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Thursday, December 21, 2006
Sorry that I haven’t been blogging much latterly but I have been hurrying to finish an addition to my house in time for Christmas.
I’ve been enjoying the joy and wonder of my two-year-old discovering Christmas. I tell him we are having a birthday party for baby Jesus. All the lights in people’s yards are preparations for the party.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
DIRECTV, Samsung LCD and HDMI
Six months ago my wife and I finally brokedown and purchased a 42” Samsung LCD television. Like a good husband, I obeyed my wife and went to the local Comcast office and to get their high definition receiver with DVR. We hooked-up the composite cables and entered the world HD TV.
Shortly after we got everything hooked-up and running we began to encounter issues with what we called “pixelization.” Instead of the crystal clear image we had hoped to see we found many stations unwatchable. Many programs that we recorded for our small son from the PBS Sprout station were just a series of colored boxes that changed every few seconds. Many recordings had no audio. Some stations such as HBO just gave us a black screen with no picture. At other times these same stations seemed ok.
We finally quit relying on recordings of Thomas the perky little Tank Engine; opting instead to buy several DVDs just so the baby could have a morning visit with his friends from Great Britain.
After several months of really poor performance from Comcast and the obligatory visit from the repair guy, I finally decided to make the switch to satellite. First we switched our ISP to Frontier. This was a difficult decision because it is the only choice available to us in our area and Frontier has a checkered track record. It has been slower but more reliable than Comcast.
Next we chose DIRECTV. Why? Simple the children come first and DIRECTV is the only satellite provider to carry PBS Sprout.
We went to our local electronics store and paid for the installation and equipment. This part is strange on two accounts. First, although you pay for everything they only give you the DVR boxes not the dish or basic receiver units. Second they had no HD DVR units in stock. At the time of our purchase the DIRECTV website was placing folks on a waiting list. I had to drive to another store to get our HD DVR unit.
During this time I found-out that the DVR unit needs two feeds from the dish (ours has four) so that you can record one show while watching another. Once I learned this little nugget, I had the mental picture of a knuckle dragging guy with a staple gun in one hand tacking wires all over the side of our house and a drill in the other putting holes through our walls. To avoid this scenario, I chose to run coax cable from the point where the dish would be installed to the room with the HD TV.
I used a low voltage cutout and cover plate for the cable and as an added bonus I ran CAT 5 cable at the same time. All were purchased from the local Home Depot.
Next the installers came and installed the equipment; mostly. The only issue that they were unable to resolve was connecting the HD DVR unit to our HD TV. After an hour of messing with our HDMI cable connection, they gave-up. We were told the Receiver was defective. We were to contact the store and get a new unit. After talking to three different people at the store, we finally reserved another unit at another store. My wife and I went to the other store, picked up the unit and installed it with the same result; the TV flashing a No Sync Signal error in a blue box on the screen.
My wife went to Google and found the answer by looking-up the wrong model of Samsung television. The bottom line is that the Samsung units require a signal of 720i but the DVR unit defaults at installation to 480i.
I proved this by connecting the DVR unit with composite cables. I was then able to configure the DVR box and activate the service.
Then I set the unit to 1080i and connected my HDMI cable and I had a picture. However, to keep it that way, I needed to program the DVR unit to only use a resolution of 1080i. Oh, the composite cable and HDMI can both be connected at the same time.
Last, the dish installers never have contacted us to see if the TV is working. It’s been a week now.
Oh the picture with DIRECTV, I describe it this way: Comcast is like listening to a Salt Lake City AM radio station late at night and DIRECTV is like your favorite song on local radio in FM Stereo. In other words, satellite is far superior. IT ROCKS!!!
Friday, November 17, 2006
Eddie Moran—someone I knew back in my navy days—used to say, “It doesn’t matter what race you are, at ground zero, you’re still a vapor.”
It is with that idea in mind that I look at the early contenders for the Republican nomination for President. The three top-tier candidates are Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain.
McCain is as nuts as Ross Perot. He longs too much for the attention of the media and cares not for the Republic or his party. He is self-serving not a public servant.
Romney seems like a better choice. As a Republican, he won statewide election in the most liberal State in the Union. His biggest strike is his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Romney, if he follows the teaching from Salt Lake City, he would be the best of the three on social issues.
Giuliani would be the best on the War on Terror and seems to have more backbone than either President Bush. His social positions are way too liberal but if terrorists nuke us, the social issues won’t matter anyway. Rudy made his mark with law & order and administration in New York City. It’s a tough, scrappy political arena. By contrast, Congress is a bunch of spoiled pansies.
At this early stage with global terrorism as our biggest issue, I think Giuliani should be viewed as the early favorite.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
A Fair Warning
As I look at the world today,
And hear the people say,
“Save the troops,
Bring them home,
Keep thousands, no,
A hundred thousand or more
Alive to fight another date.”
I glance at them and answer back,
“Their job’s not done,
Why should they play?
We need them to stay
And work for today.
“My life is new,
My days are young,
My heart still yearns
For things I’ve not done.
If they leave before they’re through,
Those undone things
Will remain undone.
“I won’t get a chance
To do those things
For I may not live
To be much older
Than I am today.
“If I live then I will deal
With the mistakes and errors
That you, my leaders, made.
My life will be torment
From the bomb
That will attack
The country I call home.
I will suffer from poisoning
That traveled from who knows where,
After the wolf slaughters
A nearby heard of sheep.
“My brothers will fight
As soldiers tomorrow
Not the Mid-East Islamic,
As they do today,
But the European
And Hispanic Islamic.
“For they will have succumbed
To the numerous threats
That moved them to do the things
They would never have done
In a time of peace
Before the war
To end all wars.
“It was never about oil
Or about revenge.
It was about keeping
Our way of life the same.
“What good is saving
A hundred thousand plus
When you condemn
A billion or so?”
Author Note: Katherine is 15 years old and has been an occasional contributor to this site. She is busy with school and has little time to blog recently.
Global War on Terror • News & Politics • (0) Comments • Permalink
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Keep America safe from ALL enemies foreign AND domestic.
Friday, November 03, 2006
John Kerry the Beltway Buffoon
John Kerry this week outlined why Republicans need to be returned to power in Washington.
You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and do your homework, and make an effort to be smart, uh, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.
This glimpse into the heart of the man who should be the defacto leader of the Democrat Party—should the Clintons ever fade away—reveals the contempt that the Left has for the military.
I owe an apology to no one.
Kerry still believes that he is right and has parsed his words to stand on that ground even when others wish he would shut-up for another week.
In a subsequent statement clarifying his attack on the military, Kerry stated:
when I came back from southeast Asia, I told the truth, and I am proud that I stood up and told the truth then
And what was the truth that John Kerry claims that he witnessed when he testified before the US Senate in 1971
In addition to the normal ravages of war, soldiers in Vietnam had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Kahn, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam.
John Kerry may be a legend in his own mind but he leaves the rest of us wondering why such a pompous buffoon thrives inside the Beltway.
Friday, October 27, 2006
Are Republicans too Hard on Jim Webb
Jim Webb, a Democrat candidate for US Senate, was busted by his opponent for depicting sexually explicit acts in some of his novels. As shocking as much of this material is to middle class sensibilities, many of the things depicted in the press release attacking Mr. Webb’s writing are common in some parts of Asia.
I cannot comment on the specific content of Mr. Webb’s books but the fact is that many types of sexual acts, which would be considered perverted by American standards, are and have been common in places frequented by American soldiers, sailors and airmen.
I spent six years in the US Navy and can tell you that if the average American knew how their military personnel behaved in places such as Subic Bay in the Philippines, Thailand and other ports, our military folks would be confined to base and not allowed into town.
Subic Bay was described as “sexual Disneyland”. There was nothing that could not be had for a few dollars. The banana episode is tame compared to things that really happened every night just outside the base. Especially when the Westpac Fleet was in town.
While Mr. Webb likely portrayed things that happened, I don’t know what his purpose was in using these acts in his book. I think it would be wrong to glorify various types of exploitation as “good”; however, it is a reality that the vast majority of military folks took advantage of such off base entertainment.
I have heard both Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh spend much of their programs today on Mr. Webb. Without a context for Webb’s writing I won’t comment too much on the specifics but “a text without a context is usually a pretext for error” a saying that might ring true in this case.
This might be a suitable payback for the Mark Folly fiasco but whether it is “fair” to Mr. Webb at this point seems irrelevant. This issue has taken on a life of its own and Mr. Webb’s campaign is taking on water fast as a result.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Michael J Fox Lacks Talent
Michael J Fox has really stepped in it this time. Just because he played Doc Hollywood many years ago does not make him an expert on science or bioethics. Just because he was on Spin City does not make him qualified to sway the outcome of a pivotal US Senate election.
I’m sorry that Mr. Fox is suffering from a debilitating disease; however, he has inserted himself into the political arena and his lies, distortions and half-truths on behalf of a Democrat challenger need to be pointed out.
Mr. Fox says that the Republican Senator, Jim Talent, is opposed to stem cell research and even wishes to criminalize it. This is a lie and a distortion. Talent supports stem cell research and his public record supports this fact.
Fox is trying to switch stem cell research and substitute fetal stem cell research. Since Talent is opposed to harvesting unborn children for body parts or creating human children to harvest them (this would include human cloning which is on the ballot in his state), Senator Talent is portrayed as a monster lacking compassion!
If Fox wanted to harvest body parts from Jews or Blacks would he be treated with as much respect? How many children does he think should be killed to provide him with a cure? Why lie about the benefits of harvesting babies when it is both barbaric and not a single cure has ever been produced from this Nazi like “science”? The whole fetal tissue discussion is a way to convince naïve people that abortion has a place in 21st century America.
This “October Surprise” in the Missouri election is going to backfire on another desperate Democrat.
Friday, October 20, 2006
November Wave of Victory?
OK. I’ve had enough of the endless droning of the pundits and Mainstream Media about Evangelical Christians sitting this one out and the Democrats capturing both houses of Congress. Dems are claiming to win 30 to 50 seats and win a decisive majority in the Senate.
I don’t believe any of this nonsense. If you look under the hood of these claims, you will see that the pollsters are cooking the books. They are polling adults or registered voters (which are meaningless surveys) or over inflating the number of Democrats in surveys of likely voters in order to make many races a horserace that will really be blow-outs come November 7th.
Hear are my predictions. In the US Senate the worst case for Republicans will be a one seat loss. Only Senators named Lincoln that are not Republicans should be worried. In the House of Representatives, there may be a few musical chairs but in the end the Democrats will net no new seats.
This election is set to be the biggest non-event since the comet of the century during the 1970’s.
The most interesting chapter of this election cycle may be the fate of Jerry Brown as an Attorney General candidate. He may be disqualified for not being a member of the Bar for five years prior to this election cycle. Will California Democrats follow the New Jersey model of candidate substitution? Or will they buy a vowel (oops I mean judge)?
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Last month, my wife and I accompanied our two year old on his first trip to the Sacramento Zoo. It was fun to take him to see the animals. Most he did not recognize. The lion and tiger were just big cats to him. When he saw the giraffes we had a spirited discussion with him trying to explain that giraffes are not horses. We had as much trouble-explaining giraffes to our son as we have explaining to Liberals the reasons that we are in Iraq. Neither could accept any evidence contrary to their presuppositions. Some day our son will grow-up enough to know the difference. Liberals are much more intractable.
I was surprised how much the zoo had changed. It has probably been thirty years since my last visit. Many of the animals that I thought of as the barebones minimum for a zoo were nowhere to be seen. Among the animals absent from my youthful memories were elephants, hippos, rhinos, alligators, bears, gorillas and assorted reptiles. They don’t even have common animals found in the state of California; Raccoons, deer, bears, cougar, bobcat, and diamondback rattle snakes.
The environmental regulations that face such institutions must be tremendous. However, I think that they could do better. I don’t think that they should become State Fair Lite but given that many children have never seen many of the more common animals, I think they could do better.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Maloof Exit Strategy
You may not have noticed it lately but the Democrats are not the only ones proclaiming the need for an exit strategy. Closer to home, the Maloof brothers are slowly working their plan for an exit strategy from Sacramento.
The local bond measure to build the new arena for the Kings is likely to fail. This half-baked idea by city and county leaders has been on shaky ground from the very beginning. Once these politicians let this bond idea deteriorate into a money grab for local governments the whole idea was mortally wounded.
The city’s insistence on the railyards as the location for the new arena created the real possibility that we could have a new sales tax with no team. The arena might never be built due to the environmental issues related to the railyards. It could take billions of dollars and decades of clean-up to get the railyard ready for development.
Another concern that is not favorable for a new arena is the insistence that the arena be within the geographical boundaries of the City of Sacramento. By limiting the arena to the handful of possible sites in the City, it increases the cost of land for these sites.
Thirdly, the number of government entities that are involved in negotiations creates a distinct advantage for the Maloof brothers.
I think at the end of the day, it will be impossible to get tax money to build an arena in Sacramento. Once this point is reached, it will trigger the Maloof brothers announcing that with great disappointment they need to move the team to a new city, probably Las Vegas.
My other reason for this belief is the way that the team has been managed over the last few years. The team has gone from first to worst. As the win/loss record has been deteriorating, the ticket prices have continued their upward march. The Maloofs have seemingly lifted a page from the Al Davis owners’ manual. Used up veterans past their prime are cheaper to sign and happy to be playing. There is little chance for Post Season action but the roster can be changed every year to create the illusion of new blood on the team. Should home games fail to sell-out; there is more ammo for the move the team scenario.
I think the die is cast. The Maloof exit strategy has been quietly executing for several years and should reach fruition in about three years. The Maloofs only need to firm-up their case with the NBA that another city would be more supportive of their team than Sacramento.
Sacramento will soon face the future without an NBA franchise bearing its name. We have a few more years to get used to the idea.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop
Is it time for the other shoe to drop? I have the same feeling now that I did prior to the terrorist attacks in September of 2001 and the election of 2004.
Our politicians are spinning their wheels on petty and stupid stuff. The media and the pundits are salivating over the politics of an obscure Florida congressman who already resigned as the result of something he did three years ago. The only question is who has been sitting on this for three years and decided to make it public just in time to try and influence the election. (So where is Dan Rather?)
The time just seems ripe for one of two things to happen, either some other scandal is sitting in the can just waiting for the right time to interject it into the public discourse as we near the election or something will hit us via the war on terror. Either way the result will be the exposure of the lack of seriousness and substance of the Democrat Party.
The Democrats are overplaying the Mark Foley scandal. The double standard that they are employing is transparent to all but the most ill informed votes. Every election cycle they have been trying this tactic since the infamous and equally mythological “October Surprise” conspiracy. They can’t win on policy or by offering a positive alternative. Scandal is their path to victory ever since they ran Richard Nixon out of Washington. Often they have successfully employed this tactic. Newt Gingrich and Trent Lot have been among their successful targets.
In recent years, they have overplayed their hand when utilizing this tactic and the political “blow-back” has energized the Republican base more than their own folks. This appears to be happening again.
This distraction from the Global War on Terror could easily be swept aside by aggressive acts of terror between now and the election. Only one party is trying to be serious about the threat to our nation while the other cares only about creating civil rights for terrorists. The overseas allies of the Democrats often exhibit poor judgment when trying to influence the results of U.S. elections.
People vote their pocketbooks and safety. Republican control of both Houses of Congress has been a boost to both of these issues. Coupled with the power of incumbency, I think all the talk of Democrats taking control of either the House or Senate is hollow propaganda to give their base hope and discourage Republicans from turning-out on election day.
My admonition is to be prepared, the Democrats and their allies have at least one more dirty trick yet to be unveiled. Look for their strategy to boomerang and benefit Republicans.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Several months ago, I was talking on the telephone to my sister about her child rearing experience. She said that her one regret was that she didn’t have a room in her house that was dedicated for her children to play with their friends.
This seemed like good advice to me so I decided to follow her recommendation. I decided to convert part of the garage into such a room. Like many homes, we have a “three-car garage”. If our garage could really hold three cars this would be no big deal, but the garage size is really more like my wife’s car plus a golf cart.
Anyway, I was able to carve-out an area about 10 x 14 to make into a room. I have been working on nights and weekends to make this room a reality. Thus far I have had to move lighting, jack hammer floors to move drain lines, relocate water pipes, roto-hammer wedge anchors and take one trip to the emergency room for stitches. The room in now framed and my plumbing wall is close to completion.
To get to this point has taken much longer than I had anticipated, but with no one to help me except my energetic two-year-old son, I think that I’ve done ok. Yes, I get to do this project and baby-sit at the same time. When he’s asleep I have to quit working. This is one reason that my progress has been slow. (I also have spent a few weekends playing in my new Jeep, a subject of a future blog.)
I have several obstacles yet to overcome but I can see the end point approaching. My remaining tasks are electrical, drywall (including tape and texture) and floor coverings.
Most of my tools for this project have been cordless, battery operated tools that my wife bought me about two years ago. Considering it’s been 30 years since my last woodshop class, I think I’m doing ok.
The one aspect of this project that I might actually hire a contractor to do is the tape and texturing. While the theory of this is simple it seems as much art as science to get consistency in the final result.
I look forward to getting this room completed. So far it has been a relatively inexpensive way to spend some quality time with my son doing “guy things”.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Salem Communications has issued a Press Release concerning Eric Hogue.
The Short version is that Hogue is moving to another Salem station and will be broadcast in the afternoon on KFIA in Sacramento and a Salem station in San Francisco. It is hoped that this will be similar format with larger audience. Best wishes to Eric.
There is no word on what happens to Hogue’s time slot at KTKZ.
See Criag DeLuz blog for copy of press release.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Salem Dumps Hogue, KTKZ Sale to Follow?
There is a story circulating that KTKZ talker Eric Hogue is on the chopping block. His program is slated to be cancelled in September by some bean counters at Salem Communications. Salem would rather substitute some nationally syndicated talker to save some money.
I would like to address this idea from two aspects of the radio business.
First is the FCC license. If Salem cancels Hogue, in my estimation they have violated the Prime Directive of broadcasting which is to serve the public good. Hogue has done much to promote KTKZ and inform their audience. Hogue is the only program in the broadcast area that covers local politics from an informed perspective.
Only Tom Sullivan at KFBK comes close but Tom doesn’t understand Conservatives or the inner workings of the Republican Party. In addition, Tom doesn’t care to learn. Tom has no interest in “getting under the hood” and seeing how the Legislature really operates.
As someone who has worked at the Capitol and in radio, I have come to appreciate Eric’s insight in this area. It took him a few years to get through the learning curve after arriving here from Ohio but he has mastered his subject matter well.
Salem has severely handicapped Hogue by not giving him the bandwidth necessary to compete in this market. KTKZ AM & FM are the weakest signals in the broadcast area. When tuning on the AM side I have to search between Radio Disney and Air America to find the station. It is difficult to get either KTKZ station indoors anywhere in the broadcast area. I cannot get their signal at all at my Elk Grove home. If Salem got Hogue on a station with some broadcast power, KTKZ would be second or third in the market.
Not only have I seen the Arbitron ratings but I was a participant in the Spring sampling period. In the Sacramento market, KSFO from San Francisco has better numbers than KTKZ and their signal is often better.
Secondly, Salem may not be making much money on Hogue’s time slot but they need to look at the Larry King model used by Mutual Broadcasting. King was what retailers call a “loss leader.” King was not profitable by himself but Mutual required that stations carrying King also carry other programming by Mutual. As a package Mutual was able to make money by this arrangement.
Hogue has done something similar for KTKZ with sponsors. Hogue has done well enough for sponsors on his show that they are willing advertisers on other programming at the station. Spots cut by the team at KTKZ are often heard on other stations in the Sacramento market.
The revenue hit that KTKZ will take if they follow through on plans to cut Hogue will be tremendous. Not only will they loose the Hogue show revenue but the Friday night high school sports will disappear also. Sponsors of the Hogue show are also the backbone of advertisers for other programming like Hugh Hewitt.
One can’t help but wonder if killing local programming is a prelude to selling the radio station to someone with a different format in mind. This decision is not a formula for long term viability at KTKZ.