Tuesday, January 31, 2006

TOPIC: Oil Company Racketeering = PROVEN
I culled this from FoxNews.com...
Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) posted record profits for any U.S. company on Monday — $10.71 billion for the fourth quarter and $36.13 billion for the year — as the world's biggest publicly traded oil company benefited from high oil and gas prices and demand for refined products. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations and Exxon shares rose nearly 3 percent.
The company's earnings amounted to $1.71 per share for the October-December quarter, up 27 percent from $8.42 billion, or $1.30 per share, in the year ago quarter. The result topped the then-record quarterly profit of $9.92 billion Exxon posted in the third quarter of 2005. Exxon's profit for the year was also the largest annual reported net income in U.S. history, according to Howard Silverblatt, a stock market analyst for Standard & Poor's. He said the previous high was Exxon's $25.3 billion profit in 2004. Exxon's results lifted the combined 2005 profits for the country's three largest integrated oil companies to more than $63 billion.
ConocoPhillips said last Wednesday that its fourth-quarter earnings rose 51 percent to $3.68 billion, while annual income climbed 66 percent to $13.53 billion. Two days later, Chevron Corp. (CVX) said its fourth-quarter earnings rose 20 percent to $4.14 billion, while annual income jumped 6 percent to $14.1 billion. The oil industry's stellar results renewed talk among some politicians for a windfall profit tax that would push companies to invest more in new production and refining capacity.

Monday, January 30, 2006

TOPIC: Screen Actors Guild Awards Show
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards Show was televised on TNT last night. Although I normally don't waste my time watching this type of show, my lovely wife wanted to see the stars' dresses, etc. So, we sat together for an hour of boob tube viewing.
In this age of ultra-left, liberalism in Hollywood, I think that SAG should be renamed FAG -- Fake Actors Garbage -- not only for the obvious connotation, but to more accurately describe the actors and actresses. With the mega-egos displayed by these folks, it was hilarious to see them attempt to show humility and grace when accepting the awards. As for the other connotation, that behavior was all too present throughout the show.
Oh, and one more thing -- females who act are called actresses, not actors. Actors are MALE. More political correctness from Hollywood.
Lastly, the pure garbage of shows and movies that won awards show the lack of intelligence and cultural acuity that pervades Hollywood. Some of the most perverse, disgusting and offensive actors/actresses, movies and shows were not only nominated, but won awards. Specifically, Desperate Housewives, Brokeback Mountain and LOST were among the SAG winners, as was the sickeningly effeminate actor from Will & Grace.
If this is all TV and SAG have to offer, I'm glad my family doesn't watch network TV anymore.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

TOPIC: From Tween to Teen...
My oldest daughter turned 13 today. No longer a child, but a full-fledged, cellphone carrying adolescent. She has now earned the right to wear makeup (in moderation) and stay up a little later than her younger siblings. She is... a teenager.
I'm extremely proud of her -- for many reasons. She's a committed Christian and a responsible part of our family of five. She is a Beta Club member, an All-Conference volleyball player, an award winning dancer and one heckuva sweet young lady. I am proud to be her father and her friend.

Happy 13th Birthday AJ!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

QOTD: I had an epiphany a few years ago where I was out at a celebrity party and it suddenly dawned on me that I had yet to meet a celebrity who is as smart and interesting as any of my friends. -- Moby

Friday, January 27, 2006

TOPIC: Bluetooth And A Black Eye
As you know, I recently upgraded to a Motorola V710 phone. In doing so, I gained Bluetooth capabilities. Here's an anecdotal story on one of my first "Bluetooth conversations"...
One evening, my oldest daughter called to say she needed graph paper for a school project. So, when I got off work, I set out to find a pad of graph paper for the tween's project. While looking around the stores, I used my newly purchased Motorola H300 Bluetooth earpiece to call home. We had a couple of conversations along the way. The "black eye" part of the story goes like this...
Just before walking into one store, I hit the button on the earpiece and said "Redial". My phone replied, "Dialing". As the doors to the store open, I am confronted by a long line of people waiting at the checkout. At the end of the line is a 6'4" black guy looking rather annoyed at having to wait. Just then my wife answers the phone. Without thinking about my surroundings, and while looking straight at this guy (with him looking back at me), I smiled and said, "Hey sweetheart. How's it going?"
The guy's eyebrows furled as he began to look like he was going to smash me into a small ball. I realized what was going on and frantically pointed to my earpiece saying, "Sorry, I'm on the phone. I'm on the phone." The tension in his face started to go away -- and I quickly made my way to another area of the store.
Moral of the story -- Be careful what you say while using your wireless cellphone. It could become a dangerous situation. :-)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

TOPIC: Who does Kanye West think he is!?!
Have you seen the new cover for Rolling Stone magazine? It depicts ultra-vile rapper Kanye West as Jesus Christ, just before the crucifixion. West is shown complete with thorny crown, bloody face and raggish robe.

Do Rolling Stone and Kanye West think they can blaspheme like this without any consequences? I've always said that rap (aka hip-hop) was predominantly a violent, irreverant, vulgar form of music. Kanye West and his sort of ilk (Tupac, Jay Z, etc) are the bottom of a barrel covered in four-letter words, degrading images and violent rhetoric. They claim to provide a sounding board for today's youth. Instead, they rebel against everything except their over-inflated egos and monotinous boom-tones.
Kanye West is the epitomy of an anti-Christ. To depict himself as our Savior is blasphemous! I pray that God will deal with his heart, soul and that of the Rolling Stone editors. Personally, I would love to kick him in the teeth for dirtying the image of Christ in that way. However, God is much more merciful than me, with his type. I am thankful for that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

TOPIC: "How Reality TV Fakes It" from Time.com
Frakenbiting: Phony quotes, bogus crushes, enhanced villains: the makers of "unscripted" TV spill its secrets...
It's a hard case to make; that taking liberties is a crime against viewers, who widely accept that the shows use the term reality loosely. True, the shows sell themselves as more authentic than scripted programming. But in a recent TIME poll, only 30% of respondents believed that the shows largely reflect what really happened, and 25% of them believed that the programs are almost totally fabricated.
If reality participants think the enhancement amounts to a lie, they have little recourse, since they usually sign a thick stack of waivers. In other words, the participants have to live with whatever the producers make up about them. Case in point...
"The first season of Laguna Beach, MTV's reality series about rich teens in Orange County, Calif., centered on a love triangle among two girls (LC and Kristin) and a boy (Stephen). The problem, says a story editor who asked not to be named, was that the triangle didn't exist. LC and Stephen, he says, were platonic friends, so the producers played Cupid through montage. LC 'would say things about [Stephen] as a friend,' says the editor. '[LC] said, 'I just love this guy.' All you have to do is cut to a shot of the girl, and suddenly she's jealous and grimacing.'"
Another example, which was much more morally repugnant, involves a young woman living with the results of frakenbiting:
"Sarah Kozer, a contestant on the Fox dating show Joe Millionaire, says producers doctored a scene in which she went for a walk behind some trees with the show's bachelor, Evan Marriott, to make it seem as if they had oral sex. The producers added sound effects and captions, she says, and dubbed in a line--'It's better if we're lying down'--that she had said earlier in the day in a different context. 'It couldn't have been more misrepresented and fictional if it had been completely scripted,' she says. (Fox declined to respond to Time regarding the matter.)"
This sort of irresponsibility on the part of producers and editors should be criminal. I suggest that each show's fans contact the shows' producers and advertisers and demand more responsibility and truth in "reality" television.

[Emphasis added by me. Most of the text culled from Time.com; as linked above.]
[ This post marked as January 23rd because I already posted on the 25th (when the story was listed on Time.com.]

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

QOTD: Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and consciencious stupidity. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, January 23, 2006

TOPIC: Political Correctness at its MOST Absurd Level
This was culled from the Tampa Tribune...
"In recent years, Florida law enforcement agencies have been pondering an unusual question of political correctness: If your officers fire at targets that are black in color, is the agency sending a racist message? Not wanting to take any chances, the Tampa and St. Petersburg police departments, among other law enforcement agencies, have switched to more colorful targets. 'It never was a big issue or a big debate,' said Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy, whose agency switched to blue silhouette targets from black ones two years ago. 'Nowadays, you can never be too sensitive, and we felt that it was the right direction to go.'"
YES, you can be too sensitive Ms. McElroy. How utterly absurd! How can ANY thinking person extrapolate the color of a silhouette target into a racial slur?! Ridiculous. I wonder how much this crap cost the taxpayers of Florida. How will the change to "Smurf blue" targets affect the effectiveness of police officers when they do have to fire their weapons? How long before someone complains about being offended that "Smurf blue" was used? You know, that could lead to police being predudice against cartoons, which might make them shoot kids -- which is about as absurd as black silhouettes (which have been used for decades) being a racial slur.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

QOTD: The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. -- Hunter S. Thompson

Saturday, January 21, 2006

QOTD: God sent me 1,000 hints that He didn't want me to keep doing what I was doing. But I didn't listen, so he set off a nuclear bomb. -- Jack Abramoff
[Disgraced lobbyist, talking to a Jewish publication about his crimes and the scandal that has hit Capitol Hill]

Friday, January 20, 2006

TOPIC: Obliviots and Prositots
I just read Mike Straka's post regarding his latest visit to the mall. Here's an excerpt:
"Once inside the mall, there are the usual Oblivion suspects.
There are people who unfold every sweater in the place and leave them in a pile so that no one else will have the same, neat shopping experience they just had.There are the ones who stop at the bottom of the escalator to debate the pros and cons of Charlie Brown Steakhouse vs. Wendy's, so that everybody coming down behind them is forced to do a tiptoe ballet dance to avoid running into them.
At the registers the Oblivions can be on either side.
Sometimes you get the clerk who knows nothing about his job or, more accurately, cares very little about his job. Other times you're stuck behind some Oblivion who winds up on the phone to the store credit office yammering about how much money she spends in the store every year, and she should be forgiven for being late on her payment.
Walking through the mall you'll see little girls dressed like prostitots, usually with some type of writing emblazoned on the butt of their tight sweatpants or miniskirts, like "Juicy" or "Go Wildcats." That's exactly what I want my eyes directed to, the derriere of some 13-year-old."
I have to agree with Straka. I often visit the malls in Myrtle Beach, SC. Besides the clueless tourists, Straka's experience mirrors mine almost exactly. I have to add one more obliviot (aka oblivious idiot) category -- and that's the food service workers. Many of them look like they just crawled out of the grease pit. Most act like they could care less about getting your order correct; if it's hot or even if it's worth human consumption. I wander -- is this because they could care less about what they eat or is it a general lack of interest in actually serving the people who effectively make their paycheck possible?
If you're reading this and see yourself described, GET A GRIP! Grow up; get real and pay attention to what you're doing. Otherwise, have a nice day! :-)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

QOTD: Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected. -- George Washington

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

TOPIC: Freewheeling Grrlz
I just got back from spending a few minutes on MySpace.com. A coworker asked me to look into the site because her 17yo daughter was using MySpace as her homepage, chat and IM. As I began to search for the young lady's profile, I ran across dozens of high school and college age girls' pages. My, how women have cheapened themselves. I mean YOUNG girls, dressed like prositutes (aka prostitots), showing off "everything". For the pervs, NO - they are not nude. However, the provocative poses, the whorish outfits and the promiscuous writings are enough to make one wonder just how many of these young ladies are "droppin' it like it's hot".
If I didn't know some of these young ladies (and I do know a few of them), I'd think they were pure sluts by looking at their profiles and pictures. Note to self: Maybe I don't know these girls as well as I think I do.
Parents, you should get point your browser to MySpace.com -- and find out if your tween, teen or collegiate child has a profile there. Then, follow up on what you find. NO, I'm not saying that MySpace.com is bad. I'm also not saying that every kid on the site is a whore or pimp -- or even thinking about sex 24/7. However, some of them lend themselves easily to being targeted by pervs, rapists and predatory homosexuals (and we all know these types do exist in the real world).
Girls, if you're reading this -- take another look at your MySpace.com profile. Do you look like a whore? Do you sound like a slut? Is that the way you want to be viewed? Many of you SAY you want to be respected and valued. So, portray yourself as one to be appreciated, respected and valued - and people will look at you that way. Act like a whore and people will treat you that way. The choice is really yours!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

QOTD: Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. -- Anonymous

Monday, January 16, 2006

TOPIC: "The House is run like a plantation, and you know what I mean"
The illustrious senator from New York; the honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, spoke those words today while attending a celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Yes, Mrs. Clinton, we do know what you mean. And we're apalled that you would say it -- though we understand your upbringing and lack of tact. What we don't understand is how you can get away with saying such a thing, especially on the holiday celebrating a great civil rights leader. What we don't understand is why the Democrats in the House are standing behind you when they also knew what you meant by such an analogy. If a Republican had said such a thing, he would have been called on the carpet, asked to resign from office and "impeached" in the liberal media. Yet, when the honorable Mrs. Clinton makes an obvious slur towards a dark period of American history, the Dems fall in behind her explaining away her statement by trying to blast Republicans for their leadership in the House. What utter nonsense!
FWIW, if you've been watching the Clinton News Network (aka CNN), you wouldn't even know there was any flack about the statement. From their POV, she can do NO wrong.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

TOPIC: The Book of Daniel
Rather than reinvent the wheel, I pulled the following summary of NBC's new series from the AFA website:
"NBC is promoting 'The Book of Daniel' as a serious drama about Christian people and the Christian faith. The main character is Daniel Webster, a drug-addicted Episcopal priest whose wife depends heavily on her mid-day martinis.
Webster regularly sees and talks with a very unconventional white-robed, bearded Jesus. The Webster family is rounded out by a 23-year-old homosexual Republican son, a 16-year-old daughter who is a drug dealer, and a 16-year-old adopted son who is having sex with the bishop's daughter. At the office, his lesbian secretary is sleeping with his sister-in-law.
NBC and the mainstream media call it 'edgy', 'challenging' and 'courageous.' The series is written by Jack Kenny, a practicing homosexual who describes himself as being 'in Catholic recovery', and is interested in Buddhist teachings about reincarnation and isn't sure exactly how he defines God and/or Jesus. 'I don't necessarily know that all the myth surrounding him (Jesus) is true,' he said. NBC considers The Book of Daniel a positive portrayal of Christ and Christians."

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this television show -- most of it negative. Except for extreme liberals and the homosexual agenda, it doesn't seem like many people are in agreement with airing such a perverse and distorted view of Christianity. In fact, Tom Shales of the Washington Post, calls it a "mean-spirited, unholy mess". Shales also correctly states, "I cannot recall a series in which a greater number of characters seemed so desperately detestable -- a series with a larger population of loathsome dolts. There ought to be a worse punishment than cancellation for a show that tries this hard to be offensive and, even at that crass task, manages to fail." I wholeheartedly agree.
If a negative and dysfunctional view of homosexuals, Muslims or say, Chinese families was portrayed on TV, there would be a major uproar from special interest groups. However, bashing Christians by them as unholy and screwed up (drug addicts and promiscuous gay men/women) seems to be fine with these same special interest groups (GLAAD, HRC, 365gay, the left-leaning mass media). Thankfully, many television advertisers are taking the hint from the mainstream of American society. Stuart Elliott's New York Times article should be a reminder to NBC. Americans know how to show our distain for junk like "Daniel". We have let the advertisers who pay the bills know that we won't buy their products or watch the show.
Furthermore, some NBC affiliates (at least 8 at last count) are refusing to air the show. I applaud those affiliate stations for having better taste than to allow such garbage on their airwaves. In fact, I'm thinking of filing an official FCC complaint against the stations in my area that do air "The Book of Daniel". The show is against all decency. It doesn't uphold the family values that these stations are bound to in their FCC mandate. And, it airs during the prime time slot, which is reserved for family friendly programming. NO ONE could successfully argue that "Daniel" is fit for young children or tweens. It's simply too... well, gross (IMO). Joking about the loathsome behavior of homosexual promiscuity, drug pushers and pill-popping priests talking to a hippie Messiah is unacceptable -- on TV or anywhere else. The First Amendment was NOT written to protect crap like this!
If you are in agreement with the Sope-Bocks' POV, I encourage you to write a letter or email to NBC. You can find one such email on the AFA website. I also encourage you to visit the NARTH website for more information regarding the truth about homosexuality.

Friday, January 13, 2006

TOPIC: Computer History -- Java
In January 1991, the Stealth Project got underway at Sun Microsystems. The goal of Stealth was to develop "smart" consumer electronic devices that can be centrally controlled and programmed from a handheld remote control device. After a couple of years of moderate success, the project's programming language was renamed Java, and its focus was directed toward the emerging World Wide Web. Commercial introduction of Java in 1995 marked a new era in the history of the web.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

We create an environment where it is alright to hate, to steal, to cheat, and to lie if we dress it up with symbols of respectability, dignity and love. -- Whitney Moore, Jr. (on American society)

Integrity is not a conditional word. It doesn't blow in the wind or change with the weather. It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look in there and see a man who won't cheat, then you know he never will. -- John D. MacDonald (from The Turquoise Lament)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

TOPIC: Motorola V710
Yea, I know... it's not a normal topic for the Sope-Bocks. But, things have been kinda heavy around here lately... so, I decided to lighten up a bit.
My lovely wife needed a new phone. She likes small, simple phones, so I purchased an LG for her. While at the Alltel store (we'll talk about horrid customer service another day), I decided to go ahead and upgrade my V265 to a V710. I really wanted the MP3 capability, Bluetooth and the larger display.
After fooling around with software downloads, firmware patches, SEEM edits, cables and a new 256Mb transflash card, I finally have a phone that has my entire Outlook calendar, my phonelist, dozens of full-length MP3 files, my favorite ringtones and easy-to-use Bluetooth.
One caveat, don't buy a V710 or E815 or any other phone "capable" of MP3, ringtones, Bluetooth, etc. without checking with the provider first. It seems that Verizon, Alltel and others disable some of the phone's capabilities in order to extort money from end users (via services like Brew). You can hack your phone, but you might void the warranty. Big whup when they still charge you $50.00 to replace a phone.
Enjoy and use your phone to the fullest. They are a cool tool -- but not a toy. Drive responsibly and be courteous to those around you. IOW, we don't care, nor do we want to hear, you and your mom argue on the phone. Go outside! :-)

Monday, January 09, 2006

TOPIC: Judge Samuel Alito's Confirmation Hearings
I've been listening to the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee, Judge Samuel Alito, most of the afternoon. How typical of the Senate....
The Republicans tout Judge Alito's accomplishments and record of upholding the Constitution. I happen to agree with them, for the most part. My points of disagreement are on privacy rights and personal prejudice regarding Constitutional issues. OTOH, I believe Judge Alito will uphold the Constitution -- as it was written, NOT as liberal justices have determined to interpret it.
"On the other side of the aisle", the Democrats bash Judge Alito for wanting to take a woman's reproductive rights (politically correct way of saying - a woman's so-called "right" to kill her unborn child)... and for being (what amounts to) not upholding the same judicial philosophy of Sandra Day O'Connor... or the political agenda that liberals embrace. I vehemently disagree with them as murder is murder and the Constitution does not uphold the right to murder an unborn child. As a point of agreement with the Dems, I do agree that Judge Alito should explain his membership in an organization that lobbied against inclusion of minorities. However, I have no problem with them excluding women, *if* the club was strictly a men's organization.
As we move through this week, it will be interesting to see what happens... and hear from Judge Samuel K. Alito himself.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

QOTD: Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph. -- Haile Selassie

Saturday, January 07, 2006

TOPIC: Men Bashing In The Media
This is a topic that's been on my mind for quite some time now. I have some time today, so this is going to be a long post -- particularly because this is an important topic to me (and to all men).
There are dozens of webpages and blogs highlighting an issue that is prevalent in American media, especially TV commercials.
The problem: "Stupid Guy"
Men are continually portrayed as stupid in commercials and TV shows. Do you EVER see a woman portrayed as ignorant in a commercial? Nope. THINK about it... Look at Vonage commercials; Sprint commercials; Circuit City commercials... and the list goes on. Men are shown as morons, while women are shown as intelligent, sexy and in control of the situation. Even the ADT commercial shows the man as a cowering wimp, while the woman is the authoritative figure in the household.
Dr. James Dobson wrote a book entitled "Bringing Up Boys". In his book, he summed up the situation quite well...
"It is interesting to note, for example, how disrespect for men pervades the entertainment industry, including many television commercials. The formula involves a beautiful woman (or a bevy of them) who is intelligent, sexy, admirable and self-assured. She encounters a slob of a man, usually in a bar, who is a braggadocio, ignorant, balding and overweight. The stupid guy, as I will call him, quickly disgraces himself on screen, at which point the woman sneers or walks away.
So what is going on here? Is it possible that men, especially male beer drinkers and sports-car enthusiasts, actually like being depicted as dumb, horny, fat, nerdy and ugly? Apparently they do. We also have to assume that guys are not offended when they are made the butt of a thousand jokes. But why? Women would not tolerate that kind of derision. You'll note that the polarity of the stupid guy ads is never reversed. Not in a million years would you see a corpulent, unattractive woman lusting after a good-looking man who shows disdain for her as she does something ridiculous. Men, however, don't seem to notice that the joke is on them.
Television sitcoms also blast away at traditional masculinity, much like a wrecking ball crashing into a building. After enough direct hits, the structure begins to crumble. There is not a single example, as I write, of a healthy family depicted on network programming that includes a masculine guy who loves his kids and is respected by his wife. None!"
Dr. Dobson's group, Focus on the Family, published a webpage asking the question "Is Your Son Glad To Be A Boy?" In the era of open male bashing, the question is a legitimate one. Is "Stupid Guy" real or imagined only by the Christian right?
Ad-Rag.com shows that the problem not only occurs on American TV, but around the world. A quoted statistic (from the link above) shows, "The number of complaints made by men about how men are portrayed in ads is up according to the Advertising Standards Board (Australia) ... This year complaints of sex discrimination in ads by men account for 39 per cent of all sex discrimination complaints about ads. In 2001 the figure was 24 per cent."
Glenn Sacks' son asked him why he was being bash just for being a boy. This started a campaign that helped bring the problem to the national spotlight. Sacks noted the problem and (thankfully) did something about it -- "Why I Launched the Campaign Against 'Boys are Stupid' Products" targeted a very offensive group of products that touted boy-bashing -- because "boys are stupid". What kind of people are perpetuating such nonsense and hatred?
Are you still doubting what I'm telling you here? Here's more proof... Mens News Daily says,
"one 2000 study by the National Fatherhood Initiative analyzed how fathers were portrayed in 102 shows during prime time television. Each show that included a father as a central, recurring character was rated in terms of how the father came across -- as an inept Homer Simpson or as a wise Father Knows Best. Among the 102 shows, only 4 presented the father as involved and competent. Thus, in prime time TV, fathers usually did not exist. And when they did appear, they were depicted as morons, deadbeats, abusers, or worse. On the silver screen, masculine characters fare no better. According to an article in the July/August 2002 issue of American Enterprise, movies routinely portray men as "insecure, hesitant, angst-ridden, self-centered, and ineffectual."
Trudy Schuett, in the Desert Light Journal (neat blog), wrote an excellent article regarding how men are taking a beating in the media (among other things). THANKFULLY, there are women who see the problem for what it is. Ms. Schuett wrote,
"When activists complain to the various media or their advertisers about specific incidents, the response is usually that it was intended as a joke. However, if the situation were reversed, and a woman was the one being slapped around, or too stupid to take care of her kids -- well, that kind of presentation would never even be considered. You can't show that kind of disrespect to a woman. So why is it OK to show this kind of disrespect to a man? Why is it OK to promote violence of any kind among families or friends?"
Another female, Kerry Marsala, writes the Capitol Hill Coffee House. In the blog, Ms. Marsala offers a great article on the topic of male bashing. One excerpt worth quoting says,
"Watch the comedy show Raymond for a few episodes and you will witness how Raymond's TV wife and mother treat him. Sure it's comedy, but it seems to be the reflection of an overall prevailing attitude from American women in general--- personified in a half-hour sitcom. Men are looked at as being louses, who are insensitive, dumb, clueless, cave men. Just because men think differently and buy tickets to the Superbowl instead of the ballet for our anniversary present doesn’t make them bad guys."
Do you see men continually portrayed as idiots? I do and I'm sick of it.
Let me know what you think.

Friday, January 06, 2006

QOTD: Do not try to force God into your mold, but allow yourself to be shaped by His ways. Surrendering control to Him can be difficult, but is best. -- Woodrow Kroll/Tony Beckett from the book Faith Walk

Thursday, January 05, 2006

TOPIC: Changes to the Sope-Bocks
After hitting some heavy topics over the past several days, I decided to take a break today... and make some changes to the Sope-Bocks. The colors, some fonts and a few links have been changed. I also added Comments -- for you, the reader, along with an "Email Post" link. Let me know what you think of the changes -- and the Sope-Bocks.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

TOPIC: The Saga of Sago...
For some reason, the story of the 13 coal miners in Upshur County, West Virginia has been extremely compelling to me. Knowing I had to go the work early the next day, I sat up most of the night (Tuesday) watching FoxNews' and MSNBC's coverage of the story.
Other than the obvious conclusions regarding the tragic loss of life, I have a few other observations to make regarding the story AND the media's coverage of the saga. First, as callus as it may seem, coal mining is an inherently dangerous profession -- and every man in that mine knew that fact every day he went to work. Does that excuse any problems that the mine owners could have mitigated? Of course not. However, *if* the mine's supervisors were diligent regarding safety (and we do not know that answer for sure), then the loss of these twelve lives was part of the course of workplace accidents. In other words, the accident may have happened just because it happened, and not because someone is at fault.
Second, the media was severely WRONG for spreading incorrect information. a) They continually harped on the 208 violations at the Sago Mine. After further analyzing the details, we find that some of the "violations" mean little more than a parking citation (while others are more serious). b) There was no need for the mindless media speculation, on every aspect of the situation. c) The media were very much at fault regarding discovery of the miners overnight Tuesday. If the reporters on the ground had confirmed what they heard before announcing it on-air, the families would not have been tortured by the rollercoaster of emotions -- believing their loved ones were alive only to find out they were dead.
Third, the lawyers and environmentalists have already descended upon Tallmansville and Buckhannon, WV. In the coming months, accusations will fly. Hateful speech will ensue and the outcome will likely be that some unscrupulous attorneys make a bundle of ill-gotten money; the community's standard of living will decrease as the mine closes; and the community will continue to hurt because revenge is never sweet once swallowed.
Fourth, I pray for the families of the miners who lost their lives; for the Sago Mine's operators, supervisors & owners and for the hundreds of people who have been affected by the events of January, 2006 in the hills of West Virginia. May we all learn to take life day-by-day; loving, sharing and caring for each other. May we not turn to litigation and hate, but cling to the God of our Fathers -- in whom we can find hope in times of what seems like senseless loss of life.
Lastly, I realize it is little consolation when you're mourning... but, we all need to remember that this life is not our eternal life. It is but a step along the path. We are eternal souls, forever living -- so death here on earth is simply the taking of another step in eternity.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

TOPIC: Users Urged to Protect Computers from WMF Exploits...
I don't normally include Windows-type posts on my blog, BUT this warning is vitally important to all Windows XP/2003 users.
"The threat posed by the flaw in Windows WMF files is increasing. Now hundreds of websites are using exploits for the flaw to install malicious software on people's Windows-based computers. What makes the WMF vulnerability particularly insidious is that it can infect computers when users merely visit sites or view a maliciously crafted image in the preview pane of older versions of Microsoft Outlook; machines can become infected without requiring the user to click on anything or open any files. Microsoft is investigating the issue and says it will issue a patch, but has not yet said when that patch will be available."
[Culled from SANS.org and edited by yours truly...]

Microsoft’s “Suggested Action” is:

Un-register the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer (Shimgvw.dll) on Windows XP Service Pack 1; Windows XP Service Pack 2; Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1. Microsoft has tested the following workaround. While this workaround will not correct the underlying vulnerability, it helps block known attack vectors. When a workaround reduces functionality, it is identified in the following section.
Note: The following steps require Administrative privileges. It is recommended that the machine be restarted after applying this workaround. It is also possible to log out and log back in after applying the workaround. However, the recommendation is to restart the machine.

To un-register Shimgvw.dll, follow these steps:
1. Click Start, click Run, type "regsvr32 -u %windir%\system32\shimgvw.dll" (without the quotation marks), and then click OK. The %windir% part refers to the directory in which Windows is installed (usually C:\WINDOWS or C:\WINNT).
2. A dialog box appears to confirm that the un-registration process has succeeded. Click OK to close the dialog box.
Impact of Workaround: The Windows Picture and Fax Viewer will no longer be started when users click on a link to an image type that is associated with the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer.
To undo this change, re-register Shimgvw.dll by following the above steps. Replace the text in Step 1 with “regsvr32 %windir%\system32\shimgvw.dll” (without the quotation marks)."
Additional comments from the Sope-Bocks...
A.) Using an alternative browser like Opera or Firefox can offer some protection.
B.) One thing you can do *IF* you have a graphics editor (Paint Shop Pro, PhotoShop, etc) is change the way WMF files are handled. In WinXP, go to My Computer => Tools => Folder Options => File Types. Choose WMF and then click Change to choose another program for that file type. I chose psp.exe, which is the EXE for Paint Shop Pro. OK the decision and close out of My Computer. This is a workaround that will work – or make WMF files fail (which is another method of not being exploited).

Monday, January 02, 2006

QOTD: Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false, and the false with the true. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

TOPIC: 100 Years Ago - in History - 1906
As we turn the page to 2006, let's look back on historical events from 100 years ago...
January 09 - Campbell's soup was trademark registered
January 12 - First time Dow Jones closes above 100
February 1 - First federal penitentiary building completed; Leavenworth, Kansas
February 19 - W.K. Kellogg & Charles Bolin establish Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Co. (aka Kellogg's)
March 15 - Three Britons, Mssr's Rolls, Royce and Johnson form the company Rolls Royce, Ltd.
April 06 - First animated cartoon copyrighted
April 18-19 - The San Francisco Earthquake and Fire occur. Deathtoll = 4,400+
May 10 - Russia's Duma (Parliament) meets for first time. The Duma is dissolved the same year.
May 19 - Federated Boys' Club (aka Boys' Club of America) organizes
May 22 - The Wright Brothers patent the aeroplane (aka the "flying machine")
October 3 - "SOS" adopted as warning signal by first conference on wireless telegraphy
December 24 - Reginald A. Fessenden became first person to broadcast music over radio (Mass., USA)
December 30 - Iran becomes a constitutional monarchy
Other notable events of 1906:
- 15 American states had speed limits of 20 miles per hour.
- 39 year-old Bavarian immigrant Carl Laemmle (pronounced LEM-lee) opened his first nickelodeon theater in Chicago. From this foundation sprang what was to become Universal Studios.
- 1906 Games in Athens, Greece were (originally) officially considered the first modern era Olympic Games. The IOC now considers them "Unofficial Olympic Games".