Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Years


Happy New Years, originally uploaded by mightymerk.

To my friends, family, blogging friends and incidental readers I wish you a Happy and Healthy 2006!

While 2006 has presented us with new challenges and opportunities, and while the world is far from at peace, in the immortal worlds of Lou Gehrig I believe we all have "an awful lot to live for".

I still believe in the future and I believe in the dreams and actions of good people throughout the world.

See you next year!

Posted by mightymerk, 7:24 AM | link | (0) comments |

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Is it 1984 yet?


Is it 1984 yet?, originally uploaded by mightymerk.

There has been a lot of talk about New Years and Big Brother lately. If you are familar with the book written by George Orwell above, you know what I mean about 1984.

Back in grade and middle school I would always hear 'drips and drabs' about this book but it wasn't until I was in highschool (and 1989) that I actually gave it a first read. It was kind of freaky reading about what 1984 would be like in 1989. In fact I would say that it was even remarkable then reading about 1984 in 1949, the year the novel was published.

My feelings ranged from being overly emotional to overly analytical while reading the book. At times I became angry at my own (and the world governments) for the assured destruction the world was to face because of things like the Arms Race. I also remember thinking how very wrong those were who though Orwell the prophet, simply for writing a very engaging book. I laughed at those who so seemed to want it to be so despreately true.

Thinking about it now, the alliances between Eurasia, Oceania and Eastasia very much remind me of the game of Risk. I have yet to play a game of Risk, whether amongst friends and/or family in which some 'betrayal' of one form or another has taken place. The games would go on forever simply because of this. Just when you thought your "ally" was about to defeat a common enenemy, they would in fact act against you. It ties into the whole idea that a continuous stalemate was mor advantageous then total victory. (for those of you that play Risk, you may be able to relate).

The question I ask myself and I am sure many of you ask from time to time is, "Is it 1984 yet and what constitues actually being there?"

The topic of the day is whether or not President Bush's authorization of wire taps of US citizens communicating with folks overseas and suspected to have terrorist links. The issue regarding of the legality of it all is being debated all across the country and I will not attempt to resolve that here. Yet the most interesting aspect of this, at leat that I have found is my fellow citizens false sense of expected privacy in the world today.

Consider the following:
  • Most wireless and cellular phone communications can easily be intercepted by a simple hand-held scanner purchased at a local Radio Shack.
  • All that information you provide to credit card companies and other creditors is not under "lock & key" to the extent that the government or any law enforcement agency can request and receive this information. Basically they can share whatever information you provide them, provided it is done so lawfully.
  • Most communicatiosn you do via the internet via IM, email, or even survey forms on web pages are 'open' to being intercepted.
  • Your movements can be tracked via GPS, and by Cell Towers.
  • Google Earth
These are just s few of the examples of how open we are in our every day lives. It appears to be that our expectations should be that much of what we do openly is truly 'open' as a rule and not as the exception. Again, how much of your daily communication is done through wireless? The internet (email or IM)?

Lots of these things such as Cell Tower records and surveillance cameras help us catch potential criminals such as in alleged case.

Modern conveniences such as the ONSTAR System are helpful in emergencies, with vehicle maintenance, recovering stolen vehicles and providing stubborn mules like myself with driving directions, but also can be used to monitor your where abouts.

Some exercises you should consider. Go onto Google and type in your name and do a search. Then do the same search but add the hometown and state you live in. Type in your email address and do a search. Then do the same search and add your name. You might be surprised by what you find.

Fact is folks we are regularly volunteering ourselves, our whereabouts and our identities. Going through Blogger you will see many political sites, as well as those sites that touch on political issues from time to time (as The Mighty Blogs does). Essentially we are volunteering our thoughts on a variety of topics from sex, to politics, to religion and society. These very same thoughts that were confined to private conversations and dinner table discussions are now open to billions of people around the world. Ultimately whether this 'accessibility' will do a world of good or a world of harm is yet to be decided.

It has also been yet to be decided whether it is 1984 yet.

UPDATE
Found this related article while surfing the net today
NEW YEAR'S PERSONAL PRIVACY RESOLUTIONS

Posted by mightymerk, 7:50 AM | link | (1) comments |

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas to All!!


Merry Christmas to All!!, originally uploaded by mightymerk.

"And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid ... And the angel said unto them, "Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord."

"And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men."

"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."
- Linus Van Pelt

Posted by mightymerk, 5:52 AM | link | (0) comments |

Friday, December 23, 2005

The WPIX Yule Log is back!!


The wpix-yule-log- is back!!, originally uploaded by mightymerk.

Coming into work today I heard on the radio that the WPIX Yule Log is back!! Starting at 8:00AM Christmas Morning, Channel 11 (in the New York Tri-State area) will play the continuous loop of the Yule Log for four hours.

For those of you who do not know the history of the Yule Log...let me share.

Back in 1966, WPIX station general manager Fred Thrower was thinking about all of those living in New York apartments and how they could not enjoy the tradition and warmth of the fireplace on Christmas morning. He devised the idea of a televised fireplace, or the Yule Log. The image (an actual 2 minute loop of a real burning fireplace) would play continuously and be accompanied by popular Christmas carols. From 1966-1989 it was a tradition as closely linked to New York and Christmas as the tree at Rockefeller Center or the Radiot City Christmas Spectacular.

For financial reasons (can you imagine 4 hours of commercial free TV and the lost revenues associated with it) the station put out the Yule fire in 1989. So many in the metropolitan area were at a real loss. As turning it on each morning (including my household) became a tradition. People eventually moved on, but nobody forgot and for some like Tom Malzone, a time came when it was time to take action.

Shortly after Christmas in 2000, Mr. Malzone started a website "Bring Back the Log". After receiving support from thousands of people, as well as the New York Times, WPIX decided to bring the log back as a test in 2001. In true Christmas Spirit the results for the station were magical. For the two hour period the Yule Log was being televised it attracted 611,000 viewers and was the #1 rated program beating ABC's Good Morning America by 80,000 viewers. Expanded to 4 hours in 2002 the Yule Log has won its timeslot each and every year sincer returning.

Truth be told, since the Yule Log was dropped I have not had the TV on inside my home for Christmas.

The Yule Log is back in 2005, for four hours, and as always commercial free.



Posted by mightymerk, 7:31 AM | link | (0) comments |

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

HubbaHubba


HubbaHubba, originally uploaded by mightymerk.

Last year about this time I purchased Harry Connick Jr.'s, Harry For the Holidays. It is a really fine album, that has Harry remaking a few Christmas/Holiday classics. For those of you who do not know of Harry Connick Jr., he is this generations Frank Sinatra, and has a ton of talent. In fact he plays many of the instrumens on this Holiday album. My whole family really enjoys it, especially the Frosty the Snowman remake.

That said...It isn't Christmas until I have heard Bing Crosby. As far as I am concerned this crooner's voice is perfect for songs such as White Christmas, Here Come Santa Claus, and Jingle Bells. With some fine backup singers and some witty arrangements to boot 'Christmas with Bing is a very Fine Thing'.

This is my favorite time of year. The cool weather, the Christmast lights, the busy malls, the music and the time with friends. Yes we do many of these things the other 11 months out of the year, but at least for me, it is more special in December.

Hubba Hubba (or however you would actually spell that)

Posted by mightymerk, 12:07 PM | link | (2) comments |

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Saga of Donovan McNabb (and the continued saga of race in America)


Donovan McNabb, originally uploaded by mightymerk.

Outside of George W., probably nobody has received more crticism than Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb.

It all started (well at least officially) when Rush Limbaugh, then working for ESPN made a statement which indicated that race was a primary factor in Donovan's appeal to the media.

I don't think he's been that good from the get-go. I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well.



Rush Limbaugh also went on to say that McNabb was "overrated". He subsequently resigned from ESPN after mounting pressure from concerned fans and groups like the NAACP.

Later after taking his club to the Super Bowl only to lose to the reigning champion New England Patriots, McNabb was hit by a barrage of attacks and insults by fellow superstar teammate Terrell Owens.

The attacks continued, and when Terrell Owens was later butting heads with the coach and organization, he was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles. Interesting enough Rush Limbaugh put an offer out to help mediate between the two players. This offer was declined.

In the latest high profile assault on McNabb has Philadelphia NAACP head Jerry Whyatt Mondsire making such assertions as:
  1. McNabb was a "mediocre talent"
  2. McNabb tries to mask his ineffectiveness behind "concoted reasoning: that African-American quarterbacks who scramble are somehow lesser "field generals".
  3. Is a sellout both on and off the field for becoming a pocket-passer and for not seizing control of the Terrell Owens situation before it got out of hand.


Of course there was not the same kind of outrage from the fans and groups like the NAACP. The NAACP is full of contradictions, and it is clear again when it comes to right and wrong Black on Black crimes are still yet more understandable and accepted. In fairness, the organization itself is probably not to blame, and the contradictions seem to come down to rogue individuals who seem to act our of bounds on a variety of issues.

NAACP National President had this to statement:

"I can not respond strongly enough to how I feel about the controversy started by Mondesire's article. Having spent the first 40 years of my life in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, I have followed the Eagles organization and its players for a long time. Donovan McNabb is one of the best that they have had. He is a great quarterback, an excellent role model and a class act. Whatever possessed Mondesire to take such a negative position on a positive person like McNabb is beyond me.


In response McNabb had this to say:

"Especially being the same color I am," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Mondesire. "Obviously if it's someone else who is not African-American, it's racism. But when someone of the same race talks about you because you're selling out because you're not running the ball, it goes back t What are we really talking about here?”


further...
"If you talk about my play, that's one thing. When you talk about my race, now we've got problems,” McNabb told the Inquirer about Mondesire’s statements. “If you're trying to make a name off my name, again, I hope your closet is clean because something is going to come out about you … I always thought the NAACP supported African-Americans and didn't talk bad about them."

Is Donovan McNabb the continual victim of racism or just selfish opportunist? Do people of all colors still hold onto social/sport dogmas? Why the hell can't we all talk about this stuff more openly to clear the air? Fact is everyone made a big deal about Doug Williams when he was the the first African-American to win the Super Bowl, and they did rightly so. This is big stuff. And there is nothing wrong with being black (or any color for that matter) and a pioneer at the same time.

For the record I support the NY/NJ Giants, and I would take Donovan McNabb the Pro Bowl QB over Eli Manning any day.





Posted by mightymerk, 6:52 AM | link | (1) comments |

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

WTF is DNC Chair Dean's Deal?


WTF is Dr. Dean's Deal?, originally uploaded by mightymerk.

I have called into question DNC Chairman Howard Dean's intentions and mental stability in a previous post.
Quite honestly I could write about this subject almost daily but in the interest of my own mental health I chose not to.

Today is an exception though.

During a recent interview with WOAI radio in San Antonio, while trying to draw a comparision between efforts to hand over security responsibilities to Iraqis and similar efforts during Vietnam War had this to say...

"The idea that we are going to win this war is an idea that unfortunately is just plain wrong"

For the first time in U.S. history, the leader of a major U.S. political party has stated that the U.S. is going to lose a war that it was presently involved in. A pretty dubious first in my book.

Of course, Chairman Dean, who has never actually been to Iraq did offer up his own strategy.


He said that he backed the redeployment of 20,000 troops to Afghanistan and a force in the Middle East to deal with al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, but not in Iraq.

How exactly are we to deal "with al Zarqawi" without being in Iraq?

And please do not think this criticism I have is a Democrat/Republican thing. I am all to willing to listen to Democrats with rational arguments and questions like this guy.



Posted by mightymerk, 12:47 PM | link | (0) comments |

Monday, December 05, 2005

Something funny I saw today!


, originally uploaded by mightymerk.

The Hummer H2O - When you need to compensate for something!

Where I live, a lot of folks drive cars like the one picture above, the Hummber H2O. Sometimes you see funny things on them like these babies.

Well it snowed yesterday and every car had that snowy.dirty film on the windows of their car. I was driving behind a hummer on the Garden State Parkway and someone had written on this guys back window "Behind Every Successful Man is a Gold Digger"...no doubt this guy did not recognize what was written until he was already going 90mph on the GSP and could not stop...I laughed my ass ass off...Happy Monday!

Posted by mightymerk, 8:56 AM | link | (2) comments |