Monday, February 28, 2005

Health Benefits: Green Tea vs. Guinness


The Irish Car Bomb
(A bit light in the pint, but its the only picture I could find since we're fresh outta Jameson)

A month or so ago I wrote about the benefits I was getting from Green Tea. I felt my headache situation I wrote about in my very first blog post had improved by my increased intake of that ancient secret of the Orient, Green Tea. All the anti-oxidants. The improved metabolism. Uh... the calming feeling. I really like the grassy, fresh cut taste. Jamba Juice had concentrated Green Tea shots with OJ for a month and then they stopped. Why I don't know.

I was stumbling around the net looking at stuff for work and I came across this and guess what:


Forget the anti-oxidants for good heart health. It's better than light beer because it has less carbs, more iron, less alcohol and a whole bunch of good stuff to build strong healthy 30-somethings trying relive their college years at the local pub. And to quote my idol, Frank the Tank, "It's so good, when it hits your lips!" (If you haven't seen "Old School" you are missing out, if you have seen it, watch the audio commentary!) And if you are really in for a good time, have some Irish Car Bomb's featured in photo on top of this post. 2/3's a pint, half shot of ole Jameson Irish Whiskey mixed with a half shot of Bailey's. Have a few of those and even the British girls will look good. (Editor's note: I am not Irish so you Brits don't need to attack) FYI, 10% of the visitors on my blog any given day are from Great Britain and another 5%, according to StatCounter (see link at bottom of page) are from other lands.

March is here and it is actually my favorite month. St. Patrick's Day and the party is at my friend Josh's house. (Sweet!) My wife and I's 5th anniversary is Friday and we're heading to the desert for a few and Pacific will take their number 17 ranking into March Madness.

What could be better? Well.... Webber missing that last shot the other night for the Sixer's instead of the Kings.

Kings we're better with him on the bench anyway... see my photo blog.

This blog totally digressed. Vote Republican and not for Boxer, Clinton or Kennedy)
(Note: Two Guinnesses were consumed during the creation of this post, My Goodness!)

Saturday, February 26, 2005

My Favorite Bands

Mike Ness of Social Distortion

My favorite bands in no particular order.

U2 (Best Band Ever!)
Social Distortion (Best Live Band ever)
Jackpot (local sactown band, see link here... GOOD STUFF!!!)
1980's REM (Honorable Mention: Automatic for the People was stellar)
Dave Matthews Band (Good live as well)
Cracker (Some good clean country rock. Also see Camper Van Beethoven)
Middle Period Beatles (Starting with Rubber Soul and ending with Revolver)
Nirvana (Pre Shotgun Blast)
Coldplay (Best music to hear while driving through desert with Thunderstorms)
Jimi Hendrix Experience (Jimi, Noel and Mitch... best stuff ever)
Talking Heads (Read my bio on the upper right side of the blog)
Bob Dylan (Saw him live twice, "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright is the best song ever!)
Velvet Underground (My brother asked me years ago, who the hell is Lou Reed. Buy this!)

That should do it. See Republicans can be cool. What are some of your favorites? Tell me a story oh valued readers!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The First Amendment: A lesson for "Liberals" on my favorite word, Freedom

I am a conservative guy that listens to rock n roll and has attended punk rock concerts. I watch some pretty far out, arty independent movies with "liberal" themes and what not. I even listen to your radio talk from guys like Al Franken or Randy Rhodes. (I know Randy's not a guy, but I thought I'd get that in there for fun) This blog started off in November of 2004 as a way to relieve stress and comment on what I see, like the dog poop in the last post or the U2 album buying experience. And as I browsed through other blogs, I noticed I truly have a lot in common with my friends on the right and little at all with the left. I have always voted for Republicans because I felt they were right and I have always tried to do my best when it comes to making decision of choice like being Pro-Life VS. Pro-Choice. I believe in God but I am not anywhere near being a religious person. I would classify myself as "secular".

I was reviewing my stories and comments from the past. I really got praised and also beat up equally on my American Flag themes, my support for Bush or my out-right disgust of the Pearcy effigy here in my neighborhood. The comments from "liberals" came from strangers or some came from my "liberal" friends and these comments have a similar call against my opinions or beliefs. A few of these comments really hit me on the issue of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. In particular, the quote, unquote freedom of religion.

What I am going say here, regarding religion, freedom and government, is my interpretation of the First Amendment which states the following and I got it straight off the government site:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

I believe, from what I have read or learned about in school that this whole amendment was derived from the events during and following the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 by Protestant England. (Huh?) Read about the subject here. Protestant England defeated Catholic King Philip the II of Spain and his Armada stopping the flow and spread of one religion, Catholicism and allowed the establishment of another. You see in the 16th and 17th Centuries, people didn't have freedoms of speech or religion. The world was getting tighter, more advanced and deadly. You were Catholic if you lived in Spain or Italy and Protestant if you lived in England. These countries battled and battled all for a religion. Not necessarily to gain territories but that was the bi-product of the battles and for the conquering of the New World. In fact, Henry the VIII, the King of England before the defeat of the Armada basically created British Protestantism with his own "rules" while establishing the Church of England, which basically killed the idea of Catholicism in Britain. And the later, the pilgrims in 1620 came to what is now the US specifically for religious freedom that they could not get at home, because their beliefs had simply mutated and became different from what the British rulers had established in their homeland. So basically, you got all these Protestant Brits and for that matter, German Protestants coming to America because of the rule of their homeland leaders regarding religion or religious freedom. But then, the homeland leaders, particularly Britain and King George sought out their ex-patriates and tried to rule from afar with taxes and a military presence. The New Americans could not govern themselves, nor their individual religions, nor do they have the right to speak against or demonstrate against British rule. And then from that you got the beginning and start of the American Revolution which basically changed the world forever with the later establishment of the Bill of Rights...

Ok, quickly, here is where most "liberal" interpretations of our 1st Amendment freedom are wrong:

First, the beginning part of our First Amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" What our Founding Father's are trying to tell you is that the government can't tell you what "religion" to believe, or if you should believe in a God at all. This has absolutely nothing to do with a "separation of church and state" you "liberals" clammer for. This has nothing to do with Mr. Newdow of Sacramento's (see my story here) protest of "under God" in the pledge or President Bush's hand on a Bible while being sworn in. This has nothing to do with the Ten Commandments being displayed on a Court House in Georgia or Alabama. This has nothing to do with a Christmas Tree or Nativity Scene at the Capital because these themes and items are not part of what our Founding Fathers were telling us. They were against our leadership having control of individual freedoms or our right to our own religious beliefs. Displaying these "things" are not meant to establish what you should think a free American and they are not to there to offend you if you don't like them. If you believe I am wrong in my interpretation, show me where... Because you can't!

Second, what is wrong with America sharing it's freedom with countries like Iraq, Iran, North Korea or where ever else a brutal regime is in control of its people? And what if we have to go to war to establish freedom? So what? Aren't we improving our freedom, and our Bill of Rights, for doing it? War is hell, people die, it sucks bad, but I can live with it because FREEDOM REIGNS!!! And so what if these "evil"leaders and dictators are oceans away? Why should we stand by and watch them destroy their people? Wouldn't that be considered selfish?

And So what part of hanging a soldier in effigy has to do with the last part of our First Amendment: "...the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." The way I read the Amendment, it is not your right to do it. What's "peaceful" about it when you disturb and possibly endanger the lives of people around your house? What part of what those people did supports individual freedom? It has no basis no matter what their intent was. It was a bad choice of image.

Lastly, this part, "... prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press". What part of freedom of the press means that the press is actually telling the truth on let's say, the War in Iraq? The press is trapped in the paradigm of a witch hunt. If the hunt is to go right, then it goes after the right. If hunt moves left, which it never seems to do, then it goes after the left. Don't believe what you always hear or see in the press. I, for one, don't always believe what Rush Limbaugh says so don't take what Al Franken or Dan Rather says verbatim and use it to defend your position. In fact your position is opposite of mine right now, solely on the fact, that you HATE President Bush and you believe only "30 percent of America" voted for him and because you think I am a right wing zealot. However because I think the way I do, don't hate me for it, because I don't hate you for disagreeing with me.

I am amazed that our Founding Fathers spent the time to review the history of the world up until their time and that they had that much forethought to write a document that would still be as compelling today as it was then.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Bio-degradable Fido...?

Makes no sense whatsoever

Spent the weekend in beautiful Lake Tahoe. What a gorgeous place. Mountains full of snow. We took some walks around through the snow. We saw where they held the cross country events in the Squaw Valley Olympics. What great fun. I took some good pictures that I will probably post here.

But then on the way back from a walk I discovered this waste. So ironic I had to take a photo, post it here and tell you all about it. Tahoe is dog friendly. We saw people walking dogs everywhere. Which also means people are cleaning up after their dogs when they walk them. Obviously it is not fun happening upon a fresh steamer from a canine friend while on a pleasant stroll so Kudo's out to everyone who picks up after their dog.

Kudo's to everyone except for the person who accomplished the feat in the picture shown above. I am glad to see they had the sense to "bag the fruits of man's best friend" but then to toss them down in the snow like this? I'd rather they'd just left it where it lied when it came from the dog so we could step in it and bitch about it. Heck, it was so cold it would have froze anyway. But to wrap it in plastic and disgard it? If it was a can or a plastic bottle you could have picked it up and recycled it. If they'd just left it, it would have recycled itself. Instead they bag it in plastic and toss it down. There were garbage cans everywhere.

I chose not to pick up though. Am I worse for it or should I clean someone else's mess?

Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Driving in the Socialist Republic of California


California should just leave the Union. We're all bunch a freaks that just bitch at the rest of the country for its failures. We have produced losers... I mean citizens like mayor Gavin Newsome in San Francisco who is hell bent on making his own laws regardless of what the Government says is right or wrong. You have Michael Newdow who is an atheist and a non-conformist and wants you to know it. I mean take a look at this guy, it's almost the exact opposite of an Amish person and just as offended by anything. Gotta hand it to Mike though, he's got the 9th Circuit Court on his side. And look what these people do. And then the Pearcy's and their soldier effigy, and as I said "Under the guise of free speech" . Too bad it's Un-American.... shame on them for shaming our soldiers and our flag. (I can say it all I want lefty's because IT'S FREE SPEECH!!!)

That leads me to my topic... Driving. I drive a lot. I cross the bridges in the Bay Area at least once a week. I have a system of paying the least amount of tolls as possible. I will drive from Sactown to San Francisco over the Bay Bridge for my first toll and then head home over the Golden Gate through Hwy 37. Seems long but it does cover the people I need to see in those areas. If I went the other way it'd cost me 8 to 11 bucks and not 3. I save money! Conservative and fiscally responsible.

One current law is starting to impact and another may come our way if Schwarzenegger does get his way. First off AB426 or something close to this I heard on the radio. See California has like the highest gas prices in the nation. I saw prices this summer actually lower in Hawaii than they were in San Francisco if you can believe that. Why are they higher? Something to do with additives they needed to clean our air but then destroyed our water and then they had to convert refineries to remove it. (Huh?) On top of that, TAXES. And part of these are for AB426 which is used to improve our highways. Good right? Wrong! AB426 is used to widen our highways but then when they are widened with a new lane it becomes a CAR POOL lane for the 5% of the population fortunate enough to have 1 or 2 friends with them. So while you are jamming brakes on while a old white haired Asian lady is merging into bumper to bumper traffic in front of you, your gas tax is paying for the jerk with friends in the fast, CAR POOL lane. What part of this is fair? You suffer for ten months watching them put this lane in and you can't use it, EVER!!! Unless you bring your wife to work with you. Why would you want that stress?

The other thing our multi-termed State Legislature is proposing is charging people a tax per mile we drive each year. You'd report to the DMV the amount of miles you drove each year to off set the removal of our gas taxes. Sound crazy? Gavin Newsome in Frisco has a plan to do this downtown in San Francisco to reduce traffic. Hmmm... This makes total sense. Well not really, if the State does it, people that commute to LA and San Francisco Bay Areas to work each day are screwed. Housing prices to work in these urban and celebrity ridden areas are out of this world. So these nice, hardworking Californians (in red counties if you look at the map) who live out of the major urban areas where homes are affordable and life is good, have to pay the heavier tax for driving into the big cities (ie. if you look at the map again, the blue counties) where they couldn't afford to be live in the first place. It balances the equation, right? Wrong! I think its a ploy to get back at us red folk who voted for Bush and figuring they had the populations. You think about it. Wasn't it why they installed the carpool lanes, under the guise of saving the environment and encouraging people to carpool? To make life harder for us Republicans? Living cheap and free in the valleys?

Monday, February 14, 2005

Free Speech VS. Hate Crime: The Pearcy Soldier Effigy

Peaceful Marty Way, with News Crews and traffic galore. Thanks to Steve and Virginia Pearcy!

I live like 10 blocks away and my previous post sort of went 50/50 on this subject. On this post, I would like to make a clear understanding of why I think the Pearcy's attempt at free speech is nothing short of a hate crime with the soldier effigy on their house, you can see in my previous post. But I'd also like to point out how lame some people were on the other side of the political landscape in nearby Placerville.

First the Pearcy's. Free Speech allows you to say how you feel, correct? In regards to protest, this means you can say and state your case for whatever your opinion may be. Words and speech are commonly expressed with tabloids, commercials, bumper stickers, signs, public gatherings, lawn signs, editorial news reports, blogging and many other print and speech forms that exist today. When is it going too far though? It's when you intentionally degrade a general group of people commonly linked by race, religion, sexual preference and national origin. Showing bias against one's homeland, (ie. National Origin) in a negative way can be a hate crime. Especially with images of death and destruction. This where Steve and Virginia Pearcy have crossed the line with their form of what they believe is free speech. The American Soldiers are being used to promote their hatred of President Bush. This in and of itself is not a crime. But hanging a soldier as graphically as shown on the side of their house, with a noose, and an American Flag shoved in the soldier's helmet is a clear destruction of character of the American Soldier for political gain. Hate crime? Talk to the disgraced American Soldier who emphatically disagree with the Pearcy's. American Soldiers are volunteers, serving your country, defending your life and well being. A commendable job in my book.

Funny. I just opened a fortune cookie. It says,"Power does not corrupt men, but fools corrupt power." The power of free speech does not make us corrupt. But there are fools who are corrupting the power of it, to do something as the Pearcy's did.

The right to assembly has also spurned some hate crime at a parade in Placerville this weekend. Gay marriage. An issue I am against for personal reasons, not religious ones but I am not at liberty say why here. Some liberals are up at arms about this one and yes, even this conservative blogger is agreeing them. Though I agree with the protest, I emphatically against anti gay marriage advocates using the opportunity for hate. On the side of a truck this weekend was posted, "God hates Gays" with some pretty graphic hate filled imagery. If the Pearcy's symbol is a symbol of hate then that truck sign in Placerville is just as bad and people should agree both are abuses of free speech. So am I wrong? (A recommend reading the Sacbee article I tagged above)

On a lighter note... A Bush supporter is using his or her right for free speech by plastering the Pearcy Home on Marty Way with some cool words and a Bush sticker in the window. Note pictures below. Also note in the picture above that I took, the neighbor has put up an American Flag. You think he hates the Pearcy's? Here are the pictures:



These pictures are taken by me and are copyrighted by me.
Pictures are posted on my other blog

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Observations Part 8: The Terrorists living a few blocks away


Yeah, I said it Terrorists!

Meet Stephen and Virginia Pearcy, lawyers from Berkeley, CA. They just happened to also own a house in the fine Land Park neighborhood of Sacramento. And I can see, this neighborhood from my own house!

To say the least, I am freaking appalled that some leftists, under the legitimate guise of free speech, thought this was a great idea. The picture shows a model of a soldier hanging by a noose. In the soldier's helmet is a crumpled up American Flag. As you can see, it also says "Your tax dollars at work". The sad thing it is their right under free speech, or is it?

I drive 200 plus miles a day. I see anti Bush bumper stickers, some quite humorous by the way, and I see anti war stickers. I have seen protesters at the Capital on weekends. I see people in San Francisco holding signs against the war on street corners and I am totally cool with all of this. Why? Because it is our freedom and our choice. And without an opposing side, what would Republicans do? Our country's foundation is built on this kind of stuff that I have mentioned.

Our country, however was not built on HATE. Sure we've had our problems. Slavery was not a cool idea. Preventing women from voting or holding office for as long as we did was not cool either. (It's not cool however that Hillary is in office but that is for another blog)
Our country needed the 60's to happen. We needed successful closure to the Civil Rights Movement. I applaud our leaders like Susan B Anthony, Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez and for them to have the gall to do what they did.

But the Pearcy's are no better than Hitler, Stalin or Kim Jung Il. I personally would classify what they did as a "hate crime" and they are enemies of our country. I heard on the local radio station today some callers were same opinion. When do protesters cross the line of free speech into hate? If I hung a Nazi flag outside my house, my 95 year old redwood house would be destroyed by the time I came home. If I put up a White Power sign, I would be strung up. So hanging an effigy of our American brothers and sisters who volunteered their lives to serve our country, to promote a political agenda is a cool thing? I realize that all the instances of the war on terror have not gone "right". There were no WMD's when we said there are WMD's, but a free Iraq is still the outcome. Sure and there was some torturing of Iraqi prisoners, which was FULLY not advocated by our leaders and our President. But there are many, many other more constructive ways to protest. You don't have to go for the Jugular to make your point. You are basically inciting a riot and more crime which has no place. And besides, what did the poor, unknown soldier do to deserve this treatment... defend your freedom? I liked it better when you people spit on our soldiers, if you want to equate a lesser evil.

The effigy was taken down by an unknown individual and the property owners plan to prosecute this individual if and when he is arrested and charged with the crime of property theft. If I was a lawyer, I would defend the guy pro bono and I am sure this will be the case if this Patriot is found.

I thought Liberalism was a message of tolerance.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

We made it!!!!


Pacific Tigers get Top 25 Ranking for the first time in school history

They haven't had a football team since 1993, they always kick ass in volleyball, and they won their first game in March Madness last year. But don't look now, they're ranked 24!

Hailing from the armpit of California... Stockton, with a tuition higher per year than a salary one should expect after graduating, they are finally getting national attention for a great basketball program that produced a great NBA center, Michael Olowakandi. (Did I say great?)

I graduated from UOP 1996 and I attended every home game the last three years I was there. I had to actually. I got paid to be there. I was in the band! And I have almost paid all the money I borrowed back for that prestigious music degree I earned while attending school for 4 years there.

Seriously though, it couldn't happen to a better school. Academic achievement is going up. Students entering the school have higher GPA's and higher SAT scores, making Pacific a leading choice for students. (that can afford it)

The best memory of UOP Basketball I had there was when we played Fresno with Jerry Tarkanian as coach. The game was on ESPN and the Spanos Center was rocking. We had brought a white terry cloth towels with us and when Tark got frustrated and chewed on his towel, we made sure we did the same. ESPN got us very briefly on camera on a side view of the band, which was right next to Tark's bench, with all of us including Tarkanian, chewing on towels.

Go Pacific! Maybe we'll get a good seed in March Madness and we'll make the sweet 16 this time.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Back to Politics....


I just gotta ask one question to all the Democrats:

How has George W. Bush, by the mere act of being President personally affected your life "negatively"? In other words, what is your loss as a person?

Please comment below.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Reflections Part 1: It was 6 years ago today...

Well, it's February and another year goes on. 6 years ago, in 1999. I flew to England for my first and only visit so far in life. I left the 2nd out of San Francisco and landed sometime on the 3rd in London. One continuous flight on a 747. I flew to meet my then sort-of-girlfriend Kristen. She was attending school up in north of London at Keele University. She met me at the airport and I had a nice $9 meal at Burger King.

The next morning we broke out to Liverpool by rail. I had gotten all the way out to England and I was dying to see some Beatle stuff. So we took the long train ride up there. I guess it was typical weather, cold damp and foggy. I was amazed that there was so much graffiti along the railway. I remember the rail guy pushing the cart full of candy bars on this ride and he asking me if "I was alright?" I felt puzzled because I felt fine. Did I look out of place because I was an American or something? Kristen then informed me that he was offering me a some candy. I wish I spoke English better.

Anyhow we got up to Liverpool and emptied out into some mall from the train. We found some Beatle stuff to do. We visited a Beatle Museum. It was cool but sheesh how touristy. I took photos when I wasn't supposed to.... oops. So for the most part, I was uninspired. Really bland like the food in England. Just a damp dreary day.


Then we discovered this. A tour to end all tours! This bus drove around Liverpool where they showed you the 4's houses, there schools, Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane, The Fish and Chips place they'd all hung at. And the dude in the purple shirt in the photo was our guide and was a childhood friend of Ringo. How about that? A Liverpool Tour by a Liverpudlian.

And this was the part of my "planned" 10 day British Vacation where I got the "itch". (You'll learn what I am talking about, keep reading!) I was looking for the perfect spot and it was only my first day! We got out at Penny Lane. Was this the spot.... No! Strawberry Fields? Was this the spot, in all it's beauty and graffiti? Uh... no... too embarassing. At Paul's childhood home? Why no... John's... no not there either!

But the tour was perfect to do this "thing" at? Where could I do "it"? The tour was coming to the end. Yes, the Cavern Club, where it all began. The Beatles in the early days played night after night in the Cavern Club and it was the beginning of their career as it should be the beginning of "ours". The amazing thing I must say about this place is that it is small!!! You enter and go down this spiral stair case to the basement. On the wall of this staircase, is an incredible painting. A collage of Beatle moments from the beginning at the bottom of the stairs to the end at the top. A career in two stories, sweet.

But I couldn't do "it" there.... Too nervous and scared.

Alas, the tour ended and I failed. I needed a beer. The picture at the top of this is a statue above the bar directly across the street from the Cavern Club. The guide told us to go in there and have a pint. So we did. We walk in and the place is empty. Kristen and I went to the back and sat in a booth. Above this booth were some musical instruments. A drum set, a bass that looked vaguely familiar, a 12 string Rickenbacker guitar and a Rhythm guitar. These were donated by the Beatles. It was there under these famous music makers and a couple chugs of some cool Guiness, 6 years ago today, I asked Kristen to marry me. She said yes of course.... After she phoned her parents! Sheesh, she left me hanging and ran to a phone and dialed out at like 5 bucks a minute to wake her parents and tell them the news. They already knew of course. I had asked them, (actually I told them) before hand. I serious meant to ask them first... oh well it worked out in the end. I think Kristen was more impressed that they knew first. She did say yes after the call.

We boarded the commuter train and were separated back to Keele. She stared at me smiling all the way across the train.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Tour of the Year-VERTIGO

Are you going?

This will be my 5th time seeing these guys. I am going to the San Jose show in April. I can't wait. These guys put on the best show. I have been to many concerts from small clubs to stadiums. Seeing U2 in an arena is the best. They use the whole place, not just the stage to put on a show.
I saw them twice on the last tour, the second show being the best ever. It was a few weeks after 9/11 and they played in Oakland. Such emotion. First thing I remember was Bono pulling some guy on stage that had a sign that said "ME+GUITAR=ANY U2 Song". So U2 obliged and gave the man a guitar. The guy plays, "A Sort of Homecoming" a song off their Unforgettable Fire Album. The band, was well... shocked! Bono started singing and blew some of the words but the crowd more than made up for it. At the end of show though is when U2 played like they are known for. Simply put, they played "All That You Can't Leave Behind" while a backdrop of names of the individuals that parished in 9/11 was displayed nearly one by one. These guys knew America, if not the world was hurting. To recognize this, like they did in such a powerful way, with a song that was written for the ultimate freedom fighter was incredible. If you are a fan, I highly recommend seeing this band live if you haven't. This band brings more to the show than any band you have seen. (OK, Mike Ness is a helluva performer but this is bigger)
This is the best band ever! Why? Two words: Longetivity and relevance
Name a band that has been popular longer, continuously and has its original members. Who goes into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, with their 25 year requirement, still in their prime?
Read my related U2 story here.