Friday, December 26, 2008

Family communication

The way families (and friends) communicate these days.

Beck hooked us up with 2 of these webcams (after reading this) for Christmas and we were messing with them and the girls *loved* them!

They were running back and forth from each room laughing and loving the technology.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Atlantis "Jumps The Shark" or is it vice versa?

It was all too real when hotel staff saw that one of the sharks from the famous resort aquarium had somehow jumped out of its tank and onto a nearby water slide -- called Leap of Faith -- where it managed to slide down into the pool.

The Atlantis Bahamas Aquarists believe the shark was startled by an unusual circumstance that we have no way of defining completely. In the over ten years guests have experienced the Leap of Faith, the reef shark itself, harmless to humans as it is fed regularly by our staff, had shown no previous incidences of leaping out of the water in the marine habitat ...

There was no danger to our guests or staff, both of whom interact with these sharks daily in our various interactive programs (we have guests enter the shark habitat to swim and interact with the sharks in bathing attire only).

In fact, our concern was for the animal itself who defied nature to take this leap. The entire team at Atlantis is truly saddened by the loss of this animal who had resided in the Atlantis marine habitat for over ten years."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Coffee Mug, by Paige

Beck had left early this morning to get her hair cut and I was still lying in bed.

Paige came up to talk to me and I asked her if mommy made coffee for me and she bolted out of the room to check.

A few minutes later she returned, with this drawing (on a napkin) and told me that mommy didn't make coffee, so she made it for me.

By the way, Paige is 5 years old.

A Christmas Tradition....

The Attisanos, Magliaros and Kaines have created a winter tradition. Becky makes home made soup and awesome sweets for after the families all cut down their Christmas Tree.

Life is good.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A message from US automakers

A message from US automakers, originally uploaded by -SPK.

You won't buy our shitty cars.

So we'll be taking your money anyway.

The Bailout. Coming this January.

You probably thought it was smart to buy a foreign import of superior quality, with better mileage and resale value. Maybe you even thought that the years of market share loss might prod us into rethinking our process and redesigning our products with better quality in mind. But you forgot one thing: We spend a shitload of money on lobbyists. So now, you're out $25 billion, plus the cost of your Subaru. Maybe next time you'll buy American like a real man. Either way, we're cool.

GM Chrysler Ford

We're the Big Three, we don't need to compete.™

Monday, December 8, 2008

Flag Football

I'm a little obsessed with playing flag fooball.  I'm not sure how often most adults get involved in true team sports like football, baseball, etc - but I can tell you this:  The last time I was involved was in high school.  That was 16 years ago. Hmm uhhh.  What exactly is it that makes us feel like men when we get organized and try our damnest to kick the other teams ass while trying not to get hurt?

This sport, not unlike many others before it,  has not been without it's injuries.  The first week I really hurt my ankle and on the same play someone had a compound fracture of his finger.  But you know what?  Every day that gets closer to Sunday morning 8 am, I get more excited to play.

How good am I?  I'm slow, I get tired quick, I miss some flags, and I get beat out a lot on routes when I'm covering.  What do I remember when I get home?  The touchdown pass I threw, the flag I got when diving and the comraderie of a bunch of good guys my age (and some my physique).

My ankle is getting better every day, thanks for asking.  Becky, the queen of all gymnastics - tapes *both* my ankles up every Sunday.  See, she can do this from her experience AS THE RECORDHOLDER IN VAULT and her ALL AROUND WINS IN MID STATE for 3 YEARS IN A ROW.  (love you babe).  I digress.

2 weeks ago, we played in the slush and the rain, this week we played in a fresh fallen snow, next week - NFL films shows up?  Doubt it, but I would be fun to watch a game through my eyes.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

World Clock

A few observations about this clock:

- The net population growth this week was 1.3 million
- The earth's temperature is increasing by about one trillionth of a degree Celsius every second
-6 of 10 people who are diagnosed with cancer, die from it
-For every birth, there is roughly 1 bicycle produced
-For every three births, there is roughly 1 car produced

World Clock

Thursday, November 27, 2008

For you...

For you..., originally uploaded by -SPK.

... from Paige.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Visitors and commentors

How many visitors does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll?

The chart depicted above is the last 12 months worth of data related to the number of visitors that come to this blog.

My number one visited blog post by far is Coach Lou Holtz and the second is Bailing out the Auto Industry.  Interestingly, both posts are original content and not just me "reading the entire internet so you don't have to®."

I wonder if other bloggers feel like I do about comments? I desire to have more comments here and I'm not sure how to get them... I am a comment guy when I visit other blogs, I like to say what's on my mind or make a lame attempt to be funny. I could post provocative pictures of myself and get hate comments, or ask for reader feedback in return for some new posts - but then my fans would suffer. (read: no one would care)

So here I sit... typing and trying to be entertaining, cute, cuddly, and... well commented about. 

Now that I put it that way, I changed my mind. I may turn off comments. You will have to comment to YOURSELVES. Who the hell wants to hear *you* people and what you have to say anyway? You're here to hear (not easy to type) what I have to say - type - WHAT EVER. You know what I mean. AndIcanrambleonandonandonandyoucan'tsayanything.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Amber fields

I've been admiring fields in our area that look like this. My eye loves the "standardness" of the vegetation and the amber colors.

Taken while pulled over and the camera leaning on the window that was 1/2 way down.

View map of location.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Snuggle FAIL

Kaitlyn and her dinosaur, originally uploaded by -SPK.

Bailing out the auto industry...

My Andy Rooney take on this:

I'm concerned about America's infatuation with throwing money at things. Money problems? Throw more money in the pit.

Lets take the auto industry: GM is basically out of business because they are losing billions of dollars every month. Why? Well, I'll tell you why: Because people are not buying their cars and trucks, they're buying other manufacturers stuff. GM has lost market share. It's very simple.

So, what does our government want to do? They want to take YOUR and MY tax money and give it to them to "rescue them." See, I am a capitalist. I believe that companies should rise and fall based on how they do in the free market. There is no need to rescue a company because the market has already decided they are done.

I have made a personal decision to buy Toyota when we purchased our last two family cars. I did this based on research, value, repair history, models available, and price. I chose NOT to give my money to GM, and I don't want the government to make that decision for me.

Lets do a comparison: The ice block delivery business was huge in the early 1900's, and there were many men and women employed in this industry. When the refrigerator was invented in 1911 - these companies started to fail. They lost "billions every month". They employed "thousands of hard working Americans". What if the government decided to rescue them? Throw money at the ice block delivery companies to keep them in business? What would have happened to the refrigerator companies? I'll tell you what: It would have significantly slowed PROGRESS. Innovation and the MARKET decided together that having ice delivered to an ice box wasn't as good as a refrigerator. Simple as that.

GM is an ice delivery company. Let them go if they can't innovate - don't SLOW PROGRESS!

Dear Government, let capitalism reign. Let good companies grow and poor companies shrink. Go ahead and let the bubble burst, it'll hurt for a while but the state of the economy in a few years will be much better than if you just prolonged the inevitable. Think of it like a forest fire, it's devastating when it's happening but in a few seasons you will see fresh, new, healthy growth.

Edit: Welcome reddit. For the rest of you, click here to see the other comments.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

OMG, it's a face stain of Jason Mraz!

So, I'm on the phone with a client today and I happen to look over at my tablet and see this food stain on it. Tell me it doesn't look exactly like Jason Mraz!

Face Stain

Here's the album cover of him:

Jason Mraz

Can I get money for this???? Quick call CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and the Enquirer!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Video & Audio Chat right in Gmail

As if you needed another reason to love Gmail, today they announced FREE video & audio chat right inside Gmail.

I totally what one of the Logitech QuickCams. $69.99 for all this?! Make sure you watch the video there....

Here is the post on the official Gmail blog.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I have a few "issues"

The most obvious can be found in this screen shot of my current inbox on Gmail:

My Gmail inbox

Yes, there's one email in my inbox. When I see Becky's inbox, I get nauseous. It's filled with at least 100 read, unread, starred, and labeled emails. (Not that there is anything wrong with that, babe.) I have found that she's in the NORM and I'm obsessive. Or maybe I'm just clean(er).

Let me ask you this, Gmail users: You are aware that you have this thing called "Archive", right? I mean, you have an email from 5 months ago in your inbox that you think you need to save? Well, see... Gmail has a search function (and I've heard Google is pretty good at this) so ARCHIVE those messages and get a happy and clean inbox.

My other hang up is two-way light switches that aren't "uniform".


This, for example, would drive me mad. Since the girls seem to think it's OK to flip the switches haphazardly around this house, I can often be found running upstairs to turn off the hallway light just so the downstairs switches look like this:

correct switch

Got an issue? Bask in it. Thoroughly.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I'm engaging you with "Reactions"

So, yesterday I read on the official blogger blog that I can put these cool little boxes below my posts to get some quick and easy feedback from my readers.

So, I add it. Poop, it doesn't work. I read more and learn that if my template is customized (which I did customize mine) it may not work. Normally, I would leave a comment asking for help and guidance from the google magicians - but HELLO? Google doesn't allow comments on their posts. Isn't this an oxymoron; they're writing about engaging readers but don't allow comments. I digress.

I decide to google "blogger reactions" and come across this blog which was written in August. They have explicit instructions on how to edit the html, which I have learned is not for the weak. Look at this screenshot of me editing the template:

Blogger HTML

Needless to say, this is my way of introducing "Reactions" to What's Better Than This, I hope you use it and use it often.

Friday, November 7, 2008

View Barack Obama and family on election night

These are the flickr photos uploaded by Barack Obama. They were taken on election night and show us a nice behind the scenes view of what went on.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


"For when we have faced down impossible odds, when we've been told we're not ready or that we shouldn't try or that we can't, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can.

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation: Yes, we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail towards freedom through the darkest of nights: Yes, we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness: Yes, we can.

It was the call of workers who organized, women who reached for the ballot, a president who chose the moon as our new frontier, and a king who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the promised land: Yes, we can, to justice and equality.

Yes, we can, to opportunity and prosperity. Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can repair this world. Yes, we can."

-Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States

Saturday, November 1, 2008

FAIL: out of office

When officials asked for the Welsh translation of a road sign, they thought the reply was what they needed.

Unfortunately, the e-mail response to Swansea council said in Welsh: "I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated".


Friday, October 31, 2008

Comments from the peanut gallery expected

Halloween 2008, originally uploaded by -SPK.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Your feedback requested


A few friends and I had this conversation last week about how to hang toilet paper. Scotty B in particular was adamant that THIS was the way to hang toilet paper.

Your feedback is necessary to answer our query.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Chili: Our Fall Tradition

The week before every halloween, Joel and Becky make Chili. What I love mostly about it is that there is no recipe - Joel just knows it from memory - yet somehow it gets better every year.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Remember the Bud WAZZZZZZZZUP commercials?


Obama Version:

Joe the Plumber and business taxes: They're all getting it WRONG!

The "Joe the Plumber" argument is that "Joe" is going to buy a business that is making $250-$270,000 a year and that Obama's tax plan is going to tax him more. What amazes me is that Obama, McCain and many pundits are really missing the boat on how business taxes actually work.

A business who generates $270,000 a year (generally) refers to gross income of the business. Business taxes are in no way connected to the gross income!

"Joe" has expenses such as payroll, trucks, insurance, etc. These expenses reduce his taxable income until at the end of the year - he either shows a profit or a loss. THE PROFIT OF THE BUSINESS is what gets taxed. NOT THE GROSS INCOME.

So, if Joe is an awesome businessman - he'll show a 30% profit and pay taxes based on $75,000 - which is well within Obama's tax cut for the middle class.

Lastly, McCain keeps saying that if Obama increases taxes on these businesses (which we know he won't now - but lets play along), that millions of Americans will lose jobs because if the company they work for has to pay more in taxes - they will cut jobs.

Stop it. That's exactly like saying that because I am going to get taxed on my next pay check that I don't want my next pay check. Come on! Even if some individuals end up (those making $250k and up) paying more in taxes - do you honestly think they'll stop earning money because of it? Of course not!

This argument is illogical and is fear mongering. It's simply meant to scare people who don't understand.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

17 years ago....

I don't specifically remember seeing this picture (left) on the National Geographic cover in 1985, but I *do* remember her eyes.

The newest picture (right) is the second time this Afgan girl has ever been photographed.

Interesting story here....

Monday, October 13, 2008


Possibilities, originally uploaded by -SPK.

Kaitlyn flying a kite in Belmar.

I love this shot.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Interview with Warren Buffet on Charlie Rose

Here are a few quotes from this Charlie Rose interview with Warren Buffet:

"You want to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful."

"They've (Americans have) seen 8% of America's bank deposits in the United States have moved - very skillfully I might say - within the last couple of weeks."

"This is an economic Pearl Harbor."

"If you look at the American public - they have $20 trillion worth of residential homes and they've got $20 trillion worth of stocks, very roughly. Those are both the two big assets of the American family and they are both down dramatically."

"If I got a chance to take 1% of the deal (be a partner with the US in the bailout plan) I'd take it." There's money to be made because the US government has staying power.

"I've said (derivatives) are possible weapons of mass financial destruction and they have been. They destroyed AIG and they certainly contributed to the destruction of Bear Stearns and Lehma."

Americans have improved themselves financially in this century by a rate of 7:1. Some centuries have seen 1%. America's economy is strong.

-Believes strongly in mark-to-market accounting.

-"Inflation is a likely consequence of our decisions now."

-Warren Buffet

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

First class idiots

First class idiots
Originally uploaded by -SPK
Amy got me!

Did I mention that we got bumped off our Allentown flight so they upgraded us to first class and we drank like fishes (8:45 am flight mind you) all the way to Charlotte.

Look at all the vodka bottles next to me and Todd.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Seven Hundred Billion Dollars

As our government signs a $700 billion bailout of our central banking system, I think it's time to understand exactly how much $700,000,000,000 actually is.

$700 billion is:

$2,325 for every single man, woman and child in the USA
$2,790 for every car registered in the USA
$13,335 for every second since September 29, 1908
$21,540 for every second that a 62 year old has lived
$167,704,839 for every family of a US confirmed death in Iraq (as of 9-28-08)

The NY Times has a nice image to help put this into perspective this too. The below video is called Money as Debt and is totally worth watching. This is what our banking system is, explained in lay persons terms. It's long, but totally worth watching so you understand why the government is doing this. We simply need debt to make our economy work.

It's a vicious cycle, we need debt so we have money and we need money to pay debt, the real question is: How long is this sustainable?

Key West, photo favs

Key West Trip You have to do THIS when you go to Key West.

Key West Trip Key Lime Pie, ahhhhhhhhhhh.

Key West Trip A Sunset sail.

Key West Trip A sunset - with some rain.

The whole set is here.

All I can say is "Oh.My.God"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Key West--> Long Way From Home

Key West was a really great stop. Our hotel was right on Duvall Street which the center of Key West. At 6 lofty floors, The Crowne Plaza building is the tallest in all of Key West and if that's not famous enough for you Tennessee Williams stayed here while he was writing A Streetcar Named Desire.

We toured The Hemmingway House, saw the Southernmost Point in the Continental USA (left photo), took the famous Conch Train, snorkled, and ate lots of great food.

Got to the Key West Airport with plenty of time to spare yesterday and as it ends up, it didn't matter. There was a crazy storm and we were delayed for over an hour. As we landed at the Atlanta airport - we had about 20 minutes to our connecting flight. If the pilot didn't drive to New Jersey after he landed (or so it seemed) we wouldn't have had to sprint with our 3 bags to the next concourse and run about a mile (no kidding) at full song.

Based on the title of this post, I'll let you guess what happened when we got there. Becky had tears in her eyes from the disapointment and I had tears in my eyes from the run. We tried a standby flight to Philly with no luck and ended up at at nice Comfort Inn in Atlanta with a bunch of Delta Polits.

Alls well that ends well and we sit here this morning, in repeat clothes, at our gate awating the plane to ABE.

Here is the link to the Bahamas Pictures and I will be uploading the Key West Pictures soon.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Immortalized on Thing of the Moment

This famous blogger is someone who I met on the internets, the tubes, the interwebs, blogosphere, freakysphere, etc.

Our relationship began when I answered a want ad for a photography student, but that's a story for another day. His name is jkirlin and today, my wife and I were immortalized on his blog as you can in the above picture.

For this, I am eternally grateful. Becky is eternally freaked out. And the authorities are eternally prepared.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bumble bee bokeh

This little guy loves the butterfly bushes!

Presenting: Our new ant farm

Presenting: Our new ant farm

This could be fun!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Kaitlyn Likes To Eat

Edit 2/23/2009:  Welcome to all Kaitlyn's who got here from Facebook's "Kaitlyn likes to" read!

I noticed while looking through some video, that I have a ton of her eating! We have always said she is a very passionate eater!!!  

What a nut.

end of summer

Neither one of them is really in focus. probably b/c I was using 212 mm and was about 10 feet away.

My sigma macro lens can focus at about 10", so 10 feet 'aint no thing.  Well, that is, if you don't mind a shallow DOF.

Can you see his foot?

Can you see his foot?, originally uploaded by -SPK.

I walk out of an appointment and hear a rustling up in the trees and as I look up 2 squirrels are falling from about 40 feet and land in street with a low thud. Ouch.

So I walk over and one little guy is obviously dazed and confused since he doesn't do anything as I stand 6" away from him. His friend must not have been taught to "never leave your friends behind" because he was back in the tree in 3 seconds. Than, almost as quickly as they fell out of the tree the little one wakes up and BOLTS DIRECTLY BETWEEN MY LEGS.

Holy! I do a 180 and see that he ran under my car but didn't seem to come out the other side. As I meander to the passenger side, the above picture is the scene I captured.

So what did I do? I poked him with a pen to get him out of there. What would you do?

Well, the poking definitely worked because he moved - by climbing directly into my engine compartment! Hmmmm. So I opened the hood and couldn't see a thing.

Next, as I'm lying prone on the street (in my suit) looking for the little guy - the accountant whose office I just left - walks out at this moment and genuinely asks "Engine trouble?"


After a short explanation, he laughs and steps back a few paces. Must not be a squirrel fan.

A few more turns of the steering wheel and a 1/4 roll forward, my little buddy fell backwards onto the street and sundered off - looking a little I will after a night in the Bahamas.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Palin lied, distorted the truth and thinks Americans won't even check her facts

The Obama camp did, and here's a long rundown of her lies/distortions/rhetoric/more of the McSame.

Here is the link instead of the entire text.... I realized you had to scroll to China to see the next post :-)

And an updated video of fact checks