Monday, April 27, 2009

The 'Big Time'

I've always wondered if I would know the moment when, 'I Made It'... I wonder no longer because, just between you and I (or, is it 'me'?), I now know the exact moment in which, 'I did'. It was 6:15pm, last Wednesday.

Scratch another item off my personal 'Bucket List' with a red Sharpie. I was working in Oneonta last Wednesday afternoon and returned to the office later than usual (this, of course, is because I am a loyal and conscientious employee and I don't mind working late to assure the success of my employer (just in case my boss is reading this)).

Returning to the office around 5:50, I found an envelope on my desk. It was an inconspicuous envelope with a logo on the upper left-hand corner which included a large, red, apple. Also found on the front of the envelope were two words: "Mike Kane" (This helped cement the concept that the envelope was actually intended for 'me', I AM Mike Kane.)

It was too small to be a letter bomb (although I never completely rule out 'Itching Powder' in my mail at work...) but I nonetheless decided to brazenly open the envelope even without benefit of my normal HazMat Team. Luckily for me it was only a letter (actually a NICE letter) from a lady named, "Alecia O'Neill" who is Marketing Coordinator at the Cider Mill Playhouse in Endicott, NY.

The letter was, however, unusual for a couple of reasons:

1.) HOW did Alecia O'Neill of the Cider Mill Playhouse find me at work?

2.) WHO put it on my desk? Security at my 'Institution' has apparently been breached (somebody get 'Jack Bauer' on the phone).

3.) WHY is she being so very nice to me? (I am, of course, discounting the fact that maybe Alecia O'Neill is just a NICE person to begin with, but I am bound and determined to keep looking for more sinister motives. At this point I must also add that I haven't FOUND any sinister motives, but I'll keep looking, because, well, being part of the 'Right Wing Extremists', I NEED to keep looking for 'sinister forces' and 'dark energy' because Janet Napolitano told me to - Gee, thanks Janet.)

So here's the deal, I returned to work about an hour later than usual and I found an envelope on my desk with my name on it. I opened it and found a letter which told me that I received '2 complementary tickets' to one of two shows at the Cider Mill Playhouse', either "The Woman in Black" (hmm, sounds 'sinister'), or, "1776" (hmm, sounds a little 'extremist' to me).

And WHY did I receive these complementary tickets? To quote the letter, "I enjoy reading your blog on and hope to see you at the Cider Mill Playhouse soon!" Aha! I KNEW that SOMEONE was reading the blog, and now I know WHO it is! HER NAME is Alecia O'Neill at the Cider Mill Playhouse in Endicott, NY -- she's the ONE!

What Alecia probably doesn't know is that I took the family to see "Dial M for Murder" last year at the Playhouse. It was the first time that we had ever been there (although we talked about it for five years after we moved here).

My only gripe about the night's event: No doughnuts. Yes, if you've been to the Cider Mill, you know that they have doughnuts made fresh on premise throughout the day. Unfortunately for me, 'Thespians' do not worship the 'Doughnut' like the rest of us do.

Lack of doughnuts (a.k.a.: 'Artery Stoppers') aside, I enjoyed my first visit and look forward to my encore visit to the Cider Mill Playhouse. And in case you were ever wondering, "Can the Cow Guy be bought?" Well, now you know, thanks to Alecia O'Neill at the Cider Mill Playhouse in Endicott, NY 607-748-7363!

Shameless plugs aside, thanks to Alecia for the two passes; I look forward to my next visit. I will, however, be stuffing doughnuts down into the sleeves of my shirt prior to my arrival, just to complete the FULL 'Cider House Experience' (think 'Jimi Hendrix Experience', just without the drugs).

Wishing everyone a Cider Mill Playhouse Day (conveniently located in Endicott, NY just minutes from the sound of my blog post)!

Best Regards,

Mike Kane

p.s.: In a totally un-related note, I have just recently signed a major publication deal with TIME Magazine!

I will miss you all as I broaden my horizons outside of the Central New York area. I will now be exposed to the entire United States as part of this EXCLUSIVE agreement with the folks at TIME.

All I have to do is agree to have the magazine billed to my credit card and they'll send me four issues FREE with my year's paid subscription for ONLY $20! I'll also get some kind of 'electronic organizer' thing free, but after being alive as long as I have, I'm pretty confident that after not listening to my wife or kids, some fool thing 'beeping' in my jacket pocket won't stand much of a chance.

I hope my kids will enjoy it (once they put it back together again), 'cause I'm pretty sure I'll be smashing it the first time it goes off...

Friday, April 24, 2009


There has been a lot of 'talk' of HOPE and CHANGE over the past few years...

However, talk in Washington doesn't often equate to real 'Hope' or 'Change' in your town, your home, your dining room, or sometimes, even on your computer.

The following came out a few weeks ago, but LIFE has kept me busy of late, and I fell asleep at the wheel. If you've been looking for real "Hope", allow me to introduce you to Susan Boyle if you haven't met her online already...

(I'm unable to embed the YouTube video here, please click the following link to get to her performance on 'Britain's Got Talent' by pressing 'Play' on the next screen.)


Keep your 'Hope' alive, whether you sing, dance, paint, invent, or write goofy blog posts a couple of days a week. If someone tells you that you can't...

Well, you just show 'em that you can.

Have a great weekend...


p.s.: Look for 'Change' next week, coming to a blog near you.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Problematical Most Mathematical

Yesterday, April 20th, 2009 the Obama Administration had its first Cabinet Meeting. I will admit that I was a little skeptical about the President's desire to reduce 'spending and waste' after he pushed his $3,200,000,000,000 budget through the Democrat-controlled Congress. My fears, however, have been allayed as a result of yesterday's Cabinet Meeting in Washington.

In one bold stroke this President has said, "Enough is enough!" to the the old policies of 'Waste', 'Out of Control Spending', and 'Governmental Mis-Management'. President Obama has thrown the gauntlet to challenge members of his administration to be fiscally responsible. Yes, this is the change, that we as Americans, voted for.

Let's take a look at these bold initiatives discussed at yesterday's Cabinet Meeting / Press Conference (I've attached the video to the end of this post so that you too will be inspired).
President Obama has made it known to his Cabinet that he WANTS... NO, HE DEMANDS that they decrease spending in their departments by $100,000,000 ($100 Million Dollars). That's right, $100 Million Dollars! That's a lot of money, isn't it?

Well, isn't it?

Oh, come on, that IS a lot of money for most of us, and since WE are the government, it must be a lot of money for THEM too, because WE, are THEM, um... Right?

I didn't want to have to go there, but I'm going to 'Do the Math' (Please note this will actually require 'research' and 'effort' on my part, two things I REALLY hate to do. But I want you to fully understand the sacrifice that this President is making for OUR Country by cutting out 'waste'.)

First, let's look at the numbers, shall we? These are the two numbers which we must be most concerned as we begin our 'Adventure in Mathematics with Mike!':

Federal Budget Cost
$ 3,200,000,000,000

Savings requested by President Obama
$ 100,000,000

I've heard several numbers tossed about regarding the budget, ranging from $3 to $4 TRILLION, but the $3.2 TRILLION seems to be the one that comes up the most and since I have to get to work REALLY soon...

The Federal Budget for this year is now officially $3.2 TRILLION! Thanks.

Now, let's stack up these reductions against the overall US Budget:

Federal Budget (Divide) Cost 'Reductions' = % of Total Budget
$ 3,200,000,000,000 / $ 100,000,000 = 0.000031250%

Yes, President Obama has asked his team to reduce their portion of the US Federal Budget by a whopping .000031250%.

You may be thinking to yourself, "Self, hey, uh, that doesn't seem like a very large percentage, as it relates to 'percentage of reduction'." Well, YOU would be wrong, because that .000031250% on a budget of $3.2TRILLION EQUALS, yes, you guessed it, $100,000,000!
Now you're probably thinking to yourself, "Self, what can I do to make a similar sacrifice for my country by reducing my personal spending?" Luckily for you, I have an insert for this also (oh, and, stop talking to yourself, you're making the rest of us nervous.):

Median Household Income '07 X Cost Reduction % = Total Reduction
$ 50,233 X 0.0000312500 = $ 1.57

According to the 2007 US Census Bureau Numbers, Median Household Income in 2007 was $50,233. If you made more than this, I hate you. If you made less than this, I'm with you. (Oh sorry, can't believe I typed that 'out loud'. Just kidding, of course...)

So if you want to help YOUR family CUT wasteful spending on a scale consistent with the Obama Administration this year... Leave that Hersey's 'Big Block' Chocolate bar ($1.49 + Tax) on the candy rack the next time you're in a convenience store. You'll be doing your part for your family AND teaching a valuable lesson to your children...

That lesson? Well, I'm not sure... But what I am sure of is that this administration is spending AT LEAST one Hershey bar less this year than they were going to just the day before yesterday (it would just be a much 'larger' Hershey bar than any you could pick up at the local Hess station).

Remember NO more Hershey Bars (for a day) in this country -- the FREE RIDE is OVER!

So says the One, so say we ALL!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fact or Fiction?

One of my buddies from Florida just sent this up to me. While it is obviously a joke, does it ring a little too close to reality for you also?

My apologies to whomever crafted this bit of 'mischief' as I have no one to credit for their excellent use of the language. (They would not qualify for this 'Act'. They have 'skills'.)

The Americans With No Abilities ActWashington , DC - (Dateline March 18, 2009)

President Barack Obama and the Democrat controlled Congress are considering sweeping legislation that will provide new benefits for many Americans.

The Americans With No Abilities Act (AWNAA) is being hailed as a major legislative goal by advocates of the millions of Americans who lack any real skills or ambition.

"Roughly 50 percent of Americans do not possess the competence and drive necessary to carve out a meaningful role for themselves in society," said California Senator Barbara Boxer - Democrat. "We can no longer stand by and allow People of Inability (POI) to be ridiculed and passed over. With this legislation, employers will no longer be able to grant special favors to a small group of workers, simply because they have some idea of what they are doing."

Under AWNAA, more than 25 million mid-level positions will be created, with important-sounding titles but little real responsibility, thus providing an illusory sense of purpose and performance.

Mandatory non-performance-based raises and promotions will be given so as to guarantee upward mobility for even the most unremarkable employees.. The legislation provides substantial tax breaks to corporations that promote a significant number of Persons of Inability into middle-management positions, and gives a tax credit to small and medium-sized businesses that agree to hire one clueless worker for every two talented hires.

Finally, the AWNAA contains tough new measures to make it more difficult to discriminate against the non-abled, banning, for example, discriminatory interview questions such as, "Do you have any skills or experience that relate to this job?""

As a Non-abled person, I can't be expected to keep up with people who have something going for them," said Mary Lou Gertz, who lost her position as a lug-nut twister at the GM plant in Flint , Michigan, due to her inability to remember rightey tightey, lefty loosey." This new law should be real good for people like me," Gertz added.

With the passage of this bill, Gertz and millions of other untalented citizens will finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. Said Senator James Webb (Democrat-VA), "As a Senator with no abilities, I believe the same privileges that elected officials enjoy ought to be extended to every American with no abilities. It is our duty as lawmakers to provide each and every American citizen, regardless of his or her inadequacy, with some sort of space to take up in this great nation and a good salary for doing so."

UPDATE: Apparently the original version of this was published years ago by the folks at 'The Onion'. For more information on its origin and 'variants' click here => SNOPES

Monday, April 6, 2009

Help Stamp Out Duck Pornography

'Non-Pornographic' Pintail Duck

I chose the title of this post for two very specific reasons:

First, you're reading it, right?

And, second, it's oddly appropriate for the post which follows...

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Motto: "We Put the 'Wild' in Wildlife") released a $15 Duck Stamp featuring artwork by an artist named, Joe Hautman. The design is of a pair of Northern Pintail Ducks. They are, based on the small photo in the linked article below (and my extensive knowledge of the Northern Pintail Duck), very attractive ducks...

The duck artwork is excellent.  What isn't excellent, however, is something you'll find on the stamp itself.

Stealing the line from Paul Harvey:  "The rest of the story"...

'Duck Stamps' are sold to waterfowl hunters to fund wetland habitat acquisition for the national Wildlife Refuge System. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sells approximately $25,000,000 of stamps each year nationwide. The stamp offers a convenient (and FREE) '800 number' with which the waterfowl hunter can order additional stamps for family, friends, and any gift-giving purpose.

In 2008, the self-stick adhesive version of the stamp was wrong.

Very, very, wrong...

The phone number which should have appeared on the stamps was: '1-800-STAMP24'.  The number which was actually printed on the stamps? '1-800-TRAMP24'.

As you can imagine, a number like '1-800-TRAMP24' could lead the unsuspecting 'Duck Stamp' purchaser into what my Mom would call a 'bad place'.

For purposes of this post, let's just call it an Adult Phone Service known as 'Intimate Connections'. Yes, the unsuspecting Duck Stamp shopper will be greeted with a message NOT by some surly woodsman asking him, "How many Duck Stamps you want buddy, 5, 10, 15...?"

The greeting awaits the caller of the 'TRAMP24' number is a breathy woman promising that he (or she) can "Talk only to dirty, filthy girls who... (well, you get the idea)" for ONLY $2.99 per minute.

When the artist who designed the stamp was asked if he was aware of the situation with this unfortunate number mix-up, he said, "Oh no. It's just an accident..."  Moments later, he excused himself, and ran away laughing 'explosively' with milk shooting from his nose.  This was especially odd because he wasn't drinking milk at the time of the conversation...  Hmmm?

So what did the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department do to correct the situation?

In a word, nothing.

It would cost about $300,000 to reprint the 'bad' stamps and have new ones printed and put into circulation.

According to Mannfred Dimwitty of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department, "The Fish and Wildlife Department bought a 40% stake in the Intimate Connections service earlier in 2008 and our revenues are projected to be WAY WAY up!. Hunters are calling over and over again for 'Stamps' and we're going to be able buy a LOT of 'wetland habitat' this year." No, I made this up. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department is NOT manned by business people.  They work for government - they don't have to be profitable.  

If I ran the place, I'd advertise these adhesive mis-labelled stamps as 'collectibles' and bump the price up to $75 per stamp. Each would come with a 'limited edition Porn' label and certificate of authenticity.  They'd sell LOTs of stamps to guys like me who think it's funny. But that's why these folks work for the government. They're not funny, and they're not, as referenced above, 'profit motivated'.  

In reality, they didn't replace the stamps because it was just too darn expensive (and they had no imagination). Unfortunately, no one on payroll could have taken the 12 seconds it would have taken a normal person to proofread the copy prior to sending the stamps out to be printed (thousands and thousands of times; every time... incorrectly).

So, I leave you with this thought, if you are looking for the perfect gift idea for your favorite 'woodsman' guy (or gal), consider the purchase of one of the now infamous 2008 'Duck Stamps'. You might also want to buy some stock in Verizon or AT&T because your phone bill is going to go WAY, WAY up. "But honey, I kept trying to order more stamps 'cause it was the perfect gift from you, and this really nice lady kept talking to me, and before I knew it, well, it was Friday..."

Thank you for doing business with your U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department / Intimate Connections Customer Service Agent! Please call again, soon! Look for our expanded collection of bear, deer, and ferret stamps for all of your gift-giving and erotica needs!

I can't make this stuff up -> Help Stamp Out Ducks

Friday, April 3, 2009

Let Me Tell You How It Will Be...

"There’s one for you,
nineteen for me,
‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
Yeah, I’m the Taxman.
Should five per cent appear too small,
Be thankful I don’t take it all.
‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
Yeah yeah, I’m the Taxman." -- The Beatles

The Three Horsemen (Frank, Bernanke, Geithner)

Ladies! Gentlemen! Boys and girls of all ages! Allow me to introduce you to your new 'Business Partners for Life'! Yes, that's right, you may be in business for yourself, but you'll never, ever, be truly alone while you have these guys looking after you. Never have so few, done so much, to so many, in so short a time.

These guys (along with many, many OTHER white guys in grey suits, white shirts, and striped ties) are boldly taking this country's legislative governance to places where it had never gone before. These folks and their friends look at the U.S. Constitution similar to the way Bill Murray looked at not dating 'possessed' people in the film, "Ghostbusters": "Well, it's actually more of a 'guideline' than a rule."

When it comes to the Constitution there are many 'rules'. These rules were written by the founding fathers to set limits on 'Government', NOT on 'People'. When the Obama Administration took the slow train from Illinois to Washington, DC it (he) promised us openness, transparency, and the oft-quoted, 'Change'. Oh yeah, change.

Last week the House voted on and approved a Bill that allows Tim "TurboTax" Geithner to take a little more control of the economy than he had prior to the vote. Sure, I know, you're thinking to yourself, "Hey, hasn't the Obama Administration already taken a controlling interest in MOST of the nation's larger financial institutions and dictated the business plans for two of our three U.S.-based car companies? Aren't these the SAME guys (grey suits, white shirts, striped ties) who had oversight of the management of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while they crashed and burned?"

Yup. These would be THOSE same guys who are now running 2/3 of our auto manufacturers and 'most' of our 'once private' financial institutions.

Well, what could they possibly be up to now? Sigh.

Representative Grayson - D, Florida authored a bill which was approved in the House last week. This bill, as written, allows Tim "I don't HAVE to pay my taxes but YOU do" Geithner to cap, set, and manage payrolls at any company that received Federal 'Bailout' monies. Not ONLY can the Obama Administration tell the CEO of GM (and soon other heads of financial institutions who received TARP money) to go home, but under this bill, he will be able to determine how much each employee of the organization is allowed to make.

"But Mike, but, that's not how we do it in America, is it? What about free enterprise, capitalism, baseball, apple pie, and Chevrolets? Certainly you're not saying..."

Ah yes, I am saying. I am saying that this administration wants as much control over the national economy as it can get its grubby little fingers into. The guys who for years have been championing 'Choice' when it comes to a woman's body are now telling us that when it comes to doing business in America that there is only one choice. That 'choice' belongs to 'them'.
Nationalization of financial markets and auto manufacturing happened on our watch. Next up? For sure healthcare will be the next BIG THING. Then, how about (in NO particular order): Power generation, steel manufacturing, food production and any other industry this administration 'feels' will best serve to expand its base of power.

Folks, we are living history. If we were any other country I wouldn't be so concerned. It's not like China has a whole lot of free enterprise 'running around'. Venezuela, you pretty much expect Hugo to be running EVERYTHING. But people, we are, and forever will be, Americans.

This is not what America does. Government serves 'The People'. 'The People' do not serve the Government.

Sorry, I appear to have gotten off track from the original subject of this particular post. That topic, Rep. Grayson's bill working through Congress, was the item which started me on this particular soap box rant. We now return you to the original topic (although, ALL topics appear to be inter-related):

Not wanting to put words in anyone's mouth (as you know, I HATE doing this), perhaps Rep. Grayson - D, Florida can explain the thinking behind the bill (since he WROTE it) to Neil Cavuto:
See! That clears up EVERYTHING!

If you are interested in reading the article which brought this thing to my attention, you can do so by clicking the following link => Beyond AIG

When asked for comment on the 'doings' in her HOUSE, Nancy Pelosi did her best impression of 'Jim' from 'Taxi'saying, "Aaaaaaaah, I'm not sure what's going on right now, Aaaaaaaaah, I'll need to get back to you...." (Come on, that's a GREAT picture of Nancy Pelosi, isn't it? Bold, confident, powerful, yeah, it's ALL here for you to see...)

Since this began as a 'Moosical' number, let's go out the way we came in! 'Moosically'! (While we still have jobs and can pay for our Internet connections. Although I'm sure THAT will be provided FREE in the future as well. Of course it will most likely be payroll-deducted like taxes are today in that check we get from the government. Oh sorry, there I go again...)

"I see the bad moon arising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin.
I see bad times today.
Dont go around tonight,
Well, its bound to take your life,
Theres a bad moon on the rise." -- Creedence Clearwater Revival

p.s.: Yeah, I know. I ought to stick to stories about kids, dogs, pornographic ducks, and electric planes. But folks, I only have one country that I call home. These days I'm feeling a little bit like a 'stranger' in my own house.

How are YOU feeling these days?