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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in MidnightMan's LiveJournal:

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Monday, November 14th, 2011
12:52 am
Procrastination Pro
Wow! I just realized that it's been over a year since I posted anything at LJ.

Well, now I have! ;)
Monday, November 8th, 2010
11:52 pm
Return to Daylight Wasting Time
The clock radio had the only clock that I bothered to reset over the weekend. I mentally adjusted the time all day Sunday; finally resolving to end my procrastination as soon as I woke up Monday. Monday came rolling around but I didn't feel like rolling out of bed right away. Running through an inventory of all the equipment I have that would need clocks reset, I was surprised to come up with a total of sixteen ! A daunting task, but it had to be done. I managed to convince myself to stay under the covers a bit longer; both to contemplate the order in which I'd complete my rounds, and to try to remember where I put the instruction books for all my electronic gadgets. Noting that over 20 minutes had past, I said to myself, " I'd better get started; it's not getting any earlier." Then I suddenly realized that it was!
Thursday, November 4th, 2010
3:12 am
Post election thoughts
Saw several commercials on TV today before I realized that nobody approved them!

Some Tea Party members need to be decaffeinated.

A lot of politicians who got elected on Tuesday were the ones who kept saying that they wanted to "take this country back!" The only question remaining now is ... what century do they want to take it back to?
Thursday, October 14th, 2010
2:34 am
Let There Be Light
I think I liked it better when it didn't get dark until after 10P.M.
Sunday, August 29th, 2010
5:17 pm
Where Have All the LJ'ers Gone ?
For a number of reasons not worth rehashing here, I decided to take a short hiatus from LJ. Weeks turned into months. You know how that goes.

Surprise !!! I find that several people on my friends list have dropped out of LJ completely; and most others are only posting occasionally. What happened? Has everyone on the planet switched over to My Face and Flitter ?

I enjoyed the daily conversations with many friends on LJ, but admittedly, it began to take up too much time. I've come to the conclusion that quitting entirely isn't satisfactory either. I miss hearing about the lives of my online friends. My hope is that some of you still out there in LJ land will want to renew our friendships. So, I've decided to keep my account open and check for posts at least once or twice a week to see if any of you are of like mind. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Now, it looks like I have some LJ reading to catch up on. : )
Thursday, December 31st, 2009
11:37 pm
Happy New Year, Happy New Decade
May you all have a pleasant, prosperous, and peaceful new year and new decade!
Wednesday, August 19th, 2009
1:36 am
Think About It
Hundreds of thousands of people who have no other source of health care are being removed from Medicaid rolls because states don't have revenues to support the programs.

Insurers are denying individuals necessary treatment; chemotherapy for cancer, for example; because it's not profitable for them. Denying coverage saves them money.

And yet....

Over 52 Million Dollars has been spent so far on advertising by the various industry and advocacy groups on all sides of the health insurance debate.
Wednesday, July 15th, 2009
1:43 am
Observations
A scrolling sign at the convenience store:

- Cigarette Sale ....... Marlboro $5.44 ....... Worth $4.34 .......
( I later discovered that this wasn't an opinion of value. "Worth" is a brand of cigarette )



Have you noticed:

- A six ounce can of tuna is now five ounces.

- An 18 ounce jar of Skippy peanut butter contains 16.3 ounces. Same size container; just less product inside.
( Who Skippyed with the rest?)

- Totino's Party Pizza 9.8 ounces
( PARTY ??? Glad I'm not invited if everyone has to split that.)

- Box of store brand Fried Chicken - 3 breasts, 3 thighs, 3 legs, 3 wings.
( Huh? Where are these chickens from? Chernobyl? )

-New York "Texas Toast"
( Someone needs a geography lesson. )

- One pound package "Best Thing Since Butter" $1
( Best Thing? This stuff is 78% vegetable oil! Why not just buy a bottle of Mazola and pour that onto your Texas Toast? )

-Front page of ad: Cottage Cheese Singles 6 oz on sale 10 for $10
Back page of same ad: Cottage cheese 24 oz on sale $1.99
( Do they think we're too dumb to do the math? )

FRONT LABEL ( large print) / back label ( small print)

- ALASKAN brand FROZEN COD / product of China
- OLD NEW ENGLAND'S FINEST canned fruit cocktail / product of Israel
- ROYAL DANISH strawberry preserves / product of Poland

And ... this week's unadvertised in-store special:

- POUND CAKE only $1.99 - 10 ounce package
( 10 ounce POUND cake ? )

Then, there's the internet and TV ads:

- " WON'T LAST !!! : Acer 160GB notebook $219"
( If it won't last, why would I want to have one? )

- TV ad of new car skidding around a rainy parking lot; heavy metal soundtrack pounding as it throws up a huge spray of water from wildly spinning tires. Extra teeny-tiny small print at the bottom of the screen says, "Professional driver on a closed course."
( No wonder the car companies are in trouble. If a professional driver on a closed course with tons of room, no other traffic and no obstacles anywhere to be seen can't even control that thing; why would a regular person like you or me want to risk buying one?)
Monday, June 29th, 2009
12:59 am
Ya Gotta Be Careful
Sometimes, we don't take enough care when reading things. We skim through some text only fo find out later that we misread a word or juxtaposed letters. That happened to me with the TV listings. I was quickly scanning through the new programs a few seasons back and passed over a show that I thought was called "Law and Order: SUV" . I never bothered to watch it because I figured it to be some lame series about a bunch of maverick cops riding around in a Chevy Suburban, solving crimes. Oops!

It was only this past week that I was channel surfing and happened across the opening credits for the show. It turned out to actually be "Law and Order: SVU". I discovered that the "SVU" stands for "Special Victims Unit". I still wasn't interested and ended up watching something else; but it got me wondering.

Imagine two people walk into a police station to report separate crimes. Both fill out police reports and are waiting on chairs in the outer office. Half a dozen officers and detectives come through the door and begin consoling one crime victim; interviewing her, offering her coffee and sandwiches; while the other person waits patiently in the corner.

After an hour of watching the first victim being fawned over by the police, the second victim walks back up to the desk and says to the officer in charge," Excuse me. I'm still waiting here to report the details of the armed robbery and assault I went through. There are six people talking to that woman but nobody has come to talk to me yet. Luckily, my forehead has stopped bleeding from the pistol whipping but it still hurts. Will it be much longer before I can see someone?"

The desk sergeant replies," Sorry, we don't have anyone available right now. Someone will contact you in a couple of days."

" But there are six police right over there. Can't one of them help me?"

" I'm afraid not. You see, that's the Special Victim's Unit. They're all busy investigating the disappearance of that gorgeous young woman's pet bunny."

" Can't one of them spend a few minutes with me?"

"No way! They're all exclusively assigned to investigating Special Victims. Sorry, but you're just a common victim."

"What makes her so special? I've been robbed, beaten, had my life threatened..."

"Yeah, exactly. That sort of thing happens all the time - nothing special about that. But, to have a pet rabbit mysteriously disappear from your back yard; well how often do you hear about that?"

"THAT makes her Special???"

"Come on lady; just look at her. Isn't it obvious she's Special? Hey, your forehead's staring to bleed again; you'd better hop a bus over to the hospital to get checked out. Somebody from our Ordinary Victim's Unit will call you when we get around to it."

I'm not much into crime shows anyway. I'd rather watch reruns of Nova. Nevertheless, I did feel a bit foolish getting the show title wrong ( O.K., I admit it; I also guessed that "Cold Case" was a show about some missing beer.)

When I related this story to a neighbor who recently moved here from Massachusetts; I learned that I was not alone in making the mistake of not reading thoroughly.

He was all excited on Friday because he was driving past one of those old downtown movie theaters in a rural farming community, when he saw a man on a ladder changing the marquee. It said, "$2.50 Matinee Today Only". And, to his great surprise; the theater worker was spelling out the letters " T R A N S F " on the marquee. He quickly found a parking space and rushed to the ticket window. In his Bostonian accent, he asked the clerk for a ticket to Transformers, paid his $2.50 and went inside the theater. To his surprise, not only were there no long lines, but only a couple of seats were taken; he had his choice of the best seats in the place. As he waited for the show to begin, it suddenly dawned on him that he might have acted in haste. This might not be the newly released Transformers movie, but the previous one.

It wasn't a previous one though. No, it was a documentary from the 1970's about a group of transvestites, who had been persecuted for their personal choices in the big city of a southern state. They banded together and moved out west to start an agricultural commune. The film was, of course, "Transfarmers".
Sunday, June 21st, 2009
1:30 am
The Fly
By this time, just about all of us have seen the video of President Obama swatting a fly during a White House interview with CNBC reporter John Harwood, last week. After seeing it repeated several times on news programs and late night talk shows; it occurred to me that something seemed strange about it.

The video shows a close up of Obama. He waves his hand in the air; appearing to shoo a fly away. He gives it a couple of chances to cease it's obnoxious behavior. Then he stops. The camera goes to a wide shot. The fly apparently lands on the back of his hand and he swats it; dispatching it in one quick and accurate move. The camera then zooms in on the remains of the fly on the floor. Simple enough. But wait ... look and listen to the video more carefully.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qfv2c0wTZg4

Obama has a microphone on his lapel. So does Harwood; and it's reasonable to assume that there's a boom mic in the room too - yet we never hear the fly buzzing - even though it's only inches away from the president's head. We see a close-up of him waving the fly off; yet we can't see the fly itself. Obama stops speaking and the fly decides, at that exact moment, to mockingly land on the back of his hand. But the camera has switched to a wide shot of the large room. We can't actually see the fly. Obama shifts his full attention to the problem at hand and quickly and effectively deals with it. The camera shows the result of the heedless vermin pushing it's luck and taking things too far.

I can't help but wonder if Obama simply recognized and seized upon a fortuitous opportunity, or if the entire event was actually staged. Think about it. Very large, open room; Two men seated in the center, with a camera/sound crew and several aides off to one side. With all those places to be in that room; all those other people to annoy, a tiny, insignificant creature chooses to taunt the President of the United States with it's random flying and raucous buzzing about - to the point where it becomes so irritating that it becomes necessary to deal with it in the harshest manner.

Was this merely an incident of a bothersome little pest continuing to bug the President after repeatedly being warned off; or was it really intended to be a subtle political warning? I wonder if Kim Jong Il and Ahmadinejad got the message.
Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
1:58 am
Newt Gingrich Speaks the Truth !
Gingrich gave a speech at a fundraiser over the weekend, in which he said, "Let me be clear, I am not a citizen of the world. "

I've suspected that for some time; but it's gratifying to finally hear him admit it.

Newt, we don't know what planet you're really from, but your welcome to return to it as soon as possible.
Sunday, May 10th, 2009
11:21 pm
Choices, Choices
What a dilemma poor Louis Caldera must have faced a couple of weeks ago. Wouldn't it be nice to have a colorful photo of Air Force One flying over the Statue of Liberty in New York?

Cost to fly the 747 and two F-16's to NYC to get the shot : $350,000+

Photoshop Elements online: $60

Hmmm...which to choose?
Friday, May 1st, 2009
12:20 am
Too Much on Their Plates?
The Obama administration has been dealing with an unprecedented number of serious problems and has acquitted themselves admirably. They've appeared to thoroughly analyze each issue and choose a reasonable course of action - until now. After two statements reported on the news on Thursday, I can't help but wonder if they simply have too much to deal with and are now making mistakes.

President Obama, in his announcement to reassure potential buyers of Chrysler products, pointed out that the U.S. government would back Chrysler warranties. That's worrisome. Has he seen any figures on the reliability of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles lately? I know people who, when asked by their insurance agent, " Where do you garage your car? " , reply, " Well, it's registered to my home address but it's mostly garaged at the dealer's service department." Barack should have put more thought into that provision.

The next news item was about Vice President Biden stating that he's warned his family not to fly commercial airlines or take the train because of the flu threat. That wasn't very well thought out either. What's next Joe; advise people not to attend Cinco de Mayo festivities or eat at Taco Bell?

I get the feeling that our leaders need to get more rest.
Wednesday, April 15th, 2009
12:16 am
Cell Phones
A California State Senator is introducing legislation to make it a misdemeanor crime for an inmate to possess a cell phone in any California state prison. He has good reasons.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10219516-94.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-5

But the thought comes to mind... after all; it is a CELL phone, isn't it?
Thursday, March 26th, 2009
12:47 am
Bipartisanship
We've been hearing all this talk about bipartisanship in Washington; yet it seems what we're getting is just the same old same old. It occurred to me that there are two major reasons for this.

First, our elected Senators and Representatives don't keep foremost in their minds the fact that they are OUR elected Senators and Representatives. WE put them into office and we can fire them by refusing to vote for them the next time around. Too many of our elected officials seem to give their loyalties to their political party first and to their constituents second; or even third ( behind lobbyists ). They need to be constantly reminded who they owe their jobs to.

Secondly, the Congress is physically organized in such a way as to make it an adversarial body. Just listen to the way some of our elected officials talk. One second they're paying lip service to bipartisanship; and the next sentence out of their mouths is something like, " Were willing to reach across the aisle" or, "We're always willing to talk to the other side." "Other side" ? It sounds like a high school football game - our side vs. their side. "We're willing", as though it's a team effort and all team members are of exactly the same mind.

Our legislative branch was originally patterned, in part, after the British Parliament. In the House of Commons chambers, you see a long room with seats against opposite walls and a long table on the floor between them - very much like an outdoor high school football stadium viewed from a blimp overhead; the playing field in the middle and bleachers for fans of each team on opposite sides. The physical arrangement leaves virtually no possibility of close interaction between the opposing team's fans. At a football game, that may be a prudent arrangement; but in a governmental body, it's divisive by design and helps create an "us vs. them" mindset.

The U.S. Congress has chambers that are arranged in a somewhat different pattern. The desks are in a semi-circle; but, even though the "aisle" that politicians can "reach across" is narrower; the seating arrangement still creates a physical separation based upon political party affiliation - Democrats occupy seats on one side of the room; Republicans on the other, and the few third party members relegated to those seats left over. There are, of course, plenty of good reasons why the seating is arranged in this manner. Those, however, are political reasons - reasons you, I, and other average citizens aren't necessarily benefited by. Racial segregation has been outlawed in this country for decades. Why do we still allow blatant political segregation in the houses of our Congress? These people are supposed to be working together for OUR benefit.

It may appear a trivial suggestion at first, but it may just alter the psychology and the operating dynamic of the Senate and House of Representatives enough to foster greater cooperation among the members of Congress in solving the problems that face us all. Let's have alternate seating by party affiliation, as much as possible, in both chambers of Congress. For example, have the majority and minority leaders call heads or tails for a coin tossed by the presiding officer of each house. The winner gets the seat to the far left of the presiding officer's podium in the front row. The next seat goes to the loser of the coin toss. Then other members, alternating by party, get the remaining seats in order. That should, in most cases, result in seating where a member of one party has members of the other party seated in front of, behind, and to either side of their own seat. No need to "reach across the aisle"; just turn in any direction and talk with your opposition party neighbor in order to better understand their point of view and find points of agreement. It may not seem like much, but hey, it's a start.
Wednesday, March 4th, 2009
2:00 am
But I WANT It !
I want a car. I'd like it to be safe, reliable, economical to own, comfortable and stylish. I want all those things ... but, truth is, I don't really need a car. I can get by without one most of the time.

A recently retired middle manager wants a car too. Now that his kids have moved out, he's been salivating over the thought of trading in the old mini-van and buying a new Dodge Challenger Hemi. It's the kind of car he always wanted but couldn't afford ... until now.

I happened across a couple of items worth pondering. What do you think?

A 2009 Ford Focus comes standard with a 4 cylinder, 140 horsepower engine and can go from 0 to 60 MPH in 8.3 seconds.

A magazine road test, done by an Indianapolis 500 race winner, says this of a new Dodge Hemi V-8 he drove:

" I don't know of a sensible motorist who would ask any more of a car."
and:
" It has splendid acceleration."

What caught my eye about this road test is that it was published in an old, tattered copy of Popular Science magazine from 1952 that was in a box of my dad's stuff that I was going through. The "new Dodge" was a 1953 model. It too produced 140 horsepower; but it didn't do quite as well as the modern Ford did in acceleration. 0 to 60 MPH for the '53 Hemi was 16.4 seconds ! - almost twice as long.

The 2009 Dodge Hemi V-8 that the retiree wants has a 475 horsepower engine and does 0 to 60 in 5.1 seconds. He and his wife drive to church, to the shopping center and occasionally to the medical center - all within 10 miles or so on roads with a maximum speed limit of 50MPH.

All of this begs the question; what do we really need ? How fast do we have to accelerate to 60 miles an hour on the expressway? Does saving 3 seconds, or even 8 seconds, getting up to cruising speed get us to work, or Disney World, or the beach, or the downtown bars any better? Does anyone really need 475 horsepower in a street driven car? ( imagine 475 live horses hitched to the front of that Dodge. Ridiculous sight, isn't it?)

Do we really need to have an ice water dispenser built into the door of our refrigerator? Is it too hard to drop an ice cube into the class and fill the water from the kitchen tap?

Do we really need a cell phone that has a built-in camera, stores 2,000 of our favorite songs, and has full internet access; or will something that merely makes a phone call do?

Do we really need a portable GPS unit; or can we get by perfectly well with a compass and a free road map?

Do we really need to buy a $4.00 cup of coffee or a $5.00 foot long sandwich when we can easily bring a thermos of coffee and a brown bag lunch from home?

Do we really need to drink a $1.00 bottle of water when perfectly good water comes out of the tap? ( isn't that where most bottled water comes from too? And what about all of those empty plastic bottles going into landfills or needing to be collected for recycling? What's the cost there?)

In times like these, we might all find it helpful to ask ourselves, " Do I really need this item I'm about to buy ... or do I just want it?"
Wednesday, February 25th, 2009
1:10 am
Unscientific Science
It amazes me that there are still people who label themselves "scientist" yet ignore the basic principles of the discipline. They allow their judgment to be clouded by unsubstantiated beliefs or narrow-minded thinking.

Recently, another planet was found to be orbiting a distant star. Finding planets in other star systems has become much more frequent during the past few years. What was notable about this one was that it was not a gas giant, as most have been, but a small rocky planet only about twice the size of Earth.

So what's "unscientific" about that, you ask? Just this. A ridiculous statement appears in the article about the discovery:

"Because the planet is so close to its parent star, its temperature is between 1,000 and 1,500C - far too hot to support life."

Wrong! Maybe too hot to support life as we know it ... but then, some scientists used to say that it was impossible for life to exist at great depths in the ocean; because of the great pressure, cold temperatures and lack of sunlight. Then we found a variety of life forms thriving under just those conditions. We have no idea what forms of life might exist under what we would term "impossible" conditions. Someone who is a true scientist should never think in terms of impossibility. We all have to be open to possibilities that are outside our zone of familiarity.

Anything is possible. If someone doesn't accept that; then they are severely restricting their thought processes and putting artificial limits on progress.

article at:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7868100.stm
Saturday, February 14th, 2009
3:25 am
Ya Gotta Wonder
With the economy as bad as it is, a lot of stores that you wouldn't normally think of as sources for Valentine gifts, have been trying to tie into the holiday with their print ads and TV commercials. Ya gotta wonder though; how many guys are going to find themselves suddenly single once she finds out that they got those earrings at Pawn America, and the card and box of chocolates at the Dollar Tree store.
Friday, February 6th, 2009
12:01 am
Check Your Calendar
I checked mine - it hasn't changed. So why are there so many TV news reporters, radio talk show hosts and meteorologists who say " Febuary"?
Sunday, January 18th, 2009
11:38 pm
Is It Just Me...
or do you suddenly have a craving for peanut butter snack foods too?
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