Friday, May 31, 2013

Haushan Mountain: Definitely Not On My 'Bucket List' !


This hiking trail is located in China's Huashan National Park which is about a 2 hour bus ride from Xi'an

This particular trail is called the 'Chang Kong Cliff Road'. It is anything but a road as I would think of one.

It was said to have been built by Taoist monks some 700 years ago who were seeking the 'immortal ones' who it was believed lived inside Haushan mountain.






I have no idea what happens when you meet people
trying to come down while you're trying to go up?



Are they sure they weren't built by
monkeys instead of 'monks' ?
Call me a weenie, but no freaking way!



Thursday, May 30, 2013

New York City's Big Dig

This project started out in 1998 for an estimated $3 billion. As of 2012 it's been estimated to cost upwards $8.4 billion. The 'East Side Access' tunnel is expected to be completed in 2019. The tunnel will connect the 'Grand Central RR Terminal' with the Long Island railroad.


Graphic Credit/Source: Wired.com




Video Courtesy Wired.com



MORE INFORMATION

Wikipedia: East Side Access
MTA's weekly progress photos for all of the East Side Access contracts: can be found HERE


Progress On The 'East Side Access' as of 3/27/2013

Video Courtesy New York's MTA


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Teacher Resigns Out Of Frustration In A YouTube Video

4th Grade Teacher Ellie Rubenstein who taught in Highland Park, Illinois this past school year says, "I originally intended for this video to be watched by my administrators and my community; I had no idea it would reach so many. The thousands of stories already shared with me from around the globe that mirror my own are both critical and heartbreaking.

I cannot change the system from within, so I leave to allow myself to continue teaching in my way, on my terms. I never planned on giving up, and I never will. If you are interested in learning more about me and my future educational endeavors, feel free to visit http://tunes2teach.com

I have the deepest respect and gratitude for those whose voices join with mine, and for those who are still fighting to find their own."
Published on May 21, 2013

Comments On This Video


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Business Matters: Boston Beer Company

WFMZ originally aired this 'Business Matters' program on Monday, February 20, 2012. Tony Iannelli did a one-on-one with Jim Koch, Brewer and co Founder of the Boston Beer Company at the Lehigh Valley Brewery facility.

Jim Koch has got to be the most down to Earth millionaire and most humorous fella your ever going to meet. One of the best parts of Jim's conversation was when Tony asked him about starting out. Tony asked, with his family's history of brewing beer for over five generations, getting the backing must have been relatively easy? Jim basically said hell no! Every one of the family's breweries went bankrupt. :-)

I think this was the most entertaining Business Matters show ever. If you missed it, fear not



Friday, May 24, 2013

Pennsylvania's Traveler Information System: 511PA


Motorists can check road conditions on more than 2,900 miles of state roads by visiting www.511PA.com


511PA is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, average traffic speeds on urban interstates and access to more than 670 traffic cameras. 511PA also provides easy-to-use, color-coded winter road conditions for all interstates and other routes covered in the 511 reporting network.

Access to 511PA is also available by calling 511.



Thursday, May 23, 2013

Some Funny Photos








Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My Take On The Primary In Allentown

Democracy By Default


Here's the short & Long of it. Nobody Gives A Rat's Ass

In fact I question myself as to why I'm even bothering to post on this matter.




Despite all the numerous threats at council meetings to vote incumbent council members out of office over one issue after another, voters voted 4 of the 5 incumbents right back into office.


I can't help but wonder how many council members will take these threats seriously ever again at future council meetings. But that's not the big story.












The big story is over 97% of the population in
Allentown didn't even bother to show up at the polls!

(Even among registered voters this was the poorest turnout over the last three primaries in Allentown)


It is any wonder why the Morning Call, Express-Times or WFMZ-TV aren't spending their resources on investigative reporting when it comes to Allentown City Hall? Why should they knowing that less then 3% of Allentown's citizens give a crap enough to vote? That's not exactly a subscriber based business growth model they can build on.

According to the 2010 census Allentown has a population of 118,032 people. Julio Guridy, who had the highest number of votes for city council, only received 1,604. This represents only 1.36% of the total number of people living in Allentown. Even the mayor, who had the highest number of votes recorded, only represents less then 2.2% of the population. To my dismay, it turns out he received the most number of votes right in my own Ward's district.

People can holler and scream and petition till their heart's content, but what matters is what they do about it come election time. Now we know... NOTHING!


For all the election results in Lehigh County CLICK HERE


I'll wrap this up with one more thing that's on my mind. It's 100% speculation on my part and I've not heard anything about this what-so-ever. Just suppose this administration finds a need to use 7th street to feed traffic into and out the new arena and decides to convert 7th to two way. Further suppose parking is eliminated on one or both sides of the street to accommodate that volume of traffic. Imagine the outrage from the Hispanic community who set up their shops along this corridor if they should then lose parking for their customers. I'm not saying this is going to happen, but it is a possibility with all this gentrification and every thing going on. I'm certain not a peep would be heard before these elections if these were plans in the back of their minds.

My response, if this should occur is, where the hell were you folks on election day! Why I should get behind and rally support when most could care less about voting? And remember, if this should happen.. you heard it here first. Even though this is 100% pure speculation on my part, don't be stunned if this should come to pass. Also don't be too disappointed if I don't share in some future faux outrage over this or some other drama that's sure to come along.


I don't think I'm sounding too curmudgeon when I state, elections have consequences. One of the worse is when less then 3,000 electors and a handful of political leaders decide for the other 115,000 people who were too apathetic to get off their lazy asses. It's not only shame on Allentown regarding democracy, but it's downright embarrassing especially for those citizens who stood up on certain issues only to realize that less then 3% of their fellow citizens could give a crap either way, whether 'for' or 'against' something.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I Sure Do Miss "Uncle Jay" Gilbert

Here's an example of what I miss..

Uncle Jay Explains: July 4, 2011



You see "Uncle Jay" Gilbert worked at WEBN-FM 102.7 in Cincinnati, Ohio for 25 years up until he got fired on Thursday, December 6th, 2012. On May 17th I posted LVCI Plays DJ which I mentioned how local DJ's have become a thing of the past. Well it seems 'Uncle Jay' became another victim of Clear Channel's iHeart radio format changes. For folks not familiar with 'Clear Channel's owned stations click here. It is owned by Owned by: Bain Capital, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners. Both which are huge equity firms.



Here locally B104, Cat Country 96, WZZO, WLEV and WAEB-790 are all owned by 'Clear Channel'. At one time they were all separately owned and employed local personalities broadcasting LIVE throughout the day. Under 'Clear Channel's' 'iHeart Radio' system nearly every hour of the day is fed by computer automated satellites. These have less then a handful of local personalities throughout most of the broadcast day. Localization is made possible via prerecorded sound files dropped in occasionally by these automated systems. In other words they are pretty much void of any real locally recognized personalities. So in short 'Uncle Jay', has like nearly every other DJ become a relic of the past at WEBN-FM.

The next day after his firing The Cincinnati Enquirer was kind enough to host a chat for him on Friday, December 7, 2012 in which he said..."Hey everybody! First, many thanks to the countless people who posted good wishes at the Enquirer and various other places. It's all very gratifying. My abrupt end was no surprise ... this is about the fifth time that Clear Channel has laid off dozens of people around the country in one massive splat. It's how this business goes, it's been that way since before I started in it, and this is often the way it ends. I'm sad but not angry, and don't want to spend our brief time today complaining." He was not the only one that got axed that day. There a bunch of others from around the country. Which brings us to the YouTube videos of 'Uncle Jay Explains The News'.Comment From Cullen:
What are your plans for "Uncle Jay Explains the News"?

Jay Gilbert:
It's been a year since I last did an episode. That project simply didn't catch on fire like I hoped it would and I just couldn't keep committing the time and expense. I haven't given up on it but right now it's still dormant."

Comment From Thomas:
When we hear someone talking on the radio, how much of it is really live – and how much is pre-recorded?

Jay Gilbert:
More and more it's pre-recorded, because computers play all the pre-scheduled songs and commercials, so a DJ can just insert him or herself into the places where they belong. So a 4 or 5 hour show can be done in maybe 40 minutes. Many DJs' jobs now are just being in a studio and "voictracking" a series of radio shows that are sent to stations around the country, and they never do a live show.
These two things explain why 'Uncle Jay' has pretty much been relegated to the past like so many others. That's a damn shame. He is right. The world moves on. The guy can't remain successful when in today's world less then 30,000 people watch his YouTube videos or when his 3:00pm to 7:00 pm radio slot can be filled for nearly zero dollars by simply patching into a satellite feed.

I have a tough time understanding why only 10,286 people bothered to watch..
Uncle Jay Explains: Nov. 27, 2011


Or why only 36,157 people over the last 2 1/2 years thought the last video he ever made: "Uncle Jay Explains: 2011 Singing Year In Review" wasn't entertaining.

It was once said, if you blindfolded someone riding in a car, they could tell what city they were in just by who was DJ'n in that city. NOT ANYMORE!

And that is why I Sure Do Miss "Uncle Jay" Gilbert as well as the numerous local broadcasters' voices that used to saturate our airwaves.


UPDATE
(03/18/2017)

Maybe I Found him. The latest update can be found HERE

Monday, May 20, 2013

How To Bypass Call Center Options Menu

...and talk to a real live person

53 year old former IT specialist Nigel Clarke from Kent, England started a searchable website entitled 'Please Press 1'. While the site was developed mainly for users in the U.K. there is also a option under step 1 to search places in the Untied States. Since this is a relatively new site, there may not be the specific menu information your looking for under U.S. options. However, many of these companies use the same menus internationally. So I suggest if you can't find a number in the U.S. database try looking it up under the U.K option.

I've found it surprising how many times just pressing '0' (for operator) worked for me. Alternatively it's been suggested to try #0 or 0#.


Then on the other hand, just because you may get a hold of a real live person (with a really hard to understand dialect) doesn't mean you arrived at the gates of paradise. I've been reading when some reps get annoyed they stick you on hold anyway for a few minutes then drop the call.

Still others have been known for promising to make all your dreams come true only to find out the computer keyboard clicking was a ruse. What you heard in the background was more likely a nail clipper since nothing was actually resolved. Oh well at least you bought a few more weeks of false comfort.



Here's my favorite one. Someone takes your call who identifies himself as Jimmy D. Badut (since your couldn't pronounce their real name in Indonesian anyway). Later on you find out that 'Badut' in Indonesian means "clown". That's right you just spoke to Jimmy D' Clown. :-)

This happened to us a few years back when we were trying to settle a will on property owned by the late mother-in-law with the former 'Wachovia Bank' before it became 'Wells Fargo'. We'd call the same number we were given but never ended up in the same office in the same state twice. After we were considered a pain in the ass, I suppose, we and our lawyer would receive letters signed by a Mr. Theodore P. Jones. Whenever we'd call back the phone number on the letter and no matter who we spoke with ever heard of him. Years later I found out they used the name ' Theodore P. Jones' as code for.. well basically, this caller's a pain-in-the-ass to whomever would answer the phone at that particular 'Wachovia' office. I also found out a number of estate attorneys nicknamed this former bank as 'Walk-All-Over-Ya'.




I recommend first try working with the automated robots before you resort to blowing wind with what could be turn out to be a frustrating experience.



Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pretending To Be Someone Else Online?



"HARRISBURG – On the Internet, no one really knows who could be on the other side of the screen. But pretending to be someone you’re not online could soon be a crime in Pennsylvania.

This week the House of Representatives passed House Bill 764, which would make it illegal to use the name or identity of someone else online while engaging in certain types of behavior. It would apply to web pages, social media, emails and text messages."


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Congressional Hearings Regarding The IRS

Here we go again with House Republicans in Washington looking for another reason to pitch a fit having us believe conservative groups are the only ones being singled out.

At Friday's (05/17/2013) Congressional hearing Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) inadvertently stepped right into this goo.


Rep. Roskam said, "in contradiction with..."
No It Isn't

Read The U.S. Treasury Inspector General's Report for yourself dated May 14, 2013.


There's plenty to be angry about, but conservative groups aren't the only ones that have been hammered by the IRS.

Attention Allentown Voters

Heads up. If you live in Allentown and are focusing specifically on who gets elected to city council. It's extremely important that you get off your rump and vote in the primaries on Tuesday, May 21st, 2013. Let me state unequivocally. The four candidates who win in this primary will be part of the total of five elected to council irregardless of how people vote in November.



You see, all nine candidates are Democrats. There are no Republican challengers. Unless one of the candidates withdraws after the primary or someone files a nomination petition between now and August of their intentions to run as a independent candidate it's all over as to who the five new council members will be irregardless of what happens in November. Four are incumbents. Five are not. One is already an incumbent and nearly assured of a seat. That person is Joe Davis who is seeking a two-year seat and has no Democrat challengers on the ballot.

The Express-Times has a brief bio of each


As for me personally, if Dean Browning doesn't make it through the primary for 'Lehigh County Executive' I have only two reasons for showing up to vote in November. One would be to caste my vote for mayor. The other on the referendum concerning Allentown's waste-to-energy incinerator. The referendum, if approved by the voters, would require real-time around the clock monitoring of plant pollutants and be posted online. It also would require pollutants to be the same as or less then those emitted by a natural gas power plant.

If the people who are bellyaching about a 'rubber stamp' council don't get off their asses and vote this Tuesday, I don't want to hear their bitching come November after that ship has sailed.

Friday, May 17, 2013

What Do U Look 4 In Blogs?

Simple question, what are you looking for when you visit various blogs?

I don't expect a lot of response to the question (if any). Nor planning to change this one. I'm just curious what people are looking for when they visit blogs?Is it a news scoop?
Bloggers personal stuff?
Opinion?
Jokes?
Attack Pieces?
OR
Something else?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Feds Student Loan Program: $51 Billion Profit This Year!


According to an article written by Shahien Nasiripour for the Huffington Post the CBO indicated that "The Obama administration is forecast to turn a record $51 billion profit this year from student loan borrowers" by the end of this year. The article goes on to point out that this is more then Exxon Mobile or the nation's four largest backs combined will make in net profit!


Pardon me but I never thought the United States student loan program was suppose to become a huge for-profit banking enterprise for the U.S. government. Either government should rebate these students the entire amount, since they apparently overcharged them. Or take that $51 billion and distribute it to the local school districts that they've previously cut funding for OR some combination of both.

Is it any wonder why today's graduates can't look forward to owning a home anytime soon?



Ever wonder Why aren’t younger Americans driving anymore?

Kelly McParland wrote for the "National Post"..."Student debt now exceeds aggregate auto loan, credit card, and home-equity debt balances—making student loans the second largest debt of U.S. households, following mortgages... the average student loan balance among those twenty-five-year-olds with student debt grew by 91 percent over the last 10 years from $10,649 in 2003 to $20,326 in 2012.

Bernice Napach at the 'Daily Ticker' wrote, "College costs have been rising nearly 5% a year for the past 10 years—more than double the rate of inflation.... Still, that doesn’t seem to have hurt the paychecks of the presidents of public universities. Their median pay packages jumped 5% to $441,392 for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, and a growing number of those presidents took in more than $1 million.

Over at MSN's Money Watch Donna Freedman wrote "Half of college grads aren't earning enough to make loan payments." She goes on to warn graduates if they "Stop making loan payments and your credit score could dive as much as 100 points which in turn results in "Higher rates for auto loans or mortgages mean reduced buying power.

It's bad enough colleges have become cash cows, does the U.S. government need to get in on the act by gouging today's youth as well!

All of this is like a ticking time bomb for the nation's economy in a number of ways. The first impact is on the recent graduates who are 10,000's of dollars in debt and who's unemployment rate is about 8.8% which is 1.2% above the national average. The secondary impact will come in the form of higher costs to consumers by professionals such as doctors and others who need to pay back their student loans. Even more of concern is if this federal student loan program implodes. Taxpayers will be forced to cover debt forgiveness.

This morning Reuters reported Deficit To Shrink Rapidly Through 2015 Due To Rising Revenues: The CBO said the deficit will fall to $378 billion by 2015 with no congressional action. That's great news for the U.S. treasury, but apparently billions upon billions of that comes on the backs of our young before they even have a chance at their first job.

I'm all for deficit reduction but I'm against a sneaky backdoor scheme. One that over burdens our young while at the same time shortchanges our local school districts by ever reduced funding. Funding which local communities are struggling with all kinds of ways to come up with revenue. This is a perfect example of the government putting money in our top pocket while their hand reaches into our back pocket to take two more.

Yes I understand we need to reduce our deficit. There are two ways to go about that. One method comes through further government budget cuts and raising revenues. The other through increasing the economy (GDP) which results in more tax revenue via trade agreements that encourage more American business to expand here. Allowing young workers to have $51 billion more in their pockets to spend. Encouraging trade schools which can decrease a student's education debt by two years. Restore funding to local schools which results in having more money to spend by real estate owners (both landlords and residents). I could probably name a dozen more, but you get the idea.

Let me pout this in a nutshell. I see no good coming out of this from having a kid lose 4 years of earnings while they go to college only to end up $10,000's in debt before they even get out of the gate, even if everyone of them could find a job right away. If college is a requirement to find a job these days and we don't want to offer to pay it for them... at least don't screw them for 51 billion dollar$!!!

Orchard Park, New York's Eternal Flame Mystery

The Mystery Of New York's Eternal Flame
By Victoria Woollaston | The Daily Mail
"The eternal flame sits behind a waterfall in western New York... It is said to have been lit thousands of years ago by Native Americans... researchers admitted they are unsure exactly how the New York gas is being produced."
I could sure use one of these under my wigwam to help lower my hot water and heating bills!

Can anyone recommend a good Native American local heating contractor?


Men Jokes (One Woman's POV)


One day my housework-challenged husband decided to wash his Sweatshirt. Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to me, 'What setting do I use on the washing machine?'

'It depends,' I replied. 'What does it say on your shirt?'

He yelled back, 'UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA!'
-----



A couple are lying in bed. The man says, 'I am going to make you the happiest woman in the world...'

The woman replies, 'I'll miss you...... '.
-----




'It's just too hot to wear clothes today,' Jack says as he stepped out of the shower. 'Honey, what do you think the neighbors would think if I mowed the lawn like this?'

'Probably that I married you for your money,' she replied.
-----

Dear Lord, I pray for Wisdom to understand my man; Love to forgive him; and Patience for his moods. Because, Lord, if I pray for Strength, I'll beat him to death.
AMEN
-----

Q: How do you keep your husband from reading your e-mail?

A: Rename the email folder 'Instruction Manuals'
-----

While creating husbands, God promised women that good and ideal husbands would be found in all corners of the world...............then He made the earth round.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

R U Keeping Up With Latest Electronic Gizmo?

"The South Korean firm has successfully tested new equipment which it hopes will transmit data several hundred times faster than existing 4G networks.... hopes to bring the service to customers by 2020."
I've given up chasing rabbits. I've already spent good money pursuing Pinnacle's Studio Video Editors #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9 and #10. Windows 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7. I've already bought fell for two new cell phones that used older transmission schemes before the 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G ones came out.

There's only so many times I can be suckered!


The Goat Hole (HUMOR)


Two Tennessee rednecks are out hunting, and as they are walking along they come upon a huge hole in the ground.

They approach it and are amazed by the size of it. The first hunter says, "Wow, that's some hole; I can't even see the bottom. I wonder how deep it is."

The second hunter says," I don't know, let's throw something down and listen and see how long it takes to hit bottom."


The first hunter says, "There's this old automobile transmission here, give me a hand and we'll throw it in and see". So they pick it up and carry it over, and count one, and two and three, and throw it in the hole.

They are standing there listening and looking over the edge and they hear a rustling in the brush behind them. As they turn around they see a goat come crashing through the brush at about 100 mph, run up to the hole, and with no hesitation, jump in head first.

While they are standing there looking at each other, looking in the hole and trying to figure out what that was all about, an old farmer walks up.

"Say there," says the farmer, "you fellers didn't happen to see my goat around here anywhere, did you?"

The first hunter says, " Funny you should ask, but we were just standing here a minute ago and a goat came running out of the bushes doin' about a hunnert miles an hour and jumped headfirst into this hole here!"

The old farmer said, "That's impossible. I had him chained to a transmission!"

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bethlehem Considering A 'Community Benefit District'


From the what the hell are they thinking department, 'The Express-Times' is reporting that Bethlehem is considering creating a Community Benefit District. The article goes on to report, "All residential properties within the district would pay a $100 a year while commercial properties would be assessed at 6.8 mills.."

This is wrong on so many levels it's hard for me to decide where to begin. First off, when someone decides to buy a home to live in for themselves they may be totally against condo or co-op fees along with their so-called community members committee. Thusly never elected to buy a property that required them. For most people, independent ownership is suppose to free from boards and/landlords who impose their preferences on them? Who would guess at the time someone bought a home it would result in the government stepping in and forcing one into some government imposed scheme a few years down the line.



Then there are the businesses themselves. It's one thing to voluntarily join the 'Downtown Bethlehem Association', 'The Chamber Of Commerce' or hire a marketing firm. Those are choices they made for themselves. It's entirely another thing for the government forcing them into joining some organizational committee that would decide what "improvements and marketing in the neighborhood" best suits them.

They call these 'fees'. These are not ''fees'. They are extra taxes, plain and simple. Why should a business or private property owner pay an extra assessment on top of the property taxes already being paid? Why would a home owner be interested in 'marketing' his/her residential property? Even if this is successful wouldn't this end up costing a home owner a higher assessment then they already have? If Bethlehem gets away with this, how long before other counties and municipalities in this area seize the opportunity to mimic Bethlehem's?

Imagine how many residential homeowners will forced out of their homes because of inadequate or fixed income.

I can't express the distain I have for a couple of yahoos who come together and through the use of government power cram their schemes down everyone's throats. I have no problem if this were made voluntary. Anything otherwise is nothing but totalitarian government. One thing is for sure. This certainly isn't the kind of government I grew up with.

KOZ, NIZ and all the others that tie up government tax revenue on existing tax dollars is one thing. Compelling folks to shell out another layer of taxes on top of all of that plus existing taxes in certain areas is just plain government running amuck. This needs to be stopped dead in it's tracks before it spreads around here like it already has out on the left coast.