04 December 2008

South County Archaeology

One never knows what to expect to find when tromping through the woods in rural areas. Take this week for example. I found out something I didn't know (gotta love new learning experiences) and I saw something odd.

We were conducting a Phase I out in the woods near Lothian MD and as I was screening dirt I saw something quite odd move in the screen. It looked like a bubble forming under the dirt and then popped the dirt off itself. It was a frog and it was dead asleep, I mean out cold! But it was breathing very heavy. Apparently frogs hibernate which I did not know and we disturbed his slumber. I carefully put him back in the dirt and covered him up (after I finished that hole) and I hope we didn't kill him.

The other interesting thing we saw was a sign leading into a driveway to a small white building (looked like an old garage). The sign read, "Presidential Pet Museum. Open Tuesday-Sunday. April to November." Well damn it if it wasn't December already so I couldn't go see what this place was all about. In the middle of horse farms and back roads that seem to lead to nowhere, the lovable pets of our presidents are remembered. However, it has now been moved to Annapolis. Probably not alot of traffic in Lothian to support such a fine museum as this. *snicker snicker*

Anyway...keep your eyes open while working outside, or driving, or whenever, you never know what you might see...like a hibernating frog!

19 November 2008

The Auto Bailout

I never thought I'd see the day when you couldn't buy a Ford or GM model truck or car. Sadly, that day might be here sooner than we think and I'm not sure a bailout or bankruptcy will help. Unlike the $700 billion bailout that was supposed to go to buying troubled assets (and it didn't), this bailout should be considered more carefully. I'm glad it's taking longer to decide, it should.

Let's look at some of the facts as I know them to be:

the auto industry in America is run by the UAW whether we like it or not. That has to come to an end. The time for unions is over. Employees making $35 an hour with a GED is ridiculous. Workers getting paid 96% of there salaries after being laid off? Insane. Complete health care and retirement benefits paid for by the company with nothing contributed by the employees? Even more insane.

Now, they are not the only ones to blame. The companies have been relying on truck sales and making bigger and bigger ones for years now. They have been in fiscal trouble for years now. They have seen their market share drop from 47% 10 years ago to just 22% in the states today. Foreign manufacturers have been foreseeing the change in consumer behavior and adjusted (can anyone say Prius?). The Chevy Volt is mired in problems and still in early stages of production.

My initial reaction is to let them fail as all businesses poorly run should. However, the impact of a the failure of "the big 3" would be huge and felt across the country. Initial unemployment from the companies alone would only be the beginning. Instead, make them file for bankruptcy and give them the bailout. Make the UAW make major concessions or disband. Fire all the managers now employed (or put them in lower level jobs without the same responsibility) and provide a government oversight committee until the companies start becoming profitable. Before any money from a bailout can be used, the companies must have a concrete plan on how and where the money will be used and how they plan on becoming economically viable again.

The auto industry in America will never be the same again but maybe we can salvage some of the pride that we used to have in the cars Americans built.

11 November 2008

Veterans Day

Just wanted to say my thanks to all the men and women who have and are serving our country. I salute you all, and you have my sincerest thanks!

07 November 2008

Test Day!

Tomorrow is GRE day!! Yay!! Well...not really. Very nervous but I know if I don't do well enough that I just have to practice more and take it again next month...I really don't want to do that!

04 November 2008

Adventures in Cooking

Let's start with what anyone who knows me already knows...I rarely cook...and when I do it's quite simple stuff like spaghetti.

With that said, we decided to make a pot roast for dinner on Sunday. How hard can it be? I've eaten it a million bazillion times...but I've never made it. A couple of hours were spent on the internet trying to find a recipe for said pot roast. How many different ways are there to make it? Tons! We decided to make it simple.

After grocery shopping (Michelle) and a couple hours of studying (Me) all the ingreients were set and we started making the pot roast with beer in hand.

After several "looks" at the recipe and fretting over whether or not the crock pot was working properly, a very wonderful smell started to come from the kitchen.

6 hours later....success!!!

It was then time for some wholesome television and some good home cooking!!

- Peter

29 October 2008

Money Matters

I finally rolled over my old 401k that has been sitting doing nothing into a Fidelity IRA recently. It's alot of work to try and get into the investment aspect of money. For years, I just had the money coming out of my paycheck into the 401k and never really paid any attention to it.

Until now...

In the economic downturn that everybody is feeling, it was my turn to try and figure out what I should do. So I have been researching different mutual funds, individual stocks, and even commodities to invest in. It's not an easy task (again its that language I can't understand).

I still have yet to decide on where to put the bulk of my money, which isn't much, but today I bought my first individual stocks to get "into the game". I didn't spend alot of money and really have no idea what I'm doing but I thought "what the hell?".

I decided to go a non traditional route and invested in emerging markets and clean energy alternatives to start. I may lose my shirt on this but I might not.

The stock market to me is just legalized gambling...and that could lead to trouble. :-)


22 October 2008

Is Legalese even a Language??!!

So I know that the election is near and I know who I want to vote for President. However, I have no idea about anything else that is on the ballot this year, so I asked (thanks Michelle). I went to check out my local election options here. Very interesting stuff. Not being as politically savvy as my girlfriend and others, I had to read the information several times just to understand what was written (and can't they use lay terms, honestly, how many people read legalese anyway?!).

But I digress...

I love to gamble and know that if I lived closer to A.C. or L.V., I would be in trouble. So I was all for putting slot machines in Maryland until I read this:

Cons: In order to generate enough revenue to reach the projected increases to state funding, gamblers in Maryland would have to lose over $1 billion per year. To generate this level of revenue, the state will have to urge its citizens to frequent slots parlors. Gambling, like other addictions, frequently leads to social (and government) costs associated with lost productivity, increased crime, broken families and even suicide. Disposable income that currently generates sales tax revenue could be spent on gambling resulting in a loss to the General Fund. The referendum would put a specific revenue source, gambling, in the state Constitution. A constitution should be clear, concise and confined to fundamentals of the structure of government.

Now, I don't know how much of this is true but it got me thinking and now I'm not so sure about it anymore...I must learn more!

More on that another day...

Quote for today: "I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians." - Charles De Gaulle

20 October 2008

So what IS Chooglin'?

I'll make my first blog short...I was asked today what "Chooglin" means...so what better way to start off my blogging days than to answer said question. Let me first say that I absolutely stole my blog name from Creedence Clearwater Revival...mea culpa.

To me, its just an idea...an idea to loosen up in life and enjoy it, to ramble along on adventures, going elsewhere and nowhere...to adhere to your own personal philosophy and not someone else's. There's a great article I found that will give you a little history on the word "chooglin" while I was researching the word.

Stay tuned in the future for my ramblings on everything from sports, politics, life, love, family, and whatever else crosses my strange yet wonderful mind.

And for those of you wondering, the dog in the picture with me is Maxamillion, my 12 year old lab who now lives with my grandmother in NY.

- Ciao -