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Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Dad 2015

The silence is deafening on this unseasonably warm, pre dawn Christmas morn. One of those mornings when one is fast asleep, then suddenly, almost joltingly, awake. The comforting transitional stage from restful slumber to groggy awareness has somehow been stolen. And as your thoughts begin to collect themselves and you realize something else is missing... Dad. Your Dad will not be a part of this festive day for the first time in your life. Knowing similar occurrences will be and has been experienced by countless others does little to ease the sense of.....what? No word or words will suffice. Memories of Dad are now all you truly possess. And you count them up like the colorfully adorned presents tucked under a glistening Christmas tree. Today as you open those gifts from friends and loved ones so too will you unwrap fond memories of Christmases past. Dad would have liked that.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

One Two, Buckle My Shoe


Somehow I become the guinea pig for breaking in my brothers new video camera. Here's how to tie a shoe in 2 seconds. (Because you never know when you're gonna need to leave in a hurry!)



Monday, November 23, 2015

'It Follows': Best Horror Movie for 2015?

It Follows (2015) PostReleased in American theaters April 3rd 2015, 'It Follows' is a modern horror flick worthy of any fan interested in that genre. The plot was fresh, the acting capable, and was directed in a way that worked for me. It was distributed on DVD July 14th 2015 and I highly recommend this film. Here are a couple of reviews from Rotten Tomatoes.


Allison Wilmore – BuzzFeed: It's a testament to how scary a movie It Follows is that for days after watching it, you walk around thinking up survival plans - should you hide, stay on the move forever, pass the haunting on to someone else? Full Review...

Mark H. Harris – About.com: A good old-fashioned spooky tale that forces us to confront the inevitability of death and asks what we would do if we could see it coming. Full Review...


Monday, November 2, 2015

Does Amazon Deceive Customers at Checkout?

I have been an avid Amazon.com shopper for many years. I highly recommend their vast amount of goods, competitive pricing, and excellent customer service. With that being said, there is one questionable practice that Amazon engages in that to me is an outright deception. Here are some screenshots to walk you through.





Screenshot #1: I have chosen a pair of Bluetooth headphones. It has free shipping if the order exceeds $35.00. So I'll just find another item I need for at least $6.10. As you can tell by the picture the FREE Shipping is in bold. Now to add another item...





Screenshot #2: I found an armband. It's $7.99 so that brings that total to $37.89. This item also ships free if the order is over $35.00. I love Amazon! I'm going to get free shipping! Right? Right??



Screenshot #3: So I've hit the checkout button. Good thing too I need to get off here and do some stuff and.......hey wait, where is my free shipping? I don't understand. What did I do wrong? So after rechecking everything......






Screenshot #4: Bingo! I found the problem! I had to scroll down a bit. Amazon distinguishes between Free Shipping (5-8 days) and Standard shipping (4-5 days). So I have to CHOOSE Free Shipping....(thought I already did when the total exceeded $35.00.) So now I will check Free Shipping...



Screenshot #5: And look what happened! I get my Free Shipping! Oh and by the way, why was it 6.25 when I was going to have to pay it but 5.25 when they issued the credit? (I've yet to figure that one out, but it had no effect on the total cost.)

By now you should see where I'm going here. Why doesn't the cart default to the free shipping option if it meets the requirements? If this is not bait and switch it is very close to it. I discovered this discrepancy a few years back when ordering something in a hurry with my smart phone. Realizing Amazon had charged for shipping a few minutes after getting the confirmation, I contacted them to complain and they promptly refunded the shipping.

Can you imagine how many customers don't catch this? Good for Amazon's bottom line, not so good for unaware customers.

To those of you that wonder why I don't sign up for Amazon Prime which offers free 2 day shipping on eligible items, stay tuned, I have a few things to say about that in a later post. Web designers that work on shopping sites like Amazon are top notch. Every word and picture and placement thereof are extremely calculated. So what do you guys think? Is this much ado about nothing?













Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Is Donald Trump The 'Bad Medicine' This Country Needs?

Remember as a kid when you got sick? After putting a cool hand to your fevered brow fretful parents would rummage through the medicine chest or run down to the drugstore and get you some medicine. "Take this, it will make it better" you were told. And with a face prepared for the worse you swallowed the suspicious looking liquid. The 'bad medicine' lived up to its name but after a while you began to feel a little better.

If you had told me one year ago Donald Trump would be a leading presidential candidate of 2016 I probably would have laughed it off as some political joke, waiting for the punchline. I have no animosity towards him. With the economy in the shape it's in, a good dose of capitalism would benefit the country. Sure, I cringe at some of the things he says, but I tend to like people that are upfront about what they think. Regardless, in this politically correct environment I doubted Trump's bluntness would get much traction with other folk.

So you can imagine my surprise when the media outlets began to reveal his polling numbers. I assumed family members and friends would quickly discard such nonsense and crown Trump a rich, arrogant fool. But I was the one fooled.

Who knows at this juncture how things will unfold. This narrative is not to analyze the pros and cons of such a presidency. I leave that dear reader in your hands. But this writer can't help but wonder if Donald Trump may be the 'bad medicine' this country needs to get better.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Has Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden Painted Himself Into A Corner?

With Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden's decision at the beginning of the season to promote Kirk Cousins over Robert Griffin III for the entire season, he may have unintentionally painted himself into a corner. Six games into the 2015 NFL season it seems the Washington Redskins organization have once again placed fans and players in the precarious position of yet another losing season.

Since joining the Redskins in 2014 Jay has tippy toed around a dysfunctional organization with an almost cult fan base for quarterback Robert Griffin (including the team owner, Dan Snyder) while trying to rebuild a team in total disarray. Though the jury is justifiably still out on Gruden as an NFL coach, keep in mind this is the front office of a  team that chews up and spits out coaches (even previously successful ones) with a vengeance. (See Joe Gibbs, Marty Schottenheimer and Mike Shanahan).

For the 2nd time in two years Kirk Cousins has played poorly after being promoted to first string. At 2-4 and help from a weak NFC East there is still a chance to make a season of it but decisions must be made promptly and commandingly. Gruden should go down swinging and that means changing course on the fly if needed, even at the expense of appearing to flip flop!

Win or lose against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday, Cousins must have a positive performance over the next two games. If there is any doubt, after the Tampa Bay game, a change to Colt McCoy must take place during the bye week. If Cousins plays well in Tampa he should continue to be under scrutiny against the Patriots after the bye. Why? That will be an 8 week sample of his performance. Half the season. We could be 3-5 or 4-4 at mid-season. Cousins must positively contribute in both upcoming games. No time to coddle quarterbacks. There are 52 other players not to mention thousands of paying fans to which Jay has an obligation.

Gruden should play to win. To heck with the future, screw the politics. If Kirk hurts the team BENCH him. The upside of Cousins' being pulled is that it will reveal if we really have a starting QB on this team at all. Jay will get to evaluate Colt McCoy one last time. Colt and Cousins both had decent preseason. Griffin's preseason was so bad he should be out of the picture.

So lets win the next 2 games. Jay Gruden needs to plan ahead and leave options open. Much better than standing in the corner watching paint dry.