Saturday, December 20, 2008

Digital TV

Unless you live in a cave in Aghanistan, and probably even if you do, you have heard about the government mandated switch to digital TV coming up in the near future.

Our local TV stations have been running incessant announcements as well as scroll bars during the shows about it. I really wish they would stop. There cannot possibly be anyone left who watches more than 5 minutes per month of TV who was not heard about it. Plus, as I understand it, it is only going to affect people who do not have cable or satellite. What's that, maybe 1 percent of the population?

Moreover, I hate the way government has mandated this change....again in usual way, forcing people to spend money to come into compliance with some law. If digital TV was so great, don't you think the people and the TV stations would eventually make that switch anyway?

As for myself, I have an old-fashioned (not digital, not high-def, not flat screen) TV that I bought about 10 years ago. Since it is connected to cable, it will supposedly keep right on working. But there is a small part of me that wishes it wouldn't. There is so little stuff on there that is really worth watching and of course I can definitely do without the advertising.

So Sayeth The Shack

Thursday, December 18, 2008

We're All Going To Pay Dearly

Wow! Isn't this recession great?!

Gas prices are way down. Other prices are coming down. There are plenty of bargains out there.

As long as you still have a job.


Have you heard about the tax and fee increases?

Due to loss of revenue from real estate values and other investments, most municipalities are increasing taxes and fees. Five percent seems to be the going rate where I live. A 5 percent real estate tax increase. A 5 percent sewer rate increase. And increases across the board on virtually all trash collection, etc. Soon they'll be charging us by the street foot frontage to plow the snow. Renters, many of whom are on fixed incomes, will get slammed as landlords pass on all the increases.

What lies ahead? No one knows. Certainly not the "experts" who just months ago were predicting $10/gallon gas in the near future. Where is all the money going to come from for these "bailouts"? Oh yeah...I know...HIGHER TAXES FOR US!! So my grim prediction: more of us will lose our jobs, prices can only go so low, but taxes and fees will continue to go up, to the point where many of us will not be able to pay them.

A side note: What I can't believe is the NFL is losing money and cutting jobs. Yeah right. With the price they charge for tickets plus all the advertising revenue? I see those stadiums filled every week on TV. That's a crock o' crap that they're losing money.

So Sayeth The Shack

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Even Atheism Is A Religion

After reading the news about the sign an atheist group put up next to a nativity scene In Olympia, WA, I was curious and had to check out the group's website. The sign that had been put up dismisses belief in gods or devils, heaven or hell, and claims that there is only the world we currently live in. It claims that religion only "hardens hearts and enslaves minds". Looking around, it would seem that a lot of awful things have been done in the name of religion both in recent times and throughout history. But is God really the author of such hideous acts? I really don't think so. All of these acts have been committed by people. They might cowardly blame God (or the devil) for what they do, but no supernatural being can force them or any of us to do anything. We all have our own free will and are responsible for our own actions. As powerful as he might be, God cannot force us to obey him.

Meanwhile, these atheists have their own "religion", if I may call it that. I define the term religion here as a gathering of people who think or believe alike joining together to share their beliefs as well as attempting to influence others to believe likewise. This is pretty much what all religions do. This group has a website and a radio show. On their website, they invite people to join their "religion" and to make a tax-deductible donation. So they are really doing some of the same things that the other religious groups they criticize are doing.

So Sayeth The Shack

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

We'll Miss You, Julie!

One of my favorite local columnists has passed away. I very much enjoyed her writing and am saddened by this news. My condolences to her family and friends.

Wednesday, Dec. 03, 2008
"PSU editor, former CDT employee Brink dead at 50"

"CDT columnist Julie Ann Brink, who brought a distinctive voice of admiration for country living to the community, died Monday. She was 50."

"(Linked are some of Julie Brink's CDT columns and some of her work at Penn State)
Marking seasons with sweet memories
Julie Brink: Raised in savoring the spoils of saving
Julie Brink: Instructor learns a few lessons of her own from undergrads
Julie Brink: Living on a farm
Julie Brink: PSU still life
Julie Brink: Packard's 'Hidden Persuaders' reminds consumers why they buy
Julie Brink: Book offers solutions on how to cope with nasty co-workers "

"Brink was a lifelong writer, working at the Centre Daily Times as an copy editor and features editor for more than 15 years before leaving in 2000 to work at Penn State.
There she was assistant manager for internal communications, wrote the occasional feature story, and taught journalism on the side.
An chronicler of rural life, Brink lived in Centre County for more than 20 years after growing up in Irvona, Clearfield County, and graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Penn State spokeswoman Annemarie Mountz, who worked with Brink for 20 years, both at the CDT and then at Penn State, said Brink was a stickler for grammar and editorial style, but a friend to everyone she worked beside.
“She’s always been so unassuming and behind the scenes — the copy editor — making other people look good,” she said.
Brink died Monday after being hospitalized with pneumonia.
“Julie and I both loved sunsets,” Mountz said. “Back in 1991 when Mount Pinatubo erupted putting dust in the air, every night in the midst of deadline she and I would get up from our desks and watch the gorgeous sunsets. Everyone else thought we were crazy.”
She was born in Philipsburg, went to Moshannon Valley High School, and is survived by her sister, Christina, of Camp Hill.
CDT senior reporter Chris Rosenblum called Brink a “conscientious and dedicated editor” who “cared deeply about good writing and good journalism.”
Christine Arbutina noted that the Book Beat page that appears in Sunday’s Life section was Brink’s brainchild.
After leaving the CDT, she continued to write columns, and in recent years produced a “Centre Life” column that appeared one Monday of each month.
“Julie’s columns always were reader favorites,” said Bob Heisse, CDT executive editor. “She was a great friend of the paper and she’ll be missed.”
Some of her columns dealt with current affairs, but many were fond recollections of her years growing up in rural Clearfield County, or observations about her life in Houserville. Earlier this year, she received an honorable mention for her work in the columns category of the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association’s Keystone Awards.
“Through her columns, CDT readers got to know a lot about Julie,” Arbutina said. “We learned about her bountiful gardens, her beloved cats, and her penchant for salvaging things old yet still useful well before such recycling became fashionable. Her vivid accounts of growing up in Clearfield County’s coal country were history lessons in 600 words or less.”
After leaving the CDT, Brink went to work for Penn State where she edited three dozen newswires a week, and had lent her talents to others by teaching a feature writing class.
“She was a wonderful teacher,” said Ford Risley, head of the department of journalism. “She really cared about the craft of writing and wanted to pass that along to students.”
CDT senior reporter Chris Rosenblum and other staff members contributed to this report. Sara Ganim can be reached at 231-4616. "

So Sayeth The Shack

Stupidity Abounds

A couple of recent newpaper articles have me wondering just how stupid people can get. For all of you intelligence-challenged out there, here are two pieces of advice:

1: If you are an escaped prisoner, don't call 911 for anything!

"A man listed as an escapee from Luzerne County for more than two years was arrested Wednesday morning after he called 911 to report a domestic argument he was having with his girlfriend in a Toftrees hotel room, police reported. Patton Township police responded, and a routine check at the scene revealed that in September 2006, Dixon failed to return to Luzerne County Prison from a work release program, police said in a news release. He was taken into custody without incident and placed in Centre County jail to await extradition to Luzerne County."

2: Dont drive drunk even one time in an evening, let alone two!

"State College police arrested a woman twice Saturday morning on drunken driving charges. The woman was first stopped by police about 1:20 a.m. on South Atherton Street. She parked her car in a lot on the 1200 block while police booked her on DUI charges. Police say the woman then got a ride back to her car and tried to drive it home about 4 a.m. Police got her before she could leave the parking lot. The woman was arrested again, and now faces two sets of charges related to driving drunk."

So Sayeth The Shack