Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Kwestions by Kenny

Questions, questions, three bags full.

Kenny has posed some interesting questions on his site about which he sincerely wants to know his readers opinions.

The topics were Universal health care, the Presidential election, and the War in Iraq. These are all very important issues facing every American today and I think it shouldn't come as a big surprise that I have an abbreviated, public knowledge opinion on all three. ;)

Universal health care:

The thought is admirable. It's human kindness at its core. Every American should have some form of health care. On principle, you've got no argument from me.

Execution, however, is a different story.

I'm not going to pretend I know what is wrong with the current system nor do I know exactly what will heal its terrible ills. I will tell you that if you want to know if universal health care is a good idea, look at the countries that have it/have tried it. For the most part, they hate it. It takes too long to see a doctor for something that should be routine (I heard a lady from Canada call into a radio show and say her next Dr's appointment is in 15 months), a diagnosis takes four times as long as it should, and the taxes levied to pay for it all are outrageous!

It is no secret that, if given the choice, the population of the world would get their health care from America and it's not hard to see why. We have, likely, the best quality doctors, surgeons, equipment, and research facilities in the modern world. The cost for wellness visits is relatively low. Affordable health insurance, apart from what you hear on the network news, is more available than you might believe for anyone who is gainfully employed, disabled, retired, or has links to the military. Hell, even the poor who can't work have health care (medicaid). By and large, the only folks who don't have it are those who also don't have jobs because they don't want to work [I understand that there may be exceptions to this].

Ultimately, I think the same pitfalls that got Social Security in the downward spiral from which there is little hope of escape will likely be the same that will crush universal health care if it is tried in America.

I'll tell you what, you figure out a way to give every American health care without my having to pay for it (directly or indirectly) AND prove that the quality of care is just as good or better than it is now, and I'll vote for it.

Good luck with that one.

War in Iraq:

My brother fought in it. I was sick for 14 months until he came home in one piece.

Simple plan - as soon as the Iraqi government can police, govern, and protect itself, 100% of American forces should immediately exit the country.

The troop surge obviously worked. Therefore, we should be moving towards a more expedient end to this conflict. God, I hope so.

Presidential Election:

If Hillary wins the candidacy she'll lose to McCain in a roast. No question.

If Obama wins the Dem's ticket, he'll be the second black president of these United States.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Level 2 Audio Launches New Website

Mark, your website never sounded so good!

My friends over at Level 2 Audio in Perrysburg, Ohio have just launched their new website! The new look is fresh, snazzy and modern while the sound is crisp, clear, and sharp. Phenomenal work L2A!

I've had the honor and privilege of working with Mark Reiter over at L2A to do voice/voiceover work for roughly a year and a half. Mark truly is a talent's director. He knows the quality of which you are capable and understands exactly how to instruct you to get the most out of your read. As one of the other voice talents has said, "Mark is bi-lingual. He speaks "talent" and "director".

Mark is also one of the kindest people in the communication business. He lives and works by a set of ethical guidelines not created by man, but given through Divine providence by the Creator. It is a joy to work with someone who shares your belief system and who isn't ashamed to do so.

So, if you'd like to check out the new site, just follow this link. And if you're curious, click "voice talent". You're sure to find a familiar voice. :)

Photo Courtesy: zzounds.com

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Employment Red Flags

"I got your back".

I'm not going to get into the grammatical complications but you get the idea.

Sounds like many of my friends are beginning the process of looking for new jobs. Let me just say before this goes any further that I wish you the best of luck in your search. A few folks are diving into their stacks of business cards to find new leads or are jumping into resources like LinkedIn.com to get that networking ball rolling. Many still have decided to try their hand at searching the job postings on sites like Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com.

While I don't blame many of you for wanting to get out of dodge and on to much better working conditions, I must warn you that there are some very cheap, nasty, and conniving posts you'll likely run into on these job sites. These things might not necessarily be illegal but they should definitely have you seeing red flags that this job opening might not be for you...no matter how unbelievable it sounds. I know; I've looked...and what I found online was nothing short of extraordinary!

Here are some red flags I found myself online:

  • Seeing the same company listing multiple openings on more than three job sites. This should tell you that they aren't too picky about who they hire just as long as they find someone to fill the spot. Do you want to be treated like a prized employee or the quickest patch job in the west? This should also make you wonder about the opening itself. I mean, really, if it was such a highly sought-after and important spot, would it need to be listed so much?

  • Discovering that the company president is 33 years old. Run the other way. Likely what you have run across is a recent graduate of a pyramid company who has just opened up his new digs and is looking for anyone to beat the pavement selling coupons door-to-door and calling it a "marketing opportunity".

  • The educational criteria is listed as "High School or equivalent". Now, do not misunderstand me on this one. Everyone deserves to find a good job no matter their educational level. However, all of my friends have completed four-year degrees or higher so, in this case, you know from the get go that you are over-qualified for whatever this job posting might be offering. I don't care if the listing guarantees "rapid advancement from within", you don't want what they are selling. Leave this one alone!

  • The listing reminds you that all interviews are professional dress. For those of you who are not yet laughing at the absurdity, if you have to remind the applicant that you wear nice things to an interview, the job isn't that desirable (and neither is the applicant).

As it turns out, the best way to get your foot in the door of your dream company is still the old adage, "It's not what you know, it's who you know". Those with the best, largest networks tend to get the interviews. So talk up your friends and business contacts and ask them to keep their ears to the ground for employment rumblings in the department of your interest. You never know who went to church with whom years ago or who was college buddies with the CEO. It pays to have friends on the inside, sometimes.

In any event, good luck with your job searching.

And, if it's any help, I have your back. ;)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Wrap Your Head Around This...

"You can be morally clean without Christ but, in your self-righteousness, you
are filthy

I heard this in church this morning and its impact has yet to wear off.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Valentine's Day in Africa


Amidst the snow-covered tundra of Sandusky, Ohio is nestled a summer getaway unlike any we've ever known. It is a vast, family playground where you are wisked away to the mysterious lands in Africa without ever leaving the Buckeye State. Yet this is no desert. Here, the waterfalls flow regardless of the rainy season. Here, the wave pools, tube slides, and speed slides don't close down for the winter. It is the next best thing to Disney's Wilderness Lodge without actually being in Florida. It is a place beyond your expectations, beyond your imagination, and beyond seasonal limitations. It is Kalahari Water Park and Resort.

Kalahari Water Park and Resort boasts the largest indoor water park in the United States and boy, are they proud of it! Amy and I decided to go up for our first visit to this fascinating water wonderland to celebrate our first Valentine's Day together (sadly, we've been separated by distance for every Valentine's Day prior). We couldn't have asked for a more enjoyable experience!

We arrived Thursday evening just in time to catch dinner at Kahunaville Restaurant and Bar. It continues the African theme in decor but infuses Las Vegas style entertainment like live stage shows and music (all family-friendly). We were surprised to be seated in their V.I.P. hut which reminded us of a combination nomadic yet luxurious tent you'd find in the Sahara -and- a bamboo version of Swiss Family Robinson's Tree House. We were incredibly lucky to have been seated there as the hut-like tent only featured two tables. We were very hungry so we ordered quickly then took the time to survey the rest of the restaurant. As we waited, the DJ was holding a kid's limbo contest on the stage and everyone seemed to really be having a great time.

After dinner, we slipped into our swimming digs and made our way downstairs for an abbreviated jaunt in the water park. After trying out a few tube slides, the Lazy River (#1 on the park map) , and the Wave Pool (#18), the park closed to all guests except for the four folks who had paid for Flow Rider lessons. It is this monster, quarter-pipe wave machine which throws a sliver of rushing water just a half an inch deep right under your feet. Sounds kind of intimidating at first but if you wanna learn how to body board, boogy board or even surf, this is the place to try. Flow Rider lessons are an additional cost to your water park admission but if you are the adventurous type, it is well worth the $30.00/person.

I asked Amy if she would like to give it a try first and initially accepted. Sanity got the better of her, however, and she opted to wait and go after her brave yet more so ignorant husband. Each lesson is 90 minutes in length and after your first five minutes, the instructors start teaching you tricks. Amy was smart and just stuck to riding the wave, trying not to fall off. She got thrown off the first time down the wave and suffered a few bruises as a result but she was a trooper and went back for more. She found her groove that second trip down, but at the end of her ride got thrown back to the top of the pipe again and called it quits. Gotta love her, bruises and all, she kept her smile!

The Flow Rider (#14) was not kind to me either. It gave me a small (well, I wouldn't call it a gash but it's the only word I can come up with right now) gash on my foot after one ride came to a particularly violent end. At one point, the raging torrent nearly claimed my bathing suit as a war trophy. Thankfully, I was able to keep my head and my shorts about me.

I did have some Flow Rider successes though. I was able to pull off some tricks thanks to the instructors' guidance. The first trick is when laying on the board, push the board straight out in front of you and, like a yo-yo, the force of the on-coming water will rush it right back under you. You can also learn to go from laying down to pushing yourself up to your knees and riding the wave that way. Finally, the most difficult trick I was able to land was a barrel roll. I was more successful rolling to my left than to the right but in any event I barrel rolled three times. The fourth attempt did not pan out so well (that's when I almost lost my trunks).

I called it quits shortly after that because I was getting a headache from being thrown around and slammed by the rapids. Overall, it was a great experience and I'm glad Amy and I got to share it.

The next day was filled with water slides, both family and doubles style, wave pools, lazy rivers, speed slides, and (because Amy would like to know if she would recommend Kalahari to her students and their families) a quick stroll through the kiddie portion of the park called Lepard's Lair (#9). It's a very elaborate little complex that reminds me of the playground equipment I used to play on at recess but it incorporates two water slides and a host of ways you can get other park goers soaked. Surprisingly, the parents had just as much fun as the youngsters because they get to experience the Lair WITH their children. Nice idea!

One of the coolest rides at the park is the Zip Coaster (#8) . It is not a completely aqua-powered log coaster (read = like Disney's Crushin' Gusher) but is almost just as fun. It is fast, completely enclosed at times, and gives you the sensation of being on a real, wooden roller coaster from Cedar Point. The line moved pretty quickly and the ride is worth the wait. The only draw back is that it seems to break down periodically.

The other very neat experience that stands out is one of the family-style flume rides called the Swahili Swirl (#19). It seats 2 or 4 people and starts you off in the darkness of the tube. Then, it drops off without warning to gain speed. Finally, it shoots you out into this expansive, 60 foot diameter bowl that swirls you round and round, then funnels you through the tube in the middle of the bowl that empties into the tide pool at the end. The extra thril of the ride is seeing how many times you can swirl around the bowl before being dumped through the center. It is a fantastic ride that had both Amy and me laughing from the get go and didn't stop until they made us get out of the raft.

Kalahari is more than a water park as it offers convention and meeting space as well as other options for land-based fun. If Amy and I have our way, we'll definately be back!

Thank you, Kalahari, for the most fun we've had on Valentine's Day!

It was Beyond our Expectation!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Baseball's Finest Hour

This is likely the only post you'll ever see me write concerning major league baseball. Today, Brian McNamee and Roger Clemens testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Each tried to explain his role, or lack there of, in baseball's rampant steroid problem. It was a long time coming for many baseball fans or for anyone who has followed the sports news these past two months.

I'd just like to say this - what has this become? If Roger Clemens is being tried for something, charge him, cuff him, and bring him before a judge and a jury of his peers. A house committee hearing is not the place to publically convict any citizen of these United States for anything! Regardless of Clemens' guilt or innocence, don't create a media/congressional circus from which there is no escape.

Further more, Roger...don't take the bait! I'm sure you were advised by your council as to what you'd be stepping in front of. You had to know you were going into a situation that, whatever the outcome, your name would never come out as clean as it may have gone in. If you still insist on proving your innocence, do so in a court of law where you can confront your accusers and where the examination of evidence can take place under due process.

My opinion of Clemens' guilt/innocence doesn't matter to my point here. You may have already made up your mind about McNamee, Clemens, Pettitte, et al and that is your right to do so. But suspend your opinions for just a moment.

Would you, had you been in either man's place, have done what they did or would you have pled the fifth and gotten out of dodge?

Photo courtesy: The Associated Press

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