Friday, April 10, 2009

Musical Interlude: Old School Friday - If Mama Only Knew

If Mama Only Knew. That's today's theme for Old School Friday. Where to go with this one? The obvious choice would be to cue up a couple of songs that made her pull her hair out back in the day and say "What's wrong with you kids? That's not music!" I'm sure we've all experienced that, it's a generational thing that I'm now saying/doing with my own daughter. But I'm not going to go there because this theme presents the opportunity to go a little deeper.

Most of y'all know I lost my Mother last year at the way too young age of 64. That threw me for a loop no doubt. As time goes by, I find myself reflecting more on what she meant to me, the things she taught me, and the sacrifices she made for my siblings and I. The unconditional love in other words.

I've also realized that there were points in my life where the unconditional love wasn't returned to the full degree that it should have been. Nor was the acknowledgment of and appreciation for the sacrifices she endured to raise us kids adequately expressed nearly enough by me in plain, easily understood language. Now that she's gone, what I want to say, know I should have said or done, and wish I still had the chance to say or do is amazingly clear in my mind.

But it's too late.

So If My Mama Only Knew how much I love her, miss her, and cherish each day that I had with her; and how the lessons she taught me in life I'm really just beginning to understand; and that I can still see and hear her in the voice and mannerisms of her granddaughter; I think she'd be proud and happy.

So how do you express all of that emotion through song? By playing one of the best songs ever written to express just those feelings of course. Here's Maxwell doing his version of Kate Bush's "This Woman's Worth."

Unfortunately most of Maxwell's videos can't be embedded, but here's a link to the original music video.

That's it, and I hope you enjoyed my interpretation of the theme. Happy Old School Friday and don't forget the rest of the OSF crew!

Electronic Village - Chatting Over Cocktails - Ms Grapevine - Quick - Marcus LANGFORD - Cassandra - Danielle-Lisa C -Chocl8t - DP - Kreative Talk -MarvalusOne - Regina - LaShonda -AJ - Sharon - Invisible Woman - Believer 1964 -Dee - SJP - sHaE-sHaE - Songs In the Key of Life - Shawn - Hagar’s Daughter - freshandfab - Creole Pimp - Wonderland or Not - SoulAfrodisiac - Bria Bria - CCGroovy -

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Pirates- Does Anbody Have A Plan?

There's been lots of talk about piracy in the news lately, what with a huge international naval flotilla patrolling the area to interdict it, and now the news that after scores of attacks on vessels from seemingly every country on earth, at long last the pirates have got around to attacking an American flagged ship. Unfortunately for them it looks like they attacked the wrong ship.

The pirates tried to hijack the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama on Wednesday, but Capt. Richard Phillips thwarted their takeover by telling his crew of about 20 to lock themselves in a room, the crew told stateside relatives. The crew later overpowered some of the pirates, but Phillips surrendered himself to the bandits to safeguard his crew, and at least four of the pirates fled with him to an enclosed lifeboat, the relatives said. It was the first such attack on American sailors in about 200 years.

Wow. That's one bold, selfless, bad-assed Captain. Or a sad, sorry lot of so-called pirates. Either way I'm glad that at least a small victory against such lawlessness has been won. But the war is still far from over because we (meaning U.S.) don't seem to have a strategy in place to deal with the broader issues of piracy in the Horn of Africa region. Sure, there are a hundred naval ships in the waters off Somalia, but even this massive military show of force hasn't slowed down the number of pirate attacks. Or as stated by Galrahn at the influential Information Dissemination naval blog:

...the naval power accumulated off the coast of Somalia includes the greatest collection of global naval power collected since the invasion of Iraq, and even with virtually every major navy in the world involved, the pirates are winning.

That site by the way is a fantastic resource if you're interested in international naval and maritime issues, but I digress. Strategy. Ours isn't working because apparently there's is nothing in that part of Somalia that a decent person can do that remotely comes close to paying the bills like being a pirate. Throw in the fact that there's no central government and thus no one to turn pirates in to even if they are caught, and you start to see the true scope of the problem. In other words, you can't solve the piracy problem at sea. It has to be dealt with on land and that means helping establish a stable, central government. Wait a minute, I seem to recall..., remember this?

...So let me get this straight; the U.S. backs an Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in order to bring peace and security to the region even though the Somalian Union of Islamic Courts had already pretty much done that.

...Regardless of the fact that the Islamicists had, through their earlier victory, ushered in the longest period of relative peace in Somalia since the late 1980's, the decision for regime change was made because hey, they're Islamic. Unfortunately for the Somalian people, that aforementioned period of peace only lasted for about 6 months.

Yep, that was your boy DP writing in April 2007 about our support of Ethiopian invasion induced peace and security, and the one size fits all approach to fighting terrorism. Here we are a couple of years later and Somalia is in worse shape than before and now the whole world is feeling the effects.

I truly hope the Captain of the Maersk Alabama makes it home safely. But I can't help but wonder what might have been, for us and the Somalis, if we had left well enough alone back then. With the attempted hijack of an American ship, I can only hope it influences our best and brightest to come up with a proper strategy to deal with the issue in all of its complexity.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

My Wife Needs A Smartphone, A Moral Dilemma

My wife needs a new cell phone. She really does. You see the picture over there on the left? Well, her phone's not quite that old, but it's getting there. Some folks are just creatures of habit about certain things and she is definitely that way when it comes to cell phones. Currently she's using an old Samsung flip that can't do much more than placing a call.

Yeah, I know, that's what you want a phone to do, but in this day and age they can do so much more, especially with broadband. Like playing your music, text messaging, instant messaging, taking still and video images, playing games, and browsing the internet, to name just a few things. Not to mention the GPS capabilities and the myriad other applications being developed every day.

The reality is she needs what a smartphone can provide. For example, she's constantly printing directions to places she needs to go. Can you say GPS? Think of the trees saved over the long haul if nothing else. She also listens to music, manages a couple of internet groups, runs a vegetable coop, and home schools the kid. In other words, always on the go, even when she's at home. So she needs a more capable phone, but which one?

Dilemma? Well that's not really it. Here's my real issue y'all, and I'd appreciate your help in the comments.

As you know, I switched to the Blackberry Curve 8320 a few months ago, and have been amazed by all of the things that I can do via phone now, rather than the laptop. So much so that I've pretty much stopped toting the laptop around everywhere I go because it is basically a 5 pound redundancy. My version of the Curve was basically 3 year old technology when I bought it, and the newer models like the Storm, Curve 8900, and Bold have all been brought to market since then. And those are just the Blackberry phones. There's also all of the various touch screen models out there, like the iPhone, Instinct, HTC Touch, and G1. Having scratched the surface of what my current Blackberry can do, and being a gadget/technology guy, I'm already ready for a new phone myself. Which leads to my question. Should I:

1. Go ahead and buy her the type of phone I think she would like and use and wait to get an upgraded version of my own later, or...

2. Get the phone I want and let her have my 4 month old Curve.

You can see the conundrum here right? I mean I think she'd be happy either way but, well you know where I'm going here. It could go completely the opposite direction too.

So I need the help of you, my informed and enlightened readers. What would you do and please explain your rationale.

Texas Progressive Alliance Weekly Round-Up

A day late and a dollar short (as usual) but...

It is Monday, and that means it is time for another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly blog round-up. Here is your round-up for April 6, 2009.

Neil at Texas Liberal writes about Off the Kuff takes a look.

Justin at AAA-Fund Blog writes about the Pew study indicating Asian American students in Fort Bend and Pasadena ISDs face some of the highest segregation rates in the nation.

At McBlogger, we take a look at Ag Commissioner Todd Staples' efforts to make people sick. Nice work, Todd!

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is thoroughly disgusted with the crony-loving Texas Supreme Court which is hereby officially renamed the Texas Cronies' Protection Agency. Workers and consumers beware!
Labor gets its own television talk show, as MSNBC prepares to introduce Ed Schultz as part of its evening progressive lineup. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has the details.
WCNews at Eye On Williamson has a round up of The state of the stimulus money in Texas.

WhosPlayin's MexicoBob took time to poke fun at the Republican Tax Day Tea Parties, wondering what other necessary evils that Republicans might protest next.

Over at TexasKaos Libby Shaw updates us on Houston KBR corporation's onging legal problems. It seems they got paid and paid and paid to create electrical death traps for our troops. As one civilan expert put it , " It was horrible - some of the worst electrical work I have ever seen. Read the rest here:
Lawsuit Claims KBR Responsible for Deaths of US Troops in Iraq

BossKitty at TruthHugger was struck by a single line on the news describing an Austin man turned away from medical care for lack of insurance, then going on a violent rampage, No Insurance, Meds Denied, Tate Mayhem and Perryman Murder - Op Ed. On a lighter note, it is amusing to watch opponents to gay marriage wring their hands in despair every time a court reverses the ban, Gay Marriage Apocalypse - Really Now

Vince at Capitol Annex points out that Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler) has decided that the Iowa Supreme Court gay marriage decision signals the end of American civilization.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Musical Interlude: Old School Friday - If I Were A Boy/Girl

Happy Old School Friday! Y'all bear with me as I'm trying to get back int he swing of things in the blogging world. The theme for this week's Old School Friday is If I Were A Boy/Girl.


Not exactly sure how to handle that one, but here's what came to mind. I've been dealing with 11 year old daughter issues lately surrounding the whole Chris Brown/Rihanna episode. In a nutshell, the kid, because she's a bigger fan of Chris Brown than she is of Rihanna has been having a really difficult time wrapping her mind around the fact that no matter what the reasons or rationale, no man should beat a woman like that. Ever. Of course forgiveness and all of that stuff comes into play, but as a Dad, I feel it's my duty to take a hard line on this issue right now and try to set in her mind that she should NEVER accept that type of treatment from someone who says he loves her.

With that in mind, I interpeted today's theme as the types of songs/artists by male artists that I would hope my daughter would identify with as it pertains to relationships between men and women. Feelings, emotions, dedication, etc., all come into play here, and there are dozens of artists I could have chosen to represent my ideas here, but I've decided on these two.

First Up, Van Hunt with Being a Girl.

And next, an rock and roll classic from Led Zeppelin, All of My Love.

This was by far the most difficult Old School Friday theme to interpret so far, but I hope you understand the points I'm trying to make. Let me know in the comments, and don't forget about the rest of the Old School Friday crew.

Electronic Village - Chatting Over Cocktails - Ms Grapevine - Quick - Marcus LANGFORD - Cassandra - Danielle-Lisa C -Chocl8t - DP - Kreative Talk -MarvalusOne - Regina - LaShonda -AJ - Sharon - Invisible Woman - Believer 1964 -Dee - SJP - sHaE-sHaE - Songs In the Key of Life - Shawn - Hagar’s Daughter - freshandfab - Creole Pimp - Wonderland or Not - SoulAfrodisiac

P.S. I know more of y'all have joined up since I last participated so please drop your url in the comments and I'll add your site to the links.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Where The Heck Have You Been?

What's up y'all?

Wait, now don't be like that. Before you say anything, I know I've been missing in action for a long time. I know this blog hasn't been updated since mid-November, and we all know that a lot has happened since mid-November. I know I haven't been making my regular blog rounds to the fantastic sites that I usually frequent either. And I haven't left a comment anywhere for a while.

Look man, I know.

So what's the deal? Honestly, that I really don't know. The usual excuse is "I've been busy," and the truth is that I have. Since my last post we've sold a house, moved into another, been on the road a lot, continued to build a national organization from my current state base, hired a new employee, parted company with an old employee, hauled and humped 4 yards of garden mix topsoil for my wife's garden, started planning a golf tournament and gala for early September, become very familiar with my Blackberry 8820, rebuilt about 300 computers, met some really cool military veterans through my work, dealt with a daughter devastated that one of her musical heroes beat his girlfriend down, watched the Obama administration roll into office with a take charge attitude that I ultimately think will benefit the country, watched with trepidation as that same administration seemingly tries to address every issue facing the country today in one fell swoop, watched my beloved Dallas Cowboys collapse monumentally down the stretch, again, and not even make the playoffs even though they're probably the most talented team in the league, saw my equally beloved Houston Rockets shut down their so-called superstar for the year, trade their starting point guard, and become a better team, and oh yeah, I moved into new offices too.

Whew. I think I probably missed a few things in there somewhere, but you get the idea.
What I haven't been doing is blogging as y'all well know. As a result, I've missed the opportunity to comment on all kinds of stuff that normally I would've been all over. Like bailouts, Afghan surges, Iranian satellite launches, and all of the other stuff in the previous paragraphs. Not to mention Old School Friday's and Texas Progressive Alliance roundups. In other words, I ain't been on my blog job and some of y'all haven't been shy about letting me know that. So Regina, Angie, Mick, Neil, Boo and everybody else that has said "start blogging again" in so many words, this post is for you. I can't say how often I will post because blogging is really a job in itself, but I'm pretty sure I can better the one post in 4 months pace I've been on.

And I
know that some of y'all will let me know if I start slacking off again. But hey, that's a small price to pay for all of the love y'all send my way. I really appreciate and am thankful for you all.