Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Top 15 Greatest Guitar Players

I present to you two distinct lists of what could be considered the greatest guitar players of all time. Please review the list and submit which is the better overall list either with comments, e-mails or whatever. Go ahead and tell your friends to vote too. Voting is open until Tuesday...which is when I will be back from a short, but much deserved, vacation:

1-Jimi Hendrix
2-Eddie Van Halen
3-Eric Clapton
4-Stevie Ray Vaughan
5-Dimebag Darrell
6-Rhandy Rhoads
7-Joe Satriani
8-Brian May
9-Steve Vai
10-Yngwie J. Malstrom
11-John Petrucci
12-Paul Gilbert
13-Ritchie Blackmore
14-Jimmy Page

1-Eric Clapton
2-Jimi Hendrix
3-B.B. King
4-Stevie Ray Vaughan
5-Jimmy Page
6-Eddie Van Halen
7-Jeff Beck
8-Brian May
9-David Gilmour
10-Pete Townsend 11-Bo Diddley
12-Ritchie Blackmore
13-Steve Vai
14-Chuck Berry
15-Duane Allman

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Horrible Commercials

Have you seen the new Charmin commercials where the little Charmin bear has a bit of an issue with the toilet tissue? Am I the only person who is slightly disgusted by the commercial showing a bear with little bits of toilet paper stuck to his rear while the parent bear attempts to remove it with whatever is available? I find it an odd marketing campaign and it's disturbed me a bit. I tried to find the YouTube video for it but, for whatever reason, it's not there.

Another series of commercials that aggravate me are the constant commercials for the Bill Engvall show on TBS. For some reason, they decided to interrupt other television shows to show commercials for the Bill Engvall show. So I could be sitting here watching Family Guy on TBS and it would pause the show and show Bill Engvall plugging his show. Even worse, they interrupted Law & Order on TNT to do the same thing. If the commercials were funny, I wouldn't mind as much...but they aren't. And I attempted to watch the stupid show and it is less funny than the commercials. Bill Engvall could quite possibly be antifunny. If you have too much funny in your life, I suggest you watch the Bill Engvall Show to rid yourself of it.

The last commercial that I'm not real fond of at the moment is the commercial for A&W food where a couple off-duty officers or whatever are sitting around and the guy at the table proclaims "At A&W I get whatever I want, even if I didn't order it." He then proceeds to steal a hamburger from his companion while saying "hahaha, rookie." It's not funny. It's dumb. If someone steals your burger, there's something wrong. How does that sell an A&W burger? I'm thinking that if I go by an A&W burger, there's a good chance someone is going to steal it. Is that what A&W wants? Dumb.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Obama's Ethanol Connection

The New York Times spent some time today explaining Obama's ties to the ethanol business and his standing when it comes to importing ethanol. The article is pretty fascinating as it shows how much the National Corn Growers Association has influenced Obama's stance when it comes to deciding the future of America's energy policies. Acting as the politician who is above politics as usual, it's funny to see how Obama's policy is tilted by the corn industry, which proves Obama is a politician just like all the others. Not saying there's anything wrong with that...just making the point.

The fact that Obama supports the 54-cent tariff on ethanol imports and dismisses the government subsidies for ethanol production shows exactly how influenced he has been by the corn industry. As McCain pointed out, sugar cane ethanol is more efficient than corn ethanol and the insistence to use only corn ethanol has dramatically increased the cost of corn for consumers. And, as I have said before, ethanol is not the panacea that many claim it to be.

On one hand, Obama talks about energy independence while supporting an industry that will not lead us there. If Obama truly cared about energy independence, he would support additional drilling in the United States while encouraging the development of better, renewable energy sources. But instead Obama proves he is "politics as usual" by supporting the Corn Growers Association and the production of an inefficient alternative. He's not the first, but his image of being above the normal politics should not exist.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Golf Returns to Boring

Tiger Woods is going to sit out the rest of the 2008 season. So much for big golf ratings. After Tiger's amazing run to the win the US Open over Rocco Mediate, it looked like the PGA was poised for a great summer with lots of people watching to see just how many tournaments Tiger can win this year. But with the announcement he will have surgery, ratings will head back down to where they usually are for golf.

No one can pull an audience like Tiger Woods. Rocco Mediate was the "everyman" of the tournament and the underdog but you still got the impression from the crowd at Torrey Pines that they wanted to see Tiger win. Despite being the most dominant athlete in his sport, Tiger is still beloved by fans, which is unusual. Usually fans grow to despise the winners in sport, but Tiger has bucked that trend. Missing the rest of the 2008 season is a major disappointment.

In other news, Boston won the NBA championship which means I can watch the NBA next year. Do you think Michael Jordan would have ever allowed the Bulls to lose a Finals game by 39 points? I'm sick of the Kobe/MJ comparisons...there is no comparison. There will never be another Michael Jordan. On the court or off.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tax Everything

I was reading today about the 10% drink tax in Pittsburgh and had to laugh because the 10% tax is on top of all the other taxes a consumer pays to take a drink. Everything is taxed and retaxed and taxed again just for good measure. Buy a product, pay a sales tax. And you know the business selling the product previously paid a tax on that good. And the company that produced the good paid a tax on creating that good. And the seller and the manufacturer had to pay taxes for the employees that created the product. And the employee obviously has to pay taxes on the wages he collects for making the good. And that employee pays taxes on the mode of transportation he uses to get to the place to create the good.

Obviously tax revenue is important for many public projects but the country cannot tax itself to properity. Continuing to raise taxes on an already overtaxed population only further damages the unstable economy. Allowing consumers to keep their own money will allow the tax base to grown which will increase revenue for the country. Tax cuts work everytime they're tried but most politicians are too short-sighted to understand. And, as always, it's the consumer that suffers. Maybe they can make a tax to pay for our mental anguish.

In other news, Tiger made a remarkable comeback in the US Open and I nearly called off work today to watch the playoff but...well, I'm an idiot for not calling off work to watch the playoff. And LA won Game 5 which means that series goes back to Boston. If LA wins the championship, I will honestly never, ever watch the NBA again. Seriously.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Banana and Some Water Walk Into a Bar...

The water orders an orange and turns to the banana and says "orange you glad I didn't say banana..."

Yeah, that's not funny. Anyway, I had a survey the other day regarding the ripeness of a banana. The pictures I posted of that banana may not have necessarily reflected the ripeness of said banana. As a matter of fact, I may have done a little photoshopping on said banana to make it appear a little more green than it should have been. The banana may have actually been past ripeness...but, hey, whatcha gonna do? So, here's the real banana pictures:

Yes, I attempted to cheat on the banana ripeness contest here at work. Yes, I am ashamed and, yes, I admitted to attempting to cheat. It was all in good fun but Abe Vigoda would not approve...

In other news, Stanley and I had a full day water drinking contest here at the office to which I also must admit defeat as part of my retribution for the banana debacle. While I drank an impression 28 glasses (probably around 16 ounce per) of water throughout the 8.5 hour day, Stanley drank an incomparable 35 glasses. The glasses weren't completely full but the standard was pretty high. Needless to say we crushed a 5-gallon tank + over the course of the day. And I spent a measurable amount of my afternoon traveling between my desk and the nearest restroom. Thankfully Friday was a slow workday compared to almost every other day. The co-workers enjoyed the spirited contest and, well, I'm not sure I did.

So now it is Saturday and I have been called into work and am waiting for a return call for a support issue that has arisen this morning. I was rudely awakened at 8 and traveled into the office to be greeted by the Clarksburg 10K. What should be a 24-minute travel time turned into a 45-minute travel thanks to all the closed roads in downtown Clarksburg. That made me very pleased. Now I must sit here and hope someone else works on a Saturday. And I'm going to stay away from the water...and that banana, which is still laying around here somewhere...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gas Prices

I present to you a pictorial interpretation of gas prices:

Ripe Banana?

We're trying to settle a bet at work and I need some input. Is this banana ripe or not?

Please either leave a comment with a vote or e-mail me a vote. Thanks.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Precarious State of Oil

Gas prices have doubled in the past year. For the first time, the national average for a gallon of gas raised above $4. Oil prices spiked $11 on Friday alone. And, as always, OPEC refused to do anything to curb the meteoric rise. They're riding a wave of unparalleled revenue and know they could see a collapse as quickly as the rise has been.

If OPEC raises production, they could saturate the market which could cause a quick decline in prices. If OPEC doesn't raise production, they maintain prices where they are now which could lead to a decline in the demand for oil and lower prices. That's why Saudi Arabia is refusing to increase production and is calling for a correction in the market. They want prices to decrease slightly while maintaining levels that keep demand high.

It's a very difficult situation because prices could continue to increase out of control and put the world economic market in recession (which would eventually lower demand and damage OPEC). And if you want to know what would happen is there was a complete price collapse in the oil market, look at the US housing market.

I believe prices are somewhat artificially high. Obvious demand is high but the weak dollar is also to blame for the outrageous prices. The dollar will eventually turn, hopefully sooner than later, and the high prices will dampen the consumption a bit. It may be 2009 before we see any real relief but I just can't believe these oil prices can continue to rise. Of course I called for a collapse in prices several months ago and it still hasn't happened so I may be completely offbase. I sure hope not though because I'm not sure how much more the economy can take.

Friday, June 06, 2008

With Garrison Goes The Truth

Mike Garrison will no longer be president of West Virginia University in September. His resignation ends a long fight between Garrison and WVU teachers, students and alumni. And, for the most part, should put an end to the Heather Bresch degree scandal. The problem is that the truth of the entire saga still isn't completely known. And since Garrison is gone and most people will be happy with that result, the digging for information is likely to stop.

However, I would like to see more investigation into the matter. Did the governor's office exert any pressure on Garrison or the university to aware the unearned degree? Was Garrison really aware of what was going on? Did someone in Garrison's office take it upon themselves to push along Bresch's degree? Did Mylan have any influence in the decision to aware the degree?

There's a lot of questions that will most likely never be answered. Garrison resigning may have put an end to the saga and you have to believe a lot of people are happy the digging will stop. Hopefully some people (like in Pittsburgh) will continue to investigate because it's apparent that Mike Garrison is not the only person who should have lost his job over this mess.

Monday, June 02, 2008

West Virginia says "Please, Make Fun..."

“We'd always known about the Cheney family line on my father's side of the family, back to Massachusetts in the 1630s. My grandmother was named Tyler but it turned out she was descended from a Richard Cheney, same last name, who landed in Maryland in the 1650s. So I had Cheneys on both sides of the family -- and we don't even live in West Virginia.You can say those things when you're not running for re-election. But, the fact is ... his mother and my grandmother have a common ancestor descended from Maryland about eight generations ago. We are, in fact, cousins.”

Ah, nothing funnier than a West Virginia inbreeding joke. Dick Cheney tried to get some laughs at the National Press Club on Monday, and I'm sure he did because there's nothing funnier than taking some shots at West Virginia.

On one hand, you have Cheney taking shots at West Virginia for its backhills reputation. On the other hand you get sympathy from Leonard Pitts because West Virginians because we're just poor white people who "have been victims of a con job going back at least as far as the Civil War." I expect such backhanded insults from someone like Pitts but for Cheney to take an unnecessary shot against a state that twice voted from him and George Bush...not good.

I could ramble on about how West Virginia deserves better than pity or ridicule. But what good does it do? We just need to accept we're a target for easy insults and probably always will be. It's just disappointing...especially from someone who should know better.