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Sunday, January 31, 2010

2010 RAP

R.A.P. - Resolution Assessment Page.

Welcome to my official tracking page for my 2010 resolutions.

Stocks and Finances.
1) Eliminate non housing debt.
(credit cards etc.)

I'm going to use this as my 2010 debt tracker. Hopefully I can get the little scuba diver dude above water by year end.

















This resolution got off to a rough start in January with some major car repairs and the need to replace a broken refrigerator. But for the month of February, I did manage to get my scuba guy nearly back to where he started at the beginning of the year.





2) Beat all DJIA, NASDQ, S&P averages with my investment income and do at least 50% better than the 16 % return I had this year. That means 24% annual return.

Yeah! February was a good month for my stock watch lists and achieving my resolution goals.











Starting Lineup
















Bench

















YTD Stock Tracker:














Sports and Fantasy Football.
3) To have the east coast win back the Borderless League Fantasy Football Trophy next year.


Obviously TBD. But hey, at least I am not loosing this one... yet.







Blog Related.
4) Double the number of people following my blog. I started the year with 10 followers.


I picked up yet another follower and added his blog to my google reader.

Check out the Work Forced blog!

January addition: Justin Harm and his blog Hopback.

This brings my count up to 12 now! Woo Hoo!


New Enterprising and Rewarding.
5) I’m starting a web site dedicated to donating to charities and activities that are most important to me and my family.


The Gift Exchange , is up and running and I have had a couple people browse on by and even register but I have not really produced the volume of auctions that I would like. But hey, it is new and hopefully I can get the word out more about this.

I need to do more in order to give this a smiley face...

Read more...

A tribute...















When I think of the Pro Bowl, I think of my kids playing NFL on xbox or playstation. Except, you can play whomever you want on your your favorite team. Kind of like Fantasy Football just a lot more meaningless.

This year I do have one exception to that meaningless statement. London Fletcher.

This guy is nothing short of amazing both on and off the field and it looks like he is finally getting the recognition he deserves with both playing in the Pro Bowl and being nominated for the Payton Award.

If you ever want an example of a true team leader, a role model, this guy is your man.

Just some little info from Wikipedia...

High School: won varsity letters in football and basketball. He played on two state championship basketball teams.

College: played both basketball and football. As a senior, he had 202 tackles (a school-record) and was named the Division III National Linebacker of the Year.

Professional: He was one of the two rookie free agents to make Rams’ opening day roster, he played in all 16 regular season games, starting the season finale at San Francisco. Fletcher earned the Rams Rookie of the Year Award as teams’ Rookie of the Year

Bills
on Bills defense, setting a career high and franchise record with 209 tackles, breaking the old mark of 206 set by Chris Spielman in 1996[1]. He also was selected as a Pro Bowl alternate eight times.

Redskins
Nominated as their Walter Payton Man of the Year Award representative.

Named co-winner of the B.J. Blanchard Award, along with quarterback Jason Campbell, an honor given annually to a Redskins player who best helps the local media.

Fletcher once considered himself the NFL version of Susan Lucci, who won a Daytime Emmy after 18 tries.

Though Susan Lucci never hit like this...



Or like this...



Or breakup pass plays like this...



Read more...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ask Brett

Read more...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Punter Proof...
















In an attempt to out do Mr. Jones, win back fans, and improve game day experience the Washington Redskins are upgrading their stadium boards.

The new HD boards will be 100 feet wide!

Perhaps if they made the Goal Posts 100 feet wide, we would win a couple more games!

That would improve game day experience too...

Read more...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Can't please everyone...

All the time, so you might as well stand your ground and stand up for your beliefs...














Bet you didn't think anybody could, or dare would, put Johnny Weir and Tim Tebow together... but I will.

Now I am the first one to sign the petitions against cruelty to animals and censorship, so don't get me wrong... but as unlikely a pair of athletes they both, for better or worse are being true to who they are. So bravo to them.

In Weirs case, Animal rights group unhappy with Weir wearing fur, Johnny boy says, so what - "All skaters are wear animals on their feet!" Cow leather.

Just because it is not cute and cuddly (the cow that is , not Johnny) animal rights ignore that little but all important fact that all skates have leather.

Yes, he could have avoided all this hubbub by simply using fake fur, but hey, as he says, his focus is on skating and people suffering, not necessarily animals.

If you don't like it, don't watch the Olympics.

Timmy, knows he doesn't do behind the center QB well, and instead of sweeping it under the rug and hiding in mystery, goes out and practices in order to improve himself and show others he is willing to work at his dream of becoming an NFL QB.

Plus, he and his family are standing by their beliefs despite the fact that various women's rights groups are trying to get CBS to kill their ad regarding abortion. Never mind the fact that if Pam Tebow had followed said women's rights and other doctors advice when she was with child, there would not be a Tim Tebow and we would not be having this discussion!

Kudos to Johnny and Tim.

Poopoos to the activists and right to choose groups for trying to manipulate public sports figures and television companies.

Read more...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bogey on 11












What are the basics of golf etiquette?

Within the USGA Rules of Golf, there are core golf etiquette's that are ingrained into the very essence of golf:


Safety: Be aware of the players in your group, others on the course and yourself. Never take any action that could endanger anyone.


This includes landing an airplane in the middle of the fairway while golfers are playing...


Consideration of other players:
Show consideration of your actions by not disrupting anyone through excessive movement, talking and unnecessary noise.
On the putting green, be sure not to stand in nor cast a shadow through the line of someone’s putt.


Actually, the plane had run out of gas so technically, it was not making a lot of noise...

Pace of Play: Be sure to maintain a good pace of play.


The players on the 11th hole continued play and finished out BEFORE checking on the plane. Kudos!

Course Conditions: Do everything you can to leave the course they way you found it.
Divots – Taking a divot is not bad, but leaving it un-repaired is bad.
Ball marks – make the effort to repair any marks made on the putting surface.


Hmmmm, what about skid marks from the airplane tires.

Anyway, seems everyone in Houston had something to talk about.

Read more...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Absolutely no truth













To the rumors that Fox Sports, has contacted me regarding the use of my blog name and their commentary regarding the NFC title game.

Absolutely no truth...

to the rumor that any of the purple pride or vikings mania organizations have contacted me either regarding their protest the current state of Brett Favre's contract.

Or that the Vikings organization is looking to pro-rate Bretts contract...

Or that I have been asked to change my background colors to purple and gold...

Absolutely no truth...

to the rumor that said Brett Favre is teaming up with Prince to write a new theme song... (combination purple and gold and pants on the ground called ball on the ground) with special guest appearances from MC Hammer (can't touch this), 38 Special (hang on loosely), and Simon and Garfunkel (slip sliding away).

Absolutely no truth...

to the rumor that ESPN has removed AP, Brett and Reggie from their fantasy football no cut lists...

Absolutely no truth...

to the rumor that I am holding out for sponsorship of Reggie Bush, who really did fumble a return and can't seem to hold on to anything off the field either...

What IS TRUE...

is the FACT that London Fletcher IS going to the Pro Bowl because the Saints and middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma are going to the Super Bowl.

The game was so "gut-wrenching" for Fletcher that he actually turned off the TV when the game was tied at 28-28 in the fourth quarter.

Couldn’t watch it.

“Watching the Saints vs. Vikings game was something that I could not get comfortable with,” Fletcher admitted.

Turns out it was equally as uncomfortable waiting in silence for the final score.

So he turned the TV back on.

It was overtime. Kicker Garrett Hartley, who beat the Redskins in Week 13 with a chip shot field goal, lined up a 40-yard game-winner for the Saints.

The kick sailed through the uprights.

“I did a little sprint around the house,” Fletcher said, laughing.

This is how much making the Pro Bowl meant to Fletcher.


What IS True...

is the fact that I will always bleed Burgundy and Gold.

Fletcher has not missed a game in his 12 year career. Is one of the most prolific tacklers in the entire NFL and is a true leader both on and off the field.

He is also one of the finalists for the Payton award; the award named for the late Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, which goes annually to the player who combines on-field excellence with off-the-field community service.

Best of luck to you London. You deserve it.


Who knew that my blog name sake would be so appropriate for the NFC championship game?

Absolutely no truth...

To the rumor that said namesake is for sale at any price!


under six figures...

Read more...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Look it, Step it, Throw it

That is my football QB passing lesson plan.

Actually, it is really Look, Step, Throw. But in a 3 year olds vocabulary it gets translated to Look it, Step it, Throw it.



Notice, I did not say anything about look, step, THROW ACROSS YOUR BODY WHILE RUNNING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE FIELD!

Obviously I still need to go over the next step of actually catching it, but QB's do not need to catch it, just throw it.

Catching is another football instructional video that only comes with practice.

And after last night, I have thought of a follow on instructional video of "don't fumble it".

Read more...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Life outside of football






















Yes folks, there is life outside of football. For all of you misguided football fans out there who are going to have your dreams crushed today, I present to you the world greatest hobby. Saturday (I would not miss football Sunday) the boys and I went to a trade show for model trains, cars and yes, even airplanes. Though the feature was clearly model trains.


























William is actually looking at the subway section of one of the larger displays.









If you are interested, this is the longer version of video taken by us at the show...



Afterwards, we purchased some great yet inexpensive toys to commemorate our outing.

We do not have a model train set that we can set up (not for lack of interest, but rather lack of space) so we purchased something else more immediately useful...

(ignore the short attention span neighbor kid talking about dinosaurs)





Good luck to all the NFL playoff football teams and fans playing today and remember...

There is life outside of football so take time to enjoy it.

Until next time...

Be good. Do well. Have fun.

Read more...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bad Karma - Revisited


















So last year I did this post about things just "going wrong".

Well, just when I resolve to get my debt taken care of, improved my bottom line, and get my finances in better order....

This month the following has happened....


What turned into get one or two new tires for my car turned into needing to get all four replaced, to an alignment repair and needing new brakes...

Then last Friday our refrigerator decide 63 degrees was just the right temperature to store food. NOT! So, forgoing repairs that would have approached a new refrigerator, we opted to get a new one. After hours of shopping online we narrowed our choices down to two models and then proceeded to shop locally for them at local stores. Well, needless to say, we found what we were looking for but we have to WAIT for delivery which is currently scheduled for next THURSDAY!. Arrrgh.

So now we are living on frozen food for a week not too mention that we will have to replace everything that went bad in the old one. DOUBLE Arrrgh!

So just when I was planning to reduce debt, I have added to it.

Perhaps I should have gone to a fortune teller before making my new years resolutions.

Speaking of which, I was looking online for a type of widget that would actually track my progress of reducing credit card debt and report it in percentage format much like my covestor widgets on the right sideline do.

Needless to say, I could not find one I liked. But I did find this...


Palm Reading Widget







Something tells me that if all palm readers looked like this, business would be pretty good.

So, starting next weekend, until I find a credit card widget I like, I will post my progress, for better or worse, on the right via a manual chart. And you will just have to take my word for it.

Oh yeah, and the stock market went really south this past week too.


But the month is not over yet. So, who knows what will happen between now and then.

Read more...

Friday, January 22, 2010

A tribute to George Michael
























Services were held Thursday for the late, great, George Michael.
He helped define what sports casting is today by his energy, dedication, and visionary style of presenting sports via his "Sports Machine"

Listed below, is one of the tributes by one of the anchors, Jim Vance, from NBC 4.

http://www.wtopnews.com/emedia/175066.mp3

Tribute and link via WTOPNEWS.

Read more...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Simply Disgusting...















This disgusts me, as it should anybody...

Whites-Only Basketball League: All-American Basketball Alliance Bans Blacks, Foreigners

A whites-only basketball league aims to launch in twelve cities this summer, according to a report in the Augusta Chronicle. The All-American Basketball Alliance would also ban players born outside the United States.

The league's commissioner, Don "Moose" Lewis, claims that he doesn't "hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now." Thus, he says, the All-American Basketball Alliance would be "a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like."

The report includes additional shocking quotes from the commissioner:

Lewis said he wants to emphasize fundamental basketball instead of "street-ball" played by "people of color." ...

"Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch?" he said. "That's the culture today, and in a free country we should have the right to move ourselves in a better direction."

Read more...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Failure



















Please take a moment to join me in a show of support for this most excellent Facebook page!

Read more...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

NFL Playoffs - What we've learned...

San Diego's December hot streaks, as they always do, end in January.















Maybe they just need some pro bowl caliber players...

















Oh wait, they already have at least one...



The Jets believe in Destiny.






















Isn't it ironic that the team the colts fell down to at the end of the regular season and basically allowed entry into the playoffs is now their opponent for the conference championship.

No worries though. Indy has shown, more than once that they only need about 15 minutes of football to beat just about anybody.

Apparently this fan did not get the uniformity memo.


















Something tells me that this is not a Dan Snyder franchise or stadium event....
Hmmmm....


The Saints Smothered the Cardinals.















Fantasy Football fans everywhere are pulling their hair out wondering why Reggie Bush couldn't play like that during the regular season.







If he keeps attacking the line and lanes like that, he just might be a worthy fantasy pick next year.


And it only took Brees 3 quarters of real QB playing time to achieve what most QB only dream about.







He basically just handed the ball off during most of the 4th quarter...

And the Vikings (always the Fashion Divas)
















spanked the Cowboys (who also end tend to end winning streaks in winter)


My prediction for the winners this weekend....

Colts and Saints.

Sorry Sam.

Read more...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Keeping Score








Perhaps some of you saw this article about a nurse who took on the IRS and won.

She took on the IRS regarding her claims that her MBA costs were deductible. She won!

I like the fact that she was able to take on the IRS by herself and win!

She did it by checking the facts, reading the fine print and being anal retentive and sticking to her guns and goals!

Education loans and expenses are one of the two types of debt that I can accept as being OK to keep.
The other is housing.

Both can be tax deductible.
Both are also considered, in my mind, investments and can lead to more opportunity and potential earnings.

When it comes to debt it is important that you keep a few things in mind.

First, A Budget!

You can't do anything if you don't have one.

Second, Just as with a budget, set goals for either staying out of credit card debt or goals to get out of debt. And stick to them!

Third, Keep Score. Track your credit report and score.

A credit score is a basis for determining or rating or your risk for assuming debt based on your credit history.

The score is based on certain factors, including payment history, the amounts you owe and the types of credit you've obtained.

Personal information like income, occupation, age and marital status are not considered.

Everyone is entitled to one free credit report per year. This report shows everything the credit bureaus use to come up with your score.

NOTE: The only official site to go through all three major credit bureaus is
AnnualCreditreport.com

A credit report will also give you another means of protecting yourself against fraud and suspicious use of your credit and finances.

Check out my post about the Identity Theft Game

If you do an Internet search for free credit report or score, you will get way too many scams listed in your search results.

Having lots of available credit is good. Good for emergencies, purchasing power, obtaining loans and lower rates on said loans, and good for your credit score.

This is where some people first get confused about debt and credit cards.

Debt is bad.

Credit cards are good.

They can:
- Earn you rewards which can be used for other purchases, plane tickets and even vacations.
- Allow you to pay bills on time, even automatically. (this is important)
- Protect against identity theft, and fraudulent activity. (important too)
- Help resolve disputes with vendors and merchants.
- Purchase protection.
- Interest free loans. (if you pay bills in full and on time each month)
- And last but certainly not least – Improve your credit score!

Of course, it is also recommended that you pay off any credit card debt each month, or at least as soon as possible.

Here’s why.

Let's say I give you a penny today, and promise to double the amount every day for a full month. How much money would I be giving you on the 30th day?
The answer: over $5 million. Check it out:

It all adds up























Lets call this my compounded interest game!

Each day, the "interest" I paid you the previous day earns more interest. At the beginning, the amounts are nominal, but by the end we're talking big bucks.
Of course, no one's going to double your money every day. Not even credit cards. But this concept explains how people who save relatively small amounts over the years can build rather substantial nest eggs. After a few decades, their actual contributions represent only a small part of their burgeoning wealth -- it's mostly their returns that are earning returns.

It also illustrates how debts can quickly balloon out of control. If you're paying interest, rather than incurring it, and you're not diligent about paying off the finance charges in full every month, the unpaid amount will incur additional interest charges, increasing the total amount that you owe.

This is why so many families who incur credit card debt eventually find themselves in trouble as the amounts they owe explode past their ability to pay.

One of my new years resolutions is to pay off none housing debt. I have been “debt free” before and it is my goal to pay off my credit card balance.

There are a couple ways to go about this.
A) If you have the money and regular automatic savings to recover it quickly if you deplete it. Use the savings.
B) If you have the automatic savings and feel comfortable diverting that to pay off the debt, use the automatic savings each month.
C) After establishing your budget, find where you can make savings and put those savings towards paying off the debt. Chances are, this will have a two fold effect. First cut back on the expenses that are most likely adding to your balances each month and secondly apply these savings towards paying down your debt.
D) Move your credit card debt to an interest free card. This is more tricky now than it used to be.
- There are no more transfer free card programs out there. Everyone is charging 3% - 5% or more as a transfer fee.
- I would only recommend this if you can budget to pay it off during the 0% introductory period.
- Like everything else, do your research. There are a lot of different cards and programs out there with even more “fine print”.

E) Tip: As you pay off the debt, take the savings from you minimum amount (even if it is just pennies) and add it to your next payment. Remember the chart above!

F) And if all else fails and you are unable to come up with a reasonable plan or goal to be debt free, then ask for help. It’s OK. And in the long run you will benefit from it and be better off. A good place to start is here at the National Foundation for Credit Card Counseling.


Of course these are only suggestions. I believe that everyone needs to tailor their budgets, goals, and plans to their own individual life styles.

I would be happy for anybody to make other suggestions if they have them. After all, as with the nurse who took on the IRS, information and education is a valuable weapon.

As Always

Be good. Do well. Have fun.

Read more...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What to do this weekend

















So my to do list this weekend (in no particular order) includes haircuts for me and the kids, work on the car, play Mr. Mom, clean up around the yard (we have had some big branches fall down lately), shopping, church, do some blogging and I'm sure I'm forgetting other things of which I will be reminded.

It will be interesting to see how much I actually get done.

Oh, and happy birthday to my blog which is one year old today with 349 published posts.












Wooo Hoo !!!

Read more...

Friday, January 15, 2010

On a Streak...

This is so fitting for my Fun Strip Friday theme.



Or if that does not work, here is the link!

Read more...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lets play a game...

















Oh, and by the way, it is not identity theft! It is stealing of information and fraud! I will always be who I am...

But on to the game...



People never cease to amaze me. The other day I was standing around in a Taco Bell waiting for my food, along with about a dozen other people, and was amazed at how much I had learned within 10 minutes; yes 10 minutes for a taco!

I did not say one word, not one question, did not apply one bit of social engineering. If I had, who knows what I would have learned.

I’ll purposefully leave out some of the specific information but supply enough so that you get the general idea.

You see there was this one lady (Bethany) with her 4 year old child (Andrew – Drew for short) who was born on November 12, at such and such Hospital and lived in a certain neighborhood , had two other siblings (Crystal and Thomas), who went to such and such school.

Then there was this other lady who was a researcher for a particular real estate investor who was looking to acquire property out in Chantilly. She liked horseback riding and had a brother (Ron). She was discussing this with a man (Dennis) who was in construction and his company was struggling to find financing for a new project also in Chantilly. Oh, and he was wearing a NASCAR jacket and cap. I also knew his kids names (all five of them) and where he currently lived and had lived 3 years ago. He used to live in the same neighborhood as another person’s parents.

I bet with a little social engineering I could have found out more about favorite teams, sports, colors, favorite pet names, and probably gotten a kid to recite his or her phone number just for fun.

Oh not to mention I could have picked up on license plate information and if I was really tricky, maybe a receipt or two.

This all reminded me of a game I participated in once at a conference. It was a simple game where people are given seemingly innocent cards that had dates, months, colors, teams, city, favorite numbers, etc etc. There was even one which asked for any 2 numbers from your phone number and or social security number. The game was simple, go around and find as many people as you could who matched information on your cards and write down their names. Winners would get a prize! And yes,this was done at a computer security conference with IT professionals. Many grinned and laughed but played along anyway. Some, less trusting souls wanted their cards back afterwards. Which as kind of stupid since many had signed up with their full names, company information, hotel information and even credit card information anyway. . .

OK, so without telling me specifically, how many of you out there have PIN numbers, passwords, answers to security questions, (you know, all the layers out there that are supposed to give us added protection to identity theft and fraud) that are in some way related to one of the categories of information listed above?

Last year, 8.4 million people in the United States had their identities information stolen at a total cost of $49.3 billion. That's $5,720 per victim.

So, with that in mind here are some safety tips as reported by Javelin Strategy & Research. And no, I am in no way affiliated with them. I just found this information on their site and am posting it free of charge. Consider it my prize to you for reading my post ;-)

1.Be Vigilant—Monitor your accounts regularly online at bank and credit card websites, ATMs or by phone and set up alerts that can be sent both online and to a mobile device. Americans who monitor their accounts frequently are most likely to uncover suspicious or unauthorized activity. The survey found that those victims who took more than six months to detect the fraud saw four times higher average costs. Meanwhile, too many cases of fraud are detected via slower methods, such as when consumers review credit histories, paper statements or are contacted by a debt collector.

2.Keep Personal Data Private—Do not provide sensitive financial information over the Internet or phone, including Social Security Numbers, passwords, personal identification numbers (PINs) or account numbers, unless you initiated the interaction to a verified and trusted location, such as the number or web address on the back of a credit card, debit card or statement.

3.Online is Safer Than Offline When Consumers Use Available Security Controls—Consumers should install and regularly update anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and keep operating systems and browsers updated. Once online access is secure, consumers should move financial transactions online to eliminate many of the most common avenues fraudsters use to obtain personal information and gain more control compared to traditional channels. Moving online includes turning off paper invoices, statements and checks, including paychecks, and replacing them with electronic versions. Avoid mailing checks to pay bills or deposit funds in your banking account. Instead, pay bills online and use remote deposit check imaging services.

4.Be Aware of Those Around You—Be mindful of your environment and others who may be in proximity of overhearing sensitive financial or personal information or watching you text. This includes purchases over the phone or use of your Social Security Number for identification.

5.Ensure Credit and Debit Cards are Protected—Obtain credit and debit cards from financial institutions that provide zero liability if a card is ever lost, stolen or used without authorization. Nearly all financial institutions automatically protect you against any unauthorized transactions made at merchants, over the phone, on the Internet or at the ATM.

6.Learn About Identity Protection Services—There are additional services for those consumers who want extra protection and peace of mind. These include credit monitoring, fraud alerts, credit freezes and database scanning, some of which can be obtained for a fee and others at no cost. At a minimum, consumers should review their credit report no less than once per year, either for free at AnnualCreditReport.com or through many financial institutions’ websites.

——————————————————
For Additional Educational Tips, Consumers Should Visit:
• Intersections Inc.
http://www.identityguard.com/aboutidentitytheft/landing.aspx
• Wells Fargo
www.wellsfargo.com/privacy_security/fraud_prevention/
• Better Business Bureau
www.us.bbb.org

Read more...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Who wants 3D?















As a potential investor, consumer and confessed techie, I am always interested in the next big thing.

This time of year features two great trade shows that feature the latest in high tech.

CES and the Detroit Auto Show.

By far, the talk of the town at CES was 3D TV and entertainment.

The problem I have with this is that it is nothing new.
Sure the technology used today is like none other and more advanced than anything used before, but the concept of 3D has been around since before the 1950's!

And yes, we still need those pesky glasses.























When I look to shows like CES, I look for things which are either functional and or innovative.

In my opinion 3D is neither. And more importantly it does not solve anything!

It is the video display industry version of "jumping the shark". There is nothing new to do at the moment except make displays thinner and and sightly better resolution. So, what to do in order to generate hype and interest where there is none. 3D!

I just do not get that excited with having to use the same old glasses to view something on a screen.

I think I will wait for the Hologram Room or "deck" as envisioned in Star Trek.

Now that would be cool.

The auto show on the other hand























features the latest in green technology, engineering and continues to show a convergence of multiple technologies which make driving better.

Just look at Ford which has won two car and truck awards! I also saw a feature of a console which gave much better use of media, GPS and mapping, along with voice pattern recognition.

This got me to thinking about our current GPS system, which works just fine, but does have a pesky little habit of repeating the phrase "recalculating" every time one has to divert from the path GPS thinks you should take due to traffic, construction or just a plan old fashioned missed turn. Take into account that if traffic is really bad, it just sits there doing nothing. This is where the convergence of technology could come into play. From one system you could integrate a phone, mp3, video, Internet, radio, all into one device.

But what would really be "cool" would be integrating holographic technology into this.

Imagine having your choice of companions or navigator to provide directions and conversation.


















I bet he would not say "recalculating".

So, with an idea and an Internet connection I found this!

It is not quite to the level of Yoda, but it does address a lot of everyday problems and concerns all car owners have.

Like choice of companions, directions, safety features, voice pattern recognition, even translation services, and theft prevention.



So what do you think?

Read more...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Running Wild

So by now you all know that there was only one really good and exciting close NFL playoff game on this weekend and it was truly great.

Watching the Cardinals win an offensive shoot out on a defensive play in OT was truly a sight to behold.

In my opinion, there was one other good game on and that was the Baltimore Ravens running over the New England Patriots. It was not even close but I loved it none the less.

Apparently some Baltimore Raven Fans thought it equally exciting and decided to celebrate by running through an electric fence.

Dogs may be mans best friend, but some just happen to be a bit smarter than their owners too!

Enjoy!







HA! a special update...

It seems I made Sports Illustrated Extra Mustard Hot Clicks. Yes it was a shameless attempt at self promotion but hey, I made it on their site. Even though I am all the way at the bottom of the post. But, I really don't mind being on the bottom...

Check it out...

Read more...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

1 + 1 = 2















That simple equation, one we all learn as kids, is the basic formula anyone needs to remember when talking budgets.

I was originally going to post about one of my new years resolutions, Reducing Debt, but then I realized that before anybody starts talking about reducing debt, one needs to address his or her own budget.

And just like resolutions, budgets should be specific, tailored to your life style, and have goals.

If you make a resolution, or approach the idea of having a budget, by saying “I’m going to make a budget” and stick to it; though noble, I believe is opening the door for failure.

Here’s why.

Lets say you plan on making a budget to go on that Caribbean Vacation you love to go one each year, and or to save enough to one day buy a house.

Hopefully, if these are some of your top priorities, every time you pull out that plastic or cash, you will think, “do I really need this” or “will this help me reach my goal?”

Which gets me to the basic components of the formula.

Needs and Wants:

Needs are what you have to spend. Fixed costs, bills and expenses that you need or know you will have to pay every month.

Some people put these into basic categories of Food, Shelter and Clothing. However, there are usually more than just these three. Such as; Utilities, Loans, Taxes, Transportation, and don’t forget those once or twice a year bills such as insurance payments.

Wants are those things that add enrichment, entertainment, and pleasure to our lives. Wants is where your goals really come into play. Your top want, top goal, should be what you really want to obtain, what you are really saving and spending your money for. Not your bills. Not your budget.

A budget is nothing more than a tool, a means of balancing and prioritizing all your needs and wants in such a way so that 1 + 1 really does = 2.

So, where do some of us get into trouble?

Well, one area is separating needs and wants. Example: Housing. A basic need. But do you pay for a luxury condo, or split rent with others in on a 2 or three bedroom apartment, or even (hopefully temporarily) live with parents or relatives. Example2: Transportation. Walking vs. Biking vs. Public Transportation vs. Porsche. I think you get the idea.

Budgets are not easy. They require us to make choices. They require us to look at ourselves, our habits and life styles. They require constant attention and yes, sometimes become quite a balancing act. But they are necessary. It is these reasons that people often view budgets as limiting; and therefore not necessarily a good thing.

But they are good, and in the end, not limiting but rather enabling and liberating!
When making a budget, and sticking to it, adjusting it as needed, it is important to view it as a means to an end. And, just as we are all different, so too are budgets. Budgets should be tailored to what is important to you and what you value and how you live.

So, what is my budget?

Here are the top level categories. I have each with sub categories but here are the top.

Housing:
Groceries:
Transportation:
Bills & Utilities:
Shopping:
Education:
Time Outs:
Misc Taxes:
Savings:
Debt:

Unfortunately, that last one has crept back into my budget and the topic of one of my New Years resolutions and future post(s).

Until next time, and with all things…

Be good, do well, have fun.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Everything I need to know about life...

















I learned from Fantasy Football.

and yes I did steal borrow my post title from the All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten book by Robert Fulghum.

So, how can Fantasy Football teach us about life and ourselves?























Well, for one thing, it can tell us if we have any addictive personality traits!

Seriously !

One could write a book about what constitutes an addictive personality, and many people have. The topic is far too big to go into here, But I will include this one...

“Addictive personalities have difficulty planning and achieving long-term goals because they are focused on the short term. They may exhibit impulsive behavior or a disposition toward sensation seeking.”


How many of us have fallen for the hype from experts and others about a particular player only to have our expectations dashed!

It can teach us how we plan and budget.

Do we keep falling into the same hype pattern on a weekly basis? Or do we plan for a longer term goal? Like making the playoffs and winning the championship.

Do we keep throwing good money after bad?

Do we look for players who are consistent or a streaky home run hitter or perhaps a combination of both?

If you are in a league that puts a price on such things as waivers, trades, players or positions; this translates into how we handle budgeting and investments.

And yes I am still talking about Fantasy Football.

But as you can probably tell, I believe this can, and probably should tie back to how we handle other things our life.

How much do you invest, spend in relation to your expected return?

We have an owner in my league who is consistently the king of transactions on the waiver wire. He is also consistently a playoff contender and he even won the championship two years ago.

This year he spent so much on waivers and trades, that he needed to win the championship or finish second just to end up in the Black. He finished 4th.

How much time and effort do you put into research, statistics, matchups, trends and patterns?

I bet a lot!

How many of us spend hours looking for that diamond in the rough or the old veteran everyone forgot about? This is like a battered stock that reemerges to outshine all the others in the industry. See Dogs of the DOW.

Or, how many of us look for the rookie or the newcomer in the industry that defies odds with his new talent and skills and surprises everyone with his success!

Conversely, How many of us know folks who don’t even bother to show up week after week?

Active participation vs. autopilot.

They set their drafts to autopick, don’t log in, don’t trade or do anything on the waivers, heck maybe they don’t even make roster moves based on bye weeks!
This usually translates into nothing ventured nothing gain, and if you are lucky, nothing lost. But, in reality one rarely wins with this plan.

Automatic is a good saving vehicle for budgets, but it can have its disadvantages in purchases and merchandise and god forbid if someone stole your identity and your were not researching and tracking what you purchased and spent money on.

Autopick in fantasy football does not account for changes in what is going on in your league. It is static and based solely on your preferences and statistics at a previous point in time.

When to hold, fold, walk away...and get back in.

In Fantasy Football you also need to track the health of your current players. If someone gets injured, do you dump them out to the waivers and pick up another? Do you bench them, save, for another day when they are healthy?

Same thing applies to stocks and other finances.

Oh and I just thought of another thing.

Late Fees and missing the boat!

How many of us have missed a deadline? Maybe had an eye on a player but failed to log in to snag him up at the right time or maybe we did and forgot to move him from the bench to active roster!

That is like paying late fees and ruining your credit ratings, significantly hurting your chances of cashing in on that winner of a player or stock and shooting yourself in the financial foot.

I think everyone should play Fantasy Football!

How else will you learn from your mistakes and apply what you do in the rest of your life?

This is serious stuff!

This is really fun stuff too!

As always,

Be good, do well, have fun!

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