Saturday, November 25, 2006

Episode 200

We left Gettysburg at about 2 pm and Bruce asked me if I was hungry for lunch. I wasn't, although we passed a local pizza joint and anyone who knows me knows how much I love pizza, but I declined due to the warmth and humidity. We opted to hit the road.

The scene is from somewhere in Western Maryland, west of Cumberland. In a previous post, I mentioned how we 'collect' states. But that means different things to different people. Some people 'count' a state by merely having a layover in some new airport. These people are wimps. Bruce's view is he has to physically step on the ground outside of an airport for it to count. My general rule of thumb is to try, at best to remain in a state for at least 24 hours if I can, with some exceptions, travel through it for several hours at ground level and it must be during the day. I once traveled from Boston to Las Vegas on AMTRAK, taking a long scenic route via Chicago to Seattle, down the California coast and busing it home to Vegas. By that measure, I have 'visited' North Dakota and Montana having spent several hours traveling through these states during the day, but not Idaho or Minnesota, which I slept through. Wisconsin, either, for that matter, because it was only light around Madison. I saw enough to know that I'd like to come back for another visit.

So we traveled through Maryland for a few hours before reaching the border of West Virginia and our next nights stop at the McCoy - Hatfield feud site in Metawan on the West Virginia/Kentucky state line. We deliberately went slightly off course as we saw a sign for a 'Scenic Lookout' and to give Bruce a chance to step on Maryland soil. As you can see, Maryland pretty much looks like Pennsylvania.

This is Episode 200 of the Scorched Pig. Hope y'all been enjoying the ride so far. Its been awhile, I know, for I have been undergoing changes and 'trasitioning', but the Odyssey will continue.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!

And Happy Hannukkah, Day 6! Shalom. Been witnessing this first hand!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Good Service from an Apple Store

A couple of weeks ago, we went down to our local Apple Store and I brought my 'older' Ipod and its charger. I had been having a hard time charging it and I assumed it was due for a new battery, which, according the Apple, means you simply get a new Ipod, since there are no user serviceable parts inside.

I had purchased Apple's extended warranty in May 2005 and I assumed (wrongly) that my coverage would extend to May 2007. The way Apple sees it, an 'extended 2 year' warranty only adds an extra year to the product, since you normally get one. But they also view it as beginning from the 'date of purchase', which for me was November 6, 2004.

I had stopped it once before to ask about the problem but I didn't think the prolem was the charger, so all I brought in the store with me was the Ipod. It seemed to charge just fine, which made me look like a fool, and I really didn't want to go through the hassle of getting help online, so I made sure I had my charger. Turns out it was the firewire cable that had gone bad and thus it charged when it wanted to. Of course, I tried it in different outlets, which is the first of the stupid questions people ask.

So, I got the cable (for free) as part of the extended warranty, and the guy behind the counter, looked up my serial number and saw that my Ipod was 'due' since I had made mention of the possibility of needing a new battery. Since the battery wasn't the problem, he said let me check in the back for a new Ipod since you are due and I was just a few perilous days away from expiration. Since I didn't know about the 'date of purchase' thing, had I gone in just a few days later, I would have been shit outta luck. Fortunately, the guy behind the counter caught it and I got a fresh new Ipod. He could have been a dickhead and not mentioned anything, so I would like to commend this particular Genius Bar guy at the South Shore Plaza for his great customer service.


I finished reading Shadowlands 'Haunted Florida' bring the total numer of haunted sites to 2269.


E.J. Dionne wrote a god article today about how the Middle Class in America has been squuezed as a result of 8 to 12 years of 'Supply Side Economics'. I've always argued that the GOP has pushed most of 'risk' of living onto the average guy, everything from health care to their 'inbestment' strategies about the Privatization of Social Security. He argues that people will only take more risk only when they feel more secure about their own financial circumstances. He points out that a rising stock market only benefits the already well off, while this latest 'recession' has hit the middle class particularly hard - its not just the unskilled that have been feeling the pain, its the college-educated skilled force as well. Ask anyone who lost their jobs in high-tech due to outsourcing to India. That's great for the Indian Middle Class, not for use here, especially, if you are middle aged and have had a hard time finding 'suitable' work to stay ahead of rising home prices (which are leveling off) and high gas prices. As if you need further proof how many jobs went oversees - IBM has a machine to help train Indian workers to practice their English, so that they drop their British/Indian accents, so Americans won't be so painfully aware just how many jobs have gone overseas. I once called Earthlink (I no longer have an account with them) for technical support and I got 'Kevin' who was obviously calling from Bangalore. I hope that the Democrats pay heed to the cries of the Middle Class in America or their majority party status will be brief indeed.

At least I have finally found employment albeit with an 86% drop in income with a well known phone provider. I start on the 27th.


October's visitors: AZ, FL, IL, ME, MI, MD, MO, NE, NV, RI, VA, W.V., and TX.
California: Ceres, Glendale, Maywood, Oceanside, San Mateo and Thousand Oaks
Foreign: France, India, UK, Chile, Australia (Queensland). (What? No Canada?!)

Friday, November 10, 2006

A New Day Dawns

The results of the Midterm Elections in the US show that the electorate is in a mood for a change in direction for the country. Now that the Democrats have captured both houses of Congress, the long stanglehold of the neoconservative GOP has finally been broken. Rick Santorum is gone, and the Dems have picked up a comfortable margin in the House and with yesterday's concession speech by George Allen (Senator Macaca), they now control the Senate as well.

George Bush, the unilateralist, now gets what he wanted - to stand alone. The irony here, and it shows to his lack of political acumen and competence is that, had he announced Rumsfeld's dumping BEFORE the election, the GOP might have kept control of the Senate.

The American People have had enough of George Bush's growing absolute power that the GOP had been giving him, they want a new idea on Iraq and I think the middle class in America wants a 'New Deal' on the tax cuts. Tax cuts that go to the middle class rather than to the likes of Donald Trump. The $300 tax payoff that he gave as a thank-you bribe in 2001 did far more for the economy than does Wealthfare.

The debate has been far to shrill and harsh and one-sided under GOP rule. Let's have an honest debate about the future direction of the country. I hope the new congress will restore the writ of habeas corpus, taken away recently under the guise of 'fighting terrorism' and that there will be a new debate on economic issues such as the abshing of the middle class.

One can only hope, ut hope springs eternal.