Friday, December 29, 2006

Need ideas -- my wife's birthday coming up, what to get her?

Okay my wife's birthday is coming up and I need some gift ideas. And Valentines is not that far either, so I guess I need two gift ideas.

1. She likes shopping (as many wives do I think)
2. I don't like giving gift cards. Gift cards are great for friends but when it comes to my wife, I need to give something more personal (and maybe plus a gift card).
3. We don't like jewelry so diamonds are out.

What's been discussed:
1. She likes my PSP and Gameboy micro. So I asked her if she wanted a PSP or a GameBoy DS. She doesn't know and she doesn't think she really has the time to play it.
2. She's wanting a new shelf put in.

What's already understood:
1. I'm already giving her cake and flowers.

Send your emails to me at don ( at ) If I use your idea, I'll send you this investment book for free.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Apple shares tumbles 6% due to options fraud scandal

Apple is making headlines again, but it isn't about new gadgets.

Justin Scheck reports:

According to people with knowledge of Apple's situation, federal prosecutors are looking closely at stock option administration documents that were apparently falsified by company officials to maximize the profitability of option grants to executives.

The faked documents were revealed in a three-month internal probe — conducted by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges — that concluded in October, said individuals familiar with the case who requested anonymity because it remains the subject of criminal and civil government investigations.

The falsification of documents is perhaps the key issue for government officials trying to determine which of their 100-plus backdating investigations will be pursued as criminal matters and which will be limited to civil SEC inquiries.

Steve Jobs reportedly has hired an independent lawyer to mount a defense against SEC inquiries. Hopefully, this will end soon. Worst case scenario = Jobs quits, Apple gets fined (fines for companies like Apple are like ant bites, the bottom line isn't significantly hurt).

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Reduce 2006 taxes by helping Typhoon Durian victims in the Philippines

Over 1,000 people died as Typhoon Durian swept through northern Philippines. They didn't die by the winds. They died being buried alive by the mountains that they thought could protect them from the winds. How did this happen? Nearby mountains became wet and unstable...the end result was an oncoming onslaught of mud and rock wiping out entire villages. See a picture below of a Durian mudslide.

Aid workers on the ground are still trying to recover, with many families separated and children left parentless. One of the first aid groups to respond, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, is currently doing its best to help and assist with volunteers from all over the Philippines. But they need your help!

If you wish to donate to this cause and to also give yourself a reduction in IRS taxes for 2006, click here.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas 2006

I'd like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! Hope all of you got what you wanted!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Consumer complains to police - cocaine she bought was not good

This is from Tampa Bay's 10 News. A woman from NC bought crack cocaine and when she tasted it, she complained it wasn't that good. She flags down a deputy at a convenience store, showing him how bad the cocaine was.

Kids, this is what happens when you do drugs. Not only do you lose money, you lose IQ.

HWTHORNE — A North Carolina woman was arrested after complaining to a Putnam County deputy that the crack cocaine she had just purchased wasn't very good.

Eloise Reaves approached the deputy at a convenience store Friday, telling him that another man had sold her 'bad crack,' that contained wax and cocaine.

The 50-year-old woman pulled an alleged crack rock out of her mouth and placed it on the deputy's car for inspection.

The deputy told Reaves that she would be arrested if the crack tested positive for cocaine.

She was charged with possession of cocaine and bonded out for $1,500.

Monday, December 18, 2006

'Pursuit of Happyness' is the best movie of 2006

I don't consider movies as the "best" too often. So take this one seriously. The movie about Chris Gardner, how he went from homeless to success is an inspiring tell-all story of a man who didn't give up even though everybody else was giving up on him. His live-in girlfriend left him as a single parent. His sales job was not paying the bills. Eventually, he was kicked out of his rental home, then kicked out of a motel, and finally found himself on the streets. Yet through this experience, he persevered and looked for a job that would pay well...he was going to be a stock broker, despite the fact that he's barely had any education beyond high school.

Will Smith stepped up as a serious actor in this movie...enough I think to put him for an Oscar nomination. His son made his first film debut. The pair's father and child connection was real which made the movie so much more realistic.

In real life, Chris Gardner was homeless for almost a year, and his child was merely a toddler, not a six year old that could talk and walk. These realistic facts put the movie into a different light. A man who hardly had any education but had the will to go above and beyond his status quo.

It is a clear success story of someone with perseverance. Someone choosing success.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Why we're losing in Iraq (video joke)

The British public, like their American counterparts, is asking themselves...why are we losing in Iraq. See the video below...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Case Study: Why WalMart Lost Sales This November

WalMart today posted a 0.1% decline in sales for November, their first ever decline in nearly 10 years. Stock analysts report WalMart is losing out to Target and other competitors. Below are my observations and perhaps a reason why WalMart lost this round. I've forwarded these observations to their corporate office so they have some feedback on what happened.

My WalMart Experience
I went to my first Black Friday ever -- waking up at 5:00 am to look at the stores in my area. Places I looked at were WalMart, Target, and CompUSA. My main goal was to secure an XBox 360 Premium console, home theather, LCD TV, and a digital picture frame.

WalMart advertised online that they were selling XBox 360 Premium systems for $399 with a free $50 gift card. The ad stated there were at least six consoles per store. Believing that this ad was true, I went to WalMart exactly at 5:00 am and was the second in line for the XBox 360 -- but then the bad news, they didn't have any in stock! The employees and acquisitions manager didn't even know about the promotion.

Suffice to say, I was disappointed at WalMart, one of the most aggressive retailers in the world, known for its ability to be effecient and delivering products to the masses. One of the most important sales days of the year, my local WalMart failed miserably.

My CompUSA Experience
The CompUSA store in my town is relatively new, they've been opened less than two years. After being disappointed at WalMart, I went to CompUSA and asked if they had XBox 360's. My business contact who I usually buy from says he was told there was no more. As I came out disappointed again, another manager overheard what I was saying and said there were two at the back. I waited for a few minutes and finally got my XBox 360! I looked around for other sales but really found nothing -- they apparently opened on Thursday night (Thanksgiving) and sold most of their products. So I went off to Target.

My Target Experience
Target opened at 6:00 AM. An hour after other retailers. This tactic seemed to work because I was able to go to other retailers (WalMart/CompUSA) and still had the time to go to Target. As I parked in the parking lot, there was a huge line of people gathering outside the door. I told myself, "I guess I better wait at 6:15 AM when everyone clears out."

When I finally came in, the whole place was packed, but I was able to move around without any problem. I looked for their sales and for some odd reason they moved all of their electronics that they advertised for sale away from the electronics section. Why? Nobody knows. Perhaps space concerns.

I found one employee who was refilling other inventories and I asked him where the electronics were. He said, "They're in the infants section." And when I looked there, there were LCDs, home theater systems, DVD players, etc. all stacked up. Tons of inventory available!

I bought what I wanted and didn't have to really "fight" for it. They had enough for everyone it seems.

Lessons Learned

1. Target was clearly the winner with my money. They advertised items and they were in stock.

2. CompUSA was in the middle ground. Better communication of what's in stock would help. Still, I was happy to get an XBox 360 from them.

3. WalMart was the clear loser. They didn't get a penny from me because they didn't have what they advertised. Employees and managers also didn't know about the online promotions/advertisements.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Republican-held Congress fails to support seniors, Medicare for seniors capped in 2007

On the eve of the elections, the United States Congress, previously controlled by the Republican party, failed to enact legislation to stop Medicare caps on speech and physical therapy. A person in need of outpatient physical or speech therapy will be severely limited starting January 1st, 2007.

Who are these people in need of physical or speech therapy?

You see, after a serious surgery, you need to rehabilitate. For instance, after a knee surgery, you need to strengthen your muscles, exercise, and other long term treatments to bring it back to full functionality.

Almost 1 out of 7 senior patients require such treatments. People with hip surgeries for instance will take several months to heal. Physical therapy increases the likelihood of functionality and often times reduces the length of time to heal.

What's happening on January 1st, 2007?
On January 1st, 2007, patients will only be allowed $1,700 worth of treatments from outpatient clinics. That means for most patients, 3-4 weeks of treatments and from there, they can no longer go to the clinic. Instead of months to heal and rehab in a specialized facility, they are given weeks.

Why does Congress ignore the elderly?
The problem is, the elderly doesn't make their voices heard. I receive AARP news bulletins and there's even barely a sentence covering this. So often times, they won't know this problem exist until its too late -- when they are on the wheelchair wanting to be able to walk again but they can't because the government won't pay for their rehab. Additionally, due to enormous commitments elsewhere in the world, Congress has to re-allocate its resources from helping its senior citizens.

Well Congress got some drug plans out!
Physical therapy brings someone back to functionality and removes the pain, and often times saves a patient from going to surgery. This means less surgeries and less dependency on pain medication. In other words, Congress limited the ability to fix the pain by therapy and instead supported the drug industry's route which hides the pain (not fix it).

What can I do?
Ask your congressman or senator to support S. 3912/HR 6132, which effectively puts an exception process to therapy caps. Write, call, e-mail, or fax. January 1st, 2007 is coming around the corner.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dohgirl is born!

As the country turned on election day to choose their new U.S. leaders, a new generation was born. The cutest baby girl in the world was born!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Is sin part of Christianity? Thoughts on Ted Haggard

Rev. Ted Haggard, with a following of roughly 30 million evangelicals, recently admitted that he bought drugs but didn't use it and had massages from a gay man but never had any other type of relationship with the gay man. This admission comes shortly after he stepped down as the pastor and head of his evangelical Christian association.

A man by the name of Mike Jones, announced on the radio that he had a gay relationship with Haggard for over 3 years. He came out out of the "closet" so to speak because he said Haggard was a hypocrite for denouncing homosexuality publicly and campaigning against it. Mike Jones then later failed a polygraph test about having a relationship, with the tester saying that there was some deception in his answers.

Bottom line
1. The reverend denies he had a gay relationship and the gay massager showed deception during a polygraph test. I think you can make your opinion out of that without any problem.

2. The reverend admits to buying drugs but not using it. This is like Clinton saying he did marijuana but never inhaled. This is the problem.

Is hypocrisy and sin part of Christianity? The answer is yes. All men and women have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), meaning all of us have sinned and will continue to sin until Jesus Christ comes back. This is no excuse for breaking laws or sinning, but merely an understanding of our human nature. We have that tendency and propensity to sin. The main difference between Christians and non-Christians is that Christians admit they are sinners, that they cannot get fulfillment from the world and only through Christ. They understand that they cannot save themselves from their own human nature, only through Christ.

So if you're a Christian, how do you respond to this type of scandal? First, Christianity by in large put their faith and their doctrine in Jesus versus any human person. If someone put their faith in Haggard or any earthly leader, they are going to be in a world of hurt. A proper response is one of prayer and forgiveness, to pray for his family and for Mike Jones and also to forgive any party that you might have negative feelings of.

Pray for your leaders, pray for yourselves, and above all, pray for His soon coming.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

U.S. troops declare war on Democratic Senator John Kerry

Gotta love the U.S. troops in Iraq, they know how to respond to botched jokes. Source: Keep up the fight guys!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Democrats show true colors: Kerry suggests U.S. troops uneducated

In a speech to college students, Democratic senator John Kerry tells his audience to try hard in educational opportunities because if you don't, you'll end up in Iraq. If Kerry is a representation of the Democratic party and their attitudes towards the U.S. military (which is the most educated military in the world), you won't find me voting for that party.

In fact, the United States military is considered to be more educated than the general population.

"In summary, we found that, on average, 1999 recruits were more highly educated than the equiv­alent general population, more rural and less urban in origin, and of similar income status."

Source: Heritage Foundation

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Use of mobile phones causes male infertility?

The Cleveland Clinic, a clinic reknown for its fertility studies, have recently released a study that seems to suggest mobile phones as the cause for some cases of male infertility. According to Dr. Agarwal, he found that sperm count, viability, motility and shape declined as mobile phone usage increased.

While some may say that the electromagnetic waves or heat is causing this, there may be another reason that's more common. You see, if a person is on the cell phone for four hours a day or more, more than likely he has:

1. A high stress job, which is known to cause adverse effects to the body
2. A non-physical job, where he is less mobile and doesn't exercise as much

At any rate, further study needs to be done in order to make a conclusive decision on whether cell phones really affect male fertility. But if this study suggest anything, it is our habits and our lifestyles that affect us the most. Get off the phone and do something useful.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Some iPods carry viruses due to Apple's negligence

Apple announced recently that some of the new iPods they released had viruses in them.

Critics claimed this is unlike Apple. They usually have a good process for quality checks. What was disheartening to hear was that Apple blamed their stupidity on Microsoft. This was posted on their web site:

"As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it."

How unfortunate that they blamed Microsoft for their stupidity versus looking at themselves in the mirror. I've learned in life that when you make a mistake, you admit to the problem versus trying to say it's someone else's fault. It'll save you headaches.

At any rate, this was a bad PR blow for Apple. First for not having proper quality checks and for bad sportsmanship. Don't blame others for your mistake. I've had Windows XP since it was released and never had a single virus. It isn't the operating system, it is the user.

Note to Apple marketing execs: Just because you have 1% market share and don't have as many uneducated users, that doesn't mean your operating system is more secure. It just means no viruses are infecting Macs because nobody cares about Macs in the hacker realm. Why would hackers design a virus for 1% of the Internet population?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sudan genocide continues - Bush might be facing Clinton's Rwanda

Man killed by helicopter gunship burning village.

Man murdered outside of his village.

Village burned down by hostile helicopter gunships.

There is currently inaction in Sudan, because the country refuses to accept UN peacekeepers. The United Nations does not want to impose on the country that's killing its citizens.

Come on people! Wake up. We have people dying every day because of killings, diseases, etc. The country of Sudan is a shameful example of what happens when an Islamic government (church and state) takes power. It is a killing machine.

Here is one of the African Union's pictures regarding Sudan's violations of the cease fire. The photographer is an ex-US Marine (Brian Steidle) who's quite saddened that he couldn't fight people that was killing civilians. All he had was a camera and a pen.

What Can You Do?
Write to your politicians! Don't let Sudan become another Rwanda. Let people know that you care. Write letters to newspaper editors and TV broadcast stations -- make them cover this and put it in front of the media.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Support S. 3912/HR 6132 - extension of Medicare therapy caps

Contact your congressman and senator to support S. 3912/HR. 6132.

It's important that we support our disabled and senior Americans out there in whatever way possible. The following bills in the Senate and House just does that by allowing exceptions to Medicare caps for physical therapy and speech therapy.

In the past, disabled citizens and seniors would not be able to go to outpatient rehabs after they exhaust $1,800 worth of Medicare benefits. What that translates to is a person recovering from a stroke or a patient with major hip surgery can only go for about two months and after that, despite not being well or fully functional, they are no longer allowed to come back to the clinic.

I believe this is an injustice, especially for folks that have paid their Medicare benefits since the day they started working. Secondly, I don't believe in socialistic policies for people that are able to work; however, we as a people should do our best to support and protect those that are not able to fend for themselves.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tony Blair: The world's best statesman gives his retirement speech

If you thought the U.S. Congress was a tough place to debate at, you should see the British Parliament. Politics in Britain mirrors much like the United States, except their debates are quite fierce and often times, quite loud. But out of all of the confusion that comes from Britain's legislative body, there is one man that has always been a cut above the rest - Tony Blair.

Blair's achievements during his tenure as prime minister is a long one, so I'll highlight some big ones that dramatically pushed Britain into the 21st century as a viable power in the world stage:

* A Human Rights Act was introduced in 1998
* a Scottish Parliament and a Welsh Assembly were set up
* Most hereditary peers were removed from the House of Lords in 1999
* The Greater London Authority and the post of Mayor of London were established in 2000
* The Freedom of Information Act was passed later in the same year
* Leading out in the Kosovo War against Milosevic
* Helping topple Saddam Hussein
* Olympics awarded to London in 2012

His close ties with the United States has earned him praise and criticisms, but in the end, he is known for someone that stands by his convictions and believes in doing the right thing even if it is unpopular. He has helped topple two dictators that have committed genocide -- that's already an achievement for a lifetime.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Clinton get's angry when asked why he didn't kill Bin Laden

This is the first 20 minutes of Bill Clinton’s interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. In this clip, Wallace asks Clinton why he didn’t do more to capture or kill Osama bin Laden while he was in office.

Clinton clearly feels like he has been set up and doesn’t hold back in telling Wallace just how he feels.

He definitely feels guilty.

Full transcript here:

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Chavez's anti-US comments unite Republicans and Democrats

Venenzuela dictator Hugo Chavez with Cuban dictator Castro

The White House's lack of response against Chavez's anti-US remarks during a UN session was appropriate. But I was surprised to hear that people across the U.S. political platform denounce Chavez, not only Republicans but Democrats. I welcome anytime both of these parties actually agree on something and it is for the good of the people.

What Chavez said

Chavez called Bush "the devil" and went on to say unfounded allegations that the United States tried to start an uprising in his country. The State Department conducted its investigation and found completely the opposite. The United States tried to WARN Chavez of impending coup attempts and his government would always pridefully say, "Yeah we know."

It's one thing to attack the policy of a government but another to attack people personally. As a nation, we must take pride in the Office of the President. The president has responsibilities, but has privileges, and one of those privileges is respect for his office.

As an American, I'm insulted by Chavez' remarks, calling our president the "devil". And I'm equally impressed with the White House's silence, the turn-the-other-cheek approach which makes Chavez looks like the only devil on the platform.

Democrats and Republicans unite

Democrat Congressman Charles Rangel said this about Hugo Chavez, "I just want to make it abundantly clear to Hugo Chavez or any other president - don't come to the United States and think because we have problems with our president that any foreigner can come to our country and not think that Americans do not feel offended when you offend our Chief of State...any demeaning public attack against him is viewed by Republicans and Democrats, and all Americans, as an attack on all of us."

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, said, "He fancies himself as a modern day Simon Bolivar, but all he is an everyday thug."

"I think Chavez would be much more effective if he would say something that's true," Mr. Clinton said on CNN. "You know, to me, that would be a much cleverer thing for him to do, where he'd really be doing something good, and he could say, 'I disagree with President Bush,' instead of calling him the devil."

I guess we could say thank you Mr. Chavez. You actually helped find an issue that our nation can unite against...YOU!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Eating fish reduces kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma)

A recent study suggests eating fish like salmon significantly reduces kidney cancer risk. Specifically, according to a report in JAMA 2006, Vol 296, No 11, researchers observed that those who consumed one or more serving of fatty fish each week seemed to have a 44 per cent decreased risk of RCC compared with those who consumed none at all.

Studies in this field is few and far between. Follow-up studies need to be conducted to confirm this hypothesis, but clearly we see why fish should be an important part of one's diet.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Investing Without Losing: The Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Tax Lien and Tax Deed Auctions

My book on real estate tax auctions is coming out in October 2nd, 2006. It's called Investing Without Losing: The Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Tax Lien and Tax Deed Auctions.

What's the topic?
There are thousands of properties and tax liens being sold every month throughout the United States. Most of which are being sold for pennies on the dollar of their market value! Investing Without Losing: The Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Tax Liens and Tax Deed Auctions gives investors like you everything from the basic concepts of bidding in real estate tax auctions to investment plans and strategies. Plus, you'll be able to access updated materials and resources on Investing Without Losing's web site.

You can pre-order now directly from Barnes & Noble or access it through the Forbes Magazine's Book Club by clicking here:

For more information about tax liens, visit the complementary site at: Investing Without Losing

Monday, September 11, 2006

Visit San Luis Valley

The San Luis Valley is an 8,500 square mile area in Colorado that offers a variety of views and mountain terrain. I traveled here last month and I'm always impressed at the "untouched" wildlife and nature scenary in the area.

Here's some more information about the San Luis Valley area:

If you want to RV somewhere and enjoy some beautiful scenes, visit San Luis Valley of Colorado.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Southwest Florida gets hit by 6.0 magnitude earthquake! Is the world coming to an end?

I have lived in Florida for over a decade and I have never seen this happen before. An earthquake with a 6.0 magnitude hit near our coast. Apparently, this was the second time within the past few months (same spot in February had a 5.2 which was unfelt). These crazy earthquakes might be something to be expected in the years to come. What could cause it? Plates that we didn't know existed before? Oil rigs digging too deep? We truly don't know -- but as a state, we need to investigate this.

I go on a boat often and today I was off the Gulf of Mexico fishing -- this type of event does not make me happy, as it can cause some tremendous waves (remember the Indonesian tsunamis?). Residents from as far away as Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana also felt the earthquake. No one wants to create panic, but this type of disaster is far more dangerous than hurricanes, as it cannot be detected by radar two weeks prior.

What Lessons Can We Learn From This Philosophically?

You can't take each day for granted. What we are sure of in the past may not exist in the future. As in this event, we were so sure that Florida would never get major earthquakes, yet in September of 2006, we got our first ever major earthquake. Don't take for granted the days you have on this earth or what is sure. Make up the mistakes that you've had, tell your love ones that you love them, correct your regrets, do the best that you can, go back to school for that degree, or finish off a project that you've been putting off.

What Lessons Can We Learn From This Biblically?

The Bible clearly has some guidance on this in Mark 13:7-8 in this time of turmoil. "When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains."

Clearly, these signs need to occur before the time of the end and the events of our war on terrorism among others are just an introduction of what's to come.

Experiences By Other People

"It was originally reported as a 5.8 and recently upgraded to a 6.0," said Tim Sedlock of the National Weather Service in Melbourne.

"I felt the tremor, my computer screen monitor shook and I could feel a little shaking on the floor," said Scott Kelly, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Melbourne.

"I was just sitting here in my little condo when my chair started rocking. It felt strong to me and I wondered if other people felt it," said Rockledge resident Lina Norwood sitting in her second-story condominium.

"This is a fairly unique event...” said Don Blakeman, an analyst with the National Earthquake Information Center. “This kind of occurrence is unusual in that spot, especially for an earthquake of this size.”

''I didn't give it a lot of thought then I heard people talking and I put it together...", said Sally Mayse of Bradenton.

''My bed shook and probably the whole room,'' said Mary Scottoline from Miami. ``It shook once and then it shook again.''

"Some people definitely felt a little shaking in counties along the Gulf Coast," said Mike Stone, a spokesman for the state's Division of Emergency Managemen.

"As far as a fault area, there are no major subduction's a rare place historically for an earthquake," said Guy Urban, an expert at the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska.

"It's undoubtedly a strange event, you can get earthquakes in very unexpected places...", said Chris Harrison, a geophysicist at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

Mary Ruiz of Holmes Beach was leaving a supermarket when she felt "an extraordinary change in motion."

Diane H Rosser on a web log said, "I live in Jackson, Butts Co., GA and there were tremors here this morning. That’s why I checked the AJC site to see if there was a report of an earthquake near us."

John Creviston reported on a web log said, "I was laying in bed about 11:00 Sunday morning and felt the bed shake very subtly. Then a few minutes later I felt the bed shake again. I was a little harder, but still very subtle. It was enough to make me look at the clock - 11:09 AM. I live around Clairmont and I-85. I thought it may had been from a sonic boom from a 9-11 memorial service or something since may services start at 11:00 on Sunday mornings, but Sunday was 9-10. I did not hear any boom so I thought it was far off. It did cross my mind that a large terrorist bomb had gone off. Then I saw on CNN a few hours later about the earthquake."

Taylor Jackson said, "I was sitting in my 7th story condo in Ormond Beach, FL (near Daytona Beach) when my building began to sway. I thought I was just imagining it, however it happened again a few seconds later. At that point we figured that it was a quake. It was strong enough to rattle our windows and rattle dishes in the china cabinet."

Juan Ruiz said, "I just moved down to Tampa a month ago and I only thought I had to contend with Hurricanes. Well, this morning, while eating breakfast I noticed my table shaking and for a split second I thought it was an earthquake, but I’m in Tampa, not California! So I thought it was my crazy neighbors having a good time, somehow shaking the building. I mean what else could it have been? Well, I came to to see how the dirty birds beat down the panthers and I was flabergasted to see an article confirm that it was an earthquake… Crazy! Oh yeah, and Tampa lost!!! Go Falcons!"

John Shaw said, "I was sitting at my computer desk,here in Covington, Ga., when the desk began shaking back and forth maybe 5 or six times, then a few second pause, then shook again for about the same duration."

Stacy Dumas said, "I was sitting outside, reading the paper, when it felt like someone was shaking my deck. I thought I was losing it. Good to know I wasn’t. LaGrange, GA"

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Who controls the oil and gas prices? YOU DO!

Are gas prices high compared to previous years?
Actually no. In 1981, gas was actually more expensive (roughly 20-27 cents more) than now! This is with inflation being factored in. (Source: Gibson Consulting)

Who controls the oil prices?
This is simple. Supply and demand. The more you demand, and the less supply, the higher the price. Americans dominate the demand in the world market. Consider these facts:

  • Americans are 5% of the world population but consume almost half the demand of gasoline around the world. (Source: Gibson Consulting) This is INCREDIBLE! We are only 5% of the world yet we take in nearly half the demand of the world's gas! Why is that? Because we want our lawns cut, we need big trucks, we have large RVs, boats, etc. Everything that moves in America burns gas!
  • America consumes roughly 20 million barrels a day, that's 13,889 barrels every minute! (Source: Howstuffworks)
  • It takes 14 Exxon oil ships just to feed America's hunger for gas for ONE day. (Source: Howstuffworks)

You as the consumer have the power to lower gas prices. Here are some tips:

  • Not overspeeding reduces gas consumption in boats, cars, etc.
  • Car pooling with friends and family.
  • Choosing vehicles with 30+ miles per gallon.
  • Walking instead of driving to nearby places (if it is safe).
  • Educating others so they know that they control the market.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Why the world misses Steve Irwin

All across the world, people are mourning. News articles around the world highlight Irwin's life and pay homage to a man that introduced animals to kids. Australia's prime minister is offering a state sponsored funeral. The U.S. embassy in Australia has paid their respects, and fans across the globe have sent in flowers and cards to Irwin's zoo in Queensland, Australia.

Why the world misses Steve Irwin...
Steve is soundly missed by kids around the world. I consider myself a big kid, so I guess I'm missing him too. He was the original animal showmaker, the one that offered a documentary of animals in a unique way -- up close and personal.

He was an alternative to the common media of sex, drugs, and vanity. His programming was wholesome. Kids thought of him as a hero, and someone they could look up to. Many veterinarians and zoologists that will be graduating in the next decade or so have been inspired by him.

I liked him because he showed God's creatures as unique. He showed that mother nature did offer mankind recreation, that there are wonders and curiosities left untouched on our earth that needs to be protected and nortured.

And lastly, Steve Irwin introduced the word, "Crikey!" His full-of-energy personality was original and unescapable, and "Crikey!" represented his character and his energy. He was the Energizer bunny on steriods.

Goodbye Steve Irwin, may we see you in heaven -- on the flip side, the animals don't sting.

Monday, September 04, 2006

SHOCKED: Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin dies of freak stingray accident

I wish this was a joke, but Steve Irwin, died of a freak stingray accident yesterday. He was diving and was stung by a stingray to his chest (near his heart). Irwin died soon after being hit by the barb while he was filming a documentary at Batt Reef, near Low Isles off Port Douglas in north Queensland, Australia. Doctors and biologists around the world consider this accident "rare" and "unusual" -- stingrays do not usually inflict this type of damage.

I don't know of anyone that didn't enjoy watching Steve as he traveled across the world, documenting all types of animals and critters...and of course, crocodiles.

He will be sadly missed by his family and by his fans. He died doing what he loved the most -- showing what animals can do.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Who's looking for who?

Do you ever want to know who's watching you or looking for you? Having "web bots" that review logs around the Internet let's you identify people looking for you, or searching for specific keywords. In some cases, you can even automatically scan the person looking for you and the particular computer they are using, whether they have any vulnerabilities, etc.

Here's an excerpt of who was looking for me:

Company: CallTech Communications, LLC / Teleperformance USA
City & State: Columbus, OH
Date & Time: 28/Aug/2006
OS: Windows
Browser: Firefox
Comments: Someone from my ol'e stomping ground.

City & State: Palo Alto, CA
Date & Time: 29/Aug/2006
OS: Windows
Browser: Internet Explorer
Comments: This person(s) looked for quite some time online, multiple searches. I'm a fan of Prosper though, so you can search for me if you want.

Company: N/A
City & State: Herndon, VA
Date & Time: 30/Aug/2006
OS: Windows
Browser: Internet Explorer
Comments: Knew my name and looked for my freedom article. Glad to be of service.

Company: N/A
City & State: Winter Park, FL
Date & Time: 24/Aug/2006
OS: Apple
Browser: Safari
Comments: Looked for me on search engines. Hello!

Company: N/A
City & State: 1005 Stafford Marketplace, Stafford, VA
Date & Time: 24/Aug/2006
OS: Windows
Browser: Firefox
Comments: Went to a Panera Bread Cafe in Virginia and searched for me on his leisure time. Glad I could entertain.

Company: N/A
City & State: Atlanta, GA
Date & Time: 08/Aug/2006
OS: Apple & Windows
Browser: Safari and Firefox
Comments: I scanned you when you searched for me. You have spyware on your computer, you might want to run Adaware. Your computer says "hack me" outloud.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ghazi Hamad, Hamas official, says stop blaming Israel for homegrown issues!

Wow, I thought I would never see the day. A Hamas official, speaking on his own private column, says that Israel is not the reason for many issues regarding Palestinians. The fact that Palestinian teenagers carry weapons, fight each other, and ignore Palestinian authorities is not related to Israel. It is related to the choices of the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza.

"The anarchy, chaos, pointless murders, the plundering of lands, family feuds … what do all of these have to do with the occupation?" he asked in the opinion piece published in the Palestinian newspaper, al-Ayyam. "We have always been accustomed to pinning our failures on others, and conspiratorial thinking is still widespread among us."

Hamad was addressing the failure of the Palestinians to make a success of the Gaza Strip, the territory that Israel surrendered a year ago.

"When you walk around in Gaza, you cannot help but avert your eyes from what you see: indescribable anarchy, policemen that nobody cares about, youth proudly carrying weapons. From time to time you hear that so-and-so was murdered in the middle of the night, and the response comes quickly the next morning. Large families carry weapons in tribal wars against other families."


The fact of the matter is, Palestinians and nearly all of the Middle East, blame Israel for their social and economic problems -- yet truly if we all look inside, it all comes down to choices. If you live in a country like Syria and you cannot express your freedom or have good business opportunities like in a capitalistic country, that is your choice. The people of a country is what supports the government -- no matter what type of government, whether it be a dictatorship or a democratic government.

The people control the power and the people have a choice -- whether they continue to live in oppression, whether they continue to fight among themselves, whether they continue to blame Israel, or whether they want to finally end the cycle of violence and start looking at themselves.

Let's take a look at the Soviet Union -- when the people decided to rise up, the communistic country fell to its knees within a blink of an eye. And slowly, people in the Soviet Union started recovering from the ills of a socialistic society.

A message to the Palestinians

Grow up -- stop blaming Israel for everything. Make something out of Gaza, create a haven for tourists and be a model for the Arab world. Prove to the world that you are civilized and not just a bunch of idiots carrying guns. Stop kidnapping reporters and foreigners, get foreign investment started to create jobs! Teach your kids about finance, world economics, health -- not death to Israel and suicide belts.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

BellSouth DSL and Verizon DSL raise prices through trickery

The federal government stopped taxing your DSL lines for the universal fee fund. This is about a cost savings of $2-$3/month off your bill. This happened last week -- but you may notice next month, your fees are still the same! Why is that? Because BellSouth and Verizon have "padded" new fees to replace the universal fee tax.

For years, the telco industry have lobbied Congress to remove the tax from DSL lines to provide cheaper Internet. Ok, so the tax is gone, but how come they replaced the tax with more fees? What happened to the savings they promised the consumer?

Nice trick.

Consumers! Please email or write your BellSouth / Verizon consumer relations office and let them know what you think.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Old Sanibel causeway in danger of falling apart

Photograph by Terry Williams

While the new bridge is being constructed, there is significant, growing concern regarding the old Sanibel causeway. Earlier this month, News-Press reported that there are fractures visible under the bridge. The picture above is an example of what they have seen.

Above ground, I took a picture of the work they are trying to do (and still continue to do so right now) to try to stabilize the old causeway. Residents that already experienced this type of issue before (bridge fractures) suggest having your windows down so you can swim out just in case you fall off the bridge. I the only one that thinks this is crazy?

Construction crews on the left try to stabilize the old bridge before it collapses.

Ernesto moves northeast - central/east FL in sight

Looks like we're going to see alligators fly in the next few days. Ernesto changed paths and it seems to be going east/central Florida (though the cone of possibility pretty much covers the entire state).

I'm hoping it hits the Everglades, there would be minimum damage to civilians and infrastructure and there is significant resistance in the area to reduce hurricane winds -- the grass and swampy fields are natural flood barriers and have been known to weaken hurricanes damage significantly.

Due to the fact that the course of this hurricane could change within the last 12 hours of land fall, I still suggest everyone prepare for the worst if you live in the state. Board up, stock up, and pray!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hurricane Ernesto update - to hit Southwest Florida by Wed 2pm

NOAA just updated the hurricane forecast. Hurricane Ernesto has shifted its track dramatically over the past few hours and is more than likely to hit Southwest Florida by 4pm Wednesday. The strength expected is roughly cat 1-2; however, as we've seen in the past, at the very last moments hurricanes tend to gain more ground near cat 3-cat 4.

One of the biggest worries I have is the Sanibel bridge being constructed and the old Sanibel bridge. The U.S. DOT already declared the old Sanibel causeway to be dangerous and the unfinished bridge is not in the best condition to withstand this type of force. Even if the hurricane simply brushes SW Florida, it could be a devastating hit on the bridges.

Gov Bush declares state of emergency
Unlike New Orleans' mayor or the Lousiana governor, Floridia officials know when to declare a state of emergency (ahead of the disaster, not an hour before it). The state of emergency instantly turns on the National Guard, equipment, and emergency operations (currently at level 2).

What You Can Do
- Have a week's worth of food rations.
- Have a hurricane plan: if your house/apt is damaged, where do you go? Make sure all of your friends and family know your "flight plan" -- where you are, what you are going to do if certain situations happen.
- Protect your belongings, especially insurance documents.
- Keep watching the news and make sure you are updated.
- Flashlights and batteries, have these handy.
- Make sure your medicines are set.
- Have a "to go" back pack, a few pair of clothes ready to go if you are not evacuating.
- Pray.

Hurricane Ernesto born, heading towards Gulf Coast

Tropical Storm Ernesto was upgraded to hurricane strength earlier today and it is gaining power. It is expected to be a category 2 hurricane as it nears Cuba and could end up possibly hitting category 3 to 4 as it nears the Gulf Coast region.

It is too early to tell which specific state it is going to hit, but for sure it's going to be a combination of these states: Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and/or Mississippi.

Please note to all Southwest Florida readers: the storm is within the 3-day cone of Cape Coral and Fort Myers/Lehigh Acres area. Early preparation is never a bad idea.

Delta flight crashes in Lexington, KY -- 50 feared dead (Comair Flight 5191)

This is what the small passenger jet looked like.

The plane was carrying 47 passengers and three crew members when it crashed shortly after takeoff in Lexington, Kentucky early Sunday morning.

Flight 5191 was leaving the Blue Grass Airport headed for Atlanta when it went down in the woods just over a kilometre from the airport.

CNN is reporting that the plane is a Comair jet, a regional airline operated by Delta Air Lines, and that the aircraft itself is a Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet -- a plane that is manufactured in Canada. These planes have been in service since 1991 and considered relatively new compared to other planes being flown by airliners.

Weather in the area is overcast with light winds, though there were some thunderstorms south of Lexington early Sunday morning. However, there is no word yet if weather conditions played a role in the crash.

Please pray for those that are involved in the crash, especially the love ones that have to go through this ordeal.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Malaysian consumer group wants to boycott American goods

The Muslim Consumer Association of Malaysia said it will call on Malaysians to stop buying products from American companies like Starbucks, Coca Cola and Colgate-Palmolive. There's only one problem with this boycott. Unlike other countries with smaller global influence, American goods are everywhere and literally are apart of life throughout the world. I'm not talking about just Coca Cola, but things like the nutbolts that secure the engines of your cars to the ingredients and patented formulas in Malaysia's deodorants.

If truly a boycott for American goods could be 100% enforced, it would leave Malaysia to be a very smelly nation, with little or no electronic equipment such as radios and television. And if we take American inventions out of the equation (like lights), they would be a very dark, smelly nation.

French bows down to UN and US pressure, sends more troops to Lebanon

Amidst a growing number of critics across Europe and the United States, French President Jacques René Chirac issued a televised statement issuing a revision of his previous order that 200 peacekeepers were enough to stabilize the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon.

UN Security Resolution 1701 was co-authored by the French, yet they only wanted to contribute 200 troops out of the 15,000 that was required. Many diplomats, including top UN officials, said they were disappointed. Many assumed the French were "chicken", "cowards", and "hollow".

Thankfully, Chirac saved face and changed his mind. It's a win for Israel and Lebanese citizens, who can finally sleep at night without the annoying whistles of rockets or the sonic shock of F16 bombers.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Iraq helped out against Iran supplying Hezbollah

Most liberals would probably cringe at hearing this. Iraq actually plays a role in the war against terrorism (or Muslim extremists).

According to USAToday, Iraq stopped Iran from transporting missiles to Hezbollah. Most people probably don't know, but Iraq is right in the middle of Syria and Iran. Here's a quick map:

If Iraq was not a U.S. ally, Iran and even Saddam Hussein would have been willing to supply missiles to Hezbollah just to bomb Israel. Because Iraq is under U.S. influence, Iran cannot easily do this. Iran had to divert their missile cargo plane to Turkey, but Turkey insisted on inspections. Iran turned back.

Thank you Iraq for your help.
Thanks Turkey for your help.

Democrats -- wake up. Make a national security policy involving Iraq, versus negative statements about how Iraqis aren't part of the war on terror.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Site of the Week: Broadband speed test

Here's a site I tried out today:

Comcast, BellSouth/AT&T DSL, Embarq, TimeWarner, and other companies often brag about their broadband speeds in TV commercials. In fact, some will state they can guarantee certain speeds.

If you want to truly know how fast your broadband connection is, access SpeakEasy's Flash-based speed test program:

I had to do this today when I tested my broadband service. What I liked about it the most is that it gives you different geographical regions of the country to test your speed, and the fact that it has no pop up ads.

Geographical tests gives you a better idea of why you seem to have a slower connection when you connect to other web sites and you get fast connections on others.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hackers irritated by Apple Macintosh commercials...hacks Macs remotely in 60 seconds

Over the past few months, Apple has televised several commercials how Macintosh is a much better platform than PC computers. One of the many arguments that Apple fans have is that Macs are unhackable. As we found out at the recent Black Hat Briefings in Las Vegas, you can hack a Mac in 60 seconds or less. And the sad part is -- you can do it remotely/wirelessly!

One of the hackers that successfully exploited Macintosh, David Maynor, stated the following on an interview:

"We're not picking specifically on Macs here, but if you watch those 'Get a Mac' commercials enough, it eventually makes you want to stab one of those users in the eye with a lit cigarette or something," Maynor said.

Straight to the Facts
Let's be truthful folks -- the reason why there's less people trying to hack Macs is because they only compose 3-4% of the total market share. In other words, 96% of the computer world is using PCs; hence, it's logical for the majority of the exploits, viruses, and hacks to be geared towards PCs. If the situation was reversed and Macintosh was the leading operating system, it would have the brunt of the hacker attacks.

The supposed "security" that's provided by using a Mac isn't because of its code. It is "security through obscurity". No operating system is unhackable.

It seems that Apple's continued marketing gimmick that they are invincible is causing a backlash...

Some interesting links:
Washington Post article - hacking a mac in 60 seconds
MacOS LeapA Virus
Video: Mac Parody

Sunday, July 23, 2006

eBay monopoly complaint filed, in violation of Sherman Antitrust Act

Recently I discovered a news article by Ina Steiner. It stated that eBay is banning the use of Google Checkout in preference over their own payment system, PayPal. This is clearly a classic example of anticompetitive practices. Immediately after reading this article, I have filed a legal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. eBay's Safe Payments Policy clearly states that Google Checkout is not allowed to be used:

"Payment Services not permitted on eBay:,,,,,, CCAvenue, ecount, e-gold,,, EuroGiro,, Google Checkout, gcash, GearPay,,,,, Liberty Dollars,,,,,,, paypay, Postepay,,,, stamps, Stormpay,,"

While everyone enjoys eBay as a marketplace, I want to make sure such marketplaces do not have anti-competitive practices. One claim eBay has against Google Checkout is that it doesn't have a history of reputable transactions -- this is circular reasoning, if you don't allow Google Checkout to be tried out, how will it have a history?

If you're interested in filling a complaint against eBay due to this anticompetitive practice, you can do the following:

1. Access the Federal Trade Commission site
2. Provide your contact info
3. Provide eBay's contact info:

2145 Hamilton Avenue
Suite 350
San Jose, CA 95125
Phone: (408) 376-7400

4. If you don't know what to say, just state facts. Here's what I submitted:

eBay is in violation of the Sherman Act. eBay has restricted the use of Google Checkout, a payment service online because they do not want it to compete with PayPal, eBay's payment service.

In their Safe Payments Policy, dated 7/23/06, they state:
"Payment Services not permitted on eBay:,,,,,, CCAvenue, ecount, e-gold,,, EuroGiro,, Google Checkout, gcash, GearPay,,,,, Liberty Dollars,,,,,,, paypay, Postepay,,,, stamps, Stormpay,,"

This can be found on:

The Sherman Act provides: "Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal" (see 15 U.S.C. § 1). Clearly, because eBay wants to have market position with their payment service (PayPal), they have restricted Google Checkout and other payment services to hinder competition. This is in serious violation of the Sherman Act.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Thank you Hamas and Hezbollah (satire)

If I was living in Palestine or south Lebanon, this is what I would say to Hamas and Hezbollah:

Thank you Hezbollah for promising us peace from the Zionist, and instead delivering death and destruction to our home. Thank you Hamas for fighting political corruption so that you could bring fear, terror, and starvation to our families. Thank you Hezbollah and Hamas for saying great things, only to do the wrong things. Thank you Hezbollah and Hamas for protecting our children, by killing them when they are young.

Thank you Hezbollah and Hamas for enraging the West by bombing and kidnapping, now they can really hear our message that we are a persecuted people and that they should empathize with our conditions.

Thank you Hezbollah and Hamas for ruining the chance of peace. Now we can forever continue to blame the Jews for all the pain and suffering we experience by your actions.

Thank you Hezbollah and Hamas for everything you've done...for killing us, for starving us, for making the world hate us, for advancing the cause of God and Islam, to deliver a message that Islam is a jihad religion, to kill and kill and kill and kill and kill and kill and kill and kill... Mohammad would have been very happy!

Thank you Hezbollah, thank you Hamas.......


This girl died thanks to terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas.
Good job guys, you really are advancing your death!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Hezbollah thought it could fool the world

What's going on in Lebanon?

Hezbollah, an Islamic extremist group that functions independently in Lebanon, killed 8 Israeli soldiers and kidnapped 2 on a daring raid in Israel territory. It was a followup to a similar operation sent out by another headline grabbing terrorist organization - Hamas. Not to be outdone, they finished off the raid by launching rockets to hit Israeli territories.

The tactic's purpose was the following:
1. To bring attention away from Hamas and to bring the news back to Hezbollah.
2. To get a "good" image that Hezbollah too can attack Israel -- and better than Hamas.
3. Thinking a reprisal was coming from Israel, they hope to attract other Arab nations to the conflict when Israel would attack.
4. To reduce the influence of the pro-Western government of Lebanon.

Did they meet those goals?

While Hezbollah has shown that they are able to attract the media, they definitely didn't get a good image for attacking Israel. Throughout world, Hezbollah has been condemned not only by European nations and America, but also by Arab nations!

Ha! Who would have expected that? The truth is, Hezbollah broke the status quo and Arab nations are reluctant to support unrest in the region, especially if it was started with Iran's backing. Sunnis and Shiite Muslims do not mix well and the fact that primarily Shiite Hezbollah is flexing its muscle is causing some Sunni governments to worry. What if it this could happen in their country?

How come the Lebanese govt can't stop this?

The Lebanese government is not able to combat militant forces that is backed by Iran and Syria. Although they have political and social control, their interior forces remain to be questionable. They are not at war with Israel, in fact they are pleading for assistance from the international community to help them combat militants that do not follow the law.

How come the UN can't stop this?

Much like the U.S. Congress, the United Nations isn't exactly thinking as one. The difference is, instead of a two party system like in the U.S. Congress, the United Nations has a few hundred special interests and parties. Each nation to his own so to speak. The most powerful part of the organization, the Security Council, is often reluctant to strike resolutions or impose sanctions much less commit troops to the region.

Given enough pressures from both Europe and the Arab nations, there may be some action coming from the United Nations. At the moment, all there is that we see is a defiant terrorist organization living in a democratic country that just wants peace.

eBay Raises Fees for Store Inventory Listings By 150%-500%

eBay, the number one online marketplace in the world, is now charging additional fees for its Store Inventory listings. Store Inventory listings accounts for roughly 83% of all listings on eBay USA. The fees seem to be a move to "discourage" Store Inventory listings and encourage more Auction type listings. eBay makes more money through Auction Type listings than Store Inventory listings.

According to Bill Cobb's email that he sent me (President of eBay North America), the following changes will be applied starting Aug 22nd:

  • These Store Inventory format insertion fees take effect Aug. 22, 2006:
Starting Price New Insertion Fee Current Fee
$0.01 -- 24.99
$25.00 and higher 10¢
  • Some Store Inventory format final value fees also will also increase, effective Aug. 22, 2006:
Selling Price New Final Value Fee Current Fee
$0.01 -- 25.00 10% 8%
$25.01 -- 100.00 7% 5%
$100.01 -- 1,000.00 5% (no change) 5%
$1,000.01 and higher 3% (no change) 3%
Sellers Enraged

While this change really doesn't affect buyers that much, sellers are a rampage. This unpopular decision has already started a string of protests on online community boards.

Sellers like kcskorner posted the following: "I will probably sell off a good deal of what I have and close my store. What's the sense? They take away the search function and now raise the fees? I hope they shoot themselves in the GD foot. -Cheryl"

Another seller (jfcarr-lkcarr) stated: "My plan is to close my eBay store on August 21. It just won't be profitable enough to even offset fees after that. I may occasionally list auctions if I run across any high profit/high price item but that's it."

Another seller ( stated: "Bascially, eBay has just DESTROYED our business. Auctions NEVER worked for me, only eBay Stores."

Another seller (haplo127x) had this reaction: " I just marked Aug 21nd as D-day on my calendar. That's D for departure. "

A profound statement by seller unique-insights: "Because of this, I will be officially closing my store at the end of this month. Sorry eBay, 150%-500% fee increase doesn't work for me on the justification that you just need better quarterly earnings to have a better stock rating. I'm a store owner and a share holder -- though my .02 cents listings aren't helping you, my monthly store fees more than makes up for it. You're already making profits, why does the hand that feed you need to be continued to be punished? "


This latest move by eBay is understandable -- they need to continue to please Wall Street in order to show that they are growing. That pressure comes directly from the shareholders (like me) and Wall Street analysts.

The underlying question that will be answered in the next few months, will this move save eBay's quarterly woes and bring in more earnings or will this be a nail in the coffin?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Rotten bananas attract mosquitoes

I had one of those "scientific observation" moments early this morning.

At 3:00 am in the morning, I went to get a late night snack. To my surprise, I find a whole bunch of mosquitoes gathered together near my banana bread. Great! Someone probably left the door open or something earlier today.

I hate mosquitoes and I don't like them biting me or my pregnant wife. So I killed about 20 of them and after my hands turned redder than a tomato, I quit. But I observed something else after I was done chasing mosquitoes in the middle of the morning. I saw another group of them (roughly 15 or more) sitting on rotten bananas. This was roughly about 5 feet away from the banana bread.

So rotten bananas had mosquitoes on them and banana bread had mosquitoes on them. Out of all the spots in the house, why do these two items attract mosquitoes? I scared them away from both areas again and when I came back a few minutes later, they came back to the same two places.

My conclusion? Something in bananas attract mosquitoes. Is it the potassium perhaps? Who knows. But there's a lot of folk lore out there about bananas attracting mosquitoes, I think this is one of the few instances that this was actually observed.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Kim Jong II of North Korea is like a child with a broken toy

As the United States was enjoying its birthday by launching fireworks and mortars in the air, Kim Jong apparently wanted to join in with the celebration by launching his long range Taepodong-2 missile. Unfortunately for Mr. Kim Jong II, his fireworks fizzled out within 42 seconds of flight -- showing the world that if he ever tried to deliver a nuclear payload to the United States, it would probably blow up in his face. It seems like my fireworks yesterday had more success than Kim Jong II's advanced missile technology. Yesterday, I launched 376 mortars, and hundreds of small rockets in celebration for July 4th. Everything worked according to plan. It was fun.

Just a word to Congress and our President -- if we want to declare war on North Korea, let's not spend any money or even send any troops. Let's have them try to tinker with missile technology and let them blow themselves up like yesterday. On another side note, I feel really sorry for the military officer that's going to be executed for that failed launch. Kim Jong II cries like a baby when something doesn't work. He's like a child with a broken toy.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Terri Schiavo-like vegetative man wakes up after 20 years

I have said it before and I will say it again, life is precious and should not be discarded just because our senses state there is nothing there. It is so very sad that Terry Schiavo had to die. If her husband, who was cheating, simply had faith, he would have seen new research that put old dogmas to rest about comatose patients.

If I'm ever in a coma, I will fight to live. No matter the situation, do not remove the darn feeding tube! Here's the news:

"LOS ANGELES -- Terry Wallis awoke from a coma-like state 19 years after tumbling over a guardrail in a pickup truck and falling 25 feet into a dry riverbed. Now doctors armed with some of the latest brain-imaging technology think they may know part of the reason why.

Wallis showed few outward signs of consciousness, but his brain was methodically rebuilding the white-matter infrastructure necessary for him to interact with the outside world, researchers reported yesterday in the Journal of Clinical Investigation."

Read more about it in: Boston News

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

psycheclone - an annoying web bot advisory

Over the past few days, a web bot is running all over the web trying to gather emails for spam harvesting. It uses links for new servers to hit and it is continuing to gather emails at astounding rate. On my web site alone, it's had 880 hits. Maybe it couldn't find things the first time? Who knows. Here's some IP address info on this bot:

How to block this from your site using .htaccess:

<Limit GET POST>
order allow,deny
allow from all
deny from

Research on ARIN reveals that this web bot is owned by a company called Digital Infinity Ltd located in Moscow, Russia. The mailing address is listed as: Ostrovityanova str, 14, 200, Moscow, Russia.

If you would like to kindly tell them to stop harrassing the Internet, you can call them at these "supposed" numbers: Phone +495.9806635, Fax +495.9806635. The name of the owner is "Elena Balkina" and has been connected to spam before with Please note the current owner of is no longer this person or her company. Elena's company has been used to send spam for online pharmacies and who knows what else.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Remembring Brad Keckler

Exactly one year ago, my friend Brad Keckler died from a heart attack at the age of 30. It was "stressed induced". He was a good friend and a good mentor to me while working for him at CallTech/Teleperformance. He will always be remembered as someone who could always sell anything. A common joke we had at Fort Myers was, he could sell ice to Eskimos.

Exactly a week before he died, I drove him to his house in Ohio. This was after everyone hit each other with Star Wars light saber swords at Trevor's backyard (long story). While driving to his house, I asked him about marriage because I was getting married in a week and a half. Simply stated, he said marriage was one of the best things that happened in his life. He dearly loved his wife (Mandy), his daughter (Jenna), and his future unborn baby. We also talked about God as we passed by his church.

Sadly, I could not come to his funeral seeing as I was getting married 10,000 miles away; however, I think I prefer remembering as who he was, a person that always smiled, always joked, and always worked hard to sell. See you in heaven old friend, I still owe you a foosball match.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sears Tower was a target in terror threat

As you may have heard, six people were arrested in Miami today as well as one person from Atlanta. The group wanted to attack federal offices in Miami and also the Sears Tower in Chicago. Lacking resources, they attempted to contact al Queda for help, but in actuality, they were contacting undercover agents of the U.S. government.

The group is said to be home-grown, coming mostly from a radical Islam group composed mainly of African-Americans. This comes shortly after a similar sting operation in Canada; where a home-grown terrorist group attempted to attack government buildings in Toronto.

I'm a happy tax payer today! I'm very proud of the FBI and I hope they will continue to be fruitful in their human intelligence gathering and undercover operations.

Civil effects: Paranoia against Muslims
I previously posted about the dangers of home-grown terrorism and the paranoia effects it has on society. I want to continue to reiterate that the Islam religion is roughly 1 billion in the world; hence, 7 people should not be a reflection of that religion as a whole. Most Muslims are moderate and do not follow the Koran 100% -- thankfully they ignore the verses that says kill the infidels and concentrate more on the aspect of love and mutual respect.

So before we go crazy on discriminating groups of people based on their religion or nationality, we must remember our lessons of the past. Let us not take people's civil liberties as we did in the past with Japanese-Americans.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Just in! President Bush creates largest marine sanctuary in the world

As a boater and as a fisherman, you come to respect marine ecosystems that help the fish population. Without proper care of reefs and fish habitats, fishermen around the world wouldn't be able to catch fish. This is why I'm so happy with President Bush's decision to declare the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as a national monument.

Previous presidents have tried their best to protect this marine sanctuary; however, until now, they were blocked by lobbyists and special interest groups when they tried to declare the area as a sanctuary. Bush initially wanted to do the same thing; however, it would take at least one year to review. Knowing that it was too much red tape, he invoked a special 100-year old executive power that was given to the presidency in the National Antiquities Act. The president was able to declare the area as a national monument! Good move.

Pro's: This move has some awesome benefits:

  1. Immediate relief of multiple Pacific marine habitats not found anywhere else.
  2. This will increase the population of fish in the immediate area by protecting it from commercial fishing.
  3. Within the next few years, fish populations will increase outside of the area and will actually help commercial fisheries.
  4. Wildlife such as endangered seals, sharks, dolphins, lobsters, and the surrounding reef systems will flourish.
  5. This has some global effects as well as migrant birds use this area as a stopping point and nesting area.
  6. Also, the more marine plants exist and flourish, it will better our atmosphere.
  7. If you've ever wanted to monitor bird flu, this area needs to be successfully protected and monitored.


  1. Commercial fishing to stop within five years, this will hurt a small group of companies and families on a short-term basis. On a long-term basis, they will be able to reap the benefits of a lively fish habitat.

If you have ever seen Jean-Michel Cousteau's film on PBS, you'll find the underwater wonders of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. You will be amazed at the wildlife underneath an area that seems to be just a link of barren islands.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Why Hate Your Own Country?

A colleague of mine just got off a discussion group from the Big Arts community center in Sanibel, FL. Lawyers, doctors, and professors attended the session. He commented how people kept complaining about the country. The discussions varied and jumped from topic to topic. They talked about education, the economy, the Iraq war, health care, and gas prices. I'm dumbfounded why some citizens born here hate this country so much.

Are we too spoiled?
I don't think those who complain about this country have lived any significant length of time in another country. Whether it's Europe, Asia, or other continents -- if they actually lived there as an average worker, they would know the difference quickly.

Most people that are naturalized (those that are foreign born and became US citizens) are happy with this country. They may disagree with policies and what not, but in general, they love this country for giving them a chance to live a better life. While in Asia, people seek their best to pay bills and are living on $200/month USD or less, we have people here that complain because their Social Security checks are only a few thousand a month.

Last year during the hurricane season, some people I knew were complaining about not getting ice from the government on time. While in Italy and other European countries that my family stopped by last year, they don't even serve ice in restaurants! Plus, they charge money if you use the rest rooms!

Come on now. Why are we so spoiled? We complain about gas prices but we drive big SUVs, trucks, luxury sport cars, etc. Don't complain about gas prices if your car burns 25 miles per gallon! Why do we have high gas prices? Because you keep burning the supply away. Duh.

Why do we complain about health care? We eat over 3 teaspoons of salt everyday and wonder why we have high blood pressure. We don't exercise as a nation and wonder why we have diabetes. We smoke tobacco and wonder why we get lung cancer. We get drunk every weekend and ask why we are getting complications as we grow old over some of our organs. Overzealous wine drinkers tout the benefits for the heart, but kill their liver. Great trade, try natural wine in the Bible (unfermented grapejuice - no alcohol) and benefit the heart and the liver!

Why do we complain about the economy? When we have the lowest unemployment compared to any of our neighbors and have one of the highest wages in this hemisphere. Why do we complain about unemployment when we have thousands of people just loitering the streets, taking unemployment / welfare checks?

I read a gripe complaint by an online eBay seller stating he was sad that his child would lose tuition grants from the government because he made too much money. He was looking to see if he could legally "fake" his income to show that it was lower. Hey buddy -- those tuition grants aren't free -- they come from me and every other person that works and pays taxes.

Why do we complain about people immigrating here when so many of the natural born citizens hate their own country? Care to trade places with someone in France when they are suffering 30% unemployment for their young adults? Wake up America. Be patriotic about the country you live in.

Be thankful about what you have. We are not in a perfect country, but we are better off than most. If you don't like the situation you're in now, do something about it: improve.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Zarqawi died the same way he killed

Jordan-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi tried to scare the Iraqi people with roadside bombs and beheadings, yet he himself ended dying from the same methods he instilled on others. God said once: "If you live by the sword, you will die by the sword". He killed with bombs and he died by bombs. And he didn't die quickly, because he was hiding under the basement, he was mortally wounded but was left to experience pain for quite some time before his body finally gave out.

The announcement of his death came around the same time the prime minister of Iraq received approval for key Cabinet posts. It seems the dream of a free Iraq is close to becoming a reality. Iraqi police and the Iraqi military were dancing in the streets, and the Iraqi people were cheering -- even Sunnis. The U.S. military celebrated with a cautious tone, stating they are happy but they know there are more rough days ahead. Beneath the silent facade of caution, the military knew this was a big hit -- a big hit against Iraqi insurgency, and a great morale boost for the allied troops.

Though everyone knows the terrorist attacks will continue, there is hope abroad and in Iraq that this is the beginning of the end of organized terrorist cells. I can't shake the feeling that this has turned the tide of the hearts of the Iraqi armed forces and the Iraqi people. Terror cells will no longer be able to deify a single person as the untouchable jihadist, and the Iraqi people will no longer fear them. After all, it was an Iraqi citizen that led to al-Zarqawi's death. This action sends a clear message to terrorists that intends on killing civilians: residents will strike back by telling the government where you are hiding.

A short biography of al-Zarqawi
Zarqawi is not his real name, but his surname. Zarqawi means he is a man from "Zarqa". He was born in Zarqa, Jordan almost 40 years ago. He was a high school drop out and was considered a petty criminal. Most people that knew him stated he was hot-tempered, but reserved. He wasn't able to read well and had others read for him or translate for him. Hearing propaganda from clerics and the CIA, al-Zarqawi joined a group of disillusioned men in Afghanistan to fight against the Soviet Union. Receiving some weapons training and guerilla tactics from Afghan training camps (which allegedly were also backed by the CIA), he learned quickly how to fight the communists that invaded Afghanistan. After campaigns against the Soviet Union, he returned to Jordan with renewed confidence and a new vision: through aggression and war, you can win against large countries through a holy jihad and instill an Islamic nation.

He started trying to recruit for his vision until he was jailed by Jordanian authorities. For seven years he was in prison, he became a prison "gang leader" and had a following of disciples that believed in his vision. At times, he gave overexaggerations of his campaigns against the Soviet Union to energize his group. After his release, he knew he was in danger as he was a marked man in the kingdom. He quickly left the country and traveled throughout the Middle East and parts of Europe. In the end, he found his "base" in Iraq after he was kicked out of Iran. He didn't stay in Pakistan and Afghanistan because he wanted to have an independent operation from Osama Bin Laden's influence.

Though he pledged himself as a loyal member of Al Queda, he wanted to make a name for himself. And so he did...Zarqawi the bombed.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Lesson in History: Don't Give Up Freedom Because of Fear

Democrat President FDR ordered all Japanese-Americans to be imprisoned. Without charges, without warrants, they were placed in concentration camps like the one here. Ignoring freedom because of fear!

Canada's recent arrest of 17 citizens and residents allegedly wanting to bomb Canadian buildings has shocked some folks in the intelligence community. This group of alleged Muslim extremists doesn't seem to have a direct connection with any known international terrorist organization. Despite the success of this anti-terrorist operation, there are undoubtedly questions in Washington being asked. Should we fear our own citizens becoming terrorists? If so, how can we prevent that from happening?

The Truth Test of Democracy: Should We Give Up Freedoms In Times of Peril?

In a country where freedom of religion, freedom of privacy, and freedom of speech exists, you will always have the possibility that someone will exchange and believe in the wrong idea. This is the risk of democracy. Thank God that people who want to kill and terrorize are only a minority in our society. Though terrorists account only about 0.00004% of the population in the USA, they are shown about 60% of the time on the news (rough estimates from last night's news broadcasts)!

What this unbalance creates is an environment of fear. Congress has recently passed anti-terror laws and the NSA has admitted to having domestic eavesdropping programs. These laws and programs would have never passed before 9/11. But because 0.00012% of our population died in a single attack, 99.99988% of our population are now subject to new laws and new programs that pushes the limit of restricting our freedoms. The attacks on 9/11 were unfair, uncalled for, and the people involved in them should be brought to justice. However, the anger we have and the fear that we have should not drive us to give up our freedom.

Don't Let Fear Overcome Freedom

As a democratic nation, we have been tested in times of great peril in the past. Some of which we succeeded in protecting our freedoms despite the danger, and some we have failed.

For instance, in the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the mass expulsion and incarceration of Japanese Americans by signing Executive Order 9066 on February 19th, 1942. U.S.-born citizens were arrested with no charges, and no warrants. Expelled from their jobs, and removed from their communities, they were locked up in camps and treated as if they were criminals just because of their ancestry. On the first set of incarcerations, there were 92,785 Californians arrested because they had Japanese parents or grandparents.

The nation, because of fear, stood silent as the Constitution was ignored, basic human rights violated, and international laws broken. Our founding fathers would have turned over in their graves.

Another example of "fear" that made the nation ignore civil liberties was between 1954-1968 during the civil rights movement. Thousands of black Americans were beaten, killed, and detained by white gangs and law enforcement officers a like. Most of the South feared that black Americans would change the cultural and racial landscape of the USA. Once again, "fear" made us ignore basic constitutional rights of equality. Even church organizations like the Southern Baptists supported segregation against black Americans. In fact, local Southern Baptist church leaders at the time were the leaders of a secret white terrorist organization called the KKK or the Ku Klax Klan. Their mission was to disrupt blacks from exercising their rights to vote and their right to be integrated in schools.


The flavor of "fear" has changed over the years. In the past, it was Japanese, Germans, Russians, black Americans, and now Arab/Muslim communities. What's next? American citizens born from illegal aliens? Our freedoms should always be protected no matter the climate of fear. We as a country are stronger than this. We should not ignore the freedoms and rights of religious liberty, privacy, and speech.

Let's teach ourselves and our children to never ever give up freedom just because of fear.