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Thursday, April 30, 2009

S.F.R.P

Swine Flu Recovery Plan

Breaking News!

In an effort to promote the recovery of the World Economy, the Federal Government with cooperation from the BIG 8 and the United Nations, have endorsed the Swine Flu Pandemic!

What better way to stimulate the economy than produce demand for a particular set of products!

And of course the media is more than willing to spin this story because it increases viewer populations, which opens up more marketing demographics, which increases revenue and promotes consumer spending!

Think, vaccines, medical tests, deliver companies, cleaning products, grocery and pharmacy stores!

And this goes way beyond the run up of stocks we have seen lately in medical and pharmaceutical companies!

Major corporations are now planning pandemic preparedness programs. These enable telecommuting, which adds to communication vendor revenue; and of course you need all the IT equipment to go along with it, so this adds to IT vendor revenue!

All without spending significant tax payers dollars!

So, what other stimulus packages can we expect in the near future?

New Real Estate Markets and Investment opportunities! Global warming!
Higher temperatures and harmful radiation.

This also stimulates rising ocean levels. Yes we will loose valuable current ocean front but think of the possibilities!

New ocean front opportunities!
New Vacation spots!
New high rise buildings!....

This is huge!

Yes, devastating, yet strangely stimulating all at the same time!

Makes one wonder what is next....?

Read more...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What once was old...

Is new and young again...

The old vet who sent this franchise to the second round is a Russian pioneer, whose courage to defect made it possible for Ovie and Viktor Kozlov and Alexander Semin and Simeon Varlamov to eventually play in the NHL (on a team in the nation's capital with more Russian players than any NHL team, no less).

Outshot 14-11 the first 40 minutes, the Caps put 13 shots on goal the final 20 minutes. Eleven of those came from this Russian Five: Semin (five shots), Ovechkin (three), Fedorov (two, his only two of the game) and Kozlov (one), Varlamov (.952 save percentage, and 1.17/game).

Here's to the new Russian Five!
Here's to the CAPS!
Here's one more for us good old guys!

Read more...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Round 2 !


YES !

Read more...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Achoo

The swine and bird flu index has taken flight.


Notable notes:

GILD holds the patent rights to the swine flu vaccine just release by the US Gov't.

QDEL sells flu tests to tell you and doctors if you are sick or not. (with the flu)

NVAX is the quickest manufacturer of the vaccine.

BCRX develops vaccines.



It's too soon to tell if this is a big pandemic or not but the stock market does not care.
Hype sells!
Invest at you're own risk.

Read more...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Game Plan

OK, I already know the Redskins 2009 game plan.

Stifle the opponents’ offensive unit, try to create some big plays on special teams, and give our offense a nice short field.

The Redskins 2009 draft supports this. It does not support the Offensive unit.

If our coach was George Allen or Vince Lombardi, then I’d say this fits perfectly, and we can look to lots of 3-0 victories.

We have Coach Zorn, not that he is bad, but his style is more west coast. And the Redskins have done absolutely nothing to help his offense during the draft. No offensive linemen to help protect the QB or enable the receivers to completely run their routes, or give Portis and the other RB’s more lanes, more options to gain some yardage.

First of all, I don’t think the skins totally blew it. They did get an outstanding DE with Orakpo. Unfortunately, both he and Michael Oher (OT) were on the board and both can and will make an immediate impact. I just wanted to see at least one OL prospect drafted.

So, let’s look at what they did and what they could have done.



















3rd round. Before their pick, Kevin Barnes (CB), 4 out of 5 picks were OL. And after him, 5 out of 7 were WR. No more OL were drafted in the 3rd round after the Redskins Pick. Maybe the only worthwhile OL to draft that high were already gone. If so, maybe they should have looked to move up a few spots? But they have so few picks that they cannot do this effectively.
Kevin Barnes seems to fit the mold of aggressive, hit them hard DB’s. So I am willing to give this pick a chance. I just wonder if he is big enough to hold up in the NFL at this position playing the way he does.

The 5th round is where I have some questions.
Redskins pick… Cody Glenn (LB) - Tagged as a good athletic special teams player who is aggressive and can make the tackles. OK, so I see the reasons why they picked him, even though he is small for a LB.

But there were a slew of other good developmental prospects for the OL at this point in the draft.

How much you want to bet that at least a few of these guys will be quality linemen that the Redskins will covet in a few years and trade away a couple high round picks to get.

Cody Glenn
Xavier Fulton
Garret Reynolds
Fenuki, Tupou
Jamon Meredith
Duke Robinson
Herman Johnson
George Bussey

6th Round – I admit, I really do not see anybody who would be able to positively help the redskins. Maybe they see something in this guy that I don’t.

7th Round – I understand that Eddie Williams fits the H-back role well. But the Skins have Sellers, so again, maybe the skins know something I don’t.

And for their last pick, Marko Mitchell… I actually think he was a good choice with lots of potential that they don’t have to pay a lot to find out.

So, like I said, I don’t think they totally blew it. But I just think they could have done better in the middle rounds; especially the 5th!

This 2009 Redskins draft strategy seems to bring two of my favorite quotes to mind…

“I hate it when I am right”…
And
“I hope they proof me wrong”!

Read more...

Offense gets you to the playoffs...

Defense wins championships.

Unfortunately the Redskins need help in both areas.

Too bad one can't draft new owners and GM's in the Draft ;-)

After being totally stupid about how to treat your starting QB and flirting with sending every available pick you have to draft the latest eye candy, the Redskins ended up staying put and drafting one of the top players on their "We Need Help Here" charts.
















Actually both Orakpo (DE) and Oher (OT) were still on the board. I really was not expecting this and I bet neither were the Skins. I think they spent all of 20 seconds before turning in their pick. With Orakpo available and perhaps the best pass rusher out there, this was an easy pick.

What would have been interesting would have been to see what they would have done with Orakpo off the board. I would have picked Oher, but who knows what the skins would have done.

Hopefully they will at least pick up some OL with what few remaining picks they have today!

Read more...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Hype - for better or for worse...

This week we saw a lot happen in the media and news which generated... for better or for worse... "hype".

Here is one example...

GAY MARRIAGE !
At least she tried to answer the Question...















Carrie Prejean's is a Real Person...
Well, perhaps most of her...
OK, well some, at least...
Oh never mind...


Her answer to Perez Hilton's question was...
honestly tolerant...
honestly badly worded...
honestly straight...

Bravo to her for being so honest!

Too bad others wanted a Politically Correct (PC) non thinking answer...

Perez's question was "Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not?"

His example of a PC answer would have started off as follows... (and I quote)
As a future Miss USA, it is my job not to be a politician but to be someone who represents and inspires the women and the troops...

To do what? Exactly...

Yeah, Yeah, we all know that they are not up there to be politicians, but why even bother to ask them what they think if you aren't going to want to hear their opinion?


Perhaps this would have been a better answer...
Well.... That is an important issue that people should address. And it is a difficult and controversial subject...
But I do want to say that I do love all animals.
Especially my dog Muffy.
And global warming is important too...
And.... OH! Yes! I pray for world peace...


It seems Perez Hilton would have preferred her to sell her soul and integrity for the crown!

But, Congratulations to the winner! Miss North Carolina!

Read more...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bzzzzap!


OK kids, step right up and heat your dinners, snacks, and leftovers...
The new microwave has arrived!

Amazing how nobody but us old folks know how to cook, or re-heat,anything on a stove with pots and pans.

Be sure to save some popcorn for me...

Read more...

It's the End of the EARTH DAY !

Original Posting here...







Read more...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In honor of Earth Day...








Claims to be wary of...

I think we all can do little stuff to help us save.
Both money and the environment.
I think we all can do little stuff to help enrich our lives and those around us.
And, I think we have to all be a little more aware of "truth in advertising"

I found a couple links on the web which talk about this.

The first one is from MSN which they give examples of companies and products which are, perhaps, well meaning but don't quite go far enough.
Corporate sponsorships which are all about image, money and if one stops to think about just strange relationships.
And of course a couple products and companies which are more fraudulent than anything else.

Green Claims

The second is a cool little site referenced in the article which I think has a lot of potential for getting the work out on labels, advertising campaigns, and various "green" products.

Greenwashing

Happy Earth Day to everyone and here's to helping make things at least a little better for all of us.

Read more...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Picture Perfect

I received the new entertainment amplifier/receiver Monday.
Hooked everything up...
and the Caps looked GREAT !





















Correlation?
I hope not.
I can't afford to buy a new AV device for every playoff game... ;-)

GO CAPS !!!

Read more...

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Big One...

Hundredth!

OK, so this is my 100th post and I was at a total loss as to what to do.

I felt that I should do something big and wonderful and profound and funny and memorable and … I couldn’t think of a single thing.

So I kept my eyes and ears open for inspiration, and strangely noticed a theme evolve…A weird theme…So, maybe I will write about that… Sort of…

Maybe it’s the weather here…
Very Grey-Very Windy-Very Rainy, and Generally Very Gloomy and Yucky…

Maybe it’s all the news about Columbine. Today is the 10 year anniversary of that tragic event…

Maybe it is when I go to look up famous birthdays for today, last but not least is Adolf Hitler…

Maybe when I go to look up how many days my blog has been up and running, I not only get 65 days, but alternative time units of 5,616,000 seconds, 93,600 minutes, 1560 hours, and 9 weeks (rounded down). Which make me wonder about how old I am, which gives me stuff like 17,297 days, 1,494,460,800 seconds, 24,907,680 minutes, 415,128 hours, 2471 weeks – Which only makes me feel even older…

Maybe even the talk around the office is, at times, about people dying and cemeteries and funerals…

OK, now how does an IT integration shop end up talking about stuff like this?
If you really want to know, keep reading…

Part of my IT integration facility incorporates a warehouse that we have been reconfiguring lately. Part of that is making sure all areas are properly labeled and identified for inventory purposes. Now occasionally we get thousands of items all in one shipment and of course get over whelmed with the volume. As a result, we temporarily, put all these pallets of equipment lined up neatly on the floor down one of our wide rows. Which is fine, it gets it out of the way of all the other activity going on and we actually have several “floor” areas where we can and do store equipment.

Here’s the problem… None of these “floor” locations exists in the inventory database. Now one of my guys who has been doing this longer than anybody, and knows the “inventory” probably better than anybody and can - if you ask him – where are the 170 widgets that program XYZ has for their “whatyamacallits”; promptly say why they are right over here down this isle on this pallet on the floor. It’s all up in his head.

Which prompts us to say stuff like when you retire, or if you ever get hit by a bus, or if we get a bunch of temps in here to help during crunch time, nobody is going to know where stuff is! We need to get every location, even the temporary ones, labeled and in the database. So anybody would be able to find these widgets.

Now all this talk about information up in said persons head reminded someone else on my team of what happened at their church a few years back…

Trust me – this too deals with inventory…

Seems their church has been around in the area for well over 100 years, and part of the church property is a rather large and significant Cemetery.

Much of the history of this church deals with serving a small but tightly knit community were everyone knew everybody else. Also, through nobody’s fault, much – if not everything – that went on in that small closely knit church community was known by a select few and paper record keeping was often sketchy at best.
So, back many years ago, folks had family burial plots or locations and most folks knew who was who and who went where when anybody died.
Trouble is, as time went on, the community not only grew larger but also more mobile and transient and over time the keepers of the church either moved, got older or passed away. And as a result, so did all their wonderful knowledge of who was buried where.

Now at some point in time, there was a family, who moved into the area a number of years ago and became members of the church. And when the Husband/Father of this family passed away, they paid for and arranged a funeral for him in the church’s cemetery. It also so happens that they did not have a lot of money for a large family plot, so they “economized” by purchasing a site where they could arrange to “dig down” so future members of the family could be buried together, albeit on top.

So, fast forward a number of years when the Wife/Mother died and the daughter is going through making funeral/burial arrangements. When she talks with the man who is in charge of cemetery plots about digging the grave, and also happens to be like 80 or 90 years old himself, says he says he does not remember anybody by that name being buried there. And of course has no idea where the father is buried.

Now the daughter, who has not been there in many years says that she knows where the marker is and proceeds to walk out into the cemetery to find the marker.

Long story short, she could not find the marker. They had only a couple days before the funeral was scheduled and all family and friends were scheduled to arrive and no place to put her mother after the service. Finally the pastor intervenes and says she will have a plot and the funeral will go as scheduled and she will be properly buried, just not with her husband as planned. And they give her a plot.

As it turns out, this family was not alone and there were many plots which had been “lost” over the years.

This prompted the church to go to great lengths to “find” and identify as many as possible. We were told that many congregation members assisted in this none too pleasant endeavor and that eventually they did find most if not all plots, members in the cemetery; including the previously mentioned Husband/father.

It seems that over the years as the cemetery would need more land and therefore expand (clear more land) for more plots. When the daughter went looking for the marker, she went by memory that was several years old and relied on landmarks and features such as trees and fences to guide her. Trouble is the land had been cleared and she ended up walking too far and was looking in the wrong location.

So, where am I going with all this? I have no idea…
But all this talk and theme abou dying, funerals and such put me, and others on my team, in a downer of a mood.

So we started talking about, and thinking about, other stuff like; good movies, good parties, and the good things that happened over the weekend.

And this got me thinking about…
The other names on the birthday list for today… There are some good people who were born today too!

Strange quirky movies about life and funerals – and the celebration of both (look up Harold and Maude)….

Even the heartwarming stories of some of the columbine survivors I found out on the web…

And the realization that life is good and that it’s all the other stuff that can, and often does, get in the way.

And, that I have a lot of things in my life which are good; like a wonderful and beautiful wife, family and kids, good health, even a decent house and job.

So, keep an inventory of what is good and important in your life, even write it down so you and others can find it if need be, and above all - enjoy it.

Read more...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sometimes I just don’t follow my own advice…

OK, Time for my mid month stock review…

Once again, my bench is outperforming my starting line-up.






















Though I am not complaining because it has, in general, been a really good month so far. Realize that these returns are actually for only 2 1/2 weeks.

The stock market overall is up with several consecutive weeks of gains. Of course this generates all the buzz about we’ve reached the bottom of the “recession” and it’s time to think about getting back in.

Well, I still think that the profit in the market is in the volatility and I am skeptical of all the buzz. Why, because, unemployment is still high AND rising, foreclosures are still happening, people (those still working) are still saving vs spending, and retail is still feeling the effects of the recession.

Case in point, we saw news this past week of a large commercial real estate company filing for chapter 11. This company ones many of the big name shopping malls all across the country. I fully expect to see more hits on the commercial side of the real estate market in the next several months.

Anyway, back to my watch list review…

Back at the beginning of the month I talked about companies on my lists which had good fundamentals and interesting chart patterns. MOS was one of the strongest fundamental companies and despite the economy seemed to be recovering from it’s last below expectation quarterly report. I also said that there had been hype back in Feb about a possible take over which for a while helped boost the stock.

NTES was on a tear up and was on rocket fuel, so I was expecting a pull back and possible drop for correction before considering buying this stock.

SCMP had been on a similar pattern and had self corrected back down. So I thought it ready to pop back up, but I was hesitant due to it being a volatile pharmacy company.

CSR was in the tail end of a cup and handle pattern but I did not like the smaller setups of it continuously hitting resistance and thought it might not break through for the final rise.

So, I went with the large fundamentally sound company MOS.

Well, they had yet another less than stellar quarterly report and even though the market wanted to push this higher, before the release, it just fell flat. So I ended up selling early last week for a paltry 3% gain.

Meanwhile NTES continued its rise, though it has slowed down quite a bit.
SCMP did exactly what I expected.
And CSR never did really fall or break through.

So, what did I do once I sold MOS?

I still do not like that NTES has not really pulled back a lot.

I am tempted by SCMP, but like NTES, think it might be at a point of cooling off after it’s latest break out of +40%. (but hey, I’ve been wrong before)…

And CSR was still waiting for a break out and with some of the major financial institutions report healthy news, and foreign markets looking like they might be turning around (financially) I took a chance that this would be enough “good news” to push it higher. So I bought CSR.

Maybe my advice is paying off… it has gone up 15% in the last 3 days!

Read more...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

BAD KARMA


I don't know what is going on with this past week but the stars must be all out of alignment or something...














It seems that there are gremlins loose and they are playing with all of our home projects, appliances and electronic equipment.

Back in college, before Spielberg, we called them Zombwits. Back then they usually occupied themselves with pencils, important papers, and socks. But with the advancement of technology, they have evolved and gained new skills.

This week we had the following happen...

Lawnmower Died...

I tried to repair but could not find parts anywhere that would work and the more I fiddled with it the more it broke. So off to Home Depot I went for a new one.







Microwave oven Died...

If you have never tried living at home without a microwave oven, especially with kids in the house, you should try it sometime. This week it died a painful death with an agonizing screeching sound, and smoke!
We did not see any in the local stores that looked good or got good reviews so we found a reasonable one with good reviews on the Internet and ordered it.








Of course, now we have to wait for shipping!



Amplifier / Receiver for the entertainment system died...















This one I almost decided to forgo replacing but since this particular piece of equipment is the heart and sole of the entire setup, I decided it needed replacing. After all without it, nothing else worked. Fortunately we have a backup system and all the kids could plug into another TV (yet much smaller TV) to play their games and watch their DVD's and other TV shows.
Regardless, it ended up being some one board capacitors that required the whole board to be replaced - and yup - you guessed it, either one did not exist or it cost just as much as a new unit would.
So back onto the Internet I went and after much research found one I liked. Now, I am by no means an audio junkie, so I was not about to spend literally thousands of dollars on another one. But I do know what I like and the cheapest unit, again with good reviews, that I could find was way more than I was willing to spend. So after a bit more research I found a place that had some reconditioned/refurbished ones for sale at about 1/2 the price with factory warranties! Now, being in the computer field, I know that 90% of returned/reconditioned manufacturer PC's are not actually broken but rather its the stupid people who can't figure out how to work them that are; so I figured that this might apply to slightly sophisticate home theater equipment as well. And so, just like with the microwave, I am waiting for Shipping!

Speaking of backups...

My Hard Drive on my work laptop died...
And I had to go all week with a loaner and about 1/2 the information and apps that I usually had. I put in a request to get a newer laptop, but it seems that my laptop is still under warranty, so no such luck. I did, however, get approved for the latest Vista image and MS 2007 version of all my apps. So this is kinda cool. But still I was on a loaner laptop for most of the week.

The CD player in my car finally died...
this has been dying a slow agonizing death for months - mostly my agony because it refused to work when it was below 50 degrees...

So while I was online looking up all the other stuff I found a HD radio with all the necessary USB, ipod and Aux connections on the front panel which not only fit my car (this was actually tougher than I thought it would be) but was a reasonable price and had decent reviews! And yes, you guessed it, I am waiting on shipping for this as well!


So now its a waiting game for all this wonderful shipping to arrive.

And what am I going to do while I listen to that big Whoooshing sound of all my money going out the window...







Easy, I just fire up the ol' gaming machine, pull out my little bag of costume tricks, and take my aggression out on those little buggers that caused all this mischief in the first place...

Read more...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Stupid Quotes...

You know, Leno has this bit called headlines where he shows stupid quotes, unfortunate pictures placed near other articles and such.
Well, the Washington Post has a bit called the style invitational where the writer posts contest premises for readers to send in stuff to.
Well, needless to say, there seems to be an very unfortunate wealth of people making stupid comments out there.
Here is a bit that ran a while ago on DQ Lines. Dis-Qualification Lines said or heard on dates...

Style Invitational
by The Empress

Report From Week 806

in which we asked for "disqualifying statements" made by a would-be romantic interest: We got many entries along the line of "After my fourth wife's death was ruled an accident . . ." and "Cat Number 27 is named . . . ." Several Losers cited actual dates: Francesca Kelly's suitor offered to show her the human ear he kept in a jar. Elizabeth Molye's would-be beau bragged, "I make beautiful babies with white women." Maureen Driscoll swears her date confided, "I never thought I'd go out with someone as old as you." And Ann DeMart's driving companion noted, "That's the scar from when I tried to cut my arm off."

We interrupt these results to show you the latest Style Invitational Magnets, to be awarded to future Honorable Mentions. (See the magnets in the slideshow at right.) Lee Dobbins of Arlington and Ed Gordon of Georgetown, Tex., each win the ever-more-famous Bob Staake's original sketch for the design, along with the actual magnet in the usual business-card size.

4. "I always flush six times because I want to be sure everything has gone down and flushing seven times would just be stupid." (Andrea Kelly, Brookeville)

3. ". . . President unquote Obama . . ." (Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

2.the winner of the remote-control-motif necktie: "I like tapas because I can put each little dish on a separate credit card." (Cy Gardner, Arlington)

And the Winner of the Inker

"I'm so excited -- I've never been on a second date before." (Peter Metrinko, Chantilly)

Didn't Get Past First Base: Honorable Mentions

"This is the nicest restaurant in town that's more than 500 yards from any school, playground or bike path." (Kevin D'Eustachio, Beltsville)

"April 20? No, I'm sorry, I can't -- I always celebrate Der Fuhrer's birthday alone." (Michael Turniansky, Pikesville, Md.)

"Please don't hold your fork that way. Watch. Do it like this. Better." (Dave Zarrow, Reston)

"I like to talk in rhyme. I do it all the time. I find it quite sublime." (Rob Cohen, Potomac)

"You know, the real way to collect butterflies is to pin them to the board while they're still alive." (David Kleinbard, Jersey City)

"I was going to take you to a fancier restaurant than this, but I thought you might feel out of place." (Dot Yufer, Newton, W.Va.)

"Then the guy tells me my butt tattoo looks infected, so I say, 'Which do you mean, the tattoo on my butt or the one OF a butt?' (Russell Beland, Fairfax)

"Sorry I'm late, but I couldn't find my Tuesday underwear." (Mike Ostapiej, Tracy, Calif.)

"I'm sorry I'm staring. I'm just used to seeing you through the blinds." (Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.)

"While we wait, let's get the packets from the other tables so we can sprinkle them and make sugar angels!" (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

"Spending time with my kids is so much easier now that they're all in the same prison." (Sally Fasman, Washington)

"A lot of people are, you know, prejudiced against dogfighting . . ." (Michael Reinemer, Annandale)

"Chris Hansen looks a lot taller in person." (Gordon Barnes, Alexandria, a First Offender)

"My therapist says I'm ready for a transitional relationship." (Matt Wagner, Hagerstown, Md., a First Offender)

"I was really hoping Bush would run for a third term." (Mike Ostapiej)

"Like so many other people, I got caught up in the self-asphyxiation craze for a while." (John Shea, Lansdowne, Pa.)

"With the opposite sex, I usually bat around .200, but with you I have the distinct feeling that it'll be closer to .400 or at least .344, which is Ted Williams's lifetime batting average." (John Shea)

"Is this the part of the date where you trot out some spiel about your quote-unquote values?" (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

"Two factors!! Sorry, I always shout that whenever I hear a prime number." (William Kane, Arlington)

"Hey, don't you work out at 6:30 on Monday-Wednesday-Friday, and 9-11 a.m. Saturday, and then drive home in your red Honda Civic, usually stopping for coffee at either Starbucks or Tiger Mart depending on whether you need to refill your tank using your Speedpass?" (JB Richardson, Falls Church, a First Offender)

"Okay, now, I'll sneak into the movie and then let you in one of the exit doors." (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

"I hear that flat-chested girls try harder in the sack." (Chuck Smith)

"Hey, babe, I'm playing Obama tonight, and do I have a stimulus package for you!" (Tom Lacombe, Browntown, Va.)

"What did Jeff Brechlin mean by that? Well, what Jeff Brechlin wanted you to know is that Jeff Brechlin is happy to meet you, and that . . . " (Jeff Brechlin, Eagan, Minn.)

"I wish my sister's breasts were as large as yours." (Stephen Dudzik, Olney)

"My last girlfriend was the Empress, though we never actually went out . . ." (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)

Read more...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

FIRST

OK, so the company I work for is sponsoring a bunch of teams for a robotics competition.

I and several of my colleagues have volunteered and helped sponsor high school kids from across the country.

What is First?
FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is a unique varsity sport of the mind designed to help high-school-aged young people discover how interesting and rewarding the life of engineers and researchers can be.

The FIRST Robotics Competition challenges teams of young people and their mentors to solve a common problem in a six-week time frame using a standard "kit of parts" and a common set of rules. Teams build robots from the parts and enter them in competitions designed by Dean Kamen, Dr. Woodie Flowers, and a committee of engineers and other professionals.

FIRST redefines winning for these students because they are rewarded for excellence in design, demonstrated team spirit, gracious professionalism and maturity, and the ability to overcome obstacles. Scoring the most points is a secondary goal. Winning means building partnerships that last.


FIRST is one of many brilliant ideas founded by Dean Kamen - President, DEKA Research and Development

Be sure to check out all the really cool projects they are working on.

So, to all the teams competing this week...
Congratulations and Good Luck !

If you want to check out some of the action, there are some web cast links here...

Read more...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Exciting Schedule

A couple quick points.
- 3 prime time games against division opponents...
- Week three looks promising... at least we should win one game this year..
- Bye week half way through the season... This is a good thing...
- Hopefully they will go 10 - 6, but probably 8 - 8.
- I can see some money riding on the last game with all my colleagues out in sunny SD. The last time these two teams met in 2001; Doug Flutie was the Chargers' starting quarterback, Marty Schottenheimer was the Redskins' coach and LaDainian Tomlinson was a rookie. Hopefully this game, a season finale, goes nothing like that last one, a season-opener (30-3, Chargers).

Read more...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Seeing Red

Lets hope everyone sees nothing but Caps Red this year!



It's playoff time in the NHL! And quite frankly, the best time to watch hockey!
Everyone gets psyched for their team, fans cheer, players notch up their game and trash talk, and everyone gets totally serious about what is really important.


GROWING A BEARD!

All fans are encouraged to grow one for the team, get sponsored and donate proceeds to the capitals charity of choice.

And if you happen to be follicle challenged, no problem! You can grow one for the team on-line!


It's called build-a-beard!









And the first match-up is...


LETS GO CAPS!

Read more...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Done Working...


For Uncle Sam that is...

Today is tax freedom day!

Today is Tax Freedom Day, the day Americans have earned enough, on average, to pay all of their federal, state and local obligations for the year. But when you're really free depends on where you live.

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Nice Shot

A) I usually hate it when anybody has to die.
B) It's unfortunate when people feel they have to resort to violence and extortion in order to either get their way or resolve a bad situation.
C) Anybody who is dumb enough to willingly threaten the life of another or take it, deserves whatever he or she gets.

"Navy snipers on the fantail of a destroyer cut down three Somali pirates in a lifeboat and rescued an American sea captain in a surprise nighttime assault in choppy seas Easter Sunday, ending a five-day standoff between a team of rogue gunmen and the world's most powerful military.

The operation, personally approved by President Barack Obama, quashed fears the saga could drag on for months and marked a victory for the U.S., which for days seemed powerless to resolve the crisis despite massing helicopter-equipped warships at the scene.

One of the pirates pointed an AK-47 at the back of Phillips, who was tied up and in "imminent danger" of being killed when the commander of the nearby USS Bainbridge made the split-second decision to order his men to shoot, Vice Adm. Bill Gortney said."

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Pick Me!

Now that NCAA March Madness is over, and before the NHL playoffs really get underway; I thought I would turn everyone's focus back to the upcoming NFL draft(s) and the 2009 Fantasy Football season.

Just like professional coaches, scouts, owners, and management; fantasy football players do their fair share of research. Often research involves watching video tape of players and getting a "visual" of their talents.

video

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Circus Show

Ok, So today was circus day for the kids and myself.

My wife has had all the kids all week (spring break) and decided she want some "me" time. Good for her!

Usually we go to see the Big Apple Circus which is a small 1 ring circus show in a tent. Very good, talented people with not a bad seat in the house.

But today we went to see







Circus show appropriately called "Over the Top"

It is performed in medium to large arenas, we saw it at George Masons Patriot Center, and the entire show is a lot of Broadway type musical productions one after another.

If you want to see the equally elaborate video promo click here...

It shows most everything we saw today over the course of 3 hours in about 60 secs.

Personally, I found the tigers lazy and over weight, many of the acrobats performing everything I had seen before and a noticeable lack of jugglers and magicians. Of course, these last two probably do not translate well in a large arena.

The things I liked were the bouncing tire acrobats - this was something new, the dogs tricks (they always perform with lots of energy and genuinely seem to enjoy themselves), the trapeze - because I have yet to see one go flawlessly without a mistake and someone landing in the net :-)
And these guys... yes there are seven of them in there!

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Is Stan Kasten Seriously Confused?

Perhaps not...

In his Washington Post article "Kasten Shows Some Ill-Advised Brotherly Love" Thomas Boswell argues that as a Washingtonian, the last thing anyone should do is invite anybody remotely related or loyal to Philly!

And that goes for any major league sport; Baseball, Basketball, Hockey, and especially Football!

Here is what Kasten actually said...

"We have an Opening Day here Monday. We'd love for all our Philly fans to come down, because I know it's gonna be so hard to get tickets in Philadelphia this year. It'll be much easier if you drive down the road and come see us in Washington.

"I have gone to enough games in Philly to tell you that I haven't always felt welcome in your parks, okay? But you can root for whoever you want, you will be welcome when you come to Nationals Park."


OK So, he didn't actually say, "Come boo my team."
Rather, "Come spend your money at my place"...

Thomas Boswell makes lots of good arguments about rivalries and bad experiences both with Philly fans and games across all the sports.

But I think there is actually a method to his madness...

I started thinking about all the wonderful things that can happen in Baseball. Especially on opening day!

With the proper seating, you could catch a great view of the following...







Great Pitching












Great Catching and Fielding












Great Batting
Even a home run!











But we would not want any Philly fans gloating and jesting with a Philly home run ball that they just happen to have caught.
So this knocks out a good portion of the outfield seats from consideration.

We also do not want to leave them with a bad view of the field. After all the closer you are to the game the better your experience.
So this knocks out all the tiered seating areas.

This leaves the field level seating around both sides of the infield and behind the plate.

Now I admit, some fans may prefer to be able to look into their teams dugout in order to see their favorite players, coaches and managers. But in this case, that would mean that Philly fans would be sitting behind and above and around the Nationals dugout. This could prove to disruptive to the Nats, and I'll admit it, they will need all the help they can get.
So sorry, this rules out half of the remaining available seats.

So, what we have left is; the seats behind home plate, and the ones behind, above and around the visitors dugout.

Now, there is a chance that this game will be televised, so as a Washingtonian, we want to project the proper image of National Fans cheering for their team. This means we want National Fans sitting behind the plate in full view of the camera angles.
So, sorry no behind the plate seats for you Philly fans either.

This leaves the seats next to your teams dugout!
Pretty cool! The Philly fans get good seats, a chance for a fun experience at the ballpark, an opportunity to view all the action up close, possibly even get pictures with their favorite players! What better way to experience rooting for your team!

RIGHT!

These seats are also prime location for zinging foul balls flying at you at close to 100 MPH!









Oh and unlike the seats behind home plate, there is no safety net!











These seats are also prime location for shards of broken wooden bats



hurling, and twisting through the air



towards unsuspecting fans!
























So, watch out Philly! We have a special selection of greased baseballs and rigged bats just for you!

Have a nice day!

-----------------------------------

Did you catch the stick? :-)

Well, at least one dog did not.
And as a result cause not only the dog, but the owner of said dog much discomfort, time, money and worry.
Fortunately the dog and its owner have fully recovered...

OK, maybe just the dog... ;-)

If you are curious about why the stick, check out Life with Dogs

And like all great ideas, it took on a life of it's own at Misterstick

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

When Fresh is Stale...

I'm so bumbed...
I'm part of a dying breed...
I'm no longer a profitable demographic, except possibly for Geritol, and Grecian Formula...provide those of us who still have hair...
And here I was thinking of getting an HD radio for my car so I could take advantage of the added programing and quality of sound while listing to my favorite music on the radio...
Oh, and my CD player is old too and refuses to work when it is damp and cold outside...
But it also looks like the CD is going the way of 8 track, cassettes and vinyl...
So it loooks like I should get hip, (not as in replacement) and pony up for an ipod or something...except my radio does not have one of those inputs either...

Anyway, here is the writing on the wall...



94.7 FM Switches to Pop Format
Local radio listeners who missed the front page of Saturday's Washington Post were in for a rude awakening this morning. WTGB 94.7 "The Globe," D.C.'s last classic rock station, changed formats today. The station is now called 94.7 Fresh FM, and offers contemporary pop music programming like Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson and John Mayer. The Post's story offers an appropriate lament for the demise of classic rock and further homogenization of the local radio landscape. Apart from the overall decline in radio audiences thanks to iPods and the like, it seems classic rock stations all over the country are struggling to interest advertisers due to their aging fan base. There was just no way for WTGB to end up back in black if it stuck with AC/DC.

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Creeping Crud


It started last week with my wife (the day before my daughters birthday party weekend)...

Then I got it (the day after the birthday weekend) Hence one or two missed posts...

And now the birthday daughter of former said weekend has it...



Who's next?

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Try out for the Redskins!

Each year the Redskins organization holds tryouts for a select talented few.
A select group of talented individuals who have gone through months of training, conditioning, and learning the formations and special counts required to make the team.

Alas, I would try out, but I do not think I have what it takes to get a roster spot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACJ4X6lvXxY


http://www.redskins.com/media/videoGallery.jsp?video=76357

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Does it come with PinStripes?

It's spring, which means its time to once again get out in the yard and tend to all the trees, bushes, flower beds and yes the lawn.

I was thinking of putting down some fresh grass seed, and I still may, but I think I will pass on this brand...

Does it come with PinStripes?

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lineup(s)

Ok, so as some may know, I am trying fantasy baseball for the first time.
So, off to ESPN I went and signed up for a free automatic draft public league.
I didn't touch their rankings.
So, How did I do?





















Uuuugh!
Judging by all the nice little red DTD notes, it can't be good.
Arrrgh!
A-Rod! Yuk! I hate him more than the team he is on!


OK, so maybe I should try again?
So, off to Yahoo Sports I go.
Maybe I'll have better luck there...



















OK, So no obvious red flags (gee look whos talking - like I'm such an expert)
At least no A-ROD!

So, with this being baseball and all, lets try this for a 3rd and last time.
I'll give ESPN another chance to redeem themselves....

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