Monday, April 30, 2007

DVD Release Party

Erin threw a whale of a DVD release party for me Saturday night. The star of the show was the cake. It was a white cake surrounded by chocolate cupcakes. If you're reading this and you don't know about the documentary Starbucking, then please check it out! It's available at Amazon, Netflix, Barnes & Noble amoung other places.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Captain America Dies

A number of years ago Superman died at the hand of Doomsday. Well now Marvel has killed off Captain America. I scored a copy of this collector comic. I hope to add it to my other comics stored in Dad's apartement "B" attic.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

More New Product Reviews!

So there they were on the end cap. The new Rice Krispies with strawberries. I haven't enjoyed cereals with dried strawberries in the past because the things get all slimey in the milk. I dared to try again. I was in for a suprise with these new Krispies. I was expecting regular Rice Krispies with the addition of strawberries. What I got was a highly sweetened version of regular Rice Krispies with the addition of strawberries. They are as sweet as any kids' cereal. Tasty, but more like desert than breakfast. I suspect they would make a mean batch of rice krispy treats.

For awhile now I've been seeing the shelf label in the stores for a new Peach Cobbler Ben & Jerry's flavor. It was always sold out. Tonight, I found a tub. It was the last tub in the store. Much to my suprise, it isn't just Peach Cobbler, it's Willie Nelson's Country Peach Cobbler. Now I see why this stuff has been selling out. It's because Willie's face is on it! It's a good flavor with peach ice cream, cinnamon-sugar shortbread bits and a peachy swirl. And, it's dedicated to Willie and Farm Aid. Nifty!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

New Product Reviews!

Maybe it has something to do with Summer being upon us, but new products are flooding into stores. Here is my opinion about some I've tried recently:

The Strawberry Milkshake Oreo is an unlikely product. I mean, how did they decide on this flavor? The cookie part is classic Oreo while the cream claims to be strawberry milkshake flavor. The only option for quantity of creme is "double stuff". Erin noted that the creme tasted like the canned strawberry flavored cake frosting you can buy. I agree. This is very sweet cookie. Maybe overly sweet. Don't expect this one to be around for long.

Coke dropped a nuke on Pepsi in the cola wars with their new Diet Coke Plus. Diet Coke Plus is like Diet Coke, except with the addition of vitamins and minerals. Specifically, the ingredients list Niacin 25%, Vitamin B6 25%, Vitamin B12 25%, Magnesium 15%, and Zinc 15%. It tastes pretty much like regular Diet Coke, but now you can feel healthy about drinking chemically flavored cola.

Snickers has Shrekafied their candy bar by turning the nougat filling green to promote yet another Shrek movie. They claim the bar tastes the same. I agree that it does, but the texture of the green nougat may be a little thicker than the regular. I say, why see the movie when you can eat the bar?

Last but not least, we have new Rainbow Twizzlers. This interesting product combines the shape of the classic strawberry Twizzler with the texture of the pull 'n' peel variety Twizzler. You can't call this licorice. It's more like gummy candy. The new Twizzlers come in a variety of flavors in one bag which I believe is a Twizzlers first. I highly recommend these if you like the pull 'n' peel style Twizzlers.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Too much junk!

You may have read about my Beanie disposition - if not read the prior post. Those Beanies were the least of my problems. We moved the furniture from the future baby nursery into the new office. To do that I had to empty the drawers and clear the shelves. We got the big pieces of furniture moved. The old office reminds me of Bill's room when he was a kid - sans the rats.

The Tulips of the '90s?

Several years back McDonalds launched the 2nd release of its Teanie Beanie Babies. It was in the waining years of the whole Beanie Baby craze. Bill and I thought we might have a leg up on collecting these things since Dad prided himself on a trip to McDonalds each day for breaksfast.

We somehow convinced him that he should begin buying these babies as some sort of an investment. Later in the summer he presented us each with ~11 complete sets of Teenie Beanies. I carried mine around for many a year. As I was cleaning out the office I ran across them and looked them up on eBay. I was shocked to find that about 90% of the Beanies I researched on eBay (searching in the completed listings) went without a bid.

That was all I needed to know. I collected them up, took them to work, opened them and anonymously placed them on people's desks.

I saved an Aardvark for myself.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Star Wars & Stephen Colbert

You may have heard about the U.S. Post Office Star Wars promotion. Basically, they decked out post boxes as R2-D2 in select towns in order to promote the new Star Wars stamps that will soon come out. I was lucky enough to have one of these special boxes placed near where I live so I couldn't pass up the chance to get a photo of R2 and I with my light saber.

Also new in the dairy case is the Stephen Colbert Ben & Jerry's flavor. It's called Americone Dream. Vanilla ice cream, chocolate covered waffle cone bits, and caramel. It's a winner!

Stay tuned for a special Easter post coming tomorrow. It features video and the post will be titled THE GREAT PEEP EXPERIMENT

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Hip Hop Happy Birthday!!!!!

In honor of Robert's birthday, I was thinking about this Donald Duck birthday song that I STILL have engrained in my head from our trip to Disney World in the mid 80's. Do you remember?

In honor of his 50th birthday, Donald Duck got his own parade in 1984. Donald's float featured live ducks wearing party hats. The ducks were contained within the float by a plexiglass barrier. A caretaker would walk along with the float to make sure the ducks didn't get injured or try to escape.
The parade featured the song Happy Happy Birthday to You. The lyrics simply went: "Happy Birthday. It's Donald's Birthday. Happy, happy birthday to you. Hey Donald!" If you go to Walt Disney World today, you can still hear a variation of this song in restaurants when cast members sing to guests celebrating a birthday. The birthday ditty was written by Michael and Patty Silversher and a version of this song was also on the Disney record "Splashdance".

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

New fiction

A Place Called Logic

The presidential election cycle of 2008 started almost a year earlier than usual; by February 2007 a lot of people of both parties were in the race and a few were even beginning to drop out.

By late fall of ’07 Biden, Brownback, Dodd, Hagel, and Romney were gone. By early ’08 it became clear that Gore and Gingrich were going to stay out. Edwards had been recognized as a lightweight leftist, Kucinich admitted he was too short to be president, and Richardson faded into the New Mexico highlands. Or maybe Arizona. Nobody really cared. Huckabee struggled on but was roundly ignored.

Basically as the primaries cranked up it became Obama versus Clinton on the Democratic side, and McCain against Giuliani for the Republicans. The war in Iraq dragged on, and Bush’s approval rating dropped to twenty percent.

The Democratic convention was first; it was late August in Denver. Clinton went in with a slight lead over Obama, but made a couple of dumb remarks and lost to the Illinois senator on the third ballot. Obama declared that he would announce his running mate in his acceptance speech the day after the final ballot.

Most people felt that because Obama was the first black to get the nomination, his running mate would have to be a white male. Since his only political background was as a legislator, he probably needed a VP with executive experience. Many people thought that since Obama was reported to have been raised at least partially as a Muslim, his running mate should be a protestant Christian. And since Obama was from Illinois, his second in command should be from the south or west.

A look at the prominent national politicians revealed just one person who satisfied all these criteria, and yet not a single member of the press speculated in the media in the direction of the actual choice.

Obama gave a brief, generic, but very smooth acceptance speech. The final sentence was short and dramatic: “Ladies and gentlemen, I still believe in a place called Hope!” He then turned to face the right stage entrance, and simply smiled.

The crowd mumbled. “He can’t pick Bill Clinton! It’s unconstitutional!” “He can’t pick Hillary! She’s not from Hope, and she wouldn’t take the job anyway!”

Obama waved his right hand, and the candidate walked briskly to the stage. Mike Huckabee! The Huck smiled broadly, waved to the crowd, and shook Obama’s hand. The audience was stunned to silence. A white southern Baptist preacher from Hope, Arkansas! And nary a soul had guessed it.

Huckabee was quickly and almost unanimously approved by the delegates, a generic and largely meaningless platform was passed, and the convention adjourned.

The Republican convention convened the next day in St. Paul. They quickly put together McCain-Giuliani ticket, declared their allegiance to fiscal responsibility, and got out of town.

The race itself was painless. McCain was seventy-one years old, and his jowls hung down almost to his shoulders. There were debates, but little was decided. Obama more than held his own in the two debates with McCain, and in fact there wasn’t much disagreement. Both sides vaguely promised some unspecified form of universal health coverage. It was interesting that Obama never used the word ‘insurance’, but only such terms as ‘care’ and ‘coverage’. In the VP debate, Giuliani talked a lot about nine-eleven and crisis management, and the Huck declared that his understanding of Middle America was a lot better since that was where he was from.

Obama-Huckabee carried forty states and fifty-eight percent of the popular vote. Obama quickly put together a transition team, and in an interesting move, hired Alan Greenspan as an economic consultant. Greenspan declared that he was happy to be around for the transition, but at age eighty-two was way too old to enter the cabinet after the inauguration. Greenspan had famously, half a century earlier, been a close associate of Ayn Rand, the late author of ‘Fountainhead’ and ‘Atlas Shrugged’.

There were several three-man late-November meetings in Florida between Obama, Greenspan, and the Huck. Nothing was said publicly about the subject matter of these encounters. Obama promised to address health care as an early priority, with a major set of proposals before the spring of ’09.

The inauguration took place in January, and Obama again promised to address health care soon, in the state-of-the-union address.

And so he did, in words to this effect: Forty percent of Americans have no health insurance, or inadequate coverage. This number is far too low. We aim to get it up to ninety percent by the end of my first term, and to a hundred percent by the middle of our second term. By then, if my programs are approved, health insurance will be completely illegal in this country. But everybody, or almost everybody, will have adequate health care. Here is how that works.

Health care prices, and drug prices too, have run amuck in America. Our practitioners deliver products and services more efficiently and better than ever before, but prices are exploding. Are doctors greedy? Of course not! Are drug companies evil? Not a chance! So what is wrong? Here it is: we have separated supply from demand in the health-care industry, and when that happens, prices must rise.

You give a family full-coverage health insurance; they are going to spend until the system breaks. They want the best for their kids, as do we all. And the system is broken. If you had full-coverage food insurance, what would you eat? Well, I would eat tenderloins and lobster. With a side of truffles. But I don’t eat those things, because I can’t afford them.

I will propose to congress legislation which will first encourage, and then require, the end of employer-supplied health insurance in this country. Each employer will be required to remove ten percent of its employees from its health insurance plans every six months, starting in a year. Employers will be allowed to supply health care, but not health insurance. Here is how my plan will work:

Each employer will be paid one thousand dollars in tax credits for every employee they remove from health insurance programs. They will be paid five hundred more dollars per employee to whom they provide on-campus health care. Thus a company which is providing three thousand dollars per year in health insurance to an employee will have forty-five hundred dollars with which to provide on-campus health care the first year and at least three thousand per year thereafter. The details will have to be worked out. Smaller companies, which cannot afford to build on-campus clinics, will simply pay their employees more and let them shop for health care in the competitive market. Large companies may open their clinics to the public at open-market prices.

So what will all this do to the health-care market? Supply will be increased, by the large clinics which the big companies will build. Since these will be on-campus in most cases, the companies will not be able to simply buy existing facilities.

Demand will be reduced, because workers and retirees will have cash instead of insurance. Cash that could be used to buy a boat if not needed for health care. People will shop carefully for both price and quality. Doctors and hospitals will have to compete.

Poor people will not get the best health care, just as they now must drive used cars and eat at McDonald’s. No lobster. That must be reserved for the rich. It’s our system. Imagine a massive clinic, the size of a Wal-Mart, making huge profits by providing lower-middle class health care at dirt-cheap prices. Prices will be cheap because across the street will be another clinic. The size of a K-Mart or Fred’s.

Medicare is expensive for the government, and will continue to be. But it will not be insurance. Each Medicare recipient will get a check, with which she may shop for medical care, or whiskey. Payments will be adjusted so that the total cost to the government is the same as current levels. Medicaid will be handled the same way. We are hopeful that charitable organizations such as churches will contribute at the lowest end of the economic scale, just as they do now for food.

With Huckabee’s help, Obama got a version of this through congress and after some rough sledding for a couple of years, it worked pretty well. Everybody lived happily ever after.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Flooring Update

It was another good week-end for work in what will become the new office. My friend Don and I finished the floor and got the baseboards cut. Need get the boards nailed into place, calked and then touch up the room with paint.

New tools acquired to date:
Brad Nailer
Air Compressor
Table Saw
Hardwood puller and pounding block


I went outside to grill some chicken this evening and the hummingbirds were zooming around like crazy - I grabbed my zoom lens and took a few snaps... These are snaps you might want to click on to get a better picture of the birds.

Here's another...

Emma the cat suns self

Erin takes tournament pool

Erin succeeded in correctly picking the final four and has officially won this years NCAA bracket challenge. Congrats Erin! To everyone else, better luck next year.

1 Erin's Picks ( leuenbergere) 116 43 of 62 88th 230600 ▲146500
2 mybrack ( richardltangeman) 103 47 of 62 71st 559268 ▼263724
3 one ( zipreg) 78 42 of 62 32nd 1351808 ▼124397
3 Bill's Picks * ( billtangeman) 78 41 of 62 32nd 1351808 ▼124397
5 Robert ( rtangema) 73 43 of 62 25th 1478113 ▼76951
6 Violet T. ( stephanie_debruyn) 56 36 of 62 12th 1738817 ▼6971

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