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Saturday, April 29, 2006

A New kind of hurt

Headed out this morning to join in on the Community Clean Up project while TheWife took LatteGirl to dance class. The plan was for them to join up with me after class was finished. To be honest I didn't expect this to be as big a deal as it was. I expected to be handed a garbage bag, and to pick up trash along the riverbank, photo ops for the Town representative, and that would be it. But we actually cleared out the old Boat Launch area, removed a huge amount of weends, and when all was completed we loaded 3 dump trucks with debris, garbage, and big nasty weeds that grow along the waterfront.

Fortunately (for my weary legs), and unfortunately (because LatteGirl was not happy about it), they wrapped things up a little early so the girls could not join in on the work.

We decided that if she really wanted to work on cleaning that badly, LatteGirl could help me clean out the shed. Spring cleaning of the shed is a spring right of passage around here. Every year pulling out all the summer things that have been stored away and made the shed usuable.

Well LatteGirl was not only into it, she was a huge help. Seriously. I mean usually she TRIES to help, but in doing so makes things take somewhat longer than if she didn't help, but in this case she kept pace (and even helped push me as I started slowing down... but hey, I had been at this since 9 AM). So, after a good solid 7 hours of outdoor cleaning, my legs now feel like really HEAVY RUBBER!

The local church had a rummage sale, so after cleaning up, as sort of a reward, I took LatteGirl over to shop. A reward for her because she got to pick something out, a reward for me because she could get a veritable boatload of books for about $2. She found a couple of good books for her to practice her reading, and she found a "Cat in the Hat" board game. I had never heard of it before. It was actually quite a simplistic game, but she enjoyed it. I found for myself a Black & Decker Home Cafe. For those who do not know what that is, it is a coffee machine that takes these little "pods" of coffee, and brews a single cup at a time. For a big coffee drinker like me, not something I would use normally, but for the mornings when I only have time for one cup before running out the door for work, it seems like a good idea. I was just not willing to drop $40 bucks (or so) on it, not knowing whether or not I would like it. But for $8, brand new (it must've been a gift that somebody never opened) I am certainly willing to give it a shot. So I will report back once I have given it a shot.

Speaking of giving it a shot I still have a couple of Boca Java Reviews , which I will probably write up tomorrow while the ladies of the house are out (I am actually relying on a fresh pot of Blogs of Bravery blend to keep me awake as I type). Assuming I do not get too long a honey-do list before the go. Go? Oh, yeah, the are going to see "The Bearnstein Bears" tomorrow afternoon. I am not sure how, but I managed to weasel my way out of this one.

I should probably get to bed early tonight, but the bed seems so faaaaaaar from my computer right about now. Perhaps I can just scoot the keyboard over, put my head down and sleep right here.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Tree Hugger in the making?

I have taken from my father the preference of organic gardening. I would never consider giving my daughter milk from cows that have been given rBGH (more on that in another post soon), I am against opeing the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve, and hurting the environment to the benefit of big oil.

But, I am certainly not overboard enough that anybody would ever "confuse" me with a "Tree Hugger." If anything I am probably the eco-ists worst nightmare, somebody that cares about the environment but "not enough" (in their regards).

LatteGirl on the other hand, at just shy of six seems to already "get it." Let me explain.

This weekend, our "family activity time" is going to be spent down at the river front as part of a clean up program. I am happy to help. LatteGirl is downright EXCITED about cleaning it up.

Last weekend, as we were working around the yard, I pulled up a little sapling of a maple tree that had begun growing between the cracks of the slate that serves as the "patio" where I keep my grill, and tossed it into the pile of leaves that I was cleaning up. LatteGirl was NOT at all happy with me. She demanded that we immediately pot the little sapling and that she would tend to it until it was big enough to be planted and left to live. "We need trees to live" she informed me.

So we now have a little tree growing in a pot in our yard. She is very proud of it. And, yet again, I am very amazed and proud of her.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Calling it a Sacrifice doesn't make it one

Being an "outsider" (a dad that more often feels like he fits the views of Mommy Bloggers [don't get me started on that please) than Daddy Bloggers), I do not often delve into discussions that take on their own lives, jumping from blog to blog with opinions. After all, firstly I am an outsider, and second most of these take place on blogs that have readership that are far greater than mine.

But, after giving myself a 24 hour cooling off period, the desire to chime in has not waned, and so I figured it was time.

The current topic of parents sacrifices, is I am sure not new. But I got caught up following this current wave, here, here, here, and (to a slightly lesser extent) here, If you are a parent, you sacrifice for your kids. Period. I thought the one posted by Sheri over at was particularly great at giving the topic true balance, and I am not going to try and say how much any particular parent should or should not sacrifice for your child. Every parent (OK, maybe not EVERY parent, but you know what I mean), tries to do what is best for their child, and while we as people may not necessarily agree on every topic, we can agree we want what is best for our children.

OK, so where is the fetering that caused me to write this? Glad you asked. There were two places where this topic veered off slightly that got to me, and this entailed what defines "sacrifice."

Motherhood Uncencored, covers how some people (and again, she lays it all as a "mother" thing, but I am the outsider, so I prefer to point at "people", while acknowleging that this apparently far more common in mothers than fathers), take on ALL responsibilities, because "We try, in our own crazy way, to DO IT ALL. Not necessarily because we want to, but we believe that we have to so that our kids will have the best chance to be, well, the best." I don't classify this as "sacrifice" because while you are certainly giving of yourself, you are equally satisfying that Type A side of yourself that has already determined that there is nobody as capable as you.

She goes on with one more item that absolutely makes my skin crawl when she says, "Sacrificial mothering is the new black, didn't you know?" That is not sacrifice, that is self glorified matyrdom. When my daughter was small, I was the one that got up in the middle of the night for feedings. Not because it made me some sort of "hip 21st century dad," but because I thought it was what was best for everybody.

By being well rested, I believed (and still do) that my wife would be better able to deal with the issues of being home with our child all day long. Now call it what you want, but it could hardly be said that my wife "sacrificed" anything despite the fact that in the long run it was (I believe) good for our daughter, because it was a benefit to her to get a good nights sleep.

Similarly, when Morphing into Mamma, tries to justify sleep training as her "sacrifice", I can't help but laugh. I am not going to delve into the rights and wrongs of sleep training, that is far too divisive an issue, and again, if it works for you, I will not (at least try not to) judge you for it, (because the intention on a whole are good) but please call it what it is. Sleep training is for the benefit of the parents, not the child. While the long term benefits are certainly there for the child (much like my well rested spouse was a benefit to our daughter), there is no way you can take it and call it your sacrifice. You feel bad when you heard your child crying? Well I certainly hope so. Was it a sacrifice for YOU to not pick up the child? NO! Willpower perhaps, but sacrifice, let us be real. The proof is in the statement at the end of her post, "The Sleep Train" when she says, "I’m jumping on that sleep train, and I don’t plan on getting off at the next stop. My kids are going to sleep. I’m going to sleep. We’re all going to sleep!" I give all the credit in the world for her determination (and success), but calling that sacrificing for your child is akin to pushing snake-oil.

You sacrifice because you love your child, And I am not questioning whether or not or how much the children are loved. And lest I be misuderstood, there are plenty of people that "get lost" in being a parent, and that is of benefit to no one, and things certainly should be done for the benefit of the parent if for no other reason that the child is better off in the long run with a happy well adjusted parent, and not one sitting in the corner babbling, "Elmo's Song" and having "High School Musical" be the most intellectual thing you have seen on television since your child was born. But be honest about it and call it what it is.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Review: Boca Java's Bloggers Beach Blast Blend

Their Description - 'Go ahead. Make my blog.' This luscious flavored coffee will make your blog! Featuring a tantalizing combination of chocolate and caramel.

What I thought - I decided to go with this one next, so as to alternate the flavored blends and the real coffee. I decided the weekend was also the best time to try and enjoy this coffee, this way if it was awful, I still had time to make something else without having to worry about running late.

Fortunately, I did not need the extra time as this coffee was extremely drinkable, and coming from me, who does not particulary care for flavored coffees that is a compliment. I would be remiss if I did not note that in particular I find the somewhat bizarre taste that is supposed to be caramel is highly pronounced in this blend. If you like that taste, then you will like this coffee. It is the same taste that I have noticed in every coffee (and some syrups) that allege to have the taste of caramel, so this one is no worse than any other, but no better either.

The hints of dark cocoa chocolate taste were there, but suprisingly not overbearing, and if it wasn't for the caramel twinge I may have actually thought this was GOOD. But unfortunately I had to seek out the chocolate taste from under the chemical taste of the caramel.

Who would like this coffee - If you are a person that likes artifically flavored coffee, and do not find the chemical taste that most caramels give coffee, then this is for you. It supasses most flavored coffees in its drinkability. There is no aftertaste or bitterness, and the beans used here are obviously not a grade below, as is the case with many (if not most) flavored blends.

Overall Rating - 3 Stars (out of five). I am giving this higher marks than I normally would to a flavored coffee because even though it was not my particular taste, it is clearly superior to virtually any flavored coffee I have every tasted. If you are one that does not typically drink flavored coffees this will not change your mind. If you like flavored coffee from places like The Coffee Beanery, then this Boca Java Blend will absolutely blow you away because it is that much better.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Review: The Wild

The latest CGI animated movie from Disney is "The Wild" as much as it appears to be a direct rip-off of Dreamworks "Madagascar", nothing could be further from the truth. Despite the similarities in some of the characters, the kick-off point of their adventures (The New York Zoo), and the fact that the animals wind up in the jungle. The similarities end immediately there.

Following on the heels of Valiant, and Chicken Little (which I reviewed here), The Wild proved once again why it was so critically important for Disney to acquire Pixar. While not as spectacularly aweful as those previous movies (except at the box office where last week it did an abysmal $9 million, and I can only expect it to do worse this week), The Wild should have been a straight to video release.

When I read some reviews that noted how much like The Lion King this movie was, I for the most part ignored it, since I like, The Lion King, I did not see the comparison as necessarily a bad thing. Well as it turns out, it was. It both took such obscene amounts of material you can not help but make the comparison, and it is not one that The Wild stands up to well.

There is some humor in the movie for both kids and adults, but not nearly enough. The graphics, like many of today's films was good, but not as good as most others. There was enough action that the movie should have seems to fly by, but instead I kept wondering when it would be over. The heartwarming conclusion is one of those things that should have an audience cheering, instead what you got was a collective sigh, enthusiatic that the end was finally near.

If this does make it another week in the theaters, stay away. When it first appears on video, do not buy it. Rent it, or better yet, like Chicken Little wait until it shows up on eBay or This was not worth the price of a movie ticket, nor is it worth the (estimated) $19.99 - $24.99 it will first appear at.

I think I may have to wait until "Cars" comes out before I venture out to the theaters again. Fortunately that is an early summer release, so my wait isn't that long, which is good

Rainy Day Activity

Well, it is a typical April day here in New Jersey (rainy and a little chilly), so we are going to go and see Disney's latest attempt at CGI animated movies, "The Wild". Reviewers were not kind to this movie, which has me a bit worried, and Disney's own attempts (minus Pixar) have been seriously lacking. But it gets me out of chores for a couple of hours, and we are going to go to the early matinee (half price), so I am willing to give it a shot.

I'll be back later to report.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Sorry... I had to...

turn word verification back on. I know it is annoying, but I am getting slammed by spammers.

Review: Boca Java's New Media Mavericks Blend

Their Description - 'Unfiltered Truth' Lead the information reformation with this medium roast from the prized Tarrazu region of Costa Rica with excellent body and robust richness.

What I thought - I selected this blend first becuase if the words "robust richness" in the description. That made this a bit of a let down. There are many adjectives to describe this coffee, but robust and rich are not them.

The coffee is clearly well made, it has a smooth clean taste, with absolutely no bitterness or aftertaste. This would probably make an excellent coffee to drink at some fancy pastry shop (or at home with your pasteries), where you do not want the taste of the coffee to overwhelm your tastebuds. New Media Maverick Blend will never do that. It is not complex, and at most is has a slight hint of an almost oak like quality.

As promised I tried this coffee twice. Once with my normal amount of coffee, and a second time adding additional coffee in hopes of reaching robust. To its credit, adding the additional coffee did not create an acrid or bitter taste as often happens when you add extra coffee. But neither did it get any more rich tasting.

Who would like this coffee - If you prefer things very mild, you may very well enjoy this coffee. Sombody who drinks things like Starbucks LightNote Blend, or Maxwell House Master Blend, but without the nasty little bitter aftertaste, then this coffee is for you. If you like anything stronger than that, you may find the taste lacking.

Overall Rating - I will give this 3 stars (out of 5). It does not suit my personal tastes, but is not a bad cup of coffee for somebody that wants a smooth mild coffee.

Up Next: Bloggers Beach Blast

Thursday, April 20, 2006

How stupid do you have to be?

If this man came knocking on your door offering a free breast exam? Would you take him up on it?

Boca Java Takes on Latte Man

A while back I spotted this over at Busy Mom's place, and how could I, Latte Man pass up an opportunity to review Gourment Coffee? Short answer, I can't.

So I signed up to review Blogger's Fuel Blends from Boca Java.

I didn't think much again about it, until I returned home from vacation to find a rather large box sitting on the porch. It was from Boca Java, my coffee review kit had arrived. So, I will be posting up reviews every couple of days as I work my way through their coffee.

I will say upfront that my first impression is that this is going to be a serious challenge for Boca Java. First of all, I do not, as a habbit drink flavored coffees. I will partake of one every now and again (like sampling various 'chocolate' blends up at Hershey this past weekend), but I usually do not buy such things because I easily get bored of the chemical taste that almost always accompanies these flavored coffees. Second, not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I ordered whole bean coffee for my review. Even the packing slip reads whole bean. But they shipped ground. Not earth shattering, and I am sure if I contacted them they would fix it (especially if I was a paying customer), but just something to note. Third, I will say up front that I am a tough grader. Just keep those things in mind for the future reviews.

As for my personal tastes, I generally like strong robust coffee flavors. Not necessarily always "dark roasted", there are plenty of medium roast coffees that have full bodied flavor. Those are the types of coffees I generally steer towards. Kenya AA, Sumatra Mandheling are mainstays. To use Starbucks as a point of reference, I drink their Verona, Gazebo, Komodo Dragon, Christmas and Anniversary Blends, but not their Lite Note, Shade Grown Mexican, or Yukon Blends.

Basically if you drink "mild" blends of coffee, or are a fan of flavored coffees (which are also generally mild blends so that the coffee doesn't overpower the 'flavors'), then if I say that the coffee is "too mellow" for my tastes, then this may be the coffee for you.

At a minimum, I will give each coffee two tests, a morning and evening test before writing the review.

And with that we will start the reviews on Friday.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Review: Hershey, PA.

Overall, I would have to say upfront that our mini-vacation to Hershey, PA was a resounding success. Everyone had a good time, and it left us in a state of not wanting to leave, or at least to return again. That may not sound like much, but TheWife and I are prone to wanting to see and experience as much as we can and very rarely tend to care to duplicate things from the past, opting instead to at the very least do things "slightly different" (i.e. different hotels).

The simple fact is, that despite what it appeared to me on the outside, a simplistic vacation where we could see it all and do everything we wanted to in a couple of days, was simply not a correct assessment on my part. There was far more to do and see than we could fit in a weekend.

Hershey Park - this is bigger and better than I anticipated it being. It may not be the same size as a Six Flags Park (at least not Six Flags Great Adventure here in New Jersey) or Disneyland (yes Disneyland, as in the California one, not Disney World in Florida which would be a total mismatch), but is certainly entertaining enough and big enough to keep everyone happy. Unlike some parks, the number of rides for the little ones competes almost one for one with the rides for older kids/adults. You can very easily spend a day (or two) here and keep everyone entertained between rides and shows. My only gripe here is the concessions. Now I understand that you have a captive market in a theme park, but this was nothing short of sad, with a hamburger costing $9.55 (plus tax). Save your money and pack a lunch, or heck you can walk across to the Hershey Factory Works and eat in their cafe, get better food and pay less.

Hershey Chocolate World - it is sad (probably only to me, but anyway), that you no longer can tour the actual factory and see the chocolate in production. Milton Hershey was proud of his factory and chocolate making process and allowed the world to see it being done. It may not be as glitzy as the new demonstrations are, but it was real and that was what people came to see. That being said, I realize that this is the 21st century and times change. Hershey Chocolate World still provides a glimpse into the world of Hershey Chocolate and how it is made on they "World Chocolate Tour", give kids a change to become "workers" at the "Chocolate Works" were they get to work on a "production line" filling a container with Chocolate Kisses. There is a 3D theater which we didn't even consider trying to attend in our short time there, a Trolley Ride that gives you a tour of the city of Hershey PA, and of course a food court and a (huge) shop to buy as much chocolate (and souveneirs) as you could possibly want. You can easily a half a day (without shopping) to a whole day (you would probably need to do some shopping to fill a full day) here all by itself.

Hershey Lodge - this was my most underestimated part of the vacation. A hotel is a hotel is a hotel. I have gotten myself hyped up about exceptional hotels before only to be disappointed. Well, this time I got to be pleasantly surprised. The rooms are nice, clean, well maintained and comfortable. The staff was incredibly (and I mean INCREDIBLY) cheerful, helpful and quick to assist you making me wonder exactly how much sugar they pump into these people everyday. There are three pools, since it is early spring the outdoor pools were closed making the indoor pool and whirpool a bit crowded, but not horribly so. A miniture golf course is right on the premises, as well as tennis and basketball courts. They had activities for young and old alike throughout the day, so basically you could spend your vacation here and never need to leave the hotel. There are three restaurants The Forebay (the "sit down" dining that required reservations, that we did not attempt), LEBBIE LEBKICHER’S which was a buffet style restaurant that had some good food, and plenty of it, The Bears Den which is a sport themed restaurant, if you have a sports fan in the family this is the place to have lunch (or dinner - but more of a lunch/snack place to me) . There is also the Hershey Grill, but that was closed for remodeling at the time we were there. There is even a Coffee Beanery right on the premises serving Coffee, Cappucino as well as pre-made sandwiches and salads plus some delectable (and quite fattening) chocolate desserts. If you put a gun to my head and said I needed to find something wrong with this hotel, the only complaint I could come up with is that everything shut down a little early for my "New Yorker" taste. Now this may have been because it is still early spring, but except to grab a bite in either the coffee house or Bears Den, or grab a drink at the bar, everything else came to a grinding halt around 9PM (now during the summer I know Hershey Park is open later, so perhaps things at the hotel match those hours.)

We planned on and never got to actually see, The Zoo, The Hershey Museum, Take the Trolley Ride, or visit Hershey Gardens. So much to see and do, Hershey lived up to and actually surpasses my cynical view of how much there is to do and see.

If you have the means and opportunity, I rate Hershey a Must See, Must Do.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


The Chocolate Factory
Originally uploaded by JayMonster.

While I am still recovering from having a day off, and everything they dumped on my desk, I figured I could at least post some photos.

If you don't know by now, they can be found over at Flickr

With a little luck I should get out from under this pile of work today.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Day 3 - The End

We are home from our journey to Hershey PA. As you can imagine, telling a child it is time to leave such a place is nothing short of an earth shattering event.

We attempted to hit the Museum before leaving, but it did not open until the afternoon on Sundays, so that will have to wait until next year. Yes next year. This little trip was such a hit with all of us that we have decided to make it an annual event... at least for the next couple of years.

One thing I didn't mention here last week, was that I was contemplating not going on this trip becuase of my mom being in the hospital. I am so glad she was back home in time, and feeling good enough to insist that I not stay home. Obviously most importantly because I was glad she was feeling better, but also because I would have hated to have missed out on this family weekend. It was a far better trip than I could have every dreamed it would be, especially considering it was a short weekend excursion.

More details on the trip, a Hershey PA review, and PICTURES (whatever we got before I broke the camera) coming up, but right now what I need more than anything is sleep.

Day 3 - Easter

The day started off with a bang as LatteGirl fell off of her bed. Lots of tears, no real injuries. Just a couple of more bruises to add to her collection.

Tears quickly subsided when she noticed Easter Eggs stashed around the room.

We are 1/2 hour early for Brunch so the car is already packed for the trek home.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Day 2 - 9:45PM

LatteGirl and I finished our swim in the seemingly unheated "heated indoor pool" and returned to our room just late enough for TheWife to stash away a few Easter suprises.

Within a half hour, LatteGirl, who had until this point showed no signs of slowing down was fast asleep.

Day 2 - 7PM

Back from the park, and just in time for a huge buffet dinner. I am exhausted and ready for bed, but LatteGirl wants to hit the indoor pool and TheWife wants to hit the gift shop, so it looks like I am going swimming.

Day 2 - 4 PM

Dropped and broke TheWife's camera while waiting on line for the factory tour. She has given me a time out while she and LatteGirl take the tour.

Day 2 - 3 PM

Apparently nobody in Hershey drinks Coke products, specifically Diet Coke is nowhere to be found.

Day 2 - Noon

We decided to go to the amusement park first to hit some rides before it got too crowded. HA! We got on three rides between 10AM and Noon, before taking a break for lunch. Now I expected it to be overpriced but $10 for a Hamburger is insane.

Day 2 - 8 AM

We are all dressed, fed and on the way to the Chocolate Factory.

The girls are never up and ready this early. It is going to be a long day.

Live (delayed) from Hershey PA

Pictures are going to have to wait, sorry about that.

Day 1 is in the books. I know I had promised more on the spot coverage but connectivity is spottier than initially anticipated and LatteGirl and TheWife were also more resistant to me pausing constantly to blog (though this came as no real surprise I guess I was hoping against the odds).

The trip out was far more tedious than we expected. Roadwork that was listed as completed back in March, is actually far from complete and added an extra hour to our 2 -1/2 hour drive. This forced TheWife to drop LatteGirl and I off at the hotel and make a mad dash to her Spa appointment. Not a problem as LatteGirl and I spent the time getting some lunch and exploring the hotel until our room was ready.

As you would imagine images and actual Hershey products are everywhere. Checking in included Hershey bars for eveyone, the check at every meal includes a handful of assorted Hershey minatures. Pictures of various candies are everywhere, but I have to admit being a little surprised by the "Kisses" wallpaper and pillowcases (I kid you not). The distinct smell of chocolate also seems to waft through the air almost constantly, even now, hours after all the shops and restaurants have closed.

It is now after midnight, and LatteGirl and TheWife have long since retired to slumber, and I had better follow suit as we have quit the day planned tomorrow (well actually later today at this point), including the Amusement Park, Chocolate Factory and Museum.

At this point I figure to be blogging about it probably about the same time tomorrow, assuming I survive the pace my ladies have planned for me.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


OK, today is my last day before heading off on an Easter Weekend Excursion up to Hershey PA, I refuse to start any more rants, and will save it for when I get back.

The weather here in the Northeast is finally starting to look like spring, and I can only hope it holds up through the weekend.

Tomorrow, LatteGirl and I will ship Mom off to the The Chocolate Spa for a Whipped Cocoa Bath and Cocoa Massage while we head on over to Hershey's Chocolate World.

I'm thinking that the little chocolate rabbit that LatteGirl will get from the Easter Bunny this year, will be quite anti-climatic when this is all said and done.

Of course, if you check back here over the weekend, I will be giving updates, and photos as we go along.

In case I forget to say it later... Happy Easter Everyone.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

So what's in the carton?

Mom is home from the hospital, they still don't know what exactly was wrong with her, but it wasn't a heart attack, and she is feeling better, so I am happy that for the time being she is home and her doctor can continue to try and find the cause. Thanks for all those that sent along kind words.

Now, following up on my hospital rant, I have a new one. I normally try to avoid politics on this blog, after all I have a completely ignored blog, solely for that purpose that I intentionally use to vent and to keep politics out of this one. However, when politics do things to affect our children, and since the Congressinal vote on the matter makes it a bipartisan debacle, I feel it is worth bringing it out where someone may actually read it.

(NOTE: Please feel free to re-appropriate any or all of the remainder of this post to your own blog, or elsewhere. The issue is important enough that I certainly hope I can help start spread the word beyond my 2 or 3 readers).

Alright, by this point, I am sure you want me to get to the point, so let us talk a momment about the, National Uniformity for Food Act. First of all, I must pause a momment (and stray), to give credit to lawmakers that continue to find ways to come up with these names to help make it sound like something you would want, after all, without reading all the legalese, it certainly makes for good politics. This way, anybody that argues or votes AGAINST the measure, can be beaten (verbally), with things like, "Well Senator you were oppossed to a law that mandated National Uniformity of food labeling that makes it easier for consumers..." Brilliant. I must admit though I like Harold Meyerson title "Swallow at Your Own Risk Act". You can see his Washington Post Article here.

But now let us delve a little deeper for a momment shall we? Due to Congress' slow moving ways, many states have enacted their own more stringent laws for food labeling. Forcing companies to divulge information to consumers. Things such as, is that Salmon you are purchasing farm raised (which studies have shown are far less healthy for you), or caught in the wild. Or whether certain products may contain certain types of ingredients (i.e. peanuts which cause deadly allergic reactions in some children).

This law, effectively destroys the work that states have done to help protect consumers. Oh sure, in the law is a provision that allows each state to submit its proposal to the FDA for consideration on the national level, but let us be honest here for a momment. The reason each state has enacted their own laws, is because of the slow movement at the national level, and will prevent the states from enforcing their laws, while this "appeal" process to get their laws considered on a national level. But of course, when you read the letter, that Bob Goodlatte (Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture) and Collin Peterson (Ranking member of the House Committee on Agriculture) wrote in asking for support of this act, you can't help but laugh (well I can't) when you read statements like, "The bill also ensures that states have the opportunity to provide their best, science-based food safety information to consumers in all 50 states in conjunction with the FDA."

An AP story point out that this Sweeping bill could affect hundreds of warnings, including mercury levels. In fact, there are currently over 200 state food safety and public protection laws that are repealed by this act.

Now it is no surprise when you look who is supporting this effort by Congress. Food Industry groups such like the The Grocery Manufacturers Association are so in support of it, they have even gone so far as to have letters "signed" by Manly Molpus president and CEO, writing rebuttal leters like this one to newpapers around the country. The thinly veiled National Uniformity for Food Coalition, is a who's who of giants in the food industry, Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola, H.J. Heinz, General Mills, and plenty of others, of course tries to push this Act as needed because, "...citizens of all 50 states deserve consistent and reliable food safety guidance..."

OK, so now if I have confused you, or you still think that I am just some sort of nut, or unsure this isn't just some tree-huggers wacky far left propoganda, please just go and read the, Myths vs. Truths about H.R. 4167, National Uniformity for Food Act by The Consumers Union Organization.

Then go call you State Senator and tell them to vote against this. While you are at it, contact your Congressional Representative, and tell them how disappointed you are that they voted for a bill that is not in the best interest of you and your child.

There was more to this rant, but I have enough for an entire separate post (and this one is long enough as it is), so I will save that for another day. But this issue must be defeated NOW before business wins another round against consumer safety. You owe it to yourself and your kids.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Trust your Hospital?

To say I have trust issues when it comes to hospitals would be a grave understatement. In particular, the hospital in my parents home town, Bayone Medical Center is once again proving itself at the very least, untrustworthy and bordering on purely inept.

Someday, I may regale you with the horrors of my father's passing in 2004, and how their incompetence, at best made him uncomfortable and suffer or (in my non-legal opinion) directly caused his death (or at least sped it up). These however were complicated circumstances, and opinions can me made from lots of different view points. My father was not a well man, had heart problems, a blood infection. So, my anger towards them MAY be more emotional than anything else.

However, I once again have evidence of their incompetance, and this is NOT a matter of opinion, these are simple facts. My mother was brought to this hospital on Saturday with "tightness" in her neck and chest. (Something she has never experienced in her life. She is also not a well person as she functional malignant Islet Cell Carcinoma which is apparently quite rare). Initially, everything seemed as should be, they treated it like a heart attack, and then began doing tests. Here is where their incompetence starts to show. They did blood work and within several hours informed her that, "her enzyme levels indicate she did not have a heart attack." My mother, being fairly well versed with these tests because of my father asked, "Couldn't it take up to 24 hours after a heart episode for the enzyme levels to become elevated?" They basically put their tails between their legs, and after consulting with another doctor stated that yes it could and that they would be doing additional blood work to make sure.

Now she was also admitted with a fever. After finally being admitted (some 6 hours after arriving), she asked if wasn't she supposed to be given Tylenol or something for the fever. This again set of a series of conferences and an eventual call to the "house doctor" (why they didn't call HER doctor I do not know) and eventually given Tylenol.

I could go on giving more examples, including some from my own experiences when I used to live in Bayonne, and was brought to this house of euthanasia health care facility.

Now I do not wish to bash the many fine doctors and nurses in the world. But what is it that a building filled with (theoretically) intelligent, educated people seem to get dumb? Is it a case of being overworked? I don't doubt it to some extent, because hospitals seem to be the most fiscally irresponsible "businesses" in the world. How they can claim poverty with what hospital care costs is incomprehensible. I know nurses. They certainly aren't a strain on the hospital budget. Doctors visits are billed up and above your "room" costs, so that isn't it.

It is fortunate that my mother is both of sound mind, and able to speak intelligently on matters. Otherwise, I would fear for her. She knows enough to ask for a transfer should a critical proceedure be done, either to Beth Israel or Morristown Memorial Hospital, both of which appear to be at least resonably competent (plus I have relatives that work at Morristown Memorial to help keep an eye on things). I can only wonder what happens to the poor folks that actually put their trust in these people.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

5-1/2 going on Teenager

I so needed to blog about this, that I couldn't even wait until Monday as usual. (Am I destined to move off of my Mon - Fri routine?)

LatteGirl and I are hanging out together on Friday evening, giving Mommy her weekly "sanity" time away from us, and she informs me that she needs to call her friend from school (the same friend she had invited on vacation with us).

So, being intrigued as well as amused, I said OK, and helped her dial the phone to call her friend. Not expecting this to be a very long call, I decided to put off dinner until after the call, just so I could eavesdrop and ensure she didn't start inviting her to anything else.

She chatted for about and hour, before I told her that was enough, and that it was time for dinner. She nods at me, holds up her hand as to say, "1 minute" and proceeds to chat away. After a loud throat clearing to remind her that it was time to end the call she says to her friend, "Look I'm gonna have to call ya back later... Yeah my dad wants me off the phone. I'll call you after dinner"

After dinner she tells me she needs to call her friend again. I ask her why since she saw her all day at school and talked to her for over an hour. She tells me, "We were in the middle of something, and I just gotta talk to her OK?" So, I offer to help her call her friend, she tells me, "No need, I'll just hit redial" OK, so she now has a better grasp on the features of the phone than my wife does.

She then proceeds to talk for another hour. Not talking about anything particularly important. TV shows, Barbie dolls, etc. When I tell her enough is enough, I get a loud over dramatic sigh and she says to her friend, "Sorry my dad is getting on my case, I'll have to talk to you tomorrow"

What the heck?

I didn't think I was going to have to deal with this "girl talk" and her taking over my phone at least until she hit middle school. Not kindergarten! I know kids are doing so much more than we (OK, fine... than I did) at 5 1/2 years old, but geez. I just can't get over this.

Of course what is probably bothering me most is that my baby, my little princess is growing up and there isn't a damn thing I can do about it.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Doesn't this go without saying? - Judge: Mom who killed baby insane - Apr 7, 2006, so now Dena Schlosser will not go to jail for severing the arms of her daughter off. I'm Sorry! While I agree she must be insane (what person in their right mind could do something like this to another human being, let alone their 10 month old daughter), I have to admit that I am disappointed that this will end this way.

I was baffled when the jury wound up in a deadlock the first time around, and am now sorry that she will get off so easily. Yes, in this case, I consider her spending time in a mental care facility "easy" The only just solution would have been to cut off her own arms and allow her to bleed out like she did to that poor defenseless child.

Between this nut job, Andrea Yates (who we will once again get to see on trial this year), and Deanna Laney, it has not been a stellar past could of years for Texas' children.

Friday on my mind

Well, at this time (10:14 am EDT), one week from now the family and I will be on the way to Hershey PA., I will be blogging LIVE thanks to AvantBlog. Photos may have to wait for daily uploads since Flickr Mobile does not work with Yahoo! ID's, you had to have been a member prior to the Yahoo! takeover, which I was not.

Of course, that means I need to get LatteGirl's present from the Easter Bunny Wrapped, and down to Grandma's house before then. (Oh yeah, my mom is making Easter Dinner, so when we get back from our little mini-vaction, we don't even need to worry about cooking.) When the heck am I going to find the time to do that? Damn.

I normally keep my political commentary on my other blog, but I must simply say, if the people of Georgia put McKinney back after she made such a spectacle of herself, and tried to cover her tracks with a B.S. apology after witnesses were called before a grand jury on the matter, well then the members of her district need their heads examined.

CMHL over at Crouching Mommy Hidden Laundry did today's entire post in Haiku. I wish I was creative enough to think of something original like that. I'm not.

Can anbody tell me why the Government needs Google to provide them with data in their quest to push the 1st Admentment Squashing, poorly named Child Online Protection Act? Seems to me all they need to do is get the good on from their own appointees. Seems to me that that catching sickos like hims should be higher on the list of priorities than the attempted "moralizing" of the Internet (and if you haven't read COPA, that is why it was struck down... Protecting Children - GOOD, trying to tack "morals" clauses on the back end - BAD).

Has anybody else checked out Yahoo! Answers? I spent a few days hanging out there answering questions. I like the idea. But quickly get bored with the amount of static, stupid inane things people pose as questions. But then again I have a low tolerance level for such things.

I've trying to find the right way to tie up this post and end it neatly. Doesn't seem to be one so...

The End.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Is God trying to smote CNN?

If Pat Robertson, who believes his god has it out for everyone, were a liberal, perhaps he would state that God is attempting to smote CNN.

Watch as the a light explodes during the show, causing a fire on the set and the anchors eventually opt to flee. Of course this is only funny because nobody was actually hurt by the incident and you could see Linda Stouffer jump out of her skin when you hear the pop of the stage light.

Pin Me Please

Ok, so I like my toys, being a guy I believe it is natural instinct. So it was only a matter of time until I started adding some toys to my blog.

The first one being Frappr!

Won't you please go here and stick a pin in my "Latte Man Coffee Club" Map? C'mon I said Please!


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

At least she understands legroom needs

Breakfast time discussion yesterday:

LatteGirl: "Do we still have the extra car seat?"

Me: "Yes, why?"

LatteGirl: "Well I invited [friend from kindergarten] to come with us to Hershey Park"

TheWife: "We can not bring her, she would have to go with her parents"

LatteGirl: "But we can't fit that many people in our car, so I didn't invite her parents"

April Showers Snow brings May Flowers?

Fortunately (as I see it, UN-Fortunately according to LatteGirl) it is not sticking, but Mother-Nature is again wreaking havoc, and it is currently snowing here today.

My poor Scotch Broom can't seem to decide whether or not it spring is actually here, although my lawn, which last year suffered greatly from Japanese Beetle grubs.

It is actually supposed to be 50 degrees by this afternoon with 60's expected by tomorrow. It is already shaping up to be quite a bizarre year weather wise, but I guess I should not complain as I will take a spring snow shower over the storm that hit the south and midwest earlier this week.

Diet Soda exonorated

Well, now the next time somebody gives you hell about drinking you favorite diet soda and tells you that you will get cancer from it you can point them here

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Please forgive me

If you wind up reading this completely useless post, but I am stuck here inthe dentist's waiting room. I am not afraid of the dentist, but dislike it all the same, so I am trying to use AvantBlog to keep myself from walking out.

Tell me, why do so many doctor and dentists insist on making themselves so overbooked that they can never get to any of their client at their appointed time?

Nature loses this round to nurture

TheWife and I are always conscience of trying not to inflict our personal opinions on our daughter. Now I am not taking about things that are not debatable, such as having good manners, being polite, courteous, etc. Those are not opinions.

What we do strive to avoid are things that are our personal habits. For example, I do not like cooked carrots, I find them... well... blech. But I never make mention of this fact so as to not help LatteGirl to draw a conclusion on them based on what I think.

TheWife's "big" issue is dresses. She is definitely not a girly-girl. My daughter however is the stereotypical princess. She loves wearing dresses, and (her costume) jewerly. Everything needs to be PINK (or purple, but pink is preferred). About the only thing they are in agreement on is they both love to have their nails done.

However, what I have come to notice is that TheWife now seems to be assimilating to LatteGirl's views. First earlier this year it was the pink Razr Phone with matching pink Bluetooth headset, and matching mettalic pink case. 5-1/2 years ago my wife wouldn't be caught dead using such things. TheWife is still holding strong (so far) on her refusal to wear dresses, but her predominantly earthtone and black wardrobe is starting to show some color. Pink being the new color most often seen.

She came to bed last night sporting new pajamas with a bright pink top. I commented on how pretty and PINK it was. "Shut up" she told me, "your daughter picked it out for me." Uh, huh. And she bought it. Obviously if she didn't like it, she wouldn't have purchased it. In the battle of Nature vs. Nurture this backwards battle is clearly won by nurture, and just one more battle of the "girling up" of her mommy was won by LatteGirl.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Review: Ice Age The Meltdown

I don't know why I continue to subject myself and my family to this, but I am a sucker to rush to opening weekend to see films. Now I don't get to see Action films, or even romantic-comedies. No, my film diet now seems to consist of Childrens Animated films.

Now, I can probably justfy rushing to opening weekend, because if I don't, once I read the reviews, my desire to see them tends to wane. I should know better, because a film such as this is are generally not going to get great reviews from the likes of Roger Ebert.

The benefit of waiting is of course not wasting good money on going to see the simply awful films like Robots which I fortunately did hold off on and Chicken Little, which with great regret I did rush off to see opening weekend.

But now that I have gone completely off the subject, let us try to get back and talk about this weekends family film, Ice Age: The Meltdown.

To get right to the point for those that don't want an explaination, I will answer the question of, do I think this film is worth spending your money on to go so in the theater. And the short answer to that question is a resounding YES.

Sure there are some negatives to this film which I will readily admit. The storyline is to not put too sharp a point on it weak. It suffers from many of the flaws that you will find in many sequels, such as using running gags from that are popular in the first film far too much in the second film (The squirrel and the acorn).

What it doesn't do however, is try to pretend it is something it is not. This is a comedy, with plenty of sight gags, and jokes with enough double entendres to keep both parents and the little ones laughing throughout. ANd I mean, Laugh Out Loud. It aims for laughs and it delivers. To try and draw some comparisons, if you consider Cinderella a classic story on line with say a Casablanca, then this by quality comparison would be akin to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, funny entertaining, but never in a million years would be mistaken for Academy Award winning material.

It looks like it may be a banner year for family films this year with things such as The Shaggy Dog already out, and some additional good films on their way, such as The Wild and Cars so I can understand people wanting to try and pick and choose carefully where to spend their hard earned money on the now rather expensive trek of going to the theater (That is a whole new rant I will save for another time), but if you are only going to see one film in theaters this year, well then that movie should probably be Cars. But if you are going to see at least two, then I cannot see a reason to not bring the family out to see Ice Age The Meltdown.

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