Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Jury Duty Continues, But With Limited Absence

Yesterday was the second day of jury duty and it went rather fast given that it was just a repeat of the first day.

Here in Cobb County, Georgia, there is a voice mail number for jurors to call for updates. We normally call each evening after 6 p.m. for instructions before the following day.

The first update on Monday evening (after my first full day of being bored beyond reason even with my own created jury duty survival kit) said that my panel should report for jury duty at a later time (9:30 a.m.) than the 8:30 a.m. Monday report time we had.

On Tuesday evening, the update said to call the next day at 10:30 a.m. while not having to be physically present.

Then the update for today said to call back after the evening update is posted.

This essentially keeps you on the hook of jury duty responsibility while being able to do other work.

The biggest observation gained is that you can only consume so much content at one time no matter how many interesting things you have to read and listen to.

The essence of being cooped up like chickens within a room full of relative strangers with diverse backgrounds and concerns with little if any real interaction just caused me to look for a better way.

As a result, an idea popped up late yesterday that we will run a test to see if it can get any altitude.

We obtained the domain name as a result and more is to come later.

Wyteria had a great idea that we will seek to possibly implement.

More to come later!

Monday, June 27, 2005

1st Day of Jury Duty Ever

I'm on jury duty this week for the first time ever in my life. It's mind-numbing boring, but I have music (via my MP3 player), books, and internet access to help keep me awake;)

I found out this evening that I have to report for a second day tomorrow and I hope that it goes by faster while not requiring us to stay in town for the Fourth of July.

Friday, June 24, 2005

More Missing African-American Women Listed within Essence Magazine

An article within Essence magazine that appears online was just brought to my attention on various African-American women that are missing nationwide and who are not receiving much media coverage if at all.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Video of Excessive Force in South Carolina

Here is a video of the recent usage of excessive force in making an arrest in Dillon, South Carolina.

When we visit SC, we are usually in Dillon County the most.

An article from a regional newspaper is available online as well.

Industry's Dirty Secret on Identity Theft and Credit Issues

With all of the reports on identity theft and the fraud surrounding credit cards and reports, there has yet to be an inquiry on the real problems behind it all.

I started a credit repair company back in 1987 after graduating college named Credit Guard. I saw a lot of credit reports and practices by small businesses, large corporations, credit bureaus, and consumers alike.

It still amazes me that years later the industry has changed very little in spite of the laws and regulations enacted by Congress.

The dirty secret is really that the credit reports of Americans have been ruined for years by mismanagement on all sides of the table (companies that report to credit bureaus, credit bureaus themselves, and individual consumers) and that our society has really grown into a caste system based upon your credit report and scores.

The caste system allows temporary justification why certain people are charged more in terms of interest rates and other terms that a sane person (with good credit or paying cash) would not agree to otherwise.

People with good credit are not going to fight for the rights of people with supposedly bad credit. This is America where you have the right to succeed or fail if you want to.

Everything seems justified (harassing collection calls, customers lying on the phone, etc.) only because a credit report declares that a person may present a higher risk to do business with (credit and collection departments cost a ton of money when customers do not pay on time).

But this situation only creates a negative vicious cycle in which people with poor credit scores feel that they really have nothing to lose if they ever face a temporary financial setback or other priorities take precedence on a certain day of the month.

There are some companies that report to credit bureaus with credit departments that have been more than ready, willing, and able to give a customer a bad credit rating if the customer did not comply with their wishes before, during, and after the financing had taken place.

Being judged to have bad credit creates an easy way out of long-term fiscal responsibility for everyone involved and leads to more bad financial decisions in the short term when the credit reports (within their current form) are not to be (or should not be) really trusted anyway.

With capitalism being our mode of operation within America, there are thousands of corporations listed on the various stock exchanges that are propping up mismanagement and/or poor performance (within their primary line of business) by investing in companies that cater to people with poor credit ratings.

No individual or company with a high Standard & Poor's rating is found liable for society's woes when they invest in smaller companies using various names that charge people through the nose until the person chooses a bad credit report for a limited period of time versus paying extortion fees of interest in order to keep a good, clean credit report.

People with bad credit are charged astronomical interest rates bottom line. The additional profits from the higher interest rates sustains weak performance by the corporation within its other divisions and endeavors.

So whenever you read an article or hear a news report about identity theft and credit reports, know that someone somewhere is making more money as a result (in ways both legally and illegally currently).

The only real difference this time around is that there is a greater transfer of wealth taking place nationwide in declaring more people to have bad credit (or supposedly become victims of identity theft).

As more credit reports are suddenly declared poor, bad, and/or high risk, it is seemingly the only way for many corporations to keep their stock values and the overall expectations and hope of our nation high enough to prevent anarchy from taking place.

No wonder the income and wealth gap within America is increasing more than it ever has in the past.

But then again, the companies that rushed to declare their own customers a bad credit risk now face a dwindling pool of customers willing to buy from the company ever again (since the overall birth rates are not skyrocketing as the number of people who are now bad credit risks are). There are also not enough customers on the internet worldwide willing or able to do business with companies that were once local in nature only.

This is why local stores of various chains have to close and why companies go bankrupt altogether. For example, what furniture store you know of has been in business for more than 20 years?

Sears is proably one of the few businesses that sell have sold furniture for an extended period of time. The reason that Sears stays in business is that it is one of the few willing to forgive a customer in order to generate a future sale.

I wonder if Wal-Mart, eBay, Amazon, Yahoo, and other household brands have been financing many people with their various entities with high interest rates?

Whenever a well known company decides to provide credit in order to stimulate future sales, there is going to be a longer term negative effect as those who later declared to be bad credit risks start failing to pay other companies that they owe because company A suddenly declared them to be a high risk.

Is there a solution? There are several.

One potential solution is that more variables of a short, medium, and long-term nature should go into the decision to grant credit.

There are variables that have been removed in the past from credit applications (and it is illegal to ask a potential or present customer these questions) in order to grant women and minorities the opportunity to buy items on credit.

More questions should appear on credit applications to determine whether a individual or family is going to be a good credit risk long-term (or until the debt is paid).

The recent changes to the bankruptcy laws are not going to reduce the risks but increase the number of years a person is held liable for paying their debts or better yet, limit the number of ways a person can get off the hook of paying a company back.

Attorneys are going to make the most money in the short-term as many people will file bankruptcy in the short term and then sort things out later.

I do believe that it will take a financial market meltdown and era worse than depression to really correct the system overall.

Another solution will be that credit limits will have to be lowered which ultimately would lead to a lower standard of living nationwide. I do not believe that this option would be chosen due to our current way of living.

A third solution is that more Americans will owe and more American based companies will be owned by more foreign investors and the current credit issues simply go global in nature and awareness.

A fourth and possibly more digestible solution is that a more personal approach will be implemented by companies who respect their customers and feel that we are all in this together. How a company might achieve this mindset is the million-dollar question.

Companies with billions of dollars in cash on their balance sheets might be able to grasp this concept while enduring the short-term hit on their stock value, but not many companies will be able to go this far.

Maybe credit reports should reflect the type of business being done with. An individual consumer doing business with a higher-grade company should be ranked higher than an individual consumer doing business with a company known to charge high interest rates and/or low stock or bond value.

Companies should be really evaluated by stock analysts whether the company has attempted to legally inflate its stock value by inducing more people with credit and eventually selling the bad debts to another company. Or better yet, give the companies less time to collect money owed to them or lower terms. Then companies would have to create products and services that would either last longer or have a lower cost overall.

The bottom line current goal of most corporations is to reach higher level of shareholder equity by investing in the debts of others. There are very few companies that invest within the equity of others. This is the unreached paradigm shift that America needs.

There is an opportunity for companies to be developed around the idea of either sustaining or replacing the commercial parts of the credit triad industry (customers, companies reporting to credit bureaus, and credit bureaus).

I am sure that more ways of extending and repairing credit will take place as the "buy here pay here" concept as firmly held its ground.

Arbitration (and immediate credit repair itself) should be possible even during the buying process. A company might finance a consumer's purchasing decision by really evaluating if mistakes were made and by which party before granting credit.

Another company seeking to be a credit bureau itself might declare (within its credit reporting system) a negative credit mark against a consumer's report null and void if the company reporting the negative mark has a history of penalizing customers with negative marks or inaccurate credit reporting or catering to consumers with bad credit reports.

This is America after all.

There is no reason that the dirty secret has to remain a secret---that is, unless the secret is profitable and serves the greater good of us all.

Sleep Does A Body Good

I went to bed last night at 9 p.m. shortly after putting our daughters to sleep. I have not felt this fresh in the morning in a long time.

Wyteria was working last night.

We used to have a doctrine of 'going to sleep when the baby is asleep' with Rachel that we got away from since Rachel (our oldest) sleeps fewer hours than Hailey (our youngest).

But I think that I will return to the doctrine on the nights Wyteria is working.

I mentioned to Wyteria this morning "Staying up to 10 and 11 at night is not going to cut it when the two girls are likely to wake up before 8 a.m. and keep you going for the rest of the day nonstop".

"If TiVo does not get whatever is on tv, then it won't be gotten";))

The funny thing is that I could still go for another hour of sleep;)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Great Article on Skype

BusinessWeek has an article that provides a lot of information on Skype and why it is becoming more popular and important within the telecommunications industry.

One reason given for the success of Skype is the sharing nature that takes place behind the scenes.

The old virtue of sharing is now creating financial success as well as character.

Missing from SC: Tamika Huston

Here is a missing person named Tamika Huston from our home state of South Carolina.

The news of her missing has not gotten a lot of press coverage, but it seems to be increasing month after month with the stories of runaway brides and the missing Alabama teen in Aruba.

There is growing speculation that the lack of press coverage is due to Tamika being a black woman and not a white female.

More information can be found on 2 separate pages from the search results on Google and Google News.

News on Missing People Varies by Race among other things

I just read an article on the news coverage of missing people on Black America Web.

There is another missing person report that has gone unnoticed from South Carolina as well that I will create another blog entry for.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Impartial Media Cannot Be Both Judge and Jury

There were a ton of people who have risen to fame due to the legal issues surrounding Michael Jackson and other celebrities.

One ironic thing is that their newfound wealth is a by-product of his celebrity whether they personally love or hate him.

Unfortunately, such critics and experts of opinion are able to create a new version of truth for those who fail to do their own research and multiple industries and lifestyles are affected daily as a result.

Here is a link on the personal opinion of one is now supposed reality and truth for all by commentator Nancy Grace who appears on both Court TV and CNN's Headline News.

I wondered if she called in sick the day after the verdict was read, but since the announced verdict temporarily raises her stock value she had to be available to give her opinion.

It is going to be interesting to see what such commentators do as their main target seeks greater privacy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Audioblogger Test

this is an audio post - click to play

Create an audioblog entry yourself with Audioblogger!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Yahoo Updates on Natalee Holloway

Yahoo! has a website that is providing a lot of news on the missing girl from Alabama named Natalee Holloway.

Photo revealing the lack of understanding the concept of Governing Dynamics

Marquita Jackson, left, and Crystal Hunt, of Fayetteville, N.C., stroll down Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Friday during "Black Bike Week." Neither of the 21-year-old North Carolina women was aware of the NAACP's 5-year-old boycott of South Carolina. (Willis Glassgow/The Associated Press )

Posted by Hello

More Links on SC, the NAACP, and African-American Economics

Here are a few other links:

Blacks should vacation along Grand Strand

5 years into boycott, effect tapers

TIMELINE | Events surrounding the boycott

Confederate flag still divisive symbol for many Americans

NAACP Boycott of South Carolina Has Fallen Apart

As the Memorial Day Biker Weekend was approaching, I wondered if the boycott of South Carolina was still intact.

It turns out that it supposedly was still going on even though there were members of the civil rights organization monitoring the events for the new traffic management plan implemented by the local law enforcement agencies.

The traffic plan caused more traffic than it resolved while the weather kept everything to a bare minimum (pun intended).

Here is an article in a Salt Lake paper on the boycott and the potential aftermath for the NAACP.

I did not know that Mississippi has been facing a boycott as well.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Death Trappings of Success

A few days ago I surprisingly read about the sudden death of an internet guru that was a multimillionaire.

Corey Rudl started a business online with only $25 and his business grew as well as the business of his students. He had a home-study course as well.

I have been a member of a mailing list that Corey started for a few years now.

Corey was only 34 years old and the driver of the Ferrari was 39.

When I read the news of their deaths which appeared as an obituary entry within my local paper's website, I thought that they had died while driving within one of the growing sport of NASCAR racing driving schools.

But they did not attend any type of driving school at all (to my knowledge from any of the articles online) and this omission may have directly led to their deaths.

A few weeks ago on a CNN show (similar to both The Apprentice and any type of extreme makeover show) called The Turnaround, there was a driving school in North Carolina that boasted of having a perfect safety record.

It turns out that the deaths of the two men occurred on a race track in California that was rented by a local Ferrari club that was able to use the high-speed track when races were not taking place.

Unfortunately, the wealth of the Ferrari owners did not go as far as to buy any instructions or strategies on how to drive their toy-cars capable of reaching 100 mph plus speeds as quickly as possible.

I just saw photos of the crash and the absolute destruction of the car as well online.

See the damage and ask yourself if your future success may cause a blind spot that your current state could now prevent.

Make the necessary changes now as well as to know what you should do before you enter the gateway of prosperity.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Were There Any Real Chaperones from Alabama in Aruba?

Recently I had lunch with another pastor and the topic of the missing girl from Alabama came up.

I mentioned several scenarios about what I thought could have happened and why.

When the absence and/or hands off approach of the chaperones and classmates was brought to my attention, nothing else seem to make much sense.

Ever since our lunch on this past Thursday, every update on the case seems to confirm the thought that since the students had already graduated the sense of oversight was reduced to the mindset of "you are grown now, so do what you want".

There were over 120 students for only 7 chaperones.

Clearly the school district and/or group providing oversight to the group is going to be sued and/or needs to be.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Great Customer Service @ Chili's Restaurant

I had lunch at a Chili's restaurant in Austell, GA yesterday and it was great.

I ate alone, but the most significant thing is that they allowed me to add an item from a separate meal without any hesitations or "I'll have to talk with the manager first" type of stuff.

It was truly like 'whatever you want, you've got it' throughout the entire experience.

I had a glazed shrimp on a sugarcane skewer (I have not had real sugarcane in years) with seasoned rice (possibly jerk seasoning since it was spicy), fresh vegetables, some kind of mango salsa (it cooled down the spicyness-thank God).

The add-on was a skewer of steak that was available for only $2.99 more. When the dish arrived, it also had a skewer of jerk chicken which I did not know that it would. I did not send it back and actually ate the chicken first;)

I will definitely eat there again! I tip well too!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Taste Test Results on POM

There have been various media reports on the benefits of drinking pomegranate juice.

Yahoo! has an online news article and WebMD has one also.

Then over the weekend, a fraternity Brother (thanks Brother Henderson) recommended POM and gave a testimony of his experiences with the juice.

This afternoon while running a few errands, I decided to purchase a bottle. I read in a newsletter/catalog from Costco that they have the juice available for sale.

But when I mentioned to my wife Wyteria my intentions for the day, she mentioned that the local grocery stores would have it as well.

I went to a regional grocery store Publix and discovered that they had 5 flavors available: regular/plain, blueberry, mango, tangerine, and cherry. Only the regular/plain flavor is available in two different sizes.

So I picked the smaller bottles in all of the flavors and decided to do my own taste test.

This is my first experience with pomegranate juice whatsoever as well.

I tried the regular flavor first and it poured with the same consistency of grape juice.

The regular flavor was a little stronger or richer than grape juice in flavor.

The testimony of my fraternity brother mentioned that it made him feel peppier.

I could really see that pomegranate juice could compete with coffee very well (especially for those who prefer coffee cold). It made me think that it had a natural caffeine effect although this is only my opinion.

The juice was located in the refrigerated juice section in Publix. I also discovered POM in the national grocery chain Kroger. POM was only available in a larger sized bottle. The regular/plain flavor was the only flavor available. The price was cheaper in Kroger as well. POM has its own unique bottle shape as well.

Publix has the variety while Kroger has the lower price.

The blueberry flavor had a huge injection of flavor and I could smell the blueberry aroma immediately upon opening the bottle.

Blueberry may become my favorite flavor for POM since it captured everything in essence about blueberries.

The tangerine flavor was next within my test and I was surprised that a citrus flavor could be created for such a juice. The tangerine flavor did not have an effect on me either way and I do not fully remember what it tastes like now.

The cherry flavor was next and it would become my second preferred flavor. It was just as powerful as the blueberry flavor, but cherry as a flavor is not one that I am normally in contact with and this is what makes blueberry more preferred.

I tried the mango flavor last since I had previously had a bad experience in tasting something that was supposedly a mango flavor. But this flavor was not nasty at all compared to the previous experience;) Mango tastes very close to having a slight banana twist to it. I would consume the mango flavor again if possible.

Since Wyteria did not join me on the taste test, I know that there are 5 bottles of pomegranate juice in the refrigerator. I believe that she will drink some at some point so I will not have to drink them all.

The flavor does not seem like one that small children will readily drink although I could be wrong. The cherry or mango flavors would possibly taste best for children.

Again, the regular/plain is not bad at all and since it is the only flavor available in the larger-sized bottle, it may be the one bought most of all.

Since POM did not have any negatives that came to mind, I will slip it into our grocery cart on our regular food buying excursions.

Finally, I would like to taste a smoothie made with the flavor as well. It would probably be very good. My next plan is to buy some real pomegranates and see what they taste like raw.

Until then, I do drink POM!


Sunday, June 05, 2005

Hurricane Hugo Was Worse That I Thought!

After I created the last blog entry, I went and clicked on several of the links found on the Google results for Hurricane Hugo.

It turns out that Hurricane Hugo did more damage and caused more changes before and after it hit than previously imagined.

I also discovered some news regarding the aftermath that is directly related to my next book that on the surface was appearing more the exception than the rule.

Overall, hurricanes, tropical storms, and tornadoes are nothing to play with as any of God's hand within nature and the weather.

I remember plenty of days in Nichols, SC when my cousin Adrian and I would have to stop playing and be quiet at the commands of our grandmother the late Willenar B. Tart due to a thunder and/or lightning storm approaching the area.

Check out the link above on Hurricane Hugo and visit the various websites yourself.

I am even more grateful to God to survive the storm and know that only God has richly empowered the masses that experienced Hurricane Hugo to live another day.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Hurricane Hugo Story for pending hurricane season

I saw where the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was asking for readers' experiences in hurricanes.

So I wrote the following text regarding our experiences with Hurricane Hugo.

Back in 1989, my family and I survived Hurricane Hugo in the Pee Dee area of South Carolina. Although the older members of the family had experienced a hurricane in the 1940s, none of us who were young adults had ever experienced a hurricane before. Virtually no one I knew under the age of 30 took the hurricane threat seriously.

The event started off with everyone watching the news on where it would land. We were especially concerned since my then-fiancee-now-wife Wyteria was a first-year nursing student at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. Charleston was appearing on the short list of places where Hugo would reach land.

Two days before Hugo actually came ashore, Wyteria called and said that although the university's administration was making contingency plans with storm shelters for the students, the students were still making jokes about everything. But she said that she saw the huge navy ships leaving and evidently the threat must be more serious after all.

I drove 2 hours from Florence, SC to Charleston and picked Wyteria and her roommate up. All of us had attended and graduated from Francis Marion College (now University) in Florence.

Since the roommate's hometown was Hemingway, SC, we drove back through the Francis Marion National Forest and still did not see too many people making preparations or doing anything different.

The weather had not yet changed anywhere much throughout the pending threat. When we returned to Florence, we proceeded the next day (hours before Hugo hit) to fully stock up on food, videos, and were going to have ourselves a small Hurricane Hugo party since everyone was making too much of a big deal out of nothing that was going to become Hurricane Hugo.

The school districts had also cancelled classes the day before Hugo reached land. Since I was a high school mathematics teacher, it was like a midweek holiday with no papers to grade.

So as we started watching the various movies after sunset, the rain started falling and then quickly scaled upward beyond the dogs-and-cats stage. Then the winds escalated to blowing the rain sideways. Shortly after that, you could not even see anything outside your windows at all.

We knew that this was indeed a powerful storm, but it did not fully gain our respect until the power went out. Then the infamous train sounds started and never stopped. The storm itself never let up on any of the pounding rain for at least 3 hours. The storm simply got worse.

We felt that being near windows was not a good idea and got in the hallway of the apartment. When the entire building started rocking, then the idea of going into the bathroom took hold for better or worse. Hurricane Hugo sounded like a train that had just run over a jumbo jet in the parking lot and was now bearing down on Santa and reindeer on the roof one by one.

The wind and rain never slowed down and eventually it seemed like there was no end in sight. But slowly after what had to be at least 3 to 4 hours of a merciless storm unlike any other experienced, the storm passed or so we thought.

It was in the early hours of September 22, 1989 when the first wave passed over. But then the silence was as deafening as the storm itself. The power still was out and there was nothing to see since the city lights were out as well.

As the wind and rain started to pick up again, we knew that we had experienced the front end of the hurricane and now the eye of the storm was passing over and by as well.

The back end of Hugo was just as bad as the front end. Everything just happened in duplicate.

The aftermath of Hurricane Hugo proceeded to be almost as bad as the storm itself.

The next morning's daylight brought the view of fallen limbs and trees everywhere. The humidity had been totally sucked out of the air and the temperature climbed throughout the day.

Now most of the food bought the day before was in a refrigerator that was without power for several hours. On top of that, we did not have a manual can opener or any other means to cook anything since the stove and microwave oven could not work either.

There was a fast run on ice everywhere within several counties. We did not travel to our smaller hometowns since they were in the same situation and everyone wanted to save gas since most gas station pumps were not working either.

Only convenience stores seemed to have ice until you got there and no major grocery stores opened for business for at least a week. There were rumors and stories of price gouging, but there was no media for anyone to get any news since everyone had no power for several days.

Quickly FEMA and other agencies moved in and long lines started for hurricane relief. I stood in a line for foodstamps as well only to be told "Don't perjure yourself" since the worker knew that I was a teacher and supposedly I had money and food. But my ignorance of hurricane and federal-disaster areas put me in the same plight as everyone else since my money was spent on food that went bad quickly or could not be opened or prepared as well as for VHS videos that could not be watched.

By the time Wyteria's classes resumed in Charleston, we drove back through areas that took a harder hit than we did. As we drove south towards Charleston, we saw entire forests of trees laid down like worshipers bowing to pray. Trailer homes were ripped open like an Christmas gift-wrapped toyboxes. You would think bombs had been dropped with precision while other nearby buildings were left fully intact.

Charleston was a full-blown nonmilitary recipient of nature's shock and awe. There were people and places near Charleston that had not recovered since Wyteria's graduation in 1991. There were people whose lives were much better since federal aid gave them what their families did not have since the prime years of agriculture and sharecropping had passed by.

Months later while driving throughout the state, we witnessed the full path and impact of Hurricane Hugo that had traveled the same route of I-26 in leaving Charleston and then it took I-77 towards Charlotte, NC.

Road signs built with higher than normal steel were snapped and/or twisted onto themselves.

Every region needs an emergency evacuation plan and highways.

Whenever we see news reports of storms of any significant nature now, we know what they are going through and what we will do if we ever face the similar conditions again.

1. Buy a manual can opener and get the grill ready with plenty of charcoal and matches. Do not buy any perishable food or anything requiring a stove or microwave oven.

2. Fill up your vehicle's tank with gasoline and buy as much ice that you have coolers for. Do this regardless of the time of year you are in.

3. Buy batteries for any radios, flashlights, and music players for post-storm days that you will not have power. Buy candles and candle holders also.

4. Now that we have kids, we would know to stock up on bottled water and nonscented baby wipes for everyone since the water may not be consumable afterwards. Get ready for nonelectronic entertainment days as well.

5. Buy any battery-operated personal fans also although it may be futile after a certain point. Then save the fans for the moments when you are getting on each other's last nerve.

6. Use daylight hours like you never have before and get as much rest and sleep when the sun goes down.

7. Have a plan in place to communicate with other family and friends in case the phone system is not working and since no one is going to remember to check e-mail if the power is out in their homes.

8. No one thinks to take photographs other than for insurance purposes. So have your digital cameras and camcorders and batteries ready to record the aftermath for your descendents and give them a game plan for dealing with such traumatic events.

Hurricanes and other natural disasters quickly reduce lifestyles to the basic necessities. Only through a sense of faith, hope, and community, does a household and region ever have a chance to survive and thrive again.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Website of Soldiers in Iraq Who Recorded A Music CD Is Awesome!

Earlier this evening, I saw a blog that mentioned a recording project put together by several soldiers stationed in Iraq.

The soldiers had placed photographs of a recent article written about the group on their website as well.

I have not listened to the music yet, but the photographs of seen people, places, things, and their recording studio were amazing.

It probably made the reality of the war in Iraq more concrete and personal than anything seen to date.

The website is located at:

They did not have a guestbook to sign that I remember, but I strongly support their efforts to share their experiences and artistic talents even within the worse possible conditions.

They have taken the cliche "making lemonade out of lemons" to another level.

To all soldiers worldwide, we are praying for you and your families!

My Music Preferences from an online quiz

Based upon an online quiz just taken, the following table shows my music preferences. The list to choose from was rather limited in my opinion.

There were no gospel artists (urban contemporary or CCM) mentioned at all.

I did not have MTV while in high school and there was a MTV-like service called "Rock World" that most of us saw music videos during college.

BET was watched whenever I had the chance.

One funny note is that at our apartment complex during my senior year, cable channels would come in free until it rained;)

I guess that the individual artists and groups that I selected were based upon those that I felt that I would not leave a concert if they were performing;)


Your Taste in Music:

80's R&B: Highest Influence
90's Hip Hop: Highest Influence
90's R&B: Highest Influence
Old School Hip Hop: Highest Influence
R&B: Highest Influence
80's Rock: Medium Influence
Dance: Medium Influence
Hip Hop: Medium Influence
Progressive Rock: Medium Influence
80's Pop: Low Influence
90's Alternative: Low Influence
90's Pop: Low Influence
Classic Rock: Low Influence
Country: Low Influence
Ska: Low Influence

Cool Blog Add-ons Coming Soon!

I saw a nice, little add-on for blogs this afternoon and hope to incorporate the idea into this blog as a result.

More research is required and hopefully the learning curve will be very low.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Slave Labor and Future Reparations

The financial services company Wachovia has recently announced via their website, press releases, and other means of communication that companies that Wachovia has acquired have had direct connections to slavery.

There is a Chicago ordinance that requires companies doing business with the city to disclose any historical ties to slavery which has led to many slave-related disclosures..

The Chicago ordinance is based after a piece of California legislation passed into law.

With the list of commercial companies growing monthly with ties to slavery, it is becoming more clearer of the significant venture capital contributed to the foundation, growth, and sustained momentum of existence of the United States of America taken by force from slaves.

The very unique service Google Print that is now available makes it more possible to determine which industries have had obtained the benefit of slave labor without any having to produce any returns on human capital.

I have been consistently doing research on my family and the history found within South Carolina. I recently found out that the slaves imported into South Carolina were extremely valuable and specifically requested due to their ability to plant and harvest rice.

The value of the slaves was far higher than previously imagined. Amelia Wallace Vernon is the author of the book entitled African Americans at Mars Bluff, South Carolina that I am referencing and she is a family member of the family that had a great impact on the college that I graduated from as well as where I met my wife Wyteria.

The irony of all this is the fundamental growing support and legitimacy that these discoveries have for the cause of granting reparations to African-Americans within the United States.

The discussion of what happens after the moral obligation to grant and distribute reparations is a blog entry and discussion reserved for another day.

But it can no longer be denied that the industry of slavery and the forceful destruction of African families have directly led to the success of America.

Many times I have considered the meeting of one's spouse as providing the reason to be grateful to and for the family that provided the foundations for Francis Marion University. Now after reading the history that I was never taught within public education, it seems that they were only repaying a greater debt with a partial payment.

I am still grateful for the partial payment and will be when the debt is repayed in full (although I will not sit and wait and hold my breath for the recognition or the repayment itself).

Child Kidnappings Occur More Often Than Previously Thought

There is a news story that I just read about and it is quite disturbing.

A recent high school graduate turned up missing prior to the group's return flight from Aruba to Alabama.

Here is a link on Google News.

One primary reason that the story is disturbing is because there are evidently more child kidnappings happening worldwide for illegal and illicit acts such as child prostitution.

Brainwashing a child over several years is more than possible and the child would not have a remote clue of who they are as a result.

The children are being sent to foreign countries as well where detection as well as language barriers provide a very strong cover of darkness.

Since language is affected by where one is currently located, over time the child would completely lose any type of accent and their home language altogether.

The death penalty should be on a short list for those involved in crimes against children.

Our prayers go out to the family and other families who are affected by such tragedies.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Here Is The Meaning of My Name, What Is Yours?

R is for Revolutionary
O is for Odd
N is for Natural
E is for Exuberant
Y is for Young
O is for Orderly
D is for Dainty
E is for Explosive
L is for Logical
L is for Liberal
S is for Spiritual
M is for Misunderstood
I is for Innocent
T is for Tender
H is for Hilarious

My Spoken Dialect

People all over the US speak differently as well as the rest of the world. I was born in Jersey City, NJ and lived there until I was 6 years old, raised in South Carolina, and have lived the past almost 15 years in metro Atlanta, Georgia.

People from the midwest like Iowa and Milwaukee do not have an accent for the most part.

Most news anchors and reporters have vocal and speech coaches to help them get rid of their accents if the tv personality plans on moving to different tv markets.

Here are the results from an online quiz just taken on my speech. Take the quiz yourself and have a moment of amusement.

I guess from the results that I have more residual effects of living in Jersey City than the southern dialects I have been exposed most often.

It makes sense because where you grow up determines the most about your personality.

Click the link at the bottom of this blog entry in order to take the test yourself.

Your Linguistic Profile:

45% General American English

30% Yankee

25% Dixie

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

Great Google Technique for Searching Blogs & To Locate Blogs

Since I have been getting into blogs for a little over 1 year, I was wondering if there was a way to locate other blogs and contributors on topics that interest me.

At the top of every Blogger page, there is a search box that is available.

This box may work well either with the single blog or other blogs located on Google's network of databases (remember that Google owns Blogger).

But what if you wanted to search for blogs all over the internet?

You can find blogs worldwide by putting the following line into the Google search box:

"my blog"

or use either the following lines:

"this blog"

"our blog"

I remembered a tip from a book entitled Google Hacks that I bought several months ago and have been using it with successful results.

Imagine that the following line is what you are going to enter into the search box on Google's home page:

"whatever phrase I am looking for"


For example, to find any blog entries that I have created or have been mentioned on, just put the following line into the Google search box:

"roney smith"

Put any phrases that may be most often used within quotation marks.

The following would work as well, but it will have additional blogs that have both words roney and smith included:

roney smith

The ending part of the search entry ( restricts the search to blogs using

The ending part can be changed to any other domain that has blogs stored there.

For example, MSN has a service for blogs entitled MSN Spaces and they are using the folder directory naming system like:

To search MSN Spaces, you would put the following line within the Google search box:

"whatever phrase I am looking for"

Another good way is to eliminate any words that may get thrown into the search results with the minus sign before the word.

For example, the following search would locate blogs talking about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on

"peanut butter" jelly, (sandwich OR sandwiches)

But if I wanted to find blogs that only mentioned peanut butter, I would use the following search entry:

"peanut butter" -jelly, (sandwich OR sandwiches)


"peanut butter" -jelly

Searching without peanut butter being placed in quotes would turn up many more search results but without the specific focus on the item being searched for.

Once you locate a blog of interest, you can search throughout the blog itself for any past blog entries that may interest you.

For example, to locate blog entries that I have mentioned my own daughters and/or wife on this blog you are reading (remember that I do have several blogs based around different topics and interests), one could use the search entries:

(daughter* OR wife),

The part daughter* searches for the words both daughter and daughters.

The part searches only this current blog.

Using the search techniques above, you can quickly locate and monitor the internet on topics that interests you.

It is definitely one way to quickly find out any developing news, current events, gossip, rumors, or tips possibly being shared within a small internet audience.

You will indeed find some interesting people online as well as people sharing thoughts about things that you would have never imagined or found otherwise.