Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ginger Bits

Ok, first let me state that I love Starbucks. Can't get enough, addicted, spend way too much money there all that stuff.

But just let me say, the Ginger Bits they put on some of the lattes and also on the Holiday Gingerbread loaf, are awful. Literally, terrible. DO NOT eat them. They should put a warning on these things. They might just be the worst things I've ever tasted. Woof.

You've been warned.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Christmas Music

I'm one of those annoying people that likes to start listening to Christmas music as early as possible. What can I say? All music is good, but there is something nostalgic about those holiday tunes.

I pride myself on the diversity of my collection which spans stuff from Glenn Miller all the way to The Barenaked Ladies. There are so many classics like Home for the Holidays from Perry Como, It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year from Andy Williams, and White Christmas from Bing Crosby. These joyful gems represent some of the best of Americana in celebrating the holiday season.

I'm very partial to a couple of albums that I consider to be some of the best Christmas music ever recorded. The first of which is something I grew up listening to, Kenny Rogers' Christmas which blends Mr. Rogers' country style with some great spiritually uplifting hyms These come alongside other more secular classics some with a strong gospel influence. After decorating your tree with this album playing in the background you can't help but be thrown head first into the spirit of Christmas.

The second album that I find myself listening to over and over during the months of November and December is The Carpenters Christmas Portrait. Karen Carpenters' textured alto singing is very pleasing to listen to, and the arrangements are wonderful reflections of many different eras and genres of music. I really can't recommend this album enough, everyone can find something to like on this album. I've actually found that over the years, many of the renditions of the songs on this album have become my "standard" to which others are judged. It's interesting how that happens over time.

If you are a Christmas music fan, or a fan of music in general, check these two out. You won't be dissapointed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ctrl-Alt-Del for Automobile Industry. All is not lost.

As of late the big new buzz word in Washington, on TV, throughout the web, and around water coolers is "bailout." I'm hear to tell you, you are going to have to get used to it. Why? Liberal social entitlement spending agendas are exactly that - a bailout. Arguably, we have just taken the biggest step towards socialism in over 230 years of our nations history, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 was passed - a bailout. And lastly, we have three of our countries largest corporations, Ford, GM, and Chrysler asking for US$ 25 Billion in "relief" - a bailout.

Loans are one thing, but bailouts of this kind are pretty much wrong any way you cut it. It is a especially wrong to award one to an industry that has ignored all the signs in the market. It's not that there was an attrition in demand. But if you claim to be a supply-sider... Well, no better example than the energy industry right? Government that favorably rewards any segment of industry over another should not be tolerated. No one thinks about the all the jobs that Americans have working for foreign auto makers in the states neighboring Michigan, Ohio and the like. No one thinks about the unfair advantage these corporations are going to receive, while other competitors who, arguably, are doing just as poorly, may have to layoff workers due to their decreasing market share.

This is not to say that the alternative, a chapter 11 or worse yet, a chapter 7 bankruptcy will be any easier to swallow. A lot of experts agree that a pre-packaged chapter 11 that would look favorably on any of the big three is a long shot. The biggest challenge there will be the unions, and the support they will receive. One should not forget where that support will come from. The very people that fostered this mess will most likely block any attempt of the big three to break union contracts. Certain congressmen have long had the ear of the innocent auto worker unions, whose hands are clearly inculpable in all their doing. At least one of their brethren, Representative John Dingell of Michigan, will no longer be chairing the House Energy and Commerce Committee. To that, we can all say good riddance.

None-the-less, there is no miracle awaiting Detroit's auto makers. It is pretty easy to look at the industry playing field and point at the lack of hybrid technology from American manufacturers, but even Toyota's sales are down 30% this past September. Everyone is hurting. Fear and doubt are the root cause of this mess.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Slippery Slope toward Socialism

Tomorrow the American public will begin a new journey... For some the journey will be a seemingly blissful and easy one, for others the journey will be a battle for the very ideals that founded this country and one resisting a path toward socialism.

Socialism comes in many camouflaged forms but this election has presented one that has been undeniably obvious. Americans have made this choice knowing all the facts. They have been presented with the senatorial records of the candidates. They have been presented with the tax plans. They have been presented with the public service records. They have chosen.

It is not often socialism is forced on it's constituents. Only in the case of an extremely powerful nation invading and annexing neighboring countries, are a people given no choice at all except maybe the choice to fight to the death.

The American people have chosen socialism and tomorrow the slope will steepen and will be lined with the grease from the pork barrel spending. Hold on it's gonna be a wild ride.