Saturday, August 28, 2010

The New Kindle

Watch the Video that Kevin and Zach made here

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Devils Music

In high school my friend Scott introduced us to Rush. The famous Canadian rock group that captivated me from the moment I heard the opening guitar to "The Spirit of Radio" Rush is known for amazing musicianship, as a power trio they create amazing intricate and "tight" music parts, they are characterized by "off time" signatures...the members are a fantastic Bass player, with a falsetto voice, the great "Geddy Lee" a virtuoso guitar player "Alex Lifeson" and then there is "Neil Peart" who many put as the greatest rock drummer to ever live (no argument here)

Although I haven't been as fanatical about listening to them as I once was, they are on the short list as one of my favorite bands.....I can put on pretty much any one of their albums today and every part of it is as familiar to me today as it was in 1991.

OK enough of is what spurred me to write this post.....There were many in the RHCC youth group who objected to the "Pentagram" depicted on the 2112 album. Even though this had nothing to do with the devil...the 20 minute epic song talks about a totalitarian regime that crushes a young upstart who tries to start a revolution with a guitar....It ends with the ominous announcement "Attention all planets of the Solar Federation, we have assumed control" the Star was the symbol of the Federation...not the symbol of the Devil, Beelzebub, Captain Howdy, or any of the other nonsensical and ridiculous superstitions the group had.

Fast forward to this week and me watching the brand new Rush documentary: something struck me. These guys are extremely soft spoken and polite, Neil Peart, the person who penned the subject of the album is painfully shy. Geddy and Alex are extremely polite and nice to everyone, they are not devil worshippers. In fact Gene Simmons of KISS recounted how when Rush used to open for them he was amazed that the band members never partook of the abundant supply of female groupies. Rush preferred instead to quietly retreat to their hotel rooms and watch TV..Gene Simmons jokingly wondered if they were gay, and couldn't believe how square they were. But they aren't gay, they're just music nerds...obsessed with getting it right...and that is why they have lasted almost 40 years.

One could argue that Amy Grant is more immoral then Rush, after all she divorced her longtime husband after having a fling with Travis Tritt or some such country star.....Yet everyone was singing "Angels watching over me" at the church group.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Funniest Political Gaffe in History

Here is a little comic relief for everyone...remember this?

Monday, August 23, 2010

E-Books for Troops (yet again)

Uncle Dennis wanted an update on this great project...and here it is...Len Edgerly informed his faithful followers on this past Fridays "The Kindle Chronicles" podcast that

is now officially up and running as IRS approved tax deductible non-profit.

Again for those who don't know our troops in Afghanistan have a lot of downtime and they do not have a lot of space in their packs for personal stuff...they play a lot of cards...they play video games if they can...and they read paperbacks....soldiers oftentimes trade them around and sometimes they will read the same book six times because they don't have that many to choose from. The new Kindle( which releases this Friday can hold about 3,000 books, and can go for ONE MONTH (yes you heard me correctly) without needing to be recharged. The price has dropped to $139 dollars for the WIFI only and it has gotten smaller and lighter while maintaining the exact same screen size....(mine will arrive this Friday and I am incredibly excited!)

What could be better than to outfit everyone with one of these devices? No one deserves it more then the men and women over there.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blockbuster and Barnes and Noble wont exist in their current form in 5 years

20 years ago it used to be an event, something exciting. Dad would bring us to the Wherehouse to pick out two movies, one for me and one for Matt. (so that we wouldn't fight) The stores were usually pretty crowded as people fought for the latest new releases. Sometimes we would browse the return pile anxiously awaiting if someone had returned a copy of "Rainman" or "Dragnet" We were satisfied whether we got our movie, or if we just rented "Raiders" for the millionth time.

Nowdays like many other families we have Netflix on demand, and Amazon on demand. We can browse the screen and pick out the movies that we want to watch. New releases we can watch instantly with a HD copy sent right to us. And that's me, Im 36 years old though. The younger generation grabs their movies and content right off of bit torrent and Pirate Bay for free. That is why Blockbuster videos are closing down. As an aside there is an interesting other reason called Redbox. I'm sure you have all seen these Kiosks around 7/11's and supermarkets. For only 1 dollar a day you can rent new releases if you don't mind the 30 day "windowing" period. I saw one of these Kiosks at the airport in Austin, for a buck you can grab a movie to watch on your laptop and then return it to any Kiosk in the country. And it's totally self service and convenient. Why would anyone want to go to Blockbuster and pay 5 dollars? or even 3 dollars? So price, convenience and selection are killing the "brick and mortar" Blockbuster stores. Hollywood video is already gone, and Blockbuster stores will soon only exist on the internet competing with Netflix, and for a while Redbox.

Barnes and Noble has not "gone under" but they have been put up for sale. I love books and I love browsing in Barnes and Noble. But they have been seriously hurt by the amazing company that is Amazon. People like Amazon for the ease of shopping on their site, the selection that B&N cannot match, and the entire experience. Also millions of people like myself are now choosing to buy their books directly on mobile e reading devices like the Kindle. B&N has tried to compete with Amazon by launching both their own e reading device the "Nook" and their online store at In both cases they do not offer nearly as good of an experience as Amazon does. I knew this would eventually happen with them, but I didn't think it would happen so fast.

And the bottom line is this, whether you think these changes are good or bad, it is what the consumer wants.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Albums everyone should have

One of the great things about Itunes is the fact that it tells you how many times you have listened to a song...and as such it tells you how often you have listened to a specific album.

(These stats go back as far as 1-31-07)

What is the number one album that I have listened to?

No surprise here...."The Soul Cages" by Sting. (51 times)

An absolute's hard to put how great this album is into words, it is a sonic experience...I have been listening to it continuously since I got it in 1991.

Number two "The Joshua Tree" by U2 (49 times) The definitive U2 album...The classic of my generation.

Number three "Nothing Like the Sun" by Sting. (46 times) A truly great record, amazing musicianship, sonically beautiful, and as always the classic vocals.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I feel what I eat!!

When you are fat like I was, and then spend about 2 years at a normal BMI, you begin to notice a few things.

I stayed fat for so long because I was physiologically addicted to foods high in saturated fats, sugars, and empty carbs. I would eat those foods and a lot of them. If I didn't eat those foods I wanted to because they made me feel good. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I drank too much alcohol too, lets not forget that little chestnut.

I didn't want to exercise or eat right because that made me feel bad. That is why I think half our population is fat. Everyone wants to feel good, and food is an easy way to make us feel that way.

The difference now is that I am physiologically addicted to working out. I really don't work out that vigorously, I only do 30 minutes a day on the elliptical, and light weights every other day. When I was on vacation, I swam 1/2 a mile every day when I could. I do this because I want to, because it makes me feel good. About a month ago I felt an endorphin rush after the elliptical similar to the rush of opiod pills. I have been chasing that natural dragon ever since! Now I know that when I eat things like In and Out I have a high, and then a crash. And the crash does not feel good, so it makes me somewhat less inclined to eat food like that now. But I still do, just not as much. And now its time for some ice cream!!