Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Trump for president? Why not?

Ever since Donald Trump announced that he was running for president, he's faced ridicule, predictions that the country will fall to pieces if he gets in office and all sorts of nonsense.

Here's the thing -- at this point, I figure about the only thing we can expect from the government is sheer entertainment. And, Trump is nothing if not entertaining.

Am I voting for the man? You'd better believe it. Has The Hawg lost his mind? I don't think so, but I'll let the two or three people who will actually read this nonsense decide for themselves.

The first thing you have to realize is that we voters have almost no power left thanks to lobbyists and a Supreme Court that seems content to let people buy influence at every level of government. Face it, junior. Your government doesn't give a damn about you, me or the guy next door. Our elected officials are more interested in what people will pay them to vote for instead of what is actually good for the nation.

In this environment, anyone who is interested in the government doing anything worthwhile is in for bitter disappointment. That being the case, why not go for someone who is simply entertaining? If the government will continue to take our money and not listen to us, at least we can have someone in the White House who will say outrageous things and keep things interesting. Honestly, entertainment is about all that we can expect anymore.

And, perhaps an entertaining government rather than an efficient, helpful one is about all we deserve. Think about it -- the past two presidents have gotten put in office because voters are more interested in spite than effective leadership. That's right. Bush voters wanted to irritate Democrats and angry Democrats responded by putting Obama in office. And those two, awful presidents were each granted two terms The only way to explain why such horrid leaders lasted so long is that their supporters were more interested in the "spite factor" than actual ideas or leadership qualities.

Why not, then, vote for someone who will be more entertaining than goofy and spiteful? Trump, then, might be a step up.

So, come on, folks. Join me in my decision to vote for Trump. You know you want to.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Special K Garbage Bars -- yet another reason to stay thin

I was a skinny kid back in my youth. I graduated high school at about 125 pounds and had managed to beef up to about 135 by the time I received my law degree a mere seven years later.

I hovered around 135 pounds until I hit my mid-30s and started to put on weight. Now, at my mid-40s, I find myself needing to lose about 40 pounds to avoid being labelled a "fat ass." They never warn you about that -- once you hit your mid-40s, you can pack on pounds just by looking at the stuff you used to eat in abundance as a youth.

And, here's another thing -- kicking a 30-year-old smokeless tobacco habit leads to weight gain, too.

I do wish people had warned me about sudden weight gain in time for me to avoid it. But, alas, it's too late and I wind up having to eat junk I hate on a regular basis.

My wife tells me that small snacks are important to appetite control, so I wound up with some junk called Special K Chewy Snack Bars. I wound up with the "salted pretzel chocolate" variety and they are so wretched that I have to wonder what's next. Perhaps the "gum wrapper and potato peels" flavor? How about the classic mix of egg shells and cobwebs?

Heck, Special K should have named this awful things "Garbage Bars" as there is a certain amount of honor attached to advertising things truthfully. These taste like they were made with stuff straight out of the trash and, honestly, probably belong in the trash rather than destroying your taste buds and stomach. In fact, you might be better off just throwing all the Garbage Bars in the trash and eating the box. What is in a Garbage Bar? You get oats, something sticky, trash, 100 gut-wrenching calories and a slightly nauseous feeling that curbs your desire to eat for at least an hour. Perhaps that's the point.

I've also learned that eating these things usually makes me good and angry. In fact, I noticed I could head directly to the Kellogg's Internet site and leave comments about the Garbage Bars. I resisted the temptation to head to the aforementioned site and post "Your product sucks and I hate you."

The lesson here is simple -- be careful about your diet and get plenty of exercise while you are young or you might wind up eating junk like these abominations foisted on the public by those Special K jackals.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Humble suggestions for new mascots for Benton

Earlier this month, Benton Mayor David Mattingly unveiled a new mascot for our fair city of Benton, Ark.

The mascot, which cost $2,500 to produce, is simply named “Ben.” He is supposed to be a businessman who will be trotted out at various events and economic development opportunities (no, I’m not real sure what that means and I’m not sure that anyone else does, either).

I’ll avoid the argument that suggests folks in this town already identify with the Panther – the Benton High School mascot – well enough to render poor old Ben redundant at best. Instead, I’d like to suggest a few ideas for mascots that are about as inappropriate and creepy as a balding businessman with arms growing out of the sides of his head. Here goes:

* Ben Ton – he’s a big, fat guy that weighs 2,000 pounds. A ton. Ben. Ton. Get it? Heh, heh!

* Genghis Fonz – sure, he’s a bloodthirsty killer but he’s also also as cool as they come. He can thrill audiences by showing off his finely honed combat skills as well as jumping over parked cars at the Sonic on his horse on Friday nights.

* Black Hitler – the names says it all.

There you go, and I’m willing to license any of those mascots to the city for a mere $100.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Don’t feel bad, Broncos fans – the 2014 Super Bowl appearance was par for the course


I’ve been a Denver Broncos fan since way on back in 1977. Why? I always watched football with my dad and I wanted a team of my own to root for while doing it.

I suspect that a lot of people became Broncos fans in 1977 because that was the famed Cinderella year in which the Broncos beat all expectations and made it to the Super Bowl. You had a team with no significant NFL playoff history that got great all of the sudden. You had Craig Morton – the former Cowboys quarterback who was cast off in favor of Roger Staubach – was one of those guys you just had to pull for. He was nearing the end of his career and everyone likes to see the underdog defy expectations, right? You also had the Orange Crush defense that was getting games won for the team.

Yes, 1977 was a great season for the Broncos. Well, it turned sour during the 1978 Super Bowl when the Dallas Cowboys easily handled Denver and won 27-10.

That first Super Bowl appearance set Broncos fans up for more disappointment. There was the 39-20 Super Bowl loss against the Giants in 1987. That was followed by the 42-10 drubbing Denver took from Washington in the 1988 Super Bowl. And, who could forget about the embarrassing 55-10 loss to the 49ers in 1990?

Denver redeemed itself somewhat in 1998 when Denver finally won a Super Bowl by beating the Packers 31-24. Denver followed that victory by crushing the Falcons 34-19 in the 1999 Super Bowl.

Since then, well Denver’s had some great seasons but it wasn’t until the 2014 Super Bowl when the Broncos played yet again for a national championship. The result? A 43-8 loss against the Seahawks in a game where nothing went right for Denver (the Broncos fumbled the first snap of the game, resulting in a safety).

So, the Broncos have a dismal Super Bowl record of 2-5. No, this year’s Super Bowl loss was nothing new for the Broncos, was it?

Because putting photos on canvas is cool

One of the best family photos we took was one that was put on canvas so it has that “fine art” vibe to it. The thing looks great and has been a decent conversation piece over the years.

Here’s the problem with that photo, however – it cost and arm and a leg. We went to a professional photographer and had to pay for the photo session. After that cost, we had to spend additional money to get a big old frame photo that we could stick on our wall.

But, what if you have a good photograph around already that you’d like printed on canvas? Can you get that done without paying a lot of cash? Yes you can thanks to the friendly folks at Photo 4 Canvas (click the link for more information or play the above video for even more information).

Just click the link and you’ll find a site that can help you get the canvas treatment you want at a cost you can afford. In short, you submit your photo and they’ll handle the rest.

Ah, but the company is more helpful than that. If you have a low resolution photo that won’t look good when printed, you’ll know before you choose to buy a print. Oh, and the company will even email you a print before going to press so you’ll know exactly how it will look. That service is free of charge, too.

Looking for more bargains online? Well, there are a couple of other sites to check out. The first is Snap Car Rentals which offers more cars than you can shake a stick at for prices you won’t mind paying. That company is based in New Zealand.

Another New Zealand based company worth having a look at is Viventium Home Loans. What’s that? A company that can save you thousands on a home loan. Mortgages are expensive anyway, so why not do what you can to save some major money on one? Click on the link to check out the site and see how that company can help you.

Remember all that chatter in the 1990s about an “Internet revolution?” A lot of that was advanced by companies that sold dog food and such on the Internet. Thank goodness, in the 21st century, online retailers have learned what items people want when they shop on the Internet and how to make things convenient for their markets.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Yeah, my netbook is still useful


Back in 2009, my wife picked up a Compaq Mini 110c for me. While that 10.1” netbook with its low-power and underpowered Intel Atom CPU is about as trendy as a pet rock these days, I still use the thing like crazy.

Why? It’s a lot easier to lug around than my 17” laptop and is pretty darned convenient. I don’t always need the power of my big ol’ laptop with its four-core CPU and 8 gigabytes of RAM, so the Compaq is great for traveling, surfing on the Internet and a heck of a lot of other things.

Anyone looking for a cheap, portable computer could do a lot worse than a Mini 110c (or just about any netbook, for that matter). Those are so out of favor that it’s not hard to pick one up on eBay for about $100, but you’ll need to do a little work to make it the truly useful machine it can be.

Here we go:

* Dump Windows. Most netbooks came with Windows XP or Windows 7 Starter. They both suck for netbooks because those underpowered netbooks simply struggle with Windows when it comes to handling complex tasks.

A lightweight Linux distro is a much better choice for a netbook. I’m a fan of Linux Mint with the Xfce desktop, but your mileage may vary. A couple of the many great things about Linux is that the distros are free, so you can try out as many as you like until you find one that suits you.

* Max out that RAM. My Compaq came standard with 1 gigabyte of ram, but will support up to 2 gigabytes. I spent about $40 on that upgrade and the speed boost was well worth it.

* Get a six-cell battery. My Compaq came with a three-cell battery that was quite small and only lasted about three hours with regular use. Doubling up to a six-cell battery cost about $20. That’s another worthwhile investment.

So, you can spend around $100 for a netbook, drop another $60 or so for some upgrades, spend some time learning Linux and you’ll have yourself a great, general purpose computer.

Having said all of that, let me put in a plug or two for the Compaq/HP Mini 110 series. The track pads are weird (buttons on the sides of the track pad rather than on the bottom as God intended), but the keyboards are great. Also, I’ve worked on a few netbooks over the years for friends and have learned one thing – the Mini 110 is easier than most to actually open and work on when things go wrong. That’s worth a lot for those of us who value a cheap computer that is easy to fix with cheap parts.

Oh, one more thing – forget about the models with a 16 gigabyte solid state drive. Go for the 160 gigabyte standard hard drive. You’ll be glad you did.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Business is changing, so you should, too

I well remember something changing in Arkansas a few years ago – a businessman wanting to stay competitive needed to learn how to reach out to the increasing Latino market.

That was a dramatic shift in this state, but a larger one is shaping up now. Economies are now more global, so reaching out to markets in expanding areas such as India is as critical now as reaching the Latino family down the road was a couple of decades ago.

So, what can a businessman do? He could could hire a bunch of interpreters and translators to deal with all of the customers and all of their languages in big old India, or he could outsource that job to a company that is based in that continent, responds quickly to requests and charges reasonable fees?

Which one sounds more efficient to you?

That’s right – hiring interpreters and translators in India is the more cost effective way to go, isn’t it? Click one of the aforementioned links to get going.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

QuickPic and a bunch of shoes

2014-01-14 19.00.52

See that shoe over there to the right? Like it? I had about 19,000 copies of that hogging up 12GB of space on my HTC One. Considering the phone only has 32GB on board, that was a problem.

A couple of months ago my wife was out shopping for shoes, see, when she found a pair that I might like. So, she snapped a picture of the dandy shoe to the right and texted it to me. She also sent along a photo of another shoe that I liked better so I asked her to get me a pair of those.

Apparently, my phone really liked the gray shoe as it saved 19,000 copies of it somewhere on my phone. The stock, Android Gallery app was no help in tracking down the rogue photo, but the free QuickPic app was able to find it (and all the copies of it) in a hidden folder called “Encore” for some reason. It took about 10 minutes to delete the “shoe copy” photos, but it was easy enough to do that with QuickPic and I freed up a ton of space, to boot (pun intended).

The point? Get QuickPic as such apps are sadly necessary when it comes to dealing with the quirks of Android. I’m glad the app is free as I’d hate to have to buy something to correct a problem that should never have happened in the first place.

Damned if I don’t miss my iPhone.