Monday, March 31, 2008

Heard This Before?

"We are succeeding in Iraq...I don't care what anyone is saying." Therein lies my problem with John McCain being president. He is someone who I don't necessarily dislike but, I just couldn't live with him as president because his views on this war parrot the Bush administration's views on the war. Whether anybody wants to admit it or not, this war is the reason our economy is in the toilet. We started the new millennium with a surplus and a balanced budget for the first time in years. Now, we have a deficit larger than the one that preceded it and our economy is either in recession or near one, depending on who or what you choose to believe.

Bush and his administration are still telling people that we are waging war against Al-Qaeda in Iraq. We are actually fighting Shiites, with the help of another Shiite group. Most Al-Qaeda members are Sunni Muslims. Sunnis and Shiites aren't exactly kissing cousins... meaning, you don't invite them to the same dinner party. McCain, like Bush, doesn't seem to understand the complexities here... and, if he does understand, he is purposely misleading the American public. You don't go to a gunfight with a knife and you don't enter the Middle East not knowing all of the players, as did the U.S.

McCain and Bush represent, to me, a continuation of the same policy that is not working and is costing us more than it ever should have cost in the first place. You want to talk to me about experience? Let's talk about trying something different... let's talk about opening up a new dialogue with all of the players... and, let's stop telling the American people fairy tales. Maybe the new people, Hillary or Barack, will view the problem with fresh eyes. Somebody better do and say something different because frankly, I'm tired of hearing the same old thing I've been hearing from D.C.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Oh No, Say It Isn't So...

Not The Big 5-0!

Here are some photos from my birthday celebration. My family took me out to eat at a spot we have never gone to before called the "California Pizza Kitchen". Anyone who knows me, should also know that I LOVE italian food. It was a really nice place, the food was good, and we had a great time!

My daughter, grandson, and sister-in-law
My brother and sister-in-law

Me and my wife

My daughter and grandson

My sister-in-law and brother

My grandson

Me, my grandson, my brother, and my sister-in-law

P.S. I also had a surprise party at work (sorry, no photos). Thanks to everyone for your well wishes, cards, and gifts. You know you're getting old when you get a machine to monitor your blood pressure as a birthday gift; but, thank God for these 50 years and I hope He will bless me to see many more. I know that He is not finished with me yet!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

There's That Word Again... Distraction

Chelsea Clinton was asked by a college student reporter at Butler University if the "Monica Lewinski affair hurt her mother's credibility". (No, her mother can do that all by herself... Did anybody dodge any sniper fire at lunch today?) Chelsea's response was, "Wow, you're the first person in like 70 campuses that has brought that up and personally, it's none of your business."

Touche' Chelsea! Not only is it not anyone's business, that is sooooo yesterday's scandal/distraction. There's that word again... distraction. I can see that Americans like a lot of nonsense. Housing foreclosures, sky rocketing gas prices, unemployment, and war are just too heavy to deal with... so, let's talk about sex, the governor of New York, the recently ex-governor of New York, the mayor of Detroit, the ex-governor of New Jersey, and what have you.

Since when did Americans become Gladys Kravitz? (Remember her... the next door neighbor of Darin and Samantha on Bewitched who was always looking in their windows expecting to see something?) Why do we care who had sex with who? Why do we go on and on about this type of stuff ad nauseum, when so many other issues need to be addressed and in a hurry? I know, I have already wasted two good blog posts in a row on this stuff... it shows where my head is at this week too. The French president has, in his own words, had "several affairs" and this is no big deal over there. But over here, it obviously is a big deal. The thing is... it was Obama's pastor last week and Hillary was misquoted or she lied or whatever this week... and, in between, two governors have had sex outside of their marriage.

When my grandson is 21 years old, trying to pay his student loans, can't afford to get a place of his own, and gets drafted to fight in Iraq (where we will still be when he's 21), I'm going to tell him that we could have dealt with those problems when he was two but, we were trying to find out about the governor of New York's call girls, a former president's mistress, and why a presidential candidate's pastor said such naughty things in church. I mean, who had the time to deal with anything else, right?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Too Much Information!

I wasn't going to comment on the recent mess in the state of New York. The recent revelation about now former Governor Eliot Spitzer and his "high class call girl" drew mostly chuckles from me. And, before I go any further, will someone please tell me what a "high class call girl" is? Since when is being a call girl "classy" in any way? What she actually is, is a HIGH PAID PROSTITUTE. But, that's another conversation for another time.

And, as if that revelation wasn't bad enough, the now new Governor David Patterson, who not only is African-American (another "Negro" first) but also blind, says after just two days in office that he not only had an affair during a "rough patch" in his marriage but, that he also slept with several girls after the "rough patch" was over. If that wasn't eye opening enough (no pun intended), today he says that he smoked pot. Brother please, don't say anymore! Is there anything else in your closet that you have not told us about? I guess Governor Patterson wants to air out all of his dirty laundry now, so that nobody else will come at him later on down the road with any scandals.

Medgar Ever's brother, Charles Evers, did the same thing back in the early 70's when he became the mayor of a small Mississippi town. He revealed that he had fathered a child out of wedlock. He said, "Nobody is going to tell more on me than I tell on myself". He ended the revelations there... maybe, there were no more to tell or maybe he had the good sense to leave well enough alone. I don't know. I hope Governor Patterson doesn't have any more revelations either.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Well, Today's The Big Day!

Happy Birthday To Me

A check for $50.00 (a mere one dollar for each year) should just about cover the cost of a nice gift. Please make your check payable to me here at Keith's Space ASAP. Special arrangements can be made if you need to send cash, just email me for the details. If your gift is already on its way, "thanks" and you can disregard this request (smile)!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Simply Put...He Lives!

Quotes: Here are some timely assurances that you may want to keep in mind while remembering the true meaning of this special day. Take note of the quote by Robert Flatt and keep it some place where you can see it everyday.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Emperor's New Clothes

Dick Cheney was recently told by a female reporter that two-thirds of the American people are against the Iraq War. She said that the public, in general, feels they were lied to. His reply was, "So What?" She said, "You don't care what the American people think?" He said, "We have to move forward with our goals and we can't allow ourselves to be thwarted by the fluctuations of public opinion." Whoa... who is "WE" and whose goals are "WE" talking about?

This is so indicative of the Bush administration from start to finish. THEY have never cared what the majority of people in this country (who THEY are supposed to work for) have felt about anything. It has never mattered how many laws THEY have broken, how many lies THEY have told, how many human rights THEY have trampled upon, or how many lives that are not only lost but ruined by the goals that THEY have felt the need to move forward on.

Let me just say it... this war is not about terrorism. It was never about Osama Bin Laden and the actions of September 11th. It was not even about weapons of mass destruction. Tell me, have THEY found one yet? Just one? No! It's always been about what George Bush and Dick Cheney have wanted. Oil? Nobody wants to say that... Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter... all of these right wing apologists can't be that naive and can't be that stupid. THEY know that Iraq was a big mistake. THEY know that we are not any safer today than we were on September 10th, 2001.

If THEY want to keep being talking heads and play that silly game, THEY can... but, I've got my eyes wide open and I'm not afraid to tell the Emperor that he's naked!

Sometimes, You Can Come Home Again

Last night, the prodigal son returned. If you are a Philadelphian and an avid sports fan as yours truly surely is, then you know that I'm talking about Allen "The Answer" Iverson. He and the Denver Nuggets came to the Wachovia Center to play the Sixers last night. I always liked "A.I." and always thought he was a fantastic player but, in truth, he could be a distraction (There's that word again!) at times with his off court drama and celebrated fueds with Larry Brown and a couple of other coaches who came (and went) after him.

But, as he returned to a hero's welcome. He got a standing ovation and much love from the sold out crowd and you would've thought that this was a playoff game instead of what it was... just another NBA game in late March. Iverson was gracious and said all of the right things before the game. Then, he got on the court and did what he does best... torched the Sixers for 34 points. Although, these Sixers are different... they're younger, have fresh legs, play team ball, good defense, and a spread offense. They hung on and won the game, 115-113.

The Sixers are locked in the 7th playoff seed of the Eastern Conference, while Iverson's Denever Nuggets are fighting for that last playoff spot in the Western Conference. Who would've thought that the fortunes of these two teams would be so different after a year? Despite that, all was seemingly forgiven and forgotten... and, judging from the reaction of the Philadelphia crowd last night, Allen Iverson knows that he can come "home" again.

Terrell Owens, take note!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Driven To Distraction

Do you know what a distraction is? A distraction is anything that breaks your focus, anything that takes your mind off of what it's supposed to be on.

The American people can continue to be distracted by what Geraldine Ferraro said a week ago, what Obama's pastor said in his sermon, gay marriage, flag burning, and whatever other non-issue is brought out to keep your mind off of what is important. And, do you know what's going to happen? In 2012, we will still be in Iraq, people will still be losing their homes, kids will still be going to sub-standard schools, jobs will still be vanishing, and the American infra-structure will still be crumbling. Nothing will have changed and it will be business as usual.

Aren't you tired of that? Aren't you tired of being distracted? Don't we deserve more, regardless of who we choose to vote for in this election? I, for one, think so!

Footnote: Do you know what is about to happen to the person who is being distracted in the above cartoon? Do you even know which person is being distracted? If not, look again... and, I rest my case.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Once upon a a time, there was something called an album... a big vinyl disc that had music on it that you could listen to. This was before CD's and long before downloading music onto I-Pods was in vogue. Anyway, while listening to my albums, I always enjoyed the artwork or the photography on the cover. I also liked to read the credits. I wanted to know who wrote the song, who produced the song, what musicians played on the song, and where it was recorded. Nobody I knew cared about that stuff then or now but, that was just me. When cassettes and CDs came along, you could still get those details... and, for those who download music, you can go to the artist's website and get that information.

The thing is... when I look at the credits for today's music, I noticed that there are more engineers than musicians. Technology is part of the reason for that... with the keyboards they have today and the use computers in music, you can be a one man band with very little talent. You don't need a band such as Philly International's "M.F.S.B." (Mother Father Sister Brother), Motown's "Funk Brothers", Stax/Atlantic's "Bar-Kays", and the famed "Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section" to make a great record. One guy can play and mix all of the instruments together... again, with little or no talent.

This brings me to another point... you would think that the art of songwriting would've elevated over the years but, it hasn't. Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff, and others wrote timeless classics. You have songs that are being written by "committee" today. The typical writing credit for one song will boast about ten writers... seven of the ten are dead and never met the three living writers. This is because a song written for an artist today is sampled several times over and they have to give credit to the writers they sampled it from... writers who have never met them or would've liked them if they did! Did you ever wonder why every "new" song sounds a little bit like something you heard years ago? Because originality is gone... people just take a groove and add a couple of new lyrics, a couple of new beats, and call it a day. Laziness or lack of talent? You tell me.

Listen to Mariah Carey's new song, "Touch My Body"... then, listen to Janet Jackson's new song, "Luv"... after that, listen to a couple of Beyonce's songs from last year. Do you hear any difference? That's because they all use the same songwriting "committees" and producers. I could always tell the difference between a Motown song, a Philly International song, or a song from Stax/Atlantic. I always knew the sound of Earth, Wind, & Fire from say, War or Tower of Power. I knew a James Brown record from an Al Green record. You can't do that now. Remember when people wanted to sound different?

It's a shame that the freshest and best R&B record in a long time came out of London last year by a white girl who has probably never had fried chicken, greens, sweet potatoes, and potato salad. I'm talking about Amy Winehouse. Do you know why her record sounded so good? It had real songs, real musicians ("The Dap-Kings"), and real emotion. Nobody was singing about "bling" or asking you to touch their body just for the hell of it. She was singing about going through the ups and downs of a real relationship.

We used to know how to make a good soul record here in the U.S. and I pray that we learn how to do it again. Until then, I'm dusting off my Motown, Philly International, Stax/Atlantic, and funk CD's so I can listen to the "real"!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Slicing & Dicing

"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

You know, after reading these comments, I had to laugh... What in the hell is Ferraro talking about? If Obama was a white man, I'm sure that this presidential race would be a lot easier for him, despite the fact that he is winning, hands down at the moment. For one thing, his race would not be a factor... it wouldn't keep coming up. She says that if he were a woman of any color, he wouldn't be in "this position". So, is that why, Hillary Clinton (who was a woman the last time I checked) while not in the lead, certainly has a shot at the nomination. So, what is her point? Okay, she says further that he (Obama) is "...lucky to be who he is". Since when has it been "lucky" to be a black man in this country? You tell me... "And the country is caught up in the concept" Are they really?

I think the country wants something different, new, progressive, and challenging. I think people are tired of the same ol', same ol'... This is a young man who is articulate and who actually has ideas and plans. I think that is why the people who have decided to support him are looking past his race. It surprises me that he's winning in some of the places where he's winning but, yet he is! Americans appear to be looking past his race yet, it still keeps coming up and not where I would expect it, in the Republican camp. But rather, amongst his fellow Democrats. That's sad and as I've said before, this had better stop because John McCain is in the wings with a unified Republican machine that knows how to win. The question is, can the Democrats stop slicing and dicing each other in time to learn how to win?

Battling Halitosis

One of my pet peeves is bad breath. I was recently on an elevator with someone who's breath was so bad, I didn't know whether to hand him a mint or a roll of toilet paper. Anyway, here are some healthy tips that I found on how to battle bad breath. I hope they are helpful.

Good Taste: Top 5 Foods to
Prevent Bad Breath

by Marin Gazzaniga

Bad breath results from two key issues: Oral hygiene and gastrointestinal health. Basically this means that breath odors originate not just inside the mouth but also from your digestive tract. The culprit in both cases is largely bacteria. Doctors will tell you that if you have bad breath, you should first make sure you are eating right (getting a balanced diet of protein, carbs, lots of fruits and veggies and plenty of fluids to keep the GI tract healthy) and brushing and flossing after every meal. But that still doesn’t mean you might not be offending your friends and co-workers after lunch at the new Italian place. Here are some things you can ingest (or chew) that can help.

1. Chew on this: Move over parsley, there are some new halitosis-fighting herbs in town. Coriander, spearmint, tarragon, eucalyptus, rosemary and cardamom are all good for fighting bad breath,” says Dr. Christine Gerbstadt, who has lectured on oral health. You can chew on fresh herbs or make tonics by steeping them in hot water (as a tea). These herbs make an excellent digestive as well—doubling the benefits of ending a meal this way.

2. Get some active culture: No, not Cirque du Soleil, but yogurt. A recent study found that a serving of yogurt each day reduces the level of odor-causing hydrogen sulfide in the mouth. Apparently it also cuts back on bacteria in the mouth—plaque and gum disease were reduced in the study’s yogurt eaters as well. Plus, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommends getting enough vitamin D from yogurt, cheese and milk if you’re worried about halitosis because this vitamin creates an inhospitable environment for bacteria growth. Be sure to get the kind of yogurt with active cultures—not overly processed or sugar-added varieties.

3. Crunchy types: Apples, carrots, celery—basically any fiber-rich fruit or vegetable is your friend when it comes to fighting halitosis. “Inside your mouth, plaque build-up causes odors,” explains Cynthia Sass, ADA spokeswoman and registered dietician. “Eating foods that increase saliva production keep the mouth moist—and rinsed out. Also, many carbs and proteins can get stuck in your teeth—even healthy foods like whole grain cereal or chicken breast.” So follow a meal with a Granny Smith (feel the saliva kick in at the mention of it?) to cleanse the mouth.

4. Masking techniques: Sugarless gum shouldn’t replace brushing your teeth after a meal, but in a pinch it can freshen breath (masking odors) and is another way to increase saliva production to rinse away plaque and bacteria. Mints can mask as well, but only briefly—and go for sugarless. Sugar creates plaque, and no one wants a mint that makes breath worse.

5. High C’s: Eating berries, citrus fruits, melons and other vitamin C-rich foods create an inhospitable environment for bacteria growth. A diet rich in vitamin C is also is important for preventing gum disease and gingivitis—both major causes of halitosis. Get your C in foods, not supplements, which can cause gastrointestinal upset in some, according to Sass, and exacerbate bad breath.

Oh, and if I may add another tip, brushing your teeth with Colgate tartar control toothpaste and washing your mouth out with Scope doesn't hurt either. - Keith

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

R.I.P. "The Wire"

Sunday, March 9th 2008 my favorite television show of all time, "The Wire", came to an end... an ending I must say was satisfying to me. All of the loose ends were tied up and as the old characters retired, went off to jail, or got promoted, you got to see a new generation of detectives, lawyers, and drug dealers coming up. You also got to see the overall message that nothing ever changes and that the system/game is rigged to where nothing can change.

When the show first premiered in the summer of 2002, I watched it (my wife says I will watch anything on HBO) thinking it was just another "cop show". I had watched 'em all... "Law & Order", "Law & Order Special Victims Unit", "Homicide: Life on the Street", Crime Story, Miami Vice, etc. In the first few minutes, it had all of the cliches' of every cop show or movie you've ever seen... an alcoholic maverick detective, Jimmy McNulty, and his black, portly even tempered partner, William "Bunk" Morleland", who solved murders.

Herein lies the rub... we are introduced to the "villians" who you suddenly realize are not all "bad" and are not going to be captured in an hour or even the next hour. You meet D'Angelo Barksdale, a drug dealer with a conscience, who is not sure he wants to be in the "game" but, does so because everybody in the family is involved in the business... his uncle, drug kingpin Avon Barksdale, and his uncle's childhood buddy, Russell "Stringer" Bell, another drug dealer who is not a stereotype. He goes to college, takes business classes, and wants to leave the business one day and go legit.

No other cop show ever showed both the "good guys" and the "bad guys" in such a multi-dimensional light. You soon learn that "good guy" Jimmy McNulty is a great detective but, a functioning alcoholic and a cheating husband... just like "bad guy" Avon Barksdale is a devoted family man of sorts. It was then that I realized I was on to something different here... heros that were flawed and "villians" who, if they were involved in something other than crime, I might actually like as people.

The Wire was also a political show... an angry show... that dealt with what really causes crime, the lack of jobs, sub-standard education, and a political system that can no longer support the people it says it represents. It got all of it pretty accurate. I looked at the fictional city portrayed in this show and felt like I was looking at Philadelphia. They also dealt with the fact that the media is more interested in publicizing the sensational than getting to the bottom of issues that are really important. How many times do you want to read about the color of Britney Spear's panties today? Wouldn't you rather know why your gas is so high? Why you can't afford to drive to the job you're about to lose so, you can try to pay for the house you can no longer afford to live in?

The Wire was more than just an average "cop show". It got it right, it got to the core, and it made you care about all of the characters... cops, lawyers, politicians, drug dealors, stick up boys, and junkies as though you knew them. So, Jimmy McNulty, Lester Freemon, Bunk, Kima, Avon, String, Marlo, Omar, Bubbles, Prop Joe, Snoop, and everybody else... I salute you. Thanks for a wonderful ride. There will never be another show this truthful on TV. I am so gonna miss you guys!!!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Alright Children, Play Nice!

Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama's campaign rhetoric has gotten very vitriolic over the past few days and it is threatening to get worse as this campaign goes on until a nominee is finally chosen. I fear that this infighting between the two could hurt the Democrats in the long run.

I heard a conservative pundit say at the beginning of the year that this presidential race is the "Democrats race to lose." He meant that despite widespread public discontent with the Bush Administration and it's policies (as shown by the Democratic one-two punch in taking over the House and Congress in 2006), The Dems could still possibly find a way to lose in 2008. They found a way to lose in 2000 and in 2004... I'm hoping that they don't find a way to lose this time. Too much is at stake.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

"Hill" Makes A Comeback!

In 1992, they called her husband, a little known Governor from Arkansas named Bill Clinton, "The Comeback Kid". Today, they can call his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, "The Comeback Kid" too. Just when I thought she was dead, just when I thought Barrack Obama was about to deal the knockout blow, Hillary proved to a lot of people (including me, I'll admit) that she is not out of this race yet.

I thought that they would split Ohio and Texas, with Obama taking Texas and Clinton maybe taking Ohio. Hillary won both Texas and Ohio, with Rhode Island thrown in there too. Obama took Vermont. So last week, I was saying that Hillary missed the "head shot"... this week Obama missed the "knockout". He still has the most delegates and this race is still too close to call. Get ready Pennsylvania... the battle shifts to this state. It's like a rollercoaster ride. Here we go!

Oh, to nobody's surprise, John McCain knocked his last contenders, Huckabee and what was that other guy's name (???), completely out of contention. He is the Republican nominee for president.

And, Mike Gravel is STILL running for the Democratic nomination!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The "Texas Two-Step"

Texas is a funny state... they do everything bigger and better there. They really do... I've been there. Today is their primary. The Texas primary may be the most unique of all primaries. It's the only one I know of where you can actually vote twice. From what I understand, they can vote in the actual primary and also in what they call a "caucus election". This is jokingly referred to as the "Texas Two-Step".

Hillary Clinton needs to win big in Texas and Ohio if she expects to have a realistic chance of winning the nomination. The reason I'm talking about Texas's importance as opposed to Ohio is because there are 228 delegates at stake there (Texas is the bigger state and it has a larger population). Obama has the lead right now and two big wins could help Hillary close the gap and even retake the lead.

It's funny... I'm making this sound like a sporting event. In a sense, politics... American Politics anyway... is a sporting event. Obama would love to win in Texas because a win for him there could put him so far over the top that his nomination would be a certainty. We'll see which one of them survives the dance.

Footnote: Click the State of Texas image above to read the U.S. News & World Report article, Explaining The Texas Two-Step, to learn more about this unique voting process.

2008 Pennsylvania Elections

The Last day to REGISTER before the primary (March 24)
The Last day to apply for a civilian absentee ballot (April 15)
The Last day for County Boards of Elections to receive voted civilian absentee ballots (April 18)
The First day to REGISTER after primary (April 23)
The Last day for County Boards of Elections to receive voted military and overseas absentee ballots (April 29--must be postmarked no later than April 21)
The Last day to circulate and file nomination papers (August 1)
The Last day for withdrawal by political body candidates who filed nomination papers (August 8) The Last day for withdrawal by candidates nominated by a political party (August 11)
The Last day to REGISTER before the General Election (October 6)
The Last day to apply for a civilian absentee ballot (October 28)
The Last day for County Boards of Elections to receive voted civilian absentee ballots (October 31)
The First day to REGISTER after election (November 5)
The Last day for County Boards of Elections to receive voted military and overseas
absentee ballots--must be postmarked no later than November 3 (November 12)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

All Work & No Play...


Makes Pop-Pop A Dull Boy!

Yesterday, I had to use part of my Saturday to go on a quick errand to IKEA to pick up something for work. My wife and grandson went along with me for the ride. Much to our surprise, we discovered a spot in the store called "The Ballroom" where my grandson could play and he had a "ball". As you can probably imagine, he also put up quite a fuss when it was time to pull him out and go home!

Click here to see the full post at The Booga Wooga blog
"A Lesson In Potty Training From A Place Called IKEA"


"Mommy, can I go to Timmy's blog and play?"

Click on image to enlarge for reading

Click on image to enlarge for reading

Click on image to enlarge for reading