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Friday, November 30, 2007

NFL Network Horror Show

Yesterday I called my cable company, and ordered the Sports Tier package, so I could get the NFL Network to watch the Dallas/Green Bay match up. On the 29th of December I'll call and cancel it, since I'm going to be charged for a month of the tier anyway I'll use it until then.

After going through the pain of listening to Bryant Gumbel try and do play by play I've decided that I can't see giving anyone money for that product.

Here's the thing, the NFL is trying to extort many cable operators to the tune of $0.80 per month per extended basic subscriber to carry their package. Yet the flagship of the network, the games they withhold from over the air broadcasts are horrible, at best. They are asking a premium price, for a substandard product.

We had NFLN last year as part of our basic package, and Gumbel was horrible then. I guess I was hoping that after a year he'd gotten better. He hasn't, and I'm not going to pay to listen to him. If NFLN has another "gotta see" game I'll go to a sports bar and give my money to them, instead of paying Gumbel's wages, which are too high even if he's working for free.

On the subject of cable companies and the NFL Network (and Big Ten Network), I'm in agreement with where Comcast has it placed. If I want the extra sports programming, I should pay for it. However, if I don't, I shouldn't have an extra 80 cents (or a $1.10 in the case of the Big Ten network) foisted on my bill.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Turkey Day to everyone out there. Hopefully you are able to get together with family and friends and enjoy the day. And sorry to Shoprat, but his Lions will be going down like an anchor to the Packers this morning.

Here's your Thanksgiving Day Funny (courtesy of Earl).

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

For Our 24 Fans

Hey, are you a fan of "24", are you bummed out that Jack Bauer has been put on the shelf until the writers strike is over?

Well, the folks at College Humor have a treat for you, the original pilot of the show, from 1994!

Think of Jack without a cell phone and using AOL 3.0 to save the world.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

How the Tax System Works

I've always looked for an easy explanation for our tax system, that doesn't include any obscene words. My former co-worker Earl sent me a great piece last week that sums it up wonderfully.

Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

* The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
* The fifth would pay $1.
* The sixth would pay $3.
* The seventh $7.
* The eighth $12.
* The ninth $18.
* The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.
"Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20."

So, now dinner for the ten only cost $80. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes.

So, the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six, the paying customers? How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share'?

The six men realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from every body's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being 'PAID' to eat their meal.

So, the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

* The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
* The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
* The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
* The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
* The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
* The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man "but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than me!"

"That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!" The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table anymore. There are lots of good restaurants in Europe and the Caribbean.

Thanks Earl, for putting it in language most anyone can understand.


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Sorry It's Been So Long

Sorry I haven't been posting much lately. I've actually been out of town for the vast majority of the last month. In fact, I've spent 7 nights in my own bed since the 19th of October. It's great for hotel points, lousy for just about anything else. Luckily my out of town schedule should be a little better here for the next few months.

However, on the good side, while I was in Pennsylvania last month the wife came and visited, and we made the 200 mile trek to Niagara Falls for a day trip. Unfortunately it was the weekend after all the tour boats quit running, so we did everything from land. Still, the falls are quite an impressive site.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

I'm Not A Fan of His, But He Does Have A Point

I'm not a John Edwards fan, however, in this new ad, he does have a point. The question is, are the folks claiming Hillary is "inevitable" listening?

My Guess is no, but you never can tell.

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