Friday, December 31, 2010

New for 2011

In 2011, the state of Iowa will join the Light Side and become a "Shall-Issue" state.

In addition, they decided to retain current laws, side with 45 other states, and permit the carrying of firearms where alcohol is served, provided the person carrying does not drink.

Of course, liberals will claim there will be blood in the streets. Fact is, there will not be. There is not in the other 45 states.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Neat article on ballistics

This guy was evidently a police officer, and worked in a morgue. This gives for some interesting insight on the ballistics of fatal gunshot wounds.

More hiring stupidity

Evidently, people doing interviews between Christmas and New Years have been drinking too much of the spiked Egg Nog.

Yet another hiring manager had a scheduling error. I arrive today at 3 pm and he said he had expected me at 11 am. We had originally set 11 am, but he had contacted me later, needing to change to 3, as he had a meeting from 10-2.

I removed myself from candidacy.

I have a new conjecture:
Companies wanting to interview between Christmas and New Years are to be avoided. Bad JuJu

Coming home from Chattanooga Today

For an interview, I saw a truck bed-liner. No truck. Just a bed liner, propped up against the concrete retaining wall in the middle of I-40, around mile marker 216 - near the Briley Parkway exit.

Also, a 10-point buck that had fallen from the bed of a pickup. It had been harvested this morning. The driver had failed to put the liftgate up. He was struggling to get the deer up into the bed of the truck again. The buck looked to be well in excess of 120 pounds.

Another Job Call-Out

This time, the Stupid Games Award goes to ServPro.

Case 1:
In March, just when I started my current position, I had an interview lined up with them on a Wednesday. The Friday prior, the HR associate (who was obviously new), sent another email. This one seemed as if she had forgotten entirely the first one which scheduled me for Wednesday, and now she wanted me to meet them on Monday.

I had a meeting on Monday, and would never have been able to make it. So I responded as such via email. Since it was now after hours (her email came at nearly 5:00 pm), she did not respond. So I left a voice mail message, too.

Monday came, I called her twice, but she did not respond... until after 12:00 pm, that is. She then sent an email and called my phone (during the meeting I'd advised her of!) and left a message asking if we had gotten "mixed up."

I called her back, and emailed, advising her that there had been no mix up. I had never confirmed Monday at 12 pm. I had, however, confirmed Wednesday at 11:30 am. She advised that time slot was no longer available.

I emailed her, her boss, and the Sales VP, and advised them all of what happened (attaching supporting evidence in the form of emails attached). I told them that had a candidate arbitrarily rescheduled an interview without confirming with them, the candidate would be rejected. Therefore, I rejected them at this time. I did advise them that I did not blame them, just the inexperienced HR Assistant.

Case 2:
Going through an external recruiter, I was deemed a potential fit a week ago with ServPro. Since it was an external recruiter, and since it was with a local branch (not the corporate office with whom I'd spoken before), I felt it woudl be wise to give them a second chance.

After all, they would never pull the interview date again would they?

Yep. You guessed it. I had an interview scheduled for Today at 9 am. I get a call from the recruiter yesterday at 10 am, asking where I was. The manager had changed the interview date and time, and had failed to advise either myself or the external recruiter.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. And then expect me to call you out on my blog.

There might be people happily employed with ServPro, and there might be people with different experiences, but I cannot recommend them.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Basketball Game

Tonight, I went with Pops, his wife, Mrs. Usagi, my son, and my sis and her new husband to a UTC Mocs Basketball game. My alma mater (UTC) dominated the squad from Montreat in the opening round of the Dr. Pepper Classic - a Holiday basketball classic in the Chattanooga area for the past 21 years.

In years past, I've witnessed great play by the Mocs (winners of 13 of the 21 Dr. Pepper Classics held to date).

The format is simple - three opposing college basketball teams, and the Mocs. Opening round winners play the next day for the Dr. Pepper Classic Championship. Teams that lost in the first round get a second chance with the consolation game. The Mocs always play the later game the first day.

If memory serves, this is the first UTC game I've seen in person in over 12 years. When I attended, I rarely missed a game - seeing all home games my final three years. Tickets were (and still are) free for UTC students. Being an alumni earns me a discounted price.

I disappointed myself with a lack of Mocs apparel. This will be remedied soon.

The family fun of the evening was provided in the second half. The Mocs were nursing a 30-some-odd point lead. One of the players from Montreat was at the foul line shooting free throws. At the request of my little sister, I unleashed "The Scream" at the moment he attempted his second shot. The shot bounced off the rim (and only barely made contact). Laughter all around - except the seats directly in front of me.

A little history - in high school, Pops and I would sit at opposite ends of the basketball gym and would heckle players and refs, and scream at players attempting foul shots. Both of us are equipped with loud voices when needed - my father having used his for drill instructing at one point in his Army career. My scream morphed into a blood-curdling rendition of a man getting ripped apart by a grizzly bear. It is quite unnerving, as evidenced by the fact that only two foul shots attempted during a scream in High School were successful. A few more were landed in college, but that would be expected with a higher caliber of talent.

Unfortunately, these days I can only perform two or so Screams at a game. Vocal talents wane with lack of use, and mine are no different. The general consensus of spectators in our vicinity was that the effect was worth the attempt. I was 2 for 2 tonight in successful Screams.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Another thought on traffic cameras

An opinion article in "The Chattanoogan" about traffic cameras prompted some responses. While a major publication might not be able to say what they will about the responses, I certainly can. And as my readers know, I am most certainly not afraid to do so.

One reader said to plant trees in front of the cameras (instead of breaking an agreement with the company), and another said use duct tape.

I favor both of those ideas.

Here are two other responses:

"Or how about just driving the speed limit and not trying to speed through an intersection when the light is red?
Jeremy Allen
North Chattanooga"


"I have a novel idea: don't speed. 
Kevin Boone
Red Bank"

Problem is, Kevin and Jeremy, that these cameras regularly photograph people that are breaking no law. Tickets are sent that are not deserved. Further, Tennessee required an officer sign a citation as a witness, and these cameras do not provide such a signature. Even if an officer signed such a violation, it would likely be against the state constitution, as the officer did not witness a violation first-hand.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Christmas is a time of giving. I would like to acknowledge those who have given to me and my family this year. Here are my words of appreciation, in no particular order:

Pops - gives so very much to us. Particularly to the grandkids.
My sister - she has given us a reason to celebrate this year with her wedding.
Moms - she gives to people until she has nothing left to give. She also gives us funny stories and occasional drama!
My brother- he gives of himself to us. He also gives me hope, as he secured four significant job offers in 2010.
Mrs. Usagi - she gives so much of herself for the family.
The inlaws - They give so much to us, and particularly the kids!
The kids - for providing me with joy eternal!

A friend from Sunday School who has lunch with me occasionally. We will call him "R." I have enjoyed the discussions we have had, and look forward to more.
Right Minded - also from my Sunday School class. I am thankful for his lessons. He is also the inspiration for this blog, and the inspiration for many posts.
Mr. Smith at Spirit Martial Arts - for teaching my son Taekwondo.
Mr. Suarez at Sheroan's Taekwondo - for inspiring me in the martial arts way back in the day.
AMAR - for being the kind of organization I need to associate with.
Mr. Jackson and Mr. Holland at AMAR - for being fellow Christian Martial Artists. And for being unafraid of spreading the Good News as well as the Martial Arts. Two higher caliber individuals cannot be found.
Tony - for being a friend when needed, and other times, too.
Boog - for the same.

TFA & TGO - both organizations fight hard for the Rights of Tennesseans.
Appleseed - for providing the tools for me to become a Rifleman.
Senator Mae Beavers - for representing me and like-minded Tennesseans.

Multiple online forums - for keeping me informed, and entertained.

And Last, but not Least:
The readers of this blog. Family, friends, and folks I don't know. Thanks for visiting.

NPR Gets one right

Link to story.

Story is about a girl who enjoys hunting.

Of course, they can't help but insert something wild, and here it is:
"There's a feeder off in the distance that occasionally spreads corn and protein pellets on the ground.
Among hunters, baiting is controversial. It's illegal in some states but standard practice in Mississippi."
Baiting is illegal in some places because it is too effective.  It's use is not so controversial among hunters, though. Hunters will bait if permitted, and generally don't where it's illegal. Generally, hunters feel that baiting should be legal.

Since baiting brings the deer into the area, it helps the hunter find the deer. This increases the chances of a successful hunt.

In Tennessee, baiting during the season is not legal. However, deer in Tennessee are reaching pest proportions, and I would not be surprised to see this law changed in upcoming years. Our bag limits have been steadily increasing for a while now.

I bet Right Minded wouldn't mind if we allowed larger bag limits on deer, and allowed full baiting.

The Holidays

Christmas is the main Holiday at this time of year. We celebrate on December 25 the birth of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Though it is not likely Christ was born in December (most scholars say the spring, and some have argued early fall as his approximate dates of birth), it is a fixed date of celebration, and the memory of what He brought us is the main theme.

Over the years, Christmas has picked up many traditions from many societies (Christmas trees, decorations, etc.) and incorporated those.

Some years back, the politically correct term "Happy Holidays" was pushed as a replacement for the more traditional "Merry Christmas" greeting. Let's analyze that.

The major Holidays this time of year are Christmas, New Year's day, and Hanukkah.

Christmas, we have covered.

New Year's Day is just that, the celebration of a New Year.

Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, is a minor Jewish Holiday celebrating a time when the Jews took back their temple. The commercialization of Hanukkah has grown in the past 100-200 years, as the commercialization of Christmas has increased.

Another commonly noted event, Kwanzaa, is not a Holiday.

Here's why Kwanzaa is not a Holiday:
The word Holiday stems from the conjoining of two other words: "Holy Day."
To be "Holy" means that something is sacred, and worthy of spiritual respect.
Kwanzaa was formed in the 1960's.
Kwanzaa's founder, Maulana Karenga, is a Marxist. Karenga originally tried to deceive people into thinking that Kwanzaa was an ancient African tradition, but the information age shot that idea down, as Africans knew nothing of it.
In reality, Karenga created Kwanzaa to celebrate racist ideals. From the Link above:
"During the early years of Kwanzaa, Karenga said that it was meant to be an alternative to Christmas, that Jesus was psychotic, and that Christianity was a white religion that black people should shun."

No matter what anyone says, racist goals are in no way worthy of spiritual respect. Therefore, by definition, Kwanzaa is not a Holiday.

Therefore, I say Merry Christmas.

When I almost got "repo'd"

No, I was never late on rental car fees or anything of the sort. But I almost got towed one day. Here's the scoop:

Setting - spring 2006. I had just taken part in a miniature Iaido seminar, taught by my former karate instructor, Sensei Suarez, who was in from Kentucky, and we were both visiting mutual friends at the Nashville Aikikai. A small group of us went to a late lunch following the session. The place was a Mexican restaurant in downtown Nashville.

When we arrived, the parking lot was full. So I parked in an adjacent parking lot. It was empty. That should have been my first sign. Speaking of signs, there were not any "no parking" signs visible to me, or the members of my party (I drove the owners of the Nashville Aikikai, Sensei Suarez, and Mrs. Usagi altogether).

We went in and had a leisurely meal, recounting martial arts stories of old. Toward the end of the meal, the owner of the restaurant calmly approached us and asked if the Jeep across the street was ours. Yes, it was. She advised that a tow truck was after it.

Several things went though my mind, not the least of which was that we did not have transportation back home without the Jeep!

I ran out the door, and saw the tow truck backing up toward the Jeep. I yelled, but the truck did not stop (even though the driver clearly had the window down). I placed myself between the tow truck and my Jeep. I thought I'd likely have to pay some sort of tow fee, but stopping them in advance might save me from having to walk to their place.

At this point, the driver moved the truck right at me!

I moved quickly. The metal device from the tow truck slammed into my leg, spinning me almost a full 360 degrees, leaving a deep scrape and an unpleasant bruise. I ignored the pain, and ran for the door of the Jeep. I got in, turned it on, and put it in drive (the tow truck was approaching the Jeep from the rear).

I ran over the concrete parking bumpers.

Mrs. Usagi said that when I was hit by the tow truck, the crowd which had gathered to watch let out a collective "OH" in disappointment. They just knew the car was towed.

But when I cleared the concrete parking bumpers, the same crowd let out a cheer!

I drove to the parking lot of the Mexican restaurant, and parked at an angle, in case the psycho behind the wheel of the tow truck tried any funny stuff.

He did.

He came into the parking lot of the Mexican restaurant, and tried to block me in. He called out from his window something about me having committed "Grand Theft Auto." Kinda hard to do when the title is in my name, and I have the keys, huh?

At this point, I advised him that I was having none of it, and that he should leave. For a moment, he and his little friend looked as if they wanted to get out of their truck and start a physical altercation.

Not wise - I was surrounded be a small mob of black belts in the Martial Arts!

Not to mention, I could easily have taken the both of them - due to extreme differences in size, and training levels. Sensei Suarez commented later he sort of wished they had tried something. His thinking was that if they got put in their place, they would think twice about ever doing stupid stuff again.

Finally, the tow truck driver caved in to common sense, and stayed in his truck. The owner of the restaurant was "advising" him to leave her property before she called the police. She was angry with the tow trucks that often towed the cars of her patrons, hurting her business.

One of the group of martial artists is also an attorney. He looked at me and asked quickly if I would retain him. I said yes, and he asked the same of the Restaurant owner. She also said yes. He turned to the tow truck driver and got really intense, and "advised" them that as an attorney who was playing witness to the whole thing, they were in violation of several laws (which he named off).

Between the attorney, and the Restaurant owner starting to phone the police, the tow truck men decided they'd had enough fun for one afternoon and left.

A calm end to a wild 10 minutes!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I never thought I'd see this day again

A new AR15 for under $500.

Link to offer. Delt Ton is not the best manufacturer, but this price cannot be beat!

Rule # 1 of Gun Safety

Only shoot at things you wish to destroy.

This funny story sent to me by my brother. A man shot a cop car with a potato gun.

My brother and I used to have a potato gun. We never managed to shoot a cop car, though.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

But Obamacare was supposed to keep premiums low

Obama and company know that this line (keeping premiums low) was a complete fabrication as they pushed the healthcare package into our laps. Now, knowing they will have to do something about the fact that insurance companies will be forced to raise premiums, the HHS has proposed rules on when and how healthcare insurance companies can raise rates.

Of course, if  the government can control the raising of premiums, then the health insurance companies can be driven out of business by the .gov.  This would enable complete socialist control - Obama's ultimate objective.

They are looking for the little wins, folks, on their way to socialism.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Funny Stuff

So today was my son's last day of school before the Christmas Break.

Yes, they call it the politically correct "Holiday Break"  - but we know that THE Holiday most celebrate at this time is Christmas. My Jewish friends celebrate Hanukkah. Kwaanza is no holiday. But, that's a different blog post altogether.

Back on point. My son receives a gift from his teacher - a package of Power Ranger knockoff toys. The package said "Ninjas."

As soon as my daughter (age 3) hears that, she asks to play with his "ninjers" (a really redneck sounding way to say "ninja" - for my northern friends).

She's been calling them "ninjers" all day. Sounds hilarious.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Acing the Interview in Nashville

From the Examiner:


Prepare to learn how to answer any interview question with utmost confidence, and put yourself in the driver's seat in any interview. But, as with all things, this is not a miracle pill, or else everybody would already be doing it. This method involves work - making yourself a better candidate.

1. The Behavioral Interview
Start with the hardest part - making your behavioral answers iron-clad. Keep to the format "STAR":
- Situation / Task
- Action
- Result

Write down several situations, actions you took, and the results of those actions. Have five separate situations written down. Three good situations, one situation that was less than positive (and what you learned), and one that is more neutral. Of course, write down the actions and results, too!

Avoid generalizing: "I always..." or "I never..." are dead answers - telling the interviewer you did not listen to the instructions. Be specific in your responses - specific day, time, place, customer, task, etc.

Review these situations from time to time, and update them. Practice keeping your answer 4-6 minutes in length.

2. The Canned Interview.
There are many websites out there that give 50 common or 100 common interview questions. These are the canned questions used in a "canned interview." Study them. Study them again. After you read through 50 or 100 of them, you will see that there are really only just a few things they are getting at. In fact, they are really only ever asking one of three things:
A) Why does this candidate want the job?
B) Why should the company hire you?
C) What value do you add?

Once you know the game, and how it's played, you can score at will, and keep more opportunities open!

3. "Get 'em talking" Interviews.
This type of interview will have more open ended questions, more dialogue, and more interplay between you and the interviewer. Follow a couple of key points, and you will have much success:

- Be likable. People hire people they like.
- Use a few (but only a few) canned responses. Simple, good sayings that are positive will lend to you being intelligent, likable, and business-savvy.
- Use a behavioral answer when appropriate. The interviewer will like this, and it gives insight as to how you think.
- Remember, you are only ever answering one of three broad questions. Understand this, and weave your answers in appropriately.

Interview Styles in Nashville

From the Examiner:


Interviewing is often treated like a game - sometimes by the employer, sometimes by the candidates. This is not a disparaging statement as much as it is a conditional statement. If interviewers or interviewees are treating the interview as a game, then how does one win?

By knowing the rules, and playing better than the others.

Remember, all interview questions are attempting to find out one of three things:

A) Why does this candidate want the job?
B) Why should the company hire you?
C) What value do you add?

By knowing that, and by preparing on how to answer interview questions,  the candidate can play the interview game better than others. But first, the candidate must identify which type of game the interviewer is playing:

"American Idol"
Interviewers sometimes are simply looking for "red flags" on the candidate. Just like certain judges on America's favorite singing competition look for imperfection, some interviewers do the same. Give these interviewers little to pick on, and you'll do well.

Behavioral Interviews
The most fair, and most misunderstood of all interviewing techniques, the behavioral interview is designed to learn more about soft skills. Candidates do well to keep to the "STAR" format (Situation / Task - Action - Result). Prepare in advance with a few situations, and write out your answers, and you will find that all other interview questions become immensely easier.

"Get 'em talkin'"
Some interviewers are simply trying to learn about you, the candidate. They want to know what makes you tick, what ticks you off, and how they will be able to relate to you on a daily basis. While not as exact a science as a behavioral interview, this process is not to be underestimated in value. Keep the basic three questions in mind on each answer, and you will do well.

Canned Interviews.
Questions in a canned interview seem like they came out of a can. They are uniform in appearance to so many other questions out there, they generally require little or no thought to answer properly, and they generally provide little real insight on the candidate. Employers that use these a lot rarely find quality help, and often will seem bitter at the hiring experience as a whole. Some employers like answers that are "outside the box," other employers prefer the tried and true. Stick to tried and true answers, and try to show a likable personality, and you will have an edge.

Interviews - The Phone Prescreening

From the Examiner:


The phone pre-screening interview is possibly the most unpredictable part of the interview process. Different companies do so many different things in this stage.

In Nashville, not many companies will do this, but the reader is best advised to be wary of companies that call you, want to do the phone interview on the spot, and want you to know something of their company right then and there. If a job seeker has been seeking jobs properly, then they will have applied to numerous positions, and it would be difficult at best to keep them straight.

A good company (and most do) will call and ask to set an appointment for the phone pre-screening.

Interviews range widely. A company may try to simply lay out the job for you, and make sure that it will be a fit. The company may start straight into interview questions. Phone interviews may be anywhere from 15 minutes in length, to over an hour.

To be sure, there are many types of initial phone interviews. The only way to maximize the experience for yourself is to have a set list of things you wish to accomplish. Generally speaking, you will want to make sure there is a good fit as far as working hours, working conditions, duties, salary, and other job-related nuances. Additionally, the individual job seeker may also want to inquire about benefits, or other personal needs for the job at this time.

Be prepared. Do your homework on the company. Have a couple of questions written down that you can ask the interviewer. Here are a few general questions that can help, if others you wrote down get answered in the process of the interview:

1. Why is the position open?
2. What soft skills lend themselves well to this position?
3. How does your company differentiate itself from the competition?

Prepare yourself for different interview styles. Be prepared to go into detail on previous experience. Remember, each question they ask can be boiled down into one of three broad questions: A) Why should they hire you? B) Why does this person want the job? C) What value do you bring the company?

Anti-gun politician shoots intruder.

Story here.

Pot? Kettle? Anyone?

The myth of ADD / ADHD

Here's a controversial topic. But this one has lots of momentum - particularly from folks in similar positions as martial arts instructors.

ADD / ADHD is a relatively new condition. it is frequently "diagnosed" by teachers. (Funny - Mrs. Usagi is a certified teacher. She never had a class on diagnosis of mental disorders, nor did she become certified by a state board of medical practitioners for diagnosis of anything). All other known illnesses must be diagnosed by a medical professional. Why is ADD different?

ADD / ADHD is not caused by any known abnormality - either physically or chemically. This is why experts say it is a myth. All known disorders / illnesses, diseases have an observable cause. ADD / ADHD does, too - but many simply do not wish to name the cause - poor parenting.

"Poor parenting" in this case is the parents' lack of providing good nutrition and healthy outlets for play and exercise.

Martial arts instructors have known for years how to "cure" the illness. Which is really to say - we have known for years the problem - and the solution. Wanna solve ADD / ADHD symptoms? Do these steps:
1. Diet. The child must not guzzle colas daily, nor be addicted to fast foods.If the child eats like this, then it is up to the adult to provide alternate foods. Link to a professional advising the same.
2. Exercise. A child will burn energy. If this is done as play, or structured exercise, the child will have less pent-up energy to burn when you want them to sit still.
3. Discipline. A child wants boundaries. It is up to the parent to set them. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Follow up with promises / threats of punishment, and the child will learn to obey rather quickly.

Martial arts can provide two of the three main needs here, hence the reason karate classes can help so much. The final one - diet - is strictly up to the parent. The parent must want their child to eat healthy, so they can be healthy.

Post Edit:
Several have taken offense at this article. Good! Something must wake people up! It is time for parents to be parents again.

Also, let me expand a bit on the nutrition aspect:
Identified substances that increase an individual's likelihood of ADD / ADHD symptoms include:
artificial colorings
artificial flavorings
artificial preservatives
certain foods to which the individual might have an allergy, often can be: cow's milk corn, wheat, soy, eggs, and yeast (among others)

Additionally, it is well known that a lack or deficiency of certain fatty acids can trigger the same symptoms.

Post - Edit 4/24/2011
Link to an article from MSN Health. And some thoughts on certain parts of it:
"But the evidence is not definitive for a number of reasons. Most of this research just shows an association between diet and behavior but does not prove cause and effect."
True, but ADD / ADHD do not have definitive causes that have been observed and reported on, either. So it would be impossible to draw a direct correlation in cause, as there is no known cause at the moment. On the other hand, having definitive proof of  an association between diet and behavior establishes the cause / effect needed to make an informed decision.

"And when a whole dietary pattern is changed, many factors are involved, so it can be hard to know for sure what is truly the “active” ingredient."
Yes, but the fact is that these observed remedies do not work unless the artificial colorings, and processed sugars are both removed, again we can use the Scientific Method to determine the logical conclusion. Again, observation of facts is what is needed. 

"But because a diet close to nature—with an emphasis on plant foods—is good for health anyway, it is certainly worth a try (if you can get your son to agree).
While at it, you might consider another intervention with at least as much promise: more physical activity."
Agreed. 100%. It works, and there is indisputable proof.

Oh, and for all you naysayers who throw around ridiculous claims of me being "unqualified" to write on this, or whatever other excuse you wish to throw out to cover for the fact that you do not wish to parent your son or daughter... First, that point of view is so limiting in nature it is laughable. Second, my son shows all the symptoms... as did I when I was a child. I have the first hand experience, and I've used logic and reason and learned from others. Result: my son is 100% in control of himself, and gets outstanding marks and comments on his behavior.

When are you going to quit making excuses and start making an example instead?
The evidence is right in front of you for the taking, if you are brave enough to be a real father / mother.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gun control fails again

Good blog post on the recent FL shooting at a School Board meeting.

Two main reasons the gun control (schools and school board meetings are "gun free" zones) failed:
1. Criminals do not obey laws. This includes signs, and gun free zones.
2. Relying on police to protect you is a good way to end up dead.

If this isn't "kissing up"

Then I don't know what is.

An article on the "12 hottest politician's wives."

The list is filled with women who are easy on the eyes, and then there's Michelle Obama, too. Unfortunately, these blind apes put her as #1 on the list - destroying any credibility they might have had.

Some other thoughts:

- It would seem that middle eastern politicians know how to select beautiful women as wives.
- Biggest surprise for me? Socialist Dennis Kucinich's wife. Very beautiful lady. Article says she is 5" taller than him. I don't get it.
- If you told me in advance that there was a wife on the list from Switzerland, it would not have surprised me. But the one listed was not what I pictured.
- Shriver does not belong on the list, IMO. She is not bad looking, but the others are much better looking.
- The comments at the bottom are hilarious!

Monday, December 13, 2010

AAR - Nashville snow 12/2010

The kids played in the snow.

I worked from home.

Right Minded gave me a ride to my car (most roads that were frozen over are now clear). Thanks!

Life resumes back to normal tomorrow, except that schools are still out in Wilson county - meaning my son has tomorrow off, too.

No ill effects at all from last night's short walk, save the bruise on my hip from the GLOCK. I hope that's the most action that this little gun ever sees.

I work again tomorrow at the regular job, and at Target. All told, I'll start work at 8:00 am and end at 12 midnight. That and the walk last night have seriously renewed my drive to replace my primary employer. I'd never have been at Target on a Sunday afternoon had the primary place of employment not slashed pay.

Snow Time

Yesterday, it snowed hereabouts. The snow did not start sticking to the streets until around 4 pm. I was working my part time gig at Target. I asked the boss if I could leave early. Permission was denied. So I walked home after driving to certain areas, and seeing roads blocked off and realizing I wasn't driving home, I decided to walk home. Some things I witnessed:

At least a dozen cars and trucks in ditches. I walked home, so mine wasn't one of them.

As I walked home, I passed several vehicles that were having great difficulty getting to where they wanted to go. Including a 4WD truck.

I was proud of myself for walking 5.76 miles (according to Mapquest) in just over 2 hours in the snow and ice.

I always keep extra clothes, boots, and other supplies in my car - just in case. Worked out quite well last night.

I slid and fell once - on my GLOCK. I have a bruise. The GLOCK does not.

I flagged down at least three cars and warned them not to go further. They did, and they wound up in ditches. I promise you, I did not lie to them! But for some reason, they did not believe me.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Passion before thought

"The ability to learn how to actually Think.  Separate facts from opinion.  Analyze all facts.  Arrive at a conclusion.  And then be ready to adjust that conclusion if new facts are learned.

   There is a large difference between reaching a well thought out conclusion, and reacting.  A well thought out conclusion takes time.  Reaction does not.  One of the curses of the internet, the very net we must work through here, is the reactions, as opposed to conclusions, that all of us have a tendency to reach.

   Ironic, that unlike spoken word, the internet has safeguards against this very activity, and yet reactionary statements happen much more here.  The safeguard is the "enter" button.  When we write something here, we all must press "enter" for others to ever know we wrote it.  We have the chance, no, the opportunity, to go back and digest what we have written, to be sure it was thought out, that a conclusion had been reached, that we were not reactionary.

   The fact that we don't is because we are now in a society that no longer values thought.  Everything is a 15-second sound bite.  Everything is instant gratification.  The time required to actually Think is "wasted" time.  Action action action, all the time, and if you are sitting still, you ain't living.

   Part of becoming a Rifleman is to overcome this social conditioned part of ourselves.  To slow down.  To Think.

   Let it begin here, on this forum.  Think.  Ask yourself "is what I have to say relevant to the first post", "would this be more appropriate in a PM", "have I truly weighed the pros and cons well", "is this opinion or fact".
   So I challenge you.  Start Thinking.  Thinking here before posting.  Thinking elsewhere before speaking.  Thinking about how you can Improve, this forum, this Program, yourself."
- "The Guy" 

"Adding "thinking" to your box of tools is a big plus in making it happen."
- "Fred" (Jack Dailey)
Next post, same Appleseed forum

Yet, on many forums, the Appleseed Zombies do not think. So many of them do not even stop to read what has been written. I think Appleseed would do well to follow the example laid out by an original member (though "The Guy" is now gone, I understand), and its founder.

Recruiters in the Nashville Market

From the Examiner:


When searching for a job, many people use a recruiter. Recruiters , and opinions on them, vary a great deal. Some people - usually those who have been placed by a recruiter - swear by them. Others - often folks who have not been helped by the recruiter - are either ambivalent, or worse, dislike recruiters.

As with anything in life, one must understand the basics to get the full use out of it - and recruiters are no different.

Basic rule with recruiters - they are being paid by the company, so their loyalties will be with their client, not the job seeker. Once a job seeker understands this, and takes the personal aspect out of it, expectations of recruiters will be more appropriate.

Some good suggestions, when dealing with recruiters:
- Don't tell them something you would not tell the employer.
- Do try to sell yourself as being the best fit for the job.

- Don't use recruiters for career changes.
- Do use recruiters if you've been laid off and want to get back into your field.

- Don't think that just because you've spoken with a recruiter, that you have a better chance of getting the job.
- Do continue to apply through recruiters, as well as through other outlets.

- Don't dress inappropriately when interviewing with a recruiter.
- Do treat the interview with the recruiter as if it was with the actual company.

- Don't expect the recruiter to "think outside the box."
- Do take the time to show the recruiter that your experience matches up very well with the job they are recruiting for.

- Don't expect the recruiter to take your side in salary negotiations.
- Do discuss salary with the recruiter - recruiters can be an excellent way to determine if the companies salary expectations will be acceptable to you.

- Don't think that recruiters are perfect. Everybody can make mistakes.
- Do deal with a recruiter professionally. Even if the company they represent now is not a fit, they might represent another company in the future that is a fit.

- Don't take a recruiter's critique of your resume personally.
- Do take the recruiter's suggestions, and also realize that the same resume can look great to one person, and horrible to the next.

More than anything, realize that recruiters are salesmen and women. Their first job is to sell their client on using their recruiting services. Their second job is to sell you (or another candidate) to their client.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sporting news, and speculation

Today, Florida football coach Urban Meyer announces he will resign from the head coaching spot.

I have some speculation:

When Meyer came to Florida, he made popular the "spread option" offense. At the time, this was a new, if somewhat gimmicky, offense. Few teams had the defensive athleticism and coaching to overcome it. Then, enter Tim Tebow - a perfect quarterback for the spread option offense.

With Tebow at the helm, Florida experienced tremendous success. However, people learned the gimmick. Coaching caught up with the times, and the spread option is not what it once was. Tim Tebow graduated, and was drafted into the NFL. Urban Meyer is left with a gimmick in its twilight, and not enough talent to make it work.

But now enter a wild card fact. Tim Tebow was drafted to the Denver Broncos. Two days ago, the Broncos fired their coach, Josh McDaniels. Throw in the fact that Tebow jerseys are among the highest selling paraphernalia in the NFL. Add to that the fact that the Broncos simply do not have playoff tallent, and must, therefore, find a way to keep fan interest.

I sum that up and speculate that the Broncos intend to hire Urban Meyer. It is a well known fact that Tebow and Meyer have a close relationship - almost one of a father and son. The match would be perfect, as the Broncos current QB - Kyle Orton - has had mixed results at best, for his professional career. 

Having Meyer as coach, and Tebow as starting QB, would likely sell many tickets for the Broncos for the next few years.

Public Service Announcement

Recently, a friend was hit by a deer while driving. Though he and family are OK, they will be having a difficult couple of weeks while their car is being repaired.


They did not have car rental reimbursement.

His insurance company is a top tier company, and pays claims well and in a timely manner. They have very good coverage. However, my friend opted out of the car rental reimbursement.

So I have two bits of advice (and remember, I have a Tennessee Property and Casualty License):

1. Purchase car rental reimbursement. It is around $40 per year through most carriers.

2. Purchase insurance through an agent. 

I know many out there think insurance rates are higher when purchased through an agent. By law, this is not permitted (though one major insurer tries to get around it with an "internet discount" - and they are being litigated against for it).

Another point to ponder, with regards to agents and commissions - an insurance agent would have made a whopping $6 more per year (at most) for this particular policy, if it had car rental reimbursement. Most auto insurers pay agents 12% - 15% of the premium.

Insurance agents - like other professionals such as doctors, lawyers, CPA's, etc. - must do significant continuing education to retain their licenses. Additionally, reps for companies (like I used to be) keep agents abreast of industry trends, and policy caveats. This information helps an agent point you toward the type of coverage you need.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Even more on working retail

I work at Target again tonight. Some more thoughts and observations on retail:

- Target seems to have more happy people than most retail establishments.

- A customer the other night, drove her motorized scooter to the front, left it, then got in line. While in line, she complained of having to push the scooter around the store, and back to the front. When asked by a separate customer why she pushed it, and didn't just leave it, I added: "is that the same scooter you just drove to the front?"
The customer responded "I did not drive it, I had to push it with my legs."
I replied "I saw you driving it." Two other customers said the same!
The one customer left without saying a word.

- If something ever happens such that I am no longer married, Target is a good place to go to find attractive females. Many more than one would find in a Wal Mart.

- Sometimes machines decide not to enter scanned merchandise. Folks get stuff free. Some people are honest - a lot more than I would have thought.

- Some clothes should not be manufactured in some sizes. But I already knew that!

- People call in "sick" to retail jobs a lot. A lot more than I'd have thought.

NYT gets it wrong on guns... as usual.

This NYT article, talks about the increasing dangers to park rangers across America.

Sadly, and errantly, they mentioned the 2009 law allowing law abiding citizens to carry in National Parks (provided State or Local ordinances permit carry) as a contributing factor.

If anything, armed good guys would be helpful to law enforcement.

And for the record, the two unfortunate losses mentioned in the article did not happen at the hands of a person who was legally carrying.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I won't call it a win

Seems that the Congress has made a deal to pass an extension of the Bush tax cuts.
Except for those earning $200K per year.

Link to story. 

But only a 2-year extension? Give me a break.



Link to story

Looks like the entire package of tax cuts was extended for 2 years. And unemployment extended for 13 more months.

Not a win at all.

The tax cuts need to be permanent, and unemployment is too long as it is.

When to "fold 'em"

From the Examiner:


"You gotta know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em," is the famous line from the song "The Gambler," made famous by Kenny Rogers. This song contains some shrewd advice for those who gamble. The same advice is true of people who are in the middle of  the interview process. Some positions are just not a good fit, and there is no sense in wasting more of your time - or the prospective employer's time.

A major source of imperfect fit is in the salary department. There are many reasons prospective employers might pay lower than the norm for positions in Nashville. Some employers have a business plan based around the lower paying end of the scale. Some are trying to take advantage of the poor economic conditions. Some employers are unaware of how much they should be offering. Still other employers are trying to see if the candidate will accept lower pay (for any number of reasons).

Regardless of the company's reason for having an unacceptably low salary, the job seeker is best advised to politely inform the company that there is no fit. In the book "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu, the author advises of the wisdom in allowing an opponent to save face. Sun Tzu advocates (page ten of this link): "When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard." This is good advice. The candidate should graciously and simply state that the salary range will be a poor fit, and thank the interviewer for his or her time.

A good response might be:
"Mr. Smith, I would like to thank you for your time. Unfortunately, the salary your company is able to offer is lower than I am prepared to accept. In the interest of saving your time and mine, I would like to respectfully request that my name be removed from consideration. I wish you well in finding the right candidate."

Never directly accuse, and never be impolite. There is simply no need. If pressed for a more detailed reason why you are withdrawing from consideration, a simple response is best:
"Salary is a major component of a good fit, and right now my salary expectations are closer to the $xx,xxx range."
Do not get into an argument about what range is and is not acceptable. This has no benefit, and can burn a bridge that you might need later.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

More proof global warming is a scam

Link here to story

As if we actually needed more proof. Thanks wikileaks!

Good shoot - not far from where I work

In Nashville, a couple of robbers ordered a pizza and decided they would try to rob the delivery driver.

Bad move.

The delivery man had a valid Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit, and drew his weapon and fired. One bad guy down, the others fled in fear.

Link to news clip on the story.

For those who think that staying in nice areas will keep you safe from crime, know that this is mostly true. However, this particular incident happened in Brentwood - one of the safest areas in the state. It is also one of the top 10 wealthiest ZIP codes in the nation.

Friday, December 3, 2010

From the mouths of babes...

Last week, I was at a Wal Mart in Chattanooga. I needed some rice for the Thanksgiving gumbo I was going to cook on Thanksgiving. My wife was looking for other merchandise, and I had the kids.

When I found what I needed, I texted my wife to meet me in the sporting goods section. She happened to arrive at the same time I did. We both got to witness something cute.

My daughter, who just turned 3, looks at the gun case, and then sticks out a pouty lip - obviously saddened by something. I asked her what was wrong.

Her reply?

"There's no pink gun."

Immediately, the nice gentleman behind the counter started telling her that he could order a pink gun!

We politely declined, as we will not be getting her a gun for at least two more years.

The day of Thanksgiving, the same gentleman was behind the same counter. I was there getting ammo for the in-laws as we went shooting later that day. Another customer asked the man behind the counter if he could order a gun that was not in the case. The Wal Mart worker's response? "Well, I don't know..."

Guess this other customer was not a cute little 3-year-old girl wanting a pink gun!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Negotiating salaries the soft way

From the Examiner:

When it comes time to negotiate salaries, there are several effective methods employed by job seekers. Those in sales and management should aggressively negotiate. After all, who would want a sales superstar that can't sell you on why you should pay them $5000 more per year?

For Nashville job seekers in less aggressive roles, there are a few suggestions to be had so that the candidate does not come across as pushy or greedy.

First, understand the lingo. A recent job seeker wrote in of applying online to a Nashville job. On one screen of the online application, there was a question: "what is the minimum salary for which you would work in this position?" On the very next screen, the computer had changed the wording to state "desired salary: $xx,xxx." Prima facie evidence of what recruiters have known for years - ask the minimum salary, and use verbal gymnastics to turn that into the desired salary.

Second, understand the rules. Since the reader now knows that "minimum salary expectations" is the same as "desired salary" to so many hiring managers, adapt accordingly. If your goal is to get a salary of $35,000, then up your minimum to more than that (to leave room for actual negotiation). But be wary - do not jump the goal up so high as to price yourself completely out of the market.

Another part of understanding the rules is to understand a "win-win." Using the previous example, If you are currently making $32K, and you want to make $35K in your next position, state that your minimum salary consideration is $37K. That way, if the employer counter-offers at $35K, you can accept the offer, and both you and the employer are happy with the end results.

Third, do not disclose your current salary if you are looking for an increase. Remember, the hiring influence will automatically revert to the lowest number that comes out of your mouth. If asked a range, place your minimum expected salary at the bottom of the range, and expect the hiring manager to focus on that number.

If asked to directly disclose your exact current salary, simply state that you are not comfortable disclosing that number at the time, but your expected salary is $xx,xxx. Be sure to add that you will gladly fill out your current salary for verification, if needed, when the time comes.

By understanding the lingo, understanding the rules, and staying focused on the goal, a job seeker can win a salary negotiation in a very comfortable fashion.

The Resume in Nashville

As published in the Examiner.

A resume is a one-page summary of one's work experience. It can be compared to fishing bait: the purpose is to land a specific fish - in this case the "fish" is actually an interview with a promising employer. A good resume contains career highlights, accomplishments, and relevant certifications. A good resume never contains derogatory information.

In Nashville, employers generally like to see a one-page resume. A smart job seeker has a longer Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a summary of it - their resume - on hand at all times.

Custom Crafted Resumes:
Nashville employers like to see a resume that is tailored to the job they have open. Most hiring influences look at the average resume for about 15-20 seconds. In that time frame, it can be a difficult task to decipher whether a person's skills can transfer to the job at hand. The candidate should follow the steps below to make sure they stand out to the employer.

A resume should contain the job seeker's contact information. It should also have an objective,  a "career highlights" segment, as well as a place for education. These four categories are absolutely necessary. Depending on the candidate's profession, a section on certifications might also be necessary.

Contact information:
Name, address, phone number, and email address are the information generally called for here. Make sure that email addresses are of a professional nature.

Since Nashville employers like to see a custom tailored resume, the job seeker should first craft a resume that has at least a paragraph-length space where the "Objective" is placed. Take a moment to match your objectives to key words from the job listing. In five minutes of work, you can easily make your resume give a hiring manager the impression that you and the company are a match made in heaven.

Some job seekers will have a section devoted to certifications held. This is a must in professions such as insurance or IT, where specific certifications might be mandatory for certain positions. If this section is needed, it should be placed near the top of the resume.

Career Highlights:
What should candidates put here? Accomplishments. Achievements. "Do-based" activities (what can the candidate do? etc.). Quantify and qualify. Answer these questions:
A) Why should the company hire you?
B) What value do you add?

Nashville employers verify education more than most - prepare accordingly.

If you graduated from a college or university, detail the graduating month and year. If you expect to graduate in the future, note the anticipated graduation date.

Do not indicate graduation dates for high school, as there is a potential for age-based discrimination.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The old man of rimfire

One of my favorite rifles is the Marlin 60. Introduced in 1960 (hence the name), it is the most popular rifle ever sold.

Among the strengths of the platform, the Marlin 60 is exceptionally accurate, very reliable, and is one of the most inexpensive firearms that can be bought. A new "M60" can be had at many Wal Marts for less than $150.

The tube magazine is easy to load, and very reliable. No external magazines to lose or step on. The rifle is semiautomatic, making it easy to shoot again and again. It is also well balanced.

Among the few negatives, the Marlin 60 has a heavy trigger. This is easily remedied by a person with household tools, good instruction and about 10 minutes to spare.

Some people, mostly online, will say the platform suffers from reliability issues. I've seen this in person and the most common underlying reasons are:
1) Rifle is dirty.
2) Poor ammo
3) Ejector wire bent.

Of the errors listed, dirty rifle and poor ammo are the cause of 95% or more of the problems with the M60. Since the Marlin 60 is so inexpensive, and so reliable, people will fail to clean it. I have seen several rifles that were not cleaned for decades. The Marlin 60 tends not to have problems as fouling increases, then all of a sudden, it will have serious jamming issues.

So many people, by neglecting the rifle, will run it to a point that no rifle should go, then ditch it, calling the rifle unreliable. This is the little underground secret of Marlin lovers everywhere. I keep my Marlins meticulously clean, even though they do not need it.

At an Appleseed event back in May, there was a father-son combo who had just bought Marlin 60's for the event. The rifles they bought were used. Late in the first day, they both experienced jamming issues. Not surprisingly, they were using Remington ammo (the worst rimfire ammo out there, in my opinion), and the guns might never have been cleaned. Early on Day 2, I cleaned their rifles superficially, and they went without malfunction all of Day 2.

Bad ammo for the Marlin - Remington (Thunderbolts or Golden Bullets). Granted, the Marlin 60 will do better with these ammo types than most any other gun, but it is not ideal.
Good ammo for the Marlin - Federal Bulk or Winchester bulk.
Great ammo for the Marlin - CCI mini mags, or CCI standard velocity.

Can't tell if serious

An article on what to do if a Tea Party member moves in next door.

The simple fact that Progressives (read: liberals) get this worked up is enough for me to call this humorous.

My favorite part:
Frequency of deliveries such as UPS are also collectible information as most deliveries to such homes will be weapon related. Ammunition, guns, militia equipment…etc.
Unless one has an FFL, one cannot take delivery of firearms at one's residence. The only known exceptions are:
- An M1 from the CMP
- A firearm already owned by the individual that was sent off for repair.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Very sad news

Yesterday, a friend, softball teammate, and an all around good guy passed away.

Rick, I love you, man. Can't wait to see you again, one day in heaven!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


We all have much to be thankful for. My sister in law has posted every day in November something she is thankful for.

I will do the same on this blog - just in a single blog post.

I am thankful for the following:

- My kids.
- My wife
- My family
- My God
- My guns
- The ability to shoot my guns
- The freedoms I still have left.
- The fact that I've not yet been molested by the TSA
- My Sunday School class.
- Food.
- Star Wars movies
- Fishing
- Warm clothes.
- A nice house
- Experiences - good and "bad"
- This blog.

More to come, I'm sure.

More on the TSA pat downs

Since the TSA has decided to violate the 4th Amendment rights of Americans, there has been much written and said on the topic.

I personally do not mind going through a metal detector Much more than that is an invasion of privacy. No way I'd do the body scans, or the pat down. I'm no criminal, and do not match the profile of one, so they have no probable cause.

If the TSA did have probable cause, then I would have to remind them that they are not a police entity, so they lack the authority to do so in the first place.

On a side note, Nancy Pelosi loses her private jet this January, so she will be forced to fly commercial. I wonder who gets to pat her down. No doubt, they will not want to.

Sarah Palin might be a different story...

Monday, November 22, 2010

More thoughts on working retail

Tonight, I work the fourth time in as many days with retailer, Target. I am a cashier for them in the Mount Juliet area store. Some more thoughts on the job:

- The people are nice. Much nicer than in minimum wage jobs I've held in the past.

- I used to, as a shopper, go to the quickest line. Even if it was one of the longer lines. It has been encouraging to see people do that same thing to me.

- At first, I wondered how long it might be before I got to ring up some poor, scared, young lady who was buying an emergency supply of feminine products.
Answer: First night, hour two.
And this happens regularly.

- When the young lady above, mentioned to her mom that she didn't want to check out in my lane, because I am a man, and her mom replied that all of the cashiers were men, it was evidently very good to tell the young lady that I am a father of a daughter. She seemed to relax a bit.
Plus, I moved it quick, and I'm sure she was glad to get out of there, too.

- As much as the previous two things happen, I am perplexed why women don't just buy extra product, and rotate the boxes. Get an extra at the store every few weeks, along with other purchases, to stay ahead.

- Some people treat cashiers like dirt. Some are very courteous. I like the latter.

- Folks that also work in retail or food service generally treat you better.

- Kids think I'm funny. Maybe because I'm silly with them?

- Parents of kids that think I'm funny treat me best of all.

- Late night customers purchase strange combinations of merchandise.

- Sunday morning shoppers buy lots of cleaning materials.

- Retail managers like low-hassle employees.

Liberal "news" on guns

The Washington Post now has a segment on the "secret life of guns."

If you believed all this stuff, you'd think guns were only owned by criminals, who buy them in gun stores, and then go insane with the trigger power.

I've held thousands of guns. Not one of them has made me want to kill, or otherwise break the law. I must be doing it wrong...

Evidently I have been doing it wrong:

Seems from this article that I've been wrong to work all these years. My disposable income has been in the poverty level for quite some time, and I figured out why.

All the entitlements mean that if someone works a part-time minimum wage job, and collects all the entitlements, then they have as much money left over at the end of the month.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Funny stuff here...

With all the commotion about the TSA and their new outlandish tactics, I came across this site:

Link to funny shirts. (warning - adult humor)

My favorite? "Don't grope me, bro!"

Also, this has spawned a new entry in urban dictionary (warning, adult language): "gate rape."

Interesting notes from my first night on the job.

Last night was my first at Target. It was an orientation night. Some observations:

- Kids in college range from fairly responsible to dimwitted to the point of making me fear for the future. Last night's class of 6 people had two college kids - one of each of the above descriptions.

- I was not the only professional level adult in the group. There were two others: one who will be working for the benefits, and one who needs the extra money like me.

- My brother has long held the opinion that HR people are often less intelligent and less productive than the general population. The poor girl there was not helping improve this image any.

- People working for Target seem to be more upbeat and personable than folks at Wal Mart.

- Target forbids employees from having guns on their property. What they don't know won't hurt them.

- Why the anti-gun statement when your very name is "Target"??? Anybody else see the irony here???

- I missed seeing my kids last night.

- I was impressed that Target actually uses behavioral interview questions in the hiring process. I am amazed that some of my peers last night actually made it through them.

- Safety and anti-harassment videos can be pretty funny... unintentionally.

- Target is anti-union. Really, there was a 30-minute video harping against it. I liked it. Not everybody in my class did.

- I think I will enjoy working here. Make no mistake, the minute I can get a regular job to replace my primary employer, I will be leaving Target, too.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Examiner, First Article

I recently was asked by to become a contributor for their segments on hiring practices. Of all the things I write about, they liked my comments on hiring practices? Wow.

Anyways, here's what I submitted:

Job Seeking Advice - with a Nashville, TN flavor.

It's no secret, the economy has been bad for several years. Many people have lost their jobs. Many more are underemployed. But there is a secret. Right now, there are people in the job market who are advancing their careers. There are others that, though they have lost a job, found a better job on the rebound.

How do they do it? Luck might be a factor. However, successful people do not rely on luck - it's akin to hoping to win the lottery once you get laid off. Instead, follow some tried and true methods. But, more than that, add some spice, and some techniques that have been found to work in the local Nashville area.A few simple changes to one's resume, interviewing skills, and assessment-taking skills can provide just enough of an advantage to help you land the job.

This is like the fisherman's bait. Use a resume that speaks to the individual employer - just like a fisherman knows what kind of bait will attract the desired trophy fish. Jobseekers should have two main documents: a resume and a Curriculum Vitae (CV). The word "resume" essentially means "to sum up," and so it should. The term "Curriculum Vitae" could be literally translated as the "story of one's life."

The resume should be one page. It should highlight career experience, accomplishments, relevant certifications, and education. A good resume will include a brief statement of objective, and this is the best part to tailor to each prospective employer. Try to use key words that the employer puts in their job description.

The Curriculum Vitae should be a bit longer, with more detail. This document should not be tailored to each individual employer. A CV will typically run two pages in length for a professional with 3-5 years of experience, and up to as many as 8-10 pages for a professional with over 20 years professional employment. Generally, however, a good CV is between two and four pages in length.

Neither a resume or a CV should contain certain information. Specific information that should not be included would be:
- Why the candidate left a position
- Derogatory statements or information about the candidate, or any employer listed.
- Problems of a personal nature that affected the candidate's work.
- Negative information of any sort.

Interviews provide the candidate with an opportunity to sell himself/herself to the company. At the same time, the candidate should be observant for any potential red flags that indicate the employer might not be a good fit. Remember the sales aspect of this part of the hiring process, as the employer has many candidates applying, and will want to know why they should hire you over someone else.

The initial interview is commonly a phone screen. These are used to determine whether there is a broad fit between the applicant and employer. Often discussed are working conditions, duties, hours, salary, and other basic information. While some say that it is "conventional wisdom" to avoid discussing salary until later, the fact of the matter is that Nashville employers generally like to discuss whether salary ranges fit or not. Discussing salary ranges on the front end is not only advisable, but can really save the candidate's time and the employer's time, as well.

In person interviews are often the second or third step of the hiring process. Depending on the employer, there may be one or several interviews in person. Typically, an in person interview will take an hour, though some run much longer - including the occasional all-day interview.

A big topic of any interview is the questions that the interviewer might ask. Simple questions should be answered directly. Other, more detailed questions require a bit more thought and preparation on behalf of the candidate. These include thought provoking questions, questions regarding preferences, and behavioral questions (more on behavioral questions later). Ultimately, any interview question can be boiled down to one of three main topics: A) Why does this candidate want the job? B) Why should the company hire you? C) What value do you add?

Behavioral questions require the candidate to describe a particular situation, their response, and the end results of the actions taken. A quality candidate has several specific instances in mind that have been hashed out ahead of time. Many people will jot down several specific instances in preparation. Since the candidate almost never knows when a behavioral question might pop up, they will be prepared at all times.

Remember - the ultimate goal of the interview is to sell yourself. Hiring managers often hire people they like, so be likable. It should go without saying that appropriate dress, hygiene, and manners are to be expected. Promptness is always appreciated.

Many prospective employers will have the candidate submit to an assessment. These vary in nature and importance. Some companies will not hire a candidate unless they perform to a certain level on an assessment. Some companies simply use the assessment as yet another tool to understand the candidate in greater detail. In either event, the strongest strategy is to answer questions honestly and to the best of your ability.

Strong candidates will ask questions about the assessment before taking it. For example, many assessments in sales want an "either-or" mentality. But many others desire candidates to answer in shades of gray. A quality candidate will prepare by learning about the assessment in advance, and will answer honestly, while keeping in mind the way the assessment works. In the above example of a sales assessment, it is not false at all in most cases to change one's answer from a 5 to a 4 on a sliding scale - particularly on questions of personal opinion.

Unfortunately, many employers take assessment results far too seriously. So be mindful. And if you don't get the job because the assessment score was unacceptable, rest easy in the fact that the company either puts too much faith in the assessment, or you really were not a good fit. If they put too much stock in the assessment, it is an indicator that this company is not sure how to hire properly, and this is a good indicator that employment there will be on rocky grounds, at best. Conversely, if you aren't a good fit, your employment there would be on rocky grounds anyways.

Final thoughts
Searching for a job is an art form. There are many people out there looking, and many others trying to find quality candidates. It is not uncommon for one prospective employer to think your resume is the best they've seen, and the next to think that your resume is lackluster, at best. In short, interviewers are not perfect, companies are not perfect, and candidates are not perfect. The most successful people are the ones who can adjust with the times, and "go with the flow."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Violating rights

There has been much made recently of the new TSA regulations - requiring pat-downs, image scanning that essentially shows the TSA agent your naked body, and other silly measures.

One blogger points out how this is a violation of our constitutional rights, and the TSA admits it!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

There they go again...

Trying to disprove the Bible.

I ran across this link, in a forum. The link is trying to prove the Bible wrong. To sum up, the author thinks that scribes either mis-translated, or otherwise edited old scripts.

The claim is that the mistranslation was done and ages of the original people in the Bible, such as Adam, Methuselah, Noah, and others from Genesis were overstated as a result of the mistranslation.  They went so far as to post an updated hypothesis of the "real ages" of these men, as well as explanations of how the "error" occurred. Naturally, this results in a completely altered history, where Noah is a king, and has a barge of grains and animals survive a local river flood.

Problems with the arguments:

This article fails in the following respects:
- It takes a known error in the Sumerian Kings list, and assumes a similar mistake was made by a Hebrew scribe.
- The similar mistake or mistranslation, involved the need to manipulate numbers, either on the order of ten, or one hundred. Base-10 numerology came about several hundred years after the Babylonian time frame to which they refer.
- Babylonian numerology was base-60, and so there would be no need or even desire to inflate the numbers by ten. Proof - the Smerian King list was known to have been mistranslated during the Babylonian time frame. The ages of the Sumerian Kings were off by a factor of 3600 - which just so happens to be 60 x 60.
- On this page, the author makes the argument that the author arbitrarily left out two other known survivors. Then asks the ridiculous question: "how many more did the author leave out?" We know people were left out, daughters and slaves were not mentioned in story lines unless they directly affected the story. That does not mean there were thousands of others that survived.
- The author reference the Epic of Gilgamesh many times. While this is an important historical document, it is also known to be a copy of a copy of another society's attempts to document history based on the Hebrew's documentation.
- The author frequently references Ziusudra as being the person the Hebrews called Noah. Problem is, there is no evidence of Ziusudra prior to the first Babylonian empire - when the Hebrews were taken hostage, and their history copied by the Babylonians (known to happen with many other ancient "stories"). It is safe to conclude that Ziusudra is the Babylonian copy of Noah. The Babylonians did this with other societies they captured, and historians call them on it. But historians with an attempted point to make (an anti-God point), will turn this around, and say the Hebrews borrowed this from the Babylonians. This despite the fact that the oldest texts we have are Biblical.
- The author "debunks" the Ark's size, based on the assumption that it was a local river flood. Of course, had it been a six-day river flood, there would have been no need for an ark at all - just move to the top of a mountain for a week. Also, there would be no need to transport any animals.

This article fails like this:
- First, it makes the same base-10 assumptions, then disproves them. Then in an effort to pick back up, it makes some very unlikely divisions of age using the father and the son, and then for the ones that don't fit are simply added with 100, or 10. Again, these numbers were not the base unit we think of them as. The scribes of the day would not likely have used them. It would be far more likely they would have used 60 than 100, and six than ten.
- There is no account for the known Hebrew tradition of 7's and 13's. The week was seven days, the year was thirteen 4-week 'months,' or four 13-week 'seasons.'
- Instead, they did assume that there was an error translating twelve months into the known thirteen that the Hebrews observed. Problem with that is that the 12-month calendar, known as the Gregorian Calendar, was not introduced until 1500, with it's 12-month predecessor, the Julian Calendar, being introduced just before the time of Christ in 46 BC.
- If you look at some of the proposed mistranslations, you would have to believe the scribes were about six-years old to make those mistakes.
- It uses the list of Sumerian Kings - already known to be factually flawed - as a base point from which to compare.

Both articles fail with known time lines:
- Abraham is known to be the tenth generation from Noah, and the twentieth from Adam. Both articles here will presume that Noah (or Ziusudra) lived around 2900 BC. Neither article disputes that. Neither article disputes the lineage or time frame from Noah to Abraham - ten generations. Abraham is known to have lived from 2000 BC to 1800 BC, or thereabouts. Ten generations spanning a thousand years? Nope. Noah landed more recently than that - about 2350 BC, according to the Bible. That means about 35 years per generation. Pretty standard throughout history.
- The remains of the Ark were discovered in 1948. It was found right where the Bible said it came to rest. The length was exactly 300 cubits. 300 Egyptian cubits. Remember, Moses wrote Genesis - he would have described the ark based on his (extensive) schooling in all modern Egyptian studies of the day.

Again, folks with an agenda are out to try to disprove the Bible. Why?
Follow the money.

If there were more money in the Bible, then there would be more churches, and more people in these churches, and many of these same folks that try to disprove the Bible would be trying to preach the Bible for the money.

Also, old-Earth hypothesis is contrary to the scientific method, and is not, therefore, science. From a quote on what the scientific method:

To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. A scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.
 Folks, we have no accurate method of testing ages past 10,000 years. But some "scientists will deduce that, because they do not want to answer to a Holy and Righteous God, they can find a way of proving the Earth is over 4 billion years old. Nobody was there to observe it, and the methods to date the materials cannot be reproduced, as people have not been around millions of years to observe, so these claims are all phony science.

Who looks silly now?

Last night, Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles looked flawless in a dominating performance over the Washington Redskins.

The side story to this was that Redskins QB, Donovan McNabb, had been traded away last off-season. Many fans regretted that decision.

Last night, that particular decision looked pretty good.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Looking forward to Sunday School

For the past four weeks, we have been splitting Sunday school time half and half between the regularly scheduled lesson, and a cliff's notes version of the sermon by the pastor.

This was requested, by the pastor, for the four weeks of all Sunday school classes. Part of the reason, I think, is because the church has proposed a giving campaign to fund the down payment for construction on a new "children's wing." The claim is that space is severely limited.

While that claim might be true to an extent, I do not personally condone the project at this time. Simply put, we are in the middle of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Starting a giving campaign in a church where revenues are just now back to pre-2008 levels is asking a bit much, I think.

And going into debt to build a building at this time does not make a lick of sense. I suggest the church wait until things turn around a bit. And then, I would suggest they do not take out a loan to do the construction.

As a small demonstration of protest, I have decided to wear jeans to church, and have been doing this for several weeks for just this reason. It is my way of showing outwardly that many families, my own included, are being forced to cut back. It is only responsible that the church do the same.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Banning Phone Books

On the Huckabee Report this morning, it was discussed that some areas are looking at legislation to ban phone books.

The idea is that people really don't use the phone book any more. Most people google the number. And those too old to google the number, likely cannot read the small print of a phone book, according to Huckabee.

In concept, I agree with this thinking. This is one of the few times I will agree with the environmental argument on this issue. This blogger started this organization, and they make some good points.

In principle, I disagree with the ban, as there is no need to legislate this - let the market decide. I know I take phone books and use them for two important things:

A) Booster seating for my daughter (who will be 3 on Sunday).
B) Shooting targets

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Antiquity in the Martial Arts

This is an essay for the removal of forms ("kata" in Japanese) from the martial arts.

At the outset, I'd like to make clear that I do not think we will see this happen in my lifetime, but that does not mean we shouldn't push for it.

Originally, kata were the root of all forms in the martial arts we see today, with the exception of a very few Chinese arts, which actually served as the inspiration for kata. Kata were developed in Okinawa. The majority of kata were developed within the last 120 years or so. There is only anecdotal evidence of any kata being developed or created more than 150 years ago.

During the development of most of the major kata that have been preserved to this day, there were several major causes for the development. In Okinawa and Japan at the time, martial arts practice was forbidden by law. Japan had just endured its version of a civil war, and in an attempt to quell insurgencies, banned the wearing of weapons, the practice of martial arts, and the wearing of the Samurai topknot - among other things.

Since people have always wanted to learn martial arts, they found ways to learn in private meetings. Usually these were held in secret - often in a back yard surrounded by fences. Keen instructors realized that with limited student bases, and with the government trying to find and out their practice, it would be wise to disguise the training. At the time, local folk dances were not prohibited. Folk dance was, in fact, promoted.

These keen instructors - likely Itosu and Asato (the instructors of Gichin Funakoshi) - collaborated and disguised the movements of karate into what we now know as kata. The movements were patterned, and often had a mirror quality - being performed the same way to each side, as well as ending near the same point as they started.

Needs of the time:
Since martial arts were not legal to practice, and were therefore forced "underground" as it were, two major problems were solved by the invention of kata.

First, many people could study under one instructor. The instructor could stay in a location for a while, teaching a catalog of basics, and reinforcing these with kata to be studied. Then the instructor could travel to another location and do the same. By the time he got back around to the first set of students, they would have mastered the basics, and he could then teach more advanced movements, and a new kata. Then he made the circuit again.

This allowed one instructor to teach many students in many areas. It also allowed for a uniform set of instructions. It also allowed for local diversity - the arts of Shuri-te, Naha-te, and Tomari-te. Originally, each of these arts only had a few kata. As time progressed, they added more.

What had happened was essentially the same as modern studies that take place - the important details were noted and cataloged. These days, we catalog with pen and paper, or via electronic file. Older things that are worthy of note are placed in museums. Kata should be, too, as it is a karate museum.

These days, to learn effective martial arts moves, we have videos and many live instructors. The advent of television and the internet has replaced the need to catalog via kata. Plus, it is not illegal to practice martial arts in the United States - or most countries for that fact.

Since kata was originally designed to fill the purpose of a museum,  I suggest we now retire kata to the museum. We have the footage of the masters of old doing kata. There is no need for more. Besides, we have far more modern and effective methods of teaching karate, and other martial arts.

There are some arts, like Iaido and Aikido, that are museums in and of themselves. These arts should retain their kata. Here's why I suggest these two arts retain their practice of kata:

Aikido is an art based around an armored samurai, who has been disarmed, using techniques to defeat enemy combatants armed with swords or maybe a staff. This limited number of techniques, limited in application, yield an art that is essentially comprised of kata alone. Yes, I am aware that Aikido claims not to have kata, but their techniques are so limited in scope, application, and practice that the entire art is essentially five large kata, with eight additional throws added in for "flavor."

Iaido is an antiquated art - for the same reasons as Aikido. Iaido was the Samurai art of swordsmanship. Since swords are no longer used in battle, the practical aspect of this art is almost never referred to. Aikido should man up and admit the same.

In case you haven't figured it out, I think we should antiquate kata formally. Forms competitions are fine. But no longer should we pretend that kata will yield to more advanced combat applications. That is akin to suggesting that we should consult scientific literature from the 1700's for modern reference and learning.

However, practicing antiquated ways, for the purpose of enjoyment, is reason enough to do whatever it is that you want to do. Just don't deceive yourself into thinking kata will be of any practical application.

In honor of Veterans' Day - 2010

It is easy to remember outstanding veterans like Sgt. Alvin York (captured 128 Germans in a single day) or Audie Murphy (who single-handedly took on four German tanks... and won!)

Here is an article about veterans you likely haven't heard of (Warning - adult language and themes):
Eight Completely Bad@$$ Veterans You've Never Heard Of.

My favorite?
Captain George Mallon.
He not only killed the enemy with guns and knives, but he also attacked a heavy artillery post with his fists!

Who is your favorite of the group?
Who is your other favorite "bad@$$" veteran?

Happy Day!

Last night I interviewed with Target in Mount Juliet. I was hired on the spot for part time seasonal employment, provided I can pass a drug screen this evening.

Pay is not great, but the hours will be the main thing here, as they will not interfere with my regular hours.

I was surprised that they asked behavioral interview questions for a simple cashier position. Pleasantly surprised.

The soon-to-be boss stated this is seasonal, but that if I do well, it is likely I would be kept past the Holiday season.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Classic Repo story with a funny ending

This did not happen to me. Instead, this was shared with me by a current co-worker who is also former Enterprise.

The renter rents a car and, not surprisingly, does not return the car. My coworker (MC for this post) goes through the motions. The renter just will not return the car. MC turns it over to the loss control department, and they go through the needed processes to report the car stolen.

Part of that process is sending certified mail, demanding the return of the vehicle. There is a 10-day waiting period after this before a rented car can be reported stolen.

This all happened at the end of this 10-day window.

MC is driving through downtown Nashville, when he spots the vehicle in question - a silver Nissan Maxima. In his rearview mirror, he sees the renter crossing the street and getting into the car.

A few deft driving moves puts him right behind the delinquent renter, and right in the way of flipped birds from angry drivers nearby!

MC uses his cell phone to call the renter.

"You need to return the car now," says MC.

"I'm in Memphis attending a funeral. I can't return it now." said the renter.

"No you aren't. You are in Nashville."

"I am in Memphis. What's wrong with you!" says the renter.

MC: "Ms. Renter, look in your rear-view mirror."

>>> MC waves to delinquent renter <<<

Delinquent renter pulls over. They happen to be out front of a major, famous hotel in downtown Nashville. MC assists the renter in extracting the 287 pounds of odd belongings the renter has stuffed into the car.

Renter: "What am I going to do with all my stuff?"

MC: "I don't care. It's your stuff!"

Bellhop (from Hotel): Man, this is messed up. You are humiliating her!

MC: "She owes me $4000. Now, if you want to pay that, I'll be glad to help put the things right back in the car."

Bellhop - walks away sheepishly.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

On Medical coverage and socialized medical care

By special reader request:

A bit on health care coverage. 

Years ago, one paid for all health care expenses. Individuals sought medical treatment only when necessary, as they had to pay for it all. Home remedies were common for most minor illnesses or injuries.

Based on this, and with the objective of (gasp) making a profit, while offering a convenient service, the insurance industry started offering health care coverage. At first, much like life insurance, the coverage was designed to be a protection against catastrophic losses. In other words - the individual would still pay for any small treatments, but major hospitalization would be covered. This protected a household from bankruptcy in the event of a major accident or illness.

This concept was the ideal. Much like today's automobile owners must pay for small mechanical repairs, but have insurance for major collision or comprehensive losses.

Enter Congress. 

Some say that since "pro" is the opposite of "con," then it implies that "congress" would be the opposite of "progress."

In 1971, Congress was forced into reactive mode. Only six years earlier the Medicare program was enacted through the same legislation that brought Social Security, placing the burden of many more health care expenses on the government. During the next six years, physician costs went up over 7%, hospital charges went up over 13%, while GDP only increased 5.3%. Costs were being artificially inflated so that physicians and hospitals could make more money off of the government.

Additionally, consumers (regular people covered by medicare / medicaid) had no financial interest, so they sought medical coverage for EVERYTHING. Hey, it was "free" after all! They could go to the doctor or hospital for every little thing that they used to cover themselves.

Congress struck back in 1971, enacting laws that placed restrictions on coverage. This prevented people from going to the doctor or hospital for every little thing.

The legislation from 1971 also placed restriction on price increases for costs of services. Now, the government dictated what a doctor or hospital could charge. The free market on health care was now dead - it just didn't know it yet.

Excellent essay on these events.

From there, Congress also loosened up laws on Managed Care Organizations (MCO's - the forerunner of modern HMO's). Previously, it had been largely illegal for a single interest to control the pricing of another business. The term we use is "price fixing." With relaxed laws on this for the medical profession, the insurance companies united, and started dictating rates to physicians and hospitals.

Nowhere else in our free society does the purchaser DICTATE the pricing for the merchant. We are a capitalist society - the market as a whole dictates prices.

But this was no longer true for health care.

Back to the Private Sector

Now, we have group programs that pay for not quite as much as they used to - primarily because the insurance companies have learned to limit benefits, lest the policy-holders spend the money willy-nilly. Agian, the concept of people not having a financial interest in the care allows them to seek care for unnecessary injuries and illness.

That is also why we see rising deductibles - the insurance companies put some of the financial burden back on the policy holder - making for more responsible choices by the individuals.

Pricing and costs had started to level back out, as they do in a free market. Most people had chosen to move away from HMO's, as they were inferior coverage to other plans on the market - both in cost and in benefits provided. The free market had almost overtaken all of the artificial government entrapments.

Again, enter Congress.

In 2010, the heath care reform act was passed. Again, Congress saw fit to legislate what a company could and could not cover. Pricing restrictions were put in place. Essentially, Congress stated that the government wanted to take over all health care coverage - by making it impossible for a private company to sell coverage at a (gasp) profit.

But the government has proven they cannot manage anything correctly.

Government run health care 2009 and prior

Prior to the government takeover, there were two arms of government funded health care -
1) Medicare - health care for the elderly.
2) Medicaid - health care for the poor.

At the time, Medicare was written by actuaries to take effect when an individual reached the age of 65. At the time, the average life expectancy was 70. Therefore, a recipient was expected to draw benefits for an average of only five years.

Today, life expectancy is 87. Meaning a recipient is expected to draw benefits for an average of 22 years. This has made the program far more costly than originally intended.

Medicaid, at the time, was designed for the poor. Today, people can qualify for Medicaid if they have a monthly income of less than $2000. Since this is calculated after taxes, one could qualify for Medicaid if one earns as much as $30K per year. Hardly poor. 

Medicaid has expanded tremendously since 2000. There are several underlying reasons:
1) The Medicare Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2003 expanded medications covered under Medicaid (and Medicare, too). Now, with no financial responsibility, patients can get all the Medicines they want.
This act was passed by all but one Democrat voting for it in the Congress, and a few turncoat Republicans. The Senate vote was substantially similar in makeup.
This was one of the handful of mistakes that President Bush made - by signing it into law.

2) Congress, seeing how quickly the program was expanding (along with Medicare), enacted a plan to reduce the spending. The Deficit Reduction act of 2005 was their answer. As always, it is impossible to undo the new laws and new tax burdens. The new law did slow growth - by limiting coverages (just like the insurance companies do when they want to preserve their *gasp* profits).

And the limitations on coverages have made the product (Medicaid / Medicare) worse for its consumers. 

To add insult to injury, Medicaid has continued to grow.

Yes - it covers less, and still is growing out of control!

3) Medicaid is not run solely by the Federal government. Medicaid is funded predominantly by the Federal Government, but is operated (and partially funded) by the states.
This is like having the fox run the hen house!
States, in opposition to the Deficit Reduction Act, have been legislating like wildfire, to keep their Federal money flowing in. More Medicaid abuses and fraud have been the result.


We have yet to see the final result, but the fact is that we cannot afford Medicare and Medicaid any more.
We cannot afford the 2010 health care mandates.

We can afford going back to the old fashioned way of doing things.
We can afford traditionally underwritten insurance.

And I know - there will be rioting in the streets when the government no longer provides insurance.

My only questions:
1) Where in the Constitution is government funded health care even permitted?
2) When will the current government operations actually go belly-up?
3) For those that believe in the government providing all, would you please name one thing the government has run well? Or even correctly?
I've only ever seen the government run things into the ground.