Friday, December 19, 2008

Kenny Rogers: Diamond in the Rough

There are a ton of you Kenny Rogers fans out there. And everyone has his #1 hits, but honestly, one of his best love songs albums flies completely under the radar. Love Is Strange has what I consider to be 3 of his greatest love songs. And why doesn't anyone know these? Because they were never released as singles. Whoever makes the decisions of what songs to release just picked the wrong ones, because of the 3 released, two of them are the weakest songs on the album.

If you are in the mood for some good songs, pick up the album, or just buy the MP3s for the best ones. In my opinion you need at least to buy

"Soldier Of Love", "Listen To The Rain", "If I Were A Painting", "So Little Love In The World", and "In Our Old Age".


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Goodbye BMG

I've been a fan of BMG for years. I've been a member now 3 different times in my life, and probably 1/4 of the music that I've purchased in my life has come from them.

I used to love getting their magazine in the mail and circling all of the music that I wanted. In today's world. I don't even get the magazine anymore, I just go to the website.

However, in today's world, BMG sucks. I can no longer say I love it. I don't, I hate it. I have decided to end my relationship with BMG. Their website sucks. You can't even see what songs are on a CD, much less get a sample of them. Their selection is small and only seems to be getting smaller, and most annoyingly, they mark many of their titles as premium titles. This means that they are not elligable for any of the sales that are offered. Thus all sales only apply to CDs that I'm not interested in. Thanks but no thanks BMG. I can get better prices and better shipping on actual CDs from Amazon than from you, even without sales.

I now prefer digital music, and I prefer DRM free to iTunes. When looking for music my first choice it to check Amazon for MP3s then, I compare the price to iTunes, for a laugh, I will also check BMG, but I've never found any of the new music that I'm interested in for a better deal at BMG. If it weren't for the oringal new member offer to get 10 free CDs I probably would not have joined, and I won't again, even with that kind of offer. It's insane to pay $4 for shipping on each CD. BMG has got to be making more money on shipping than it is on CD sales. And I will not support that business model.

I'm sorry BMG, but you have lost me as a customer, and unless something changes, you won't win me back.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hypocritical OPEC?

OPEC cut oil prices by 2.2 million barrels per day. Stating that they are trying to get the price back to $75 a barrel which they think is a fair price. The past 2 years as they've been making more than double that they didn't do anything to lower the price to the "fair" $75 a barrel price.

OPEC is not about being fair, it's about making money for the middle eastern nations. The recent spike in gas prices followed by the US economy collapsing, has actually been good for the US. It caused the middle east more pain than any war we could start. Instead it made normal Americans who normally wouldn't think twice, cut their driving and switch to more efficient vehicles. It was reported that Americans drove 100 billion less miles in the previous 12 months than they did in the 12 months prior to that. That number is staggering to me.

I know from personal experience that I get passed a lot less now while I drive the speed limit than I used to. The rising gas prices caused a lot of people to slow down. Even with driving the same number of miles they were saving gas.

I would like to see this trend continue. It's beneficial for the environment and national security.

Some things that I would like to see more of to continue this trend include:
  • Telecommuting - working from home can cut a lot of mileage.
  • Teleconferences - Instead of traveling to a meeting call in.
  • Car Pooling - Find someone you live near that works on the same schedule with you. Even if you can save a few days a week it's worth it.
  • Web Training - I've noticed more training is being offered as a web class that you don't have to travel to a remote site for training. Some of these are live all day sessions with a teacher that you can interact with, some are learn at your own pace things. Investigate these options before paying the extra travel and lodging costs associated with a training facility.
  • Use the smallest vehicle that you need. Some families need a van or SUV, some construction people need a pick-up truck. Many people only need a car.
  • Walk/bicycle to local stores. Shop as close to home as you can.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A prescription for a gun

There's a new handgun that is built for the elderly to use. However, it has been classified as a medical device allowing a doctor to prescribe it and health insurance to cover part of the expenses.

It's this kind of insane thinking that helped screw up the health system as much as it is. There is no time at which a gun is needed for medical reasons. A doctor should not ever be able to prescribe a pistol for someone.

Friday, December 05, 2008

How will this recession end?

As I listened to the radio on the way to work again this morning I was thankful that I still had a job. There were over 500,000 lost in October alone and that many more in September plus August.

Then I started thinking about the government bailout of all of these companies. The banks, and my guess is soon to be car companies. How will it all get paid for? We are being told that these are loans that will be paid back, however who is going to pay them back?

Take the car companies for example. They need money to keep paying their employees, but the first thing that they will be forced to do with government money is downsize and streamline, which they should do. But that also adds more people to that unemployment line. The more people who are standing in that unemployment line, the less that there are to buy new cars, which leads to a snowball effect of the car companies needing to declare bankruptcy anyway, even with the government money. At which point they lay off more people and make their own business worse.

The banks are the same. They are not giving out loans because they are worried about people paying it back. They are right to worry. People are losing their jobs. When that happens they can't pay their mortgage and the bank takes another loss, causing it to cut more jobs, which makes more people unable to get loans for houses or cars.

At this point, the entire market is realizing that they need to cut employees and streamline their business in order to stay competitive, so all at once everyone is laying off people. Families that aren't working stop going out to eat and restaurants have to cut staff or close. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

When this is all said and done, there will be a lot of people unemployed. There will be a lot of empty building space from business contracting. And there will be a lot of people pushing their cars to have a longer life expectancy than they have in the past. Somewhere people need to cut spending in order to get their debt in order before they can start spending money on new things again. Until the huge amounts of debt in this country are brought under control by individuals there will be a smaller market of people who have money to spend more freely.

The worst thing that could happen in my opinion is the government stepping in to entice people to take more debt with lower interest mortgages and longer term car loans. These will only cause people to carry more debt, and cause the exact same kind of thing a few years from now when they are unable to pay what they weren't qualified for in the first place.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

SCJP Certified.

After months of studying, I have finally taken the SCJP certification and passed. My learning in the immediate future will be more for fun than for a certification.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Jaden is learning programming

Jaden is learning programming. That or he was just tired. Last night he climbed up on my lap while I was reading the chapter summaries and asked me to read it to him. He stayed for two chapters.

It's a strange feeling reading programming to my three year old. He seemed very content to be there listening and even kept looking at me like he understood.