Saturday, April 24, 2010

It's Not Right

Today I took one of my occasional (about once a month) trips to Costco. I needed to stock up on a few things.

Two of those things were cans of V-Fusion juice and cans of Coke. If you've never tried V-Fusion because the whole vegetable thing scares you off, then don't sweat it--The stuff is great! All you taste is the fruit juice (This commercial announcement NOT paid for by Campbell's!)

But my problem is this: 24 11.5 oz. cans of V-Fusion cost $15. 32 12 oz. cans of Coke cost $9.

An 8 oz. glass of V-Fusion contains a full serving of fruits and vegetables, contains only natural ingredients, and is extremely good for you. A 12 oz. can of Coke is...incredibly NOT.

You have to pay twice as much for the healthy products as you do for the unhealthy ones. Is it any wonder most people tend to take the easy way out?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ballbuster Video

Recently I have heard news that Blockbuster Video rental has encountered financial problems. I couldn't be happier.

You see, a few years ago, I was a BV member. I rented videos from them regularly.

An aside: Those of you younger folks may have heard stories of how us geezers would sometimes make trips to video rental stores. There we would pay a small fee to obtain copies of movies released on VHS tape, take them home, watch them 1 or 2 times, and then return them to the same rental store so others could do the same thing. It happened a lot. Often enough that said stores would be very profitable.

One of the features of these stores was that they would often charge fees when these videos were returned a day or more later than they were rented for. This was understandable, to a certain extent--Not having copies available of a certain movie that was in high demand cost the store money, and they were within their rights to expect their customers to make that up to them the next time they tried to rent a video.

But where Ballbuster Video went wrong was this: I returned a movie one day late one time. A few weeks later, I received in the mail a bill for $2 for my late fee.

No other video rental store on the planet had ever sent me a bill for a late fee. They all assumed (safely) that I would simply make it up to them the next time I rented a video, which I was willing to do.

My reaction? I immediately tore up my Bal--er, I mean Blockbuster Video card. I have never since rented a video from them, nor will I ever do so in the future. (I never paid the bill, by the way, and I never will)

Seriously. Think about it for a minute, Blockbuster. You sent me a bill for $2, and you lost a customer for life. And pause to think for a minute about the number of people I have told this story to over the last few decades, including the 3 readers of this blog.

You deserve to fail.

There is Truly no Limit... how far Fox "News" will go...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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God bless Jon Stewart!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Thank You, Mr. Justice

I want to say thank you to retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. Thank you for his nearly four decades of service on the nation's highest court. Thank you for his valiant fight against an ever-encroaching right-wing agenda. It may be impossible to replace him.

But now that's out of the way, I have to point out something. His 90th birthday will be on April 20th. He has been on The Bench since I was in elementary school. The reason for this is that the framers of the constitution decided that Federal Judges should have lifetime appointments. In other words, they could hold their posts for as long as they lived, or until they alone decided it was time to step down, whichever came first. There are, of course, ways of removing a Federal judge from the bench by other means, but instances of this happening are few and far between.

The problem with this is obvious: When this was decided, a person living past the age of 55 was the exception, not the rule. A "lifetime" appointment could be expected to last 10 years at the outside. Nowadays, however, a person appointed to the Federal bench at age 40, for example, can be reasonably expected to be able to hold onto that post for 50 years or more, if he or she desires. In other words, said person will be able to hold onto their position of extreme power and influence for 5 decades or more. No one in this day and age should have that much power.

I am definitely NOT advocating elections for Federal judgeships--one need look no further than any of the states that elect judges to their positions to see what a disaster THAT would be. What I am advocating, as have many before me, are term limits for federal judges. A 10, 15, or 20 year term for a federal judge would be much more acceptable. That way, no judge ever has the ability to impose his or her personal ideology on a society that may have become radically opposed that personal ideology, for better or worse.

I know it's a pipe dream, but wouldn't it be nice?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Mission

This morning I attended Easter Worship services at Christ Presbyterian Church (CPC) here in Toledo. At this point, I should point out that I am not a member of this church, but I have attended it many times before, mostly for convenience--the service is at 11 A.M., and I hate getting up early on the weekend. One of the things I happened to notice in the worship bulletin is the 5 parts of the Church's mission statement:

1) Belief and Hospitality: Believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and graciously invite and welcome others into our community of faith.

2) Regular Worship: Attend worship every Sunday that you are in town.

3) Concern for others: Participate in at least 5 hours of service each year with a focus on caring for the poor, sick, and/or disadvantaged.

4) Faith Development: Participate in one small group or Bible study each year.

5) Generous giving: Give generously in the mission and ministry of CPC. Recommend giving at least 5% of household income, and work towards giving 10%

Fairly simple and straightforward. All derived from the various teachings of Jesus.

It got me thinking back to when I studied Islam back in school. One of the things I remembered was the 5 pillars of Islam. So I looked them up, and I would like to list them here. I have re-ordered them slightly from their traditionally listed order.

1) Shahadah: (Roughly translated) "[I profess that] There is no other God but Allah, and Muhammad is his Messenger." "Allah" means "God" in Arabic.

2) Salāt: The requirement that Muslims must pray five times per day.

3) Sawm (also known as Siyam): Ritual fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

4) Hajj: The requirement of making a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in your lifetime.

5) Zakāt: The requirement of giving alms to the poor. The standard rate is 2.5% of household income.

Now compare the two.

Really not all that different, are they?

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Going Too Far.

It has happened. A Republican Florida doctor has decided to post a sign on his practice's door telling his patients that if they voted for Obama then they should seek care elsewhere.

I really don't know where to start.

Violating the Hippocratic oath?

Disregarding the needs of patients?

Being a total jackass?

I really want to send a message to Republicans. That message is this: You have got to stop embracing the extreme right. No matter how bad things got under the GW Bush administration, we progressives never became as vitriolic as you have become.

When you get to the point where your followers have decided that they will refuse their services to people they don't like, you have crossed a line. What's next? Separate entrances? Separate but equal?

Deja vu, anyone?