Disgust... Disgrace... Disrespect


Dancing Lights

Depth Perception - Floating Leaves



I am In Charge


Vision - During the recent election, candidates were shown looking up in a way to signify leadership and vision. If I ever run for office, I will use this picture as a telling early sign of such traits.

Redundant Redundancy

Monday, November 10, 2008

What If

I had no job, no responsibilities, and was bored out of my mind? That question was the answer to my question of "Why?" after watching a video earlier today. Here are some answers:

Turn myself into a quartet and cater to nerds - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk5_OSsawz4

Learn every batting stance ever and record them in my mom's back yard - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B34vVWisTPQ


Master Table Tennis - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8IVASo0umU

Post new Facebook status updates all day long

Learn the robot (wait for the guy 45 seconds in) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSoVKUVOnfQ

Watch Youtube

Make a Tutorial on How to Boil Water - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kieGBkOdyMU

Let me know if I forgot any

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Lighter Side

It is time for a post on the lighter side of things. I have noticed that Baseball has slipped to #2 on my topics list, so today I am going to help it and other topics get more recognition.

It's Hot Stove Season in Baseball Land
Oh boy am I excited. Possible blockbuster deals and team upgrades make this time of year a fun time to keep up with the great game. Being in Texas, I don't see many of the big names coming here. I would love to trade Salty for a pitcher. Greinke appears to be a possibility that I would go for. Any trade must be for a promising pitcher. We don't need anything else right now.

The Best Stadium?
Today on the lovely Ticket, the broadcasters boldly predicted that the new Dallas Cowboys stadium was so expensive, so luxurious, and so innovating that it would be the best sports stadium for at least 10 years. They justify this position by claiming that Jerry Jones is more ambitious and has more money to spend than anyone else.

I am going to boldly take the opposite side of this argument. I think it will be less than 5 years (probably 3) before some new stadium takes over the title. I can't count how many new stadiums were hailed as the best ever and would never be topped, all have since been dethroned. I guarantee that this one will be topped and saying otherwise is not a wise stance to take.

Now don't get me wrong, I think that it will be a great place for many years to see a game. But the best? I tend to think it will be outdone by someone and in the not-so-distant future.

How To Cut In Line
Check out this article on the best ways to cut in line. A quick look:
researchers have tried to unpick the psychology of the queue, though most work has focused on reducing consumer frustration. However, one classic study found that New Yorkers were more likely to react to people who cut in front of them in a subway queue than behind.

Yankee fans only care about who is in front of them (Red Sox), they never see it coming from behind (Rays).

A cheap shot and off topic... you bet. Thoroughly satisfying... definitely.

A Smart Choice
I rented Get Smart the other night and it exceeded my expectations. It had plenty of witty comedy, but kept from being downright silly. I give it a solid 4 out of 5.

Too Long?
People often complain about the length of the Baseball season. 162 games is a long season. But now that both Hockey and Basketball have started up, I suggest that they feel longer. Baseball goes roughly from March through October, or about 8 months. Basketball and Hockey go from roughly November through June, or about 8 months. The difference to me is that at least in baseball, my team is playing every day or two, not every three to four. All of the down time combined with the length of the playoffs make the 'Winter' sports drag on and on.

I think that we might need to take the schedules down a notch, but let's apply it to several sports.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Election Musings

Feel free to refine or poke holes in the following ideas.

The Primaries
Is anyone confused about the primary process? I know that I am. This process wreaks of a lack of planning. It just sort of fell together this way over time. I live in one of those states that doesn't matter in the primaries. Texas. The state that holds 34 electoral votes has virtually zero sway in the primaries. Who chose Iowa and New Hampshire as the king-makers of this country? Iowa doesn't even use a legitimate selection system (caucus) in my opinion.

So here is my plan. It is simple, and it is allows the nation (not a handful of states) to choose who gets to run.

Super Tuesday 1
The First Tuesday of February of the election year. All 50 states will hold a primary election. Candidates that can gather signatures amounting to 0.25% of the popular vote in the previous election are eligible for their party. That would be slightly over 300,000 signatures in 2012.

Super Tuesday 2
The last Tuesday of April of the election year. The top 3 vote getters for a party will be eligible. All 50 states will hold a primary election. The top popular vote getter wins the nomination.

How hard is that? You get rid of caucuses. You get rid of superior first choice states. You get rid of goofy delegates, super-delegates, and all that jazz.

Election Day
I think that everyone can agree on this one except for my boss. Let's make election day a federal holiday. This will help prevent the end of the day rush (when people get off of work). We don't have to sneak out during the lunch break to vote. This day is a celebration of our country's freedom. Let's celebrate.

Next, let's move election day to the first Friday of November. Why you ask? Because I want a 3 day weekend... just kidding. Most people stay up late and watch the results, most people also get little sleep, and most people spend the next day at work talking about the results. The result... a very unproductive workday.

Voter Registration
The most controversial measure on my blog today. Let's do away with Voter Registration! What?!? Why or how would you do that? Simple, use the same form of ID that everyone else requires... a Driver's License.

If I go the movie theater and look young, they demand it. If I go to 7-Eleven and use my credit card, they sometimes demand it. If I want to drive a car, I must have it. If I want to get on an airplane, I must have it (or a Passport). Whenever I get a new job, they make a copy of it. Everyone else accepts this form of ID, why not the election board.

Why do I want to do this? So we can simplify the process of voting and eliminate the occurrence of minimize suspicion of election fraud.

Issues to Overcome
Fake IDs - If high school aged kids can produce McLovin, we need to check for it. Answer: Every polling place uses an ID verification webservice that takes Drivers License Number, First Name, and Last Name. This webservice interfaces with the state's database and spits back a Valid or Invalid verdict.

Using the Same ID More than Once - This same webservice puts a little X next to everyone name as it is checked. After being checked once, it will return invalid.

Security or I Don't Trust Those Newfangled Machines - This is a valid fear, but it nothing more than that. I work in the financial software industry. I pull people's credit reports, wire money, send SSN numbers around all via a webservice. How is this allowed? Because we use secure methods (ones that I will not divulge here). If I can do it with that information, we could have the NSA whip up something better in no time I would bet.

This Disenfranchises People - I know, I am suppressing the vote of people who don't have an ID. I am against the poor, the immigrant worker, and the elderly. You know what, I think that would could figure something out here, I just haven't come up with it yet. Help me out.

What Band Would Play At Your Inauguration Party?
Ah yes, the really important question of the day. I thought about this one and came to the conclusion that the word Party was the key. So my initial verdict is:

Toby Mac

I could party to:

Let's Get This Party Started - to set the mood
Feelin' So Fly - I could do some goofy dance like them
Extreme Days - to go along with the urgency of things
Boomin - just to bring everyone together

Could you wish for a President that sang with him, I don't want to gain the whole world and lose my soul!

...and yes I am white... so is Toby Mac.

Please feel free to offer other suggestions...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Rebuilding Year

So yesterday my candidate lost. What am I going to do about it? More importantly, what is the party or movement going to do about it? I think that there are several good answers.

First though, some perspective. The popular vote so far appears to have shifted 4% since the last election. That is all that it took to switch the party affiliation of the President. If it can swing 1% a year for 4 years, it can switch right back. So, in other words, it is a very attainable goal in 2012. Also, consider the 1992 election that brought forth a 1994 redo of Congress. In 2 years, a lot can change in the house.

So, back to my original question. What must be done to to bring Conservatism back to the top?

  1. Remain True to Our Principles
    It is time to stop redefining Conservatism. We have a great mission statement, so let's stick to it. We promote individual freedom through limited government. Is that so hard to follow through on? We can not let power go to our heads and start adding to that. The past administration did a bad job or sticking to it and Congress went right along. Government expanded under Republican control and guess what, the people saw through it.

    If you miss this one, many of the points below become irrelevant.

  2. Switch to the Positive
    This means that it is time for us to update our message. People want to be inspired to do great things, not scared away from evil. The best way that I know how to explain this is through the evolution of church evangelism. In the 50s, the church could have revival's and convert people because they were going to hell. Likewise, voters would vote against the scary Commies blowing us all to... well hell. Now, we have a different evangelism style in the church. We preach on love and forgiveness and grace. We make it attractive, not scared out of your mind. Why do we do this? First off, it is more effective. Second, our culture has shifted this direction. Conservative candidates must make this shift as well in order to stay viable. They must advertise the great strides that can be made rather than using fear-mongering as the chief get out the vote effort.

  3. Quit Whining
    People go with winners. They want someone who acts like a winner. Whining about the media every day is not the action of a winner, but a sore loser. Let's make the best out of what we have rather than complaining about what we don't have.

  4. Redefine the Face of the Movement
    To piggy-back on point number 2, things have changed over the years. Methods used in 1990 are not as effective today. Therefore our inspiring leaders of the past are starting to become hindrances. On the 'conservative' radio station in town, we get 8 hours of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin. Let's realize something here. They are not converting many people to the movement. They are in the business to well, have a successful business. That means catering to their clients. They use tactics like point #3. Again, they are not winning people to the movement in any significant way.

    What kind of leader or voice of the movement am I looking for? Someone who inspires people to better themselves, someone who educates people on how they can make their family situation better, and someone who makes the movement attractive and enticing to newcomers.

  5. Walk the Walk (Strict Ethics Control)
    We need to be the movement of the American Family. And frankly, the American Family wants us to be just that We align closely to them on many of the social issues. Now we have to follow it up with upright living.

    We need to take decisive and immediate action to curb ethics problems. This goes from weird perversions to being buddy-buddy with all of the lobbyists. No more shenanigans. With the presidential election still close to 50-50, why are the Senate and House so one-sided? One of the major reasons is that politicians here and there keep getting into scandals. I am frankly proud of people voting against their party to get the scum out of office. We will not regain or hold Congress with a continuing record of somewhat frequent scandal.

  6. Educate
    I don't think that we have a done a good job of educating the general public about the superiority of our ideas and principles. We have facts on our side folks. We have results and prosperity to show for it. Nobody seems to know it though. I do not fault an ignorant voter for voting the other way. I mean ignorant with no condescending tone. A lot of voters just don't have all of the information to make a truly informed decision. We must do better about getting the facts out there.

  7. Keep the Message Simple
    We have to build and maintain a brand that is easy to define and understand. I like a lot of things that Ross Perot has to say for instance, but he bored more people than anyone with his TV specials back in 1992. It was a big joke about his flip charts and such. They may have contained great information, but it was nothing that would become a catchphrase or grab your attention. We have to develop our mission and then simplify it so that it is easy to spread and remember.

  8. Appeal to Young Voters
    For the life of me I don't know why we can't do better here. We are the Keep Government Out of My Business group. This stay out of my business idea is a rallying cry for young people. We need to expand on this effort greatly.

  9. Target Minorities
    That is right, I said it. African-American (AA) and Latin-American (LA) voters are a huge voting block. We have a lot to say to them.

    For the AA group, we have railed against programs that help them more than other groups. We have to shift to instead promote the great opportunity that can be realized by leaving those programs in the dust.

    For the LA group, we have become the "Get out your shotgun and run 'em back across the border" party in many respects. I like in Texas, I see it. We must expand our opportunity of the American Dream to LA voters without threatening them constantly. We must completely redo our immigration / deportation stance. We need to look at the history of immigration and how it has benefited our country. We must deal with the realities of the times and reach out to people.

  10. Become Vocal
    The silent majority is a problematic paradigm. We are getting totally overrun in certain arenas because we just don't stand up for what we believe and voice our opinion. This goes back to #1, #2, and #6. I am not talking about becoming a loud obnoxious group, just one that knows what it stands for and is willing to talk about it.

This is very doable. Let's start right now and see what we can accomplish.

This post can almost be flipped to be a religious discussion now that I read it through. Winning people over to great ideas has a lot of things in common apparently.

Tomorrow I will post my goofy suggestions for how to make the election cycle both simpler and better.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Big Day

Finally, after too many hours of analysis, election day is here. I won't go into too much detail on this issue or that issue. I think everyone has frankly already decided. I got my "I Voted" sticker today. My new solution to the federal deficit is to eliminate the "I Voted" stickers from the budget. I was even given a 2nd sticker. What a waste of taxpayer money.

I posted earlier this year about reading the book, Free to Choose by Milton Friedman. It is just excellent. Many people do not know that it was a television series back in 1980. Now a website has the video up streaming to you for free. These are well worth checking out. You can even see the goofy intros that were added in 1990. Go visit http://www.ideachannel.tv/.

Finally, some thoughts for the election day.

Luke 12: 22-31
Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.