Sunday, November 30, 2008

Congratulations Shoppers

I want to congratulate the shoppers who defied National Buy Nothing Day and shoved their way into a new first in American history. Trampling a Wal-Mart employee to death.

Bob Schieffer of Face The Nation said it best "...the Long Island incident marked the first-ever Black Friday shopping fatality."

Visit for Mr. Schieffer's full comment.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Okay, I'll throw them a bone, but for a good cause.

I was glancing through a copy of the State Journal Register when I came across an editorial by Ginny Conlee, charman of the Hope Institute board of directors. I sighed to myself and decided to give the State Journal Register kudos for publishing the editorial.

The Hope Institute is a special needs school bordered on one side by Lake Springfield and for years has only one narrow two-lane road (Hazel lane) in and out. Neighbors on the road were concerned about their safety and property so they opened a new wider road to the school.

Since the construction of the new road, the neighbors, it seems, are clamoring to close the old road entirely to make it a dead-end street. Doing so would definitely increase their property value, while at the same time decreasing emergency access to the Hope School.

I'll attempt to embed a Google Map here with links to the articles.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another Product Failure from Shopko

Jumbo Laundry bags. These bags appear to be made of Nylon, but I suspect they are made of polyester instead. They failed immediately when I started filling them with my laundry.

They were made in China "exclusively" for a company called JMK Sales in Bridgeview, Illinois 60455. I Googled the company but only found a manufacturer for Illinois Industrial Tool, Inc. which does not appear to have anything to do with knit laundry bags.

They were on sale.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Today on my way home from work I found some people protesting against contractors who bring temporary or part-time non-union workers from out of state who get paid next to nothing and probably don't get any benefits.

What little money there is leaves the state when the non-union non-local workers go home to Kentucky or Alabama or where ever. Money that would otherwise boost the economy right here in Springfield by people who live here.

Do you wonder why the economy is going south? Contractors will have to lower their prices because they are paying lower wages! And those wages are going to be spent somewhere other than where the contractors are building.


I did a video interview but the wind totally blasted my microphone.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Testing Google Docs 'Form'

In Google Docs, I discovered there is a form you can create for surveys. It even stores the results and displays them on a spreadsheet and shows graphs for you too. I'd like to test it here. Google docs will automatically generate the code you need to embed the form in your blog or website. When it generates the code, the iframe size is adjustable, the default height for mine was 310 by 1094, but since it scrolls, I want to adjust it

I hope you participate. When I get enough results, I'll try to see what they look like when I publish them. I checked into it and right now it doesn't look like the results are quite as dynamic as but it's still free.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Stop H8

Springfield Protests Proposition 8 ban on Same Sex Marriage.

Video also available through a link at

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Still wondering about the future.

I still like to read the State Journal Register because they have career journalists on hand who work full time to get their stories and photos. For a while I even had the notion of applying for work there. But the tide is going out for good on the old media, thanks to the Internet.

I wonder how many generations it will take before subscriptions to actual hard-copy newspapers fall into the red zone of being cost-prohibitive? Would online advertising be sufficient to support the structure that remains after the printing presses have ceased forever?

Remember radio? Radio is still a good hands-free form of entertainment, but AM is dominated by right-wing conservatism, a philosophy which proved its worth over the last eight years in the political spotlight, and evidenced by the presidential election of 2008. Unpopular.

As for FM radio, it depends on the artist and not the genre.

Genre radio is old hat. The Internet has exposed us to the reality of music. That there are really good songs, not really good types of songs. We as an audience can no longer accept being pigeonholed into arbitrary categories of Rock, Pop, Country, Jazz, Lite-Jazz, Classical, Heavy Metal, Blues or Big Band.

I occasionally listen to Amy Winehouse, Bjork, Tom Waits, Dethklok, Muddy Waters, Pete Seeger, Ozzie, Tchaikovsky, Sly and the Family Stone, etc. No radio station will be able to keep me as an audience for very long.

Local Broadcast television is not doing too well either. The local news anchors most of the time are repeating the national news when they can't find local stories. Most of the remote news crews were once Union and are now gone.

During the time slot used by local news broadcasts I'm watching PBS. I'm already searching blogs and YouTube for local video on my computer instead of watching television. The Internet provides weather reports too. I don't know what the local broadcasters have left to hold up against the Internet. I think they are in worse shape than newspapers. Popular shows can be watched at

Barack Obama said change is here. This change is bigger than just politics. We are about to usher in a whole new cultural structure, the likes of which we can't yet imagine. Biggest of the changes is perhaps that there may be no such thing as mass communication anymore. Sub-cultures will re-arrange under totally different flags.

Philosophies will shatter and pieces from different ideologies will combine into never before seen colors.

People will be different in unheard of ways, because they will have their own custom-designed preferences thanks to the Internet. Everyone will be a stranger to everyone else, so we will simply have to shed fear.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Feedburner to the rescue!

I finally figured out how to get all the headlines for all of my blogs to update automatically without having to manually edit my website!

Hooray for FeedBurner! They were recently acquired by Google, and the basic services are free. I just started using it today, so my results are sloppy to say the least. When I have time later I'll tinker with options.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Drinking Librally Celebrates Tonight

Liberals in Springfield? Tonight at 6:30 pm Thursday at the Brewhaus, 617 E Washington. Come any time after 6:30.

I wish I could be there, but I go to work when everyone else goes home, and I can't plan anything more than three days out. I've missed countless monthly meetings with REALL (The Rational Examination Association of Lincoln Land) and the Springfield Area Freethinkers.

All these groups have members that are very rare in this area and it makes me sad that I miss out on actual intelligent conversations that otherwise would only take place after paying a tuition fee at the Unversity of Illinois at Springfield.

After listening to WMAY syndicated Hate Radio last night, these groups have become more important now than ever because the Right-Wing Radical Fundamentalist Christian Terrorist Racist Bigoted Homophobes are planning political machinations in revenge for the election of Barack Obama.

You can connect with these groups through

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The retired win in Sangamon County

Springfield is basically on a fixed income rolling toward assisted living. Personally, I can't account for a community that is in such a state, voting Republican. There may be one exception, a very short horizon.

People who think that if they support and emulate characters like Gordon Gekko, they will become like Gordon Gekko,

Gordon Gekko: The richest one percent of this country owns half our country's wealth, five trillion dollars. One third of that comes from hard work, two thirds comes from inheritance, interest on interest accumulating to widows and idiot sons and what I do, stock and real estate speculation. It's bullshit. You got ninety percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own. We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price per paper clip. We pick that rabbit out of the hat while everybody sits out there wondering how the hell we did it. Now you're not naive enough to think we're living in a democracy, are you buddy? It's the free market. And you're a part of it. You've got that killer instinct. Stick around pal, I've still got a lot to teach you. (Wallstreet, 1987)

The problem is Sangamon County is not Wall Street. They are all big fans of the so-called "free market" but it takes money to make money, and most of your money is being gradually siphoned away by national franchises that have institutional investors based on Wall Street for real.

The point is that they are supporting a philosophy that belongs to their masters, not themselves. The other people they see reaping the rewards they themselves desire don't live in our neighborhoods, they only see them on television.

So the local political structure remains the same and so follows the economic structure. The Gordon Gekkos of the world would scoff at our community because according to the U.S. Census, there are only a tiny few people who barely come close to being excluded from the tax break promised by President-Elect Obama.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

AT&T and Sony Ericcson Fail Again

The timing of this post should give you clue. It's Sunday, November 2nd around 4:17 AM.

My old LG cell phone on the Sprint Network would have automatically updated to the correct time by now and I would still be in bed for another hour.