Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lotsa free mp3s

There are over a 111,000 free mp3's on Download.com. I never knew that. Sometimes it pays to Google the obvious.

Hey, that's a bumper sticker for ya: "Google the obvious."

Anyway, you've got to cherrypick through here, but I found some goodies, including two Aimee Mann songs that I hadn't heard before.

Some of these don't suck too badly

Free mp3 downloads from MTV.com. I found About a Girl tolerable.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Michael's coupon

40% off.

Nesting.

It's storming out here in the Big Apple. I'm working from home today. I've always loved storms, as long as I don't have to go out in them. I'm listening to the rain and wind and it's very cool. I have a gigantic fleece sweatshirt on, and I'm sipping hot coffee. It's going to be a quiet, low-key day.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

An oldie but goodie



Watch Obama ignore the facts. Fact: when tax rates go down, revenue into government coffers increase. It happens EVERY SINGLE time. But Obama is more concerned with "fairness." Why should a good investor pay less taxes than "his secretary?" It's not fair.

Excuse me, but isn't that, er, socialism?

But okay, socialist philosophy aside, why raise taxes if it will lower revenues? Why wouldn't you want to increase revenue?

I don't get it. Apparently, neither did Charlie Gibson.

Where Ortho Judaism parts ways with the Christian Religious Right

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that most people don't really have a clue on where halacha/Orthodox Judaism stands on two issues: abortion and fetal stem-cell research.

I'm thinking that because Orthodox Jews share so many of the "Judeo-Christian values" with the Christian Religious Right, people think that our views on these two hot issues are identical to theirs. No sirree Bob.

Halacha
(Jewish law) takes a very complicated view of abortion. We do not believe that life begins at conception, for example. However, we also assign rights to potential-life. So while we do not believe that abortion is equal to murder, we do not sanction any abortions unless very specific circumstances are involved, mostly those threatening the life of the mother and only very early on in the pregnancy. So, say, if a 16 year old girl got pregnant and having the baby would be a tremendous hardship for her socially and financially and would keep her from going to college, she probably wouldn't be able to get a halachically sanctioned abortion, because those reasons just aren't strong enough. On the other hand, if a woman discovered she had cancer and she was one month pregnant, and the pregnancy was accelerating the advancement of the cancer, she probably would be able to get a halachically sanctioned abortion, because the baby's growth was seriously threatening her life. By the way, I always say "probably" because I am not a rabbi or halachic expert, and every single case is different when it comes to evaluating something halachically. I am rendering conclusions based on the broadest set of circumstances.

So is halacha pro-Life? Yes. Is halacha pro-Choice? Yes. Confusing, isn't it?

Many Orthodox Jews prefer to align themselves with the pro-Life movement because 1) of the slippery slope possibilities that pro-Choice opens up, like late-term abortions, and partial-birth abortions, which probably would be halachically labeled as murder and 2) the whole gestalt of the idea of arbitrary abortion-at-will, which, while not necessarily deemed murder, is still completely contrary to Halacha.

Some Orthodox Jews, myself included, prefer to align themselves with the pro-Choice movement because there are instances (though, as we said, relatively rare) in which Halacha permits abortions, and making abortions illegal would close the door on these instances. We also are a little turned off to being lumped in with the Religious Right, since while Halacha assigns enormous value to potential life, it also differentiates it from actual life, and this is an important distinction. We don't view fetuses as mere extensions of women's bodies, but they aren't people either. They belong to some gray-area middle ground, which is why we so urge those who Orthos who would seek an abortion to not make any assumptions either way on its permissibility, but to speak to a Rabbi who is a halachic expert in this area.

Embryonic stem cell-research is, believe it or not, a much clearer issue than abortion. There is a strong halachic distinction between a fetus and an embryo. A fetus is a fertilized embryo that has been implanted in a uterus. Halachically, it has that previously-mentioned potential-life status, and may not be destroyed for its stem cells. Fertilized embryos, however, that have not been implanted in a uterus, have no potential-life status, and so they may be destroyed for their stem cell tissues. Once again, it's important to understand that halacha does not believe that life begins at conception. The distinction is implantation vs. no implantation. Although the embryonic stem cell issue is a more clear-cut one, let me still add the caveat that it is important to consult a halachic expert when faced with this situation, given what is at stake. If you are interested in this subject, read the RCA's letter to President Bush in support of embryonic stem-cell research.

So while we may share a value or two (or three) with the Religious Right, here are two politically charged issues where Halachic Judaism differs with them. Food for thought.

Junkie of the Supernatural


Tonight I watched a goofy 1963 horror flick called The Terror with Boris Karloff and a very young and handsome(!!!!) Jack Nicholson. Yes, that picture is actually of Jack Nicholson, 45 years ago. Hottie, yes? Can you see the grizzled man he would become a few decades later?

I do love old horror movies. Not sure why. I've always been drawn to horror genres in literature and film. I did a unit in college on Stoker, Shelley, Poe and other classic horror novelists, and some of my best papers were on vampire literature. Weird, huh? There used to be a show on in the wee hours called Forever Knight about a vampire named Nicholas Knight. I was a junkie.

Not surprisingly, I also like science fiction. Star Whatever, anything with aliens or hobbits, I'm hooked.

I love stuff that has nothing to do with reality. No need for a psychologist to figure that one out.

Friday, October 24, 2008

More coops to combat crappy economy

Borders: 25% off

Michaels: 20% off

Walgreens: $5 off $20

Pampers $1.50 0ff coupon

Prilosec free sample

Office Depot: $40 off $200 purchase

Folgers coffee free sample

Barnes and Noble: free cappuccino and 15% off

Monday, October 20, 2008

Identity politics at it's lowest. Shame on you Colin Powell.

I want to explain to you in no uncertain terms why Colin Powell is endorsing Barack Obama. I know that many of you who are incapable of understanding anything beyond the politically correct surface will label me a racist after this post. That's okay.

There is only one reason why Ronald Reagan's National Security Adviser, George H. Bush's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and George W. Bush's Secretary of State would abandon his party, ideals and everything he supposedly stands for in order to endorse someone whose ideas for this country are basically socialist.

Colin Powell is a black man. Barack Obama is a black man.

That's it. Nothing else. And if you are telling yourself something other than that, you are deluding yourself.

This is identity politics, folks, and it is low. Shame on you, Mr. Powell. Think President Reagan would agree with your endorsement, Mr. Powell? You could have still been proud of Mr. Obama for getting as far as he's gotten without selling out. You are cheapening the meaning of your endorsement and sucking all the credibility out of your career. And by going with identity politics instead of voting for the best person for the job, you are being racist. Yes.

I'm disgusted. This is just as idiotic as women voting for Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin because they want to see a woman in the White House, except it's worse because of Mr. Powell's betrayal of the people who have helped him get to where he is, not to mention his abandonment of his ideals. Because of race.

Race means nothing, folks. NOTHING. It's a skin color, for crying out loud.

Do you have ANY IDEA WHAT IS AT STAKE HERE PEOPLE? You don't vote for the most popular kid at school to be Leader of the Free World. You are selling off your future because it feels good to vote for a black man, even when that man is utterly wrong for leading this country. Shame.

And by the way....

Warren Buffet still believes in stocks. I think he might have something there.

"I'm not even looking..."

What is the deal with people who don't want to look at their 401K's and IRA's because they don't want to get depressed? Seriously? What is the deal?

Ok, I understand that you are not going to sell. Neither am I. I strongly believe that it would be collosally stupid to sell off and get completely into cash because of the way that the stock market is behaving these days. But to not know how badly you've been hit?

I got hit pretty nastily. I lost about $20,000 on a $100,000 retirement portfolio so far. And though I'm not selling and getting into cash, I am looking to rebalance my portfolio a bit. Get into some funds with less risk (I'm still investigating) and definitely buying some gold. I'm not panicked and I'm not depressed. I'm upset at what happened, but I definitely feel more in control knowing how bad the damage is. Look, I have 25 years until I retire. A lot could happen in 25 years and I'm confident that I will Gee"doubleyou regain that $20K and then some over that period of time. But things are not going to be turn around so quickly, regardless of the "bailout" and regardless of how much we want them too. So why wouldn't I adjust my portfolio for the short term?

So for those of you who are saying "I'm not even looking. I don't want to know. It'll come back and there is no point to getting depressed," for Pete's sake, LOOK! Now's the time when you need to look. Do a little research, and rebalance some of your money so you can stop some of the bleeding. If you're not sure how to rebalance, do what I'm doing and turn to people who do know, or at least have sound ideas. No good comes of not looking. Geez, people are such babies.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hooked On a Feeling

At this stage of the game, I think this election is all about feeling. If you haven't developed some sort of emotional reaction to either Obama or McCain, come out from under that rock. And may I say, there is no stupider way to vote for the President of the United States than to base it on feelings. But okay.

I am out of town right now, but will return shortly and post about the holiday. Lots to tell you. Ooo baby....I've got a bombshell. Stay tuned.

So far, I've had a wonderful Yom Tov, really outstanding. But one of the things that put a huge damper on some of my Yom Tov meals was this election. I have heard some of the most idiotic comments ever expressed about this election. Seriously. What are these people using for brains?

"McCain is terminally ill. I had a cousin who had what he has and he died."

"Obama cares much more about the poor than McCain does."

"I love Sarah Palin. If Hillary couldn't get in, at least we'll get a woman in the White House."

"The minute Obama takes office, a skinhead is going to kill him."

"Most pro-lifers are crazy. They don't believe in aborting rape victims' babies."

"I can't vote for either candidate. I'm writing in Hillary Clinton."

"Obama is going to give money to 95% of taxpayers. He's only going to tax millionaires like Warren Buffet."

"If Obama gets in, health insurance will be free!"

Etc. I just keep my mouth shut most of the time. I'm tired of this election. It's probably the most important one of my life so far, but it exhausts me. I've ordered an absentee ballot so I can vote for McCain and get it over with. I'm just so sick of it. I don't even like arguing anymore.

Coupons

Borders coupon: 40% off cds

Barnes & Noble: Free cappucino and 15% off coupon

Walgreen's: $5 off $25 purchase

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Free (legal) Aimee Mann mp3s

Click here.

(Note to Paul...you've already got these.)