Doing The Most Good
On Christmas Eve, I find myself paying attention to all of the little things that mean so much to so many. Time with family and friends, a warm bed, a hot meal ... all simple pleasures that are just not available to everyone; especially in this tough economy.

Every year, a group of coworkers and I ring the bell for the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign. If you have never been a Bell Ringer, it is a gratifying (albeit thankless) experience. I was able to see the full range of emotions in the faces of the people I encountered while ringing the bell for this worthy cause at a local K-Mart, but I am somewhat confused by the outward disdain for the repeated clanging of the recognizable sound of hope during the holidays; the bell ... as well as towards those who ring it.

I was pushed, bumped, glared at, scowled at, ignored, and that is only by the people who bothered to make eye contact. I don't understand why volunteers for such a worthy cause become the target of such hostility. I was very tempted to tackle the people walking by without so much as a smile and force them to give everything in their pockets. For the record ... I have been told that I am too aggressive. LOL

Bottom line, my point here is that ALL OF US should spend some time 'doing the most good'. The funds collected during the Red Kettle Campaign allow for food blankets, shelters, and assorted disaster relief services for residents of communities everywhere. The sad reality is that once you are in the unfortunate position to NEED the help of this worthwhile organization, you will be thankful that someone stood in the cold, and rain, and wind subjecting themselves to the punishment of the unhappy public. I ask all of you to spend a portion of an hour working with The Red Cross any time during the year. Trust me ... you'll feel better than you have in a while.
Posted By: Stephen (24 December 2009)

Poetry or Prose
Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their county.

Although this is a line that many people have encountered before (thanks in part to mundane activities in typing class), it is something that far too many of us do not take to heart.

America is a strong and resilient institution, but our beloved country is in need of a few of the aforementioned good men to step up and address the crises of the day.

Whether you are a fan or opponent of the current administration shouldn't matter. What should be important is the fact that without change, we will have bigger problems than those we are addressing today. Health care, military conflicts, taxes, food shortages, oil prices, the stock market, Social Security, administration of benefits to veterans, the homeless population ... all of these are burning issues facing the current administration, and it seems that far too many of us are willing to jump on the bandwagon of the hot-button topic of the moment without spending any time researching real options

. Now, although the public may have differing opinions on the job performance of President Obama, perhaps the issues we should be focusing on is HOW we are going to fix the problems, not who is to blame for them. And before anyone asks me how to do that ... if I knew, I would run for office. But you can bet I won't be with "Mo and Ron" at the next demonstration.

The motivation for today's post came from an article over at BBC. Well worth the read, as long as you can separate the poetry from the prose.
Posted By: Stephen (15 November 2009)

Hulu, TiVo, and Fantasy Football
Well, quite a bit of time has passed since my last post. I thought I would make a quick comment as to why I have been a little scarce lately. Of course, it would be easy to blame my absence on real world challenges like work, bills, or social engagements, but the truth is that I have been lazy! You know ... watching TV, laying on the couch, and cursing at the computer on weekends because of damn fantasy football!

Seriously, I don't have time to watch TV like normal people, so I have to catch up with services like Hulu. To borrow a line from Guinness - BRILLIANT!

After catching up on things I missed, I am fortunate to have TiVo on every television. This makes it so much easier to catch up on things I miss while I'm watching the stuff I didn't TiVo in the first place. I should also point out that for all you TiVo owners out there with Netflix accounts, you really should look into the instant download boxes so you can watch movies from your queue on your television instead of your laptop. $99 well spent!

And just because this seems like a calm, rant-free post, I need to say a word about fantasy football. What crazy person came up with such a concept? I must admit, I am one of the "less obsessed" fans, but this week as I was making my picks for one of the 4 leagues I am in, I missed a time deadline by SECONDS and was not allowed to submit picks at all!. SECONDS! If I'm being honest with myself, THAT was single motivation for me to move my ass to the computer, and the reason I am posting now. I am so pissed about this that I could take someone's head off!

I know, I know. Many of you are saying "Dude ... the rules are that blah, blah, blah" or some other crap! Don't quote logic to me when I am trying to make an irrational point about a seemingly insignificant exercise like fantasy sports! The bottom line is that if the feeling I am experiencing now is one that people with important decisions to make would feel when they miss a deadline, we all would have many fewer problems.

And to my fellow fantasy football lovers over at Nerd Football, I was coming for your asses this week! You can bet I won't miss the submission deadline again bitches.
Posted By: Stephen (25 October 2009)

Health Care and Other Stupidity
After listening to the President's press conference a few weeks ago, I must admit I was shocked to learn that so much confusion existed about such a simple concept. Then again, I guess the discussions were derailed for days by the "stupid" remark that was made during the Q&A following the statement.

I had planned to write a piece about the ridiculous response and media coverage the comment received but just couldn't seem to get motivated to address "Mo and Ron" again so soon after our last exchange. I mean, how is it possible that the morning after an announcement concerning a change that would affect so many, the media covered the Professor Gates situation for seven minutes longer than the substance of the President's message. In fact, weeks after the tragic and untimely death of Michael Jackson, he still commanded more media attention than a change in our health care structure. I just don't get it.

For those interested in reading about the plan, there is a PDF available online with the details of the proposed changes. The concept is a simple one. The proposed plan strengthens employer–based coverage, makes insurance companies accountable and ensures patient choice of doctor and care WITHOUT GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE. Under the plan, if you like your current health insurance, nothing changes, except your costs will go down by as much as $2,500 per year. If you don’t have health insurance, you will have a choice of new, affordable health insurance options.

Now, if you are hoping to find validation of the outrageous claims made by some concerning the plan structure, I'm afraid you will be disappointed. After actually reading the plan (and I'm chuckling to myself as I type that), I can say with some certainty that you CAN have health care and own a pet. You CAN have coverage if you are sick, elderly or disabled. You CAN have coverage if you were born on ANY day of the week. You CAN have coverage if you are African American, Caucasian, Asian, Native American, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Hispanic, German, Russian, and any combination of this group or any that I omitted... in this case, everyone means everyone.

Now, I'm not going to give much attention to the comments made by Sarah Palin. I'm just going to watch an old SNL skit and be thankful for the way the election turned out.

Editor's Note: Joe Biden is better than that.
Posted By: Stephen (09 August 2009)

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