Sunday, December 24, 2006

Holiday Thoughts From The Shack

The Shack Family (The Shack, ShackWife, LittleShack1 and LittleShack2) wish all of you the best at this holiday season, regardless of what holiday you may celebrate, or even if you don't celebrate any holiday.

Remember you can make every day of the year like Christmas. Focus on the giving, not the getting. Keep that spirit of giving year-round. And not necessarily material things. Instead, give love, friendship, patience, foregiveness, a helping hand where possible.

And every day can be like New Year's, too. A new beginning. A clean slate. The problems and wrongs of yesterday in the past. If necessary, make amends and ask for foregiveness for things you may have done wrong and remember to forgive others as well. Then start anew.

So Sayeth The Shack

Friday, December 22, 2006

I Wouldn't Take This Drug

I was reading a magazine the other day and came upon one of those 2-3 page advertisement and information layouts for a prescription drug. I usually page right past these, but something caught my eye. The drug is called Abilify and supposedly treats bipolar disorder. Here is a quote directly from the ad: "How ABILIFY is thought to work:.... the exact way any medicine for bipolar disorder works is unknown"

That's just great. They have now idea how the stuff works but they want people to buy it. I think I'll just wait until they figure it out. Not that I have bipolar, but it seems to me they should know how a drug works before marketing it.

So Sayeth The Shack

Watch How You Spelll That

I was typing something the other day and interchanged a couple of letters within a word. This ended up turning "santa" into "satan". Wonder if it is just a coincidence that the two words are so similar?

So Sayeth The Shack

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Protecting Us From Ourselves

Here are some of the latest examples of how our government is protecting is from ourselves, since they seem to have nothing better to do.

1) As mentioned in a recent post here, New York City is banning trans fat because it is bad for our health,

2) In Ohio, it is apparently illegal for a truck driver to smoke in the cab of his or her truck, because it is a "workplace" and the ban on smoking in the workplace apparently extends to the cab of the truck, even though no one else is being affected.

3) This one really takes the cake. Virginia either has or is considering passing legislation making it illegal for churches and other charitable organizations to prepare and feed meals to the poor unless they go through the time and expense of being licensed and inspected like a regular restaurant. Jeez you can't even do something nice for somebody else without the government getting in the way!

So Sayeth The Shack

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Big Apple Bans Trans Fat

So the latest news out of New York City is that they are enacting a ban on trans fat. Really now. Just what kind of country are we living in here? It is perfectly OK to kill your (unborn) child, but you can't have trans fat because it's hazardous to your health!! Seems a bit hippocritical to me. So what will happen now? They'll have bootleg trans fat coming in from Boston and Philadelphia. Seriously though. If I want to eat something that isn't good for me, I should be free to do so. I'm not hurting anyone but myself.

So Sayeth The Shack

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Things I'm Sick Of Hearing

We are all used to hearing the disclaimers at the end of advertisements. Things like "batteries not included", "shipping and handling extra" and "side-effects include....". One of these that I've really gotten sick of hearing lately is "well-qualified buyers". This phrase usually is part of an ad for a car. Judging by the numbers of ads for cars that are on TV these days (every other ad seems to be a car ad), there must be millions of cars out there waiting to be sold. But they only seem to want "well-qualified buyers". Just what is a "well qualified buyer"? Probably someone who doesn't really need the perks they are offering like zero percent financing forever or incredibly low lease payments or no money down. A "well qualified buyer" is one who is well enough off financially to be able to make a downpayment or pay a little interest. But they don't have to. What about the rest of us who aren't "well qualified"? We have to pay the interest, make a down payment or whatever. This is just another example of how the well-off in our society are catered to at the expense of the rest of us. So don't expect me to be buying a new car anytime soon, because I'm not "well qualified" So screw you, car companies.

So Sayeth The Shack

Friday, November 24, 2006

Now Here's a Really Bad Idea

Originally written Nov 22

In today's local newspaper was a story titled "slot parlors can serve unlimited free drinks". A bill recenly passed by the Pennsylvania State Senate would allow slot machine parlors to serve unlimited free drinks to gamblers. It says this measure is necessary to allow Pennsylvania gambling places to compete with those in other states where "around-the-clock free drinks are customary".

Does anyone besides me see a problem here? In this age of DUI crackdowns and drunk drivers causing accidents and tragic deaths and injuries, they want to give away unlimited free alcoholic drinks? Like that won't contribute to the drunk driving problem? Come on, senate, this is a pretty stupid idea if you ask me. I hope the house votes it down and/or Rendell vetoes it, which is unlikely since he is so pro-gambling anyway.

So Sayeth The Shack

Playstation Mayhem

Originally written Nov 20, 2006

It's the middle of November. There are lines of people camped out outside of Best Buy and other stores that sell electronic gizmos. It can only mean one thing...the latest gaming console is about to be released. It happens every two or three years, usually a little before Christmas. Of course the companies that make these things never make enough of them, at least initially, to satisfy the demand. So if you really want to get one, you have to camp out in line for days, even longer, outside your favorite store just to have a chance to get one. Or pay double to get one on e-bay. So a lot of people who want one for Christmas end up disappointed. Just what are these companies trying to put over on us anyway? Getting people to stand in line for days for the "opportunity" to spend hundreds of dollars on something that will be obsolete in two or three years anyway. Actually it isn't the companies fault, it is the fault of the people that are willing to stand in line and spend the money. Anyone who wastes several days of their lives waiting to spend hundreds of dollars on something they do not need and will be obsolete in a couple of years anyway has some seriously misplaced priorities. You will NEVER catch me standing in line for hours or days to buy anything, no matter what it is.

So Sayeth The Shack

TomKat--Who Cares???

Originally written Nov 20, 2006

Every day for at least the past week, I have opened my local newspaper to see an article about Tom Cruise and whoever it is he is marrying...Kate somebody or other I think.Well WHO THE FRICK CARES about these people and their stupid wedding??? I SURE THE FRICK DON'T. I would think they could find some real news to put in the newspaper rather than this irrelevent garbage. It's bad enough that it's in there one day, but it has been in there day after day after day for days and days and days. GET OVER IT FOLKS!! What makes it such a big deal? They're just two people getting married so just leave them alone and put some real news in the paper.

So Sayeth The Shack

Too Early for Christmas

Originally written Nov 12, 2006

Every year it gets earlier. This year it's right after Halloween; the ads are on TV, the decorations are out in the stores and the sales are on. Yep, its Christmas already!!

Don't get me wrong. Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love the music. I love the decorations. I love the food. I love giving presents. So I don't have a problem with extending the "season". But instead of it starting earlier, why can't we extend it later? Come January 2nd or even before that, it's all over. The music is gone, the decorations are down, and there are two to three months of dark, cold, boring and depressing midwinter nothingness to endure. So instead of starting early, let's extend the season later...into January, maybe even February. Let's wait until after Thanksgiving to start the Christmas stuff, but then then keep it going, maybe til Groundhog Day or so.

So Sayeth The Shack

Post-Election Rant

Originally written Nov 8, 2006

None of the people that I voted for won. So what's the point of voting? It's sort of like rooting for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

On a more positive note, the new touch-screen voting machines were so easy to use, A CAVE MAN COULD DO IT!!!! (Sorry, Geico, no copywright violation intended...and my apologies to any actual cave men who might be reading this; no offense was intended!)

So Sayeth The Shack

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Which One Is Lying?

Last night I saw back-to-back ads on TV for Santorum and Casey. The ad for Santorum said Casey voted for amnesty for illegal aliens. The ad for Casey said Santorum voted for amnesty for illegal aliens. Is one of them lying? OK, maybe they both voted for amnesty, but what point are they trying to make if that is the case? Which liar should I vote for?

In another campaign, the ad says "we need someone who will reform Harrisburg...Not Lynn Swan" There are 2 problems with this one. First of all, if not Lynn Swan, then who? (the ad didn't specifically say). The second problem is that the ad states that Harrisburg (still) needs to be reformed. So that means Eddy hasn't accomplished anything in his first term (even though it was Eddy's ad saying this).

So here is Shack's method of voting:
Catch a liar by the toe
If he lies too much tell him to go
Might as well vote for just any old Joe.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bad Timing

So gas prices are going down. Just my luck that they always seem to take the next drop immediately after I fill up my tank. Just like when they are going up, they always go up right before I get to the gas station. Such is the story of my life.

So Sayeth The Shack

Ironic Islamic

Concerning the recent Islamic reacion to remakrs, made by Pope Benedict, I overheard the following comment from a parent at a soccer game last week. "Isn't it ironic that the Muslims claim they are not violent, yet when someone says that they are, they threaten to kill them".

So Sayeth The Shack

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

New Orleans--What About The Regular Folks?

So football is coming back to New Orleans. The Superdome has been reconstructed, well ahead of schedule according to the news reports. This coming weekend, two teams of greatly overpaid professional athletes will be there. Some highly overpaid entertainers will be there. And some fans that can afford to dish out hundreds of dollars to pay the overpaid athletes and entertainers and to watch the spectacle will be there.

Not far away will be homes that were wrecked by Katrina over a year ago and have not even started to be rebuilt. Not far away will be people with little or no money living in FEMA trailers, or worse, waiting for their homes to be rebuilt. And farther away will be people who left the city and have still not been able to return to a home and may never be able to do so. What about all of these people? It would have been nice to have their homes rebuilt, maybe even ahead of schedule. But no. They are not celebrities. They are not professional atheletes. They don't have money. So they just don't count.

Another example of the misplaced priorities in our society.

So Sayeth The Shack

Monday, September 18, 2006

Higher Gas Taxes--Bad Idea

The recent drop in gasoline prices has many of us feeling a little better about things, if only temporarily. However, in an editorial column in this morning's newspaper, Steve Yetiv, a Political Science professor at Old Dominion University, advocates raising taxes on gasoline to take the price at the pump to around $4.00/gallon. He claims that this price would "seriously challenge our oil-guzzling culture". He is likely correct about that. We have already seen some of these effects as automakers have suddenly ended up with a lot of unsold pickups and SUV's and have started developing more hybrid vehicles. There is also a rise in the use and availability of alternative fuels. He also acknowledges that the tax would "disproportionally hurt poor people". I assume he is referring to those who cannot afford to trade in their old clunkers for a new fuel-efficient vehicle or who, because of the cost of housing, must live a large distance from where they work. However, he claims that these affects could be mitigated by a corresponding lowering of other taxes. First of all let me say "yeah, right"; I'll believe other taxes being lowered when I see it. Beyond that, however, there is one aspect of the concept of increased gasoline taxes that Mr. Yetiv does not address, and that is the domino effect caused by higher energy prices. Whether higher energy prices are because of taxes or because of the world price of crude, the average consumer ends up paying twice for it, first at the pump, and then in the cost of virtually everything else as the higher cost of energy is "passed on to the consumer" by the manufacturer who makes the product and the trucking company that transports it to the local marketplace. The consumer is at the bottom of the pile when it comes to this situation. There is no one left to pass on the increased costs to, and so these increased costs must be absorbed. (Most of us do not get automatic raises when the price of gas goes up). This gives the consumer less money to spend on other things. Since consumer spending is what drives the American economy, the entire economy ultimately suffers from higher energy costs. This is why I feel that Professor Yetiv's gasoline tax is a bad idea.

So Sayeth The Shack

Monday, September 11, 2006

911 Overload

Anyone besides me think we are overdoing this 911 memorial stuff? OK sure I feel bad for the victims, their families and all that, and we need to remember what happened and try to keep it from happening again, but do we really need all this? I think it just puts us right back at square one with the recovery and grieving process...sort of like replaying the death of a loved one years later. I don't want to relive the funeral of my dad or my grandmother or anyone else I have lost. I can remember them just as well without that.

So Sayeth The Shack

Sunday, September 10, 2006


So now they have Macintosh computers that will run Windows operating systems. That's sort of like putting a Ford engine into a Chevy Truck; you're ruining a perfectly good product.

So Sayeth The Shack

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Dear Doctor Z

(Please read this with a German accent)

Dear Doctor Z,

I vant to shoot you. I am so sick of your commercials on myTV. You are on there every 5 minutes. You are so annoying. I vill never buy one of your cars. And I have put you on my "feces list" because you are so annoying.

So Sayeth The Shack

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Atlantic City: A Sad Place

I recently took a vacation to Atlantic City, NJ with my family. It was the second time I had been there, the first being about 23 years ago, and the first time for the rest of the family. We stayed at one of the many hotel/casinos that line the shore and act as a "wall" separating the beach and boardwalk from the rest of the city. While we enjoyed the trip and the vacation. I could not help but notice the stark contrast between the big, fancy hotel/casinos filled with gamblers from out of town, the boardwalk and beach filled with tourists and vacationers, and "the rest of the city", which is pretty much a dump. Just inland from the hotel/casinos is a scummy, grimy city filled with poor people and crime. We were warned not to venture inland after dark; it "wasn't safe". Obviously we heeded the warnings, but how did things get like this? Was it always this way? I suspect not, but maybe I am wrong. Even along and near the boardwalk, and during the day, there were beggars asking for a handout. It strikes me that Atlantic City is a microcosm of our entire society, or at least where our society seems to be headed. In Atlantic City, there are the "haves" (the owners of the hotels and casinos, those who go there to gamble, and the rest of the tourists that come for the boardwalk and beach), and the "have-nots" (the regular residents that live in the city...many of whom probably work for the "haves" at low wages.) In society in general, there are the "haves" (owners and ceo's of large companies -- especially oil companies -- career politicians, celebreties, professional athletes, doctors and lawyers, and others) and the "have-nots" (the rest of us, who, while we may be employed --at low-paying service jobs rather than manufacturing --, are barely making enough to pay the bills as it is and who continue to fall behind as the price of energy, health care and other necessities skyrockets much faster than our paychecks grow.) The "middle class", once a large part of the American economic, social and political scene, is quickly shrinking. Most are dropping out into the "lower class" as their expenses rapidly exceed their income. A few lucky ones are somehow joining the "upper class", but these are very few. Soon the entire country will be one big Atantic City. There will be a tiny minority of very rich people; the rest of the country will be filled with poor people, crime and blight.

By the way this is not intended to discourage anyone from visiting Atlantic City. Go, have a good time. But be mindful of those who are less fortunate; if you win some money, be a beggar lunch. And be careful; if you lose too much money, you might end up being one of the beggars yourself!

So Sayeth The Shack

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Gas Price Fixing

You cannot tell me that gas prices in the State College area are not fixed at an artificially high level. On a trip to the Jersey Shore and back, prices dropped as soon as I went over Seven Mountains and continued dropping the farther away from State College I got. Prices from Lewistown to Harrisburg and beyond were 5 to 10 cents per gallon lower than around here. And there was actually competition between the stations with prices varying by a few cents from one station to another; not the same at every station like around here. So we are definitely being ripped off.

So Sayeth The Shack

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Nudity on TV

Last night I watched a new show on TNT Network called "Saved". One scene in the show consisted of a man running around in a hospital gown with his rear end completely exposed. I'm not complaining because I don't really care; I'm not as uptight about sex and nudity as some people in this country are, but I wonder when they are going to start showing womens bare rear-ends (or other parts)....maybe next week?

So Sayeth The Shack

Teen Neanderthals

My teen-age son (LittleShack2) seems to have taken to speaking like a neanderthal, or cave-man (my apologies to the Geico commercial cave-men). By this, I mean he makes unintelligible grunting sounds rather than speaking plain English words. Example: I say "hi son!" and he replies "ugh" or some such thing. "How are you today?" I ask. "Ugh", he replies. "How was school?". "Ugh" he says. Some of his male friends sound pretty much the same. Must be a teen thing. Or maybe they're teaching Neandertalese as a new foreign language.

So Sayeth The Shack

Monday, June 12, 2006

Regular Driver Testing Needed

" Accused driver legally blind" screamed the headline in the local newspaper on June 10, 2006. The driver referred to had struck and killed a cyclist earlier this year. He had, according to the article, been declared legally blind some two decades ago, yet he was still driving! How does this happen? All too easily. Here in Pennsylvania, all vehicles must pass a yearly safety inspection. The same is not true of their operators. Once someone obtains a driver's license, usually at the age of 16 or 17, he or she essentially has that license for the rest of their life, so long as they stop in every five years to get a new picture taken. No regard is given as to whether or not these people remain physically or mentally fit to be operating a vehicle. No tests are administered, no questions asked. Just a new picture and a new card. Yet every year, they are required to spend tens or sometimes hundreds of dollars to be sure that the vehicle being driven is in safe condition. Unfortunately, no matter how safe a vehicle is, if the driver cannot see well enough, or cannot react quickly enough to a situation, it is an accident waiting to happen. The time has come, in fact it is long past, for regular testing of our drivers. Instead of just a new picture and new card every five years, tests of eyesight, hearing, reaction time and even the rules of the road should be administered. Those who cannot pass these tests should no longer be behind the wheel. Just as in the case of DUI, one death or injury caused by a driver who can no longer see or otherwise safely operate a vehicle is one death or injury too many.

So Sayeth The Shack

Monday, May 08, 2006

Our President, the Fisherman


<<"I would say the best moment was when I caught a 7 1/2-pound largemouth bass on my lake," he said eventually>>

Read the full story here

So what does fishing have to do with being the president? Guess he just couldn't come up with anything great that he has done for the nation! Or, guess you could say that he has us all reeled in!

So Sayeth The Shack

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Hunting Dems

Cheney: " I think I hear a democrat over there in the bushes!"


Cheney: "Got him!!"

So Sayeth The Shack

Alarm Clock Saves My Life

I was having a dream last night. I was at a gas station. There was a gas tanker truck there and a woman was loading gasoline from the tanker truck into the station's underground storage tanks. While she was doing this, she took out a cigarette lighter and lit it, then dropped it into the underground storage tank. Just before the whole place blew up and we all died, the alarm clock went off. Wonder what would have happened if the alarm had not sounded at that very moment?

So Sayeth The Shack