Scott Bradford: Off on a Tangent

Welcome to Off on a Tangent, the online repository where I share my creative endeavors with the world. Inside you will find fiction, news, commentary, poetry, music, and more that I have produced over the years and am still producing today. I am always open to feedback, so please don’t hesitate to contact me or leave a comment and share your thoughts!

In Tough Times, Americans Hoarding Starbucks Coffee | Edit |

April 1st, 2009

In these tough economic times, one business is doing extraordinarily well: Starbucks.

The premium coffee shop, known for charging more than $3 for a simple cup of coffee, has found itself struggling to keep pace with drastically increased demand as more and more Americans resort to hoarding the hard-to-find drinks. While the company insists it has the means to keep up with demand, many local Starbucks are reporting shortages of their most popular drinks and some customers are being sent away empty handed.

“I have a gun safe at home, and I’ve moved all the rifles and handguns to the closet so I have room in there for Caffe Mochas and Caramel Macchiatos,” said Keith Robinson, a local real estate agent. “I want to make sure I have all the Starbucks coffees I need if things go bad, and they’re getting hard to find.”

Much of the recent fear stems from comments by members of the United States Board of Directors indicating that premium coffee rights may be limited over the coming months and years. The United States of America, which announced this morning it had been acquired by Chinese computer-maker Lenovo, has a very high coffee abuse rate, and some company officials have indicated their support for coffee control measures like prohibitions on high-caffeine drinks, six-hour purchase waiting periods, and more.

Robinson says he isn’t taking any chances. “If these limits take effect, well, we might just have a revolution on our hands. And if that day comes, I’m going to be wired.”

This post brought to you by Subaru
The Subaru Forester is MotorTrend’s 2009 Sport/Utility of the Year.

Lenovo Acquires the United States of America | Edit |

April 1st, 2009

The United States of America, a privately-owned financial services, insurance, and automotive company, has been acquired by Chinese computer-maker Lenovo. Barack Obama, President and CEO of the United States, has hailed the acquisition as a new beginning for the 233-year-old USA.

The United States began life in 1776 as a democratic republic, hailed around the world for its new and innovative political system which was intended to derive its just powers from its citizens. After a turbulent 232 years, the United States acquired several banking, insurance, and automotive companies in 2008 and reorganized as a private business. Then-CEO George W. Bush, after initiating the privatization of the U.S. government, ceded authority to Barack Obama in the country’s final free election under the previous charter (’Constitution’).

The U.S. Board of Directors, formerly known as ‘Congress’, agreed to sell the business to Lenovo after contentious debate when it became clear that their core businesses—banking, finance, and automobiles—were unsustainable without major foreign investment.

Lenovo officials were unavailable for comment.

This post brought to you by Lenovo
Win big with up 20% off MVP notebooks, starting at $518

New Advertising Policy | Edit |

April 1st, 2009

As most of you know, I have long had a policy of placing some limited advertising on my site in an effort to cover its operation costs. Unfortunately, this has not covered those costs and Off on a Tangent has operated at a loss throughout its entire existence.

In an effort to reduce my expenses in these tough economic times, I cannot continue to operate this web site at a loss. As such, I’m adjusting my advertising a bit in hopes that the site will start bringing in enough cash to at least pay for its own annual hosting. If not, I may end up having to shut down (unless the government is willing to offer me a bailout!).

Thanks for your support and patience. Please let me know if you find the new advertisements to be too distracting!

This post brought to you by Google
Organizing the world’s information to make it universally accessible and useful.

Goodbye, Microsoft Encarta | Edit |

March 31st, 2009

I’m generally no fan of Microsoft or its products, but I have to admit I have fond memories of the Microsoft Encarta encyclopedia program and was unexpectedly saddened to hear that it is being discontinued. In the days before the Internet was as useful as it is today, Encarta—housed on compact disks—was a huge improvement over bound, physical encyclopedias (and quite a bit cheaper too). It was wonderful to be able to bring up long, informative articles about nearly any subject in seconds on your computer.

Of course, we take this kind of thing for granted now. Wikipedia has become a ubiquitous source of more information than Encarta could ever have pretended to provide. Microsoft tried to make Encarta relevant by taking it online, but ultimately its time passed and most of us nearly forgot it still existed. Most Encarta web sites will be going dark on October 31, and sales of the physical disks will cease some time in the summer.

Despite all my Microsoft hatin’, I have to give credit where credit is due. Encarta was among the first broadly available electronic encyclopedias, and was a real trailblazer in making information more readily accessible to the average person.

Surprise Surprise; GM & Chrysler Still Failing | Edit |

March 30th, 2009

So it’s not really a surprise to any of us, but it turns out that General Motors (GM) and Chrysler—’saved’ from the brink by billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars that we’ll never see again—still aren’t solvent and still have no rational plan for recovery. Late yesterday, we found out that GM chief executive Rick Wagoner was being forced out the door eight years too late and today we find out that President Barack Obama’s (D) administration has given GM and Chrysler’s restructuring efforts a failing grade.

Call me crazy, but wasn’t the $13.4 billion auto bailout by President George W. Bush enough? Did nobody see the writing on the wall when they came crawling back to Congress two months later for $21.6 billion? Am I the only one sitting here thinking that a good, old-fashioned Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization (or Chapter 7 liquidation) would be a heck of a lot better than spending billions of dollars to prop up these empty shells of their former selves?

Obama is on the verge of setting a deadline—60 days for GM, 30 for Chrysler—for the two organizations to straighten themselves out and show they can succeed…which worked so well when they were given similar deadlines after the first bailout in December. Of course, the federal government (and, thus, us) will be funding their existence over this period. If King Obama and Prince Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are satisfied with the two companies’ progress at the end of the 30/60 days, the companies will receive yet another many-billion-dollar ‘investment’ from taxpayers’ pockets.

I seem to recall predicting this back when the companies came back to the trough for $21.6 billion:

“Let me write the next part of the story for our legislators and our new president: in six months, they’ll have burned through the $21.6 billion and they’ll come back to you asking for $43.2 billion. Six months after that, they’ll come back desperately needing $25.4 billion. Shall I go on?”

Sometimes I hate being right. I weep for the republic.

SoSA Celebration: How ‘Harvest of Hope’ Helped Me Live Out My Faith | Edit |

March 28th, 2009

I delivered this brief talk at the Society of Saint Andrew Celebration held at Fairlington United Methodist Church in Alexandria, VA on March 29, 2009.

Good afternoon!

I was asked to speak a bit today about how participating in Harvest of Hope helped me live out my faith.

It’s hard to believe, but my first time participating at Harvest was over ten years ago now. It really doesn’t seem like it’s been than long. It was the summer of 1998, between my 10th and 11th grade school years, and like most teenagers I was trying to figure out who I was going to be when I grew up. I was questioning everything.

I’m a very analytical and skeptical person, and I am the first to admit that I have a hard time believing in things that can’t be directly understood or examined. Thus, it was not a foregone conclusion that I would be a Christian at the end of my chaotic teen-aged examination of self. In some respects, believing in a God that can’t been seen, touched, or scientifically examined goes against my nature. Read the rest of this entry »


Busy Weekend Ahead | Edit |

March 27th, 2009

melissa-floatI have a very busy weekend ahead (again), so I may fall a bit behind on postings. Sorry in advance!

Melissa and I both have been working long hours for much of the past week for various reasons, but things finally calmed down yesterday and we had a nice little ‘date night’ at Joe’s Crab Shack. Melissa got a giant crab steamer thing and I got crab stuffed shrimp.

The picture at the right is Melissa taking a break from her Coke Float (a Root Beer Float made with Coke instead of Root Beer…weirdo) and checking her email before the food arrived.

Have a nice weekend!

Israel Attacked Sudan Convoy in January | Edit |

March 26th, 2009

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) struck a convoy in Sudan in January, according to media reports released today. The convoy was apparently transporting weapons, possibly including missiles, destined for Gaza and likely to be used by Palestinian terrorist groups against targets in Israel. The IAF will not comment on the reports.

As usual, the Israeli attack was 100% justified, but many in the media will incorrectly portray it as a unilateral act of unjustified violence. This happened when the IAF destroyed a Syrian facility in September 2007 which the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) finally determined a year later had all the hallmarks of an illegal nuclear facility. This also happened in December when Israel executed a series of air raids in Gaza as direct response to Hamas rocket attacks.

The reality remains as simple as it has ever been. Only one of the combatants in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has ever shown a true willingness to move toward peace: Israel. Every single cease fire and agreement has been violated by the Palestinians and their supporters, who then turn around and point the finger (along with a friendly news media and people like Jimmy Carter) toward Israel.

Can there be a ‘two state solution’? Not until Fatah, Hamas, Hizbollah, and the greater Muslim world begin working for peace instead of continually dragging Israel into war. In the mean time, well, the Israeli government—the only elective government in the middle east—can and should do everything it can to protect its people from its avowed enemies, up to and including the use of military force.

Catching a Kitty Cold | Edit |

March 25th, 2009

poor-vinnyVincent, our youngest cat (who is growing quickly), seems to have caught a little kitty cold. It’s pretty minor so far, but, as always, we’ll keep an eye on it and take him to the vet if necessary. He’s been sneezing and has a little bit of discharge around the eyes.

He’s still been pretty active, running around and being goofy, but generally seems less happy and comfortable than normal. The look he’s giving me here is the ‘please fix it’ look he keeps giving me, as if I can cure kitty colds.

He’ll live ;-).

Socialism, Nationalization, and Inflation | Edit |

March 23rd, 2009

Being a believer in republican government, capitalism, and free markets is starting to get very frustrating. Every day, we patriots watch our government grasp a little more power, spend a little more money (or…a lot more money), and move us further down a very, very dangerous road. Most of my fellow countrymen don’t seem to see it happening—”after all,” they say, “the government has to do something.”

Maybe it does, though I’m not even sure about that. If the government has to do something though, this certainly isn’t the right something.

Presidents Bush (R) and Obama (D) have spent the last six months on the same mindless economic path, throwing insane amounts of money into the partial nationalization of banks, car companies, insurance companies, and more. This has not stopped our economic slide and, in fact, the slide has accelerated every time the government makes one of these unconstitutional, socialist ‘investments’ in what used to be a free market economy.

To fund this idiocy, the Federal Reserve has had to significantly increase ‘injection’ of new money into the banking system. In other words, we’re printing new money out of thin air to ‘pay’ for it all. Of course, when Germany did this in the early 1920s it led to inflation, followed by hyperflation, followed by a massive economic collapse, the collapse of the Weimar Republic, and the rise of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Yeah…let’s do that.

Meanwhile, Obama is seeking to give the Dept. of the Treasury even more unconstitutional power than it has already been granted under Bush’s ‘bailout’ and Obama’s ’stimulus’. Now, if Congress passes this ludicrous legislation, the Treasury Department will have unilateral power to seize pretty much any business they think needs to be seized to ‘keep’ the economy is ’stable’. How have the nationalizations of AIG, GM, Lehman Brothers, CitiBank, and so on done so far? You know, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

We have been very lucky that we have only once let things get so bad that it put the United States at serious risk of collapse—the Civil War in the 1860s. The Great Depression in the 1930s, had things gone differently, might have ended with a nation teetering on collapse too, but World War II intervened, reunified us as a nation, and reinvigorated our economy. I am not one to begin spouting ‘fire and brimstone’ talk about the end of America, but, on the other hand, I’m not so naive to think that the United States could never fall apart. It can.

If we continue walking the road to socialism, if we continue blithely nationalizing industries, if we continue operating outside of the bounds of the U.S. Constitution, and if we permit inflation to take hold and eventually lead to hyperinflation…well…that might be the end of it. Mark my words.

I weep for the republic.

Creative Commons License  Spread Firefox Affiliate Button  DONT TREAD ON ME
Copyright © 1995-2009, Scott Bradford CE
Licence Terms & More Information – Website 20.2