Monthly Archives: March 2017

Vergiu

This is my “NOT-TOO-LONG-STORY” about sports from a previous post and pardon the derogatory term but this is exactly what was said:

My athletic preferences have always gone towards the NON-standard.  I fenced against the US Olympic team for practice, taught Ballet, Jazz, Tap and character dance, choreographed for various events in Upstate New York, was a Women’s Gymnastics coach and trainer and was teaching Tae Kwon Do.  I was 18? 19?  My “buddies” from the block were about a year or so behind me so I was doing this in college while they were finishing High School.  Home for a visit once one asked me: “Barry, do you ‘par-ti-ci-pate’ in sports?” (and he pronounced “participate” like it was a newly learned power word”).  I said “not like you would be familiar with” (KNOWING they meant basketball, baseball and football)….really NOT trying to be flip or a jerk, just that they had limited understanding of the OTHER athletic arts.  The guy that asked then said “Then you a faggot!”

I asked him: “Soooooo—–if I do not ‘par-ti-ci-pate’ in basketball, baseball or football, thennnnnn………..”? He replied: “YES, you a “FAGGOT“.

OK…works for me!  You know the “some of my BEST friends are…”?  I named my first son after my ballet teacher, Vergiu Cornea.  I practiced my German and Russian with him. This was a man who was commanded to dance for Joseph Goebbels and escaped Nazi Germany when he saw the Gestapo “make his neighbor disappear” in the middle of the night….and they were coming closer.  A man of deep faith, moral conviction and great strength of character and spirit……He was SUCH an inspiration that I felt proud to be one of his pupils.  He would sometimes say that I was not his BEST dancer, but his most promising.

Vergiu Cornea

Vergiu was from Romania….the largest province in Romania is Transylvania.  He often joked (IMAGINE Dracula speaking, no kidding and I LOVED his dialect!: “Bearrrry, 2 bad things happened to America on December 7th, Pearl Harbor and me…..”

His birthday was December 7th, 1914, as opposed to 1941

An American in Paris

This is OBVIOUSLY Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron.  The dance troupe was actually Vergiu’s though in the credits they are called “the American in Paris dance company” (or words to that effect).  Vergiu appears at the end of the main dance number in a BIG-OLE turban and flowing robe.

Vergiu in center of the frame

This took some time to find and screenshot but Vergiu IS worth it :~).  He does make a small “duet/cameo” with Mr. Kelly earlier in the dance sequence.

He would tell me about dancing with Ms. Caron while waiting for Mr. Kelly to—ummmm, “recover” from each evening’s “festivities” (with PLENTY of black coffee…..).  Vergiu LOVED her flexibility (she would learn her lines in a standing split against a wall).

Vergiu ADORED her as a dancer
They liked it SO much they left in in the movie

When he retired in 1978 I took over teaching his classes. I was 20 and managed to keep his program going WHILE tending to my own collegiate activities. He had gotten ill over the previous Christmas break and could not continue.  Rather than lose the program….

Vergiu sauntered into the studio one day after he was feeling better….Dressed in a white suit, shades and a walking stick…he was CLEAN and SMOOTH!

Okay, not too SHORT a story.

Danke, meine lieber freund

Rest easy, Vergiu. You have earned it many times over

Cord cutting

I am gonna save you money, my friends!  Have you heard the term “cord cutting”? I heard a radio host refer to it as the new way for “MILLENNIALS who don’t want to PAY for TV“.  I ask: why SHOULD we PAY for TV when it is being transmitted for FREE?”.  I have been doing this since about September of 2015, so about 18 months with absolutely ZERO regrets!

Now I am a friend of free enterprise.  I agree with trying to make an HONEST buck.  What I disagree with is gouging someone on basics JUST because you CAN.  Around July of 2015 I picked up a “digital antenna” from my local big box store (they have them at Wal-Mart, just better prices at Sam’s) and connected it to one of the HDMI inputs on my TV.  No, I did NOT tell my wife.

I put some of our standards on TV through the cable and rated the quality…480 for many.  Next day I switched inputs and had 720 for sports and 1080i for the same shows I saw the day before at lesser quality.  My wife noticed the enhancement but did not really ask any questions since we were used to on again-off again picture quality.  After about a month of it I gave her the skinny:  The antenna was a ONE-TIME cost (~$50), no recurring bill and we would either get great quality or nothing.  The only downside would be that there were certain channels we could not get.  Not a deal breaker since the channels we would be losing were mostly the “reality TV” stations and our LOCAL news channel because it is SOLELY transmitted via cable, as I believe most of the proprietary stations are (shows what they think about the local viewership).

I removed the decoder card (since cable signals are scrambled to prevent FREE viewing), packed up the converter and returned it to my local company without any grousing from them.

How can you get TV without a subscription, you might ask?  Because they GOTTA make the broadcast available OTA (Over The Air) by law!

FCC requires broadcasters to transmit FREE signal

AND for our friends and neighbors who rent, lease or are governed by an HOA, there IS relief:

FCC regulation PROHIBITING the landlord or HOA blocking your antenna

In a nutshell, they gotta suck it up provided it meets size and height above structure requirements, which nearly all do.

A couple of sweeteners:  I got UNBUNDLED wifi and a router. Even though the literature said you could NOT do it, I ran the antenna through my DVR and told it to use ANTENNA inputs. Voila! The DVR works fine, acts like it is still connected to cable and my Apple TV streams all the content from the shows we WANT to watch the day after they air, SANS commercials.

Hardware: Apple TV and Amazon Fire stick

Software: Netflix and Hulu

I have been watching all the faves I grew up on! I even resurrected some super cheap scifi flicks that my adolescent mind found to be da BOMB! We are usually too busy to watch many of “our shows” first run and got used to DVR’ing them anyway so waiting to see them manana (IMAGINE the tilde is there, please?) is no great sacrifice.  Again, NO commercials on the aforementioned streaming devices and services.

The cost:

BEFORE: BUNDLED cable and internet ~$170/ month with TAXES AND FEES (LORD, I HATE that term)

Netflix and hulu ~$8 each

ONE-TIME cost for antenna

ONE-TIME cost for Apple TV

ONE-TIME cost for Firestick

AFTER: internet ~$60/month

Netflix and hulu ~$8 each

THE END!

OH! I run amazon prime streaming through the phone, tablet and firestick.  Since my wife lives on amazon shipping, the prime service adds unlimited streaming for about 100/year and two day shipping.  We BOTH win.

Sample statement

ALL cable providers are doing this, NOT just T-W

Dropped my “must have entertainment” cost from ~$200 bones to ~$75.  Saving ~125 each month is a PLEASURE!  With the “hardware” you can stream content from your Bluetooth enabled phone, tablet or computer to the TV.  My wife is forever sharing the escapades of the Grands on her laptop or phone.  I say “gimme a sec” and in about 30 seconds am mirroring her device on the TV with a tremendously larger audio and video presentation.

IF you are considering going the cord cutting way, take stock of what you like to see, what you NEED to see and what you just canna’ live without.  See if it is streaming on any particular device or is there is a subscription to it somewhere.  If you can live without HGTV or some of those (SCRIPTED) reality shows, there is nothing to stop you.

TV Fool link to check YOUR potential for OTA reception

 

TV Fool screenshot

This is a website that lets you plug in your address and it will tell you (ballpark) your distance from the broadcast station and your expected reception quality.  There IS a guessing game at finding the best location for your antenna.

Now the stuff “they don’t want YOU to know…”

Cable bills are so high because the companies are REQUIRED to pay certain programmers (CNN, ESPN come to mind) for access.  CNN is paid PER MONTH per cable subscriber.  This is BEFORE they even make a cent off advertising.  My college roommate,  Mike, would always say he would vote for another candidate to DENY the vote to someone.  I thought him a loon but as the years go by I realize how TRULY gifted he was.  I am a Conservative (duh?).  I will not watch CNN.  I am somewhat anti-mainstream-sports (a NOT TOO LONG story).  Why on this beautiful blue ball would I want part of MY cable bill going to an organization that I abhor?

Subscription costs per provider monthly

Take a CLOSE look at your cable bill sometime.  You will see charges for the most ridiculous things!

Before I took the plunge and started cord cutting I read MANY articles and in many instances found nothing germane.  I got the impression “THEY” did not want me to get the skinny on it.  A quick check indicated that people with forks in multiple pies had an interest in OUR staying mired in the cable system, THEIR bread and butter.

You think cord cutting is just way too much work?  While on cable you are paying  a lot of dough for things you do not use, i.e. channels you skip past.  I got a faster internet connection (you GOTTA emphasize you want internet ONLY and wheel and deal!), do not have ANY service calls because I have super simple basic systems and I regained my independence.  I can watch WHAT I want WHEN I want.  I was down to the credits of “The Accountant” when my wife got home.  Started it ALL OVER for her and watched it again, cause I COULD.

Cord cutting keeps you from paying for someone ELSE’s idea of what YOU wanna do.  When it comes down to it, are we not all seeking to have more control over our lives?  A little independence is what we REALLY need and cord cutting got me a bit more freedom of choice.  Sometimes way too much: with nearly EVERYTHING at your fingertips, where to begin?

For me: Start Trek TOS and Lost in Space (1960’s version 🙂 )

LLAP

 

 

 

 

Sanctuary communities

By now, everyone should be aware of the Sanctuary communities.  The counties, cities and regions denying Federal officials the ability to take custody of, evaluate and potentially deport criminal illegal aliens.

One of President Trump’s campaign pledges was to force these jurisdictions to adhere to Federal law and notify Immigrations Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials about the detainees.  These sanctuary communities have vowed to not only defy the President but in doing so put everyone else at risk of harm.

A fast search will give you the details on people injured or killed because someone’s sense of social equality was more important than our right to be safe in our daily encounters.   A recent news article illustrates the thousands of people released onto our streets, into OUR communities by people with their heads so far up their arses they can see their own tonsils.

Non-compliance

These are the sanctuary communities in the U.S.

Sanctuary communities

Today Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned these municipalities that per federal law monies can be withheld for their non-compliance.  Immediately, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman stated:

(EMPHASIS ADDED)

“My office will continue to ensure local governments have the tools they need to legally protect their immigrant communities – and we won’t stop fighting to beat back President Trump’s un-American immigration policies”

Were his statement to be taken at face value, I would agree.  We are not talking about immigrant communities, we are talking about ILLEGAL CRIMINAL DETAINEES who have not only flouted our immigration laws but the criminal codes and the moral values under which any decent society must conduct itself.

And what part of Mr. Trump’s immigration policies are “un-American”?  That people should come to this country legally?  That people apprehended for committing crimes against society should pay for their transgressions? That AFTER appropriate sentences have been meted out that they go away and “never darken our doors” again?

Recently there was this incident:

Sexual assault on 14-year old girl

This happened in Montgomery County, which claims sanctuary community status.  The Governor stated:

(EMPHASIS ADDED)

I am outraged by the brutal and violent rape of a 14 year old girl in a Rockville public school. Our prayers are with her,” Hogan posted in a Facebook statement Tuesday. “The State of Maryland is calling on Montgomery County to immediately and fully cooperate with all federal authorities during the investigation of this heinous crime. The public has a right to know how something this tragic and unacceptable was allowed to transpire in a public school.”

Source: Gov. Hogan ‘Outraged’ Over Rape of 14-Year-Old Girl in Maryland High School Bathroom | NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Gov-Hogan-Outraged-Over-Rape-of-14-Year-Old-Girl-in-Maryland-High-School-Bathroom-416732533.html#ixzz4cZ88E4oQ
Follow us: @nbcwashington on Twitter | NBCWashington on Facebook

Whisky Tango Foxtrot! He IS the State of Maryland and as far as I know has made no PREVIOUS effort to reign in the ILLEGAL actions of Montgomery County…that is, until it looks like it will impact their pocketbook!  Parents, teachers, GENUINELY outraged citizens and visitors there to spend their hard-earned money….TAXPAYERS ALL.

ICE publishes a Weekly Detainer Outcome Report to highlight the jurisdictions that have been LEGALLY informed that the Feds have an interest in someone and which areas have decided that the “rights” of the criminal supersede the rights of the populace.

Weekly Detainer Outcome Report

I WOULD say that I am confused but I am not.  It often seems that the higher up the food chain someone goes, the less likely THEY are to be eaten so as far as THEY are concerned the HELL with us.  We are just the schlubs who pay their salaries through our exorbitant taxes.