Good Debt - Bad Timing

on 3/27/09

President Obama's new multi-trillion dollar budget is pretty tough to swallow given the current out flow of resources to the AIG's of the world. But, the budget is overall a good budget and allocates the nation's resources to areas of need.

Check out this blog post:

My Childhood, 2 hours at a time

on 3/11/09

Here is the list of the top 10 movies that I remember watching as a child. Ya know, the movies that if they came on TV, you would watch it, no matter where it was in the movie. You watched, and memorized.

No particular order of course. I am equal opportunity.
  • Flight of the Navigator
  • Sandlot
  • Top Gun
  • Forrest Gump
  • Hoosiers
  • Field of Dreams
  • Indiana Jones - The Last Crusade
  • Karate Kid
  • Hunt for the Red October
  • War Games
How about a nice game of global thermonuclear war?

Inconsistent Ethics are not Ethical at all

on 3/10/09

One thing that really bothers me is when people are inconsistent in their positions on issues.
Example: Being anti-abortion and being pro-war. Life is life.

A new one that is gaining popularity:
Being anti-stem cell research and being pro-questionable interrogation techniques.

If you are against harming a human life to help advance scientific research and possibly save lives, then you have to be against harming a human life to help advance defense intelligence and possibly save lives.

Simple. Consistent.

&, Oh &, Wherefore art thou &?

on 3/5/09

I work at a desk all day long and every day I have a need to use the ampersand key on my keyboard. (ya know, this thing ---> & <---)

The problem is that I can never find the key on my keyboard. I mean, eventually I find it, but it takes a second.

If I need to enter an "s" I know exactly where it is, sandwiched in between the "a" and "d". Likewise, the the "F5" key is fittingly placed right between the "F4" and "F6" keys.

So, who decided to put the "&" where it is?

First of all, it's not even a real key, it's a secondary key. Whoever thought up the modern keyboard apparently didn't think the "&" was a strong enough character to stand alone. It needs the help of the CTRL key and the "7" in order to make it to print. Whatever.

Secondly, why is it in in the same range of fellow secondary characters as the "^" and "*". Who uses the "^"? What does that even mean? And the asterisk? An asterisk is only used* when you couldn't fit everything you wanted to say about something in the original sentence!
*In musical notation, the * indicates when the sustain pedal on a piano should be lifted.

In conclusion, I move to have the "^" replaced with "&" so that both the "6" and "7" keys have the ampersand as the secondary character. Also, the key up in the top left that has "`" and "~" should be done away with and hold only the "&".

That is all.


on 3/2/09

A standing ovation is a form of applause where members of a seated audience stand up while applauding. This is done on special occasions by an audience to show their approval and is done after extraordinary performances of particularly high acclaim.

It is my stance that the standing ovation has become widely overused and as a result has become grossly undervalued.

Proper Use of a Standing Ovation:
Roman citizens began the practice of the standing ovation as a sign of respect and honor for returning victorious military units. This can (and should) be continued for our troops currently, regardless of political beliefs or any interpretation of "victory".

  • As a sign of respect for certain political offices, a standing ovation is a necessary tradition that should be continued. This is why at the beginning of the State of the Union address, the President is never introduced by name, simply by the office.

  • When a performer has achieved a level of success that is so far beyond the normal or expected standards, then a standing ovation is a suitable response for the audience. This can be for stage performances, athletic achievements, etc. There really needs to be some self-control on the audiences part in regards to this third standard. I'll touch on this later, but generally if you were able to think about something other than the performance at hand while sitting in the audience, than a standing ovation is not warranted.

Abuses of the Standing Ovation:

Back to the state of the union address. This singular event has more problems with the standing ovation than anything else I can think of. First of all, there is no need to stand up every time the President says something you agree with. Secondly, the standing ovation, or lack thereof, should not be used as a political statement. We know the republicans want smaller government, you don't need to stand up when the President mentions it. We know the democrats want anything and everything that Bush 43 didn't, so there's no need to split the room down the middle during standing ovations. Just don't applaud at all until the end of the speech.

I know there are lots of proud parents out there that are just tickled that little Johnnie can play his trumpet as good as Louis Armstrong. But, he really isn't that good. It's great that the 6th grade band/choir/orchestra/piano recital/play/etc. is putting on a show, but it most likely is not good enough to deserve a standing ovation. Remember, this is something that should be reserved for soldiers returning from war, not a 3rd grader playing "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" on his plastic recorder.

What Caused This Abuse of the Standing Ovation?

I don't think that everyone thinks every performance they go to us standing ovation worthy. But, when a critical mass of an audience stands up (probably 20-25%) and it forces the hand of the rest of the audience to join them. A reasonable audience member that knows the standing ovation is not worthy, doesn't want to make a scene by being the one person not standing up after the mediocre 10th grade version of "Hello Dolly".

Also, now that the standing ovation has become so widely abused, if an audience doesn't give a standing ovation, the performers may be offended and as a result have their self-esteem shattered. What a pity.

What's the Big Deal?

It is my belief, that the abuse of the Standing Ovation is a small part of a larger problem with our current society. We are way to happy to praise people for an average performance. This goes beyond the stage and athletic fields. There are major productions for 5th grade graduations now. Seriously?! 5th grade is an accomplishment?

A reduced standard for excellence can, will, and has resulted in lower standards across the board and a reduced quality because of it. It may be a stretch but I think you can blame standing ovations for this: