Friday, October 28, 2011

BUSTIN' MAKES ME FEEL GOOD

Close your eyes, and think.  If you had to dig into the confines of your mind, to retrieve the toy chest of childhood memories, what would you find? 

Everyone would find something different in that chest.  The one thing everyone should have though, is pure Innocence.  A time when, well, time doesn't matter, and your biggest concern is squeezing in as many Saturday morning cartoons as possible.


Who ya gonna call?
I'm pretty sure I'd know what keep sakes I'd find in my toy chest.  It would probably be something strange...and it won't look good...but it's ok because I know who I'm gonna call.
Ok, I'll keep the quotes down to a minimum as best as possible, but I'm talking about the Ghostbusters. 

The chest was opened up last night, and I couldn't be happier about it. 

For three days, Ghostbusters was re-released in select theaters.  Yup, possibly my favorite movie of all time was in the theater, and I was finally going to see it the way it was meant to be seen. 

Know what else I saw?  The firehouse, green army men and Halloween. 

I'm sure that raised an eyebrow or two, so please, allow me to elaborate.

Chances are that if I was playing with toys as a kid, it was a Ghostbuster related toy.  My most prized possession, my Mecca of toys...the Ghostbuster firehouse.  Even as a grown man, I can honestly say I had more fun with that, than any other toy as a kid.  I can remember playing with it so vividly.

The treasure of my childhood
Ok, so I'm sure the green army men is completely out of left field, but not so much, when we actually used our imaginations way back when. Ghostbusters weren't much good without ghosts to catch.  I also wasn't one of those spoiled kids either.

So to make up for my lack of a full Ghostbusters arsenal, ghostly green army men would attack, and only the Ghostbusters could save the day.

I looked like a kid standing infront of the house
Finally, the last item on the list, which probably makes the most sense, Halloween.  The only toy that could compete with the firehouse, was the plastic replica of the proton pack and trap.  Man those were fun to walk around with.  Felt like the big man on campus, well, as big as you can get as an 8 year-old.

Now I'm a very lucky individual.  Earlier this year ‘Back to the Future’ was also re-released.  So to see my two favorite movies in the theater, is a blessing.  Especially when I thought I'd never have the chance.

It's awesome & I had to put this pic in
So many awesome memories just rushing back to me.  Honestly, it's more thrilling than any roller coaster in the world.  Those movie tickets were priceless, and will be the best money I'll probably spend all year.

This is what I grew up with.  It's like a time capsule of your own childhood.

Just think about the key to that toy chest of yours.  What do you think you'll find?  More importantly, why haven't you opened it yet?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

POSSIBLE LAST CALL FOR JACK DANIEL'S

Hello.  My name is Nick, and I like to drink. 

Even as I'm typing this story up, I have a preferred beverage with me.  What can I say?  I love some good ol' American whiskey.

Jack Daniel’s whiskey to be precise.

Now don't misunderstand.  I don't drink it every night, and I would never get behind a wheel of a car if I've had one too many.  It's just my go to drink to kick back and relax.

Yeah, I have a few JD shirts, but I don't go nuts over the stuff (as awesome as it is).

I like whiskey!!!
What does drive me nuts, is what's happening to the company.

JD is being hit with something I'd like to call a "how dare you be successful tax".

The whiskey distiller is from a small town in Tennessee called Lynchburg.  A town that's been dry since prohibition, but has produced top shelf whiskey for about 100 years.

A third of Lynchburg is employed by the company, and it is a staple in the community.  Unfortunately, that community is also looking for more revenue.

This needs to be my ride
So the good folks of this town want to add a tax on every barrel of whiskey that's produced, and sold.  See, every bottle of Jack Daniels is heavily taxed at 60%, and reduces the company’s profit margin.

The tax will add almost four cents to a bottle of Jack.  It may not sound like much, but multiply that with hundreds of millions of bottles sold, and it adds up to $4 million dollars a year.

General Manager of JD, Tommy Beam sums it up all in a quote by saying, "A person used to look at a successful person and say ‘now, what do I have to do to become like that?’ Whereas now, they might look at him and say, ‘what can I do to get what they’ve got.’”

The home of Jack Daniel's
Even though JD is a well known American distillery, it's also competing in a global market.  It’s going to be hard to compete with $4 million dollars disappearing into thin air. Meanwhile, the company was able to hire 25-30 people over the last 5 months.  Last time I checked, you don't want profits to shrink if you want to avoid layoffs or a hiring freeze.

Residents of the town say JD owes them this tax, basically under principle.

Excuse me while I roll on the floor laughing.

A dry county that has no problem making money of Jack.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Ok, I'm back, now that I got that out of my system. 

The only think Jack Daniel's owes you, is a paycheck, if you're an employee.  Nothing more, nothing less.  First off, I need to say what hypocrites this town is, specifically the town officials. You continue to enforce a no alcohol ban on your town, but you’re ok with the distillery.  Such hypocrites.  Maybe if you allowed bars to open, and serve alcohol, you can earn more tax revenues that way.  Less restrictions equals more growth.  I’m not sure why this is so hard.

Instead, the hard working people at Jack Daniels need to fix the towns spending woes.  Sad, just very sad.  Even though they’ve been in the town for so long, I would have no problems with them moving elsewhere.  You put so many restrictions on anyone, and sooner or later, they’re just going to leave.  This little town needs to grow up.

Friday, October 21, 2011

WHAT A SURPRISE, A TRANSIT SYSTEM THAT SUCKS

There are only a few things in life that are guaranteed.

-Taxes
-Death
And if you live in the Tri-State area
-The incredibly shitty service given by New Jersey Transit

I know I've bitched about it before in previous blogs, but now, I have hard evidence that it's not just me.

In a customer satisfaction survey, done by the transit system, passengers/customers give it 4.2 out of 10. Down 4.5 from April. 

To make this an even bigger laughing stock, this survey was being taken during a huge transit delay at New York Penn Station. 

My first question...why was this performed at New York Penn, and not Newark Penn as well?

I've taken NJ Transit consistently 5 out of the last 6 years, but for some reason, my voice wasn't heard.  Is it because like many others, I take the PATH into Manhattan from Newark? 

PATH trains are much cheaper and reliable. So many disgruntled riders take the PATH into work.

So did NJ Transit deliberately skip all of these riders in Newark?  I wouldn't be surprised if they did.  A 4.2 seems too generous to me.  Personally, I would like to bring that score down some.

I have no beef with those who work on the train.  I'd say it's more of the behind the scenes stuff.
Trains are always late, there's never an advisory of what's going on with delays, and prices keep going up, while trains are being cut back on.

After the Ron Paul Event I went to a few weeks ago, it literally took me 3.5 hours to get home!!!!  That's insanity.  To make matters worse, it costs me $85 to go from my house to Newark (roughly 4, maybe 5 mile train ride).  Now to go from Newark, to 32nd street, that's $70!!!  There's no reason why residents need to get screwed over like this, because of mistakes, made by lawmakers.

It's just a good thing that NJ Transit isn't a publicly traded company.  If so, they would've gone under years ago.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

HOME SWEET HOME

No matter how old you may be, it's great that the phrase "Excited like a kid on Christmas morning" can be applied to you.

It may not have been morning.  But I was definitely a kid on Christmas evening.

Remember when I talked about making some changes?  Well the first step has been taken.

I found the apartment.  Not 'some' apartment, but 'THE' apartment.
The place is literally brand new, has more than enough space, and the landlord is an awesome guy.  As if it can't get any better, it cuts about 40 minutes off of my commute.

That folks, is #Winning, to the umpteenth degree.
This House is still much cooler

Am I nervous... Yup.
Will it be financially tight for a while...Damn right.
Does it feel greet taking that first step...FUCK YEAH!

But it's all going to be ok.  I'm already talking to places about a second job, and I'm planning on listing a bunch of stuff on eBay.

Yeah, I know the adult responsibilities will be kicking soon.  Yeah I know there will probably some rough stretches.  Until then, I'm enjoying the moment like a kid on Christmas morning.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

GOVERNMENT AMPING UP THE PAIN FOR GIBSON GUITARS


Riots to the left of me.
Riots to the right of me.

Seems like everyone is pissy about something these days.  People down at Wall Street about bailouts, citizens in Greece about economic turmoil, organizations striking over money, and everyone is mad over in Egypt.

Of all these people, one group, may actually be gathering for something I believe 100% in.
Can't believe I'm saying this, but the Tea Party is doing something awesome.

The Tea Party is gathering of support of Gibson Guitars.

Gibson is a well known American guitar company.  They're one of those staples of American culture.  Just like apple pie.  Of all people, they're facing adversity from a certain group.  The U.S. government!

See, a few years ago, 'The Lacey Act' was put into law.  Basically, it prohibits anyone from importing illegal wildlife, plants and wood.  Now, Gibson is facing allegations of using wood that isn't finished by workers in India.

So in August, a raid took place at Gibson's factories in Nashville and Memphis.  Over 10,000 rosewood fretboards were seized.

Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz says, "The requirement for Indian workers to finish the wood is a 'misuse of environmental law'.  This wood was one step down from the 'gold standard' of certified wood.  It doesn't just fall off the back of a pickup truck.  It's clear this is a government overreach".
It's obvious that Henry (I'm going by first name…but can you blame me with a last name like that?) is trying to be a responsible CEO. He's doing what's best for Gibson, and their employees.

Luckily, I don't have the same responsibility he does.

Now yes, this story intrigued me since it was Gibson guitars.  
I've played bass guitar for a little over a decade.  I'm also pro-American made products.

That being said.  WHAT THE FUCK UNCLE SAM!!!!

Unemployment has been hovering around the 9%-10% mark for a while.  Jobs are vital.
Gibson has been making a profit for a hundred years.  A little longer than Solyndra.
They know how to do things the right way.  So why can't they be left alone?

The government needs to back off in this case.  I'm sure they're tying up a lot of money for Gibson.  10,000 fretboards from India must cost a good amount.

This may be hard for people down in Washington to hear, but here it goes.  


GOVERNMENT DOESN'T NEED TO BE INVOLVED IN EVERYTHING!

I know.  A crazy thought.  
Hopefully they can learn this lesson before hurting a great home grown company like Gibson.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH WON’T LET STEVE JOBS R.I.P.

It's no secret by now, but while I was on my blogging vacation, Apple CEO Steve Jobs died of pancreatic cancer.  What not as many people are aware of, is the fact the 'Westboro Baptist Church' plans to protest his funeral.

R.I.P. Steve Jobs

I'm only bringing this up now, because I want to compare this to something that happened yesterday to me.

For the second time, my dad had to have brain surgery to have brain Tumors removed. 

This first time was in 2000 or 2001.  Doctors literally had to crack his head open and perform a 12 hour surgery to remove them.  Then, he had a slow 4-5 months of recovery and rehab to endure.

SuperDad
This was really tough on me at the time.  Kids see their dad as superman.  No matter how old they may be.

His procedure yesterday was not nearly as dramatic as it was a decade ago.

Doctors literally drilled holes into his head, and zapped the Tumors with lasers to remove them.  Already, he can walk around and do things!  I said his head looks more like a bowling ball now, but otherwise, the man looks great!

Ok, now to dig deeper into the Jobs story.

The day the media announced Jobs' passing, one of the church members released the following tweet...


Notice the irony?  The tweet was sent from an iPhone.  Ok, back to the story.

According to this "church", Steve Jobs was a bad bad man.  However, as you can see from these pictures, hating on people is their past time of sorts.





They say it's in the name of God, so his name can be glorified.  Now I may not be the most religious church goer, but I'm pretty sure God would be ticked off for spreading hate and making lives harder for people in his name.


This group is a bunch of hate mongers.  Even the KKK distanced themselves saying they’re hate mongers!  The "church" is used as a front to hate on people.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  Which is probably why they're not recognized as an actual church by Baptist Church Associations. Seems like they get off on making living relatives/friend's even sadder.

Where’s the connection between the two stories?  Ok, here it's is...

Why can't we all just get along?
Can't we all just get along?  I mean really.  Who knows how much longer we have on this earth.  Why waste any second of it hating or making life harder for your fellow man?

Does color, religion or sexual preference really matter, as long as it's not literally hurting someone?  Personally, as long as you're a good person, I have no reason to treat someone differently. 

I want to enjoy my company with others.  I want to live life to the fullest.  I want to continue having awesome family & friends.  I want to help where possible.  Most importantly, I want to inspire people, the way Steve Jobs did.

Monday, October 10, 2011

MAN-LAW #19: LET'S MAKE SOME CHANGES PEOPLE

Yup, my blog vacation was great, and I'm ready to get back into the full swing of things again. 


Now this wasn't a normal vacation. I didn't pack any bags, nor did I go off to any far off exotic hot spot that didn't have Internet.  Nope, think of this as a mental break, because as my friend Ian says...


Man-Law #18: Let's Make Some Changes People

As I stated a few weeks ago, it was my birthday.  Now in no way do I consider myself an old man.  On that note, I had a total mid-life crisis shortly after.  So I was upset and pissy for about a day or two.  After acting like a bitch, I realized the easy solution.

GO OUT, AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

See by now, I figured I'd have a nice house/condo, be married, have tons of money sitting in the bank and advance far into my career. 

Did I hit the jackpot, and have all those things come true? 

Nope, more like potluck.

So after talking about it with some friend's, and really looking at the problem from a third person perspective, I asked myself, "Why am I bitching about this, and not doing something about it?"

There you have it.  Something (in this case multiple things) was wrong.  So instead of acting like a bitchy little toddler, I knew I had to do something.


People don't like change.  It's human nature.  So to realize you need to change things in your life, is a huge first step.

Whether you need to write things down, talk to someone or just get away from it all to think.  Do what you have to so you can get your priorities in order.

We're all going to be on this planet for a while.  So do what you need to do so you're enjoying every second of it.