Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Agony and the Ecstacy

Bad news on the doorstep. I couldn’t take one more step.

We need some HUMOR: With all the dour political news – which we’ll get to later, I just needed to start off with a little humor from my favorite humorist, Anonymous.
Girl Potato and Boy Potato had eyes for each other, and finally they got married, and had a little sweet potato, which they called 'Yam.' Of course, they wanted the best for her.

When it was time, they told Yam about the facts of life. They warned her about going out and getting half-baked, so she wouldn't get accidentally mashed, and get a bad name for herself like 'Hot Potato,' and end up with a bunch of Tater Tots.

Yam said not to worry, no Spud would get her into the sack and make a rotten potato out of her! But on the other hand, she wouldn't stay home and become a Couch Potato either. She would get plenty of exercise so as not to be skinny like her Shoestring cousins.

When she went off to Europe, Mr. and Mrs. Potato told Yam to watch out for the hard-boiled guys from Ireland, and the greasy guys from France called the French Fries, and when she went out West, to watch out for the Indians so she wouldn't get scalloped.

Yam said she would stay on the straight and narrow and wouldn't associate with those high class Yukon Golds, or the ones from the other side of the tracks who advertise their trade on all the trucks that say 'Frito Lay.'

Mr. and Mrs. Potato sent Yam to Idaho P.U. (that's Potato University) so that when she graduated she'd really be in the Chips. But in spite of all they did for her, one-day Yam came home and announced she was going to marry Tom Brokaw.

"Tom Brokaw!?"

Mr. and Mrs. Potato were very upset. They told Yam she couldn't possibly marry Tom Brokaw because he's just ....


Back to the Present and Future: I have not yet gotten a phone call, text message, or email from the Obama camp asking for my solution to the economic crisis that the country allegedly faces since the bailout plan was defeated. Choose your own villain. Is it a president and his administration who has cried “Wolf” (not Blitzer) once too often to pass his often inane and wrong-headed legislation? Is it those poor little conservative House Republicans who changed their votes because that nasty Granny Pelosi hurt their feelings? Or is the whole plan just a sham as the constituents whose phone calls run 200-1 against passage have decreed? Or as the slick and sometimes slippery pundits say when they don’t know the answer, is it “a little bit if each.”

It’s the packaging, stupid: I have been working on the “Dr. Forgot Plan to save the country and the world and get a new administration elected.” Here is the plan (don’t tell the opposition). Since John McCain has been flitting around like a hummingbird presenting plans that have all failed, then blaming his opponent, the one is best implemented by the Baraksters. First, change the name of the plan from “Bailout Plan” to “Investment Plan.” Next, redesign the plan so that all the language that caused you to say, “This is not the ideal plan but it is passable,” is removed. Third, spin it out to the public as a savior to Main Street. Be sure to get the support of the public by telling them they will own stock in America. Fourth, get all your party on board to support this new investment plan. Remember, you hold the majority in the Senate and if you pick just a few Repubs in the House, you’ve got it made. Finally, it better work or you or you will be out on your keister in a few years. To make it work, once elected you must do several things.

The new president must be Zorro: Zorro is the Spanish word for fox. The new president must recognize and embrace Hispanics, the fastest growing minority in the land, projected to be a majority at some point in the future. But he must also be like the movie and television character Zorro and slash the pork out of the budget. That means no more lobbyists, many of whom are former legislators who are corrupting the system by writing legislation for their newfound constituencies. Also eliminating earmarks or at least making them transparent so there is some level of accountability. Next (and brace yourself on this one for it will bring all the right wing nuts out of the closet with cries of “Blasphemy”) eliminate the tax exempt status of churches and religious organizations who use their pulpits to spend a "substantial part of [their] activities in carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation," or those so-called religious organizations who, "participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements), any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office."

The above quotes are already part of the tax code but are rarely enforced. Religion scholar Martin Marty writes in some length about “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” in which a group called Alliance Defense Fund encouraged pastors to break the law. The new president must look at the budget on a line-by-line basis (Sorry Sarah, no lifelines are available) and have the courage (or “cajones” as our Hispanic brothers might say) to take his Zorro sword and slice and dice the pork as well as seek input from various committees to redesign the tax code and other bloodsucking facets of our government. We just might be in a place to get that movement started.

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive: The quote from Sir Walter Scott in the nineteenth century could easily apply to Senator John McCain in the twenty-first century and his plan regarding the impending (or not) bailout. First he raised the stakes by suspending his campaign (or not) to fly to Washington and negotiate a deal. The failure caused a bipartisan blame game – both blamed Senator John. So he left Washington and flew to Iowa to try to distance himself from his involvement in the deal. But top Repub John Boehner tripped him up in a press conference in which McCain was praised for his involvement in the fiasco. The tactic hurt him in the polls but there is even a more somber aspect to the Wannabe President’s impetuousness. The so called “Hail Mary” decision making process that has been typical of him – Pailin for VP, solutions to the bailout fiasco, keeping the VP away from the media then blaming them when she stumbled, etc. Those might be good tactics for a fighter pilot trying to be top gun but after 8 years of what the current administration has put this country through, I shudder to think what his “bing-bang” decision making will do as head of state. In the meantime, credit scores continue to fall and people continue to lose their homes.

A little blogging music Maestro... R.E.M’s version of: “Bad Day.”

Dr. Forgot

Read me also at http://vegasnews.squarespace.com/dr-forgot-andrew-r-nixon/

Friday, September 26, 2008

And in this corner.....

Who is the Master Debater?

Style and Body Language: I was at a political gathering recently and a woman who was standing near me made a comment regarding Senator Obama, “That man sure knows how to wear a suit.” It is true. Senator Obama always looks freshly pressed. Whether his suit is a several thousand dollar Armani or a J. C. Penney off-the-rack, the man is one sharp dresser. His opponent tends to look a bit wrinkled and frazzled in his suit at times. Although suits don’t win debates there are some traditional manners of dress and body language that are said to influence perception of a candidate. At the first McCain/Obama debate Senator Obama chose a dark suit and a red tie – a power statement and a combination that photographs well. Senator McCain chose a suit a slight shade lighter suit and a striped tie – generally considered to present a washed out look.

In terms of body language, Senator McCain never looked directly at Senator Obama during the entire debate. Obama, however, looked directly into McCain’s eyes for much of the evening. We’re not sure if he saw McCain’s soul, but Senator Obama wins the first two points, for style and for body language. Mississippians might also give him a bonus point for manners. While both candidates sparred over the other’s positions, Obama mentioned several times that his opponent had a valid point, but McCain never responded in kind. Rather he came across at times as crotchety, divisive and demeaning.

Heavyweights fought in lightweight class: The two candidates sparred over some of the expected issues – Iraq, the economy, and Afghanistan. But other issues including Social Security, housing, immigration, and entitlements were barely touched upon or not discussed. Part of the fault must go to moderator Bill Lehrer who at times seemed to let the debate get away from him. Frequently the two candidates appeared to be on the brink of a playground type na-na-na-na-na shouting match and McCain occasionally wandered off in all directions far from the topic as the moderator for the most part sat by quietly.

Round 1: The economy, stupid: Senator Obama won the coin toss and elected to go on offense first as he received the first question. The question was on the economy. Senator Obama took the gloves off and came out swinging and began an aggressive flurry of punches, blaming Senator McCain for the financial crisis and tying him to President Bush. This was a great move given the low popularity ratings of the President. Obama landed another flurry with a quote that failed economic policies were… “a theory that basically says we can shred regulations and consumer protections and give more and more to the most, and somehow prosperity will trickle down.”

Senator McCain fought back bobbing and weaving, avoiding taking the hits directly and spinning the topic to earmarks and accusing Senator Obama of requesting hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks. He completed his dance by saying that spending in Washington was completely out of control. The next round had McCain trying to sucker punch Obama as naïve (a tactic repeated over and over during the debate) while Obama counterpunched by subtly hinting that McCain was a warmonger. And so the fight continued for a full 15 rounds, back and forth with many of the heavy punches being absent from the ring. When the final bell rang Senator Obama still looked fresh as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford while McCain appeared to be an angry professor who had been passed over for tenure once too often.

The hype leading up to the big fight: The debate at the University of Mississippi had been scheduled for some time. Both candidates agreed to it and the university community had spent millions in preparation. Then the economic collapse happened. A couple of hundred year old investment bank houses became insolvent and the world’s largest insurance company headed for the toilet. Bad real estate so-called “subprime” loans, like so many chickens had come home to roost. The treasury secretary proposed a plan to transfer nearly a trillion dollars from American taxpayers to Wall Street the financiers who had caused the problem. The plan called for no oversight and absolutely no responsibility! The reaction was tumultuous as citizens virtually rioted against the plan and John McCain, who had not had any part in bailout talks, rode into Washington on his white jet, sat in some meetings, and prepared to look presidential as the final plan was announced. He even announced he was “suspending the campaign,” although TV spots continued to run, and he stated that if an agreement was not reached by Friday he would not attend the debate. The move was reminiscent of the Alexander Haig “I’m in charge here” comment after President Reagan was shot. McCain’s strategy proved to be a gaffe as he clearly did not provide needed input on the plan and despite that fact that a plan had not been completed, decided to go to the debate anyhow.

Senator Obama took the opposite tack, announcing that presidential posturing had no place in the financial meltdown. He too came to Washington and stayed close, even attending a hastily called meeting by the president. But he stayed low key, not giving interviews and quietly going about the business at hand. Although the debate had no clear winner – most nonpartisan pundits gave Obama a slight edge and the pre-fight strategy clearly favored Senator Obama over Senator McCain.

This just in: Several items of news happened around the time of the debate. First, Senator Ted Kennedy suffered a mild seizure and was taken to the hospital. Also Washington Mutual Savings and Loan, often referred to as WAMU began to choke, making it the largest banking failure in U.S. banking history. J.P. Morgan rushed in to revive it using the Heimlich maneuver, infusing $ 1.9 billion for WAMU’s $ 301 billion in assets. WAMU recently hired Alan Fishman was booted. His three week stint at WAMU could pay him as much as $ 18 million for three weeks work. That is $ 6 million per week or, if he worked 5 days per week, 12 hours per day, he earned over $ 33,000 per hour or over $ 555 per minute. Nice work if you can get it. NOTE TO ANY BANKING FIRM LOOKING FOR A CEO: I’M AVAILABLE!!!!

A little blogging music Maestro... Pink Floyd singing: “Money.”

Dr. Forgot

Read me also at http://vegasnews.squarespace.com/dr-forgot-andrew-r-nixon/

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wild and Wacky

You can’t make this stuff up

Back to the REAL silliness: Are humans animals? I used to have a Psychology professor who would discuss all manner of behavior of rats in various experiments, then end with this proviso: “We must be careful of drawing conclusions from these studies. Remember, rats aren’t people… although some people are rats.” I’m not sure if there was a PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) in those days but if there had been, I’m sure they would have taken the good professor to task for lowering the status of lab rats by comparing them with humans. Well, those wacky workhorses – uh I mean peons of people of PETA are at it again. This time they’ve struck a blow directly at the Chunky Monkey see, Chunky Monkey do people. PETA kicked Ben in his Cinnamon Buns and Jerry in his Garcia. And the problem for PETA is not B&J’s Fossil Fuel or Phish Food, or even the Vermonty Python. The problem is much mooooooooer than that. They want Ben, or perhaps this is Jerry’s department, to stop using cow’s milk in their ice cream and replace it with human breast milk.

Perhaps the PETAns would like to see some new flavors – Booblegum, Pirate’s Chest, or Double Scoops, or Bra-seer. In a news release PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said, “Everyone knows that breast is best.” Oh gee, I wouldn’t touch that one… er, I mean, some might find the discussion titillating. Oh, never mind. Don’t cows have a lobby? This plan would put them out of work. No wonder there are so many mad cows.

So much for the other cheek: It has been said that nearly all wars fought in the history of mankind have been over issues of religion. Whether the crusades or Islamic radicals, religious zealots have been less that tolerant in matters of forcing their views on non-believers. Such was the case with Teresa Hirston, publisher of the magazine, “Gospel Today.” The publication has been distributed for a couple of decades throughout the country largely in more than 100 Lifeway Christian Stores. However, upon discovering that her magazine had been pulled from the shelves, Teresa was in a quandary. Her latest mag did not discuss issues contrary to mainstream Christian beliefs, so what sin had she committed to be banned from Lifeway shelves? Turns out the publisher had committed the unpardonable sin of recognizing the accomplishments of women -five female pastors. Lifeway, which is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention, passed an edict in 2000 that only men can serve as pastors. Just one more example of the right wing nuts. I wouldn’t be surprised if at their next convention a move was initiated to bring back the burqa.

My way or the highway (to nowhere): Ah that darling of the right wing nuts, Sarah Palin. She was for the Bridge to Nowhere, no, against it. Ok, no more bridge to nowhere. How about the road to the Bridge to nowhere? In ancient days the expression was, “All roads lead to Rome.” In Alaska, from where you can see Russia, it seems some roads lead to the Bridge to Nowhere. Is that somewhere? The road was built to the bridge that wasn’t. We’d like to ask Sarah about the bridge and the road, and some other issues like Troopergate, ignoring subpoenas, etc. but the Repubs have her locked up tighter than a promiscuous daughter in the hills of West Virginia. Ok, we’ll ask her running mate on the ticket she described as “The Palin McCain ticket.” But the Straight Talk Express has become the No Talk Express. Senator John has become Silent Sam. Oh well, what’s a measly $ 323 million for a road to nowhere when Wall Street is asking for a trillion? The whole silent situation makes reporters pine for the old days of open book politicians like George W. Bush and Dick “Where’s Waldo” Cheney. Perhaps Alaska could buy some shipping containers and build low cost housing along the road to nowhere (see item below). At least there shouldn’t be much traffic.

Did you hear the one about the redneck who: Thank goodness for rednecks. They are the only ones who are still grist for being the butt of jokes. Thanks to political correctness gender, religion, ethnicity, race, economic status, professions (well, except for lawyers and politicians) are all off the map as the butt of jokes. No wonder we live in a world with so many angry people. Nevertheless we all get tons of emails that make fun of everything redneck from their choice of a spouse (“When rednecks divorce, are they still brother and sister?”) to their dwellings (“Redneck luxury bathroom – a 2-holer”). Of course, politicians can also be the butt of dwelling humor – McCain for his seven houses, Obama for his big yard courtesy of a flakey friend, Palin for her igloo, and Biden for his refusal to live in the D.C. area. But how about making a living from building houses out of shipping containers? “Buy a shipping container that has seen the world.” This is not so far-fetched and not a joke, but a plan for affordable housing that was conjured up by a young man with a plan.

Brian McCarthy and three partners have set up shop in El Paso, TX building affordable housing – from shipping containers! The 320 square foot homes include a kitchen, bath, toilet, windows, and a bright blue door for entry. They are painted with a white epoxy to reflect the sun, although I suppose a box – er, homeowner could add air conditioning. Prices start under $ 8,000 for the fancy shanty and McCarthy plans to sell them across the border in Juarez, Mexico to poor factory workers (malquiladoras) who require low cost housing. A man’s home is his castle? I guess beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

WGAS – Who Gives A …. Hoot: Several items showered upon us fall into the WGAS category. I don’t care about the gender of Lindsey Lohan’s new love. I don’t care whether or not Brittney Spear’s mother wrote a book or considers herself a mother advice guru. I don’t care how the Iranian idiot Ahmadinejad is able to spew his inane comments to Palin and the press, I don’t care who was kicked off “Dancing With the Stars.” Finally, I don’t know who Clay Aikens is, nor do I care about his sexual preference, whether or not he’s become a father, or with whom he chooses to rear the child. But the nuttiest news story of the day comes from, where else but San Francisco. Seems like the San Francisco Clown Conservatory - we’re not sure if that is where conservatives go to learn their trade – decided on a fundraiser for a good cause. They are publishing a 2009 calendar of NAKED CLOWNS! Somehow it just doesn’t seem to be what most men strive for – being laughed at while standing naked.

A little blogging music Maestro... Judy Collins version of, what else but Stephen Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns.”

Dr. Forgot

Read me also at http://vegasnews.squarespace.com/dr-forgot-andrew-r-nixon/

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

ERA is more than a baseball statistic

Las Vegas; Land of Convention Money

Only in Las Vegas: The Okies who crossed the country during the dust bowl referred to California as the “Land of milk and honey.” It is no secret that Las Vegas had the highest latest real estate runup before the mortgage fiasco began and therefore has had the biggest drop in home “values.” As Francis Albert Sinatra once said, “The higher the top, the longer the drop.” Las Vegas was a late entrant into the Ponzi scheme of the housing market. California real estate had been ridiculous for decades and as prices became more ridiculous, people moved farther toward cheaper housing and found Las Vegas. But just as every Ponzi scheme ends leaving those who invested at the end of the wave broke and disheartened, so did it happen in Las Vegas.

With the crash of the housing market and the nationwide recession, visitor counts were down, hence less sales tax was paid. The local and state government that became flush with real estate taxes suddenly finds itself in a crisis mode. The one saving grace is that group of people who the Hotel and Casino moguls love to hate – conventioneers. As the myth goes, they are tight with their money, unless they’re on an expense account, don’t gamble and don’t tip. But ah, how Las Vegas loves its conventioneers when gambling visitor volume is down.

One day bloggers, the next day media buyers: We covered the Blogworld Expo over the weekend and wrote our story about it (see above). Today we attended the Electronic Retailing Association’s (ERA) annual convention held at the Paris Las Vegas, and our impression was oui, oui! The conventioneers at Blogworld Expo were a pretty grubby sort with beards, long hair, and a pretty scraggly appearance. And why not? Do you think radio show hosts dress up for work? Blogging is done in the privacy of one’s own computer. Ah, but those ERA guys and gals were dressed to the nines. I saw more three piece suits than at a funeral. The presenters were people who handle products – designing, creating, private labeling, shipping, doing radio nad TV spots, infomercials, blogvertising, and every form of media and advertising to get a manufacturer’s idea or product to consumers. There were companies who tracked sales, arranged for payments, provided credit card sales terminals, and prospecting for customers. There was an Asian pavilion complete with dancers that you’d expect to see in Chinatown, a company from Mexico that could provide their own health products or personally label your own. We tried to select a handful of the more unique offerings and highlight them.

Most Unique Product Award (Call me sometime): It is true that many competing media companies offering similar services showed at the conference, but tucked away in the corner was a one-of-a-kind service that caught our eye. The theory behind 1-800-DIAL800 is that clients have worked hard creating their product, secured a great media buy, and selected a marketing program. That should mean sitting back and waiting for the profits to roll in, right? Not according to the “Dial800” guys. Their theory is that when a marketer thinks he’s finished, he’s only ¾ done. “There is still budgeted money left on the table.” says their CEO. Their service can provide vanity telephone numbers that are easy to remember, call tracking, lead tracking, demographic tracking, postcard response, and a host of other post-marketing services. It must be working. They’ve stood the test of time, providing services for 20 years. It is impolite to leave your elbows on the table, and according to the Dial800 folks, it is downright sad to leave advertising budget money there. For more information go to www.dial800.com.

Most Unique Product Award (I write the songs): When you wake up in the morning with your hair down in your eyes nad you say “hi,” what do you hear? Dress and head for work and what do you hear? Up on the elevator what do you hear? Watch an infomercial or TV show and what do you hear? In all likelihood, the answer to all the above questions is Mike Licari. Mike is a four-time Emmy Award winning composer and producer – although we’re sure that our award will be held in higher esteem than a mere Emmy. For more than a quarter century Mike has scored hundreds of infomercials and thousands of music cues for major television shows. His music cues can introduce products of health, beauty, sports, fitness, housewares, tools, finance, and dozens more categories. We were drawn to the Infomercial-Music booth because it was the only one of its kind at the ERA show and Mike just seemed so down home. We could just picture him in his Southern California studio on a cool winter night, wearing a sweater with patched elbows, knocking out a few new tunes on the piano. More information can be found at http://informercial-music.com.

Bundling the Money: Some direct response marketers, or DRs as they are called in the trade use special vendors for different facets of their business. Powerpay Direct bundles services to offer a one-stop shop. This company eliminates gateways for easier payment processing, offer capital to grow a business with longer terms than traditional sources, provides a Paylink automatic cash management system, and minimizes processing fees. But perhaps the most revolutionary component of their services is that they make available a vehicle that accepts not only credit cards but checks for instant purchases. This e-check online payment is cutting edge in the industry with a 48-hour money access. More information at www.powerpaydirect.biz.

Making AIG look like a piker; and with no bailouts: The Thayne Direct company is impressive by its sheer global presence. The Canadian company provides direct response marketing in over 100 countries! They market in North, Central and South America, Europe, the UK, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Perhaps some of the Wall Street companies that are struggling with their worldwide market can take a lesson from this company whose distribution platform spans 45 countries nad trading partners cover more than 100 countries. The message here goes beyond the ERA conference and Thayne Direct, Inc. Perhaps the powers that be in DC need to come to the ERA convention to see how things are done without bailouts. Since Thayne is a Canadian company, maybe they know more about globalization. More Thayneformation can be found at www.thayne.ca.

First kill all the lawyers: That quote from Shakespeare is often used to denigrate the legal profession. What is rarely quoted is the beginning that states that to create chaos, first kill all the lawyers. Thus it is actually positive. Dealing with international companies such as those represented at ERA whose products are vast and services more so, and whose clients are almost beyond comprehension, laws and regulations are paramount. Venable LLP offers a legal team to deal with the establishment and enforcement of intellectual property rights, compliance, and making sound legal business decisions. Perhaps they should be a runner up for the “Most Unique Product” award. Venable provides attorneys for federal and state regulated legal and marketing issues and can provide informal dispute resolution. No lawyer jokes today. You hate them until you need them. If you need them you can find them at www.venable.com.

A little blogging music Maestro... “Takin’ Care of Business” by Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

Dr. Forgot

Read me also at http://vegasnews.squarespace.com/dr-forgot-andrew-r-nixon/

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blogworld Expo

It’s a Blog-Eat-Blog World out there

Las Vegas in September: It is surely the most beautiful time of the year in Las Vegas – September. The heat of the summer is a blistering memory and the winds of winter have not yet begun. This is the Autumn in Las Vegas. This is the time of year when the brown desert sand turns to… well, ok, it stays brown. It is however the time of year when the Water District begins to enforce 2-day per week watering instead of the unlimited water that pours into the desert and keeps lawns green during the summer so that golfers might forget about the 2000 degree heat while they play. I’m not sure if it is because of the time of year or it is just chance, but this is also the time of year when several conventions make the scene in the Valley of the Dollars. One of my favorites is Blogworld and New Media Expo. It is an exposition that shows what is new in the in the world of nontraditional communication that the Millennium Generation seems to favor. If the Baby Boomers changed the world in the 1950s, the Millennium Generation is changing the world of the twenty-first century. Today’s post will give you a small slice of what is going on in the world beyond cable television.

The Most Unusual Booth Presentation Award: That honor goes to Cart-Away concrete systems. They had an actual portable concrete mixer on their booth – you know, the kind that you see affixed to the back of a truck. The mixer contans cement and rotates on the back of the truck as it drives down the highway toward its destination. Well, the clever people who own Cart-Away figured out a way to remove that big mixer from the back of the truck and make it portable. The portable device can carry wet, dry, or mixed materials, can be tilted to pour into a full size wheel barrow, or a chute can be attached so the stuff inside comes out just like their big trucking cousins. They are looking to market and franchise their product. So why come to a Blogworld Expo to show off their refined cement and other material mixer? For the same reason bloggers and other companies attended – to get the word out about their product. Tom Vail who was dressed as and claimed to be a test dummy, and his assistant who was dressed as and claimed to be a lab rat had a full house (no silly, not the type that beats a royal flush) at their booth for the entire time. They had no competition for their product type. Very clever. A way to think outside the cement truck. For more information go to www.Cart-AwayConcrete.com.

Go then and monetize thy blog: Many of the presenters at the Blogworld Expo gave tips on how to expand readership or monetize one’s blog. The term monetize simply means that the creator of the blog gets paid, usually for ads on the blog. One of our favorite was the Money Leverage company. Their marketing approach is two-pronged. They offer publishers (i.e. bloggers) an opportunity to earn money through advertising on their blogs and boast the highest paying rewards program in the industry. They also target advertisers and match them up with publishers. Sounds like a lot of work that the publisher does not have to do in order to get paid. That makes them a pretty good option for monetizing. But what made them one of our favorites was their display that supported their concept – they gave away free money! Blogworld Expo attendees slithered into a large cubical full of money. A fan was turned on for a period time as money flew around. All the money that was captured was kept by the lucky attendee. Getting free money that is really free is really fun. For more information go to www.marketleverage.com.

Looking for Mr. GoodIdea: Ideablob is a wacky, fun concept. Instead of simply asking bloggers to post ads on their blogs, ideablob is a community of entrepreneurs who bounce ideas off each other. Sort of like going before a jury of your peers, but in this case your peers offer advice, feedback, and encouragement. So where does the money come in? Each month the community votes on the best idea – a peer evaluation if you will. Whoever provids the best idea, based on peer input, wins a $ 10,000 award to help their idea grow. It is a community that seems to have cutting edge and offbeat members. Some ideas could actually change the world! For more information go to www.ideablob.com.

Help to stay Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Since we’re a sucker for the creative, we were drawn to one particular booth in which all those tending were clad in white coats and had stethoscopes. The organization is called BuzzLogic and they provided Rx for sluggish blogs. BuzzLogic believes that a healthy blog means happy readers and quality advertisers. They provide an analysis of blogs and determine the level of influence each has over a particular community. They actually have an algorithm process that will allow for a blogger to tune up a blog just as a physical checkup can tune up a body. The concept is a bit cumbersome for the unwashed masses to understand but the team at the booth were most adept in describing it. For more information go to www.buzzlogic.com.

Last but not loosed is to get Goosed: The last display we will discuss today is called gooseGrade. If you read blogs and emails that are generated by the gajillions by entities whose purpose is to influence your opinion regardless of the facts, you’ll find this as something that is long overdue. gooseGrade is a tool that will no doubt cause controversy in the blogosphere was created by a young college grad and allows readers to critique and suggest corrections to online writers. The goal is to improve the quality and accuracy of online information. Think of gooseGrade as your English composition professor. As one to whom errors and omissions are tantamount to fingernails on a blackboard, this tool is more than welcome. So if you don’t get them there fax strate, gooseGrade can fix it so your writing be as good as them that had. More information can be found at http://goosegrade.com

A little blogging music Maestro... “What’d I Say?” by any number of singers.

Dr. Forgot

Read me also at http://vegasnews.squarespace.com/dr-forgot-andrew-r-nixon/

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Ravages of ALS

Of Baseball Players and Cousins Once Removed

A Big Man for America’s Pass-time: Lou Gehrig? Most sports fans remember the name but can’t quite put their finger on the man or the sport. Lou was a scholar first. He attended Columbia University in downtown New York on a football scholarship while majoring in Engineering. And he was a big student – a whisper over 6 feet tall and weighing in at 200 lbs. The Iron Horse, as he was known, was a native New Yorker, born 105 years ago. He batted and threw left handed and signed with the Yankees as a free agent, batting .423 his first season and .500 his second. Over the next 17 seasons he averaged .340. But Lou got sick. His body was ravaged by Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly referred to as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. During his farewell speech Lou Gehrig was quoted as saying, “…I’m the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Maybe ALS comes with a positive attitude.

Uncle Pete and Cousin Chipper: One of my uncles, Pete by name, returned from World War II and married a girl from New York. They had a son about my age whom they named Pete also, but instead of calling him Junior or Sonny, they called him Chipper. Chipper is a brilliant businessman who was a childhood prodigy as a pianist but chose the business world as an adult. He had a son whom he named Brian. Brian, like Lou Gehrig, was handsome, smart, and athletic. He chose Virginia Tech for his college, married sweetheart Jameela, and had a couple of kids. Then, like Lou Gehrig, he contracted ALS. And like Lou Gehrig, he considers himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. He and Jameela have maintained such a positive outlook despite the hand ALS dealt Brian. Brian is receiving the best medical care and he and Jameela write a blog diary at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/hokiebrian# If you’ve never heard of CaringBridge you need to take a look at the blog and their site.

Now is the time to act against ALS: I received an email forward today from Jameela in which she asked me to help with some legislation regarding ALS. The email follows:
Let's Pass the ALS Registry Act

Dear Jameela,

With just a few weeks remaining before Congress adjourns for the fall elections, the time has come for the Senate to vote on S. 3297 and pass the ALS Registry Act. We anticipate that the Senate may hold a series of votes on S. 3297 at any time from now until the end of the month so it is absolutely critical that you reach out to your Senators TODAY. This may be our last chance to pass the ALS Registry Act this year and take the next steps in creating a national ALS patient registry.

Thanks to your continued outreach, we are now just five votes short of the 60 we need to pass S. 3297! So please go to the Advocacy Action Center of our website and tell your Senators not to leave town until they pass this critical legislation. Let them know that people with ALS cannot afford to wait until next year. Let them know that politics should not come before patients' lives and that arguments that it costs too much are just excuses (the bill is an authorization and does not appropriate a single dollar!). And let them know you will be watching how they vote. Let's finish the job and enact the ALS Registry Act this year!

In addition to grassroots efforts, The ALS Association also has engaged in other advocacy efforts here in Washington. We helped to organize a coalition of more than 140 different organizations who recently sent a letter to the Senate in support of S. 3297. Moreover, Oprah Winfrey has helped generate support for S. 3297 during her daytime talk show by requesting viewers urge Congress to support one of the bills included in S. 3297. These combined efforts, along with your grassroots outreach, are sending a loud and clear message that hundreds of organizations representing millions of Americans are in this fight together. We want the Senate to pass S. 3297 this year. So again, please contact the Senate today!

Finally, as you reach out to the Senate, we also want to emphasize how important it is for you to support S. 3297 and not advocate for the ALS Registry Act to be considered as a separate piece of legislation. Our supporters in the Senate have included the ALS Registry Act as part of S. 3297 in order to pass the bill this year. And it likely is the only way this can be accomplished, for there simply is not enough time remaining in this year's session to pass the ALS Registry Act as a stand-alone bill. In fact, if we do not unite behind S. 3297, Senator Tom Coburn will succeed in his more than two year quest to kill the ALS Registry Act. We can't let that happen. People with ALS can't afford to wait any longer.
Contact your Senators TODAY!

If you have any questions or would like assistance reaching out to your Senators, please contact the Advocacy Department at advocacy@alsa-national.org.

I encourage every reader of my blog to contact a senator regarding this legislation.

A little blogging music Maestro... Any song from the album “Faith and Courage” by Sinead O’Conner.

Dr. Forgot

Read me also at http://vegasnews.squarespace.com/dr-forgot-andrew-r-nixon/

Monday, September 15, 2008

Of Politicians and Parrots

“Blood Toil Tears and Sweat”

Originally said by TR in 1897: Let’s begin with a history lesson. The phrase above is most often associated with a speech given by Winston Churchill. It began, “We are in the preliminary stage of one of the greatest battles in history.” The phrase that followed, originally used by then Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt in an address to the Naval War College is “I have nothing to offer but blood toil tears and sweat.” The phrase was co-opted in 1968 by a singing group who named themselves “Blood, Sweat, and Tears.” That is your brief history lesson for the day but it relates to an economic crisis in this country that has worsened over the weekend.

We ARE in the preliminary stage of battle: Since we are quoting various authorities today, let’s quote the notorious former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ when he said, “The chickens are coming home to roost.” A few months ago one of the largest global investment banking and securities trading companies, Bear Sterns, collapsed, and with the help of your federal government, was bought at a windfall $ 2.00 per share by JP Morgan Chase. The five remaining companies on Wall Street that provided the same services of the defunct Bear Sterns began shaking in their collective boots. Last weekend the other boot fell on two of the remaining five. The 158-year old Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy as Bank of America is in negotiations to take over Merrill Lynch. Remember, this fiasco happened on the coattails of the Feds bailing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Wonder if it had anything to do with the $ 2 million in PAC money that was contributed by the two. Oh, and don’t forget that the heads of these bankrupt and teetering companies are earning in the tens of millions of dollars annually.

While our country’s banking industry teeters: Sleezeball ads by the McCain camp that even Karl Rove, the inventor and father of such ads decries as over the top continue. The media continues to focus on lipstick on a pig while our country teeters on the brink of bankruptcy. Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, taxes, energy, health care, global warming, and immigration, are among the issues that fester along with our national economy. Yet the McCain campaign and their right wing-nut surrogates continue to release ads, flood emails and raise issues of pig lips, lapel pins, Obama’s former pastor, Obama’s religion, Sara’s daughter’s pregnancy, and the host of other non-issues that successfully take the eye of many Americans off the ball. It is working. It has worked in American history. Lies, repeated often enough become believable. Nero fiddles as Rome burns.

Don’t confuse satire with slime: The slime that is cranked out by the right wing of the Republican Party surrogates is just that - slime. I have received dozens of emails with right wing Republican talking points that attacked Obama personally and I have fact checked every one. 100% have been outright lies and distortions. But they keep coming like kudzu in Mississippi. They get sent onto others who don’t bother fact checking and the lies become believable. Perhaps “Truth, justice, and the American way” only exists in fantasy comic books. Satire on the other hand is tongue in cheek. The SNL skit with actors representing Sarah and Hillary was hilarious. What this country needs is more satire, less slime.

Have you quit beating your wife: Some questions are damning because they are trick questions. Talk show host Oprah Winfrey got caught in one of those moments. She has been accused of boycotting Sarah Palin by not allowing her on the show. It is true, just as the Right Wing-nuts stated in their attack email. What they neglected to mention is that Oprah has an established policy of not interviewing ANY candidate during the elections. No Obama, no McCain, no Biden, no Palin. Despite that non story the media has picked it up and reported it on umteen outlets. Just one more way to take the voting public’s collective eye off the ball and away from the issues. And if it works AGAIN, America will get exactly the political leadership they deserve AGAIN.

Now we know what he’s been praying for: An old joke tells of a parrot, formerly owned by a sailor and purchased by a little old lady. The parrot was foul and full of sexual innuendo. The old lady’s priest also had a parrot that he’d taught to pray so he suggested they put the two together and see if his could teach the other parrot some manners. Once the two birds were put together priest’s whistled and said, “Ahhh, at last my prayers have been answered.” Such must have been the case of some sinners who were parishioners at a Catholic church on the University of Illinois campus. The priest at the church has been charged with selling cocaine from his church office and rectory. There is no word as to whether or not the buyers had given confession but the priest is now a former priest.

A little blogging music Maestro... “Listen to me Lie” by Gene Simmons.

Dr. Forgot

Read me also at http://vegasnews.squarespace.com/dr-forgot-andrew-r-nixon/

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What a Game!

In a word, “Brilliant!”

Caught off guard to say the least: Quarterback McCain, wearing throwback jersey number 72 faced fourth and 21 with the clock ticking down. His team was getting creamed by the other side and their younger, fresher, stronger Quarterback Obama. So McCain in desperation went for the Hail Mary Sarah. He called a trick play. Pulled a moose, er, rabbit out of his hat named Sarah (no last name required for this celebrity) to be his running back VEEP. The right wing of the bleachers and the media went wild! The Obama team began wandering around with dazed looks. “Huh? Who? What just happened? What just hit us? Weren’t WE the team with a too young barely qualified candidate? Weren’t WE just getting bashed by our opponents because our guy was a celebrity who drew huge crowds? Where are we?” The trainers rushed onto the field and asked the stunned defense, “Can you spell juxtaposition?”

Trick play worked. Strategy becomes to get their eye off the ball: Quarterback McCain did his job. Now it is up to the Pachyderm coaches to continue to outfox the Burro coaches and the sportswriters and broadcasters. The coaches send in a series of “Is there an elephant in the room” deception plays: They ask “Were there NCAA infractions that Sarah committed while still in college? Did she wrongfully push to have her ex-brother-in law fired? Was she really against the "Bridge to Nowhere?" Did she sell Alaska's plane on eBay, or just list it on eBay? Did she have any real duties commanding the Alaska National Guard?”

“Oh, and don’t forget to accuse the sportswriters and broadcasters of picking on us – that one always works. Let’s accuse them of being flaks for the Burros. Once nobody is looking at the ball we can sneak it up a few more yards.” The writers and media took the bait and began to focus on the new running back as the partisan crowd chanted, “Sarah, Sarah, Sarah.”

“This election isn’t about issues:” The quote by an official in the Pachyderm front office said it and the comment sailed right over the heads of the media just like the passes the old white men had been tossing back and forth before the Northern Lights shone on the team. In regards to the questions the team put out about their new running back, who cares? The previously moribund fans that came to town to watch her strut her stuff along the sidelines are simply at the game for the refreshments. They don’t really care if the players on the field are academically eligible, morally correct, are under indictment or have a criminal record. The Pachyderm front office knows this from years in the business and has brought their new star to the playing field to distract the country from the havoc that their aging goofy coach George Bush and his band of liars, warmongers, sleezeballs and convicted felons. That team has wreaked havoc during the past eight years and it is their plays and policies Quarterback McCain is committed to continue.

Every play that is called, every distraction that the media dwells and dotes upon (such as lipstick on the mascot of the University of Arkansas) takes up time not spent talking about the Elephant team’s record. Each one of those ball hiding events is a mini victory for the team and gets Quarterback McCain one step closer to winning the Homecoming Game.

New running back’s short term achievements: The Donkeys are braying that Sarah hasn't earned her degree and is therefore not qualified to play in the big game. They say that the only 3:00 a.m. call she had to respond to was when a moose upset a neighborhood garbage can. The truth is quite the opposite. In the week since she’s pulled on her pads and jersey the mother of all upset efforts has distracted the Left, the Right, the Centrists, the Independents and her five dependents from the horrible state of affairs that our country wallows in as the result of the Bush debacle . Quarterback McCain has run his head coach’s offensive plays as designed by the Bushman of Texas 95% of the time. The rookie has succeeded in deflecting and deceptions beyond the wildest expectations of even the most far right corporate executive.

From the Outhouse to the Penthouse and maybe the Whitehouse: Two weeks ago Quarterback McCain was in worse shape in Washington than Bret Favre was in Green Bay. Head Coach Bush has an 0-11 disastrous record, and the fans were yelling for change. The rival team, headed by All American Quarterback Obama had built their game plan around change. Quarterback McCain had not only run his head coach’s plays 95% of the time over the past eight years, he plans to continue policy from the old playbook for another four or eight years. The team has been in desperate need of a new fresh face to repackage the old playbook and make the fans think it is new. So they take a picture of their opponent’s playbook slogan and paste it over their own. Now their playbook says “Change” and on the front cover is a fresh new face. Bingo! That’s all it takes to fool the fans!

The plan works to a tee on kickoff. There is nothing in the fan’s program about the highest unemployment rate in a decade or the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout or the 4,000+ dead American soldiers and the maltreatment of their wounded comrades who return home maimed, or the trillion dollar debt or the mortgage crisis, or the burgeoning debt to China or the ongoing lies that got us into and the debacle in Iraq or global warming or prisoner torture or Blackwater guards in Iraq who earn $ 1200 per day while U.S. Marines earn breadcrumbs, or corruption among Whitehouse staffers or any other issues. High Elephant Rick Davis might become prophetic with his now-notorious comment, “This campaign is not about issues but personalities.”

Pray tell, what is in the new program: Let’s see, we can list Sarah’s accomplishments as mayor, whether she was or was not a good mother, whether her skirts are too short and her zingers too sarcastic. The fans like that sort of stuff. There has been a run on her style of glasses. But the new running back is not running for the presidency. That office is being sought by Quarterback McCain. Problem is, he is carrying the weight of his loyal but inept coaches on his shoulders. His playbook has a new cover but its contents are the same old tripe with the same old plays that have been run unsuccessfully for the past eight years. Yet all the fans sitting on the right side of the stadium continue with their deafening cheers as the writers and other media get caught up in the hoopla. If the home team wins again it will likely subject our country to another four years of destruction down to the very fiber.

Game plan for underdog Quarterback Obama: There have been more than enough references to animals by the media the past few days, but one more is in order – the underdog. Quarterback Barak cannot afford to hand off the ball to the media as his rival has done. He needs to focus his attention on the real opposition -- the issues that will decide the future of this country. His handling of the “pig with lipstick” comment was a good start. He, his coaches, his surrogates, and his supporters including the former president and first lady must take every opportunity to turn the love-struck media focus away from the issues of minutia, such as whether or not the new player on the other team threatened to fire the librarian or Troopergate, or any of the other red herrings designed to keep the eyes of the public off the game ball. Quarterback Obama and his team needs to take control of the game, ignore the out-of-bounds plays, and hammer away at the real issues. And the Clintons need to do their part to earn that $ 21 million they’re asking from Barrack to pay off their debts. When the final seconds tick off in November, the team that is ahead will lead the country for at least the next four years – assuming no hanging chads.

A little blogging music Maestro... “Running Against the Wind” by Bob Seger.

Dr. Forgot

Read me also at http://vegasnews.squarespace.com/dr-forgot-andrew-r-nixon/

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

CHS Class of 1960

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

The 23d Psalm gets more meaningful: Today’s post is of a serious nature. No jokes, no satire, no politics or OJ. Just reflection of the journey we’re all taking and how that journey has ended sooner for some than for others. I’m talking about a fact of life – death. Whether we are religious, spiritual, agnostic, atheistic, or have beliefs that fit “none of the above,” we are all destined to make the same journey. The first time death slapped me in the face was on a cold winter morning when I was about 14. As I walked to school in the ankle-deep snow of Western Pennsylvania, a neighbor who was shoveling her walk looked up at me and asked, “Sonny, did you hear that Louie died last night?” I was immediately taken into a surreal trance-like state. Louie Benedetto was my best friend. He was a year or two my junior and attended Catholic school. He had not been ill. We’d just played soldier the previous weekend, hiding in the fort we’d build to keep out the enemy, girls, and parents. Louie? Died? The concept would not gel in my mind. But it had happened. He’d had gotten a headache at school and was gone by evening. It might have been a brain tumor or an aneurism or something else. It didn’t matter. My best friend had died.

Fast forward to High School: Eventually the numbness in my heart that came with Louie’s death hardened as scar tissue and I moved on to high school. A few days before graduation several of the senior boys “played hooky.” That was the nomenclature or the 1950s version of today’s Senior Ditch Day. The group went to an unofficial beach along the Monongahela River for a day of picnic, maybe a swig or two of alcohol, and a swim. Mickey Hrvacic did not make it back to shore. His body was eventually brought back and he became the first of our class to perish. The rest of us, about 250 in number, managed to graduate that June 1960.

Graduates full of promise: Our senior class theme was “Bridges to the Moon. Our new, young soon-to-be president promised that we would have a man on the moon before the next decade and we did, nine years later! For our generation, nothing was impossible. Our grandparents took part in the War to end All Wars, our parents had weathered the Great Depression and World War II, our uncles served in Korea and though we didn’t know it at the time, Viet Nam would become our war to fight or protest. We became flower children, attended Woodstock, became entrepreneurs, enjoyed color TV, portable radios, record players then 4-track tapes, 8-track tapes, and compact discs. Both spouses worked, we owned two or more cars, and our homes grew in size as did our families. Our class was also fortunate enough to have a cadre of people who stayed nearby and planned reunions every five years.

The numbers begin to decline: Each reunion one topic of conversation is always discussed – which of our classmates had passed away since our last get together. Some died of diseases, some in auto accidents, some died violently and others peacefully. In addition to Micky Hrvacic the Roll of Honor includes: Mary Rose Harris Milligan, Harry Martin, dates unknown and Juanita McFadden in 1967. Classmates lost in the 1970s included Connie Bindrum Tiffany, Kenny Papson, Lloyd Roberts, and Dan Brysh. The 1980s took Blond Cochran Taylor, Richard Pavlack, Ann Lewis Granados, Sam Colonna, and Margie Stoffa Wagner. The 1990s decade saw the demise of Alan Lancaster, David Mayfield, Dr. Paul Voelkel, Vivian East Carlson, Ron “Rollo” Richnafsky, Diane Campbell Knapp, Gerry Grunsky, and Ray Guffey. Passings in the 2000 decade were the most devastating on our class numbers. 2000 deaths included Barbara Pacinda O’Donnell, Bill Tillery, Edith Maxwell Stout, as well as Barbara Finney Sharbraugh and Ken Laughlin in 2001. Ron Galloway passed away in Utah in 2002. John Heidrick and Dare Mort in 2003, Sandra Briggs, Clarence Harris, Bob Potts in California and David Davis in 2004. In 2005 we lost Don Salvino and Charlie Rossi, and in 2006 the angels called Don Britton, Anna VanHorn Scruggs Cogley, Patty Veres Milas and Ray Foley. Last year we lost Mike Rothbauer, Christine Danko Selan, Sally Gilmore Rosche, Steve Dzubay (in Oregon), Sam Lauderbaugh, and Alex Ross (in Florida). This year class President Joe Ancrile, who was cited in this blog last month passed in May. A little more than a week ago word came that Jeanette D’Emidio Sgro, one who has contributed so much to keeping the class together and meeting regularly lost her battle with cancer. We grieve for her family and for the families of all classmates who are waiting for us on the other side. We apologize to the families if we missed anybody. We salute the keeper of our high school web page has listed the above 47 classmates, nearly 20% of the graduating class who are still with us in spirit. We look forward to meeting the rest of our classmates who are still in their shoddy bodies or classy chassis in two years when we’ll celebrate our half-century reunion.

A little blogging music Maestro... Something special for this special post – the top 100 songs of 1960:

1. Cathy's Clown, Everly Brothers
2. He'll Have To Go, Jim Reeves
3. Theme From "A Summer Place", Percy Faith
4. It's Now Or Never, Elvis Presley
5. Teen Angel, Mark Dinning
6. I'm Sorry, Brenda Lee
7. Running Bear, Johnny Preston
8. Handy Man, Jimmy Jones
9. Stuck On You, Elvis Presley
10. The Twist, Chubby Checker
11. Everybody's Somebody's Fool, Connie Francis
12. Alley-oop, Hollywood Argyles
13. Greenfields, Brothers Four
14. What In The World's Come Over You, Jack Scott
15. El Paso, Marty Robbins
16. Weld One, Bobby Rydell
17. My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own, Connie Francis
18. Sweet Nothin's, Brenda Lee
19. Only The Lonely, Roy Orbison
20. Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini, Brian Hyland
21. Where Or When, Dion and The Belmonts
22. Sixteen Reasons, Connie Stevens
23. Puppy Love, Paul Anka
24. Why, Frankie Avalon
25. Walk, Dont Run, Ventures
26. Save The Last Dance For Me, Drifters
27. Baby (You Got What It Takes), Brook Benton and Dinah Washington
28. Sink The Bismark, Johnny Horton
29. Chain Gang, Sam Cooke
30. Let It Be Me, Everly Brothers
31. Good Timin', Jimmy Jones
32. Beyond The Sea, Bobby Darin
33. Go Jimmy Go, Jimmy Clanton
34. Night, Jackie Wilson
35. Burning Bridges, Jack Scott
36. Because They're Young, Duane Eddy
37. Lonely Blue Boy, Conway Twitty
38. The Big Hurt, Toni Fisher
39. Pretty Blue Eyes, Steve Lawrence
40. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans, Freddie Cannon
41. Paper Roses, Anita Bryant
42. Mr. Custer, Larry Verne
43. I Want To Be Wanted, Brenda Lee
44. Mule Skinner Blues, Fendermen
45. Cradle Of Love, Johnny Preston
46. Please Help Me, I'm Falling, Hank Locklin
47. You've Got What It Takes, Marv Johnson
48. Love You So, Rod Holden
49. Finger Poppin' Time, Hank Ballard and The Midnighters
50. Harbor Lights, Platters
51. Let The Little Girl Dance, Bobby Bland
52. He'll Have To Stay, Jeanne Black
53. Theme From The Apartment, Ferrante and Teicher
54. Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu), Bobby Rydell
55. A Million To One, Jimmy Charles
56. The Village Of St. Bernadette, Andy Williams
57. White Silver Sands, Bill Black's Combo
58. The Old Lamplighter, Browns
59. Devil Or Angel, Bobby Vee
60. Down By The Station, Four Preps
61. Forever, Little Dippers
62. Image Of A Girl, Safaris and The Phantom's Band
63. Kiddio, Brook Benton
64. Mission Bell, Donnie Brooks
65. I Love The Way You Love, Marv Johnson
66. It's Time To Cry, Paul Anka
67. Tell Laura I Love Her, Ray Peterson
68. Mama, Connie Francis
69. Footsteps, Steve Lawrence
70. So Sad, Everly Brothers
71. That's All You Gotta Do, Brenda Lee
72. Walking To New Orleans, Fats Domino
73. Among My Souvenirs, Connie Francis
74. Swingin' School, Bobby Rydell
75. A Rockin' Good Way, Dinah Washington and Brook Benton
76. Stairway To Heaven, Neil Sedaka
77. My Home Town, Paul Anka
78. Georgia On My Mind, Ray Charles
79. Cherry Pie, Skip and Flip
80. Wonderful World, Sam Cooke
81. O Dio Mio, Annette
82. Lady Luck, Lloyd Price
83. Step By Step, Crests
84. Beatnik Fly, Johnny and The Hurricanes
85. Young Emotions, Ricky Nelson
86. Dreamin', Johnny Burnette
87. Mule Bitty Girl, Bobby Rydell
88.Tracy's Theme, Spencer Ross
89. You Talk Too Much, Joe Jones
90. Happy-Go-Lucky Me, Paul Evans
91. When Will I Be Loved, Everly Brothers
92. Let's Think About Livin', Bob Luman
93. Heartaches By The Number, Guy Mitchell
94. In My Little Corner Of The World, Anita Bryant
95. Sandy, Larry Hall
96. Poetry In Motion, Johnny Tillotson
97. Money, Barret Strong
98. Stay, Maurice Williams
99. Lonely Weekends, Charlie Rich
100. Doggin' Around, Jackie Wilson

Dr. Forgot

Read me also at http://vegasnews.squarespace.com/dr-forgot-andrew-r-nixon/

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Of Cars, Computers, and Runners

Are You Happy With Your Car’s Performance?

Edsel, Lexus, and Jaguar vs. PC and Mac: It has been said that if car technology had developed at the same rate that computers have done, today’s car would cost $ 25, get 1,000 miles per gallon, and instead of looking for a parking space, it would fold up and fit in your briefcase. Needless to say this comment irked the nerds at the car companies so they struck back with the other side of the coin. Thanks to reader Dr. Jerry for providing us with the following description of what we could expect of cars if they had developed as did computers:

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash........Twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive - but would run on only five percent of the roads.

6. The oil, water temperature and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single 'This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation' warning light.

7. The airbag system would ask 'Are you sure?' before deploying.

8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously li f ted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

10. You'd have to press the 'Start' button to turn the engine off.

Back to semi serious stuff: Ok, is it my imagination or has the Reprobation party made the flip flop as their official footwear. Let’s see, the O man didn’t have enough experience because he’d been in the Illinois state senate then the U.S. Senate. Enter the darling of the right wing-nuts with experience as a mayor whose city budget is less than Brittney Spears, so experience as a prereq is “off the table.” Next, they steal the Demonuts slogan about “change.” Finally Big Mac who has voted with the “B” word man 90%+ of the time calls himself a maverick. Oh well, the political season is well upon us.

Really scary stuff: The Hail Mary pass lofted on fourth and 21 by Quarterback Cain looks at first blush to have worked. But the O team threw the red flag that requested further review. With the help of the “liberal media,” who I suppose refers to Legal Drug Limbaugh, SchWhining Hannity, and Bully O’Reilly, some facts on the beauty queen are beginning to come to light. The National Enquirer, widely quoted by the Repros during the Edwards scandal, has become less than zero as credible sources now that the NE Edwards Team is in I’ll-ask-ya. So what’s been uncovered thus far – I mean, she hasn’t had that long to learn to lie and cheat although the Rove team is keeping her under the cone of silence while teaching her the finer points. Well, the “jet” she sold on eBay was neither a jet nor was it sold on eBay. Details, details. The “Bridge to Nowhere” which she opposed, she initially supported, took the money, then decided she was against it. The “liberal media” (they must be liberal… they reported it!) is now waiting for the other flip to flop. “Thanks but no thanks” in Alaska means “Take the money and run.” Surely it doesn’t take 5 colleges to learn the difference between a blatant lie and a creative truth, although she WAS a journalism major.

It’s my body and I’ll do what I want to: When the young, enthusiastic energetic hockey Mom first appeared on the ticket pundits predicted that she would “steal” the women voters who had supported Hillary. And she might have except for a few minor factors. Sarah Palin’s ultra conservative stance on women’s rights issues run in contrast to those women who, perish the thought, think they should have dominion over their own bodies, teach their children about the birds and the bees, not get involved in the sex lives of consenting adults, do not believe that everybody should be allowed to carry an armor piercing automatic rifle, and that science should be taught in public schools rather than religion. Sorry, Charlene, but thinking women do not believe that women should be paid less than men or that that the Violence Against Women Act is bunk. The current administration tried their best to turn our democracy into a theocracy. Palin’s pals are hoping to finish the job.

A little blogging music Maestro... “Have I the Right” by the Honeycombs

Dr. Forgot

Read me also at http://vegasnews.squarespace.com/dr-forgot-andrew-r-nixon/

Monday, September 8, 2008

Say What?

A Word by Any Other Name

Part of the enjoyment of writing this blog comes from reader responses. A longtime reader named John who enjoys wordplay as much as I do, sent the piece below. Read and enjoy.

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) How do Polish people polish furniture?

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his company in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

We wonder why immigrants have such difficulty learning English. Most of us have spoken it from infancy to adultery and still do not speak it well. No wonder: There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England nor French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted but if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Shouldne a single slice of cheese be a chee? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick'

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP.'

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car. At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.

And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP! To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP

When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.

When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so........... it is time to shut UP.....!

A little blogging music Maestro... The Ray Charles classic “What’d I Say?”

Dr. Forgot

Read me also at http://vegasnews.squarespace.com/dr-forgot-andrew-r-nixon/

Monday, September 1, 2008

I Love Lucy Gusty


A Tribute to Olde Tyme Television: Today’s post is underwritten by the Republican National Committee. Take a trip with us down memory lane to the 1950s when everything was black and white. Back in the days when Hispanic immigrants were called Latin Lovers and instead of “I Heart Huckabee” the Repubs boasted, “I Like Ike.” Today’s episode talks about another wacky hurricane called Gustav, or Gusty for short. You will soon discover why today’s slogan is “I Love Gusty.”

Introduction of the players: In today’s episode the role of Ricky Ricardo was a tossup between Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, but it will be played by the concession candidate John McCain. The role of Lucy will be played by newcomer Sarah Palin. Cranky landlord Fred Mertz will be played by George W. Bush and Ethyl Mertz will be played by Kay Bailey Hutchison. Guest appearances will be made by Bill Bennett, Mitt Romney, and Idaho toe tapper, Larry Craig.

Scene I – Republican Strategy Session: McCain as Ricky: Lucy, Did you see that Democratic convention? How can we possibly compete with that? They’re going to kill us in the ratings. I think I’ll go down to the Veteran’s Hall and sing a few favorites.

Sara Palin as Lucy: Oh Reeky, you worry too much for no reason. You told me that the economy is in great shape and you know everybody loves your singing. Why, in a couple of weeks nobody will even remember the name Clinton or the speeches they gave. And Uncle Karl can spin the melting of the polar ice caps to make it look like it was all Al Gore’s fault. And that liberal media that keeps reporting an oil crisis...well that’s about as likely as you having seven houses.

Ricky: They’re CONDOS, Lucy! Oooooh Lucy, what are we going to do? Obama’s speech drew 40 million and they expect me to draw 40 – and that is if we can locate Dick in his undisclosed location and bring in all the senators who are convicted felons. At first I thought having the convention in St. Paul was brilliant. You know, because the word “Saint” will appease our right wing-nuts. But I was as wrong about that as “W” was when he appointed Brownie to head FEMA. Oh Lucy. Lucy, Lucy, Lucy. I’m going down to the Sedona house and whistle in the wind.

Lucy: You go ahead, Honey. I’ll stay home in our CONDO and try to help you figure something out.

Ricky exits stage right. There’s a knock at the door. Ethyl enters.

Kay Bailey Hutchison as Ethyl: Hellooooo. Anybody home? Hi Lucy, Fred sent me down to collect the rent on the condo.

Lucy: Oh Ethyl, forget the rent. We have seven other condos we can move to if you get too snippy. Besides, Ricky is worried that the convention will be a bust after that spectacle the Democrats put on.

Ethyl: Wow, that was something. Did you hear Obama? What a speaker! He gets my vote.

Lucy: ETHYL!

Ethyl: Whoops. Uh, I mean, if I was...Uh. I’m sorry Lucy. Your guy is just so boring.

Lucy: Ok, forget about that. We have to figure out a way to do something so the Republican convention doesn’t end up looking like a flea on an elephant’s behind. What can we do.

Ethyl: I’ll call Fred. (shouting) Fred. FRE-E-E-D!

George W. Bush as Fred: (entering to applause from the audience) Hey y’all. Did somebody call me?

Ethyl: Lose the phony Texas accent Fred. Lucy has a problem and we need help. (she explains the dilemma)

Fred: Hmmm. Whenever I need advice I text Uncle Dick. I have his private number right here. (Fred whips out his Blackberry and types into it) “What’s UR 20?” (location)

Dick: “NOYB” (None of your business)

Fred: “911” (I need help)

Dick: “2BZ4U” (Too busy for you)

Fred: “ND 2 86 CNVNTN ASAP” (We need to stop the convention as soon as possible)

Dick: “FTASB?” (Faster than a Speeding bullet?)

Fred: “FTBOMH” (From the bottom of my heart)

Dick: “How Bout HRCN N NO” How about a hurricane in New Orleans?)

Fred: “CN U DU IT” (Can you do that?)

Dick: “CYT” (See you tomorrow)

Fred: Ok, Dick will arrange it. A hurricane will hit New Orleans. We’ll cancel the convention to help the survivors and we’ll be heroes.

Final Scene: Lucy explains the plan to Ricky. He is ecstatic.

Lucy: What should we call the hurricane? It needs a name.

Ricky: Let’s name it after my uncle Gustav. We used to call him “Gusty.” (Curtain falls. Fade to black with music.)

And that, boys and girls wraps up today’s episode of “I Love Gusty.”

A little blogging music Maestro... Little Caesar and the Romans singing “Those Oldies but Goodies.”

Dr. Forgot

Read me also at http://vegasnews.squarespace.com/dr-forgot-andrew-r-nixon/