Thursday, December 17, 2009

What I'm reading, December edition

After a couple of weeks of being too tired at night to read, I just finished Bartlett's New American Economy yesterday.  Suffice it to say that our future is bleak economically.  I admire the writer for keeping politics almost entirely out of the book, that is hard to do when discussing the financing of our two largest entitlement programs, Social Security and Medicare.  Paying for them is going to be the monumental task of the next 25 years, and so few Americans realize that.  There are only two scenarios that can play out:  those benefits are reduced, or our tax system is radically overhauled.  It's that simple.  Only thing is, the implementation of either will be painful.
On to my new book...I'm cracking the cover now of NurtureShock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman.  I first heard of this book on NPR one morning and was fascinated.  As I often do, I picked it up at the bookstore while it was fresh on my mind and put it on the pile to read. From my recollection of the radio discussion, the book focuses on why the last few generations of children being raised on the idea of self-confidence reigning supreme may have been done a major injustice.  I believe this book will cover the types of positive reinforcement that actually generates greater achievement and motivation, over the simple notion of just feeling good about yourself.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Julia R. Ewan Property development potential

The Julia R. Ewan property is situated neatly within the Fairway subdivision near downtown Lexington.  The school was put up for auction by Fayette County Public Schools earlier this year, and was purchased by a resident of the neighborhood.

In my opinion, it is a beautiful school building in a beautiful neighborhood.  That's not an objective fact, nor is it material in any discussion about it's redevelopment.  However, the neighborhood will no doubt be very interested in protecting their interests as it pertains to that site, as they should.  If the school across the street from my house ever was auctioned, I'd be all over the plans to redevelop. 

I believe there is a right way and a wrong way to be involved in a development planned for your neighborhood.  Typically, neighbors, being the irrational types they are, of course will fear the following possibilities:
  • Those people moving in
  • Property value decline
  • Titty bars
  • any other uncertainty
More appropriately, the neighborhood should focus on what they DO want on the site:
  • No change whatsoever
  • and, um...yeah...that's pretty much the list
I kid, I kid.  Though more often than not, the public comes across as fearing any sort of change rather than putting forth ideas for what would enhance their neighborhood and let the developer make a profit. 

My neighborhood, should Julius Marks ever redevelop is subject to entirely different constraints than Julia R. Ewan school.  Marks is adjacent to a large city park and townhouses/condos, duplexes and apartments already.  Ewan borders only single family residential.  However, they are similar in that they are both roughly 4 acre sites, zoned R-1C, or single family residential.

Both the similarities and differences are hugely important factors in how the sites might develop.  The single biggest factors that opponents to development often ignore, is

  • 'What is the worst thing the owner can do with the property RIGHT NOW?'
  • and 'Can we live with that if we oppose his requested zone change?'
The second point is the one MOST forgotten.  Right now, at this very moment, the owner of Julia R. Ewan school could rent a bulldozer and demolish the school, file a plat to subdivide the lot into as many as 21 single family lots, and start building snout houses.  That would require NO notification to neighbors, and a public hearing on the plan would be largely administrative unless the owner asked for some sort of waiver to the subdivision regulations.

If you live in the fairway neighborhood, and you cannot accept that as a possibility, then you are in NO position to play hardball on his plans.  You need to get behind a proposal you can live with, and be engaged in trying to improve it incrementally.

If on the other hand, the property was zoned A-U still, there would be no viable development options and the neighborhood would hold considerable sway over his requests for a zone change, a public hearing that does require notification and has a legal burden to meet in order to be granted.

So, let's say the neighborhood most wants the school building to remain.  The existing zoning is not appropriate for an adaptive reuse of the building.  No single family would purchase and renovate a school building that size to live in alone!  Therefore, the neighborhood MUST support a proposed rezoning to something that would enable the keeping of that building.

I believe that a request for P-1, Professional Office, would be the highest and best use of the property, and still enable the keeping of the building.  P-1 allows for office and residential mixed-use.  The owner could easily renovate the ground floor for offices and the upper levels for residential condos.

Let's go back to the school across the street from me.  The same worst-case scenario still applies.  Could I live with that?  Yeah, I could, begrudgingly. However, Marks lacks the 4-sided street frontage that Ewan has, that enables more single family lots.  To utilize all 4 acres for single family would require much greater costs in building additional public street frontage.  Single family snout houses are possible, but you can bet that any developer would be seeking a zone change.  My guess is they would ask for R-3 for additional apartments would be their preference.  And my neighborhood would go nuts, for all the reasons I listed above.

I don't have a problem with additional apartments, though I would prefer to see a better commercial/residential mixed use plan that utilizes the park, including something that had apartments.  Losing the school would be a blow to the neighborhood.  It would be less vibrant and the crowd of people passing every day would diminish.  A unique commercial development that integrated the park would be an asset.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Defeating Deflation - Option 2, Stimulus and Deficit Spending

Let's get a couple of myths out of the way up front.  This isn't a political blog post.  The world today can barely debate a topic on the merits of the facts because ideology clouds all judgment and discourse.  I'm not attempting to prove X ideology was wrong and Y ideology was right.  I'm trying to separate the ideology from the policy.  In my mind there is a clear distinction.


From an economic perspective, the following are important truths to remember:


  1. Deficits DO matter, at least as a percentage of GDP.
  2. Advocating stimulus and deficit spending is NOT the same as saying deficits do not matter.



So let's say that the party in power would prefer not to respond to a period of deflation by letting millions of people lose their jobs, let the market reestablish a new lower equilibrium for wages, and also have billions in debt go into default when folks can't meet their non-deflation adjusted debt obligations thanks to their new low wage.  If that particular scenario doesn't sound so great, that's because it isn't(we ought to know, it was happening in front of our very eyes as banks failed).  Economist Irving Fisher wrote his debt-deflation theory after the 1929 crash:


  1. Debt liquidation and distress selling.
  2. Contraction of the money supply as bank loans are paid off.
  3. A fall in the level of asset prices.
  4. A still greater fall in the net worth of businesses, precipitating bankruptcies.
  5. A fall in profits.
  6. A reduction in output, in trade and in employment.
  7. Pessimism and loss of confidence.
  8. Hoarding of money.
  9. A fall in nominal interest rates and a rise in deflation adjusted interest rates.

This is the precise cycle of what we've seen in 2008 and 2009.  It is just as relevant today as it was in 1929.


In the current economic crisis, Republicans proposed tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, a staple of supply-side policies as a means to encourage spending and capital investment.  But as mentioned before, it's not enough to just encourage spending to defeat deflation.  Even the wealthy will just hold their funds if they fear that their investments will go down, or that a dollar spent today will be worth less tomorrow.  (see step 8 above) That doesn't mean that cutting taxes for those individuals is a bad move, but it does mean that expecting tax cuts alone to stop deflation is beyond silly.  There has to be spending initiated by the government that brings the money in off the sidelines and into the economy.


In the 1930's it was considered the height of irresponsibility to propose deficit spending to fight deflation. After all, that was considered a pro-inflation stance.  Keynes and Fisher spent the first 5-6 years of the great depression attempting to make arguments that distinguished inflation from re-inflation and advocating that Hoover stop raising taxes to offset losses in tax revenue from people not working, then urging Roosevelt to stop raising taxes to cover the cost of his spending programs.    Hoover never listened, Roosevelt finally did. 


Does running deficits really save wages, though?  There is no doubt that while policy is being formulated and passed through Congress, jobs are being lost and wages lowered.  A stimulus package will head off unemployment and I'm sure it could be debated in a partisan fashion whether government spending is required to spur spending, after all, that is what cable news debated ad nauseum for weeks during the auto-bailout and stimulus package discussion.  But for economists, the question isn't one of whether it's required or not, it's a simple matter of efficiency.  Government dollars used to get an economy moving again and prices back on a measured, steady upswing is absolutely more efficient than letting the market self-correct.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Defeating Deflation - Option 1, Reducing Wages

One point that I failed to mention in my previous post that I think is an important one is that the financial sector meltdown: AIG, Merrill Lynch and so forth were not, in and of themselves, responsible for the economic crisis that started in 2008.  Just like the stock market crash in 1929 was not the root cause of the Great Depression.  Both events were the manifestation of poor monetary and fiscal policy, and the first sign that there was a large problem coming home to roost. 

Now, this post is about the first of the two options I specified previously for how the government fights periods of deflation, a reduction in real wages.  The reason that died in the wool republicans favor this solution is that it is truly the market solution, leaving markets to move production back to equilibrium demand and reducing employment or wages as required to do so.  The option to let wages self correct in the marketplace doesn't mean that every business calls a meeting with their employees and says, "Well guys, we're in a bit of a pickle here.  We're not selling as many widgets, so I need to cut your pay by 10% each."  What that business owner actually has to do is make fewer widgets: open the doors later, close earlier and that requires fewer employees.  Reducing their workforce by 10% increases the pool of available workers.  You've now increased the supply of workers, in a weak job market demand scenario.  Those companies that do hire, can now offer lower wages, after all, someone will take the job making less because...hell, that beats no job at all.

2009 is playing out this way.  Unemployment is still fairly high, in some areas it is still increasing, and those being offered jobs are being paid substantially less than when they last worked in 2007.  The market wage has been in correction mode, even though GDP growth has returned in the latest quarter.  This method of letting deflation correct itself via a correction in real wages is a painful exercise in Capitalism.  Does it work?  Sure.  Is it quick?  Hell no.  Let's try to list the pros and cons of letting the market play itself out:

  • Government avoids running deficits


  • One consequence is that in the long run, this creates labor and social unrest in an economy.  That social unrest and the political uncertainty that it creates can dog stock market and economic recovery.
  • While wages fluctuate in a market, debt remains fixed.  The ability to repay debts is severely compromised when policy makers choose to let the market put downward pressure on wages and people's ability to pay down debt.  This pressure is not just on individual consumers, but on the business owner who has borrowed for capital improvements.
Keynes had much to say about this approach to dealing with deflation, and often he was accused of being in favor of inflation, which during the 1930's was a very serious accusation.  The common economic thinking of the day was to control inflation at all costs, even if that meant deflation.  The label of pro-inflation was not accurate, but given a choice of inflation or deflation, Keynes would accept inflation much more readily, because the issue was much easier to address.

From The Economic Consequences of the Peace, Keynes wrote:

Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.

If that's not a denouncement of using inflation as policy, I don't know what it.  So it wasn't with a light heart that Keynes encouraged the second option we'll look at for addressing deflation: stimulus spending and the running of deficits...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dealing with deflation (also What I'm reading, November Edition)

Some good press on NPR and the Wall Street Journal led me to the new book from Bruce Bartlett, The New American Economy:The Failure of Reaganomics and a New Way Forward.  I'm sure that sounds horrendously boring to 99.99% of people, but I haven't moved that fast to buy a book since the last Harry Potter novel. I'm odd, what can I say.

It's fascinating to me that a man credited with creating and implementing supply-side economic policy in the Reagan years can write such a profound endorsement of Keynesian economic ideas.  It takes true intellectual honesty to call into question everything you have ever written previously, and say "You know, I might have been wrong."  That kind of integrity is worthy of my reading.

The New American Economy starts with a reminder on the causes of the Great Depression, and how similar those causes are to what caused the crisis of 2008.  Bartlett points out that Roosevelt initially rejected Keyne's ideas for running deficits to stimulate the economy out of a period of entrenched deflation.  For all the immediate expansion of the federal government that Roosevelt pushed through, they were funded with tax increases.  Only when the economy faltered again in 1937, Roosevelt was forced to rethink his ideas.  Manufacturing support of Europe in WWII was born out of economic necessity as much as it was out of national defense worries.

It's important to point out that dealing with deflation is a much tougher task than dealing with inflation.  The 2008-2009 crisis was made even more difficult because we already had exceptionally low interest rates.  There was not a lot of room for maneuvering by the Federal Reserve because you can't go below 0% interest rates, after all, banks won't loan money at a negative interest rate.  Under a scenario of inflation, there is no upward ceiling on how high you can raise rates to check rising prices.  The Fed though, can only encourage money circulation, it can't actually spur spending when the public fears that prices will continue to fall.  Deflation is the nastiest of economic beasts because of the impact it has on consumers attitudes.  People fear spending money and producers fear capital investment.  Additional measures are required beyond just making capital available through loans.  As Bartlett says, only lowering interest rates in a period of deflation is like trying to get fat by buying a bigger belt.  You've enabled capacity, but you haven't set anything in motion.

Deflation requires one of two options for recovery, it really is that cut and dried.  It requires a lowering of real wages to offset falling prices for goods (otherwise firms fail), or it requires massive spending by the government as a means to get products and goods flowing again.  This is the dichotomy that defines supply-siders and Keynesians.  Any attempt to do something in between or halfway only results in furthering deflation and encouraging consumers to hoard cash.  The Fed cannot act alone to get prices moving upward, and they are especially hog-tied if deflation hits during a period of already low interest rates.  The correlation of the Great Depression to the current crisis should be getting clearer now...

In my mind there are a couple of lessons to be learned and hip pocket solutions that policy makers should have at the ready to address deflation in the future.  In the next week, I'll try to put those thoughts in writing here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Quote of the Day 10/30

"I don't like to see trade associations refer to global warming as "an issue" because it supports the idea something needs to be done about it."

--Don Blankenship, CEO of coal producer Massey Energy Co., and a Chamber of Commerce board member.  (source)

Points awarded for an honest straightforward comment.  At least he has that going for him.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Quote of the Day

In an article in the Wall Street Journal about politicians exerting pressure on firms that took bailout money, this little gem appeared:

Thomas Geisel, chief executive of New Jersey's Sun Bancorp Inc., says the bank paid back its federal money in June because of legislation that imposed limits on bankers' pay, among other areas. "Lawmakers let emotion and ego get in the way of making good business decisions," he says.
(emphasis mine)

Says the man whose decision making was so poor his firm required a bailout.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Net Neutrality fight is going to get ugly and we, the people, will likely lose.

It may be early still in the fight to maintain an open and unfettered Internet, but it definitely is not lacking in drama or shenanigans. 

According to the Wall Street Journal:
"AT&T and other Internet-access providers want latitude to manage traffic on congested wireless networks and freedom to devote a chunk of their wired networks to selling more expensive services. Internet providers are worried regulators are assuming veto power over their efforts to develop new revenue streams from their Internet lines."

We should all know what that means.  Comcast and Time Warner and their ilk want to be able to slow down your download speeds from Youtube or Netflix or Hulu or whatever, and speed up your connection to whatever craptastic media service they might introduce in the future.  Companies that thrive on delivering content know the ramifications of the telecoms and cable companies getting their way.

President Obama ramped up the debate with his Net Neutrality speech some weeks back:

And therein lies the crux of the argument, it is time to treat the Internet like the public utility that it is.  The US government does not allow electric companies to carve out a portion of their grid for "premium" electricity services or for the phone companies to block calls made from competitors lines.  The business they are in is one of providing a gateway to services. 

I have written my congressmen on this subject, but I already know that Bunning is too senile to understand the concept of the Internet, much less Net Neutrality and Mitch McConnell is already in too deep with the telecoms to be of any use.  I am relying on Ben Chandler to carry the water for consumers on this issue.  Don't trust the usual suspects of those you think might support a pro-consumer cause like open competition.  They might just disappoint you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Big Blue Madness brings out the haters

They've been there since mid-April when UK hired him.  They whined when his recruits followed him to UK, because athletes sign with schools, not coaches, right?  They popped up big time in early June when the NCAA punished an NBA player by vacating his one college season (I'm sure he shed a tear, until he cashed his next paycheck).  Well, they are back and in rare form now.

There is nothing more en vogue in college sports today than bashing UK, Coach Cal or UK fans.  My non-UK fan friends (why do I bother cultivating those friendships?) are just beside themselves at all the preseason hype going to this UK team.  But in the interest of fairness, how DO I know that I'm not the problem, that I'm not suffering from the most famous of Greenspanian ailments known as Irrational Exuberance?  I'll tell you why.  Because the haters won't talk about the facts.  Any attempt to have a discussion on the merits is met with "where there is smoke..." arguments.   It's like a town hall debate on healthcare, except I actually care about this debate.  ( I don't want any lectures, UK basketball affects my mental and physical health from October through March)

I've grown weary of defending our program, I'm ready to start kicking some tail so I can at least enjoy what has caused all this hand wringing. Let's play some ball.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What I'm reading, October edition

I've picked up a couple new books this week, as I finally expect to get some time to sit down and read after we move.  After finishing Time for the Stars,  which upon reflection was wholly forgettable, I spent an hour at Barnes and Noble and Half Priced Books looking for something new.

I'm currently reading Jose Saramago's Blindness.  I must have some issue to be constantly reading bleak books. Like McCarthy's The Road, Blindness offers little in the way of hope for humanity.  An epidemic of white blindness strikes, and a sub-group of the first stricken are thrown in an old asylum to fend for themselves while the outside world tries to deal with the problem.  Humans proceed to do what humans will do in extreme situations, lose all pretense of propriety and morality when survival is on the line.  They breakdown, yet you don't begrudge a single decision they make, because deep down we know we would all do the same thing, some would just do it sooner than others, as the reality of the situation sets in for different people at different times.

The internees find that the guards have deserted their posts (only by not receiving food for a week) and stumble back out into the real world and discover that everyone else is blind now too.  It is at this point that I'm currently reading, and I have no expectation of the world population getting their sight back, so all that is left is to watch the world descend in the same manner as the asylum folks. 

It's a fascinating book, that sadly is a pretty accurate depiction of how society would likely devolve in a situation like that.  The writing style is frustrating to read, there is little punctuation, quotations, or paragraph breaks.  It doesn't add to the feel of desperation that I sense the author is shooting for (at least for me) so I'm left to wonder why he writes that way.  On the whole, even when an author throws roadblocks in front of you, a great story can make it worth finishing. 

I'll be posting up the rest of my book purchases shortly as I make my way through them.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ha! I win!

All I had to do was email the Kentucky Theater management once, and I got instant results!  Clearly, I have major pull!
Regardless of how busy a week I have, and it is a doozy, I've GOT to see this before it's gone.
Closing on the new house on thursday, father-in-law coming thursday night, moving on sunday along with a Cheerleading competition at Heritage Hall.  Not to mention a meeting sometime TBD tuesday with the Julius Marks Elementary Principal about getting the foster kids started on October 19th.
I think I see a sliver of time for a movie.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Is rapid innovation still possible in the US?

Ever since The Streetsweeper posted a link to an article by Richard Florida, I've been pretty consumed with the question of whether or not the United States has, at this moment, the capacity to experience rapid innovation.  There are times in an ordinary day where I see a new application of an existing technology and marvel at how innovative that is.  For example, yesterday I ordered and paid for a customized burrito for lunch on my iPhone and picked it up after a 5 minutes walk!  Are you kidding me?!  Think about that.  I didn't talk to anyone.  I didn't even sit down at a computer and pick out my toppings on an expensively made e-commerce website.  I hit 7 or 8 buttons on a TELEPHONE and had a hot burrito in my hands 5 minutes later.  It was so easy, so practical and effortless, that it was suddenly possible to envision a world where a great deal of transactions are carried out this way.
Though, to be fair, the true paradigm shifting innovation that allowed my moment of awe occured 20 years ago with the emergence of the internet as a commercial utility.  Everything since has been an evolution of that technology.  It is that type of innovation that I'm talking about, the earth-shattering kind that leads to the creative destruction of an entire sector of jobs, while creating a new industry and jobs to go with it.
I'm not sure that our government, knowingly or otherwise, is interested in fostering that type of innovation anymore.  The policies and actions taken aren't so much against innovation, so much as they are protectionist of the industries that are dying at the hands of creative destruction.  Those actions slow the advancement of emerging technology.  The government places a value on certain industries and sectors of the economy, and then ignores others.
The bailouts of the automobile industry are the most glaring example of our government stifling the creation of more efficient alternatives.  Then they turn around and ignore the death of the print media at the hands of a more nimble online media.    In one instance, creative destruction is a monster to be stopped, and in another it is deemed okay. 
The innovation of the internal combustion engine was a true paradigm shifting moment in history, one in which we made the decision, tacit or implicit via policy, to let the professions associated with horse travel go by the wayside, yet 100 years later we can't return the favor to the creators and refiners of the fuel cell, electric, gasoline hybrid or hydrogen powered engines.  Why do we place the jobs of the relative few ahead of raising the standard of living for the entire world?
If you compare the rate of change in the computer industry, to that of the automobile industry you really begin to see the effects of protectionist policies, and how consumers in the aggregate lose.  Our computers have experienced exponential gains in efficiency coupled with reduced costs to attain them.  While our vehicles have only experienced gains in those areas where the goverment demands them, fuel efficiency (modest gains at that) and safety (significant gains).
There has been little to no intervention in the emerging computer market.  5.25" floppy drive and media makers died out, replaced by CD makers that have since disappeared in favor of flash media and solid state hard drives.  Consumers win, jobs come and go and come again but at least we've had the innovation that has presumably bettered our lives as a result.  I wish I could say that over 20 years my automobiles have offered that level of satisfaction.  
All of this is coming around, I suppose, to an opinion on whether or not the US is capable of rapid innovation.  I believe that we are, under the right conditions:
  • the emerging technology must not be in direct competition with an existing titan of industry, otherwise the full force of the goverment will act to stifle it to protect jobs or special interests.
  • the emerging technology must evolve in marketability/profitablity quickly, there is no help of the government to see it through it's infancy.
That is not a long list.  Any innovation that threatens the status quo in a major job sector will face an uphill battle as the goverment acts to subsidize the now obsolete technology in the name of job preservation.  In the long run, even the job market is hurt by these policies.  Look no further than the computer industry to see how many job sectors have been created by the innovation of the personal computer.  Luckily, that emerging market wansn't destroying anything huge.
I won't say that I never support helping an ailing industry, but when there is a new technology waiting in the wings that needs some assistance in lowering it's costs and getting into the mainstream, I sincerely wish we'd refrain the "Too Big to Fail" mentality of supporting the old guard.  Those instances are truly few and far between.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Baptize! On 3! Break!

Oi! When is it ever a good idea to take your high school football team to a church revival? I'd say it's never a good idea. There seems to be a certain subset of folks who just will never be happy with living their faith, and feel the need to impose it instead.

I was recently invited by a friend of mine to attend his church in the coming weeks for a series of sermons that did in fact sound pretty interesting. I was appreciative of how politely he extended the invitation, and honestly I expect nothing less from him. That's how you win converts. You live the faith. You don't use God as a team bonding event, pull a few heart strings, and whip out the peer/coach pressure to secure a baptism. If my kid made a commitment to God and Christianity at an event like that, I'd be furious too. I'd never be sure he/she only took part to appease the person doling out the playing time. Kids do far dumber things than that to fit in with teammates and make coaches happy.

Besides the fact that it is unconstitutional, there are practical reasons to keep religion out of our public school activities. Kids should never feel there is a quid pro quo for their affirmation of faith, or that a grade might depend on their involvement in FCA or some other religious after-school activity. We preach the virtue of fighting peer-pressure, and then use it achieve something much more personal and important in a young person's life. An affirmation of faith should be from the heart and uncoerced.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

We're on the move!

The last month we've listed our house for sale and sold it in 9 days. Then came the stressful process of finding another home. Mrs. Bliss and I have mostly similar views on what we want in a home, and in this case what we hope to be our last home.

When I made a mental list of the things I wanted in a home I was surprised at how many of the things were not really related to the house itself:
  • large mature trees
  • close to schools and work
  • inside New Circle Road
  • nice usable yard
  • flat driveway for a basketball goal (seriously, this is important to me.)
  • rear entry garage
As for the actual house, all I personally cared about were actual needs:
  • 4 bedrooms and the ability to make a 5th
  • 2.5 baths
  • a basement, finished or not
That was really all I wanted. Now, my wife had other ideas for inside requirements, but I could be totally flexible as long as most or all of the 6 external requirement were met. So we set about in finding something that would meet our needs to house 5 children and give us some outdoor space to keep them from going stir crazy.

Yesterday we got a signed contract on a home that met 5 of 6 of my external requirements and all 3 of the house needs. It has a front entry garage, but a beautiful new concrete driveway that is perfect for playing basketball.

Best of all, it is across the street from an elementary school (like, the crosswalk is 15 feet from our front door) and is directly across the street from a park with a playground, bike/walking trail and a baseball field. It was a home we KNEW we wanted as soon as we saw the location. As long as the house was marginally well constructed and modern, we were going to make an offer.

I won't post pictures yet, as we just signed the contract. Once we close, or at least get the inspection and appraisal behind us, I'll put up some more information. Needless to say, Mrs. Bliss and I really feel like we are getting the last residence we'll ever want.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I think humans as a race were smarter a few hundred years ago.

"Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry."


-Polonius, Hamlet


"The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender's slave."


- Proverbs 22:7


I'm not ashamed to talk about money publicly.  Or more specifically, my money and how I spend it.  I won't proselytize but I'm perfectly comfortable discussing my finances.  That definitely was not always the case.


The first quote I posted was one I often heard from my mother growing up.  The only problem was she usually stopped after the first line.  The second and third lines are the ones that really make the case.  "Husbandry" refers to an act of conservation, and in the financial realm it means saving.  To borrow is to truly dull the effects of saving, if not entirely negate the concept.


Usury, in its original application, is the practice of loaning money and charging interest.  Later, it came to be known as charging a higher interest rate than the law might allow.  It is a concept that I became fully aware of in the last 2 years as my wife and I made a decision to follow a different financial plan.


We entered college with very little knowledge regarding personal finance, quickly obtained credit cards, and even quicker accumulated debt.  Not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but for having no income it monumentally stupid.  Our most dubious purchase was a $300 Adirondack chair, hand painted in a Jimmy Buffett theme, purchased at the Woodland Arts Fair.  It is still a beautiful chair, but looking at it reminds of how ignorant I was.  And because of that, I don't find it to sit all that comfortably.  By the time we paid off the card, I'd guess we paid $1000 for that chair.


Our first stop as a married couple was down to the bank to consolidate our credit card debts and cancel the cards.  So from the age of 20 on, we've lived without credit cards.  It's just how we live.  It wasn't easy. It wasn't convenient.  But we got by.  Looking back, I don't really see how though.


But even after paying off the cards, we still hadn't made a conscious change in our philosophy with money.  We simply didn't use credit because we knew we were unable to use them wisely.  There was no greater principle guiding us, purely self-preservation.  That wouldn't come until later.


Through our first years of marriage while we had a daughter and were still in college, we made full use of the federal student loan program.  We received some grants, but we almost always took the full disbursement of the loans offered as well.  We used that money to prepay rent through the semester.  It seemed like worthy spending choices at the time.  After all, it got us by.  Today, these are our only debts aside from our home.


At the ripe old age of 28, I discovered Dave Ramsey on the radio.  I'll try not to make this an infomercial, but to say that it was an awakening would be an understatement.  His use of scripture wasn't what convinced me, though I clearly like and subscribe to the principle in Proverbs 22:7, it was the sheer sound of joy from all the people who were proclaiming their freedom from debt.  I wanted that.  I'm fully aware that he's peddling common sense, and in that respect he is no different from a Tony Robbins figure.  But at the same time, I guess I had lived my whole life assuming that debt was normal.  Just because I'd sworn off credit at age 20, debt as a way of life was still what I expected. 


More powerful than anything Dave said, was what his callers had to say.  I could relate to every single one of them about the crushing feeling of living paycheck to paycheck.  I realized that how we managed our money meant that no matter how much income we had, we would always live paycheck to paycheck.  When a caller said he made $150,000 a year and still was worried about money and making ends meet, I learned something useful about money management.  Our spending controlled us, not the other way around.  The only advantage we had on the folks calling Dave was that we only spent what we made.  But dammit, we spent it all!


Over the last two years, we've developed a pretty strong, well disciplined budget process.  We save vigorously; roughly 25-30% of our net income each month depending on that month's planned expenses.  Every dollar is spent on paper; even the money saved is designated for something, usually up to 10 things we are simultaneously saving for.  We know which expenses are our downfall and try to build ourselves in some wiggle room.  We're now in charge of our spending, and the results have been pretty staggering.  We basically started with no savings, like most Americans.   My goal, if I can keep a working jalopy for the next 2-3 years, is to walk into a dealership and pay cash for a new car in 2012.


On the whole, I don't mind my student loan payment and my mortgage payment.  In that respect, we diverge from the path Dave sets out.  We could be taking that 25-30% of our income and paying down those debts, but the truth is, I've become so tired of living without a safety net that I want to build that up sufficiently before tackling those debts.  It would take upwards of 3 years to pay off both of our student loans if saved nothing during that time.  Just too much can go wrong in 3 years.  But all in all, we finally feel like we are winning the money game, and in some ways we feel "rich" in our ability to go do something if we want to because we've made decisions that enable that. 
On this front, there may be significant news to share this afternoon.  I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but I've got my fingers crossed.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Be Loud...Let your colorshow!

This song has such a great energy, and performed live it's just incredible. There is something so unique and satisfying about a banjo and a primal scream that I can't stop listening to it. This song is off their Four Thieves Gone album, which I don't consider one of their best in it's entirety, but the high points are fantastic. See for yourself.

Their new album is coming out later in September, their first on a major label and produced by Rick Rubin. I can't wait. Here is the title track:

Lastly, this clip is from the show my wife and I saw at the Kentucky Theater in June. It was a much better show than the one I attended at the Master Musicians Festival in Somerset a year ago. This is how you shred a banjo:

"Should Kids Hear Obama?"

We now officially live in a world where the headline on the newspaper website is THE headline, and whatever makes it above the fold in the morning is old news.  So when the Lexington Herald Leader online has as one of it's top stories "Should Kids Hear Obama?", that strikes me as a headline meant to grab readers and clicks.  In this case, it's a bit of a bait and switch.  The question is apparently, should Obama be addressing kids while in school, and should schools interrupt learning for a presidential address aimed at them?
The quotes from Republican Party leaders already insinuate that this address is an attempt to push left wing propaganda on America's youth.  Surely they don't believe Obama is trying to hold a town hall summit on health care with school kids, right?  This may be the first time that a President has ever aimed a speech at school kids, but it certainly isn't the most blatant attempt at propaganda ever made by a President. 
FDR had entire administrations devoted to promoting his New Deal agenda, through music, photography, plays and obviously print media.  Of course, everyone was along for the ride during the New Deal.  It wasn't propaganda, it was patriotism.  You remember that year that followed September 11, 2001?  It was like that, except it lasted for a decade during the FDR years.
All things considered, I have very little problem with a one time address to school kids.  My daughter would be excited for something like that.  I don't think a president can hope to achieve anything tangible from speaking with people who can't vote for him.  What does concern me though, is that some parents are so partisan as to actually request that their kids not be allowed to listen.  If that ain't the pot calling the kettle black...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Next on my reading list

I finished up The Forgotten Man, by Amity Schlaes this weekend and continued my recent trend of alternating between Fiction and Non-fiction reading.  Up until a few months ago, I couldn't even remember how long it had been since I read any fiction material.  Something about perusing my Dad's classic sci-fi library got me started again.  I've read just about everything of his that looked interesting, but I've been going back and filling in the gaps of what I missed as a teenager, starting with Robert Heinlein.
Saturday at Barnes and Noble, I picked up a copy of Time for the StarsIt's the story of exploration of the galaxy for earth-like planets to colonize as the Earth reaches it's population tipping point.  Also, it's about using identical twins to telepathically transmit data back to Earth, as that type of communication ignores all laws of physics relating to the speed of light and Einstein's Theory of Relatvity.  In a nutshell, a radio signal from 11 light years away would reach Earth way too late to be of any use. 
Besides the great story of how the two main character brothers drift apart as the one living Earthside ages and the other doesn't, the overriding theme that occurs to me is that maybe our planet is currently reaching a tipping point, and we're not doing anything in an exploration capacity that will reap a usable benefit for the human race in time make a difference.  I suppose the same notion was a concern in the 1950's when the book was written as well. 
So far, it's been a great book and a quick read.  I'm hard-pressed to think of a Heinlein book that wasn't interesting or thought provoking.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Karen O and Where the Wild Things Are

Like I needed another reason to take my kids to see this movie, now the soundtrack music is starting to be released and it's sounding great. Very cool. You never know what Spike Jonze will do, but it is usually entertaining(and odd).

Friday, August 28, 2009

Today's dispatch from the Ivory Tower

Comes from the Lexington Herald Leader's Tom Eblen, regarding the Newtown Pike Extension project.  According to Eblen, fellow Ivory Tower dwellers, Graham and Clive Pohl "sounded the alarm" about above ground utilities that were to be placed in the area.  Whew!  That was close!  This project almost got started!  SOUND THE ALARM!!!!!!!
I support the idea of burying utility lines, in the general "yeah thats a good idea" sort of way.  I also appreciate the TREMENDOUS cost associated with burying certain types of lines, and in certain places it just not being feasible. That's called having a basis in reality, otherwise known as something not to be concerned with when opining from the Ivory Tower.
If kudos are in order for all the elected officials who made this happen, and in all likelihood are the same ones that shot the idea down when it was recommended by some poor engineer in a meeting 10 years ago, then fine, give them their positive press they so fervently seek.  But let's talk about the practical impact of making changes to a Federal Highway project at this stage of the game.
When you make changes to a project as complicated as the Newtown Pike Extension, you affect funding from every level of government.  You affect environmental impact statements that take months to re-approve, you affect right-of-way needs that could seriously impact road alignments and property buyouts.   Just deciding to bury utility lines can have a tremendous ripple effect through the entire project.  There are politicians already who have had about enough of funding this project and many more delays could jeapardize the whole thing.  When it takes too long to get some results on the ground that they can take credit for, suddenly their support can shift to something more immediate.  This project deserves to be done now.  The time for line-item changes is way in the past.
You see, what royally pisses me off about Statler and Waldorf sounding off from the peanut gallery is that there are currently a few dozen people living in trailers down in Davis Bottom.  They've been yanked and pulled and cajoled by officials for decades about this project.  They've given up their homes, some without floors and proper plumbing to go along for the ride.  They deserve to get what they've been promised, because I swear to you, they live in The Land that Time Forgot. They don't have lawyers looking out for their interests, and in most cases they don't have politicians doing that either.  The vast majority of Lexington doesn't know that little area even exists.  Nor are many people aware of just how much work has been done to accomodate these folks.  This is way more than just a highway project.  I don't support any changes that put this project at risk, whether it is utility lines or gorgeous new overpasses that span Manchester St.  It's time to build the damn road, and get the residents of Davis Bottom back into their homes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ball and Biscuit

This is my favorite rock song. Ever. Since 2003, I don't think I've ever cut this seven minute song off early when it comes up on my iPod in my car. I can't explain why I love it, the lyrics are simple to a fault, but the tune has a certain something that makes me want to turn my car stereo up as loud as it will go and roll the windows down.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Brendan Benson, "A Whole Lot Better"

My friend posted this on his blog and I feel the need to repost it and talk about how much I love the album, so first things first:

So, this is just track 1 from an incredible album. It does actually get even better than that. This is his fourth release, and three days ago I had a draft of this post that placed the album as his third best well behind Lapalco and barely behindAlternative to Love. Today...well, I'm not so sure, and who cares anyway. A great top to bottom album comes along so rarely, in my opinion, that it's counter-productive to waste time trying to rank it. Just buy the entire album.

From the bastion of classical conservativism comes....

...a call for new and improved regulation of the telecoms.  Or as he calls it, a new National Data Policy, not just voice.
Sarcasm aside (even the delicious irony that it was penned by a hedge fund manager), the guy makes some incredibly strong points, not the least of which is that the whole darn system needs to basically be Open Source technology, and the government's role should be to protect the bandwidth from those that seek to claim it as their own.
Even better, the article takes note that these policies don't just relate to our Cell providers, but to our cable tv and other digital media content providers.  While overstating the value of a la carte pricing to consumers, he does make a viable argument that competition in this realm will provide de facto Net Neutrality. 
On the other hand, ending municipal exclusivity for cable TV might enhance competition, but it also creates one giant problem.  Who in the hell wants to lay all the new infrastructure and make all those improvements if they don't have a guarantee that they will even be in business after they finish.  Or to put it more succinctly, why should a company that provided no improvements get to profit off the company that did.  We know where this is leading, don't we?  The feds will have to subsidize the cost of replacing the aging digital infrastructure so that there can be competition on the services side. I wonder if they will be any better at it than they are at upgrading our traditional infrastructure.
The author does correctly point out that what all media companies want is the ability to own the delivery system, or The Pipe as it is known.  Lets take two examples:
AT&T text messaging:  They own their network, so by charging $.20 a message, a galactically rediculous price per byte, they actually sweeten the pot by offering only a slightly less absurd price of $5.00 for 200.  You are getting robbed blind under the former, and only ripped off under the latter.  But what choice do you have, right?  They own the method of sending the message.  The price is arbitrary with no cost basis to even consider.  It's AT&T's network, unlike:
Sending an email via Insight Broadband:  Insight is my internet provider.  I pay for the ability to access the WWW via their technology.  THEY DO NOT OWN THE PIPE.  The internet itself is free.  The only cost is admission.  You know why there is no cost to send a single email?  Because I don't need Insight in order to send it.  I can change to any number of providers that can hook me up to the same WWW that Insight gives me access to.  The same network carries every email sent from all over the world.  At least for now, no one controls the flow of information on the internet.
I like the author's overall point that a paradigm shift is or has occurred in how we need to regulate these public utilities (which is what they really are). Maybe after Obama is done reinvinting health care, he can tackle AT&T ripping me off month after month.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Springs Inn coming down?

So, on my way home from work yesterday I noticed the trailer unloading heavy equipment at the long closed Springs Inn, and on the way home today I took a detour down Mitchell Ave. to see that the demolition on at least a portion of the Springs Inn had started.

I suppose it's days have been numbered for some time now. From what I remember, it had been closed for the better part of a year. Keeping a site that size free from trespassers and in presentable shape for sale has to be very difficult. Liability on vacant commercial property has to be a concern for the owners as well. In other words, if I owned that property, I'd tear it down too. Sentimentality on this topic is a luxury reserved for those with no basis in reality.

I made a quick phone call to the City's Division of Building Inspection to see if the owners planned to tear the whole site down, or just the smaller building on Mitchell Ave. that I saw being torn down. It appears their intention is to demolish the entire site, but that Historic Preservation is getting time to document the old hotel/motel due to its age. Good for them.

The real question is what happens next. There are now two large tracts of land on Harrodsburg Rd. inside New Circle awaiting redevelopment. The majority of Turfland Mall property has been vacant for years, owned by a real estate giant in New York who seems content to let the property rot. What type of development belongs on these sites? Will it occur quickly or will these sites sit vacant for a decade like the Lexington Mall property? I don't know, but I suspect it will be quite some time before we see serious redevelopment of these suburban sites. Here's to hoping I'm wrong.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It Might Get Loud

I took this picture from the 6th row of a show at the Murat Theatre in Indianapolis in September 2005.

As a certified Jack White fanboy, with no pretension of objectivity, I can say that the fall movie I most want to see is the documentary It Might Get Loud. Of course, it is coming nowhere near Lexington according to that link, and I may have to find a reason to take a trip to Columbus.

I won't claim Jack White is the best guitarist of my generation, but he's definitely the one I most enjoy listening to. As a friend of mine has pointed out before, White may not be the best songwriter in his own collaboration project, but there is no denying his ability to play the guitar. And played live, its the most incredible music I've ever seen or heard.

I don't particularly care for U2, but like any rock music fan, I had my Led Zeppelin phase as a teenager. That period where you discover how great classic rock is, and how much greater it is when you play it louder. I find the idea of a documentary featuring White and Jimmy Page fascinating and even worth a 2 hour drive to see.

Semi-related side note: I didn't make it to CD Central today to get my copy of Brendan Benson's new album, but I plan to take care of that on Wednesday. I tried my hardest not to listen to it early on the internet, but I cracked and streamed half of it on It's not Lapalco, but it sounded every bit as strong as Alternative to Love and that is quite a statement. All zero of my readers, go buy it, and play it loud.

Chuck E. Cheese time!

On of our foster kids turned 5 on Sunday, and last night we had his party at Chuck E. Cheese.  Since he came to our house in April, he's asked if he could have a party there, so being the giant pushovers that we are, we gave in.  I should add first off, Ky. Cabinet for Children is pretty explicit about their kids being online.  We can't show pictures, mention even their first names or obviously talk about their specific situations.  Otherwise, I'd have some pictures up here from last night.
I can remember as a kid wanting to go there all the time, and I think my folks took me once, possibly twice.  I never could imagine why they wouldn't want to go as badly as I did.  I mean, what's not to like?  Well, I'm fully aware now.  I thought seriously about writing a whine-fest about how bad it was.  I mean, the draft is sitting here staring at me.  But the truth is, the kids had an absolute blast.  The four kids who were of game playing age and their cousin had so much fun that I can put aside how much it set me back.  We made it pretty clear, each of them can have ONE Chuck E. Cheese party.  No more.  The clear loophole in this plan is that if I apply it every kid we take through the foster care system, I'll be going to this rat hole (pun intended) the rest of my life.  The things we choose to endure for our kids!
Also, you know that game where you put in tokens and they fall down and push other tokens onto the next layer and so on until hopefully some fall into the receptacle at the bottom?  If that were a slot machine in Vegas, I'd have lost my house last night.  My wife actually tries to keep me from seeing those games at these arcades.  I was chain feeding that thing tokens, I'm sure I looked like Gollum holding The One ring. 

Monday, August 17, 2009

District 9

I went to see District 9 this weekend. Having been annoyed in the past with some "documentary" shot movies, I had low expectations for the cinematography and absurdly high expectations for the story. The whole handheld camera thing works for Borat and makes me want to vomit in a movie like Cloverfield. Luckily, District 9 didn't use that device throughout, instead using it to set the story in the beginning and with some "interviews" within the movie that serve to move the story along. On that front, I was pleasantly surprised.

As for the story, my expectations may have been too high, though I don't want to imply it was bad at all. It was very good, and by modern sci-fi standards it was spectacular, just not as great as I had hoped. The mojority of sci-fi movies resort to B-movie horror tricks and gore and leave the literary sci-fi qualities about sociecty and humanity out altogether. In fact, this was the best told original sci-fi story since Firefly/Serenity. The movie did a really great job humanizing the aliens, and paid more than lip service to the idea that humanity at least initially wanted to do the right things. It made clear parallels to immigrants and refugees without being in-your-face about it. That's a credit to the filmmakers. Towards the end it became a bit of a blow 'em up fest, but nothing too egregious that would undo what it had built up. Also, Blomkamp did a nice job keeping the movie moving, it never got dull (your mileage may vary on that point) and he did well in keeping the movie under 2 hours.

I know I read somewhere before the weekend that the movie was made for around $30 million, which just seems implausible to me. If it cost $200 million to make freaking Waterworld, how in the world did they make District 9 for a fraction of that? Maybe the cost of CGI has dropped considerably in the last decade. Kudos to Peter Jackson and Neill Blomkamp for making a good movie, rich in story, and not a CGI budget-buster that is largely unwatchable (I'm looking at you George Lucas).

Everytime I see a good original sci-fi movie, I always hope that it means there is a movement to adapt some of the literary classics to the big screen. Maybe they just don't work well in movie form like high fantasy does. So far, nobody seems willing to tackle something like The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and the in-your-face statements it makes about human beings. I suppose I'd prefer those works be left alone if they can't be done well. We don't need anymore Starship Trooper debacles.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Dame lost her magic

I can understand Nick Sprouse's comment in this article that something about The Dame's relocation just didn't transfer with it. Buildings and old haunts create an ambiance and character for a business. Moving the furniture doesn't bring that along for the ride. It's a shame, really. The original Dame had something going for it. The booking was consistently good. The prices were fair to darn near cheap in most cases.

Looking forward, just as something unexplained happened to The Dame, something is happening in Lexington that indicates the times are changing when it comes to nightlife and our music scene. I'm now too old and tired to follow it with the zeal I had in college, but I work in a capacity that allows me to see these shifts. Buster's WILL be the new Dame (the original Dame, not the relocated shell of it's former self). And the Manchester St. corridor will become Lexington's premier entertainment and arts area. It's coming folks. In the next 3 years, as the economy recovers, development of the Angliana and Manchester corridors will change downtown. There may even be a few surprises.

Don't listen to all the people that tell you how busted and broken Lexington is. It's a great city and it might be behind the curve in some areas, but it will catch up quickly. I'm bullish on my hometown, and the negativity irks me greatly.

What's an apology without a little groveling?

I'm a pretty big college basketball fan, specifically, a UK basketball fan. We're pretty obnixious, by any measurable standard of obnoxiousness. We're up there with Notre Dame and Alabama Football fans. We make full use of our constitutional rights to be uninformed homers and speak out as such. You can get a great deal of unanimity out of UK fans on quite a few topics: Duke sucks, Gillispie was a bad idea, Vitale loves Duke, Vitale loves Ashley Judd...but not enough to love UK more than Duke, and losing to Louisville is grounds for dismissal. One thing UK fans I know generally don't agree on is Rick Pitino.

There are two schools of thought that I see most often:

Thanks for the Final Fours, bringing us back from NCAA hell, and we'll always appreciate you.



For this UK fan, watching the disintegration of Rick Pitino's legacy is bittersweet. I always fell into the first camp of people who thoroughly enjoyed the Pitino era and could live just fine knowing he coached at Louisville. But I want him to lose. Every game. But it's not because he's coaching our rival, it's because he deserves it.

Pitino's acts of hubris don't just include banging a groupie in a restaurant. They include leaving UK for the Celtics. His arrogance and pride led him to believe his talent was so great as to overcome any obstacle that professional ballplayers might toss his way. They include years of rumors of being a philanderer yet telling people how to be winners in life. That type of arrogance deserves a fall from grace.

Which gets me to my title of the post. His public apology was yet another act of hubris. He spoke of 9/11 and HIS loss. He spoke of HIS most recent team's success. He had to remind us all just how great he is, because self-promotion and being a showman is ingrained in his DNA. Oh sure, he apologized. You don't earn points with me for doing the obvious right thing. A little groveling would have gone a long way. A little self-flagellation in the form of a break, leave of absence or resigning would have been a much more appropriate way to express true remorse.

The bittersweet part is that I didn't really want his fall from grace to be this extreme. Like I stated, I wanted him to lose games, lose stature as a coach and get an ego check from Calipari every year. I certainly don't wish this level of pain on a human being. He may deserve it, but my schadenfreude has limits, unlike Pitino's ego.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Who am I?

For one, I'm someone who hates it when someone asks a question and then answers it. I notice it all the time on television interviews and it just kills my wife and I. Clearly, I'm a hypocrite as my first 3 posts have fit this description. I need to be more original in my blog post titles. I'm new at this, gimme a break. Yeah and I need pictures and links scattered about too. I'll get there.

To the point, I am:

  • 30 years old
  • Married to a wonderful woman
  • Have 2 children...(wait for it...)
  • and 3 foster children currently.
  • have a job I love but stresses me out at least 3 times a week.
  • neurotic about too much personal info on the web, so I'll gingerly divulge more info as I ease into this
The stuff I like to call interests that take place after putting 5 kids to bed include:
  • reading history and general non-fiction. Occasionally Sci-Fi will hook me again, but it comes in spurts. Currently reading: The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes
  • Netflix. Top 5 inventions ever: Sliced Bread, The Wheel, Fire, 2 in 1 Shampoo, and Netflix.
  • Music. I'm sure we'll be talking about this in the time to come, so I won't spoil it for you by divulging my tastes now. Pandora might be the 6th best invention ever.
  • Hiking, camping, backpacking and in general seeing the world you don't see everyday.
  • UK sports. Well, Basketball and Football.
Now, my family and kids don't fall under "interests", which I know would dismay my wife. We've discussed this before. They are MY LIFE. Things I'd die for don't get to go under a heading of things I label as "interests". I live for watching my 4 year old son play Tee-Ball or my 9 year old daughter nail her back-handspring. I don't live for a new red envelope in the mailbox. Pay no attention to the squeal of joy that came out when Gran Torino finally arrived. It was nothing more than the utter shock of finally being chosen by the Red Envelope deity.

Anyway, these are topics I'll almost always be talking about. That and my rants based on things I read daily.

Just what the world needs, right?

Another idiot blathering about whatever popped into his head on his drive to work that morning. The problem with having an opinion on everything and precious few people who care to hear them, is that you end up feeling like you need an outlet to let a load off.

I've recently (actually it was last November but it feels recent) kicked a pretty nasty World of Warcraft habit, and lo and behold, the time left on my hands has allowed me to do a lot more reading and general catching up on the world I am actually living in. I started reading blogs that didn't pertain to gaming or more specifically why Resto Shamans suck in arenas. My love affair with good movies and music has been rekindled, and I feel like I've got quit a bit to talk no one in particular.

I don't plan on stating any desire or goal to post daily, weekly, on gibbous moons or any other schedule. Let's just see what happens here and what potpourri of topics we can touch on.
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