Friday, November 29, 2013

Do You Think I'm Saxy?

I've been toying with the idea of taking up a wind instrument again. I played a good deal when I was younger on my fathers cornet but I never learned to play it with proficiency. I came across a tenor sax and my friends place that he never followed through on while in band. He said it felt more like work than fun because of the strict band mentality, something he was happy to shake off when he graduated. I came across it looking through various boxes in his attic and it started me thinking of that coronet again. Not for learning the cornet but learning to play the sax because the sax can talk to you if you know how to listen to it.It speaks through emotions created with sound. It reminded me of when I used to listen to Tom Scott with my friends that were into Jazz when I was younger. One way to get into learning to play is to find some cheap saxophones. With a cheap one I can mess around with it while learning and work up to a really good model when my skills reach the point of making a serious investment into a quality instrument! Kenny G would probably have an easy time with an inexpensive horn but the Tenor sax isn't what I'm leaning towards. I want to learn to play the Alto sax, not the straight tenor like Kenny G(sound is too high for me) and not a Baritone sax(sound is too heavy for me), like many of the best Jazz musicians and many of the recent and not so recent pop players like Timmy Cappello, who played for Tina Turner, as well.

Why Are They Changing My Signs at Work?

I went to work the other day and found that I no longer knew how to get out of the building. Due to the fact that we do employ a number of 'other language' people we needed to sign the building for them to know how and where to go to leave the building. What? They have had no problem finding the doors before this and nobody ever complained about it because they knew enter signs and exit signs looked like and they understood the wording but someone got a hold of a little used county ordinance that required us to put up new signing. I have no problem with bilingual signs anywhere. If it gets everybody to observe the same rules I'm all for it. Really! My issue is why they took down the required English signs to do it. Over 95% of the people who tour our facility are English speaking and would need to know where to go if suddenly there was smoke or fire present. Right? Of course I'm right. I'm thinking that these English speaking administrators should maybe become English reading administrators. The ordinance that they posted said they were required to post 'bi-lingual' emergency signing in the building. When I get my paycheck this week I think I better cash it right away! lol

Putting Ideas Together for Kitchen Renovation

Most of the emphasis that's been going on for the kitchen make-over has been either flooring or counter tops. The flooring has taken a turn from wood to either a high-end vinyl product or a non slip ceramic tile. The style will be Tuscan regardless of the material. The counter tops I want to be granite for appearance and especially durability. Marble is out due to potential stain issues from spills. What I want to do while the counter are topless is to replace the bottom slides in the drawers with drawer glides on the sides as they're far more reliable than anything else to use. Besides, everything will be exposed and these drawer glides will be a snap to install. It doesn't get much easier, unless the new counters come in under projected time so I'll need to devote a day or two for just this and if I finish early I'm sure my wife will have other things on her Honey Do list! Did I mention that I need to install a new dishwasher yet? Something else for the list, when finances permit.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Her Christmas Wishlist

I had one item I saw on a television advertisement that caught my attention. Why did it do that? It's because it stopped my wife from completing her sentence till the advert was over. I never knew she would be the type of gal that went in for charm bracelets but boy was I wrong. I asked other women at work about them and they gave me an education on why they're desired and how pretty they are and how they like to compare bracelets and charms with other women and so forth. Okay, I guess I kind of get it. I'm a huge fan of watches and she likes bracelets. The charm bracelet happened to be called a Pandora, as well as the store itself was the commercial sponsor, in case I happen to live near a city where they're located, otherwise I could obtain one with whatever charms I/she wanted online. Evidently you can get charms from cities around the world as depicted with famous well know things that when you see them you know where they're from, like the Eiffel Tower in Paris(which I've never been to). I guess this will be the show stopper for her Christmas this year. Hopefully they'll still have enough to go around.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Social Networks and Networking Portals

Sometimes menial, sometimes meaningful, sometimes meaningless! This is how I would sum up social networking sites like Twitter, Tweetup, etc. There are so many venues to chose from for this human outlet and the number is growing daily. First off, don't get the idea that I am bashing these sites, I am not! I, as a matter of fact, think they have a useful purpose in todays busy society where direct human interaction can be next to impossible!

Digg, Stumble Upon, Delicious, Google, Yahoo, Technorati, Twitter, Tweetup, on and on and on!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Poison Proofing Garage Cabinets

I have a new problem in the house that I never had prior to now, a 9 year old nephew! No, the nephew isn't the issue but rather a cause for concern because he's here. I do all my own lawn work which also includes fertilizers and herbicides(poisons)! I keep these chemicals in a cabinet in the garage along with measuring cups and all my relevant paperwork on mixtures of these chemicals! Of course, he's like I was at age 9, he has to get into and handle everything! My yard cabinet was not going to be one of the 'hands on' fixtures he was going to experience. I hadn't even given it an extra thought till I saw him reaching into the cabinet one day and that was enough. I searched the web for some kind of non-locking fastener that he wouldn't be able to get to, let alone see. I found some fasteners on the Reids website that were perfect for the top of this cabinet that I could adjust so he couldn't easily reach or trip open on his own. I was able to mount 4 pull action clamps on the top of the cabinet(2 per door) and adjust for good tension and I also removed the handles from the front. Aside from putting a padlock on the cabinet I think it's pretty protected from accidental access now.

Carrie In The Coffee House! A Must See!

The Company BBQ Redux

I wrote about our company BBQ last month and was still trying to figure out why I decided to help out. Someday I may realize why but that's another story. Just yesterday I got some "helpful and friendly" feedback from someone who was being 'helpful', not. What I got was some criticism on the equipment that was used and how it pertained to speakers, people not equipment, that didn't know how a mic works and what you should not do with a mic,like dropping it or 'wet' talking while drinking beer! Enough said on that point! The bottom line was that we had to replace one of the good mics because of behavior like this and also because I didn't obtain the best mic spit screen I could get but rather an okay mic windscreen. I don't know if I'll be able to get the dent out of the mic head, not that it matters that much because it still smells like a brewery! I'm hoping I don't have the need to post any further developments on this topic and yes, I did procure a new mic and a quality mic windscreen that musicians use(they know abuse). Now if I can procure decent users of this equipment I'll be doing great!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pledge of Allegiance vs. Freedom of Speech?

I was just reading a story my wife forwarded to me regarding a teacher at the Explorer School in Spring Hill, Florida, that 'laid hands' on a student for not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in her class. According to the report that was published in Hernando Today by Matt Reinig, "Teacher Anne Daigle-McDonald grabbed the student's wrist and directed him to do the pledge on Sept. 11, according to the investigation.". The student, who is Jehovah's Witness and prohibited by the religion from worshiping objects, refused on religious grounds, the investigation found.

Other children in the class corroborated the students allegations regarding the incident as it happened. Ms. Daigle-McDonald stated, in her defense of the allegations when questioned about them, "she thought the religion applied only to holidays, but said she did not attempt to contact the student's parents for clarification" and "she did not think it was good practice to regularly place hands on students, and that she feels strongly as a citizen of the United States that one should show respect to the flag."

The teacher was removed from student contact, and placed on alternative assignment on Sept. 12, according to the article.

I believe the Constitution has a very profound reason for being relevant in this country but many seem to think in simple minded terms about the document and what meaning it really has for Americans. It's not a piece of paper that we either salute, or hold our hand over our heart for, it's a life lesson in progress that we have turned backwards in out haste to prove what good citizens we can be by lashing out at anyone who "breaks a rule"! The Constitution is a guide book, and a rule book. It was written as a guide to building a fair and impartial government where all people has a say and are free to express themselves without fear of retribution from their government. The rule book aspect is in place to make sure people don't get 'run over' by zealous pundits or power grabbers that want to control people. Some people haven't read and understood the document, they've just looked at the Cliff Notes for it!

The Constitution of the United States of America allows, and protects, anyone who wants to call the President an asshole, who wants to wear the flag on their pants or even make a pair of pants out of the flag, who wants to burn our flag, and even anyone who does not want to be involved in the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance! The founding fathers knew that this was going to be a great nation one day and didn't want the harsh nature of an oppressive government to keep it's citizens crushed by it, so they stated their freedoms that they knew they needed to clarify and specify, as best they could for the ages. Some have outgrown their need and original purpose and others are just as relevant today as they were then. The Freedom of Speech also means the freedom NOT to speak as well. All good citizens of this nation need to make sure that if a child chooses not to recite the pledge, that most schools no longer do anymore, it's their protected right and we need to make sure they can exercise that right so that these rights are never removed from us! After 911, we lost too many Rights and we gave them away with a cheer! What a mistake that was!

Un-American? No, I don't think it is. The un-American thing to do would be to suppress his right to decline a pledge that is against her beliefs. Isn't that what America was all about from the beginning? Freedom from an oppressive, single-minded, system? Some of the comments people put make me wince at what some believe a real American should do. I understand that military people would be quite put out by this 'disrespect' of the flag because they were, and are, expected to lay down their lives for this country which is represented by our flag. In the same token, what they're laying down their lives really for is to protect the rights of people who also wish to decline tradition, also known as the American way of life!

What is the Pledge of Allegiance and who started it? That's easy. It was written by a Socialist, that's right a SOCIALIST, in August 1892, who also happened to be a Baptist minister(see here). The Pledge was also part of a promotion from a magazine company to "sell flags to schools and magazines to students". Doesn't sound too Patriotic so far, more Capitalistic if anything! "The Pledge was supposed to be quick and to the point. Bellamy designed it to be recited in 15 seconds. As a Socialist, he had initially also considered using the words equality and fraternity but decided against it – knowing that the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and African Americans. Liberty and justice for all? Not hardly from these people, unless you were White and male! "The United States Congress officially recognized the Pledge for the first time, in the following form, on June 22, 1942". Looks like the war made people think about who their neighbors may be and needed a way to weed them out. Guess what? A real traitor or spy would be happy to recite the pledge just to blend in. This was strictly for the masses to police themselves for 'suspects that may be un-American in nature'!

Who is right and who is wrong, under the laws of our great nation? "In 1940 the Supreme Court, in Minersville School District v. Gobitis, ruled that students in public schools, including the respondents in that case, Jehovah's Witnesses who considered the flag salute to be idolatry, could be compelled to swear the Pledge. A rash of mob violence and intimidation against Jehovah's Witnesses followed the ruling. In 1943 the Supreme Court reversed its decision, ruling in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette that public school students are not required to say the Pledge, concluding that "compulsory unification of opinion" violates the First Amendment. In a later case, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals held that students are also not required to stand for the Pledge.

Did this teacher act as a law abiding American citizen by trying to force a small child into doing something against his religion to show respect for the American flag? No, not at all. In fact she violated laws that were set in place to protect Americans that have restrictions put upon them for various reasons. Were her intentions good? No, again, it was not her place to make such an 'on the spot' ruling without knowing the rules regarding the act in progress.

In conclusion, it's not how you talk to a piece of cloth that makes you a good and patriotic citizen of this great land but rather how you behave as one of it's citizens and how you respect and uphold the laws of the land that determine you're status as a 'good' American! Condemnation by opinion is not how this nation should be run and that's why we have our freedoms on paper and justices to enforce their meanings!

Article sources: Hernando Today reported by Matt Reinig and Wikipedia for Pledge of Allegiance history data. Thank you both!