Tuesday, October 27, 2009

WTF Is Up With These Damn Prescription Costs

This is the medicine I take to stop a migraine currently in progress. I'd say that it is effective about 95% of the time in stopping a migraine dead in its tracks! This is pretty amazing for migraine medication!

In 2002, this prescription cost me $50 for 18 pills (about $2.78 per pill.) Yesterday, when I had this prescription re-filled, it cost me $85 for 9 pills (about $9.44 per pill!) WTF is up with that?!

-- Posted from Frank's iPhone

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Loved by the Sun - Tangerine Dream


I have seen the mystics play there
Once or twice but I knew they had a reason
Enchantment plays it's cards all right
Hand in hand with the working of the seasons

Legends can be now and forever
Teaching us to love for goodness sake
Legends can be now and forever
Loved by the sun, loved by the sun
Loved

Two and two go so close together
Whether there is hope that is torn apart
In the words of all that's singing
Hand in hand the beginning is at the start

Legends can be now and forever
Teaching us to reach for goodness sake
Legends can be now and forever
Loved by the sun
Loved by the sun
Loved

Who sings of all of love's eternity
Whose shines so bright
In all the songs of love's unending spells

Only lightning strikes all that's evil
Teaching us to love for goodness sake
Hear the music of love eternal
Teaching us to reach for goodness sake
Legends can be now and forever
Teaching us to love for goodness sake

Sweet songs of youth, the wise, the meeting of all wisdom [x4]
To believe in the good in man. [x3]
Both this song and this movie (Legend, for you youngsters who are not familiar with the 80’s) have always epitomized the word and definition of “fantasy” for me. This is one of those movies that I saw at an extremely impressionable age, and it has forever made its vestige upon me (as so many other movies – Star Wars, The Lost Boys, Indiana Jones, The Goonies, Superman, Fright Night, Ghostbusters, The Exorcist, The Never Ending Story, etc .)

When I read a “fantasy” book or go watch a “fantasy” movie, it is the movie (and this song) that immediately comes to mind and stands as a unit of measurement upon which all “fantasy” media is measured in my mind. The movie and song are absolutely iconic and will always bring me back to younger, more care free days.

Tim Curry’s portrayal of Darkness is simply remarkable! He scared the crap out of me! Despite what some might argue, I personally believe that his portrayal of Darkness is his best work as a villain (yes, even more than Pennywise in It… though I absolutely loved his Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers – great character, but I digress!) I have yet to see a movie that captures the classical representation of a devil-like character visually the way this movie does!

The battle between good and evil is so perfectly captured in this movie… especially for a six year old who sees this movie and is beginning to comprehend the limitless radiance of love and what is means to be good, versus the incredibly dark and frightening depths of “evil.” Sometimes differentiating the distinction between good and evil in this day in age isn’t quite as simple as the imagery of unicorns, the sun, fairies (and hot guys) versus the devil, goblins, and darkness.

Sweetie Bird


This sweetie is Dante, although we also call him Pancho! I'd love to bring him home, but he's pretty expensive ($650), and most importantly, Jimmy won't let me get him. He doesn't love animals the way I do. :-(

Besides the money, I'd also be concerned that I wouldn't be able to properly care for him. These birds require a lot of attention, and I don't know if we can give him the time he deserves. I'd also be afraid that the dogs may try to or accidentally hurt him.

I guess I'm also concerned on who would care for him when I'm gone (dead.) Jenday Conures can live up to 30 years! You may not be able to tell from the picture because he has grown quite a bit, but he's still a baby! He hatched in July! He's got a long life ahead of him!

At some point I'd love to get a bird because I've never had one and think it would be exciting!

-- Posted from Frank's iPhone

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Island - Celtic Thunder


They say the skies of Lebanon are burning
Those mighty cedars bleeding in the heat
They're showing pictures on the television
Women and children dying in the street
And we're still at it in our own place
Still trying to reach the future through the past
Still trying to carve tomorrow from a tombstone

But hey, don’t listen to me
This wasn’t meant to be no sad song
We’ve heard too much of that before
Right now I only want to be here with you
Till the mornin' dew comes fallin'

I want to take you to the island
Trace your footprints in the sand
And in the evening when the sun goes down
We’ll make love to the sound of the ocean

They're raisin' banners over by the markets
White washing slogans on our ship yard walls
Witch doctors praying for a mighty showdown
No way our holy flag is gonna fall

Up here we sacrifice our children
To feed the worn out dreams of yesterday
And teach them dying will lead us into glory

But hey, don’t listen to me.
‘Cus this wasn’t meant to be no sad song
I’ve sung too much of that before
Right now I only want to be here with you
Till the mornin' dew comes fallin'

I want to take you to the island
Trace your footprints in the sand
And in the evening when there’s no one around
We’ll make love to the sound of the ocean

Now I know us plain folks don’t see all the story
And I know this peace and love's just copping out
And I guess these young boys dyin' in the ditches
Is just what being free is all about
And how this twisted wreckage down main street
Will bring us all together in the end
And we’ll go marching down the road to freedom
Freedom
Freedom

I really don’t have anything in particular to comment about this song… I just think it sounds beautiful and gives me an excuse to post something about this hottie, Keith Harkin.

Jimmy, Mary, and I are going to go see Celtic Thunder in concert in Dallas on November 16th! Can’t wait! It’ll be exciting! I’ve been extremely impressed with the music, the singing, and the show overall thus far from their current three albums.





Here’s a clip from the Celtic Thunder DVD interview with Keith.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tea and a Movie

Typically before watching any movie at home, I like to make some Irish Breakfast Tea to enjoy with the movie. I usually finish the tea very early on in the movie, and I find myself craving more tea throughout the movie... At which point I either have to pause the movie and go downstairs and make some more, or I simply just endure the craving. Neither choice is very appealing to me.

Then today, I noticed something I haven't used in a while... The vacuum-pumped thermos (s-mart's top of the line) that Mary got me for my birthday years ago. Epiphany! Why not make a ton of tea, store it in the thermos, and bring it upstairs to the movie! Genius! It's the little things in life!


-- Posted from Frank's iPhone

Apollo and Ares Graduated!

So my boys finally graduated from the entire training program last night, completing the Advanced Education Class. The next step for them would be to take a CGC (Canine Good Citizen) Test and become certified by the AKC (American Kennel Club.)

Both Apollo and Ares are pretty close to being ready to take this exam; they each just have one major thing to work on before attempting the test… supervised separation. This means that they need to be able to stay with a stranger with both Jimmy and I out of sight and essentially be cool. During this supervised separation they are not allowed to bark, whine, howl, pant excessively, strain their leash, lung, or pace. Needless to say, both dogs have some separation anxiety issues, especially Apollo! So once we can get their out-of-sight stays (a stay command in a different room from you where they cannot see you) longer in duration, they should both be ready to go.

The CGC Test itself is pretty comprehensive! Dogs must achieve a 100% on the exam to pass it and become certified. There are 10 parts to the exam.
  1. Accepting a friendly stranger – The dog must not bark, growl, show any signs of aggression, jump, lung, be out of control in any way, and must not break their sit.
  2. Sitting politely for petting – Again, the dog must not bark, growl, show any signs of aggression, jump, lung, be out of control in any way, and must not break their sit. The must also not hide behind their owner or fight with the leash to avoid petting.
  3. Appearance and Grooming – They must be clean and allow the tester to examine their front feet and ears, and brush them. The dog must not be overly excited, struggle to avoid the brush, pull feet away, chew on hands or brush, or show any signs of resentment, aggression, or shyness.
  4. Out for a walk (Heel) – The dog must be able to walk with attention paid to their owner, making left, right and u-turns without pulling on the leash. The dog must not sniff the floor excessively or require harsh leash corrections.
  5. Walking through a crowd – The dog must not pull on the leash, lung, jump, hide behind owner, bark, growl, require harsh leash corrections, or show any signs of shyness or aggression.
  6. Sit and Down on Command / Stay in Place – The dog must sit, lie down, and stay on command. They must not get up, change positions, go to owner or move excessively.
  7. Coming when called – Dog must come on command.
  8. Reaction to another dog – The dog must not attempt to go to the “distraction dog,” jump on the “distraction dog,” or cross over owner to get to “distraction dog.” The dog must sit calmly by owner’s side without breaking sit, barking, growling, being inattentive, require harsh leash corrections, or show signs of shyness or aggression.
  9. Reaction to distractions – The dog should not attempt to run, bark more than once, lung, growl, attempt to attack distraction, or not respond to owner’s directions.
  10. Supervised Seperation – The dog must not bark, whine, howl, pant excessively, strain leash to get away, lung, jump, or pace.

If at any time the dog urinates or defecates during the test, they automatically fail the test. The dog may miss only one item and may try it over once at the end of the test to try to get it right once more. They must score 100% to pass! It's the last item, number 10, that we're still working with Apollo and Ares on. They just get so upset when we leave them!

So what are the benefits to CGC Certification? Some animal control agencies use the CGC test as guidelines when dealing with dog problems. Medical facilities may use the certification as a screening tool for therapy dogs. Many property managers consider it when making housing rules regarding pets, and some 4-H groups use it as a dog training program for children. Any dog who passes the test earns a certificate and tag from the AKC, while proudly adding the title ‘CGC’ after their name.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Happy Birthday John Lennon!


John Lennon would be turning 69 years old today. Obviously he will always be remembered for his career as a Beatle. Since the Beatles did revolutionize the music world, this is a certainly fitting way for him to be remembered, but his passion later in life became that of peace!

He used his celebrity to endorse peace; he sacrificed his image and risked looking like a nut for peace; he gave his time, money, and efforts to enhance peace! Did “he” accomplish peace? No. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not an endeavor worth pursuing.

President Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize, and of course the conservatives wasted no time criticizing him! The top criticisms: we are fighting in two wars and his presidency is too young to have had any meaningful impact on peace.

I agree completely – we are at war currently in two countries, however these are not new wars, or even wars that this president has started. Wars take a long time to wind down, and troop presence takes even long to draw down. Hell, we’re still in Germany and Japan, and I think we won that war nearly 65 years ago! Whatever the outcome in Iraq and Afghanistan, I guarantee you will be there for a long time if we still can’t manage to get the hell out of Germany! All that aside though, I do agree that if there are no major changes to our policies with Iraq and Afghanistan in the next couple years, then the president will certainly be proving these critics right!

Secondly, yes… his presidency is young, but not necessarily too young to have had any major impact on peace. For the first time ever, Palestinians are actually taking the US more seriously on our efforts for peace in the Middle East. For the first time ever, Russia appears to be on the verge of assisting the US with Iran – there are even talks of a new alliance between NATO and Russia.


The fact is that there is not world peace. There may never be world peace. But again, just as with John Lennon’s efforts… even though it is difficult and possibly impossible, peace is an endeavor worth trying for. President Barack Obama will not bring world peace, but he has given the world something it hasn’t had in a very, very long time. Hope! Hope of peace.

According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize should be awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." I certainly believe that the president has done this and is deserving of the Nobel prize; however that most certainly doesn’t mean peace is right on the horizon. He will need to continue and grow on the hope he has brought to the world. Hope alone will not bring peace.


“All we are saying… is give peace a chance!” We’re still working on in John! Happy Birthday John!

This One's For You Matthew Shepard

Matthew Shepard was a student at the University of Wyoming who was murdered near Laramie, Wyoming in 1998. His murder understandably shocked the nation and spurred activism against anti-gay violence.

Finally, 11 years later, the Matthew Shepard Act, or the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, passed in the US House of Representatives yesterday! It is widely believed that it will easily pass the Senate and be on its way to the President’s desk soon. If signed by President Barack Obama, the act will expand the original 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

Some conservatives who opposed the act originally did so fearing that this act would muzzle free speech regarding homosexuality. They were afraid that making comments stating that homosexuality is immoral would be construed as inciting violence against them.

Just for these conservatives (who are all of a sudden defenders of free speech – hell must have frozen over) the act as passed contains the following provision, “Nothing in this Act…shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses of, the First Amendment to the Constitution.”

“A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Quiet Night With The Boys

Finally completed a pretty rough week at work and have the next two days off. I am pooped! Currently home alone with Apollo and Ares. Apollo seems very intrigued by his shadow, and Ares is making his never-ending rounds around the house over and over again.

I've decided to sit back and take it easy tonight - continue watching my new He-Man series (which I'm still completely impressed with) and a relaxing drink (a Mexican Martini with a red Sierra Mist variation.)

I downloaded a new app for the iPhone which appeared to be promising, yet has left me slightly disappointed. I downloaded an RSS Reader thinking it would be an easy way to keep up with my favorite blogs; however sites (i.e. Myspace and Facebook) are so damned protective with their RSS feeds. So be it then! I guess my new app will only help keep up with blogs from more traditional blog platforms.

Speaking of blogs, it's sad to see that some of my favorite blogs seem to have been abandoned... Which I don't have a lot of room to complain as I certainly haven't kept up with my blog the way I used to years ago (I'm trying to correct that now though.)

-- Posted from Frank's iPhone

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Like A Bird Without Wings - Celtic Thunder

Normally on past blogs, I would play the song first, list it lyrics, and then comment on it. This time around I’m going to comment on the song first to get you in the same frame as reference and mind set as the blog post, then I’ll have a spot to play the song and review the lyrics! I’m also composing the blog this way to upset anyone with OCD! :-P

I’m on year 9 of retail management, mostly of consuming of retail in consumer electronics, and only over last year switching to the pet industry. I’ve come in contact with all kinds of people over these last 9 years – stupid, intelligent, dumb, interesting, mean, etc. Over the last year in the pet industry I've had the opportunity to meet all kinds of new pets each and every day, mostly dogs. All of this being said… I can unequivocally state for a fact that the average dog is by far kinder, more generous and compassionate than the average human. If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then dogs are better off than a lot of humans.

This is where this song comes into play. The writer of the song probably had a child’s relationship to his/her parent in mind. I look at it a little more literally. Taken word for word, this song accurately describes a dog’s relationship to his/her parent (human pet parent that is.) I don’t know where I heard this quote from, but it is so true – "A dog is the only thing on earth that will love you more than you love yourself."

Dogs love us so much! No one is happier to see you when you get home or sadder when you leave! If you ever wanted to know what unconditional love felt like, adopt a dog! I know that I sometimes have self-esteem issues, but my dogs my whole life have always been a source of clear unconditional love – when I’m sad, when I’m scared, when I’ve done wrong, when the world feels like it’s falling apart, when I’ve been a dick, when I’m sick, when I’m angry, when I just don’t know what to make of things – my dogs have always loved me just the same. So I dedicate this song to all of my pets past and present. Thank you for being such a cherished gift!


I love you Ares & Apollo!

So, now that I’ve stated what I get out of this song and what it means to mean (because I love my doggies sooooo much,) let me comment just a bit about the group performing this song. The group is called Celtic Thunder, a group of five men from Ireland and Scotland. They are a pretty awesome group. I highly recommend checking out one of their CD’s! You will enjoy! And btw, I will be seeing them in concert on November 16th! Yeah!


[Chorus:]
Like a bird without wings
That longs to be flying,
Like a motherless child
Left lonely and crying.
Like a song without words,
Like a world without music,
I wouldn’t know what to do
I’d be lost without you
Watchin’ over me.

I get so lonely, when you’re away
I count every moment, I wait every day,
Until you’re home again
And hug me so tight
That’s when I know
Everything is alright.

[Chorus]


You’re my guardian angel
My light and my guide
Your hand on my shoulder
And you by my side.
You make everything beautiful,
You make me complete.
Everything in my world
I lay at your feet..

Like a church with no steeple,
Where *a* bell never rings.
In a town without people,
Where no voice in the choir ever sings.
If a boat on the ocean
Would be lost with no sail,
Then without your devotion
Surely all that I dreamed of would fail.

Like a song without words
Like a world without music,
I wouldn’t know what to do
I’d be lost without you
Watchin’ over me

I wouldn’t know what to do
I’d be lost without you
Watchin’ over me

Saturday, October 03, 2009

By The Power Of Grayskull

I was (and many would argue still am) a child of the 80's. One of my most favorite cartoons was the classic He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series. I've seen literally every single episode at least 10 times, own the entire series, and used to own nearly all of the characters' toys by Mattel (before my mom tossed them out.) Hell, I used to even have Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain!



What's new now is that I've recently purchased the complete series box set of the 2002-2003 "fresh take" on the classic He-Man story. Of course it has the exact same name as the original series, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

Not to knock the original series, which I absolutely love even to this day, but this newer 2002-2003 series has blown me away. It has all of the same characters, is still very true to the original concept, has amazing action sequences, slightly more mature plot and story lines, and pretty good art work.

Let me go a little more in depth on the art work. The characters are drawn more realistically. For example, Prince Adam is a young kid, but when he transforms into He-Man, he then becomes a huge, muscular hulk of a man. In the original series, the only noticeable difference between Prince Adam and He-Man was a deeper voice and a sun tan. For that matter, all of the characters in the older series had essentially the same body build and size. This just isn't so in this new series. Characters come in all shapes and sizes which is way more entertaining to watch, especially in the many action sequences!

I could go on and on about all of the wonderful surprises I've duscovered with this new series, but I won't, at least not right now. If you were a fan of any kind of the original He-Man series, I highly recommend that you check out this newer series! It is truly awesome, and I highly doubt you'll be disappointed!

-- Posted from Frank's iPhone