Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The First Obama-Romney Prez Debate

After the debate tonight, I received this email - "If you happened to catch the debate tonight, I'm curious to what you thought and who you thought came across stronger and more confident in the debate.
Don't be partisan on the answer." 
And I Replied:
As you know, I am a registered Democrat and fully intend to vote for Barack Obama. However, I think that Mitt Romney did a great job tonight, and had I not known some of the facts behind the rhetoric, would probably even be inclined to consider voting for him after tonight's debate.

However, my main concern is the bigger picture. Mitt is a member of a party that has spawned far-right religious zealots, the bigoted Tea Party; and it is this threat of those people occupying seats in the House and Senate that concerns me the most. The president is only one man, and despite the intentions of either one of them, the system of checks and balances that are in place, will (or at least SHOULD) prevent any president from becoming dictator. 

Also, Romney supports the Super PACs which allow billions of dollars in campaign donations from anyone without disclosing the source, which means anti-semitic, racist neo-cons like the Koch brothers can practically buy the election for whichever candidate they choose. On the other hand, I like what Romney says about keeping the nation's defense strong, and I do believe Mitt is a supporter of Israel. I'm sure a lot of this will be discussed when they debate foreign policy, which I think will expose Mitt's weaker side.

What I like about Obama - although he wasn't as aggressive or as assertive as I would have liked to have seen him (who knows, maybe he smoked a doobie with Michelle to celebrate their anniversary before the debate), he's still the guy who made major, positive changes to health care, helped rescue our auto industry and was Comander-In Chief of the operation that found and killed Osama Bin Laden. Though I wouldn't declare Obama the clear winner of this round, I think he held his own well enough.

So, talking purely about the debate - I would have to give it to Romney.  But there are still two more debates, so l say let's see how they play out.

Was this honest and non-partisan enough for you? I like to think I'm pretty fair-minded about the election.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Adopt A Voter, My Solution to The Voter ID Law

By now, many are familiar with the remark by Pennsylvania State Rep. Michael Turzai's comment in which he blatantly admitted that the new voter ID law was drafted as a ploy which would "allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania... "

So, what's the big deal about having to produce a picture ID at the polls this year? Doesn't everybody have one? Why is this even an issue?

Well, it IS a big deal. and no, not everybody does have a picture ID. And the reason this is an issue is because the people who are most likely to be disenfranchised by this law are the elderly and low income voters.Here's the Catch 22: You need a birth certificate to get a government-issued photo ID, but you need a photo ID to get a birth certificate.

Now, I know that many, like me are incensed by these tactics by powerful people trying to tip the scales by manipulating the system. However, rather than wait till the last minute to see if the law is reversed, or signing useless online petitions (just who sees those petitions anyhow - are they even taken seriously?), I propose another alternative, ADOPT A VOTER.

I f you have elderly relatives, friends or aquaintences who are low income, or perhaps not born in this country but qualified to vote, see what you can do to help them get the documentation they need. Sometimes, it just takes someone in your corner to advocate for you and get you motivated to accomplish things. There's strength in numbers, So, If you can be that someone for a friend or relative who needs assistance getting a photo ID,then do it. We got Obama into office through grassroots campaigning, and we need to continue to be active in creative ways to keep him there for another term. 

Don't assume that just because you think Mitt's a twit or Ryan is a wolf in sheep's clothing that Barrack Obama can't lose. Because not everyone share's your point of view or consider's them a threat. If you really want to get Obama re-elected, Adopt a Voter, - and make sure your own driver's license is current!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pistachio Nuts

This is actually Hint #4 but I decided to stop numbering them, so I'll just refer to this post by the subject matter... Pistachio Nuts.

I recently discovered a little trick while enjoying one of my favorite snacks - the aforementioned pistachio nuts. As anyone who has eaten pistachios can attest, every once in a while you come across a few that you can't pry open without breaking your fingernail. I even have a friend who has recently begun buying the kind without the shell (which IMHO is missing out on one of life's simple pleasures). I simply cannot forgo the whole routine of breaking those bad boys open by myself, and popping them in my mouth, one at a time. And I firmly believe that most pistachio lovers are like me in that regard.

But what about the ones that are simply too hard to open with your bare hands. Well, in the rare instance that it's sealed shut all the way around, yeah, you might have to to toss it. However, in most cases, you can use another pistachio shell to pry open the hard to open ones. Next time you're eating pistachio nuts, and you come across one of those hard-to-pry-open shells, do this:
1. Hold the hard to open pistachio in your palm, or set it aside.
2. Pick up the next one and save the shell after you crack it open.
3. Use one of the half-shells (they're even shaped like fingernails) to pry open the difficult nut.
4. Eat the fruit of that nut.
5. Feel good about yourself for not having to throw away a perfectly good pistachio!

In case you're in the mood for some right now, you can get a good price Kirkland California Pistachios on

Friday, June 29, 2012

Hal's Hint #3 - This One's For My Musician Friends

I just left this post as a comment on an article on CD Baby's DIY section regarding tips to keep cool during summertime gigs....

In addition to the obvious suggestions such as shade, and water - I had this to add...

Performing burns a lot of energy. Add excess heat to that and you have a potential health risk (possibly even fatal). One way to combat heat stroke or other risks due to high temperature is to invest in a cooling bandana or neck wrap. They are very inexpensive and I use them during heatwaves on all outdoor gigs. I bring a chilled cooler full of bottled water to every summer gig. (You'd be surprised how many hosts have nothing to offer but beer) and I throw a couple cool bandanas in there, too. You just wrap them around your neck and they keep your neck and head cool for several hours at a time. They'll help keep you safe and comfortable.

NOTE:  I was turned onto cooling bandanas in 2006 when I was playing regularly at the Bahama Breeze out on the deck. There was no air conditoning and sometimes it got brutally hot out there while performing for hours.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hint #2: The Pleasure Memory Release Valve

Recently, I decided to start eating healthier. One of the great side benefits of this is, that I started to lose weight. This essay came out of the experience:

I have this theory, and I'd like to share it with you.  It has to do with the brain's relationship with losing weight…. Okay, so - I'm sure you've heard the term "muscle memory". A good example of this is when you haven't riden a bicycle in a long time, yet you can still climb on that bike years after your last ride and pedal away as if you never stopped. Your muscle memory takes over allowing you to use skills you acquired a long time ago.

I believe there is an area of the brain where your "pleasure memory" is stored. Pleasure memory takes over the moment you see a bowl of ice cream, smell cinnamon buns baking in the food court at the mall or drive past the golden arches. Now, I also believe that you can train your pleasure memory to think of certain foods as pleasurable that are more beneficial than the food you are trying to cut out of your plan. However; in the beginning, it seems quite daunting and this is where a lot of us simply give up. This is because we are so determined to adhere to that plan so strictly, we feel like we're almost torturing ourselves to do it. Finally, one day, you just start eating recklessly because it's just too hard to go through the pain of  starting all over again. That's why I am suggesting the "Pleasure Memory Release Valve".  So, what does this mean? Am I saying you should go ahead and cheat on your meal plan?

Well, yes and no.  What I'm saying is, we're all human. And if you hold yourself up to superhuman standards, you're going to end up being sorely disappointed in yourself. Or beat yourself up to the point where you feel like a failure once again. And then you'll eat to make yourself feel better and the whole vicious cycle starts over.  What I AM suggesting is this: When you're first setting out to change your lifestyle, you might very well cave in. You're basically trying to teach your taste buds to try things you've never had before, or eat things you never liked in the first place.  During this process of teaching your pleasure memory to find pleasure in new tastes and forget to like what's bad for you, you might occasionally slip. When this happens, think of this as your release valve. Use it sparingly, but don't tell yourself "It's over, I can't do this anymore" and then go back to killing yourself with junk food, fast food and chemically enhanced frozen dinners. Just tell yourself, "I turned on the release valve. It was a temporary measure to keep the boiler from exploding." Then go right back to your meal plan right away.

Eventually, you won't need that release valve. Remember, too that there are many tasty foods in the meal plan that you may very well have forgotten that you like. For example, I had forgotten how much I enjoyed an orange, grapefruit, watermelon and other fruits. Some foods you can learn to like, and you can find things to substitute for the foods you'll never acquire a taste for or to which you're allergic.

If any of you in the nutrition field wish to contribute, please feel free to add a comment. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hal's Guide to Life Hint # 1

I started this blog a while back, and I haven't really done much with it. So I decided that from now on, I am going to keep it updated a bit more regularly. From time to time, I come up with ideas that are ingenious for their simplicity.  Here is my first of Hal In Philly's guide to Life:

HINT # 1
As most people can tell you, one of the best items on the market for dusting around the house is a Swifter Duster.  I'm sure most of you have used one,  and if you have, you know that each box of dusters comes with a plastic handle. What you may not know is that you should always keep an extra handle around, because they make the BEST back scratchers.  They're long enough to reach those hard to scratch areas and there are no sharp edges so they won't break the skin. Over time, you can have a few of them in different rooms of your house or apartment; you never know when you're going to get that itch. Next time you run out of Swiffers, save the handle for your backscratching needs.