Six months ago my wife and I finally brokedown and purchased a 42” Samsung LCD television. Like a good husband, I obeyed my wife and went to the local Comcast office and to get their high definition receiver with DVR. We hooked-up the composite cables and entered the world HD TV.

Shortly after we got everything hooked-up and running we began to encounter issues with what we called “pixelization.” Instead of the crystal clear image we had hoped to see we found many stations unwatchable. Many programs that we recorded for our small son from the PBS Sprout station were just a series of colored boxes that changed every few seconds. Many recordings had no audio. Some stations such as HBO just gave us a black screen with no picture. At other times these same stations seemed ok.

We finally quit relying on recordings of Thomas the perky little Tank Engine; opting instead to buy several DVDs just so the baby could have a morning visit with his friends from Great Britain.

After several months of really poor performance from Comcast and the obligatory visit from the repair guy, I finally decided to make the switch to satellite. First we switched our ISP to Frontier. This was a difficult decision because it is the only choice available to us in our area and Frontier has a checkered track record. It has been slower but more reliable than Comcast.

Next we chose DIRECTV. Why? Simple the children come first and DIRECTV is the only satellite provider to carry PBS Sprout.

We went to our local electronics store and paid for the installation and equipment. This part is strange on two accounts. First, although you pay for everything they only give you the DVR boxes not the dish or basic receiver units. Second they had no HD DVR units in stock. At the time of our purchase the DIRECTV website was placing folks on a waiting list. I had to drive to another store to get our HD DVR unit.

During this time I found-out that the DVR unit needs two feeds from the dish (ours has four) so that you can record one show while watching another. Once I learned this little nugget, I had the mental picture of a knuckle dragging guy with a staple gun in one hand tacking wires all over the side of our house and a drill in the other putting holes through our walls. To avoid this scenario, I chose to run coax cable from the point where the dish would be installed to the room with the HD TV.

I used a low voltage cutout and cover plate for the cable and as an added bonus I ran CAT 5 cable at the same time. All were purchased from the local Home Depot.

Next the installers came and installed the equipment; mostly. The only issue that they were unable to resolve was connecting the HD DVR unit to our HD TV. After an hour of messing with our HDMI cable connection, they gave-up. We were told the Receiver was defective. We were to contact the store and get a new unit. After talking to three different people at the store, we finally reserved another unit at another store. My wife and I went to the other store, picked up the unit and installed it with the same result; the TV flashing a No Sync Signal error in a blue box on the screen.

My wife went to Google and found the answer by looking-up the wrong model of Samsung television. The bottom line is that the Samsung units require a signal of 720i but the DVR unit defaults at installation to 480i.

I proved this by connecting the DVR unit with composite cables. I was then able to configure the DVR box and activate the service.

Then I set the unit to 1080i and connected my HDMI cable and I had a picture. However, to keep it that way, I needed to program the DVR unit to only use a resolution of 1080i. Oh, the composite cable and HDMI can both be connected at the same time.

Last, the dish installers never have contacted us to see if the TV is working. It’s been a week now.

Oh the picture with DIRECTV, I describe it this way: Comcast is like listening to a Salt Lake City AM radio station late at night and DIRECTV is like your favorite song on local radio in FM Stereo. In other words, satellite is far superior. IT ROCKS!!!

Presidential Preview

Eddie Moran—someone I knew back in my navy days—used to say, “It doesn’t matter what race you are, at ground zero, you’re still a vapor.”

It is with that idea in mind that I look at the early contenders for the Republican nomination for President. The three top-tier candidates are Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain.

McCain is as nuts as Ross Perot. He longs too much for the attention of the media and cares not for the Republic or his party. He is self-serving not a public servant.

Romney seems like a better choice. As a Republican, he won statewide election in the most liberal State in the Union. His biggest strike is his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Romney, if he follows the teaching from Salt Lake City, he would be the best of the three on social issues.

Giuliani would be the best on the War on Terror and seems to have more backbone than either President Bush. His social positions are way too liberal but if terrorists nuke us, the social issues won’t matter anyway. Rudy made his mark with law & order and administration in New York City. It’s a tough, scrappy political arena. By contrast, Congress is a bunch of spoiled pansies.

At this early stage with global terrorism as our biggest issue, I think Giuliani should be viewed as the early favorite.

A Fair Warning

by Katherine

As I look at the world today,
And hear the people say,
“Save the troops,
Bring them home,
Keep thousands, no,
A hundred thousand or more
Alive to fight another date.”

I glance at them and answer back,
“Their job’s not done,
Why should they play?
We need them to stay
And work for today.

“My life is new,
My days are young,
My heart still yearns
For things I’ve not done.
If they leave before they’re through,
Those undone things
Will remain undone.

“I won’t get a chance
To do those things
For I may not live
To be much older
Than I am today.

“If I live then I will deal
With the mistakes and errors
That you, my leaders, made.
My life will be torment
From the bomb
That will attack
The country I call home.
I will suffer from poisoning
That traveled from who knows where,
After the wolf slaughters
A nearby heard of sheep.

“My brothers will fight
As soldiers tomorrow
Not the Mid-East Islamic,
As they do today,
But the European
And Hispanic Islamic.

“For they will have succumbed
To the numerous threats
Of destruction
Or isolation
That moved them to do the things
They would never have done
In a time of peace
Before the war
To end all wars.

“It was never about oil
Or about revenge.
It was about keeping
Our way of life the same.

“What good is saving
A hundred thousand plus
When you condemn
A billion or so?”

Author Note: Katherine is 15 years old and has been an occasional contributor to this site. She is busy with school and has little time to blog recently.

John Kerry the Beltway Buffoon

John Kerry this week outlined why Republicans need to be returned to power in Washington.

You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and do your homework, and make an effort to be smart, uh, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.

This glimpse into the heart of the man who should be the defacto leader of the Democrat Party—should the Clintons ever fade away—reveals the contempt that the Left has for the military.

I owe an apology to no one.

Kerry still believes that he is right and has parsed his words to stand on that ground even when others wish he would shut-up for another week.

In a subsequent statement clarifying his attack on the military, Kerry stated:

when I came back from southeast Asia, I told the truth, and I am proud that I stood up and told the truth then

And what was the truth that John Kerry claims that he witnessed when he testified before the US Senate in 1971

In addition to the normal ravages of war, soldiers in Vietnam had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Kahn, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam.

John Kerry may be a legend in his own mind but he leaves the rest of us wondering why such a pompous buffoon thrives inside the Beltway.