Saturday, April 29, 2006

President Bush's Weekly Radio Address

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In his weekly radio address President Bush said, "Last weekend, the people of Iraq formed a national unity government. This is an important milestone on the road to democracy in Iraq, and it marks the beginning of a new chapter in America's involvement. ... Iraqi leaders agree that the new government must continue to build up the Iraqi Security Forces to defeat the terrorists and must establish control over militias. They also agree that the new government must rebuild critical infrastructure, strengthen the Iraqi economy, and ensure that all Iraqis benefit as their nation grows in security and prosperity."

Friday, April 28, 2006

It's Almost Time

My wife is due to deliver our second child any day now. In fact, her Doctor has already scheduled a C-Section for next Wednesday, if she doesn't go into labor before then.

Of course, I'll be taking two weeks of vacation, much to the disappointment of my District Manager. The last Store Manager in my group to become a father went back to work the same day his wife went home from the hospital. I made it crystal clear at that time that I would be doing no such thing.

Being that my vacation will be starting in less than a week, and my life will be changing drastically at that time with the addition of a baby daughter to the family, I'm finding that I'm not very motivated to be at work today. The lack of cooperation from my District Manager probably contributes to my lack of motivation, as well.

Am I alone here? Have you ever run into a situation where you were made to feel guilty for taking vacation hours you earned at a time such as the birth of a child? Tell me about it. Submit your comments below, or email me at


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Book Review: The Circle Trilogy by Ted Dekker

I just finished reading The Circle Trilogy by Ted Dekker for the second time. Why have I read it twice? Because it's just that good.

The Circle trilogy consists of the books Black, Red, and White. Actually, I've read the first book of the trilogy three times now.

From the first page of the first book to the last page of the last book, Dekker keeps the action moving. Don't sit down to read The Circle without plenty of time on your hands: it's a hard series to put down.

Imagine existing in two different realities at the same time. When you're asleep in one, you're awake in the other, and you're conscious of each reality in either. But you're the only one who is. To further complicate things, you carry both knowledge snd skills from one reality to the other, which results in a virus being unleashed in this reality -- where you're sitting and reading this right now -- that threatens the extinction of humankind.

No explanation of the story line can do justice to this compelling work of fiction. You have to read it for yourself to appreciate it. It's one of my all-time favorites, and it's sure to be yours.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Earth Day???

Did you know that last Saturday was Earth Day? I didn't, either. Not until about 8:00 Saturday evening. It seems that when I was younger -- in my mid- to late teens, I'd say -- Earth Day was over-hyped. Everywhere you looked was another company exploiting Earth Day for one reason or another. I jus don't remember seeing anything about it all this year, until I turned on some cartoons for my son and Nickelodeon had an image in the bottom right corner that said "THIS IS EARTH DAY."

Just a quick note to say, where is the hype?


Podcast of the Week

I just discovered a new podcast that is a must-listen. It's called Buckeye Drive Time. The pocast consists of three pod safe songs and three podcast promos. It's an upbeat collection of blues, jazz, alternative, rock, and occasionally (which is more than enough for me) country.

I downloaded the full library of podcasts and they're great to listen to while mowing and working in the yard.

You can catch the RSS Feed here. Give it a listen.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

President Bush's Weekly Radio Address

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n his weekly radio address President Bush said, "As Congress returns from its recess, its members have important and consequential work before them. I urge them to act on my initiatives to keep America competitive, to promote alternative sources of energy, reform our immigration system, and continue their support of our troops fighting in the global war on terror."

Monday, April 17, 2006


I have become extremely demotivated at work today. It didn't take much on top of the mayhem that was March to put me over the top.

I ranted several times in March about late hours and long days. For three straight weeks I worked sixty hours a week (ten more than expected) without additional compensation of any kind. That's the curse of being paid salary -- I accept that and I did my duty.

Thursday last week I woke up sick with such intense stomach pains that I couldn't stand up straight. Nevertheless, I arrived at work at 6:00 am and unloaded a semi trailer filled with merchandise. Not feeling any better afterward, I called someone in to provide needed coverage for the day and went home sick at 9:30. I emailed my boss -- the District Manager -- who was on vacation in Florida, to inform him of the situation.

The next day I received the following reply by email:

We should discuss this when I return.

He officially returned to work today and I expected him to call me on it. He never did. Shortly before leaving for the day today, I reviewed payroll for last week. I was enraged to discover that I was being hit for half a sick day for Thursday. Without informing me, this District Manager of mine modified my payroll for the week. Furthermore, the change that he made was against company policy, which specifically states that salaried employees are to be paid in full day increments regardless of whether they work a full day or not.

I lost a world of respect for this District Manager today. Not only was he more than happy to take an extra thirty hours from when he needed it, depriving me of precious time with my family, but he also robbed me of benefit hours that I should not rightly be hit for -- and he did the latter without my knowledge.

But wait, there's more.

While he was on vacation, I also emailed him to notify him that my wife has been scheduled for C-Section on May 3, and that I would be taking two weeks vacation at that time. I've discussed with him on several occasions that I would be taking two weeks vacation when my child is born, so this should have come as no surprise to him.

Today I received the following reply via email:

Will you be returning on the 17th or 18th? YOU must ensure we have a plan to keep the store progressing before you leave.

If I remember correctly, the only worthwhile thing Bill Clinton did as President was sign the Family Medical Leave Act, which guarantees my right to take such time for the birth of a child.

I'm appalled beyond measure! I can't even begin to put it into words. With the two-hour (each way) commute, gasoline approaching $3.00 a gallon, almost no time with my son after working all day, and the strenuous task of running a successful, highly profitable store amidst all the stress, this is the straw that broke the camel's back (a favorite cliche of my mother's). There couldn't be a better time to find employment closer to home. Especially with a new baby on the way. I've already begun aggressively searching.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

President Bush's Weekly Radio Address

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In his weekly radio address President Bush said, "Our economy prospers when Americans like you make the decisions on how to spend, save, and invest your money. So the tax relief we passed cut taxes for everyone who pays income taxes. ... By keeping taxes low and adopting sound policies that help our workers to compete and our businesses to grow and expand, we will keep the economy moving forward and extend prosperity and hope in our country."

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Tax Day

Today is April 15, the traditional deadline for Americans to file their income tax returns. It's also Saturday, which has somehow earned us an extra two days to file.

Each year at this time the tax records of many elected officials are released. Some shocking figures were reported by Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife.

Total income reported: $8.8 million.
Charitable Donations: $6.4 million.
Taxes Paid: $2.6 million.
Refund Due: $1.9 million.

While that income is from several sources, and it's not my place to judge, I'll just say this: it sure does make public service an appealing venture.


Friday, April 14, 2006

And Justice For All

Prosecutors seeking Zacarias Moussaoui's execution introduced gruesome evidence of the horrors of terrorism Tuesday showing pictures of burned and blackened bodies from the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the Pentagon. ... "Burn all Pentagon next time," a defiant Moussaoui shouted as he was led out of the courtroom for a lunch break.
Why are we even wasting money on a trial for this beast? Justice can only be served in one way, and that's for Moussaoui to pay the dearest price of all.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Where Your Gas Dollar Goes

If you're still holding on to hopes that gas prices will go back down some day, give it up. Not only will the two dollar threshold never be crossed again, three dollars is just around the corner and will likely be surpassed before summer.

You've likely heard all the stories of the contributing factors to high fuel prices: the Iraq war; instability in the Middle East; hydrogen leaks; peak travel seasons; hurricanes Rita and Katrina -- you name it, they've used it.

But have you heard this excuse? According to CBS News, the CEO of ExxonMobil makes some $13,700 per hour. They don't explain how they come to that figure, but one could safely assume that as a CEO, he's considered to be a full-time employee. So let's just call it a forty hour work week. That's $548,000 per week, $2,374,667 per month, or $28,496,000 per year. If all those numbers complicate things for you, here it is in plain English: twenty-eight and a half million dollars per year.

I last filled my gas tank for $2.659 a gallon. To fill my little thirteen gallon tank from empty would cost me almost $35. How many tanks of gas could the CEO of ExxonMobil put in my car per year? 824,370, or 10,716,810 gallons. Again in plain English: that's almost eleven million gallons of gasoline.

I think it's pretty clear what's driving the high cost of gasoline.


Saturday, April 8, 2006

President Bush's Weekly Radio Address

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In his weekly radio address President Bush said, "To keep the promise of America, we must remain a welcoming society and also enforce the laws that make our freedom possible. As we do, our Nation will draw strength from the diversity of its citizens and unity from their desire to assimilate and become one people. By working together, we can fix our immigration system in a way that protects our country, upholds our laws, and makes our Nation proud."

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Splish Splash

April showers may bring May flowers, but they sometimes bring something so much more fun, and without even having to wait.

After a night and day full of storms, my son and I donned our boots and headed out to do something every father should do with his son every chance he gets: puddle stomping! We made our way around the neighborhood two full times before packing it up and going in, my son soaked to his waist and me to my knees.

Every boy loves splashing in puddles. It's a shame we so often tell our boys that they can't be boys by telling them not to splash in puddles, when they can help us to be boys again by taking us out into the streets for a splash or two.

We had a great time today, my son and I, and it gives me a reason to look forward to the next rain instead of dreading it. When the rain stops falling, you can bet my son and I will be out kicking it right back up.


Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Podcast of the Week

I've been a bit lax the past couple of weeks in posting my Podcast of the Week. It's been quite hectic on both the work and homefront.

This week, I recommend CNET's Buzz Out Loud (RSS), a daily (M-F) podcast covering all things tech, and more. A panel of three in an informal discussion, though still a structured format, makes Buzz Out Loud an easy daily listen.


Sunday, April 2, 2006

Indiana Has Sprung

The state of Indiana has sprung forward for the first time, keeping pace with the rest of the Eastern time zone. As a result of the efforts of Indiana's first Republican Governor in several years, the entire state of Indiana now observes Daylight Saving Time, like most of the world. I'm originally from Cincinnati, so it was nothing new to me, but I can only imagine the thousands of people who will be late to work today or Monday with the time change taking the blame.

I'm a full supporter of Daylight Saving Time. In fact, I'm such a staunch supporter that I believe -- having just sprung forward -- we should never again fall back. Let's do away with the silliness of switching our clocks back and forth twice a year for no real valid reason and just leave them set ahead one hour, reaping the benefits of that extra hour of daylight year round.


President Bush's Weekly Radio Address

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In his weekly radio address President Bush said, "Since 2001, the tax relief we delivered has left $880 billion in the hands of American workers, and small businesses, and families like yours, and you used that money to help produce more than four years of uninterrupted economic growth. Last year, our economy grew at a healthy 3.5 percent, faster than any other major industrialized nation."

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