Monday, March 31, 2008

31 days, 31 blog entries...

I'm actually proud of myself. There were times I didn't think I could do it. There were times I didn't see the benefit of doing it. Some may argue they still don't see the benefit. :)

But hey, I did it. There are 31 days in the month of March and I blogged 31 entries. They can't take that away from me, singing on my soapbox now, no they can't ever take that away from me.

But this entry wouldn't be complete without me saying THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO ALL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY who wished me all the best and tuned in religously to read my thoughts, just my thoughts ladies and gentlement, just what I'm feeling at the time. :)

On a serious note, Thank You.

Just what the doctor didn't order...

As you remember, I jumped all over Boston's Restaurant Week by hitting up 3 haute steak houses. Well, my cholesterol levels were jumping for joy when Restaurant Week was over. Well, guess what? Morton's The Steakhouse has a nationwide deal for you (PEOPLE NOT PRESENT) and me. I am so all over it. It isn't as good as the deals I was pulling in Restaurant Week but it is a better deal than I'm going to get between now and the next. :)

Steak and Seafood for 2 - $99
Salad (choice of 2): Caesar Salad, Morton's Salad
Entree: Two single cut filets AND (choice of 2): Colossal Shrimp Alexander, Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Broiled Sea Scallops
One Morton's Signature Potato to share
One fresh vegetable to share
Dessert (choice of two): Morton's Legendary Chocolate Cake, Key Lime Pie
*Available now through June 30, 2008 at select Morton's locations*

Remember, Ruth's Chris is my A+. So every steak house will be judged relative to Ruth's. Review will be posted before (actually, I won't gross you out with the literal potty humor I was about to write so I will say this instead) Flav picks his new love interest on Flavor of Love 3.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Everybody knows I am down with Da Flix ( So why would I blog about Well, for one there is a Stop & Shop grocery store carrying the Redbox machine within walking distance from my house that is open late. This means I can drop in on my way home, grab a DVD and return it the next AM for $1. Yep, $1 single dollar plus tax if you return the DVD in less than 24hrs. So far I have picked up and returned, The Assassination of Jesse James and The Kite Runner. Haven't watched them yet but you know how I do, WINK-WINK. Apparently with Redbox you can even get one free rental too.

The catch? So far, none. However as far as I can tell, they only stock hit movies. Which translates into not having the independent or foreign films that I have come to love. So what this means to me is that I keep Da Flix on the minimum plan of $8.99/month and if I happen to be at the grocery store and see a hit movie that I would like I grab it for $1 and return it in the AM. For those who are not into indie/foreign films, then I would say is a great bargain.

PS: I recently saw Atonement. It exceeded my expectations for a love story. Reminds me of the foreign film, A Very Long Engagement which I also enjoyed.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Classmates, Hi5, Facebook, LinkedIn?

How many of these things should I be signing up for? I am starting to get overwhelmed by this stuff. You have to sign up, update profile, add friends, accept friends and then for the rest of your life you have to keep accepting friends of friends and deleting spam. So far, I have:

1. (signed up YEARS ago)
2. (signed up YEARS ago)
3. (just signed up this week)
4. (signed up end of 2007)
5. (TBD)
6. (TBD)
7. ?? (TBD)

People Not Present?
Why do we prefer online socializing over real socializing? Is the allure of meeting new people online or reconnecting with old friends online so powerful? Is our new goal in life to talk to the PEOPLE NOT PRESENT? We sit at dinner with folks and talk on our cellphones to PEOPLE NOT PRESENT. We sit at home with our family & friends and instant-message/online-chat with the PEOPLE NOT PRESENT.

I guess living in the present doesn't mean living with the people present.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Short story for any time...

In my quest to find a definition for the term, "COWBAWLING" which I used recently in my post, Ways & Means Committee I ended up stumbling on this GREAT short story which had me laughing as I read it. I even ran the story by my network first to get their take on it. They loved it.

Here you go, enjoy:
Kei Miler - Read Out Sunday

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ways & Means Committee

As a recent inductee into the Ways & Means Committee I am personally extending a membership invitation to YOU just as it was bestowed unto me.

To find WAYS and MEANS to accomplish individual goals.

Membership pledge:
As a member of the WAYS and MEANS Committee I will find the WAYS and MEANS necessary to accomplish my personal goals. I recognize that when one door is closed it is a much greater use of my time to seek out other doors that may be open than to sit at the threshold of the closed door COWBAWLING.

As a member of the WAYS and MEANS Committee I will spend more time worrying about all the lost opportunities to DO MY BEST than I will worrying about the failures when I did DO MY BEST because I know I miss 100% of the shots I did not take.

As a member of the WAYS and MEANS Committee I am never too busy or too old to accomplish what is important to me because I recognize that I always have time for what I put first, I am younger today than I will ever be again, and while THEY may claim life is short it is the longest thing I will ever do.

PS: Still working on finding the WAYS and MEANS to get a deeply discounted 3G iPhone when it drops.

My most prized assets

It's about time I divulge something personal. Been on this blog for almost a month now and you have no idea of what matters most to me. How could you even claim to know me or begin to make my blog a daily part of your life if I am keeping you ignorant of my most prized assets? Drum roll please:
1. My health
2. My Friends & Family
3. My education

That list, my friend, took years of introspection, countless what-if scenario walkthroughs and last but not least exhaustive end game exercises.

1. My health
Quite frankly, it is the be all and end all. Without my health I have nothing. By no means am I claiming to be in perfect health. You and I both know I could stand to lose 15lbs. But I am not referring to health in the terms of being in PERFECT health. I am referring to being in functional health, you know, free of pain, injuries, illness or disease. This is the minimum level of health that allows me to get up every day and be the best person I can be even when it doesn't necessarily translate into me being my best. Wow, putting that into words fills me with regret just thinking of all the good health days in which I wasn't even TRYING to be my best. But in any case, good health is the necessary foundation for MY greatness to truly shine. Don't get me wrong, I may flash some brilliance when I am under the weather but don't expect any greatness from me on a consistent level if I am not in good health.

2. My Friends & Family
Oh where, oh where would I be if it weren't for my Friends & Family? That list of places is comprised solely with all the desolate, destitute and desperate places you can think of in this world and the next. I am eternally grateful for the simply amazing network of Friends & Family that I possess. Outside of my health, these people are everything to me. Let me put it this way, you can place me in some dire circumstances and I am confident that if given a working phone with my address book I have a great chance of getting out. These people are that freaking AWESOME. Hell, I will even let you in on a secret. All those times you gave me credit for something clever that you thought I did, said or wrote it was actually THEM. Now, that doesn't mean you don't give me props going forward. :)

3. My education
If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.
- Derek Curtis Bok

I sometimes feel like the kid in the movie The Sixth Sense, "I see ignorant people walking around like regular people. They don't know they're ignorant." And while I do acknowledge that there is some bliss to be found in ignorance there is also an accompanying amount of grief. And don't get all up in arms thinking that I am claiming to be some genius or even a relatively smart guy. What I am claiming, loud and proud, is the ability to learn. Remember, this is the information age where new technology becomes ancient technology in the blink of an eye. What that means to me is that ignorance in this age is the inability to learn. The folks who tell you they are either too busy or too old to learn will always be and always were. I SAID IT!

My most prized assets are the top three things that I need to fight harder to strengthen and protect. It should also be noted that it is within MY power to do so.

What are your three? Are you working to strengthen and protect them? Is it within your power to do so?

Telling it like it is...

I don't want to just fill up this blog with a bunch of YouTube videos but how could I resist this one? I mean, have you ever seen honesty so refreshing?

"Ooh Girl!" - An Honest R&B Song

Monday, March 24, 2008

Obama is on the Roc(k)!

I don't blame Sen. Obama. Easter Sunday and everyone is looking for a photo of him entering, attending, and leaving Trinity United Church of Christ. Well, keep looking because you won't find him there. Matter of fact I know where he is and what he is doing. He is on the Rock (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands).

And he is singing along to "On the Rock" by Mavado ft. Jay-Z.

What? You seriously don't believe me? Trust me, I couldn't make this stuff up! :)

PS: I am told that you may rest assured that Sen. Obama did not have to run across the tarmac to avoid sniper fire after landing in St. Thomas, VI.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Invest in YOU

For those who aren't shored up in their savings/investments, do so. For those who are shored up, three words: INVEST IN YOU.

This is the time. Whether it means laying the groundwork to start your own business, taking classes part-time, and/or enrolling in a gym, THIS is the time. YOU absolutely have to exit this down cycle a better person than YOU were when YOU entered it. We all know that YOU gain competitive advantages during down cycles and REALIZE them during the up cycles. And we all are pretty much in agreement that this, RIGHT NOW, is a down cycle. So, this my friend is the down cycle YOU have been waiting for. Yes, this specific one. This is the down cycle in which YOU will set YOURSELF up such that when YOU exit, YOU will be in a prime position to capitalize in the next up cycle.

Don't let your PERSONAL net worth decline with the falling dollar. INVEST IN YOU.

Cost of high living...

Funny that I write this post just after I reviewed 3 high priced steak houses. Laughable, to say the least. But it underscores the point that I am trying to drive home. And I won't act as if this was an original thought on my part so let me give you the quote that I always remind myself of constantly:

What some people mistake for the high cost of living is really the cost of high living.
- Doug Larson

In times like today, the choice is clear. However, even though the choice is clear the guts to make the clear choice and the discipline to see it through is hard to come by. And hell no I'm not talking about presidential candidates. I'm talking about cutting back on your spending and increasing your savings.

Is it safe to assume that you are still with me and you are now mentally thinking of how you can cut $50/mo and put that towards savings/investments? OK, good. I will admit that I am fighting this fight with you so don't start judging me (Mr. Want-iPhone-Ruth's-Chris) because I am already judging myself and I am not faring well. But trust, you know you don't want me to start judging YOU because I could fill this blog for a month. Go ahead, try me!

Now that we have agreed to not judge each other (smart move on your part) lets get back to the matter at hand. You know that rainy day savings that everyone is supposed to have? Well, the rain has started for some and for others the forecast isn't looking so good. I know I am not saying anything you don't already know, see, and feel all around you. But what has me apprehensive isn't the present. It's the future. You know, F-U-T-U-R-E, the place we intend to spend the rest of our lives. When do we turn the corner? When will we be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel?

Starting today, I will be making the clear choice!

PS: Of course it goes without saying that the 3G iPhone doesn't apply since it will be a NECCESITY. :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Restaurant Week in Boston

This Friday (3/21/08) will be the final day of Boston's Restaurant Week and boy did I enjoy it. Normally, I don't even attend. I mean, I don't cook so every week is restaurant week for me. But this year I took the opportunity to attend not 1, not 2, but THREE steakhouses. Now, restaurant week is a GREAT DEAL when you use it at one or all of the below places. Both the dinner ($33) and lunch ($20) choices were three course meals that included appetizer, entree, and dessert. Here is my review of each:

1. Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar - dinner
We (double dated w/married couple) did Flemings on a Friday night and the place was definitely jumping for a high-end steak house. While it was a little loud I must admit the atmosphere was alive with energy. For appetizer I had the sweet Chile calamari which was great in both portion and taste. Being a fan of calamari I must admit it was the first time I had it this way. Normally I get mine Rhode Island style but the sweet Chile didn't disappoint. My date had the mozzarella and sweet tomato for appetizer, but still managed to hoard my calamari. For the main course I had the New York Strip (which isn't listed on the menu but I took them up on the offer) done medium. Again, very good. Better than the run of the mill commercial steak house (Outback, Bugaboo, etc.) but nothing that made me want to slap my Momma. And for dessert, I had the cheesecake which was extremely rich to say the least. They also brought out some of their homemade whip cream which was the best whip cream I ever had. I also sampled some of the walnut turtle pie of which my date for the evening cannot stop talking about. Between the four of us we definitely had a wonderful time at Flemings. Ooops, how could I forget, the service that was given to us by our waiter was what I remember most. Even though the place was packed he not only made us feel as though we were the only table in the restaurant but he also made us feel as if we were ownership.

2. Smith & Wollensky Steak House - dinner
First off, let me state that outside of Restaurant Week, I probably could not afford to eat here. I mean, it would have to be some super-special occasion like winning PowerBall, MegaMillions, etc. But hey, if you happen to be an international player or a dare I say, "Connoisseur" of fine steak then this place is a GREAT option. Talk about eye-pleasing ambiance, the restaurant is literally located in a freaking castle. I mean, how cool is that? Upon arriving at the CASTLE, we had the option of being seated on the first or second level. Naturally, being upper crust, I opted for the second level. The host then informed us that he will call an elevator while we check our coats. And I'm thinking, "How thoughtful of him." As we return back from coat check he is literally holding the elevator door for us. At this time I begin to assume my upper crust attitude. So when I enter the elevator I glance down at him and clear my throat to acknowledge that we were ready to be taken to the 2nd floor. Upon arriving on the 2nd floor we were greeted by another host that seated us. For appetizer I had the mixed greens salad, which was OK. My date had the split pea soup, which she loved. In addition to our appetizers, they gave us garlic bread which was pretty good, but literally drenched in butter, so any diet we may of had going in was instantly thrown into the MOAT. For the main course, we had the filet, which I can honestly say was a step up from Flemings. They also had nice dessert options to round off an excellent evening. We shared some overly generous portions of chocolate cake and ice cream. If ever you find yourself looking to indulge in fine haute cuisine S&W is always a worthy option.

3. Ruth's Chris - lunch
It goes without saying that a sampling of high end chain steak houses in the US cannot be complete without a visit to Ruth's. Now, after years of hearing about Ruth's Chris but never making it primarily due to never planning it out to the point where I make a reservation it was time to finally see or should I say taste what Ruth's is all about. For appetizer I had the seafood gumbo which was great in taste but definitely not in portion. In all honesty, it is perfectly sized for an appetizer but I guess I am spoiled by the meal sized appetizers that are given out every where else nowadays. And regarding my main course choice of NY Strip all I have to say is that my Momma better run when I see her again. That strip at Ruth's Chris tastes so good that my Momma has a slap coming. Just thinking about it as I type this already has me debating whether to use a wet hand or baby powder. :) Just playing, Mom (I love you, always!). But back to the NY strip, which approached my table sizzling on a plate that is cooked to 500 degrees. Now, is it just me or do they put a pound of possibly the best butter I have ever tasted on that plate to sizzle along with my steak. I thought I was in heaven. It smelled great, it sounded (sizzling) great, it was soft to the touch, it looked perfect (done medium) with a nice pink center, and the taste was dare I say orgasmic. I know, I've been told that I should get out more often but it was that good. Needless to say, for dessert I did the chocolate mousse cheesecake which happens to be the only dessert that was completely finished at all these restaurants. But sometimes when I am hungry, I reminisce back to that NY strip approaching the table just looking at me and sizzling/saying, "You know you love me!"

SuperWHAT, SuperWHO? SuperDelegate!

Hey, I know an electoral college when I smell one. Yeah, it's kind of ironic that the Democratic (equality) party would hand out "super powers" to a select few (~800). It is estimated that one Democratic superdelegate vote is the equivalent of 10,000 you or me votes. Yeah, that select ~800 is comprised of Democratic party leaders (including both Obama & Clinton) and officials who account for 20% of the total delegate vote. And right now they have the power to vote however the hell their heart desires.

So what is the big deal with that you may ask? Well, folks such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now coming out and saying that these superdelegates SHOULD vote with the popular vote. Hmmm, this doesn't make any sense to me. I mean, if they are only there to vote the popular vote then why the hell are you giving them a superdelegate vote in the first place? Hey, why not open the books and update the rules and call them what you want them to be: HONORARY delegates.

I don't know. Maybe it is as it is intended, like the electoral college. We all know that there is one good reason why the electoral college is still here: too many eedyiat voters! I said it. I mean, the only reason some of these registered voters no longer think Obama is Muslim is because of all the heat he is now catching from his FORMER Christian Pastor Jeremiah Wright. Side note: Is it just me or are they stressing the word "FORMER" every time they refer to his FORMER Pastor? So, if these superdelegates are educated on the issues, intelligent, and aren't trying to pay back or earn any political favors their vote should be, at worst, better than the popular vote, right? Sounds about right to me. OK, any minute now I will wipe that silly grin off my face.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Poetry for the current times...

Buying Happiness
by Dean

All I ask is for the chance to prove,
That happiness, money can’t buy.
Just ask Warren Buffet or Bill Gates,
Or any other filthy rich guy.

They found it out on their own,
From being filthy rich.
They didn’t learn it from TV or books
Or hear it from some broke-a$$ b????.

I want to know what it's like,
To be filthy rich like those boys.
I want to have the big bank account,
And be on TV showing off my toys.

I too would write letters,
To blogs, magazines, and printed news.
About how tax cuts favor the rich,
And how the poor man, the government screws.

What about a tax cut,
For the average guy on the street.
Who works 60 hours a week,
But still can’t make ends meet.

I too would spend my time,
Setting up offshore corporations.
And take money from hard working Americans,
And send it to developing world nations.

I will quote famous scriptures,
And catchy little phrases.
All in an attempt to make the government understand,
That the poorer American needs tax cuts and pay raises.

But now I shall go back to work,
And stop my a$$ from dreaming.
Cause nobody will read my article,
Or listen to my screaming.

I’ll just keep complaining
About my life with lack of money
When I should be at home,
Reading the SCRIPT to my honey.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

~46 weeks and $22B+ lost...

WOW! By my screwy numbers Bear Stearns (BSC) traded at a 52 week high of $159.36 on 4/25/07. Roughly 46 weeks later Chase is buying it for $2/share?? How could that be? Didn't this thing trade at $30/share on Friday (3/14/08)? What about the shareholders? What about the employees? It is said that one-third of the company is employee (14153) owned. Someone tell me my math is bad here, PLEASE.

Date***#shrs****price***mkt cap

Remember, they claim that a third of the company is employee owned? That means roughly ~$7.6B was lost in 46 weeks by the employees as a whole. Digging deeper, we see that, on average, over $500K was lost per employee! Can someone say, "DAMN!!!" And here is the sad part, folks are estimating that a lot of them will lose their jobs due to redundancies with Chase's existing businesses. If you still didn't get the hidden message let me spell it out for you:

Sticking to the script?

Silly me. I really don't know what I was thinking. In the middle of what was supposed to be a happy conversation but quickly became heated because I didn't offer congratulations to HER at the exact time I should have, I said it. I actually fixed my mouth to utter the words, "Look, if you already have in mind exactly what you want to hear and when you want to hear it why don't you email me the script!" Below, my friends, is the emailed script.

***start of email***
So that our interactions can always be positive AND effective, I compiled a few guidelines (the SCRIPT as you call it) for YOU to use:

1. Refrain from offering a solution to an issue unless it is warranted. Oftentimes I share things with YOU for the purpose of sounding off. Simple words of encouragement (i.e. "Sweetie, it will all be fine.") go a long way. There are however times when offering a solution seems feasible and it's appropriate to ask ME, "Do you want me to comment or just listen?"

2. Always create a nurturing, supportive, and loving environment for ME. This is especially key when we are working through difficult times. Be patient and control your emotions and feelings. Side note: NEVER ALLOW YOUR EGO, TO TAKE PRECEDENCE IN MATTERS OF THE HEART. BRUSH THAT HATER OFF.

3. Be a team player. Never allow ME to feel neglected. Always have MY back even when you may not agree with the decisions I made and/or how I chose to deal with things. There is no point in blaming ME for anything. WE need each other in ways that are incomprehensible.

4. Listen to ME. Trite in nature but fundamental for our relationship. Practice active listening. When engaging in a conversation with ME, make every effort to hear ME out before you speak. Control that impulsive voice inside your head that always wants to be heard!

5. Fight Fair. Deal with conflict in a way that you would deal with it at work: with poise, grace, respect, and as if someone were watching YOU (like a manager/HR would at work).

6. Say to ME and show ME, your QUEEN, how much you love ME...EARLY & OFTEN. There's just something comforting and assuring about loving someone that loves you back. Never lose sight of the moment you knew you were in love with ME.

These are just a few that come to mind, but stay tuned for others.
***end of email***
Four words: Lord, give me strength!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tax return choices...

If you are one of the lucky few out there who will be blessed with a big tax refund and would like to know what are some of the best options during a recession like economy then here are some top choices:

1. Shore up your short term reserves
Normally, this would be #2 but in an economy like the current one, having some reserves is a pretty good idea. How much you say? Personally, 3 months salary works for me but many experts recommend 6 months. My personal favorite for this would be ING Checking where you can get a free $25 just for opening and funding an account with a minimum of $250. That's an instant 10% by my calculations not to mention the 2% APY on a CHECKING account.

2. Pay off any high interest (>3%) debt
Assuming you have short term reserves, paying off high interest debt is always the BEST thing to do. I mean, it doesn't take much sense to see that if you are earning 5% (before taxes) on your investments but paying 8% in interest that you are losing the fight. A beatdown to be exact.

3. Continue to fund your retirement
More specifically, continue to fund your (401K, Roth IRA, Roth-401K, IRA, etc) accounts. As always, if your employer matches your 401K contributions you should contribute the minimum to get the maximum employer match. Free money is free money. With regards to fund selections it is always recommended to find low cost broad index funds and I continue to receive the best service with a wide array of low cost choices from Vanguard.

4. Adjust your withholdings
Yep, if you don't want a repeat of getting your own money back next year interest free you may want to adjust your witholding. Ideally, you want to shoot for break-even ($0 refund/owed). In the situation where I must lean one way I prefer to owe the IRS a SMALL amount than having them owe me. Hey, last I checked they don't pay interest.

Cancel cable?

I know what you're thinking, "He can't be serious." Watch me.

Come on, it isn't like it is that hard to do when you have broadband internet. Between Netflix, Newsleecher, and Hulu I will be more than alright.

Currently, some friends of mine are all hyped up debating between plasma or LCD HDTVs, Blu Ray or HD DVD, Comcast or DirecTV when the real challenge going forward will be how fast is your broadband connection. Look, I'm trying to move ahead of the crowd for once. The future is now. For a single guy such as myself, most of my TV watching will be done on a computer or in my specific case a 14.1 widescreen laptop going forward. I have tried to fight it. But you know the old saying, "don't fight 'gainst it, work with it."

Now I am not advocating you toss that big screen TV out the door because when it comes to entertaining guests nothing beats 50 inches of Hi Definition. NOTHING!

So in summary, what this means is what it has always meant, time to get a bigger pipe. And right now it looks like Verizon's FiOS has a great deal for the first 7 mos. Of course they want me to sign a 2 year agreement which may be broken for free if I move to a place where FiOS is not offered otherwise I pay the $150 termination fee.
1st month: FREE
2nd - 7th months: $37.99
8th - 24th months: $47.99
Bonus: $20 Target gift card

Or would you recommend that I just buy a 3G wireless card from either Sprint or ATT? I know the pipe isn't as big as FiOS but it will be with me wherever I go. That has to be a huge plus. Those plans run around $60/month (unlimited for Sprint & 5GB for ATT).

PS: My next goal is to convince the NFL that they need the internet version of the NFL Package.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Hell yeah, money do me something!

That was the retort I gave my Sister when she inquired, "Money do you something?" with her smart self. I mean, she has known me before I knew myself. How could she not know all that money has done to me?

Look, me and money have serious issues. Some things were said and some things were done between us that I would rather not revisit right now if you know what I mean. Some of these things go so far back that at times I feel like money must have done me something in a past life, when I was in the womb, when I was a baby, a toddler, an adolescent, a pre-teen, a teenager, a young adult, yesterday, and today.

I don't know about you but my issues with money reminds me of when I was a kid and we would play the last-lick game. It seems like no matter how many licks I give money he finds a way to give me the last-lick. So I am constantly trying to give him as much licks as possible, 24/7/365.

Everytime I deposit a check, get paid, make a gain on a stock, or collect dividends it is my way of getting back at money. For example any deposits of over $1000 I equivocate to me giving money a kick in the shin. Sounds violent? Hell, in about two weeks when I do my taxes you should see the elbow to the jaw money will give me, OUCH!!

Why do you think I am studying Finance today? Full time now (my Mom uses that phrase) I join the winning team. :)

Will Verizon buy Sprint?

Short answer: Probably not.

But I think they should. Here's why:
1. They both use CDMA.
2. The longer Sprint sits around like a wounded duck the more AT&T steals their customers via the sleek and sexy iPhone. And if you think AT&T is stealing Sprint's customers now, wait until the 3G iPhone hits the streets.
3. The price war being waged by Sprint ($99 unlimited plan) will prove extremely costly for Verizon by way of profit margins.
4. Verizon has great customer service to complement, SCRATCH THAT, offset, SCRATCH THAT, replace Sprint's extremely horrible customer service.
5. Buying Sprint for a 50% premium which I think is extremely steep for Sprint would only be a $30B investment for VZ based on Sprint's closing price on 3/7/08.

Reasons why it won't happen:
1. Verizon has too much debt right now.
2. Verizon may not want to have to buy the Nextel (not CDMA, iDEN) portion of Sprint.
3. Verizon may be waiting for a better price and the longer they wait the less likely it will happen.

So, why would I want this deal to happen? Hey, I figure if you combine Verizon's customer service with their reach to boondock places in the Northeast like Conway, NH with Sprint's network and their reach to boondock places in the South like the USVI plus the defensive move of preventing AT&T from poaching all of Sprint's customers as well as placing a screeching halt to the ongoing price war it could be a great thing for all: Sprint customers, Verizon & Sprint.

PS: Hold up, now I am hearing that T-mobile may be in talks to purchase Sprint?? Go figure!

Brick walls are there for a reason...

OK, by now you have probably heard the above title if you are clued in. If you haven't, it is coined by Randy Pausch a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Yeah, pancreatic cancer has been a real killer prior to Patrick Swayze going public with his diagnosis.

So what is the reason for brick walls being there? Well according to Prof. Randy Pausch they are there to let us prove how badly we want what is on the other side. Prof. Pausch gave his "Last Public Lecture" at Carnegie Mellon University on 9/18/07. The lecture appropiately titled, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" is definitely special. The one hour and forty-five minute video has since been posted to the internet where it has taken on a life of its own. It has gotten so big that Prof. Pausch has been featured on Oprah. I had heard about it some time ago but never put the effort in to watch the video thinking I had better things to do with the 1 hour and 45 minutes of my time. Well guess what? It was time well spent. Great enough such that I'm recommending it to YOU (see #3 below).

In any case, every so often someone adds to the manuscript of life's lessons and we should all seize the opportunity to get updated. Thank you Randy Pausch. Here are some quick hits I took from the original full length video:
1. Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things.
2. Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.
3. When you're screwing up and nobody is saying anything to you anymore that means they gave up.

Abbreviated version of Randy Pausch's Last Lecture on Oprah:

Original & full Last Lecture by Prof. Pausch.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Lies, Damned Lies & Statistics

According to this article on CNN, 1 in 9 Black men between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars. If you are a Black male in that age group and you aren't behind bars reading this then large up yourself. If you know someone in that demographic who isn't behind bars large him up. My email addressbook is filled with folks who fall into that demographic but aren't behind bars. Who says you can't-beat-the-odds-can't-cheat-the-cards?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Gone too soon...

Whaddup? Y'all good? Brooklyn in da house? I'm glad.
- Rasheed Thurmond

This cat was the best upcoming artist in the game in my humble opinion. First of all, he had a voice that commanded attention and yet made you feel that you were with a friend. He also brought facial expressions and body language to his routine that were impressive to say the least. His attention to life's details whether it be shopping at the store or dealing with a girlfriend are what made his comedic routines so funny yet so nostalgic. His refreshing commentary will be truly missed to say the least.

Rasheed on Bad Boys of Comedy

Rasheed on Funny First Saturdays

Rest in peace Rasheed (1971-2007).

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Do you use your left hand or right hand to wipe?

Remember that stupid question from childhood?
Incorrect answers: left hand, right hand.
Correct answer: I use toilet paper.

In any case I got your attention and I amused my Favorite Niece (yeah, Ms. I-Want-My-Name-Big-and-Broad). Two birds, dead!

Moving right along...At most, 10% of the population is left-handed but three of the last 4 US presidents are left-handed. What does that mean? Well, if you believe that past performance has some bearing on future results then you should place your bet on either McCain or Obama to be the next US president since both are left-handed.

Last four:
1. Ronald Reagan - lefty
2. George H. Bush - lefty
3. Bill Clinton - lefty
4. George W. Bush - righty

On deck:
Barack Obama - lefty
John McCain - lefty
Hillary Clinton - righty

As for me, I walk on the RIGHT, land RIGHT side up, and more importantly, I am always RIGHT.

Will we ever make it back?

As you probably guessed by now I am from the islands, better yet a West Indian. And yeah, I did come to the States for the sole purpose of getting an education. Yeah, you can say I fell for the song and dance. What? You didn't know it was a song and dance. WOW! Here, let me break it down for you.

The Song and Dance
Roughly 15 years ago or so on a warm island far, far away from HERE I was docking my boat after some morning fishing (actually caught three large tuna and a dozen yellow tail) when I saw this guy just point blank staring at me. While I was washing down my boat he came over and introduced himself as an American investment banker.
The American complimented me on the quality of my fish and asked, “How long did it take you to catch them?”
I replied, “Only a little while.”
The American then asked, “Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more fish?”
I replied, “I have enough to support myself, my girlfriend and my side thing.”
The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"
I replied, "I sleep late, fish a little, have fun with my girlfriend, have some more fun with my side thing, hang out with my friends & family each evening where we drink rum and play dominoes. I have a full and rewarding life."
The American scoffed, "I am a UCF/Tufts/Brandeis graduate and I can help. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you will buy several boats. Eventually you will have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you will sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You will control the product, processing and distribution. However, you will need to leave this small island and move to Orlando, then eventually mASSachusetts where you will run your expanding enterprise."
I asked, "But how long will all this take?"
To which the American replied, "15-20 years."
I asked, "But what then?"
The American laughed and said that's the best part. "When the time is right you will announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you will make millions."
I was immediately flabbergasted and started to stutter, "Mi-mi-millions!!…Then what?"
The American said, "Then you will retire. Move to a small Caribbean island where you would sleep late, fish a little, have fun with your girlfriend, have some more fun with your side thing, hang out with your friends & family each evening where you drink rum and play dominoes."

I will say it again, WILL WE EVER MAKE IT BACK??

Monday, March 3, 2008

Ant & Grasshopper

If you have been on email for some time then you have seen the tired and true "Ant & Grasshopper" story time and time again with all the fancy new twists depending on the political message the original sender is trying to get across. If you haven't or need a refresher here is the a quick synopsis.

The Ant is a hardworker. During the Summer he is busting his a$$ in the heat building his house and gathering food supplies. On the other hand you have the Grasshopper who is a lazy fool. He has fun all Summer never thinking about the coming Winter.

The Ant is warm and well-fed in his house while the Grasshopper is freezing and hungry. The Grasshopper decides to call a press conference where they proclaim that there are two Forests. Of course they throw in that no one deserves to starve in a forest of such greath wealth and that the Ant should give back to the less fortunate. You know the whole charade where the Ant is now labeled greedy and oppressive. On the advice of the Liberal propaganda machine the Grasshopper files a lawsuit against the Ant taking 50% of his net worth with legal fees taking the remaining 50%. As a result of losing the case the Ant sells his home to pay the Grasshopper and legal fees. The Grasshopper buys a McMansion decked out with all the trimmings. The Ant is now the one that is freezing and hungry and the Grasshopper is well fed and warm.

Winter, three years later:
As the Liberals did NOT suspect, Winter comes and the Ant is warm and well-fed in a new modest home while the Grasshopper is freezing and hungry after not being able to pay the mortgages on the McMansion after interest rates were reset on his 1/1 jumbo ARM.

Gist of the story:
The Grasshopper's wealth grew but not his character or knowledge. He remained the fool he was and as a result quickly lost his wealth. And conversely, the Ant remains the committed, driven, hard worker he was at the start.

Like the saying goes, "Adversity does not build character; adversity reveals character."

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Celebrity endorsements

Obama has and Hillary has Jack Nicholson. I must admit I am a much bigger fan of Jack Nicholson. So does that mean I vote Hillary?? Alright people, lets get serious. Educate yourselves on the issues that matter to you and find the candidate that is more aligned with what you believe. If none exists then enjoy the celebrity endorsement videos for what they are: entertainment.
So far I would say that Hillary is winning on quality (Nicholson - another great performance in "The Bucket List" by the way) and Obama is winning on quantity (too many cameos to count but for some reason Pam from "Martin" is stuck in my head).

Hillary - Jack Nicholson

Obama - We Are The Ones

Obama - Yes We Can

PS: I don't care how many other roles she performs. She will always be beady-bead Pam from "Martin." And I will always have love for her.

Large up St. John, VI

St. John, VI has always been my #1 recommendation for folks visiting the Virgin Islands. It has always been kind of hard to articulate what exactly I like about it when you consider that most of the Caribbean has great beaches. I don't know, I just like to snorkel so the crystal clear waters and underwater snorkel trail on Trunk Bay does it for me. But for those among us who still want more incentive here you go.

Like I said, great beaches! For those who would enjoy seeing even more of the beaches St. John has to offer please follow the link to St. John, VI.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

I want an iPhone

There! I said it. I'll say it again. I want an iPhone. Now, the question becomes how do I get one. Oh yeah, I cough up either $399 for the 8GB model or $499 for the 16GB model. You know my cheap a$$ is stressing about that. :)

But seriously, it isn't the up front costs that have me so much down in the dumps. It's the fact that the current one on the market isn't 3G. I mean, I am on Sprint today with a cheap plan that comes with 3G unlimited data. Why would I downgrade in service for an upgrade in phone? Makes no sense. However, the word is that the 3G phone is dropping soon. And guess what? My Sprint contract ends soon.

But all that means is that the 3G phone will probably cost even more. I mean, a tech guy of my standing has to have the 16GB model right? Well that goes for $499 now without the 3G. But hey, I paid $400 for the Treo I have currently and that was with 2006 dollars (those dollars were worth something back then too--inflation is kicking in folks).

You know what really rubs it in that I have to get one. On a recent trip to California a great friend of mine who absolutely has to get every technogadget made was showing off his. Of course he shows me a picture on the iPhone and then to show off he tells me to flip it 90 degrees. Of course the picture enlarged and it transitioned so smooth my eyes lit up even after seeing this over and over in commercials. Well, it had more to do with the specific picture than the technology if you know what I mean. But in either case, I commented back, "Is this your new pickup line? Flip it 90?" Which of course him being the person he is replied back, "Are you kidding me? The 'girls' I date don't know what 90 degrees means. I say, 'Sweety, if you want to see something special turn it to the side. The phone, not you!'"

As for me, I will keep waiting for the 3G model. Hell, you never know, I may be able to cut my internet connection and use that 3G iPhone as a modem. But somehow I don't think that is in the ATT business model.

Game show gall...

First off, are these shows even real to begin with? Well, one more reason for me to cancel cable. Even Flavor of Love now isn't as good as it once was. But this latest game show from Fox (you know, Fair & Balanced) did prompt a good friend to call asking me if I had heard about it. Now, you and I know that the folks who should be on this show won't be on this show. This is why I have to wonder if it is real. She knew damn well she didn't belong on this show. And even if she did go on the show, she knew damn well to take the $50K and run. Now, she has no money and possibly no husband??

Moment of Truth

Back & forth with my niece

Recently a niece of mine sent me the following Richard Simmonds video that I really enjoyed.

Now what is listed below is the back and forth that my niece and I had regarding the spelling of my last name in her email to me with the video.

Give me ONE good reason why you of all people should be spelling my name with an 'e' at the end? Just ONE.

Hello Uncle, I would just like to say that in my contemplation about the best reason as to why your last name is spelt with an 'e' at the end, I had to wonder why, of all things to observe on this email, you had to see that. I thought about the fact that I took your name from an address book compiled almost 10 years ago, and which I have yet to edit. I also thought about all the times I have seen my first name misspelt in the address sections of many emails, sometimes from long time childhood friends. Finally I asked myself whether it was worth sending you this very humorous video to brighten your very hectic day as a college student/career person, as you've done for me many times in the past. In the end, I could not decide on one reason why I misspelt your name so I decided to write you this email (dictionary in hand). I am also prepared to read any response to this email. :)
Your Niece
P.S. - Did you like the video?

Actually, I did. It was freaking funny. Thank you very much my favorite Niece.

My first entry...

Finally, after 11 years of email I have decided to go ahead and get a blog. I know, you are wondering, 'WHY?" Well hell, it has been something I have thought about doing for the last two years or so but finally decided to get up off my a$$ and get started. Also, throughout the years a number of friends have always said that I need to capture all the bullshite that I spew somewhere so that it can be read dare I say, OnDemand.

In any event, what do I want to talk about today on March 1st, 2008? Hmmm, lets see.

This song from the movie, "Closer".

That song is freaking deep. The reason that the song got in my head is because I have a friend who loves to play games regarding movies. Right now he is emailing songs from soundtracks to see if I can figure out what movie it is. And yeah, he is smart enough to remove all the mp3 tags from the files such that it hasn't been an easy job for me to say the least. However, thus far he has been emailing music. I mean, I wouldn't call them songs. Some of them are downright classical music or something. But if I complain then I will be outed for being the hater I am.

In any case, I think the above song is how you play the game. That song sticks in your head. That song is not mainstream. That song takes you back to the movie and if you are feeling lonely and broken-hearted that song makes you pine for that person you miss so badly. Did I out myself? And so it is...