Sunday, February 27, 2011


Right now, we are all facing a very uncertain future. No, I'm not talking about illness or anything like that. I am talking about the country as a whole.   We have a major problem in this country, and it is called being "dis-jointed". We have elected leaders in both the House and the Senate who simply can't get along.  We have Republicans on one side saying....cut cut cut....we have Democrats saying: Where where where.    Alot of mudslinging takes place with very few solutions.   What I find most amazing is how Republicans want to cut the budgets, but then vote to send money to Israel and other countries.  Hey, I am all for helping out, if the country was in a position to do so...problem is, we are not in any position to loan money or even give money to other countries.

Now, obviously, we know where a majority of the country's expense is really at. We know that funding the war is costing we the tax payers trillions of dollars.  Whether or not you support the war (or not), we need to take a good long look at the financial aspect. We need to figure out if the massive amounts of spending can be justified....or do we bring our troops home and truly tell them what a great job they have done.  See, this is the problem. The troops get caught in this catch-22.  If you say anything about ending the war, then you are anti-soldier. If you support the spending on the war, you are pro-soldier.   Why should this be?   People support the troops,but can no longer justify putting our troops in harms way when there really is no measuring stick for victory.  The troops need to be home with their families, where they can kiss their husband's, wives, kids, or parents good night, and wake up the next day without fear.  My opinion is, bring the troops home, give them as much love and support as possible...and stop spending billions on this war.  But, hey, that is only my opinion.

Friday, February 25, 2011


I am the last person anybody would consider a savvy shopper, but when it comes to deals, I tend to sniff out the competition and find the best possible deal available. For example, we fly to Florida every other year. I tend to get the best airfare, hotel, and rental car rates.  People always ask me how I do it and I tell them it takes time. Time is money, money is time.  I like to look for a deal while others are happy paying the status quo. One website I use is through Groupon There are so many tools you can use to research for deals, I tend to like web sites that direct you where you want to go.
Recently, when we visited Florida, I was looking for some fun odds and end things to do. We hung out on I-Drive (International Drive) and found a host of little known gems to visit. Just walk up and down I-Drive in Orlando and you will find just about anything you want to do. Walking around for quite some time tends to get me hungry. Well, there is nothing better than showing up to a restaurant and eating a meal….only to whip out a coupon that saves you money.  Of course, I am not one who likes to order my steak from a menu where instead of words; there are pictures of the food…because honestly, does the food ever truly look like the professional photograph? Of course not. So, why tease me with this fascinating looking dinner only to be disappointed the food does not look like it did in the picture?  Of course, that is not to say I have not been to a restaurant where I ordered off a menu of pictures…LOL  No no no, I tend to look for deals before I travel. You too can look up deals right here:
Ok, so you may think I am cheap. Fact is, I am thrifty. I mean really, who goes out to eat without looking for a deal? Not me. Then again, I don’t go out as often as I would like. When we do travel, whether it be locally or to another state, it is always nice to go out with friends or family. My wife and I were testers not too long ago for a steakhouse. We did the whole secret shopping thing. Well, all I can say is we ate for free and provided a great review because the service was excellent, the food was great…and…on top of it all…we had a night out away from the kids.  What more could you ask for?  LOL  If you want to save a little bit of money, entertain friends or family, then check out  If you are like me, you may enjoy saving even just a little bit of money. Then again, if you are like me, you just like saving money period…LOL.
Well, my family and I will be traveling to Florida in a few months and I can assure you, I will be seeking out deals ranging from discount Disney tickets (by attending a time share tour), to discount hotel stays, to discount rental cars.  All in all, if I can save a few dollars, enjoy time with the family, and call it a vacation….I guess I am one step ahead of others…LOL

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Wow. To think a state government wants to put the kibosh to collective bargaining is like waking up and realizing the Easter Bunny isn't real.  What a sad state of affairs when politicians feel it is within their power to end collective bargaining. Wisconsin is just one of many states that will try to invoke this crazy line of thinking.  There is a reason it is called "bargaining". When you bargain, you negotiate.  Is it the fault of the union members that the politicians in Wisconsin don't know how to negotiate properly?  No. 

While everybody agrees spending needs to be curtailed, doing it on the backs of hard working citizens is not the right way to go about it. Every time cut backs are announced, the cuts always seem to affect the middle class, the poor, and the elderly. When will politicians realize that cutting programs that aide low income or elderly people will only make matters worse, not better. Why cut the programs that do the most for people?  Why I ask....WHY?   Well, my theory is there are many today who do not want to be associated with the poor or the elderly. In fact, the way I see it, the Republicans like the Governor in Wisconsin don't want poor people to thrive in any way.  keep the poor ...poor.....and let the elderly move on by, all the while, the rich can keep their money, stockpile it, and get all the benefits of tax breaks.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Every now and then you get news you probably don’t want to hear. Sometimes the news relates to a person, place, or thing. The news you never want to hear is when someone you know and trust becomes ill.  Well, today I found out a very special person has been battling some serious health issues and he is still fighting the good fight.  While saying I am worried is an understatement, I know that being the fighter that he is, he will prevail, no matter what the outcome.
In life, we all tend to get news we don’t want to hear. It can be something minor or something major, but regardless, we all get news at times that we just don’t want to hear.  I guess the reality is, how do we all deal with unwanted news? Do we bury our thoughts? Do we express ourselves? If so, how?  To whom? What do you say? How do you say it?  There are always so many questions and never enough answers.
I will never forget Thanksgiving in 2008. Our day started off like every other thanksgiving: tired…LOL   We went to the annual Thanksgiving day breakfast and football game. While at breakfast, my daughter noticed my dad just didn’t look right. He looked a little grey. He ate breakfast and was his typical social self. Of interest though, in hind-sight, he didn’t smoke his cigar and he didn’t eat all of his breakfast.  We all just figured he was full and just didn’t feel like stoking up the stogie.  Nothing really unusual…just another Thanksgiving day.   My oldest daughter and I left, headed for home where we would pick up my wife and my youngest daughter and head to the in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner.  My daughter commented that “Grampy looked tired” and I responded with….hmmmm….yeah, you’re right.  So, we went about our business, all the while, what we didn’t know was my father was in the emergency room being treated for a Heart Attack.   Yeah, right…my dad? A heart attack? Sure……

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hotels and Comfort

Traveling is nice, but staying in hotels and motels can sometimes be a bit much. We all enjoy the comforts of our own home, so wouldn’t it be a great idea if hotels would incorporate sheets and bedding that remind us of home?  Understandably this would possibly increase room rates, but, who really knows until you try.  Of course, the opposite could also be true…that some people like the material of hotel linens and want them for their own home. No matter what, I still feel that when traveling, it would be nice to have the comforts of home.
Therefore, I thought it would be interesting to see if there was really a market for people who want to buy hotel quality bedding, and sure enough, there is an actual market for it. Hotel bedding is offered and the quality is better than I would have expected. At , you can browse various home products, including Hotel Collection bedding. Of course there are many other home goods available, some of which I will have to buy soon because my daughter appears to be headed into her own apartment. Right now, she is looking at a Queen size bed and will need some sheets. So, while browsing, I went back to
I digress. Back to my former traveling experience. When traveling I enjoy the comforts of home and try to set up my hotel room in a way I am accustomed to. Problem is, moving a bed that doesn’t move can be quite tiring. I remember I was in North Carolina for a month. I had a great hotel room, great service, great everything. The problem was, it never felt like home. So, I went out and made a few purchases. I bought my own pillow, lamp, towel, and a few other miscellaneous items. I knew I was going to be there for a month, so I figured…why not. If you ever go lamp shopping, and those who have done this know what I mean. There are so many lamps, lights, wall mounted, ceiling mounted, standard lamps; you just never know which way to look. Then you have your hurricane lamps, regular lamps, tall lamps, short lamps…the never-ending maze can become somewhat overwhelming. So, I say if you want to shop for a lamp, do it on-line. It is easier to look at one or two pictures as compared to looking at hundreds of lamps all lumped in together.
So, how do you choose the perfect hotel? Do you look at the ratings on-line? Do you read the reviews? Do you wing it?  How do you pick the perfect hotel?  I don’t have the answer. What I can say is do not read all the overly positive or overly negative reviews you find.  Someone who is engaged in business with the hotel probably writes the overly positive reviews; and at the same time, relying too heavily on negative reviews could mean the person writing the negative review is in competition with the hotel.
When my family and I travel, I try to stay at name brand hotels. At least you know the service will be consistent. Some of the smaller hotels, however, do provide the one on one friendly service we all enjoy when we travel. So, big or small, I guess the hotel really does not matter, as long as you can feel, at least in small part, that your room has some of the comforts of home.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hollywood and Narcissism

Have you ever wondered why Hollywood is so hell-bent on celebrating themselves during award show season?  I mean, really. Do they have to have award shows every week in order for the Hollywood stars to give themselves the gratuitous pat on the back? Yes, we all know these Hollywood stars earn more money than god, but do they really need an excuse to dress up, walk down a red carpet, talk about themselves’ in the third-person, and describe to the viewers that they are wearing Dolce or some other unknown designer-wear?  
I was actually watching the Grammy’s the other night and yes, I too was sucked in to Ryan Seacrest and his Red Carpet gala.  When I saw Kim Kardashian walking the red carpet though, I asked myself….what has she done to earn the red carpet walk at the Grammy’s?  Is Kim Kardashian now some sort of hip-hop icon with a newly released album that I am not aware of? Really…..Kim Kardashian?  What exactly is her claim to fame anyway? I know she has a reality tv show, which yes, I will admit, even I have tuned into on occasion, but, why is Kardashian being hailed as some type of “Star” at the Grammy’s? What impact on society have any of the Kardashians actually had for the positive? 
This brings me to my next point. While it is nice for Ryan Seacrest to interview the “stars”, is it really necessary to ask them who they are wearing?  I am waiting for one star to turn to him and say “Fool, I’m wearing a tux with shoes?”  These stars today seem so hell-bent on self-promotion, I often wonder if they wake up in the morning and actually trip over their egos on their way to the bathroom. Do they rehearse their parade march in the hallways of their million dollar mansions? Do they actually find it necessary to spend 3 and 4 hours getting ready?
I am not completely against the award shows. I understand it is a way to gain attention to their movies, television series, or songs, but what disgusts me is the narcissistic manner in which many of the stars portray themselves. It is almost as if they actually forget that they are human, and not above the rest of society. Then again, with the amount of award shows out there, the so-called-stars probably can’t help but think they are actually better than everybody else.
So, next time you are nominated for an award, I say dress up in your most comfortable jeans, t-shirt, sneakers, and sunglasses, head to the red carpet and in response to the reporter asking what you are wearing, simply say: “I am wearing what I normally do: Jeans, t-shirt, sneakers, and sunglasses!”
Hey, it’s just my opinion and for the record, I do watch SOME of the shows.  I’m just sayin’.