Framing the Dialogue

Archive for July, 2009

Separated At Birth – Barney Squared

Barney Rubble:  Barney was the loveable sidekick and neighbor to Fred Flintstone.  Barney, though somewhat dim-witted, always supported Fred’s schemes.  Barney’s interests are described to include bowling, playing pool, poker, tinkering around in Fred’s garage and playing golf.  He was also a member of the Loyal Order of Water Buffalos lodge and the Loyal Order of Dinosaurs.   He is also a talented pianist and drummer

Barney married the super hot Betty and they later adopted Bamm-Bamm.  Barney has an obvious fondness for food.  It was never quite clear what Barney’s occupation is or what, if any skills he possesses.

Cash For Clunkers

I saw the following headline in Pittsburgh’s supposedly more conservative newspaper this morning:

‘Green’ rebates jump-start auto sales

Unless you have been hiding in a box, the news is flush all of a sudden with news of this program where you can get up to a $4,500 rebate when you trade in your clunker for a newer and more fuel efficient model.  I have heard a few conservative pundits talk about the program today and generally disparage the program because of its “green” roots.

In Their Own Words – Part I

Pittsburgh Penguins fans have been treated to a local series about the team’s players where they are interviewed and it is called “In Their Own Words.”  Hockey is my favorite spectator sport because of the speed and action in the games.  The greatest about hockey, however, is the players.  I cannot speak for other teams, but hockey players are the nicest guys.  You can learn a great deal about a person by what they say in unscripted moments (i.e. without a teleprompter).

True American Hero – Gov. Rick Perry

My first exposure to Governor Rick Perry of the Great State of Texas was listening to an interview when he was visiting the Left State of Pennsylvania a few years ago.  Gov. Perry and the correspondent (sorry, but I can neither remember nor find references to this interview) were discussing the Texas Legislature and their activity.  This is of great interest to Pennsylvanians as we have one of the largest (and costliest) legislatures in the country.

Separated At Birth – Jabba/Gore

Jabba the Hut:  Many of you remember Jabba The Hut from the original Star Wars movies.  This international gangster sought wealth through any means.  The official Stars Wars web site contains this summary of the beloved Jabba:

“A loathsome slug of a gangster, Jabba the Hutt was the preeminent kingpin of crime in the Outer Rim Territories. Basing his operations out of Tatooine, the Hutt had his pudgy fingers in a number of lucrative and unsavory rackets — slavery, gunrunning, spice-smuggling, extortion and more.

The Defector

The Russians are back from the Cold War in Daniel Silva’s new thriller in the Gabriel Allon series.  This may be his best work yet as I could not wait for it to hit the shelves.  The Defector did not disappoint as I could not put it down. 

For those of you who did not know, the Russians were the bad guys.  As usual, Silva uses current political events as a backdrop for this novel surround the secret community of spies.

I highly recommend that you add The Defector to your summer reading list.  You really don’t have to read the others in this series, but you will enjoy this book more if you first read Moscow Rules.

Fish Sticks

This is the fourth of the “Fish” books that I have read although it is the third in their series.  As the name implies, this volume is about maintaining the momentum of implementing Fish.  As usual author Stephen Lundin provides his teaching through the use of a story and includes a bit of his personal life that add a surprising epilogue.

“When the balloons have deflated, the contests have ended, the training is complete, and the natural human tendency to look for the next new thing has started to exert itself, that is when the inevitable gravity pull of old ways sets in.  When you are part of such an effort it feels like someone just took her foot off of the accelerator.”

Obfuscate (ob – fuh – skeyt)

Obfuscate is defined in as:

“To make so confused or opaque as to be difficult to perceive or understand”

Synonyms: muddle, perplex, cloud

President Obama often starts his remarks with the statement “I want to be very clear” then obfuscates the topic.  (this is a semi-quote from Rush Limbaugh.  Since I was driving I have to rely on my memory as to the exact phrasing.)

Can you give me an example?

A New Kind of Pork

Apparently the federal government is tired of hearing about pork spending on highway projects so they went out and actually bought some pork with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“ARRA”) money.  The Department of Agriculture actually purchased over three-quarters of a million pounds of ham slices to the tune of $1.2 million. 

Fox News did the math and you or I could have purchased similar products at a retail store for about half the price.  As a Costco and Sam’s Club member, I can appreciate purchasing in bulk, however, that much pork is impressive.

Post Card From the Edge – Health Care Reform

You may have gathered from reading my posts (Thank you so much for coming back) that I listen to a lot of talk radio.  A recurring theme that I have noticed lately is when the host “goes to the phones” to talk to callers.  Many have been asking about what to do next.  They have attended protests, called their elected officials, they e-mail, they get frustrated.  A local host (Glen Meakem) made a suggestion recently that is a great idea.