Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 -- Year in Review

While I'll never be able to put together as amazing a "Year In Review" as my comedy-writing hero does every year, I thought I'd list some high points in the year for your enjoyment.
  • I went down to Kansas to watch my cousin Kyle drag race.  It was a great weekend, even though I only saw him take one trip down the track.
  • I got to watch one of my high school classmates, Luke Hochevar, pitch for the Triple-A Omaha Royals and Kansas City Royals baseball teams.  I watched more baseball games this summer than I have my entire life.  What a great experience.
  • My wife and I paid a $269 electric bill at our first rental-house in Omaha last February and had our Jeep broken into so that the perp could walk away with a radio face-plate and some change from the center-console.  Needless to say, we hightailed it out of that neighborhood as soon as possible.
  • Which lead to my wife's brother traveling to Omaha on one day's notice to help us move into our new house.  It would be one of three trips for him to come see us this year.  He is such a trooper and an all around great guy.
  • We also had my little sister spend the summer with us in Omaha while she interned at the Bemis Art Center.  Having her out here encouraged the rest of my family to come visit multiple times.  Together, we went to the Henry Doorly Zoo, to Schramm State Park, down to KC for a couple Royals games, spent time at the roulette tables, and took in some great concerts (O.A.R. w/ Brett Dennen; Mat Kearney; and The Script).
  • GOLF
  • My cousins from Denver came out for a weekend of fun.  We played golf at three different courses, went over to the casinos, and drove out to Des Moines to see the Dave Matthews Band.  We had general admission tickets that allowed us early admission, so we ended up center stage and 5 standing rows back.  It was a great experience and great to spend quality time with the cousins. 
  • Back in January, I submitted a picture my wife took to the "View from Your Window" feature on Daily Dish blog, which is run by Andrew Sullivan.  On January 19th, it was published on the blog's front page.  Then, we discovered that Andrew was going to be publishing a "View from Your Window" book that would be a collection of all the entries over the past few years.  We couldn't be happier that her picture made it into the book.  It is so much fun opening up a professionally published book and seeing a picture taken by my wife.  It will forever remind us of our time out in Omaha.  (You can see her picture in book form HERE.  Her picture is on page 195, which you can find on the scroll bar at the bottom of the page.)
  • This year was also a major milestone year, as my wife and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary.  When planning a trip to celebrate, we noticed that my parents would be celebrating their 30th year of marriage and my wife's mom and husband would also be celebrating their 5th year being married.  So we decided to go on a cruise together.  The six of us set sail with Carnival Cruise from San Diego, stopped for a day at Catalina Island, and spent another day on the Baja Peninsula of Mexico, before returning to San Diego.  It was a great trip and a great way to spend a weekend with our parents.
  • Since we'd missed their 25th wedding anniversary, my siblings, my wife, and I decided to plan a surprise weekend getaway to Estes Park over the Labor Day weekend, where all of us kids would entertain our parents in a cabin.  Estes Park was where they went for their honeymoon, so we thought it would be fun for them to return 30 years later.  It was a great weekend. 
  • I once again participated in Movember, which is a month-long mustache-growing fund-/awareness-raising event. 
  • And, 2009 was the year I re-started blogging here at 87MurphySquirrels.  I had initially started this blog a couple of years ago while I was a budding teacher.  I've been able to put up 75+ posts in the past 5 months, and I've developed a nice readership.  And for that, I'd like to thank you, dear reader, for stopping by.
I can hardly wait to see what 2010 has in store for me, my wife, my dog, and my family and friends.

So, Happy New Year and may your 87 Squirrels be Murphy!  I know mine will be.

My Favorite Television Shows of the 2000s

Daniel Fienberg has a great rundown of the 31 Best Television Shows of the Decade at his blog.  As I looked through his list, I noticed how few of his choices would be on my list.  But that is probably because my list would consist of my favorite shows, not the "best" shows of the decade.  I rarely judge a show based upon its production value or the story arches or the set design, as people like Dan Fienberg are paid to do.  Instead, I judge shows based up their ability to keep my interest.   

Here is my list:
  1. The Office -- The greatest comedy writing and acting of the decade.  Every season has improved from the one before it, which is tough for a show to do.  By spending time developing the characters, such as Dwight, Jim, Micheal, Creed, Kevin, Andy, Pam, and Angela, the show didn't always have to have a solid storyline to be hilarious.  And they were able to fight through some "jump the shark" moments (Jim&Pam breakups, Micheal Scott Paper Company, a merger) and come out the other side even stronger.  I just hope they pull a Seinfeld and bow out while I'm still wanting more. 
  2. Generation Kill -- This mini-series is the most compelling drama of the decade.  I would contend that this is the best and most important show HBO has ever produced.
  3. The Ultimate Fighter -- Combining mixed martial arts and competition-based reality-show production?  Count me in.
  4. Scrubs -- I love the different character combos this show has:  JD&Turk, JD&Cox, JD&Janitor, etc.  And with a great supporting cast, the lead characters shine all the brighter.
  5. Saturday Night Live -- With cast members such as Ferrell, Fallon, Fey, Poehler, Morgan, Shannon, Rudolph, Meyers, Kattan, Samberg, Wiig, Hammond, and Thompson, the 2000s ended up being a great decade for SNL.
  6. Psych -- The perfect "buddy" show, Shawn & Gus are hilarious.  I love all of the 80s and 90s pop-culture references that they use in their banter.  And the names Shawn uses when introducing Gus always crack me up, especially when Gus becomes the persona that the name implies.
  7. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia -- The Gang tackles topics that no other sitcom would dare touch in an always funny way.
  8. Top Chef -- Combine my love of cooking and my love of competitive reality shows?  How could I not love this show?
  9. American Idol -- The best of the reality-genre, their combo of train wreck awful and goose-bump-inducing fabulous keeps me tuning in year after year.
  10. Dexter -- An amazing premise that is flawlessly executed.
  11. The Big Bang Theory -- Nerds/dorks/geeks have never been so cool.
  12. Family Guy -- "Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Conway Twitty..." or "Mom, mom, mommy, ma, mom, mom, ma, ma, mommy, mommy....hi!" or "Drop it, Patches".  Genius.
  13. 24 -- While I've found it harder and harder to remain committed to the premise of this show as the series has progressed, Seasons 1&2 alone get this show onto this list. 
  14. Six Feet Under -- The way this show makes a funeral home interesting is a feat in and of itself.  And the cast of this show was fabulous (although I could have lived without the Brenda/Billy story line).
  15. Project Runway -- One of my guilty pleasures.  As Time Gunn would say, "Make it work."
  16. Jackass -- Johnny Knoxville is a genius.  One part Evel Knievel and one part Ashton Kutcher, he brought the stupid things guys do to make each other laugh to the mainstream.
  17. House -- One of the greatest leading characters of the decade.
  18. Big Brother -- While no other player will compare to Dr. Will, I still tune into this experiment three times a week during the summer.
  19. Sleeper Cell -- An amazingly bold television show considering the topic (home-grown terrorism) and the fact that it came out only 4 years after 9/11.  A great show that they thankfully ended after two seasons and before they got wacky with the story line. 
  20. Penn & Teller BS -- One of the few television shows coming from a libertarian worldview, magicians Penn & Teller call bullshit on such topics as alternative medicine, environmental hysteria, and the war on drugs. 
  21. King of Queens -- My wife and I love this show because we are so similar to Doug and Carrie Heffernan.
  22. True Blood -- The best of the recent vampire craze.
  23. Mad Men -- Watching this show makes me long for the days when you could (and were encouraged) to smoke and drink whiskey at work.
  24. Prison Break -- I have never been so nervous or anxious while watching a television show as I was while watching Season 1.  The later years were not as compelling, but were still entertaining.
  25. Burn Notice -- I've learned more about being a spy from this show than I'd ever learn in the CIA.
  26. Last Comic Standing -- While the format of the show often annoys me, this show has introduced me to many great comedians, especially John Heffron.
  27. Life -- The best "canceled-too-soon" show of the decade.
  28. South Park -- Even after 10+ seasons, the show still finds a way to remain relevant, topical, and edgy. 
  29. Alias -- The show that proved that an actress could carry an action show to success (leading to Dollhouse and The Sarah Connor Chronicles later in the decade).
  30. The Big Break -- The best (and only) golfing reality show.  I loved all the unique challenges the producers threw in front of the competitors. 
Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):

Malcolm in the Middle, Day Break, My Boys, Bones, The Joe Schmo Show, That 70's Show, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, Dollhouse, Iceroad Truckers, Dirty Jobs, Myth Busters, Biggest Loser, Undeclared, Parks and Recreations, 30 Rock, Numbers, The Wire, Futurama, Weakest Link, Survivor, Modern Family, Glee, Sex and the City,

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Best Albums I Purchased in 2009

In no particular order:

"Chickenfoot" by Chickenfoot -- the 1st album from the super group made up of Sammy Hagar, Micheal Anthony (both formerly of Van Halen), Joe Satriani, and Chad Smith (drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers) was a probably the best pure rock and roll album release this year, in my opinion.  I hope they keep pumping out music.  I'd love to catch one of their shows if they decide to tour again, but I'd settle for a live performance collection.

"All I Ever Wanted" by Kelly Clarkson -- after a lackluster third album, I was eagerly anticipating my favorite American Idol's fourth.  And I was not dissappointed.  She returned to the "sound" I loved with her "Breakaway" album.  It has some great upbeat songs and some really nice ballads that allow her to show off her great voice.

"Hope for the Hopeless" by Brett Dennen -- before he opened for O.A.R. this summer, I'd never heard of Brett, but I grew to appreciate his reggae/soft rock style.  This album isn't spectacular, but it is the perfect soundtrack for cubicle life.  It plays an integral part of my "Jam/Chill" playlist.

"TRY" by the John Mayer Trio -- a great live album that showcases John's amazing guitar ability, which often gets overlooked. 

"Everything All the Time" by Band of Horses -- this is another previously-unknown-to-me group, but after their song "The Funeral" was used as the soundtrack for Danny MacAskill's bike-trick video, I knew I needed to investigate the band.  "The Funeral" is hands down the best song of the album, but I have enjoyed their haunting/erie rock vibe.

"King Baby" by Jim Gaffigan -- as he is currently my favorite stand-up comedian, I literally bought this album the minute it was released (and didn't even have to leave the house.  Thanks wifi and Amazon).  I enjoyed this album even more because it was comprised of the material he used in the concert I saw in Omaha with my pal Ron.  Great, great comedy album.

"Live From Nowhere in Particular" by Joe Bonamassa -- a great blues guitarist who I first learned about on the Bob and Tom Show, this is a really nice live album.  No need to say more, as I blogged about this one previously.

"Cage the Elephant" by Cage the Elephant -- on a tip from my sister, I found this album on sale at Amazon, and was pleased with the purchase.  This up-and-coming band from Kentucky mixes punk/funk/southern rock in a very interesting way.  (But be warned that their lyrics lean toward the explicit side.)

"Cradlesong" by Rob Thomas -- once again, the lead singer for Matchbox 20 delivers a solid solo effort.

"Bulletproof" by Reckless Kelly -- on a tip from Friar Tuck, I looked into this band, and this album immediately grabbed my attention.  I bought this one today, and thoroughly enjoyed their southern rock on my first trip through the songs.

"The Live Anthology" by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers -- while my "Rock" playlist is extensive, it has always been missing Tom Petty songs.  So I was excited with this purchase as it contains nearly all the songs from his catalog.  Listening to these songs takes me back to cruising Main Street in high school.

"Middle Class Funny" by John Heffron -- as he is my second favorite stand-up comedian, dating back to his "Last Comic Standing" days, I was excited to buy his latest release.  I especially enjoyed his bits on his childhood memories, as the resonate with my childhood. 

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas in Colorado

Good golly I had been missing Colorado.  Some thoughts about our trip out for the Christmas holiday.

  • If you ever find yourself stuck in Limon due to snowy conditions, stay clear of the 1st Inn Gold.  The place is a dump.  And if you do decide to lodge there, be warned that you may find yourself awaken to the docile sounds of a domestic dispute in the room next door.
  • It was great seeing Grandma again, even if I'm pretty sure she didn't remember who I was most of the time (then again, there were numerous people I saw around town that I'm pretty sure didn't recognize me.  But that is to be expected when I've gained a few pounds since my last trip home, not to mention the many pounds I've gained since my days as a 150 pound high schooler).  And I'm still not sure what Grandma thinks about Brodie.  I'm pretty sure she thought that someone had released a mountain lion into my folk's house, because I'm sure I saw fear in her eyes a couple of times as he lumbered past her.  And my parents are saints for taking her in and caring for her as her health diminishes.  
  • I never knew how good I had it in the Banana-Belt that is the Ark-Valley, until we moved away.  Not only is the winter weather much tamer there than in eastern Nebraska, but the Mexican food is soooooooo delicious compared to the stuff they pass off as Mexican food in Omaha.  At my request we ate at Mission Deli twice (in one day) and I will dream about their green chili each night as I fall asleep.
  • Spending Christmas Day lounging around in our pj's is one of life's simple pleasures.  And I am kinda sad that we didn't do our traditional caroling/littering at Debbie's house.  But rest assured that the Wrapping Paper Bandits will strike again at a time left undetermined.
  • It was great spending time with the Sharps and having lunch with Brian, but I wish I'd have had another week to venture around town and catch up with all of my other friends and family.
  • At next year's Yankee Swap, I'm going to be sure to bring a really lousy present to ensure that more than one "Swap" occurs.  I'm pretty sure an ugly sweater would do the trick.
  • You never really appreciate good road conditions until you pass 12 car and 6 semi-truck carcasses stuck in snow drifts in the bar-ditch on your way into town.
  •  Lunch at Uncle Ron and Aunt Karen's was great.  And it was so much fun playing outside with Brodie and the cousins.  And we now know that after spending the afternoon having Brodie catch snowballs in his mouth, the guy's probably going to have to pee pretty bad.  As we were headed home, we got down the road a bit and Brodie started panting uncontrollably.  We tried opening the windows, thinking he was too hot.  When that didn't work, we decided to pull off the road and let him get out, thinking he needed a full body cool-down.  And then he peed for about 3 minutes straight.  I think he was even surprised with the amount he expelled.  Now we know.  
  • Returning to Omaha was great, until we found three feet of snow blocking us from our garage.  After an hour of shoveling and after cracking the shovel handle, we decided to invest in a snow blower, and what a great investment it is.  It will now be a pleasure waking up to a nice snowfall.
I'm sure there are countless thoughts that I've missed, but I can't express how great it was to spend time with my sisters, brother, mom and dad, grandma, my in-laws and their families (and doggies), my aunt and uncle, my cousins, and my friends.  To say my "bucket" was refilled is an understatement.  I'll spend the contents of my bucket wisely the next six months until I can once again return to the Rockies for a refill.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gift Card Ideas?

I received some sweet gift cards for Christmas and I'm not sure how to spend them.
I have iTunes & Amazon gift cards that I'd like to use on music, so what albums did you buy this past year that you'd recommend?

And I got a BestBuy gift card that I'd like to use to buy a new PlayStation2 game.  I usually prefer sports games (I currently have Madden09 and Tiger09) but wouldn't mind trying out a First Person Shooter game and/or journey/mission style game.

Any suggestions?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Little Mraz

While on the website Today's Big Thing, I ran into the "Little Boy Kind of Sings Jason Mraz" in which a little boy plays the melody to Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" on his yukulele.


When I first saw this video a few weeks ago, I suggested to my wife that maybe the boy doesn't speak English, so he just sings what the song sounds like to him, without really understanding what he is saying or what the words to the song mean.  It would be similar to how I would sound to a Spanish speaker when I sing along to "La Bamba" or Santana's "Oye Como Va".  I just try to piece together the sounds of the song, even though I have no idea their meaning or even which sounds are combined to create a word.

Which leads me to another video featured at Today's Big Thing, which I think makes the case for me that the little boy may not be an English speaker.  "What English Sounds Like to Foreiners" is a video by "an Italian singer (who) wrote this song with gibberish to sound like English. If you've ever wondered what other people think Americans sound like, this is it."


A psychedelic video with catchy music.  But it brings home an interesting point on how languages are viewed by people foreign to that language.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We're in the best of hands

Holy crap.

U.S. National Debt Tops Debt Limit

The latest calculation of the National Debt as posted by the Treasury Department has - at least numerically - exceeded the statutory Debt Limit approved by Congress last February as part of the Recovery Act stimulus bill.

The ceiling was set at $12.104 trillion dollars. The latest posting by Treasury shows the National Debt at nearly $12.135 trillion.

A senior Treasury official told CBS News that the department has some "extraordinary accounting tools" it can use to give the government breathing room in the range of $150-billion when the Debt exceeds the Debt Ceiling.

Were it not for those "tools," the U.S. Government would not have the statutory authority to borrow any more money. It might block issuance of Social Security checks and require a shutdown of some parts of the federal government.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Over Criminalized

I never can wrap my brain around the "don't just stand there, do something" mentality that persists in Washington.  For example, did you know that the House may be voting this week on "The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act," which "will codify into law a set of standards that broadcasters agreed on last month" regarding the LOUDNESS OF TV COMMERCIALS!?!?!?  (Sorry that was so loud.  Maybe congress should legislate the use of caps lock in blogs).

And not to be outdone, a few busy-body Republicans have decided to get into the mix.  Congressman Joe Barton has decided to have Congress get rid of that unfair Bowl Championship Series.  As David Harsanyi points out in his Denver Post opinion piece,
Barton's bill would, among other things, prevent the Bowl Championship Series from marketing a postseason game as a "national championship" unless it is the result of a fair playoff system open to everyone.
Why stop there? Why, for instance, is Major League Baseball allowed to manipulate us with this "World" Series claptrap for the last century when it refuses to open the competition to Venerables y Brujos de Guayama or even the Savannah Sand Gnats? Isn't that unfair?
The Oakland Raiders still exist. Is that fair? Phoenix has a professional hockey team but Vermont has nada. Fair? Sports can't always be fair. It can't be open to everyone. But it should be entertaining.
"It's like communism; you can't fix it," Barton went on after the testimony. As a person who frequently and recklessly refers to his political opponents as Marxists, I would remind the congressman that in communist nations sports were under the management of politicians.
Come to think of it, communists are always whining about unfairness. They are always nattering about the ills of money. Communists tend to do a lot of their best work on "committees," as well.

Which leads me to a brilliant piece by Gene Healy in the Washington Examiner.  In his opinion (and I believe he's correct), we've become over criminalized in this nation.  He notes that
The Founders viewed the criminal sanction as a last resort, reserved for serious offenses, clearly defined, so ordinary citizens would know whether they were violating the law.  Yet over the last 40 years, an unholy alliance of big-business-hating liberals and tough-on-crime conservatives has made criminalization the first line of attack -- a way to demonstrate seriousness about the social problem of the month, whether it's corporate scandals or e-mail spam.
There are now more than 4,000 federal crimes, spread out through some 27,000 pages of the U.S. Code. Some years ago, analysts at the Congressional Research Service tried to count the number of separate offenses on the books, and gave up, lacking the resources to get the job done. If teams of legal researchers can't make sense of the federal criminal code, obviously, ordinary citizens don't stand a chance.
You can serve federal time for interstate transport of water hyacinths, trafficking in unlicensed dentures, or misappropriating the likeness of Woodsy Owl and his associated slogan, "Give a hoot, don't pollute." ("What are you in for, kid?" your new cellmate growls.) Bills currently before Congress would send Americans to federal prison for eating horsemeat or selling goods falsely labeled as "Native American."
I have the same problem with the tax code.  When even Federal Employees can't get their taxes in on time, whether it's because they don't care about paying taxes (less likely) or that they don't understand how to do the correctly (more likely), and their bill is around $3 billion, then we have a major problem.

I am a small/limited government libertarian because all I see from Washington is excess.  I'm not opposed to health care reform, I'm opposed to "health care" reform that takes a 2000 page bill to accomplish.  I'm not opposed to tax reform, but it should make the tax code less complicated, not add more and more regulations.  I'm not opposed to any other government reform that people always talk about while running for office, but I am opposed to the ever expansion of government largesse at the expense of the American citizen.

Why is it exactly that the federal government must be the one to fix our "loud television commercial" problem?  Why doesn't someone just invent a device that will allow you to skip over the commercials, regardless of how loud or quiet they are?  Oh wait.

Why does Congress have to fix the Bowl Championship Series?  Why doesn't some entrepreneurial-minded person start a competing college football league that does have a playoff system for football?  If the current system is sooooooo terrible, then colleges will knock each other over getting in line to join this new league. Oh wait.

So, ultimately, I just have to remind myself that there is a constant struggle between "conservative/pragmatic/limited government" vs "let's fix every problem under the sun, regardless of the cost or debt we pass on to future generations government", and it is a struggle that will continue throughout time.

I just wish that our congressional members would remember that, as Montesquieu once noted, "useless laws weaken the necessary laws."  Is fussing about the volume of a television commercial really necessary?  Is fussing about the BCS really necessary?  Doubtful.

The cynic in me (oh, who am I kidding, I'm 93% cynic) wonders if there are actually ulterior motives to these bills.  Could it be that a 2000 page health care bill, or a bill on the approved decibel level of tv commericals, or a bill making it illegal for college football to market a "national championship" without a playoff system, or legislation making it illegal to drive while "texting", or legislation making it illegal to smoke a legal substance in a privately owned business are actually attempts to put more and more of our national economy under the thumb of government.  Are congressmen representatives of the little guy as they would have us believe, or are they actually power hungry rulers/thugs/tyrants slowly taking over more and more responsibility over people's lives, until, eventually John Q. Public will no longer be able to fend for himself, but will rely fully on government's supple teet? 

As Ayn Rand once said, "There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible to live without breaking laws."

Just remember that when broadcasting loud commercials is outlawed, only outlaws will broadcast loud commercials.

A Book Review from My Wife

Hello All. This is Eric’s wife, and he has asked me to do a guest blog about Sarah Palin’s book, Going Rogue, An American Life. Let me first say that I love Sarah Palin. I love how ambitious she is, how dedicated she is to her family, but most of all, I love an underdog. Although I don’t agree with all of her political views, I love that she is a conservative woman who is not an elitist. She is the very essence of what conservatisms should be and I respect that she sticks to her guns and does not falter.

I can remember the day John McCain announced that Sarah Palin would be his running mate. I spoke to Eric on the phone and told him it was a colossal mistake. However, as the months drug on and I learned more and more about Sarah, mostly through the liberal looking glass, I began to find something in her that I respected and wanted to know more about. As such, when I heard that she was releasing a memoir, I immediately logged onto Amazon and pre-ordered myself a copy. I had high hopes for her book, but I am not sure those high hopes were met. Don’t misunderstand, I believe her book to be an excellent representation of who she is, but at the same time, she was on the defensive for a good amount of the book and I found that off-putting.

She discusses many of her experiences working her way up the ladder in Alaska politics and at the same time being a mother. There is no doubt she had a lot on her plate, but she loved the challenge and worked hard at everything she promised to do. She was very conscientious of finances and waste while she was Mayor of Alaska and reduced the budget, including her own salary as Mayor, dramatically. She stuck to her beliefs and did not waiver. She also spoke of her stint as Governor of Alaska and how that gig had to come to an end following her Vice Presidential run because of unfounded ethics complaints that were costing Alaska, her home and the state she loves, too much money. However, she also spent a good portion of the first pages of her book discussing the troubles she had with individuals in her cabin and how she was constantly struggling against a political wall. I found this information interesting, but have to admit that I became bored and began to skip pages.

Sarah also discussed her family and the many trials she has been through on that front. I personally find this sort of information intriguing and did not skip a single page. Sarah is an avid running and quite concerned with fitness. As anyone who has seen her knows, she is very fit and takes care of herself. She speaks about her life growing up in Alaska and her courtship with her husband Todd. She is also quite candid with the reader about her pregnancy with Tripp, her some with Downs Syndrome, and the trials she went through when she found out about his special need. When speaking to these issues, she seems very down to earth and friendly.

Finally, after many pages of discussing her political past and her family, Sarah speaks about her experience with the campaign. There are many juicy details, including her calling out some campaign staffers by name and stating their sins for the public to see. I can understand that she probably felt so beaten up by the end of the campaign, leaving a bad taste her mouth, so she used her book to rid herself of that bad taste. Taking what she represents in the book at face value, I cannot blame her for that. It is her time to speak, since she explains how she was silenced through the entire campaign, and she is not holding back. However, the most telling aspect of the book, in my opinion, is the fact that Sarah did not once speak badly about John McCain directly. She does criticize the campaign and how it was run, but she never once says anything negative about the man who moved her career forward at lightning speed. I believe this to be the best representation of who Sarah is and the respect that she has for the political process. I would not be the least bit surprised to see Sarah Palin throw her hat into the ring in 2012 and I would be even less surprised to see her giving her acceptance speech on election night. I hope it happens.

So there you have it. I recommend the book if you have any interest in getting to know more about Sarah and her life, but I doubt this book will go down in history as one of the greats. I understand many people don’t like Sarah Palin because of her political views. However, I would implore you to respect Sarah Palin as a person and read her words directly without the filter of the media and then make your own decision. I know my opinion is different having read her book, and yours might be as well.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Wendys(*)

Mark it in your calendars:  we only made it two weeks into December before my wife and I opened all of our Christmas presents.

Man, I love being my own boss.

Usually we observe our own version of Hanukkuh, opening a present here or there until they are all opened, which is usually 2-3 days before Christmas.  But this year, we couldn't help ourselves and we opened them all up tonight after a lovely dinner at Chili's.

Our problem stems from the fact that in the 5 years we've been married, we've never celebrated Christmas Day in our own house, we've always been at my parent's house.  So we figure, we're going to have to open them early anyway, why not open them 10 days before Christmas?

This year, I received the following:

  • A blue Titleist golf hat with a Creighton Univ. mascot logo (I've wanted one for as long as we've been out here)
  • Tiger Woods Golf '09 for the PS2 (I've only played it once, but I haven't been able to find any mistresses yet.  Do I need cheat codes?  Does anyone know?)
  • Four golf polo shirts (all from the Goodwill, all "retro" looking, and all with random golf logos on the breast, and none costing more than $3, which is the only way to buy them, IMHO)
  • An gift card (Foo Fighters Greatest Hits mp3 here I come)
  • A new seat for my drum kit (which I'll have to return as it has a 200 lb weight limit, which I exceed ..... just barely)
  • A driver head cover -- Callaway with a red/white/black pom-pom on the top (I've been wanting a pom-pom head cover for years)
  • A Creighton Univ. mascot logo golf towel (awesome)
So I basically cleaned house and got everything an amateur golfer could could need to be badass on the course.

My wife received:
  • "Six Feet Under" the complete series
  • A 2010 calendar that I created on that contains pictures from the past year
  • A Vera Bradley tech case
  • A camera bag for our new camera
  • A carry-on luggage bag that matches her travel suitcase
  • A "power inverter" which will allow her to plug her laptop into the cigarette lighter so she can watch movies on road trips
Her presents seemed to have made her quite happy (especially the "SFU" series as she's run out of tv/movies to watch at night in bed), and I managed to surprise her with a few of the gifts.

So, while we may be unorthodox in our gift giving, at least we gave them to each other in December.  That's good, right?  Right? 

* For the three people who read this who are not my wife, bro-in-law, or sister, "Wendy" is what many too many people think our last name is when they hear it on the phone.  

Friday, December 11, 2009

O Holy Night

"O Holy Night" is my favorite Christmas song.  Its combination of stirring music and powerful lyrics always gets me.  Here is a list of my favorite versions of the song, denoted by artist and album.  (Scores were based upon the height and duration of goose-bumps each version gives me when I hear it).

  1. Bing Crosby, "Bing Crosby Christmas Classics" -- This is the benchmark for which all other renditions are compared.  Even after multiple listens, I still am moved with Bing's version.  (And extra credit points for having such a rad name).
  2. Celine Dion, "These Are Special Times" -- Combine some of the best pipes in the business with one of the most moving songs ever and you get a goose-bump factory.  
  3. Barlowgirl, "O Holy Night" -- The best rock&roll version I've found so far.  Awesome.
  4. Aaron Neville, "Aaron Neville's Soulful Christmas" -- His version has a slowed-down tempo and his unique voice, making this version of the song the most soulful version I've encountered.
  5. Weezer, "Christmas with Weezer" -- Weezer brings there unique alt-rock sound and style to this classic song.
  6. Martina McBride, "White Christmas" -- Pairing her amazing voice with a haunting piano, Martina could sing the phone book and give me the chills.
  7. John Williams, "Home Alone Soundtrack" -- The best chorus version, and the most haunting version, of this song that I've found.  This is also my favorite song from one of my favorite Christmas movies.
  8. Trans-Siberian Orchestra, "The Christmas Trilogy" -- my favorite instrumental version and my second favorite rock version of the song. 
  9. Lee Greenwood, "It's Christmas with Lee Greenwood" -- There is only one other song that always gives me the chills like "O Holy Night" and that's "I'm Proud to be an American", so it's only fitting that Lee Greenwood's version of this song be on my list.  This version is probably the closest anyone has gotten to making this into a country song that I've found.
  10. Eric Cartman, "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics" -- it's probably sacreligious for me to have this version on the list, and it doesn't really give me goose-bumps like the other versions, but Eric Cartman always makes me laugh, and his version of this song is no exception.

While I'm on the topic, here is my perfect Christmas Mix-Tape:

  • Please Come Home for Christmas -- Don Henley
  • Little Saint Nick -- Beach Boys
  • O Holy Night -- Bing Crosby
  • The Nutcracker Suite -- Brian Setzer
  • All I Want for Christmas is You -- Maria Carey
  • Baby It's Cold Outside -- Leon Redbone/Zooey Deschanel
  • Christmas Is -- Run D.M.C.
  • The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late) -- Alvin & the Chipmunks
  • Run Rudolph Run -- Chuck Berry
  • You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch -- Thurl Ravenscroft
  • Christmas Canon -- Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  • Christmas Song -- Dave Matthews Band
  • Dear Santa -- Sean Morey

And, of course, the songs that cause me to immediately change the radio channel or leave a room when I hear the first note:
  • Happy Xmas (War is Over) -- John Lennon (because the message is so awful it immediately gets me out of the "Christmas spirit")
  • Wonderful Christmas Time -- Paul McCartney (because the techno music and lyrics are awful)
  • The 12 Days of Christmas -- by any artist (because it is annoying)
  • Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer -- Elmo & Patsy (because my dad hates it so)
  • Santa Baby -- almost all artists (because most singers sing it in their best "Marilyn Monroe baby-talk" voice)
  • Christmas Shoes -- Newsong (because the first part of the song is so depressing, it's not worth hanging around long enough to hear it get good)
  • I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus -- all artists (again, because it is annoying)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And we slide further and further down the slippery slope of tryanny.

This story gets me spitting mad.

This is the perfect example of government mission creep being taken to the extremes.  Stories like this dumbfound me for so many reasons.

Karim Mansour, the store and dog owner, received a warning: Remove the dog or the Florida Department of Agriculture would declare all of Mansour's food products — mostly bottled sodas, Slim Jims and candy bars — unfit for consumption.

WHAT THE EFF?!?!  The guy runs a private business where many of the customers presumably come to the store BECAUSE OF THE DOG!!!  This business owner has found a way to make himself and his business stand out, a way to get the attention (and money) of his customers, thereby increasing business (or at least not losing business in this economic downturn), and what does the government do?  Pisses on his parade.

And notice the lack of anything unsafe or unhealthy about the food currently.  For if the dog's presence was so unhealthy, they'd immediately "declare the food products unfit for consumption", not spend time blackmailing this business owner.  If this was actually a health crisis they'd act immediately, post haste.  But no, let's just force this business owner to choose between his dog or his store.  Can't have both.  No.  People might get sick, or something.

The owner is not doing anything devious, or backhanded, or hidden.  His dog is out in the open, for everyone to come and see.  The people coming into the store know there is a dog there and they purchase from this store anyway.  The purpose of the Health Department is to UNCOVER unscrupulous business practices that business owners are keeping hidden from their customers.  You know, unsanitary cooking surfaces or an infestation of roaches or cooking with spoiled food or anything that would affect customer health (thus the name "Health Department").   But, as the story points out,
The store doesn't serve hot food such as hot dogs or even fresh cold deli-type items. The only food it carries are packaged products such as chips, crackers and candy. But food, apparently, is food.
Michael Lombardi, who manages the Agriculture Department's inspectors, said since food items touch the main counter, the inspectors said it is off-limits to dogs.

This prick Lombardi apparently doesn't understand that the PACKAGING that surrounds the foods sold at this store are designed to keep dog hairs out of the food.  I'm quite certain that there are worse things that touch the packaging than dog hair or slobber. 

Were there ANY complaints?  Were people getting sick from this food that was all of a sudden "unfit for consumption"?  If the answer is no, then this a-hole health inspector should have absolutely no jurisdiction over the affairs of this store. 
"The guy was told this is not sanitary to have an animal running around in the area where food is kept," said Terence McElroy, Department of Agriculture spokesman. "We all love dogs. But the fact of the matter, as far as we're concerned, nothing's more important than preventing food contamination."
I bolded the last part so that everyone can see.  NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN PREVENTING FOOD CONTAMINATION.  NOTHING.  Not property rights.  Not consumer rights.  Not personal freedom.  Not personal liberty.  Not freedom of choice.  NOTHING.

This is the mindset of liberals (and many conservatives these days) that drives me crazy.  This idea that I as an adult American citizen am too weak/stupid/uneducated/narrow-minded to be able to take care of myself.  If I want to go into a store run by an avid dog lover who happens to bring one of his sweet dogs to work with him, I am strong enough to decide for myself whether or not I want to eat the food in this store.  I am smart enough to look around the store and see if it is clean or dirty.  If the counter is clean or dirty.  I don't need some government busy body asshat protecting me from my own decisions.

This is tyrannical behavior.  At the end of the video, the reporter says that the Department told her that if we let one store have a dog, then every store would have some sort of animal, wouldn't they?  ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!  No, not every store.  Just stores which want an animal there and where it makes business sense. 

Maybe the busybodies at the Department of Health should leave alone this business man who sells PACKAGED FOOD to customers who willingly come to his store to purchase said PACKAGED FOOD, and instead focus their attention on "consumers" who's health is actually in danger from the food that is provided for them:  Report: School lunch meat not up to snuff.

Wait, let me get this straight, you mean to tell me that when someone has incentive to keep his customers happy (because he wants them and their money to return to his store), if he's a smart business man, he'll provide the best product and service (even if it is a dog that greats customers coming to his store) he can? No kidding?  And that when a government run monopoly (in this case, public education) can legal force a captive audience and doesn't have to worry about making a profit because they can run HUGE deficits and/or just forcibly take any money they deem necessary, they won't give a damn about the quality of food they provide their customer?  Who would have thunk it?  Seems pretty backward to me. 

I am so fed up with the constant intrusion into my life from the a-holes in government.  And nothing pisses me off more than when some know-it-all government official decides that they know how to run a business better than a store owner.  They sure seem to know all the answers when they're telling business owners that they can't allow smoking (even if their customers want it), or they can't use trans-fats (even if their customers want it), or what the minimum wage they can pay someone is (even if both parties want to pay/get paid less that the government mandated minimum wage).  But if they're so smart, why aren't they out in the private sector making the big bucks with all their great ideas?

The tyrants within the Department of Health and the Department of Ag in Florida think and act as if they are smarter than the customers of this store, and they think and act as if they know better how to run this man's business.  When in fact they are power hungry busy bodies who get to weld their power about with no regard for the consequences. 

Lombardi, with the Department of Agriculture, said while he couldn't verify what prompted the surprise visit Thursday, it was not uncommon for supervisors to accompany inspectors on routine checks.
But Mansour, recalling his conversation with Carroll, came to a different conclusion.
"He told me somebody up top said his boss saw it on the news," he said.

 There you have it.  This wasn't about the public's health or well-being.  It was about some jackass big-wig who wanted to push his weight around and decided to make an example of some little guy.  


Monday, December 7, 2009

Now I'll sleep better knowing the EPA has my back

Today, the EPA announced that "greenhouse gases are harmful to humans".  Awesome.

The EPA and the White House have said regulations on greenhouse gases will not be imminent even after an endangerment finding, saying that the administration would prefer that Congress act to limit such pollution through an economy-wide cap on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Nevertheless, the EPA has begun the early stages of developing permit requirements on carbon dioxide pollution from large emitters such as power plants.  The administration also has said it will require automobile fuel economy to increase to a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon by 2016, another push to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.


Basically, the EPA just declared that they are now the regulators of power and transportation in the U.S.  And where did they get this power?  In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases are pollutants under the Clean Air Act.  (Excuse me for a moment while I take our pollution-spewing "dog" outside and shot him dead.  The thing has been polluting my house all day.  I would have done it sooner, what with his constant breathing and setting off the carbon dioxide sensor all day everyday, but until now, I didn't know it was harmful to me.  Thanks for the heads up Supreme Court.)

So the Supreme Scientists Court determined that carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases were pollutants under the Clean Air Act (and what heartless bastards would vote against such a well-named bill?  It'd only be better if it were the "Clean Air for Our Children and Elderly Senior Seasoned Citizens Act") but that "the EPA must determine if these pollutants pose a danger to public health and welfare before it can regulate them."

I'm assuming that the Supreme Court justices were hoping that such "determinations" might include a list of people who have died as a result of these greenhouse "dangers".  If not deaths, than surely they were hoping for a list of American citizens who have had to have lung transplants due to these pollutants being in the atmosphere.  If none of these people could be found, then I'm sure they'd appreciate some scientific proof that there is such a thing as anthropogenic global warming caused by CO2.

But, since none of these are possible, the EPA is just going to proclaim that greenhouse gases are harmful and get along with the regulating already.  Don't we citizens know it's a CRISIS?  As Gordon Brown so helpfully pointed out, "Negotiators (at the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen) have 50 days to save the world from global warming."  (It should be noted that this prediction was made about 49 days ago.  And while we may be too late to save the world, our government is going to spend us/regulate us into debt anyway).

From the MSNBC story, I also learned that  
Obama planned to talk with former Vice President Al Gore at the White House on Monday as the president prepares for his appearance on Dec. 18 at the climate summit in Copenhagen. Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his work toward combating climate change.
Rest assured that former Vice President Gore left for this meeting in August, as it takes quite a while to walk/bike from his home in Tennessee to the White House in Washington.  He is walking, right?  I mean, combating climate change is SOOOOOOO important, that everyone should do their part and leave their fossil-fuel guzzling private jets in the hanger, right?  There's no way that a photo-op at the White House (rather than a phone call or internet-conference from the comforts of their homes) is more important that GLOBAL WARMING CLIMATE CHANGE, right? 

Also, I wonder where Former Vice President Gore is going to be pitching his tent made of animal hides that he hunted for and stitched together himself.  He's not going to sacrifice his effort combating climate change to satisfy his own personal comfort by staying in a hotel that uses electricity and fossil fuels from companies that have not yet been "permitted" to emit such pollutants, is he?  If so, doesn't he care about my health?  Doesn't he care about the health of millions of little boys and girls and seasoned citizens throughout the U.S.?  Doesn't he care about saving the world enough to sacrifice his own comfort?

But I highly doubt that Al Gore is going to be hoofing it to D.C., nor will he set up camp in the Rose Garden.  For as the Instapundit points out:
Copenhagen climate summit: 1,200 limos, 140 private planes and caviar wedges. If they were really worried about global warming they’d be doing this by Skype. But they live in a culture of entitlement. Energy conservation and carbon limits, like taxes, are for the little people.
Ann Althouse pointed to a story from Salon about a grad student's efforts to put himself through school without accumulating debt.  It is a facinating story.  One that I believe many global warming believers would like to see each citizen live out.  This man chooses to live a meager and frugal life, one that I'm pretty sure has a minimal carbon footprint.  And isn't that the ultimate goal of this move by the EPA, to limit carbon emissions?  While this man chose this lifestyle, many or most American's would not choose to live this way.  Some people choose to live a life with a minimal carbon footprint.  Other people have bigger worries than the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.

There is not an industry or business or citizen that will not be affected once the EPA starts regulating carbon output.  The companies, industries, and citizens within favor of the EPA bureaucrats will be able to buy their carbon penance credits from the priests regulators of the church of global warming Environmental Protection Agency, while the little guys get screwed.

So what is the price the American citizens are willing to pay to protect the environment?  When does solving global warming (even if it's too late to stop, as some suggest) become cost-prohibitive?  What luxuries are American's willing to hand over to the environmental movement?  What luxuries will be ripped from our hands by the philosopher kings in D.C.?  What technologies of the future will be lost because the Government has already picked the winners (solar, wind, ethanol) in the race to find our next fuel?  What freedoms/luxuries/amenities do I enjoy today that I will not be able to enjoy tomorrow because they are deemed "harmful"?

I guess only time will tell since no one can see into the future (no matter what Al Gore's computer models tell you).  But from where I'm sitting, the future looks quite dim.

UPDATE:  After rereading this post, I want to make one more point.  I don't begrudge Al Gore (or anyone else) for utilizing private jets and living in large homes or enjoying any of the other technologies our modern world has.  It is my goal to one day enjoy such luxuries.  But I do begrudge Al Gore and his ilk regulating these technologies while continuing to enjoy these technologies themselves.  As Glenn Reynolds so often says, "I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who tell me it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Nebraska Football

As I sit here watching the Nebraska Cornhuskers play the Texas Longhorns for the Big12 championship, it occurred to me that the past two quarters were the first two quarters of Nebraska I've ever watched.  In my life.  Ever. 

I'm not much of a college football fan.  It's not that I don't like college football.  I do.  But I don't have an allegiance to any college football teams, so I don't follow any teams throughout the season.  And college football is mostly played on Saturdays, which is when I'm usually playing golf.  And having grown up in Colorado, I was raised to believe that the Huskers are the enemy.

It also doesn't help that their colors are red and white, which were the colors of our biggest high school football rivalry, so now, when I see someone wearing red and white, I quickly determine they are the enemy.  And because I'm a contrarian, when the office holds casual Fridays during football season and everyone is wearing their Nebraska gear, I refuse to participate.  I wear my golf polos each Friday and sit smuggly at my desk snickering at my anti-establishment stance.

And the biggest reason I don't like Husker football is because in Nebraska, the only topic that the local sports radio hosts and callers talk about is Husker football.  Last year, after such a lousy season, I figured the sports radio hosts would be able to find another topic to talk about, but no.  They had to break down next season's recruiting class.  And then they had to break down the spring ball performances.  And then summer ball.  And then two-a-days.  And then ever game they're going to play this season.  They every game they've played.  ALL DAY LONG!  EVERY DAY!!!  Husker football.

It's not that I blame the fine citizens of Nebraska for the fanaticism for the Huskers.  They have nothing else.  There are no professional sports teams in the state and no other major colleges in the state to route for.  Their sports lives revolve around Husker football.

As a sports fan, I was spoiled.  Living in Colorado, it is almost professional sports overload.  With major sports teams in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and arena football, a sports fan is presented with a smorgasbord of opportunities.  But in Nebraska, not so much.

So, with all that said, here are some thoughts on the game:
  • Ndamukong Suh is a freak of nature.  The guy had 5 sacks (4 of which were solo).  He helped the defense hold the Longhorns to only 202 yards of offense and 13 points when the Horns had been averaging 40+ points and 450+ yards per game.  Nebraska gave a great defensive performance that kept McCoy confused and ineffective all game.
  • As effective as the defense was, the offense was equally as inept.  104 yards of total offense?  Are you kidding me?  The only reason the game was so close was because the defense was so dominant and the had some big special teams plays.  This was a close game in spite of the offense.
  • McCoy just about hosed his team out of a chance at playing in the national championship game.  I have no idea what he was thinking on the last play of the game, but why he let the game clock get so close to zero is beyond me.  They won this game by the skin of their teeth.   
  • Watching the local post-game coverage, the on-the-scene reporter could not have been more of a Nebraska "homer" than if he was Bo Palini's son.  He spent about 5 minutes talking about two topics: why he thinks Suh should be the Heisman winner and hinting/suggesting not so subtly that the refs were colluding to ensure that Texas won the game. 
The outcome of this game is going to be dissected ad nausium over the next 8-9 months, until the start of next season.  As bad as Nebraska sports talk was in the past, it just got worse as every single play and decision will be questioned over and over as the fans try to figure out why Nebraska didn't win.  There will be the conspiracy theorists who will blame the refs for the loss.  There will be the "Suh for Heisman" callers.

But in spite of this over analyzing, I have a new found respect for the players and coaches of Nebraska, and I will try not to avoid all things Nebraska next season.  I will push aside the schadenfreude I used to have toward Nebraska, as Husker players have it tougher than most, as their success or failure on the field is the success or failure of an entire state.  That's a ton of pressure for a group of young men to experience.  Plus, maybe if I start rooting for them, and they have success, talk radio will be easier to handle as less play by play dissections usually occur after a victorious season.

    Friday, December 4, 2009

    New Camera

    The wife and I have been waiting for Black Friday for about six months since our decent camera crapped out.  We have a back up digital camera, which we've been using, but with only 3x optical zoom, it leaves much to be desired.

    So this Black Friday, my wife's goal was to snag us a camera.  She's been watching the ads since the beginning of November and had found us a couple of good ones.  Her wish list included:
    • quick "reflexes" (not sure the technical term for it is, but she wanted to be able to take a bunch of pictures in a row without the long lag time between pictures that our current camera had)
    • "steady" feature (again, not too technically savvy, but basically, she is quite shaky and her pictures can be affected by this)
    • decent optical zoom
    • a slender/sleek camera
    • not too heavy on the pocket book
    We decided that we would look for a bit higher quality than the $150 3-5x optical zoom point-and-shoot cameras that were prevelant in the ads, but not quite as hefty as a nice SLR camera.

    After a trip to the BestBuy, we decided to go with the Nikon Coolpix P90.  The features we liked were:
    • 24x optical, wide-angle zoom (26-624mm)
    • 12.1 megapixels (which was more than we needed, but we weren't going to hold it against the camera)
    • A nice 3" LCD display screen and electronic viewfinder.  The screen also "disengages" from the body of the camera and swivels 90 degrees for low and high angle shots.  Not yet sure how practical that feature will be, but again, it didn't count against the camera
    • Image Stabilization (yeah, I found the term on the website, and no, I'm not going back up there to change up the jargon.  That's how I roll).  A big plus.
    • Continuous sports shot mode allows us to shot 15 frames-per-second for up to 45 seconds.  This feature appeals to me, as I've always wanted to get a frame by frame capture of my golf swing.  Might also be a fun feature to play with when we take the pup to the lake.
    • P, S, A, & M modes allow more control with the settings of the camera.  I can't wait to goof around with the shutter and aperture settings and figure out how to take professional looking photographs. 
    Once we decided that this is the camera for us, the wife planned out the Black Friday strategy.  But, as luck would have it, while she was showing her family the camera the day before, she saw that the online store had the camera for the same price it would be on Black Friday.  So she ordered it up, and was able to sleep in a bit the next day.  Score!!!

    I can't wait to fiddle around with the features on the camera.  It is my goal to become proficient enough with this higher level point-and-shoot camera to justify upgrading to an SLR.

    Pictures to follow once I figure the camera out.


    Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    Health Insurance and Car Insurance

    I heard an ad on the radio today.  The company advertising excapes me at the moment, but I'm pretty sure it was for a debt consolidation company and the seminar they are holding.

    The gist of the commercial was how health insurance and car or house insurance are not the same.  They pointed out that we don't expect our car insurance company to pay for an oil change or to buy us new windshield wiper blades.  And we don't expect our house insurance to cover the cost of new furnace filters or the purchase of a new oven when ours breaks down.  So why does do we expect our health insurance to cover the cost of doctor visits for check ups?  I'm pretty sure I'm not fully remembering the exact analogy, but it was along these lines.

    Which leads me to a nice article by Greg Knapp over at  In the article, Greg points out that just because most states require car owners to buy car insurance, it doesn't follow that it is ok for the federal govenment to mandate everyone purchase health insurance because:
    1. Everybody doesn’t have to buy car insurance. You can choose not to drive and then you don’t need to buy the insurance.
    2. The only way to avoid mandatory health insurance will be to stop breathing. Our federal government has never required us to buy something just to exist in America.
    3. Driving is a privilege, Living and breathing is a right.
    4. You can choose liability coverage only for your car. Government will mandate what’s covered in your health insurance.
    He proposes, instead, that if we want health insurance to be more like car insurance
    then it’s time to allow health insurance to be sold across state lines, remove expensive mandates, give the same tax breaks to individuals that businesses get and decouple insurance from your place of employment.
    These types of reforms are ones that I would support in the health care reform debate.