Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Decisions, decisions

I've enjoyed my BlackBerry. Mostly.

There have been a couple of problems with it. Okay, more than a couple.

I simply quit working one day, and Verizon replaced it. Then, the battery died, and I had to buy another one. And, lately, I've had to reboot it once (or more) a day.

There have been no issues with the phone. The making and receiving calls part, I mean. That's because Verizon has the best service in the areas I frequent. Like parked on the couch in front of the big screen.

But, the non-phone parts of the BlackBerry have had the occasional problem. So, I've been visiting the Verizon Wireless Website, looking at phones.

I won't be changing phones before October -- that's when I hit the 20-month mark, which is how long the "new every two" agreement requires -- but I thought it might be a good idea to have something researched and picked out.

I have decided on one of these options:
  • Get a different BlackBerry device
  • Get an Android-based phone
  • Hope AT&T has improved service here and switch to an iPhone.
The new BlackBerry device might be a good idea, since I've generally been happy with the BlackBerry. It could be that the particular phone I have is a lemon. My original BlackBerry worked just great until it screwed up during an update. And that update happened via BlackBerry Desktop for Mac. The Mac version is inferior to the Windows version (I've used both), and I've suspected that the Desktop Manager software was the problem all along.

But, I haven't been using it on the new BlackBerry. I think the problem is this particular BlackBerry (likely a reconditioned one that replaced my original). So, I haven't completely soured on BlackBerry.

However, there are more smart phone options for me. Such as Android-based phones. The downside is that they are still fairly new (compared to BlackBerry), so there may be some issues that still need to be ironed out. But, the fact that I haven't heard a lot about Android-based phone issues alleviates my concerns.

Then, there's the iPhone. But, if AT&T doesn't improve service around here, that's ruled out. But, if service was acceptable, it'd be an option.

Dropping my current phone from the Verizon account would drop the Verizon bill by $50 ($10 for a line on a family plan; $10 for texting plan; $30 for BlackBerry unlimited data). Our AT&T account for adding iPhone would go up about $70/month ($40 for the line; $15 for texting; $15 for data). Figure in the multi-service discount (phone, Internet, and wireless), and that brings it back down to a net $50 increase. In other words, Verizon would go down $50, and AT&T would go up $50. A wash.

But, AT&T wireless service around here is awful. Or, at least, inferior to Verizon's.

So, what to do?

A fourth option has been added, apparently. Bloomberg reports that Verizon is set to introduce its iPhone in January.

Yes, the iPhone on Verizon.

Suddenly, I think the decision has been made for me.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cartoon: SCOTUS and guns

The Supreme Court ruled that Chicago's gun laws were unconstitutional.

So, naturally, Chicago will try again.

So, who all hates the ruling?

[Source: NOLA/Steve Kelley]


I don't have a lot to say about Elena Kagan.

Because there's not much about her. That's because the only person more inexperienced than Kagan is the person who nominated her.

Democrats have been praising her. Of course, when a Democrat praises a nominee as a moderate, you know the nominee is far left.

I'm hoping the Republicans will do the right thing and ask some tough questions. I know the Democrats won't, since, well, they're Democrats, which precludes them from doing the right thing (as if a Democrat knew the difference between right and wrong).

Anyway, it'd be awesome if some Republican were to ask some really rough questions.


Robert Byrd died. You heard about that, right? It was in all the papers.

I don't have a lot to say about him. He was a racist:
“I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side… Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”
He later took it back. But, in fairness, he didn't say he "mis-spoke." He was man enough to own up to it.

Byrd was hospitalized for heat-related issues. I blame Global Warming. And George Bush.

It would be in poor taste to ask "How's Robert Byrd handling 'heat-related issues' now?" So don't.

With Byrd's death, and last year's death of Ted Kennedy, I think I know what happened to all that Global Warming. Hell is using it up.

They finally got a corner of Hell hot enough to accommodate Kennedy, and now Byrd.

Other Democrats should be worried. As should those that keep electing them to office.

Biden, custard, fainting, etc

Somehow, I'm not impressed with the Obama administration. Of course, I thought only an idiot could vote for Obama to begin with. I was right, of course; I just didn't realize how many idiots we have in the U.S.

But, I will admit, I've never been more entertained by a vice-president than I have been by Joe Biden. Sure, he's an idiot, but he's probably the least idiot of all the idiots in the Obama administration. But still an idiot.

Like when hecalled the custard shop manager a "smart-ass."Biden has caught a lot of flack about that. But people should give Joe Biden a break. He's pulling double duty. He's vice-president AND Smart-Ass Czar.

I'm wondering if we have an opportunity here. As more and more people become dissatisfied with Obama and his administration, will protesters start throwing custard at Joe Biden?

That's be awesome.

Then, there's theguy that fainted while listening to Joe Biden speak. Of course, if I was listening to Joe Biden speak, I'd fake a collapse just to get away.

I mean, I can watch him on TV and be entertained, but I wouldn't want to be around him for too long.

Or have him one heartbeat away from the presidency.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Grandma's new phone

I mentioned the other day about Grandma's phone.

A while back, while we (Wife and I) were visiting Grandma (my mother's mother, my only living grandparent), she mentioned having fallen outside. Wife and I had been talking that very week about such a situation, so we immediately asked her about that situation.

She said she had looked into LifeAlert (the company that took over the "I've fallen and I can't get up" commercials), but couldn't afford it. We had looking into it, too, as well as another service called Jitterbug.

She really perked up at that, because she had seen their commercials.

If you don't know about Jitterbug, it's a cell phone for old folks. Actually, they promote themselves as "meeting the needs of 'simplicity seekers'" -- a nicer way of saying a cell phone for old folks. And, it really is designed for them. But it's not cheap; however, their current rates are better than they used to be.

Anyway, Grandma was open to one of those, so we went looking for one. The Radio Shack had one, she picked out the one she wanted, and she was set to go.

Everything was fine until recently. We've had billing problems with Jitterbug.

We had set the account up for them to automatically bill a credit card, and that went along just fine. Then, suddenly, we got a past-due notice.

Wife called, worried that the credit card had been suddenly compromised and a bunch of charges placed against the card. But, no (thankfully), there was no problem with the card. However, the CSR said the card was due to expire soon. Not that it had expired, but was to expire soon.

Wife wasn't thrilled with that, but confirmed the card information, along with the new expiration date, and settled the account.

The, it happened again. We got a notice a couple of weeks ago that the bill was past due. We checked the credit card again, making sure that it hadn't been compromised. But everything was fine.

That's when I began looking at Verizon's phones. And, I found one that had a "911" button, as well as easy-to-read text. Samsung, who makes the Jitterbug phones, makes this one, the Samsung Knack.

Ordered it, and we gave it to her last Sunday.

She's had it a week now, and she says she likes it. Except she wants the ring to be louder: "I can't hear it ring if it's in my pocket. I can feel it, because it vibrates, you know. But I can't hear the ring with my old ears." My sister (The Mean One, who lives closest to Grandma) said she'd help with that.

But otherwise, she's happy about the new phone. The Jitterbug was an older phone that only had three buttons (red, yellow, green) that they don't offer any more. The new one has all the normal buttons (along with a "911" button), and she's thrilled to "have a real cell phone."

In Jitterbug's defense, when I called and canceled the service, the lady I spoke with was very apologetic and understanding. If they hadn't run into the hiccup with billing -- twice -- we would have stayed with them. Additionally, Sue Weaver, VP for Customer Service at Jitterbug, has expressed concern.

I can't fault Jitterbug's response to the issue. I do fault them for having the accounting problem twice.

Perhaps they'll get that straight. Perhaps they already have. But, it cost them a customer. And Verizon benefitted.

And, so did Grandma, who, at 96, now has her first "real cell phone."

I can hardly wait to get the bill.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Captain Fantastic in Tel Aviv

I don't mind trashing a liberal when he does something stupid. And I'm not above giving credit when it's due.

Elton John fits the bill here.

He put on a concert in Israel last night. That's news because a lot of other music artists have canceled concerts there recently. Seems they're all taking sides against Israel over the recent actions that ended with a bunch of thugs being killed.

I thought Israel didn't go far enough in its response to the attacks on the blockade inspectors. But the left continues to buy into the lie that Israel is the aggressor here.

Well, not all those on the left.

Elton John continued his confounding of the standard left by going ahead with his show:
"We do not cherry-pick our consciences"
Recently, he performed at Rush Limbaugh's wedding, which confused many.

I've enjoyed Elton's music for years, particularly his early 1970s music. But I'm not a fan of his politics. But he made the right call here. And he deserves credit.

Cartoons: More from the Gulf

[Source: Dick Locher]

[Source: Gary Varvel]

[Source: Lisa Benson]

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Miss Georgia Pageant

The last few weeks have been awfully busy, for one reason or another. That explains the lack of blogging here. At least, that's the story I'm sticking to.

This week is a busy one, too. It's the week of the Miss Georgia Pageant. This is the Miss America line of pageants, not the Miss USA line. That makes it busy for a couple of reasons.

First, the Miss Georgia pageant is held in Columbus. And, if you work in downtown Columbus, as I do, you're going to be impacted by that.

Next, my niece is competing. She's Miss Wayne County. It's her first year in the "Miss" category. Last year, she competed in the "Teen" category as Miss Columbus Outstanding Teen.

Then, my sisters are in town, and there's some friction between Wife and them over an incident last fall. Until that's ironed out (if ever), Wife is avoiding them to avoid a confrontation, lest the phrase "and the horse you rode in on" be uttered.

I shall not dwell on that mess right now: I'm attending the pageant for my niece.

Then, work is a bear. Major projects going on that take up lots of time and -- this is key -- energy.

And, I have a trip out of town this weekend. My grandmother (she's 96) has a cell phone for emergencies. We thought about one of those "I've fallen and I can't get up" things, but we went with a Jitterbug phone instead. She's had it a couple of years, but now Jitterbug's accounting/billing is all buggered up, so I'm quite displeased with them right now. So, I ordered a new phone to add to our Verizon family plan, and plan to get it to Grandma this weekend and toss the Jitterbug into the river. I'm just undecided between the Altamaha, Ocmulgee, or the Chattahoochee.

So, it's been a busy time, and it won't let up any time soon.

But the main thing I'm trying to focus on the the Miss Georgia Pageant.

The Peach State has lots of lovely and talented young ladies, so the competition is tough. Last night was the first night of four. The first three are the preliminaries. Saturday night, they announce the winners of the first three nights cumulative scoring, and pare the roster down. Whether or not my niece makes the cut, I don't know. She could make it, but she's up against a lot of other pageant winners. We're thrilled that she made it this far. Whether or not she does well enough to place, or perhaps advance to the next step (Miss America Pageant), we're proud of her no matter what.

If you want to watch, we'd love to have you. No, I'm not going to shell out $175 for a ticket package for you. But I will give you the link to the WRBL Website where you can watch over teh internets.

You might not see my niece win any of the competition. But you'll get to see some lovely, talented young ladies. And, who knows, you might just see my niece walk away with the crown.

Cartoons: Handling the spill

[Source: Glenn McCoy]

[Source: Ken Catalino]

[Source: Lisa Benson]

[Source: Michael Ramirez]

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The president addresses the nation

Good evening. As we speak, our nation faces a multitude of challenges. At home, our top priority is to recover and rebuild from a recession that has touched the lives of nearly every American. Abroad, our brave men and women in uniform are taking the fight to al Qaeda wherever it exists. And tonight, I've returned from a trip to the Gulf Coast to speak with you about the battle we're waging against an oil spill that is assaulting our shores and our citizens.

This oil spill is particularly troublesome to me, because I intend to lead the assault on America. I will not tolerate any actions by any company or any nation assaulting American citizens. That's what I do.

After the spill began, I assembled a team of our nation's best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge -- a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation's Secretary of Energy. And you know how smart and wonderful Nobel Prize winners are. Like Jimmy Carter. Yasser Arafat. Al Gore. Mikhail Gorbachev. Me. Really really smart people. Smartily smart. So, this Chu must be awesomely smart, even though his Nobel Prize was for physics, which is sort of like math or something. Anyway, scientists at our national labs and experts from academia and other oil companies have also provided ideas and advice.

Now, it'll take a while for this group to come up with a plan, particularly since none of them know anything about oil wells a mile deep under water. So, to give them the time I need, I've drafted a letter to the oil spill itself, asking it to stop leaking long enough for our committee to come up with a plan. At least, a plan that doesn't involve forming more committees. Although that does sound like a good plan in and of itself.

We have yet to hear a response from the oil leak regarding our request for a meeting to discuss its temporary halt of the spill. But, I stand firm in my belief that open and honest discussions are the way to solve all the problems of the world, and this oil spill is not an exception.

But make no mistake: We will fight this spill with everything we've got for as long as it takes. We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused. Even though they won't really pay; fuel prices will go up, and you'll pay. But I'll get credit for making BP pay, and that's what's really important.

But you know what else is important? Regulation. We've regulated drilling on land and in shallow water so much that deep-water drilling actually seemed like a good idea to the oil companies. So now, we're going to regulate the hell out of that, too.

Last year, the House of Representatives acted on these principles by passing a strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill -- a bill that finally makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America's businesses. If it exists.

Now, there are costs associated with this transition. And there are some who believe that we can't afford those costs right now. I say we can't not afford it.

You know what we need? More taxes. If we can raise your taxes enough, you won't have any money to spend on gas for your cars or heating oil in the winter. That will reduce demand, which will decrease our dependence on foreign oil. Then I won't have to jet around the world bowing to all those Arabs.

And you thought I didn't have a plan.

So, to summarize, we're going to take a sh*t-load of money from BP, causing your fuel prices to go up. Then we're going to let a bunch of egg-heads sit around and debate while oil continues to leak. Then, we're going to implement more regulation that will stop any other drilling, causing the loss of many more jobs. And, finally, we're going to tax the hell out of you.

The oil spill is not the last crisis America will face. After all, my term doesn't end until 2013. But, with God's help, we'll get through this trying time.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Praising Dear Leader

You've seen the video, right?

The one where the teacher leads the students in the chants about Obama?

No, not that one. Or that one. Or that other one. This is a newer one.

Starts off positive, with students talking about overcoming adversity. But, about 1:11 into it, it takes an ugly turn.

[Direct link]

Tip: Gateway Pundit < P/Oed Patriot

You shouldn't get all worked up over it, though. It's not the first time children have sung songs to their Dear Leader.

Greene explained

The best explanation I've seen for Greene's victory in South Carolina.

[Direct link]

Maybe the Democrats are right; he is a plant. Just like that other Black nobody that won back in 2008.

Flag Day ... and then some

On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress adopted the United States flag. We now know this day as Flag Day.

Our country's flag has flown proudly since Revolutionary War. During this country's expansion across the continent, the flag flew. As the nation was torn apart by a civil war less than 90 years after its founding, the flag flew. During this country's defense of liberty in the two world wars, the flag flew. When man broke free of the earth and landed on the moon, the flag flew. When the rebuilding began after Islamic terrorists attacked this nation, the flag flew. When the people of Iraq were released from over 20 years of Saddam Hussein's oppression, the flag flew. And, despite those without our own country that seek to bring this country down, the flag still flies.

Traditionally, the president issues a proclamation observing Flag Day, although the current occupant of the White House hasn't seen fit to do that this year; the last Flag Day proclamation on the White House's Website is from 2008.

Despite the lack of recognition by the White House, we're encouraging you to show proper respect and allegiance to the flag of the United States, in accordance with the proper rules of etiquette.

The flag represents this great nation. Fly it proudly.

Oh, yes, one other thing. Two years before the flag was adopted, the Continental Army, forerunner of today's United States Army, was formed. That means today is the 235th birthday of the Army. If you see a soldier today, thank him. If you know a former soldier, thank him. I know he'd appreciate it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Twilight of the gods

I watched "Twilight" the other night. No, really, I did.

But, it's not quite what you think.

Yes, I'm talking about the movie with the whiney, sparkly vampires. But then again, I'm not.

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Bought Twilight a while back. Wife loved the books, so we got the movie. Got it, not only on DVD, but also on Video on Demand for the TiVo, so she can watch it without having to walk over to the DVD player.

But, I took the DVD, and ripped it with Handbrake. (I only use this to copy movies to TiVo, not for any illegal purposes.)

Then, I bought the RiffTrax commentary.

Then I opened iMovie (yes, I have a Mac) and mixed the RiffTrax audio on top of the movie soundtrack.

Then, I exported the combined movie and copied it over to the TiVo.

Yes, that's an awful lot of trouble to go through. But I can back it up and replay any part and it all stays in sync. So it's worth it to me.

So, after doing all that, I watched teh Twilight.

It was funny. Really, really funny.

I've already put together New Moon and the RiffTrax commentary. That'll put me right back in the doghouse.

And, I'm looking forward to watching my favorite movie of all time. Yes, I'm talking about Casablanca. I can hardly wait to listen to them riff that.

Those RiffTrax guys are gods! They ought to have a TV show or something.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It's not the incumbency, it's the liberalism

All the news stories have been talking about the "anti-incumbent mood" of the electorate.

I never believed it for a second. Most of the incumbents, Republicans and Democrats, that have lost their seats this primary season have been beaten by challengers that are to their right; that is, more conservative.

Blanche Lincoln's win in the Arkansas Democratic Senate primary is an example of what I'm talking about.

All the "experts" were saying that Lincoln was toast, that she was going to loose to Arkansas Lt. Governor Bill Halter. Well, Lincoln up and won.

Now, watch the news heads say that the "anti-incumbent mood" is calming, or skipped a state, or some other excuse. I maintain that the anti-incumbent mood was never there; it is an anti-left, anti-big government mood.

Halter had support of George Soros and manyliberal (they call themselves "progressive," but they're just liberal) groups.

Look at Lincoln's win in the Arkansas primary. She was the more conservative of the two. Maybe least liberal would be the better way of saying it.

Now, in races where there was no incumbent, either due to retirement or races in the opposition party, the more conservative has not always won. But the winner was relatively conservative; that is, conservative by standards of that state, and speaking against runaway spending.

Tea party candidates have done well. And the tea party is, by and large, anti-liberal and anti-big government.

So, some talking heads will continue to be surprised. Because they've decided it's incumbency. It's not. It's the liberalism.

And it's more important to get rid of the liberals than it is to get rid of the incumbents.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Perfect Game

Yes, it happened nearly a week ago, but there's an aspect of the blown call on the perfect game that I haven't heard mentioned.

Maybe I haven't been paying attention. Or maybe I have but just missed it. But what James A. Joyce (the umpire, not the author/poet) did was inexcusable.

No, not the blown call. That happens. It's not a good thing, but it's excusable: he's human.

The call, according to the rules, should stand, according to the Rules of Baseball, Rule 9.02 (a):
Any umpire’s decision which involves judgment, such as, but not limited to, whether a batted ball is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, or whether a runner is safe or out, is final. No player, manager, coach or substitute shall object to any such judgment decisions.
Rule 9.02 (c) says, in part:
No umpire shall criticize, seek to reverse or interfere with another umpire’s decision unless asked to do so by the umpire making it.

But there's another rule that could have come into play that could have fixed it. At the conclusion of Rule 9.05, there is a section called "General Instructions To Umpires" that says, in part:
Each umpire team should work out a simple set of signals, so the proper umpire can always right a manifestly wrong decision when convinced he has made an error. If sure you got the play correctly, do not be stampeded by players' appeals to "ask the other man." If not sure, ask one of your associates. Do not carry this to extremes, be alert and get your own plays. But remember! The first requisite is to get decisions correctly. If in doubt don’t hesitate to consult your associate. Umpire dignity is important but never as important as "being right."
And that's where Joyce screwed up. He was willing, after the fact, to admit his mistake. And that's the right thing. But the really right thing would have been to have followed the General Instructions that allowed for signals between the crew to allow for getting a blown call right.

Unless they did that, and the others signaled that he got the call right. If so, the other umps are chicken-sh*t for not stepping up and taking the heat with Joyce. But I suspect that no signals were exchanged, and that Joyce simply compounded his error with another error.

It's a shame that Armando Galarraga won't be credited with a perfect game. He did everything he was supposed to do. The other players did everything they were supposed to do. The umpire blew the call. But he's human, and that's forgivable.

But this whole controversy could have been avoided if the umpires in the game had simply taken the General Instructions To Umpires seriously.

In defense of Helen Thomas

Just kidding. There's no defense for the likes of her.

I wonder if the left will now agree that, when the Bush administration moved her off the front row, it was a good idea. But it wasn't. She should have been moved out of the room years ago.

The downside of all this is that others in the news media now know that letting people know how they really feel about topics can cost them their job.

Which means that the other anti-Semites that are reporting what passes for news will stay on the job, continuing to skew the news to the left.

We don't need more Helen Thomases on the news beat. We just need to know about the rest of the Helen Thomases that are already there.