Thursday, January 30, 2014

Friday Food Day - Burger Wars continue with Oscar Delta in Forney

Don C. Johnson: 175and20 blog &emdash;

Part three of inspecting the area's hamburger offerings takes us to Forney for the relatively new Oscar Delta Texas Kitchen.     (Previously: Burger Pop and Paradise Burger)

As the 548/US 80 shopping centers fill up with restaurant and retail, the area is becoming quite a destination for dining.  Oscar Delta serves up a combination of tacos, hot sandwiches and burgers, soups and salads.  They have created a variety of eats that is unique, and on previous visits with the family, we have always been pleased with the food. MENU

Serving is buffet style with a taco bar and food orders taken before you are seated.  It feels pretty casual but with a definite effort at attracting a younger/edgier/coolguy crowd.  (Austin style breakfast tacos?)
I'm not sure if it is supposed to be a hint for those of us with toddlers, but the kids menu is no longer posted … more on that later.
Don C. Johnson: 175and20 blog &emdash;

The decor and location don't quite take you to Austin or Bishop Arts District in Dallas, but it it is unique for the area.

The Food.  Is good.

Before we get to the burger, a note on the tacos.  "Street Style" is so overused that it doesn't mean much any more, but that is what these are going for.  Fresh veggies, well seasoned meats, good tortillas and unique combinations of ingredients make for happy tastebuds.  $8 for 3 isn't cheap tacos, but it is a good plate of food.  Speaking of plates, I'm not a fan of serving in to-go containers for eat-in customers.

Renee had beef, chicken and pork on this visit, and it looked like this.  Not as good as Tin Star, our baseline for judging tacos.  But if you are looking for a good taco, this will make your tastebuds happy.
Don C. Johnson: 175and20 blog &emdash;

OK.  Burger time.

At $8 for a Cheeseburger and fries, it is a couple of bucks up from an average burger, but in this case you get what you pay for.

It comes buried by fries in the container…
Don C. Johnson: 175and20 blog &emdash;

But once you dig it out, it becomes clear that this is going to be good.
Don C. Johnson: 175and20 blog &emdash;

Good buttery toasted bun, plenty of meat to fill it up, and a cook who knows when to stop.  Two pickles would be plenty on any burger, but the pickles here are good enough that you can pull them off and eat them separately.  You have to be prepared to get your hands messy with this thing, but if that is a problem I suspect burgers aren't your thing anyway.

There was a definite spicy note here.  I didn't dig into it to find the source, but there was enough red pepper heat to clear my sinuses.  If you are sensitive to the heat, ask first.

The fries are also good.  Not too thick and fairly crispy, there is plenty of fried edge if you like that.  Some may find them overdone but that is exactly how I like them.

OK, worth the trip to Forney and easily the best burger I can remember having locally in quite a while.

Final thing… of course we had Joshua so it was a surprise to see that the kid meals were no longer posted on the menu boards.  Luckily they still make them, and it was grilled cheese time.
Don C. Johnson: 175and20 blog &emdash;

And this grilled cheese almost stole the show from our adult meals.  Perfectly toasted with a combination of cheese and queso sauce, and a very slight spicy edge.  Renee may or may not have had more grilled cheese than Joshua.

Final thing, a new dessert item piqued my interest (as dessert items are wont to do), the "Homemeade grilled vanilla banana cake with salted caramel and sweet cream."

I will just say that grilled cake is a great concept.  The salted caramel pushed the saltiness over the top a bit, but that was hardly a complaint.  Dense but not overly flavored.  Tasty.

Don C. Johnson: 175and20 blog &emdash;


Unique menu and a nice place to sit and eat
Priced at a point that makes it a possibility for a nice lunch or good and quick dinner
Good.  Food.

Disapperance of children's menu has me wondering
I'd rather have a plastic basket than a round aluminum foil to-go bowl.
There are still a few empty storefronts, but I could see parking being an issue later when all of the restaurants hit peak capacity.

Definitely worth a visit…

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

MOW Madness Jan. 29

I failed as a politics junkie… missing both the State of the Union address and the Kaufman GOP Candidate Forum in Forney last night.  Of course working all day was the better option in the long run.

It sounds like candidate forum in Forney had some interesting moments.  I'm waiting to see who comes up with video.  The Tribune has a photo gallery here…

Whataburger is coming to Kaufman.  That's a winner.

Gary at the Tribune questions the City of Terrell's methods in working toward a new police facility.  The city definitely needs police facilities, and, while the leaders in place have taken a strange circuit to get there (with some wasted funds to boot), they are elected to get things done.  I hope the people get behind the effort myself.

Seems like skipping the Grammys was a wise move.  Vulgarity and shock value will continue to be embraced, no surprise there.

If you are a word nerd like me, this is good stuff.  Oh, and it is also about Wendy Davis, politics and culture.

There could be a more professional way to "tell off" a reporter than threatening to throw him off a balcony and break him in half.

Great photo/ad concept.. Know where you stand.

German cows explode their own barn.  One cow suffered burns.  I guess they know who did it.

Also funny, many news organizations went ahead and linked cows to climate change with that story.

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday night mayhem Jan. 27

A reminder that it is warm somewhere in the world.

I skipped the Lieutenant Governor debate tonight because I had work to do, and I will miss the second Kaufman County Republican Candidate Forum in Forney Tuesday as well.  Paying the bills is good though.

That Lt. Gov. job is quite important, by the way.

There is certainly room for all kinds of opinions, but the idea that raising a family is somehow a waste of one's potential is ridiculous.  And that is not to mention Ms. Glass' demeaning of people who do basic labor work that is inferred in the article.  What it amounts to is not feminism, but a promotion of one definition of achievement, and a rebellion against any sort of traditional values.  And goes to show just how repugnant some self-appointed thought leaders can be.

For those who haven't seen it… Duracell's commercial with the Seattle Seahawks' Derrick Coleman is brilliant.

This is a horrible tragedy.. the worst of fire and freezing temperatures.

How about real locations that would make great super-villian lairs?

Some of 2013's most viral (and funny) video advertisements.

Coke cans hold up a little better to lava than I would have expected.  But only a little.

That's all for now,

Have a great week everybody!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Candidate Forum video - part one, candidate introductions

My apologies for the poor audio quality… I decided to shoot video at the last minute and it shows.  The lighting wasn't so good either, but oh well.

The candidate intros are broken up into four segments for your viewing pleasure.  I will get to the Q&A and closing remarks at some point.

Opening remarks by all of the candidates present after the jump.

Friday Food Day - Paradise Burger in Kaufman

Don C. Johnson: 175and20 blog &emdash;

I will spend a few weeks on the burger quest, so as promised, I made the trip to Paradise Burger… and it was good. What I was not expecting was that it is very much related to last week's Burger Pop visit.

More after the break…

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Remember, when using Facebook, you are the product, not the customer.

I had an interesting disagreement with a Facebook friend recently, and I think it might be useful to discuss what social media is (and is not) for those of us who use it for personal and business communication.

Long story short, a friend of mine posted an image that I found inappropriate, and I clicked through to report it as such.  It was a beach image of a dude wearing as little cloth as can be considered clothing, which is to say, he was anatomically correct.  It was absurd and not what I want popping up in the space we all share online.

The response from my friend was a public outcry and surprise that someone would find that unacceptable, so let's talk about it.

While Facebook has elements of a public forum for users, it is very much a business.  And as a business, the company has to do its best create value for its customers.

And we are not the customers.

We are not the customers of social media, we are the product.  In exchange for the communication tools and community experiences Facebook gives us, we allow ourselves to be advertised to and give them information about ourselves to be bought and sold.

The real customers for social media companies are the advertisers and information companies that pay for the ability to sell us stuff.

In order to have a profitable amount of "Product" (you and me) to sell, Facebook has to create an environment that is acceptable and useful enough for to keep us coming back.

And since they need us to be there, we get to have some input on the community environment of the service.  And by doing so, we get to shape what kind of experience we have.

So, yes, I'm an old curmudgeon with a sense of common decency that does not appreciate a dude hanging out in all his glory on the beach popping up the virtual walls of Facebook.

The reality of it is that in one sense Facebook is no different from a shopping mall.  We have the right (and responsibility) to either help create an environment where we want to participate or vote with our feet and leave.  If I saw the same image (or just some dude walking around wearing nada for that matter) hanging at the mall, I would talk to the manager.

On Facebook, the only way to alter the experience is via feedback to management, and they get to decide what type of environment they want to provide for us.

I like social media a lot.  And a big part of what makes it fun is the amazing diversity of opinions, beliefs, thoughts and humor.

But as with society in general, we have to have meet in the middle on some sort of common decency standards to make the experience as pleasant as possible for as many people as possible.  It is in the best interest of the company, and us, their willing products.

So if something crosses the line, you bet I will complain.  And I hope you will too.  Keep it classy, folks.

Now, one other note.  My friend rightly noted that I could have easily "hidden" that particular post so that it didn't show up.  I could also have blocked all content from my friend from popping into my timeline.  Or I could have even "unfriended" my friend.

It seems that these options would have been less offensive, and so maybe a private note and "unfollowing" the post would have appropriate.  However, in this case, my goal was not to simply be shaded from something I did not want to see.  It was to help shape the environment that we share online.

And I don't want to unfriend people who obviously think differently than me, because it is from them that I learn the most.

Just my $.02.  If it is even worth that much.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thoughts on how Christians approach abortion.

It is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

In Christian circles we hear a lot of "love the sinner, hate the sin," and other little tidbits for dealing with   people whose beliefs differ from our own.  And as best I can tell, that comes across to non-believers like millionaire TV preachers.  It doesn't compute at all.

Because at the end of the day, we aren't really separate from our actions.  What we do truly is part of who we are at a given point in time.

And so when we attack abortion as murder, and then try to attach some sort of "but God loves you anyway and so do I" to it, the whole sentiment is impossibly shallow.

I think the same thing is true when we make broad and damning statements about abortion within the church walls, alienating and shaming the ladies who are believers that made that choice at some point, and there are a lot more than we probably imagine.

But for the church, I think our call is one of much more empathy.  And that empathy has to come from a place of realizing that Jesus' standard for "hating the sin" put us all in the category of murderers.  Which is a bit hard to get my mind around.

Jesus said in Matthew 5 ...
21 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’[d] 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone,[e] you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot,[f] you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone,[g] you are in danger of the fires of hell.

If we are to take that at face value and apply it to our own sinful nature, it means a very hard look in the mirror before we start talking to someone else about hating their sin.

When we get that figured out about our own lives, we can approach someone else about their choices with the full understanding that we, too are guilty.  We aren't the ones who can separate sins and sinners.  And we aren't the ones who can pass judgement.

Don't get me wrong, in politics and society, I am all for restricting or eliminating abortion as a practice altogether. (Don't even start on life-of-the-mother issues, of course that is a matter between a woman, her doctor and God).

But as Christians making moral and faith-based arguments against the abortion, we must also remember that condemning the sin IS condemning the sinner.  And we, too, are sinners before grace.

Theologically and philosophically I am way out of my depth here, but I know that trying to have meaningful connections with abortion supporters has been hampered by some of the strange ideas that I learned in church growing up.

I was born in 1976, and I'm pretty happy that although my mom had two daughters already, and was in the process of entering her career in education, she had me anyway.  Thanks Mom.

Watching my son Joshua grow, and seeing the amazing potential that comes with every new little person is an incredible daily reminder of what we lose as a nation by allowing abortion to be commonplace.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Quick take - Kaufman County Republican candidate forum #1

It was a night of drama and intrigue, with intense and thoughtful discussion.  Well, at least some of that did happen.

With a few exceptions, the first Kaufman County Republican Candidate Forum was just what you'd expect from a county-level political event.  Candidates struggling to differentiate themselves, and an audience of candidates' supporters but few non-committed voters.  Both the greatness of our political system and some of its most frustrating parts all rolled into one event.  

If you like political theater, well, it is fun, but if you don't, then it is probably worse than a plane trip with a toddler.  If that is you, don't bother jumping to the whole post below :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday night mayhem - Jan. 20

Lots of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quotes floating around today.  The one that kicks me the most this year .. "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

With lots of dried grass and brush, wind and dry days, fire danger is high.  It doesn't take much of a spark, be mindful folks.  Only you can prevent wildfires.

On the same topic… don't mess around with gas leaks … one dead in house explosion in Van Zandt County.

I'm not surprised that we are finding out Wendy Davis is who she is.  And I doubt the scrutiny and revelations in coming days will hurt her among her core supporters (who care most about unrestricted abortion).  But I think her reaction of blaming her opponents for her own political missteps is telling.  Seems she had a thin skin when running for Fort Worth City Council too.

Coffee after learning something can help you retain the knowledge?  I didn't need another reason, but OK, I will stick with the coffee drinking.

The dark side of the moon is turquoise.  And money was spent figuring this out?

Ted Cruz is not very photogenic.  And whoever shot the image didn't exactly help him out with that lighting.

One good reason that I won't pursue a career driving an ambulance.  I would lose the keys.

Has anybody watched this History Channel documentary about the rock wall under Rockwall?  I would but I don't subscribe to any cable network.  Cheapskate.

A 12-course meal.  In a can.

I hope your week is starting well.  Keep the shiny side up.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Food Day - Burger Pop in Seagoville

I am not a high class foodie.  But as Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy said, "Food is essential to life, therefore make it good."  And so I will share what I find in the area that is good.  And sometimes maybe what is not so good.

Don C. Johnson: 175and20 blog &emdash;

We shall kick this off with the search for great burgers.  And this newish place close to home in Seagoville has opened to rave reviews from the locals.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Better late than never? Thursday links and things.

Yup, that is my wonderful son climbing to heights above my head.  Probably some metaphor for how life goes.  If anything has helped me clarify the view of God as a loving father, it has been being a parent.  What a gift.

Talk about a victim mentality… Little league coach sues player after being hit by helmet thrown in celebration.

I like watching the Olympics.  But it seems every go-round there is another reason to dislike the Olympic organizers.  We can't put lines from the Constitution on a goalie helmet?  How long until everybody gets a medal?

Texas Monthly Bum Steer awards are out …  and always entertaining.  I haven't made it through the whole list but I don't see any local honorees.

My kid can't have eggs or dairy, so your kids can't either.  It's a human rights issue.

In the upcoming elections, "Income Inequality" is sure to be a buzzword as liberals promise to get more money for those of us that aren't "rich."  Of course, there can't be any common ground between left and right if our definition "Income Inequality" is fundamentally different.

A global look - more than twice as many Christians were killed for religious reasons in 2013 than the year before.

And while you are there… the top 10 Biblical archaeological discoveries of 2013.

I'm thinking American liberals would consider Mother Theresa a threat too.  Because anyone who believes abortion is murder must be a threat.  Right.

Speaking of abortion…  Tribune publisher Mike Elswick opines on whether Wendy Davis has a chance at winning the Governor spot in November.  Without mentioning her signature issue.

Which leads me to this.
Wendy Davis is popular among liberals because she was willing to stand up and promote abortion of viable babies in an effort that was never going to succeed.
And on the opposite side of the political spectrum, Ted Cruz is popular among us on the right because he was willing to stand up and oppose Obamacare in an effort that was never going to succeed.

Those of you trying to win primary battles take note.  Stand up and say something.

Have a good night everybody.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

MOW Madness (Middle of the Week)

That is funny.

It is a long read, but a good recap of the false premises and promises of nationalizing health care.

This day in 1870 was the first know use as a symbol of the Democratic Party in Harper's Weekly.  Make your own joke now.

John Kerry gives "Impressive Potatoes" to the Russian foreign minister.

For what it is worth… I like new UT football coach Charlie Strong.  His policies for players look good, and the fact that they are needed says a lot about what was going on before.  I like that coaches have to run if players don't attend class.

Speaking of which… the top "players lounges" in college football.  I guess since the players can't be paid, they should get a few perks?

How to talk to people with cancer.

It is easy to fall into selfishness at home.  I do it all the time.  Here is a thoughtful take on changing the "Getting what I deserve" problem in marriage.

You eat what you touch… funny and disturbing soap ads.

Some of the neat tech coming out of CES… 

This should be interesting … a look at the genius of Picasso, Sinatra and Hitchcock.  This Saturday at GWB Presidential Center.  If anyone goes, let me know, I'd like to hear about it.

Have a great Wednesday, everybody.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The dreaded … MONDAY THE 13th!

What a beautiful spring day in the neighborhood… I hope your week is starting well.  At least the daisies got a reprieve from indoor living at our house.

If there is to be a light at 548 and Ridgecrest in Forney, can we campaign for TXDOT to also add protected left turn lights to the signal at 548 and Walmart?  At the wrong time of day, it is dangerous trying to get back over to Fredo's.  Which is a problem for me personally.

WWII buffs - an animation of the map of Europe throughout the war.  Puts into perspective how much Hitler was able to take control for several years … you know, before we finally jumped in there.

More recent history for a laugh… buying a computer in 1993.  For my cult-of-mac cred, our first computer in the house was a PowerMac 7100/66, with a 250mb hard drive.  Geeky.

I tried to watch the Denver/San Diego game, but that was downright boring.  I was reminded of this article that references Chargers QB Philip Rivers though.  Is having kids, especially multiple kids, a really frowned upon thing?  That isn't something I necessarily feel on a daily basis.  But I can see how those with contempt for Biblical values might be happy to put down big families.

On this day - After a massive military defeat and massacre in Afghanistan, a single survivor out of some  16,000 people reached safety.  And that was 1842.  Just another reminder that there is a long and bloody history of conflict there.  And there is no reason to think we can make it end any time soon.

Also, Stephen Foster and James Joyce both died on this day.

The political season kicked off in a big way Saturday in Terrell with the big Ted Cruz event.  Many of the candidates for local races were on hand to boost their conservative clout.  I will blog about that later.

Candidate forums for local Republican races will be held Jan. 21 in Terrell, Jan. 28 in Forney, Jan. 30 in Becker, Feb. 4 in Kaufman and Feb. 13 in Scurry.

I'm surprised there isn't a lot more of this…

I have seen a few people using containers as barn structures or parking type spaces, but it is pretty brilliant as modular living space.  A well done version at White Rock Lake…

Have a great Monday evening, friends.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The invisibility of our faith isn't just a media problem

Used under Creative Commons / Photo by Parham on Flickr

A question for my fellow Christians.  How much faith do you expect to see reflected in the main stream media, TV News, large newspapers etc.?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Thursday goes to the dogs...

Our Nina, as a younger pup…

Seems like the world has gone to the dogs these days.  $1 million doesn't buy what it used to, but I'd find it hard to justify spending that much on renovating a dog park.  Or rather, renovating the dog park to catch up with the $2 million "North Bark" facility.  Seems like there should be an organization of people who will be using the park to take care of part of that.  It is probably easier to understand for dog-owning urban apartment dwellers.

Then there is the dog rescued about a mile off of the Florida coast.  That dog is a keeper.

This probably won't affect man's best friend, but could disrupt your GPS and cell phone.

The animal rights folks who oppose the Rhino hunt auction by the Dallas Safari Club are really going way overboard.    I understand opposition to trophy hunting in general, but the net benefit of this hunt is obvious.  Hunters tend to be some of the most ardent conservationists, but I'm not sure if the animal rights folks can see that as a reality.

Speaking of weapons….  The rapid advance of 3D Printing technology will be a game changer for a lot of manufacturing, guns included.  And an enterprising gun enthusiast made his own special "Mother Jones" edition AR-15, in response to the very-left-leaning website's article criticizing Reddit as a gun marketplace.

Just so you sleep well tonight… Al Qaeda controls more territory than ever.

It's been a rough couple of months at the Herald, but I'm not sure why they would post company press releases as news.  On second thought, maybe it beats another flu story.

Have a great night, peeps.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Happy Wednesday, January 8.

Happy January 8, and happy birthday to Elvis, David Bowie and R. Kelly.  Anybody up for creating a mashup song featuring all three?  Consider this your challenge.

Also today… the Battle of New Orleans, after the war of 1812 was officially over.  Which inspired this song, a favorite of mine as a kid.  I'm not sure if I understood how much death was involved :)

A couple of area crooks got busted stealing items from a storage facility..

Kaufman County Relay For Life events for 2014 are about to get organized...
January 11th – Terrell  @ Java Junkies Coffee Bar & Bakery 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
January 25th – Kaufman @ TVEC Community Room 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
You can sign up a relay team, purchase & decorate luminarias, pick up sponsorship packets, sign up to volunteer and sign up as a survivor.

Heritage Foundation offers 10 programs to cut in the Federal budget to save some $10 billion.  Easier said than done of course.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' book (Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War ) should be an interesting look into the internal workings of Washington over the last several decades.  But I do wish these high ranking officials would be vocal about what is going on while they serve rather than waiting until it doesn't matter and writing a memoir.   For my Democrat friends, would Gates' "Harsh Criticism" and revelations about the political gamesmanship in the administration have changed anything in the last election anyway?

DMN's Religion Blog gives some religious leaders a crack at what faith issues will be big in 2014.  Nothing surprising in there, but I see an interesting correlation between the Buddhist leader Ric Dexter says and how a lot of evangelical churches are behaving.  He says, "People do not exist to serve religion, religion is here to serve people …"  Of course that can go a lot of ways.  "Religion" has certainly been turned into something "here to serve people."  It's a self-help kind of church.  And not Christian.

Ummm… if you want to "expose the rich and intelligent community that lies beneath the lingering smoke," then you may not want to talk about your desire to ... " find this mythical mom who openly offers to smoke a bowl on her back porch while our children explore the backyard."

OK, that's enough craziness for one day.  Ya'll have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tuesday Newsday, (Or, "I slept through Monday")

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a visualization of the flu virus.  Pretty, huh?  Not so much.  My mocking of the TX-DSHS flu site was not smart.

Just to be thorough, here is how a fever works…     who knew the technical term for a fever is Pyrexia?  

Attitude Check…  "If I can't impact people, then this whole thing is a waste."  Man with ALS delivers smiles and donuts.

Crandall ISD will hold a job fair March 29.  Speaking of which, it looks like the Athletic Director position is still open.  I saw that a lot of people weren't happy with how that went down.  I met Todd John only twice, but he seemed to be a competent person for the job.

When newspeople sit around and try to localize a story…. Drones don't make local car dealership commercials any better.   The real story there is, did they break our very own Lance Gooden's anti-drone law in the process?  (As a photographer, this is a personal gripe.  There is no need to single out remote control drone users for privacy concerns while giving broad leeway to law enforcement.)

Britain's own TEA Party?  Actually it would be great if they just called themselves a Tea Party, because, you know, no irony or anything.

I see this as a positive story… I'm glad to see big time donors don't necessarily get they influence they want in selecting the state's highest paid employee.

What would happen to an average North Korean citizen who acted like Dennis Rodman?  Hard labor I'd guess.  It is such a strange situation to have Rodman acting as a self-appointed diplomat.  More power to him.  He has always been a bit of a caricature  figure anyway, so he fits right in with Kim Jong Un.  I am surprised he found enough players to make the trip though.  I hope they are getting paid well.

Are you ready for the Winter Olympics?  Let's hope Russia is.  And then there is Brazil, trying to get ready for 2016 without the "benefit" of quite as much totalitarianism.

And here is a look at what happens with some Olympics venues that aren't used after the games.  To be fair, you can't expect for all of the venues to remain in use, but I would expect that to be taken care of in the original design so that there could be another use after the games.

As the parent of a two-year-old, this made me laugh.  And worry!

Have a great Tuesday everyone.  Wash your hands and sneeze into your elbow :)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Friday Funday

It is January 3, now where did I put that list of resolutions?

Actually, it is my lovely wife who is best at setting and keeping goals in this family.  She went through her list from 2013 and had accomplished almost all of them.  From making quilts, reading books, scrapbooking and other time consuming tasks, she makes it happen.  "How she does it" sounds like a good blog post idea.

Some great New Year celebration photos.

I'm hoping for a full recovery for Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher, whose birthday is today.  He hit his head on a rock while skiing with his son last week.

A different kind of rock to lighten things back up … because "The Rock" is funny anyway…

I would think if any running record was safe, it would be for the couple who ran a marathon every day for year.  Then this couple in their 60's went and beat that record by a day.  Of course eating 11,000 bananas in a year may also be a safe record.

Maybe DART wouldn't have ridership issues if they turned their rather functional looking stations into something you actually want to see.  Like this.

Ted Cruz is coming to Terrell next Saturday.

While we are on politics, I thought this was an insightful look at the way "conservatives" and "liberals" are getting a lot wrong about each other.

The Republican primary is pretty much the only election that counts in Kaufman county races, and this year is shaping up to be a crowded field.  Can you say run-off election?

This weekend is the last chance to see some interesting exhibits at museums in the Metroplex…

The writer of this story definitely got to write a once-in-a-lifetime opening paragraph.  And, it turns out, Waxahachie does in fact have the biggest ass in the world.  Sorry, Waxahachie, I couldn't resist.

Strange day in history coincidences… Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Catholic Church on January 3, 1521.  Fidel Castro was excommunicated same date in 1962.  For very different reasons, obviously.

OK, enough of that, Have a great weekend everybody.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

"Getting" ObamaCare

With major sections of the Affordable Care Act coming into law Wednesday, it is disturbing how little we understand of the fundamental changes coming to how we do healthcare.

Of course there is no letup in marketing efforts to get (young & healthy) people signed up on insurance exchanges. But there seems to be no effort other than political promises and threats to explain what the law means to those of us in the working masses.

For example, just a few weeks ago I saw a Facebook post posing the question "How many of you are getting ObamaCare?"

Of course there was a flurry of political commentary in the comments, and for many - this being Texas - the reply was No way, I'm not getting ObamaCare.

And that is ridiculous.

EVERY health plan will have to conform to the Affordable Care Act.  You WILL have ObamaCare.  You WILL have mandated coverages that you may not have wanted or needed.  You WILL pay higher taxes for it all.  And even if you qualify for subsidies, the real cost of coverage will be high for everyone that is paying into the system.

OK… so you are getting ObamaCare whether you want it or not.  And you have until March 31 to be in compliance.  Here is a good piece on upcoming deadlines that affect you if you aren't already insured from The Motley Fool.

For those who want to opt out and pay up come tax time next April, and I expect many people will do just that, it will save a lot of cash.  At least until 2016, when the fees top out and magically that occurs after then next presidential election.  Here is a USNews article detailing how that works.

While I'm ranting… how absurd does it feel to sit and watch your tax dollars being used to advertise during a football game, encouraging people to sign up on the insurance exchanges?  It is enough to make me throw things at the TV.

With more than $2 billion of borrowed money spent on the website, marketing and general startup of the system, it seems that money could have been better used setting up sustainable services for people who need help.

What is even more interesting is how the whole employer-provided insurance method got us in the mess we are in to begin with, maybe we should tackle that instead.  There should be individual responsibility, not an individual mandate.

Happy Thursday, peeps.

Don J.