Charles L. Black on Louis Armstrong

I am in the middle of watching Ken Burns’ awesome Jazz DVD Set.  I never realized the importance of Louise Armstrong had in our music and culture:

Charlie Black, a freshman from University of Texas, happened to go see Louis Armstrong at a club in 1931.  He knew nothing of jazz and never heard of Louis Armstrong.

“He played mostly w/ his eyes closed.  Letting flow from that inner space of music things that had never existed.

He was the first genius I’d ever seen. It is impossible to underestimate the significance of a 16 year old southern boy seeing genius for the first time in a black person.

We literally never saw a black man in anything but a servants capacity.

Louis opened my eyes wide and put to me a choice:  Blacks, the saying went, were ‘all right in their place’, but what was the place of such a man, and of the people from which he sprung?'”

Charles L. Black
Excerpt from Ken Burns’ Jazz Documentary

Charles L. Black went on to become a distinguished teacher of Constitutional Law at Yale and in 1954 was on the team of lawyers to convince the Supreme Court in Brown vs. Board of Education that segregating school children on the basis of race and color was unconstitutional.


The Best Roasted Chicken Recipe

This chicken recipe consists of making a “compound butter” consisting of garlic, spices and butter and sticking it under the chicken skin while it cooks.

I have made this a half dozen times and each time people are completely blown away on how good it is.

The only problem I keep running into having to watch the video each time to figure out the recipe because for some reason, the I’m Cooked website is broken and won’t email it to me.

Here is the recipe followed by the video where I learned about it:

  • 1/2 Stick Butter
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • Thyme / Rosemary to taste (I like a lot)
  • Lemon Zest
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 tspn Salt
  • 1 tspn Black Pepper

Follow the directions in the video and cook it for about an hour at 400 degrees until the breast internal temperature is 160 degrees.

Save Money – Get DSL Without a Phone Line

Here is a great tip that could save you over $500 a year:  You no longer need to keep a home phone just for internet access.

Costs and Savings

Historically, DSL or “Digital Subscriber Line” worked over your home phone line, which forced us to have to pay for basic phone service in order to get DSL.

Not only is this no longer true, but you would be astounded how much money you could save by eliminating the phone cost.

For example, my wife and I never use our home phone – it was a number we gave out to people that we didn’t want to talk to.  For this ability we were paying the BARE MINIMUM $9 a month.  But after scrutinizing our bill each month, we were actually paying $22 with all the surcharges and taxes added in.  FOR BARE MINIMUM SERVICE AND NO PHONE PLAN.

If you add a phone plan and long distance, you can easily be paying $40 or $50 a month.  And most of you don’t realize that you are paying probably another $10 a month for Caller ID, *69 and other product.  My mother-in-law pays over $60 a month!

Here are the current published rates for AT&T DSL with Phone:

AT&T Normal Rates

and then for just DSL:

AT&T Naked DSL Rates

So although you will pay about $10 extra for the naked DSL, you should be saving $20 – $40 in phone charges.

My Experience

I found out about this last year when I saw a story about Naked DSL from Arstechnica, and then went about figuring out how to make it work.  I called my carrier, AT&T, and asked for “Naked DSL”.

The representative was surprised I knew of the term and proceeded to ask me how I knew of it and even told me of the savings.

At one point in the call, he tried to “do his job” by telling me that I could get basic phone service for “just” $9 a month.  I replied, “After all the fees it was more like $20”, and he laughed and agreed. (Pretty funny he said that.)

All in all it took a solid thirty minutes where I learned the following:

  1. Instead of a phone number, I would have a “Dry Loop Number”.  So when I call in and they ask for my phone number, this is what I give them.  DON’T EVER LOSE THIS NUMBER – TRUST ME.
  2. To switch over to my new “number”, I needed to schedule a day for it to happen where I can be without internet service for a bit.

I scheduled the switch-over to happen while I was out of town for Independence day, so when I would get back it would just be magically working.

But then we started getting bills from AT&T with my old phone number for 0 dollars two months in a row.

Then our internet just stopped working.

When I called AT&T, they asked for my phone number, and not knowing that I had to remember my Dry Loop Number, they couldn’t help me.  They told me to look at my bill, but it only showed my old number.

After about two hours of holding, screaming, and talking to supervisors, someone finally found my number.

Apparently my account was not transferred correctly over, so for the last month I was still using my old internet account, which just got shut off.

They fixed the problem, and then after I rebooted my modem, internet was back on.


I have found that the main way the carriers will scare you into keeping your phone is by telling you that you won’t have 911 access.  So be aware that if you really want this ability, you need to keep your phone.  We have several cell phones, so as long as one is always near us, it isn’t that important.

Secondly, if you have a home security system that relies on having a home phone, you will either have to upgrade it to to use a wireless module (which is safer anyway), use a service that can communicate over the internet, or turn it off.

In Conclusion

With people looking for many ways to save money, this could be a simple action, with minimal impact to do so.

While it is not for everyone, it is a no-brainer for those willing to try it.

Stevie Wonder’s Election Night Toast

Recounting the story of seeing Stevie Wonder at Mr. Chow’s in Beverly Hills on election night, Taylor Swift told this story to Ryan Seacrest this morning on his radio show:

“…Half way through the meal, they dim all the music in the restaurant and it was completely silent and one of the waiters said:

“Hey, somebody wants to make a toast.”

And Stevie Wonder stood up.

I will never forget this for as long as I live, and I was just like, ‘Remember his words, remember his words…’

He stood up and said:

‘This is for all the people who fought for this country and died so that we could vote today.

This is for the people who live their lives with love.

This is for the people who live their lives with hatred because they were only trying to be loved.

This is for all the believers.

This is for all the non-believers.

This is for all the people who died in the past without ever getting the chance to vote that we got today.

And this is for the future generations and my future family who will get to vote.’

Then he toasted his mother who died two years ago.

And he ended it with:

‘…and this is for everyone here tonight who’s goal is to make this country and this world far better than it has ever been.

God bless you all.’

Ellen Degeneres said she was sobbing in the restaurant and my brother-in-law said he was crying in the car when she recounted it.

These Writer Strikes Are Stupid

For such an intellectual and talented group of people, they sure are being dumb.  I mean, really, really, dumb.

They are trying to force the hand of the studios to pay them more money on future “estimated” revenue in a marketplace that doesn’t yet exist.

And up until Sunday, they were also asking an increase percentage of DVD sales.  I say “up until Sunday” because they decided to give that up as a concession.

So, let’s see:  Let’s give up a market that will make them money now and the foreseeable future and instead ask of a percentage of fictional, guesstimated, revenue.

Hey writers!  WAKE THE HELL UP!  Remember Bubble 1.0?  Remember all the companies who went bankrupt trying to leverage unproven or “too-soon” technology?

Can you look around right now and see Bubble 2.0 video-related companies trying the same thing with prettier sites and STILL not making money?

I am not saying you shouldn’t try to negotiate for online percentages, but this is the wrong time.  Negotiate for DVD’s now, and stipulate a negotation for online in a year or two.  By then, we may see a real business model emerge and you will have some history of numbers to reference.

And if you have to “strike” because they won’t give in to your DVD demands, do something more productive than holding a sign.  That may be what’s needed for Teamsters and Coal Miners, but you guys can work smarter.  Band together and write your own darn shows and release them online.  Show the studio’s that you dont necessarily need them.  Others have.

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