Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day

Hope you are enjoying your share of good times and fireworks today. I also hope you are reflecting not only on chest-thumping as you wave your flags. There are still many matters that must be addressed in our country. We have no simple easy answers that please everyone.;_ylt=AvbsM8nWiffl7nqhI.BNKvis0NUE

We do have a responsibility to conduct ourselves by the ideals at the core of what we say we believe in.

Doing the right thing ain't easy. The foundation of our laws insist on fair and speedy adjudication. I don't want anyone to just walk free. Go through the proper established process. That's all. You want to give people justice, put the alleged villains to the test in court.

And don't bother with the "not U.S. citizens" cop out. It's simply easier to incarcerate someone when the criteria of evidence is diminished. It also opens up the possibility of mistakes being made.

They may be the most evil people on the planet but we have to find out the truth. We have to get it right.

I would love to see a movie, TV show or book that focuses on a main character suspected of criminal or terrorist activity but there is not enough information presented for anyone to really figure out if the guy is guilty.

No Hollywood ending where you get the revelation of innocence or evil. Just the dilemma of passing judgement based only on assumptions.

Snapshot movie review: "Wanted"

Watching "Wanted" is a bit like dating a trendy twenty-something. The movie is clever, kinda cute but ultimately is a vapid, unoriginal experience.

Don't get me wrong, "Wanted" oozes with style and flare worthy of a director who carefully studied the techniques of Hong Kong film legend John Woo. However there is little else to keep you watching beyond the camera tricks and a few catchy pieces of dialogue.

James McAvoy does a fine job early on portraying Wesley Gibson, a timid schmuck who lets the world tap dance on his manhood. You want him to grow a spine, take charge of his life and tell the world to go F*@% Off! Why? Because that's what we all want to do.

The movie satisfies some audience wish fulfillment as McAvoy's Gibson grows a spine and openly speaks his mind. In those instances, he is The Man.

Beyond that, the movie delivers your typical series of chases and thrills. No new ground is broken in terms of plot, theme or action. I could dissect the movie by the components it borrows from other movies which explored the same territory yet with far greater skill.

In the end, "Wanted" is that mildly amusing honey at the end of the bar in a pair of high heels from Nine West, hip-hugging True Religion jeans, sporting an "I'm Kind of a Big Deal" t-shirt and a hair style borrowed from Carrie Underwood. Just like a several other girls who hit the same night spot a lot sooner . . .

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Drill a Hole in Your Head Before Drilling Offshore

Conservatives such as Glenn Beck say more offshore oil drilling is the answer to the nation's gas shortage.

Beck points out that the money spent annually on the increased price of gas effectively translates into the cost of a high-end flat panel TV for every household in the country.

While it might be nice to have a hot new 1080p LCD screen TV with that Blu-ray player I have yet to buy, you must be frigging retarded if you think more drilling is the right fix.

I know alternative energy sources are difficult to make commercially viable. Most of ideas, from solar power to hydrogen fuel cells, have been in development for DECADES.

But we are all in deep debt to oil and the interest rate just went through the roof. You don't get out from under that debt by increasing your credit limit alone. You have to attack the systemic problem that is pushing you deeper into a dank black hole.

I was once debt to the point that nearly my entire salary went towards paying the astronomical interest. Things didn't change until, at the suggestion of someone else, I attacked my real problem: The damn credit system I locked myself into.

Here's my idea: For each new oil rig that gets built, put 1.5 times the cost of that construction towards the development new energy sources. Break the back of oil, don't feed it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sharpe James back in court

Sharpe James, the former mayor of Newark, wants a new day in court . . .

Convicted in April on a variety of corruption charges, he was back in front of a judge with his attorneys asking for a "do-over" based on how his case was handled.,0,1225761.story

James, 72, is to be sentenced later this month on those charges. He surely does not want to go to prison.

But here's the thing. Federal prosecutors had their own charges, 17 in fact, they were going to bring against James in a second trial that never took place after his conviction in April.

The feds held off their case on the condition they could resume litigation if James got ANY part of his other conviction overturned.

The federal charges, wire and mail fraud, each carry a max. sentence of 20 years.

The judge doesn't seem likely to overturn the original conviction but if he does, it means Sharpe James would be go to trial again and also face the possibility of federal litigation afterward.

Sharpe, you wear slick suits but they are not made of Teflon . . .

CEO Confidence Continues to Plunge

CEO Confidence Continues to Plunge

Chief Executive Magazine says its latest survey of CEOs shows ongoing lack of faith in the economy. Hurray for that. Pore over the numbers at your leisure. Hear is my take on the bleak season: We were too optimistic for too long.

Each time the economy enjoys a period of growth, businesses and consumers alike get ahead of themselves. The housing market collapse is the latest example of overextending our wallets.

Let's look at consumer electronics, a very harsh market for retailers and manufacturers. Profit margins are narrow and competition is fierce. I have seen local consumer electronics sellers and big chains including Sharper Image and Compusa wither away.

Everyone likes gadgets, right? The problem is the price scale onsuch goods as smartphones, flat panel TVs and Blu-ray players. The cost of developing these advanced products is tremendous. Device makers need a steady stream of early adopters to help pay down the expenses incured during development. Sony is taking a huge loss on PlayStation 3 for this very reason.

I attended the US debut of the first Blu-ray player in 2006 at the Samsung Experience product showroom at Columbus Circle in Manhattan. Samsung put on a fine show complete with sapphire-tinted "Blu-ray" martinis.

My first taste of how sexy movies can look in high definition tempted me to invest in a flat panel TV and a Blu-ray player to match. But the reality of pricing sobered me fast and stopped me from such foolishness.

If you can comfortably afford such toys, bravo. You are just what the market needs. Go forth, spend your disposable income and get the economy going again. Meanwhile, the general public is waking up the hard way to what is and is not reasonable. How can you justify buying a plasma screen television when you are struggling to fill your gas tank or pay a mortgage?

One day the market will stabilize and we shall all breathe easier. But let's remember to be a little more pessimistic about our finances in the future.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Let's get "Dating" out of the way first...

No one ever said dating would be easy, but then I don't think our parents could have envisioned the odd set of circumstances that have come into play in this era.

In future installments, I will discuss the influence TV shows such as "The Bachelor", "The Bachelorette" and even "Sex and the City" have on the way people approach dating today.

This evening I will pull the curtain back on some of the dating codes and phrases used today. There are some hidden meanings in the things people say to potential mates and I am here to help decipher what's really going on.

  • "I like to travel." This does not mean day trips to the shore or a bed and breakfast in the country. Break out your passport to keep up with this person. For the men in the audience, this is a way women measure your financial security. I got that piece of information from a good female friend. The man visits Borneo has what the traveler wants. The man who plans a trip to Boston may find himself standing at the airport terminal waving bye-bye to his lady.

  • "I like going to bookstores." That's a white lie. More people find their literature through e-tailers such as Amazon. Brick-and-mortar bookstores such as Borders are fighting for market share. Here's the real story: People say they love bookstores in order to sound cultured. Wait for them to mention an author or a favorite title. THAT's when you get to know about a person. Be a careful with people who only read self-help books or relationship guides. They may try to define you by the last chapter they read.

  • "I'm tired of the bar scene." Well, who isn't? I am not encouraging you to go strutting around the local watering hole. What this person is actually tired of is leaving the house to see people. There is a couch and a TV waiting to offer comfort every Friday night. Getting cleaned up, meeting some friends and having a good laugh are bothersome. The Lifetime channel has just the right movie on all the time.

  • "I just love meeting new people." Run. You just met a serial dater. This person is only looking for fleeting distractions. They may chat you up and listen to your silly stories but they just want a little sample before moving along to the next new face. I met a young lady who said her co-workers sent her to a singles' night because she had dated all their friends. Serial daters don't know how to stop and it's not your fault when they forget your name after 20 minutes.

  • "I will try just about anything once." That's cute. Life is like a series of appetizers to this person. Truth is, this person does not like real change. They will visit a new place, eat new food, etc. only for the sake of saying they did . . . that one time. Ever. If they try something on their own, GREAT! If they wait for you to urge them to try it . . . do not expect a repeat performance. When all attempts at impressing you are done, they will settle back into their real routine.

That's enough for one night. Next time I may explore the phenomena I call "Being Fabulous" . . .

Take all I say with a helping of salt because in the end, what the heck do I know?

Monday, June 30, 2008

We all have to start somewhere...

While this is not my first blog, it does mark my attempt at a more focused goal. Ironically, Daily TMI was born from my unfocused nature.

I needed a way to cope with my obsessive-compulsive need for information. Rather than continue staring into space contemplating every mote of dust I come across, it is time to put my life's knowledge to use.

This will not always be pretty . . . but it will be honest. Perhaps the right and wrong choices I have made will be worthwhile to others. Or you just may sit back and laugh your face red with me.

So welcome to the inner gears of brain! There are some rusty parts that need to be replaced but it's still running in halfway decent shape.


Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away