Saturday, January 28, 2012

Weekend OTR: Eddie Bracken Show–‘Eddie Inherits a baby’

EddieBrackenFirst Arkansas News used to at least one old time radio episode a week in its Weekend OTR series.

Ah, but that series has moved over here to The Natural State Hawg – hopefully, we’ll find some more old time radio fans and the folks who enjoyed the series at the other site will make it over here.

This weekend’s episode is as usual, courtesy of If you're an old time radio fan, you owe it to yourself to pay that site a visit. While you're at it, head on over to First Arkansas News' Lum and Abner page every Sunday to read a new, original comic strip featuring those two beloved Arkansas boys who made good in the world of old time radio.

Having said that, click the below link to enjoy this weekend's show and make sure to stop in next weekend to enjoy another old time radio program.


Friday, January 27, 2012

The Pogoplug–mine’s hot pink, but who cares?


That’s right. I got a new toy today – the Pogoplug.

How much did it cost? A ridiculous $24.99 online at J&R Electronics. What is it? Perhaps the coolest little gadget I’ve bought in a long, long time. Yes, the POGO-B01 I bought may have been so cheap because the thing comes in a very ugly, hot pink color (the black Pogoports I found were all more expensive than my pink one). Still, I feel like I stole that thing.

the Pogoplug, in a nutshell, is a very small media server. It’s little more than a unit boasting four USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port and a dual core, 700MHz CPU that’s running Ubuntu Linux for an operating system. That’s a lot of punch for $25 and I’m enjoying the heck out of it.

I was able to get the Pogoplug up and running in just a few minutes by plugging it in, hooking running an Ethernet cable between it and my wireless router and then setting up the device after I took out a free account at Once I plugged in an external hard drive, I was in business.

When the Pogoplug is configured, you’ve got a personal cloud on your hands. I went ahead an installed an application that allows me to manage the device like any other hard drive set up on my main, Windows 7 machine, but it’s easy to access files from an Internet browser by simply logging into my account on That’s right – if I’ve got an Internet connection, I can grab any file I need off the Pogoplug.

Ah, but there’s more. I can stream movies directly to my Xbox 360 through the Pogoplug and there’s even an iPhone app out there that allows one to stream media to my phone (yes, there’s an app for Android, too). I’ve got an old 350 GB drive hooked up to the Pogoport now but will order a 2 terabyte one soon so I won’t have to worry about running out of space. And, when I’m saving files on my local network, the process is very quick – just a little slower than it is to save on an external hard drive plugged directly to a computer with a USB 2.0 port.

We’ve got the unit set up in my home so that we all can save to the hard drive and pull files from it, too.

If that all sounds cool, that’s because it is. However, there are some drawbacks to the Pogoplug. For one thing, it would be great to be able to plug in my printer and use it as a network printer that everyone in my house could use. That feature is supposed to work, but I can’t get my computer to recognize the printer hooked up to the Pogoport. The ability to do that isn’t documented well at all and God only knows if the Pogoplug folks will fully implement that feature. That’s a shame because it only seems logical that the Pogoplug could be used as a network print spooler.

Bear in mind that such features – and more – can be implemented by those wanting to hack the thing by setting it up with a custom Linux OS that converts the machine into a pretty decent server (just google “hack Pogoplug” and you’ll find guides all over the place for doing just that). I may get around to customizing the Pogoplug in that manner one of these days, but I’d rather avoid it because I’m lazy. I’m sick to death of hacking away on devices to get them to work like they should – I’d rather just plug something in and use it.

Another drawback is that streaming media is great locally, but video is choppy when I’m away from home and accessing the Pogoplug through another network. That shouldn’t be surprising, but anyone hoping to stream huge files while outside of the “home” network will likely be disappointed.

And, if you’ve got a hard drive full of media, it’ll take a few hours for the Pogoplug to index it all. That process took about three hours on my hard drive.

Finally, the instructions that come with this thing are dreadful. You get a huge piece of paper telling you to log onto and activate it from there. Should something go wrong, they may be out of luck as there’s not just a whole lot in the way of support that comes with this thing. Heck, the documentary pamphlet packaged with the Pogoport doesn’t even go into the technical specifications for this thing. That’s a drag because there are a number of Pogoport models out there, and they don’t share a common chipset. If you’re going to put that aforementioned custom version of Linux on the system and use it as a file server, you’ll need to know which CPU you’re dealing with before you begin the process.

Still, those complaints are minor. Once you invest your $25, that’s the last money you have to spend. It’s a dirt cheap personal cloud that doesn’t come with a bunch of ongoing fees and can be expanded with additional hard drives.

I’ve still got some work to do with the Pogoplug, of course. “Cloud” printing is maybe-kind-of-perhaps supported and I need to set that up for those times when we need to print something and don’t want to drag a laptop back to the printer. I also need to mount the Pogoplug as a hard drive on my netbook that’s running Xubuntu Linux 11.10.

And, of course, I’ve got my daughter on the lookout for a “Hello Kitty” sticker to slap on the annoyingly pink device. It seems only appropriate.

Eventually, the Pogoplug will allow me to convert my DVD collection to a bunch of MP4 files so I can leave them in a closet and stream movies to my Xbox 360. Cool stuff. I converted my CD collection in a similar manner and that’s allowed me to clear up some space by dumping those discs in a closet and forgetting about them.

Stay tuned – I’ll write more about the Pogoplug as I find more uses for it. The fact I picked up that nifty device for about half the price of a popular, current Xbox 360 game is enough to make a cheap bastard like me giddy.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The two best lawyer jokes of all time

Yes, the rumors are true – I, The Hawg, used to be a lawyer.

Now, I realize that’s rather like being an alcoholic in that you never quite live it down. To that end, I am a recovering lawyer and I will be for the rest of my days. I started a solo practice in 1995 and got a couple of law partners in 1996. In 1998, one of those partners filed went nuts, filed a ridiculous lawsuit against the plant in Benton County that makes Little Debbie snack cakes, didn’t show up for work one day and wound up dealing cards at some casino in Tunica, Miss. Hey, that’s a true story – you can’t make up that kind of thing.

In February 1999, my other law partner told me she had accepted a job at another firm. I shut down the office a week later and haven’t looked back. Could I have kept the office going? Sure. I made a comfortable living and was usually competent at my job. Still, being a lawyer sucked. I figured I put in my four years and that was enough.

What’s the point of mentioning all this? Simply put, attorneys hear the best lawyer jokes and I’m going to share my two favorite ones with you. Ready? Here we go…
Q. How do you get a lawyer out of a tree?
A. Cut the rope.
Hah! That’s a real rib tickler! A knee slapper! It’s simple but effective. The next one is a bit more involved but I like it better.
A Hindu, a Jew and a lawyer were taking a road trip through the backwoods of Tennessee.

They had been driving all day and were tired, but there was no hotel to be found. They came across a farmhouse and decided to ask the owner if they could stay with him for the night.

“Sure, y’all can stay here,” the farmer said. “But the bed in the guestroom only sleeps two people, so one of you will have to sleep out in the barn. Don’t worry – it’s nice out there. I sleep there myself when the wife is mad at me.”

The barn sounded fine to the Hindu.

“You two fellows take the bed and I’ll sleep out in the barn,” the Hindu said.

The lawyer and the Jew were getting settled down in the bed when they heard a knock on the guestroom door. It was the Hindu.

“There’s a cow at there,” he said. “I’m not sleeping under the same roof as a cow.”

“That’s fine,” the Jew said. “You two take the bed and I’ll sleep out in the barn.”

The lawyer and the Hindu were getting settled down in the bed when they heard a knock at the door. It was the Jew.

“There’s a pig out there,” he said. “There’s no way I’m sleeping with a pig!”

“That’s fine,” the lawyer said. “Y’all take the bed and I’ll sleep in the barn.”

The Jew and the Hindu were getting settled down in the bed when they heard a knock at the door. It was the cow and the pig.

Now, here’s a funny story about that joke. When I was in my second year of law school, my ethics professor gave out bonus points for the joke of the week. I submitted the “Lawyer, Jew and Hindu” joke and he stopped me after class.

“I can’t accept this,” he said.
“Why not?”

“Because it’s racially insensitive.”
“What? How?”

“There might be a Jew or Hindu in class and they might be insulted.”

“Insulted how?”
“Because the joke makes fun of the beliefs of Jews and Hindus.”

“No it doesn’t,” I said. “It makes fun of lawyers.”

“Yes, but it also makes fun of Jews and Hindus,” he said.

“Really? How?”

“If you don’t know by now, I won’t be able to explain it to you.”

And, that was that.

Heh. Lawyers. Go figure.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What Republicans can learn from John Kerry


Ah, good ole John Kerry. He is the poster child for how to absolutely blow an election.

Why is he relevant in 2012? The Republican presidential nominee will be in roughly the same position as Kerry was in 2004 and may well fall into the same trap as the failed Democrat.

Let’s go back to 2004. The Democrats were in a great position to take the White House. George W. Bush was a controversial president who appeared to be losing popularity on a daily basis. The economy was a concern, government spending had alarmed more than a few people and Bush was largely responsible for getting the nation involved in a war in Iraq that wasn’t exactly going well and was becoming very unpopular.

The Democrats, in short, were in a position to topple Bush and they may have done that with a strong candidate. Instead of a great candidate, however, the Democrats nominated John Kerry.

Kerry’s campaign slogan should have been, “Vote for me because I’m not George Bush.” Kerry ran around the nation griping about Bush. He boldly promised to not ever be George Bush, in fact, and appeared confident that was enough to become president.

Kerry failed. His biggest problem, it seems, is that Kerry spent most of his time trying to convince people to not vote for Bush instead of giving them reasons to vote for him. Americans are, arguably, more interested in voting for something they believe in rather than simply voting against something they don’t.

Think about it. We’ve seen that play out time and time again. I’ve been voting in presidential elections since 1988 and have rarely voted for a candidate – I’ve voted against plenty of them, however. I’m reminded of the Bill Clinton-Bob Dole election back in 1996 when a friend of mine returned from the polls. He said he held his nose and “did the right” thing by voting against Clinton, but was none to happy with Dole.

Here in 2012, the Republican who gets the nomination will likely be tempted to gripe about Obama. Yes, he can talk about the rotten economy and the failed stimulus spending. And, make no mistake – Obama’s stimulus packages have been horrible failures. The point of stimulus spending is to help create jobs so that the tax base will increase and the government will get back the money spent on stimulating the economy. When those jobs aren’t created, the government has effectively thrown a bunch of money out the window.

The temptation to complain about Obama and his policies is certainly there as this president is a magnet for controversy. There’s everything from the remarkably odd decision to block the Keystone XL pipeline (thus potentially causing that oil to wind up in China) to healthcare reform to, well, playing a bunch of golf.

I’d wager the Republican nominee who focuses on Obama’s controversial decisions will fail miserably in the upcoming election. Sure, pointing out Obama’s faults is fair enough, but a successful candidacy is built on outlining policies that are attractive to voters. Giving voters something to believe in and support is far more effective than simply telling them that voting for Candidate X is less dangerous than voting for Candidate Y.

Obama clearly did that in 2008 with his “hope and change” message as well as the “yes we can” slogan (I still think he swiped that from Bob the Builder, but it worked). Obama had a lot of enthusiastic support from people inspired by his campaign while John McCain simply did not. The outcome of that election was predictable, wasn’t it?

Republicans should take that lesson to heart. Voters had rather vote for a candidate they like then against one they don’t.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday–Daughter


Want to see more Wordless Wednesday entries? Just click here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Music Monday: Sonics–“The Witch”

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the ACTUAL LINK POST here and grab the code below and place it at your blog entry. You can grab this code at LadyJava's Lounge Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.


PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Horoscope for the week of Jan. 23

Yes, here we are in week two of Dr. Zodiac’s move from First Arkansas News. The good doctor tells us he’s settling in well here at The Natural State Hawg and is glad of the opportunity to warn people about the treachery the stars have in store for them.

Yes, those stars are just downright mean, Zodiac says. They scheme and plot against mankind and have – for some reason – chosen to reveal their plans to the good doctor so he can reveal them to us. Ah, aren’t we lucky?

What do the stars have in store for you this week? Have a look at your below StarCast for the week and find out for yourself.


Mar 21-Apr 19

You will become obsessed with politics this week. Yes, you will back a presidential candidate that you are convinced will lead the nation back to greatness and improve life for you and your family. At some point, however, you will realize that the elected official you are convinced is the answer to your prayers cares as little about you as the rest of the rascals. Learn to accept that truth and you’ll be better off for it. Your lucky number this week is 22.


Apr 20-May 20

Money’s a little tight for you these days, but you’ve got the answer, don’t you? That’s right – the lottery. God help you if your state has a lottery because you’ll throw every dime you have at it. If your state doesn’t have a lottery, you’ll find a way to lose your money in a nearby state that does have one. I don’t know if I can dissuade you from buying a bunch of lottery tickets, but I’ll try. You won’t win, Taurus – no one ever does. Your lucky number this week is –1,000.


May 21-Jun 21

While Taurus is blowing his money on the lottery, you’ll be waiting for your W-2 so you can file your taxes and get that big, fat refund. Spend it wisely, Gemini. Remember – that refund isn’t a gift from the government. That’s your money that was taken from you and you should treat it as such. If you’re in a spending mood, I would like to suggest an investment that could make us both rich. Your good friend, Dr. Zodiac, has invented a piece of scientific equipment that allows communications directly with the starts – the Crystal Ouija Rune Board. If I can produce a slick prototype, I’m sure I can sell it to quality retailers such as Walmart and perhaps even Target. Send me a check, Gemini. You won’t regret it. Your lucky number this week is $10,000.


Jun 22-Jul 22

I don’t know if this is a good StarCast or a bad one for you, Cancer. Big Star – the undisputed leader of the stars – tells me you will start a blog this week so as to share your opinions with the world. Good luck with that and remember to think of this site when you want to start sharing links with other opinionated types. Your lucky number this week is 30.


Jul 23-Aug 22

Oh, Leo! You are one lucky rascal this week. Why? Big Star (the undisputed leader of the stars) tells me you will find true love this week. If you’ve already found true love, I’m told you’ll consider it even truer this week. I, the mighty Dr. Zodiac, found true love years ago and wound up married. My wife keeps nagging me to get a real job. There’s a lesson in there somewhere, Leo, but I’m not quite sure what it is. Your lucky number this week is 2.


Aug 23-Sep 22

Tell me if this phrase means something to you – the crow flies in square circles. I can’t make sense of that, but the stars assure me that phrase means something significant to you and is tied in with your StarCast this week. That seems sketchy to me, but what do I know? It’s your StarCast, after all. Your lucky number this week is ???.


Sep 23-Oct 23

Vinyl. That’s what I said – vinyl. As in record albums. You’ll start collecting them like crazy this week after you either find a record player or someone gives one to you. Be careful because those things can get expensive. Still, it’s a fun hobby so long as you don’t go nuts with it. If you have children, tormenting them with the music from your youth can be fun, so play it loud and enjoy. Your lucky number this week is 33 1/3.


Oct 24-Nov 21

Work will be a real problem this week. Why? Because you’ll get pestered with minor, nagging problems that will reduce your productivity to the point where you’ll get nothing meaningful done. You might as well stay home and watch television. Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Your lucky number this week is 82.


Nov 22-Dec 21

Yes, it’s time for horseracing season and you’re convinced to place a bet or two. You’ll not be able to help yourself, but I want you to keep something in mind that might at least curb the amounts you wager – those things are rigged. Yes, every blasted one of them and those in the know are well aware of that. Want proof? Why are those cats set up outside the track selling tip sheets rather than being inside placing bets? Think about it. Your lucky number this week is exacta.


Dec 22-Jan 19

Regardless of how long you’ve owned that cell phone, you’ll keep getting calls for the previous owner of your number. Sadly, that previous owner owed a lot of money to a lot of different people and they will all hound you this week. Don’t fret. We all have to go through it. Your lucky number this week is 501.


Jan 20-Feb 18

The neighbor kid will annoy the heck out of you this week. Count on it. If he has a guitar, he’ll crank it up to 11 every single day. If he (or she) doesn’t have a guitar, you can still expect the nuisance to make plenty of racket. Don’t fret – kids make racket. They all do. Every single one of them. Get used to it. Your lucky number this week is 11.


Feb 19-Mar 20

You will attempt to prove your wit by making up limericks all week long. That can be great fun for your friends as a good limerick is mighty entertaining. Bad ones, however, are awful. Proceed with caution, Pisces, and remember to avoid those forced rhymes. Your lucky number this week is 5.