Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Refugee Relocation

Michele at ASV has had numerous postings about the good things happening in the wake of Katrina.   And nearly everyone is pointing to one charity or another, including Red Cross .

All weekend we heard from FEMA about their plans to roll in after the hurricane.  We heard from FEMA, from Salvation Army (another good charity), Red Cross, everyone.  Right?  I mean we all knew what was to happen after the hurricane.
Excuse me… there’s some 10,000 or so folks being bused from the SuperDome to Houston.  Reports on Sunday said there were over 100,000 people who did not/could not flee New Orleans.

In a city below sea level, with a levee system and all that… why is it no one thought about busing the indigents and other out of town?  It was Sunday afternoon when they decided to open the SuperDome… this is what they planned on?

Why wasn’t a public evacuation plan ever written?

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What do you know?

Wow... imagine this:

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I scooped Drudge! More than two weeks ago!

What I would give to get 1/10 of his traffic for one day.

Probably would crash the BlogSpot server this humble blog sits on...

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Does any one know where the love of God goes...?

This is a post I began over a week ago during the pre-dawn hours. It was intended to be used to ask the question why modern-day tragedies, such as September 11, 2001 haven't inspired ballads.

I've accelerated the posting in the wake Katrina. These words seem to echo more this week.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they called "Gitche Gumee."
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
when the skies of November turn gloomy.
With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty,
that good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
when the "Gales of November" came early.

The ship was the pride of the American side
coming back from some mill in Wisconsin.
As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
with a crew and good captain well seasoned,
concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
when they left fully loaded for Cleveland.
And later that night when the ship's bell rang,
could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?

I’ve mentioned how much trouble I have finding good music on the radio. I admit my tastes are not what many would call popular, but in my heart I am basically a rocker, with emphasis on lyrics and instrumentals (as opposed to those who live exclusively for a beat).

Certain songs will always stand out in my mind. While scanning the radio the other day I came across the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, a ballad that stands the test of time for its haunting music and lyrics. Taken from
On November 10, 1975, an ore carrier sank in Lake Superior during a November storm, taking the lives of all 29 crew members. Later that month, Gordon Lightfoot - inspired by an article in Newsweek Magazine - wrote what is probably his most famous song: Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald. He wrote the song as a tribute to the ship, the sea, and the men who lost their lives that night. When asked recently what he thought his most significant contribution to music was, he said it was this song. In spite of its unlikely subject matter, it climbed to #2 on the Billboard pop charts and it remains one the most stirring topical ballads ever written and a highlight of every Lightfoot concert.
The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
and a wave broke over the railing.
And ev'ry man knew, as the captain did too
'twas the witch of November come stealin'.
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
when the Gales of November came slashin'.
When afternoon came it was freezin' rain
in the face of a hurricane west wind.

When suppertime came the old cook came on deck sayin'.
"Fellas, it's too rough t'feed ya."
At seven P.M. a main hatchway caved in; he said,
"Fellas, it's bin good t'know ya!"
The captain wired in he had water comin' in
and the good ship and crew was in peril.
And later that night when 'is lights went outta sight
came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

This song reached #2 on the Billboard charts, and many people in my age often remember the tune when they hear it or it being mentioned. That Gordon Lightfoot could capture the spirit of the event is a tribute to his legacy. A few weeks after the deaths of these 29 sailors, he was able to write a story to the accident in the style of a true chantey, and nearly 30 years later it still as good as its release.

Does any one know where the love of God goes
when the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
if they'd put fifteen more miles behind 'er.
They might have split up or they might have capsized;
they may have broke deep and took water.
And all that remains is the faces and the names
of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
in the rooms of her ice-water mansion.
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams;
the islands and bays are for sportsmen.
And farther below Lake Ontario
takes in what Lake Erie can send her,
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
with the Gales of November remembered.

With the 4th anniversary of the terrorist attack upon us, I began to wonder about the musical hallmarks to the event (note well: I bristle at those who carelessly refer to September 11th as a ‘tragedy’; deaths from hurricanes and tornados like in New Orleans, these are indeed tragedies. A senseless attack upon civilians is an atrocity.)

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
in the "Maritime Sailors' Cathedral."
The church bell chimed 'til it rang twenty-nine times
for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Of course there are two notable songs from the Country Music bins that cannot go without mention. Alan Jackson’s Where were you when the world stopped turning strikes a chord with everyone, because it asks a fundamental question people always seem to ask, like ‘Where were you when Kennedy was shot’, or more apropos for today’s generation, ‘Where were you when the Shuttle Columbia broke up?’

I don’t generally get much enjoyment from Country Music… it’s just not my style of music. But this one stands as a signature of a good song, regardless of genre.

Another tune to capture the fervor of America in the days following the attacks was Toby Keith’s Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue. (Mentioning this song and neglecting to point out the media bias of the late Peter Jennings would be a disservice to the prior posts on the latter topic, but this is not a post about the mainstream media).

I’m glad there are two songs that have captured some of the essence of the September 11th attacks, but I wonder what happened to ballads. Why aren’t there any songs that tell the story of what happened, like Lightfoot's 'Edmund Fitzgerald'? Where are the balladeers of old?

Maybe the music industry isn’t helping to promote them, or maybe there just isn’t a way to put to music the events of that day. It just seems that the over 3,000 deserve a milestone like the 29 received.

And in the wake of the tsunami late last year, or Katrina this week, will any one write of these tragic losses?

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they call "Gitche Gumee."
"Superior," they said, "never gives up her dead
when the gales of November come early!"

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Cindy Sheehan has gone around the bend

This Blog has paid respect for the heroic service of Casey Sheehan, and has extended condolences to his family, notably Mrs. Cindy Sheehan.

I know there are a few radicals and nut-jobs that have had harsh words for Mrs. Sheehan and her grief. I don't know her grief, but I believe my criticism has been fair. I have criticized the media attention paid to her, as opposed to others in her similar position who disagree with her, and I've criticized the kinds of groups that she has let freely associate with her, but that is where I've stopped.

Until today.

Quoting from Huffington Post: (emphasis by me)

I have been silent on the Gold Star Moms who still support {President Bush} and his war by saying that they deserve the right to their opinions because they are in as much pain as I am. I would challenge them, though, at this point to start thinking for themselves. Iraq DID NOT have WMD; Iraq WAS NOT linked to Al Qaeda and 9/11; Iraq WAS NOT a threat or danger to America. How can these moms who still support George Bush and his insane war in Iraq want more innocent blood shed just because their sons or daughters have been killed? I don't understand it. I don't understand how any mother could want another mother to feel the pain we feel. I am starting to lose a little compassion for them. I know they have been as brainwashed as the rest of America, but they know the pain and heartache and they should not wish it on another. However, I still feel their pain so acutely and pray for these "continue the murder and mayhem" moms to see the light.

Mrs. Sheehan is now stepping on thin ice. No rational person would dare say she is not entitled to her opinion or her grief, but she is simply wrong. This Blog has chronicled where the President's assertions on Iraq were either proved correct or demonstrated to be legitimate concerns (based on our own Intel, and that of our Allies and the UN). But Mrs. Sheehan doesn't stop there: she dares to insult other grieving mothers because they don't agree with her.

No... Mrs. Sheehan isn't crazy, says she. The whole world is crazy.

That is hardly rational thinking. Someone close to her ought to calm her down. Don't relent on her petition to the government -- that is her right. But her rhetoric is going to make Moderates and even many Democrats turn against her.

It's time to sit down, Mrs. Sheehan, before you further mock the mother's of your son's comrades in arms.

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Monday, August 29, 2005

Music Meme

I spent my lunch on something lighter than today's news. As seen at Michele's A Small Victory

A.) Go to
B.) Enter the year you graduated from high school in the search function and get the list of 100 most popular songs of that year
C.) Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate and underline your favorite. Do nothing to the ones you don't remember (or don't care about).

(This won't be pretty.. )

Top 100 Hits of 1982 / Top 100 Songs of 1982

1. Physical, Olivia Newton-John
2. Eye Of The Tiger, Survivor
3. I Love Rock N' Roll, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
4. Ebony And Ivory, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
5. Centerfold, J. Geils Band
6. Don't You Want Me, Human League
7. Jack And Diane, John Cougar
8. Hurts So Good, John Cougar
9. Abracadabra, Steve Miller Band
10. Hard To Say I'm Sorry, Chicago


11. Tainted Love, Soft Cell
12. Chariots Of Fire, Vangelis
13. Harden My Heart, Quarterflash
14. Rosanna, Toto
15. I Can't Go For That, Daryl Hall and John Oates
16. 867-5309 (Jenny), Tommy Tutone <-Yeah, I dialed it. So did you... 17. Key Largo, Bertie Higgins
18. You Should Hear How She Talks About You, Melissa Manchester
19. Waiting For A Girl Like You, Foreigner
20. Don't Talk To Strangers, Rick Springfield
21. The Sweetest Thing, Juice Newton
22. Always On My Mind, Willie Nelson
23. Shake It Up, Cars <-- I missed their older stuff. 24. Let It Whip, Dazz Band
25. We Got The Beat, Go-Go's
26. The Other Woman, Ray Parker Jr.
27. Turn Your Love Around, George Benson
28. Sweet Dreams, Air Supply
29. Only The Lonely, Motels
30. Who Can It Be Now?, Men At Work
31. Hold Me, Fleetwood Mac
32. Eye In The Sky, Alan Parsons Project
33. Let's Groove, Earth, Wind and Fire
34. Open Arms, Journey
35. Leader Of The Band, Dan Fogelberg
36. Leather And Lace, Stevie Nicks and Don Henley
37. Even The Nights Are Better, Air Supply
38. I've Never Been To Me, Charlene
39. '65 Love Affair, Paul Davis
40. Heat Of The Moment, Asia <-- the song basically sucked, but the album was worth it

41. Take It Easy On Me, Little River Band
42. Pac-man Fever, Buckner and Garcia
43. That Girl, Stevie Wonder
44. Private Eyes, Daryl Hall and John Oates
45. Trouble, Lindsey Buckingham
46. Making Love, Roberta Flack
47. Love's Been A Little Bit Hard On Me, Juice Newton
48. Young Turks, Rod Stewart
49. Freeze-frame, J. Geils Band
50. Keep The Fire Burnin', REO Speedwagon
51. Do You Believe In Love, Huey Lewis and The News
52. Cool Night, Paul Davis
53. Caught Up In You, .38 Special
54. Why Do Fools Fall In Love?, Diana Ross
55. Love In The First Degree, Alabama
56. Hooked On Classics, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
57. Wasted On The Way, Crosby, Stills and Nash
58. Think I'm In Love, Eddie Money
59. Love Is In Control, Donna Summer
60. Personally, Karla Bonoff
61. One Hundred Ways, Quincy Jones
62. Blue Eyes, Elton John
63. Our Lips Are Sealed, Go-Go's
64. You Could Have Been Wih Me, Sheena Easton
65. You Can Do Magic, America
66. Did It In A Minute, Daryl Hall and John Oates <-- Wrote in a minute, too, I'll bet. 67. I Ran, A Flock Of Seagulls <--or as I called the, A Flock of Bagles
68. Somebody's Baby, Jackson Browne <- he did so many other songs better 69. Oh No, Commodores
70. Take It Away, Paul McCartney <-- yes, take it far, far away.
71. It's Gonna Take A Miracle, Deneice Williams
72. Love Will Turn You Around, Kenny Rogers
73. Don't Stop Bellevin', Journey
74. Comin' In And Out Of Your Life, Barbra Streisand
75. Gloria, Laura Branigan <-- how this was a hit I'll never know 76. Empty Garden, Elton John
77. Yesterday's Songs, Neil Diamond
<--Zzzzzzzzz 78. Crimson And Clover, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
79. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Police
80. Here I Am, Air Supply
81. I Keep Forgettin', Michael Mcdonald
82. Get Down On It, Kool and The Gang
83. Any Day Now, Ronnie Milsap
84. Make A Move On Me, Olivia Newton-John
85. Take My Heart, Kool and The Gang
86. Mirror Mirror, Diana Ross
87. Vacation, Go-Go's
88. (Oh) Pretty Woman, Van Halen
89. Should I Do It, Pointer Sisters <--- I wish you hadn't. 90. Hot In The City, Billy Idol 91. Kids In America, Kim Wilde
92. Man On Your Mind, Little River Band
93. What's Forever For, Michael Murphy
94. Waiting On A Friend, Rolling Stones
95. Do I Do, Stevie Wonder
96. Working For The Weekend, Loverboy
97. Goin' Down, Greg Guidry
98. Arthur's Theme, Christopher Cross
99. Through The Years, Kenny Rogers1
100. Edge Of Seventeen, Stevie Nicks

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What I feared

Don't you hate it when what you fear starts to come true?

Per CNN:

Update: FOX NEWS on the leak

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Agita from Gas

Let's be clear... I know well how much fuel prices have risen. I drive 105 miles to work, then I drive them back. That's right: I cover about 1,100 miles each week (and that's in addition to working 40-50 hours per week). OK, so my professional life isn't all that grand in some ways.

I know all about gas price being a pain in the pump. As I wrote in March, adjusted for inflation, we're not at any all-time-high in gas prices. Yet. It's coming, have no doubt, but we're not there yet (individual markets may already be there, but I am talking about national averages).

So, you want to know my suggestions? OK, even if you don't, if you're still reading, I'll give them anyway.


  • Relax environmental rules so new refineries can be built. A third of our oil comes from the Gulf, and much is refined there. Until this weekend, all of our refineries were working at 95% capacity, now the Gulf has been shut down by Katrina for an indefinite time. Less supply, same demand = higher prices.

    ANWAR gave us permission to drill in Alaska (although none has been approved yet). Even when that oil gets here, we'll need more refinery capacity to process it. Where is that capacity coming from?

  • Tax breaks to promote alternative energy infrastructure. Paul Harvey recently reported on an UK company producing a hydrogen-powered motorcycle, thought to be on our shores in about a year. We need hydrogen refueling stations if we're ever going get these vehicles to run.

"Those two take time, Charlie" say you. "What can be done now?" Glad you asked.

  • REPEAL THE GORE TAX. In 1993 a split Senate voted on raising the gas tax. Then Vice President Gore broke the tie and raised federal gas tax. In 2000 the Senate failed to repeal it. With the growing majority in Congress, there's little reason this tax couldn't be repealed today. President Bush should call on Sen. Frist to bring the matter to the table quickly. Overnight, there will be a real and plausible break in gas prices.

    To the Republican Congress: we're waiting for some quick relief.

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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina is approaching the Gulf Coast.    Only those who haven’t a consulted any news media would be unaware we’ve not experienced anything of this magnitude in decades.

I can’t tell you what an ominous feeling I have regarding the tens of thousands who are streaming into the SuperDome.  The reports say it was tested for a Category 3 hurricane… what kind of damage will occur from a Category 5?  

Remember VOLCANO?  Tommy Lee Jones is the local FEMA commander who directs everyone into a certain hospital downtown, only later to find the volcano’s lava is in the concrete subway lines, headed straight for the hospital area?  Why do I fear the roof of the SuperDome not being able to withstand the storm’s fury?

And forgetting the possible damage, what of the National Guardsmen who will suddenly become wardens of this mini-city?     Food, sanitation, recreation are only the beginning.  They will need an infirmary, and more than likely, a brig.

I’ve just visited the Red Cross and encourage you to do the same, and to do what you can.

Prayers go to those who will have their possessions risked and lost, to those who could not get away, and to those who will be helping everyone tonight, tomorrow, and in the coming weeks.

I’ve never been to New Orleans, but it is clear I may never get the chance after this storm.

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Brutal Beating of two US Soldiers.... in the US

Two US Servicemen, recently home from Iraq, were brutally beaten outside of a nightclub. The act was instigated when the suspects reportedly groped the two women the soldiers were with at the club. Rob at SayAnything has fine coverage of this hugely under-reported story!

This is not merely a fist fight over a woman... this was brutality, plain and simple. The fact that the victims were white and the attackers were black is not lost on me; were it reversed, how many would doubt the cries of 'hate crime' would have been made, loud and clear? Moreover, this attack happened on July 31... and I first heard about it on Sean Hannity's radio show yesterday; tell me again there isn't bias in the mainstream media!

The only good news out of this story is that there is video of the attacks (you'd think it would be the next Rodney King video, but no...). KOMO-TV has these stills:

If you live in the Seattle area, take a look. I defy anyone to give me a justification why anyone should deserve such a sick beating as these men suffered at the hands of these bastards.

And I invite suggestions why this has been an under-reported story.

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Open Trackbacks

Since I am out and about today (and possibly tomorrow), I thought I'd mimic what I saw at Common Sense Runs Wild.

Anyone writing anything really interesting? Mildly interesting? Funny? Link and trackback to this post and give yourself some free publicity and a little boost in the Ecosystem.

I'll vist all links either tonight or tomorrow.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Randi Rhodes tips her hand

In my ongoing efforts to suffer through listening to AirAmerica, I am learning that while I have yet to hear any reporting on their huge financial scandal, I am hearing some discontent.
I frequently listen to Randi Rhodes  (fans of mine who have come to know me from listening to Sean Hannity, take heart: while I do cut in to my '3 hours a day' of Sean, I do so in the name of gaining balanced view on the bad joke that is AirAmerica).  I've reported in this humble Blog much of her angry and sometimes hateful rhetoric.  But today was different: she wasn't simply angry with President Bush.
Today she railed against AirAmerica itself.   Ms. Rhodes intends on visiting Camp Casey in Crawford, TX (not to be confused with Fort Qualls) this Saturday.  Apparently, after 2 weeks of e-mails to AirAmerica requesting assistance making these arrangements, the afternoon host has decided to go to Texas herself, on her own dime.  While I must say I question her judgment to support this protest that has become so farcical, I will give Ms. Rhodes credit for putting her wallet where her mouth is.
Ms. Rhodes went on to complain that whenever she does public appearances, she is sick and tired of having to answer the same questions, such as Why is AirAmerica's signal so weak? Why aren't there any give a ways?
It seems in the wake of their still under-reported financial scam, the troops (namely Rhodes) are starting to get restless.
Ms. Rhodes?  ClearChannel on line 1!
I'll be out of range for AirAmerica tomorrow, and at a site where streaming would be impractical, to say the least.  So no more on Randi until next week, at the earliest (don’t want to cause their ratings to spike too high!)

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Military Recruitment

So yesterday marked my return visit to AirAmerica and to listen to The Randi Rhodes Show. I've been listening every other day or so at different times to find out how much they cover their own financial scandal (while I do not profess to listen more than 2 hours at a time, I've yet to hear any mention of the issue).

Yesterday Ms. Rhodes was attacking military recruiters. From my various opportunities to listen in recent weeks, Ms. Rhodes served in the USAF in the early '80s, and apparently considers the recruiters lied to her regarding world travel and the like (she often complains she was stationed in NJ).

During the 3:00 (ET) hour yesterday, Ms. Rhodes gave a list of alleged lies recruiters are telling young people, because recruitment is so down they can't get any volunteers without being dishonest. She complained the DoD was targeting minorities, black and Hispanic in particular, because they're lower on the economic scale. She even complained that they would dare to recruit young people at NASCAR and drag racing events. That last part made me laugh; the Left has long held that NASCAR events are the bastion of Red-state Rednecks; one would think if she were to be consistent with her message, she would rather prefer NASCAR recruitment over inner city attempts.

Randi complained that the No Child Left Behind statues automatically provide the names and DOB of high school students to recruiters; since these same students are receiving federal funds, and presumably none of them can enter into a contract as a minor (without parental approval), it stands to reason this information ought to be provided so that the kids can make informed decisions. Randi provides links on her website to concerned parents wishing to employ the federally mandated opt-out provisions, which exclude their child's information from being sent to recruiters.

It seems to me that given such an exclusion option is available, her claims of a 'shameful abuse of the public trust' is just more rhetoric, designed to divide and frighten the public.

Regardless, the point she reiterated time and again was that people don't want to enlist because of the failed war in Iraq. I am here to tell you (and Randi) that could not be further from the truth.

Exhibit A:

click for larger view

In the above photo is my nephew, a young man who was accepted into the Air Force Academy in Colorado upon his high school graduation. He was, in fact, accepted into both the AF and Naval Academies, but the AF had long been his preference. He has long wished to serve his country, and is well on his way to making his career in the AF. (While I won't specifically identify him for matters of my own wishes to remain anonymous, I can tell you for certain that he is the fine looking young man in the hat.)

In spite of her rhetoric, Ms. Rhodes did serve in the military, and I am grateful she did (as is the rest of the nation). However, when it comes to her constant drum beat of how bad the military is, people like my nephew stand head and shoulder above Ms. Rhodes, and we're a damn fine better nation for it.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Thought provoking posts

I am testing Blogger’s newest feature, Blogger for Word Add-on.

  • Paul Krugman, the NY Times economist of considerable reputation -- both good and bad -- has recently revisited the 2000 Presidential Election in columns that spanned two days. Don at the Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid has long chronicled the many absurd and inaccurate statements made by Mr. Krugman, and this week rightly takes him to task for his faulty reasoning that Vice President Gore was the ‘true winner’.
  • Sean at Everything I Know Is Wrong poses a quiz for all of us. In it, he has a speech and we’re to guess the party affiliation of the speaker. I recognized the speech, but its no fair if you Google it; you need to read the entire speech and conclude for yourself. Here’s an excerpt:
    The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.
    Follow the link and see if you can guess.
  • David Limbaugh asks a thoughtful question:
    We're way overdue for a candid national debate, centered in the Senate, about the proper role of the judiciary in our constitutional framework. Senators, in their advice-and-consent role, routinely put judicial nominees on the hot seat about their views on particular constitutional issues, but what about the views of the senators themselves? Who ever asks them what they think about the separation of powers or the doctrine of federalism?
    Considering many of the Senators seem to know precious little about the Constitution, this may be a wake-up call to many in the country. Oh wait, I forget: many in this country are just as myopic as the Seantors…
  • We now know what fate befell Latoya Figueroa, but there seems to be a dispute in the local media. Pstupidonymous asks a crucial question concerning the coverage given by a NBC news affiliate in Philadelphia.

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High fashion and schools

I've mentioned in passing my lack of understanding regarding new school clothes. I went through 8 years of Parochial school, with that white shirt, blue slacks and plaid tie (I confess that in the first 3 years of my schooling I wore a solid blue tie with the schools initials stitched on it, but now I've given more clues about my age than I normally prefer). The girls wore white blouses (later, yellow was an option) and those plaid jumpers or skirts and vests. Very traditional.

High School saw me in a fine Catholic school, known its preparatory studies, where the dress was tie and jacket (altho after 8 years of primary school, I revolted against that useless garment and wore turtleneck for entire time I was enrolled there).

In both of those cases, I did not have to worry about wearing 'fly clothing'. College was another story entirely, but since I paid my way I wore most of my collection of baseball t-shirts featuring rock bands I saw in concert. I've never been a fashion plate, needless to say.

So I took interest in this article I saw in an Allentown-area (PA) newspaper on Sunday:

Courts have OK'd uniforms
Once Tamaqua Area School District's new uniform policy goes into effect, school officials say, they will punish any student who repeatedly dares to walk into class in jeans and T-shirts. Read More...

''If 200 kids show up not properly dressed, then 200 kids will be suspended,'' said school board President Larry Wittig.Administrators say they have no other choice. Bullying has gotten so out of hand that the principal of the tiny high school in the foothills of the coal region says he will do anything to put a stop to it.

I saw this and thought those silly ties of youth were coming back in style! What a turn-back of the clock!

Meanwhile, hundreds of students are vowing to boycott the uniforms. Some parents have hired a lawyer and threatened legal action. One school director,
who voted against the policy, quit last week after yet another contentious
school board meeting for which dozens of parents showed up in protest.

WOW! I can understand students not wanting to wear those jumpers and ties, but what is this? Parents filing suit against a uniform?? This must be some form of repressed anger at those same ties and vests that the parents once were mandated to wear, or so I thought.

Tamaqua's uniform policy limits all students' attire to navy or tan pants, navy or white collared shirts, and brown, black or burgundy shoes with matching laces. Girls also can wear knee-length jumpers.

The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on the legality of school uniforms, said Todd DeMitchell, a law professor at the University of New Hampshire who has published numerous articles on the constitutionality of school uniforms and dress codes.

Um, did I miss something? Where is the uniform? I read that there is a choice in color of pants, shirts and shoes. And I don't see any requirement that they all be purchased from select outlets (like I had to do), but could in fact be bought from The Gap, Lands End, or any mall retailer. This is not a uniform but rather a dress code. What in the world is wrong with a dress code?

This is school, it isn't kindergarten. We don't dress however-the-hell-we-feel-like-it in the real world, why not start teaching that concept to children in school? It used to be you couldn't survive in the world without a high-school diploma, and save for the Trades (where you get your training over years of work), it is hard to succeed with some formal education or college under your belt. Once thats done, you dress for your place of employment. I've yet to see a thriving business that has as its hallmark 'fashion' (outside of the fashion trades, which I had limited exposure to when I worked as a VAR).

Few of us are models (this Blogger especially included), so there is no need to cultivate 'hot new clothes' for high school (or worse, middle school or younger). The parents that file suit have already spent too many years spoling their children; get over it, get over yourselves. The schools are there to teach the kids, not to help them make fashion plates of themselves.

You wear nice, clean clothes and you go to school to LEARN. Enough of this nonsense.

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Monday, August 22, 2005

More evidence of bias

I've had some verbal and e-mail duels over the topic of media bias. One way to demonstrate said bais is to review advertising dollars spent by major outlets.

A case in point is this paid sponsor link in Lycos. Notice, it does not speak of any opposing views in this ad, nor does it offer any veiled reference to a controversy, just a link to reports on the Mrs. Sheehan's vigil.

Could someone find a similar paid advertisement wherein the NY Times promotes an alternative view?

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Fort Qualls, TX

Since the MainStream Media is as intent upon presenting both sides of the story involving the deceased soldiers of Operation Iraqi Freedom (evidence of the bias is seen here, here, here and here) as they are willing to expose the fraud surrounding Air America (see list if sites following the scandal here), I wanted to promote FORT QUALLS, Crawford, Texas, which certainly deserves some attention:

CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) - A patriotic camp with a "God Bless Our President!" banner sprung up downtown Saturday, countering the anti-war demonstration started by a fallen soldier's mother two weeks ago near President Bush's ranch.

The camp is named "Fort Qualls," in memory of Marine Lance Cpl. Louis Wayne Qualls, 20, who died in Iraq last fall.

"If I have to sacrifice my whole family for the sake of our country and world, other countries that want freedom, I'll do that," said the soldier's father, Gary Qualls, a friend of the local business owner who started the pro-Bush camp. He said his 16-year-old son now wants to enlist, and he supports that decision.

Qualls' frustration with the anti-war demonstrators erupted last week when he removed a cross bearing his son's name that was among hundreds the group had put up along the road to Bush's ranch.

As Blogs for Bush points out: Please take note of that - without Mr. Quall's permission, those Sheehan forces over at "Camp Casey" used the name of Mr. Quall's dead son...trying to imply with their line of names on crosses that there is a huge level of support for the "Casey died for oil!" fanatics.

Let's see how much play this gets in the media.

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

It's over

Well, yesterday around 4:30, in the middle of the seemingly endless rain shower, the US Flag was lowered and the camp dismissed; the 5 day Cub Scout Day Camp drew to close.

174 Cub Scouts, about a dozen Boy Scouts, about 30 Pixies, and 23 adult leaders, and the worst injury was a bee sting on a boy's temple (left of the eye); sure, there were a bunch of skinned knees but who counts those? The Camp Director and his 74 year old mom held court in the main house; the nurse was only called in for the bee stings, so that gives you a clue how severe the injuries were.

I am still sore.... 21 campfires for 20 dens of boys (and one for the Pixies) to cook hot dogs, corn on the cob, apples, and marshmallows (of course) over. Lots of hauling of charcoal, water jugs, supplies, etc.

But my 9 year old loved it, as did his buddies, and seemingly every child. The parents standing in the rain for over 2 hours, not so much...

As for me... I'm looking forward to a comparatively easier week... even with my 2 hour commute.

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

More on the Cindy Sheehan Circus

From Just A Girl:

Fox News reports: “Cindy Sheean is leaving the anti-war demonstration in Crawford, Texas because her mother had a stroke”

I say, “Cindy Sheean gave her mother a stroke”

News. My way.

Sounds about right to me...

But lest there be any doubt: my unending gratitude goes out to those who serve in the armed forces, those who were wounded, those that have made the ultimate sacrifice, and those left at home. Without them, we could not enjoy the many freedoms we all enjoy, including the right to free speech. I won't ever question Mrs. Sheehan's mourning, and her especially troubled present involving her ill mother, but I will not excuse her extremist political agenda either.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Cindy Sheehan unhinged

Why is it that so many on the radical fringe of the Left Wing get so unhinged at times? We've heard of the absurdities spouted by Dr. Howard Dean, former Vt. Governor and current DNC Party head, and today DrudgeReport has this bit about a recent speech given by the Left's latest flavor, Mrs. Cindy Sheehan:

Wed Aug 17 2005 21:51:56 ET

"We are not waging a war on terror in this country. We’re waging a war of terror. The biggest terrorist in the world is George W. Bush!"

So declared Cindy Sheehan earlier this year during a rally at San Francisco State University.

Sheehan, who is demanding a second meeting with Bush, stated: "We are waging a nuclear war in Iraq right now. That country is contaminated. It will be contaminated for practically eternity now."

Sheehan unleashed a foul-mouth tirade on April 27, 2005:

"They’re a bunch of fucking hypocrites! And we need to, we just need to rise up..." Sheehan said of the Bush administration.

"If George Bush believes his rhetoric and his bullshit, that this is a war for freedom and democracy, that he is spreading freedom and democracy, does he think every person he kills makes Iraq more free?"

"The whole world is damaged. Our humanity is damaged. If he thinks that it’s so important for Iraq to have a U.S.-imposed sense of freedom and democracy, then he needs to sign up his two little party-animal girls. They need to go to this war."

"We want our country back and, if we have to impeach everybody from George Bush down to the person who picks up dog shit in Washington, we will impeach all those people."

Unhinged? You decide. Especially when contrasted by the hundreds of family members of equally brave soldiers (as Mrs. Sheehans son) who feel precisely the opposite, but yet go underreported in the MSM.

This adds nicely with my prior posts here and here.

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Day the Third

Well its been two days since my Audio Post, and I must say I am flattered by the apparent traffic to this humble blog this week.

Cub Scout Day Camp is a great vehicle for kids who are not so quite ready to do a weeks worth of camping. It gives them a taste of the day-to-day activities from 8:30 to 4:15.

Archery, wood and clay crafts, nature workshops, BB Guns, swimming, boating, fishing, these are just some of the events the boys participate. Read More...
My 9 year old, a Webelo Scout, went on a hike and cooked his own lunch in a foil pack, and took lessons in knot tying and compass orienteering.

I am his Den Leader (starting our 4th year), but this week I am on staff. I especially wanted not to be a Den Leader on this week, at least not his, to give him a chance to experience other leaders. My role this week is general staff, which means I drive the pick-up truck around, hauling water (fortunately, its not an oppressively hot week), supplies, lunches, and all odd jobs. All the kids laugh at Mr. Charlie, because whenever they see me, I ask 'hey! did you take my lunch?'

These camps also offer Pixie Day Camp: siblings can spend the days at the camp along with their brothers. While the Scouts are separate in nearly all activities, the Pixies (any boy 3 to 6 years old, any girl 3 and up) are allowed to participate in many of the Scouting events: swimming, the ever-popular slip-and-slide, etc. The older kids act as assistants to the parents who run the group, and are allowed to shoot archery, BB guns, boating, etc. Parents can enroll their kids as Pixies, provided they volunteer as staff somewhere on Camp during the week (knowing mom or dad are in-camp keeps the behavior of the kids in check). Since the buddy system is always in effect, and there aren't any boys over 6 yrs old in Pixies, there is little opportunity for the teenage girls to go exploring with the Boy Scouts...

In other news... regarding a few of the comments left here:

  • Gina, you flatter me to no end. Long ago, in another world, I did a college radio show that lasted just about 3 years. That I was a CompSci major in a Communications arena either showed the confusion on campus (my own, and the stations) or the lack of anyone willing to go on air with a limited broadcast capacity (campus-wide only).

  • Sue: How about in my best Red Skelton voice:Good night, and may God bless.

  • TrekMedic: I love those old Motel-6 commercials

  • In spite of being beat down to my socks, I'm off to TKD. My son begged off, and considering his hike, I understand. In just over 10 days there will be the first of two TKD demonstrations at our local fair; a variety of TKD drills will be demonstrated. One of the highlights: three women, ages 13-40, will have some lug that looks a lot like me throwing a punch at them. And each one will deck the assailant. It's staged so far as we all know what we're supposed to do, but the punches will be as real as the take-downs.

    Get your tickets now....

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    Monday, August 15, 2005

    this is an audio post - click to play

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    Sunday, August 14, 2005

    The Cindy Sheehan Media Circus rolls on...

    On Friday I told you my thoughts on Mrs. Sheehan and her crusade. Tonight there is news of her new pronouncements on foreign policy, and not just the US'.

    The DrudgeReport lists, as does others that Mrs. Sheehan is now calling for Israel to quit Palestine, as she believes this will stop terrorism in its tracks.

    This is an interesting position to take, indeed. If President Bush was wrong to fight world terrorism by going into Iraq, then Israel's position in the Palestinian region is not an issue.

    Furthermore, Mrs. Sheehan has announced her intention to defy federal law and won't pay her taxes for 2004; presumably, she filed for an extension and has not yet paid, or else she meant 2005, or else she isn't quite sure what she means.

    The nation's condolences goes to Mrs. Sheehan and her family over her son's supreme sacrifice. She's entitled to say her peace, but she may find the nation will grow weary if she continues on this radical bent.

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    Friday, August 12, 2005

    You want treason?

    TrekMedic lists several links to the story that should not die (and won't, if I have anything to do with it):

    "The Sept. 11 commission did not learn of any U.S. government knowledge prior to 9/11 of surveillance of Mohammed Atta or of his cell," said (Lee)Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana. "Had we learned of it obviously it would've been a major focus of our investigation."

    Hamilton's remarks Tuesday followed findings by Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., vice chairman of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, that made front-page news.


    According to Weldon, Able Danger identified Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, Khalid al-Mihdar and Nawaf al-Hazmi as members of a cell Able Danger code-named "Brooklyn" because of some loose connections to New York City.

    Weldon said that in September 2000, the unit recommended on three separate occasions that its information on the hijackers be given to the FBI "so they could bring that cell in and take out the terrorists." However, Weldon said Pentagon lawyers rejected the recommendation, arguing that Atta and the others were in the country legally so information on them could not be shared with law enforcement.

    "Lawyers within the administration - and we're talking about the Clinton administration, not the Bush administration - said 'you can't do it,'" and put post-its over Atta's face, Weldon said. "They said they were concerned about the political fallout that occurred after Waco ... and the Branch Davidians."

    Saaayyyy... does any one remember Sandy Berger ... maybe now we can begin to figure what he was stuffing into his underwear...

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    The Media Circus, starring Mrs. Cindy Sheehan


    I’ve let this issue alone, because of the intense personal nature of it.  Yet last night I happened to watch Countdown with Keith Oberman and saw the live remote with Mrs. Sheehan, wherein she stated that the worse thing that could happen right now was if President Bush actually did meet with her, for that would ruin the momentum.


    Excuse me?  Your website is titled ‘Meet With Cindy’, all of your supporters demand President Bush should meet with you, and ridicule him for not doing so.  You accuse the President of insulting America when he invokes the name of the fallen soldiers, and yet your desire to meet with him has become ‘momentum,’ and less the respectful dialogue you originally sought. 


    I won’t deny Mrs. Sheehan’s right to free speech.  Clearly, however, her original intent has been twisted by the radicals on the Left.

    More on Mrs. Sheehan.

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    Thursday, August 11, 2005


    I've always loved that line from Con Air on the definition of irony.

    I've always had AirAmerica programed on my car radio... the signal is weak in much of my ride, but audible nonetheless. From time to time I'd pop it on to hear the (more often than not) hate talk towards the GOP and Conservatives.

    For all the advanced publicity AA got in the weeks and months before it went on air (see NY Times magazine, Newsweek, etc.), scant is being mentioned about the over 3/4 of a million dollars that was loaned to AA from a childrens charity. That loan was only revealed when an investigation of the questionable accounting practice triggered an audit.

    So it would not surprise me to learn AA's ratings will jump in the next Arbitron book, something that will be crowed about on AA and in the media in general (imagine that: they get some real ratings!). There are bound to be others like me: people who can't stand AA, because of its bias and frequent hatespeech, but are tuning in just to see how long they can avoid talking about their own scandal.

    For more on the scandal, go to

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    Wednesday, August 10, 2005

    Parental Rights vs. Public Schools

    I read a piece today that inspires debate. Hard not to, regardless of your beliefs.

    FNC: David Parker of Lexington, Mass., is scheduled to go on trial on Sept. 21 for asking his son's public school to provide parental notification before discussing homosexuality with the 6-year old.

    The actual charge is criminal trespassing. But the real issue is whether parents or schools will control the teaching of values to children.
    This is astounding! The father had requested simple parental notification - something hard to argue with - and is hauled away to jail. Further, he faces being banned access to public property without permission:
    The state now wishes to impose probation upon Parker, along with other restrictions — such as banning him from Lexington school properties without prior written permission from the superintendent of schools. This means he is barred from places to vote, as well as school committee and parent-teacher meetings.

    Parker acknowledged the equal rights of gays but objected to "the 'out of the closet' and into the kindergarten classroom mentality." In essence, Parker highlighted the difference between
    tolerance, which acknowledges someone's right to make a choice, and acceptance, which is the personal validation of that choice.
    {stated} that he wanted his son "to play on the swing set and make mud pies. I don't want him thinking about same-sex unions in kindergarten."
    Where has happened here? The parents want input on something that specifically and directly affects THEIR child, and the nanny state says no!

    Mr. Parker only has one point that would be hard to manage: that if an adult becomes involved in a discussion spontaneously begun by a child, then remove their child from the discussion. That could be a fine line involving subtelties that are hard to quantify. However, asking for advanced notification of a planned discussion about same-sex issues is not above and beyond reason.

    The big question: when will the Left become tolerant of traditional families?

    Read the article, and tell me your thoughts.

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    Since when...

    Over the weekend, I saw Halloween candy at Wegman's... and similarly themed tchokes at Kohl's.

    Last year I complained I saw them before August 15th; now I see them a week earlier! If this trend keeps up, it will be a few years until Christmas in July becomes an accurate description.

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    Logical thinking in the land of free medical care

    Allowing people to buy private health insurance violates fundamental rights.
    That's a quote from the coordinator of the Canadian Health Coalition, a healthcare advocacy group. What a surprise it was when I learned the act of purchasing private health insurance was prohibited by Canadian law.

    Er, at least it was prohibited, until the Canadian Supreme Court struck down the law. Read about the law, the decision and a very well written analysis at Hot Abercromie Chick.

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    A Click to Fight Cancer

    This is not an urban legend, like so many of those e-mails we used to get, but rather a legitimate chance to make a difference.

    Image hosted by
    Day by Day

    Click image to see a larger view, and for an update on the status.

    Image hosted by
    Yes, this really works.

    It's a tiny ad, but what helps them, helps Chris's sis

    And even if you don't know Chris or his sister, what helps one patient can help all patients.

    Hat Tip to Crystal Clear

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    Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    Howard Dean is on to something!

    As this humble blog has said many times before, Dr. Howard Dean concedes the DNC needs a message.

    AJC.COM The key to success is making those Democrats proud of their party, Dean said, by taking the offensive and fighting on Democratic turf.

    "We need a message. It has to be clear," he said. "The framing of the debate determines who wins the debate.

    "Running away from issues is how you lose elections," said Dean, a former Vermont governor.
    The question remains: can Dr. Dean deliver such a message that is beyond the hackneyed 'Republicans are evil, so don't vote for them' which is all we've heard for over 5 years?

    The words of the good Doctor come just under a month after Illinois Senator Barack 'Osama bin ... Osama ...' Obama said the Democratic Party had to decide what it's core values were. Imagine that: needing quite a bit of effort to decide what values a person believes.

    Unless and until the DNC gives voters a reason to vote for one of their candidates, they'll never take the majority back.

    And so long as radical Liberals control the party, there's little chance they'll ever get that message.

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    Discovery is home

    Thank you, God; congratulations to NASA and the entire team!

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    The Majority: when will they start acting like one?

    The good news is the GOP has the majority in both houses of Congress, and the executive branch.

    The bad news is few of the Conservative principles that many of these people ran on are being displayed.

    In recent weeks, we've seen scant evidence that the elected majority remember the philosophy of those who more than contributed to their election. We saw a Congress happily passing a bloated transportation spending bill, and President Bush signing it. Yesterday we witnessed President Bush signing an energy bill which he admits falls far short of his expectations, does not begin ANWAR drilling, and provides the modicum of feel-good energy policy of extending the now archaic daylight savings.

    Ann Coulter criticized the President over not using any of his well-earned capital in nominating Judge John Roberts for the Supreme Court. Do not get her (nor me) wrong: I believe that Judge Roberts will be a fine Justice; but when there are so many more potential nominees whose pedigree is so clearly Conservative, taking a safer choice seems to deny your core. Case in point: what if for some reason John Roberts isn't confirmed (and for the life of me, I cannot think of any legitimate reason any Democrat would steadfastly deny his nomination): what then? Does President Bush choose any even weaker Conservative? Here's hoping the next SCOTUS nominations (perhaps as many as 4 more) will be even closer to the likes of Justice Scalia and Thomas.

    What the GOP needs is a standard bearer, someone to rise above the fray (of both sides) and say what he means. President Bush has often done that in the past, and while I believe his remains the president this nation needs (clearly head-and-shoulders above the rest in the last two elections), he too often softens his message. He should take a page from the playbook of Newt Gingrich, who knows well how to articulate a message and stay on point.

    In the meantime, the GOP needs to remember they are in the majority, they have a clear mandate, and they should use it.

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    Monday, August 08, 2005

    This Just In....

    International symbol of marriage is Approved by the UN New York -AP- On August 7, 2005, After 5 months of heated debate, the Commission of Human Rights of the United Nations approved the new International Symbol of Marriage.

    (don't tell my much-better-half!)

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    Friday, August 05, 2005

    I spent a week there one afternoon...

    Long week....

    NY Times investigates adoption records of Supreme Court nominee's children -- DrudgeReport: Am I the only one who sees this so-called "standard background check" just another attempt to dissuade potential nominees from aspiring to higher office? Can anyone find similar a investigation in history? I mean, besides the dragnets on Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.

    AirAmerica received $875K from youth organization: In case you missed this story ( since outside of Blogs and a few talk-radio mentions it hasn't been covered well at all), the NYC Department of Investigation had found in June that the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club transferred the large sum of money to AirAmerica, and apparently it was only begun to be paid back just recently (after the investigation, that is). DOI suspended any further grants to the organization due to this "inapporpriate transaction."

    Inappropriate, indeed.

    Randi Rhodes continues to crow about the near-victory in Ohio's special House election this week. She still holds that any democratic loss of a mere 5% shows the weakening of the GOP (she obviously got the talking-points from the DNC). For starters, it was a special election, so turn-out for all voters was small (sad to say).
    Second, Jean Schmidt, the GOP candidate previously supported the GOP Governors tax increase. Third, Paul Hackett, the Democratic candidate, had photos of him with President Bush while at the same time slamed Mr. Bush over the Iraq war.

    Had the GOP put forth a candidate who was more Conservative than Ms. Schmidt, Mr. Hackett's defeat would have been much larger.

    The borders of this great nation are still underprotected. Neither party has stepped up to the plate. All who read this would do well to contact your elected representatives and make it clear: defend our borders or we'll vote for someone who will. And yes, I do include President Bush in this criticism.

    Is it me, or has 'Back to School' become more about being a fashion item and less about school? If there is ever a reason to call for mandatory dress codes and/or uniforms, just look a the ads in Sunday's papers.

    Almost forgot:

    Peggy Noonan, the best selling author and a columnist for the Wall Street Journal related some Southern Hospitality during a recent visit:
    A Southern lady sees a vacationing society lady from the Northeast. The Southern lady is gregarious: "Where y'all from?"

    Society lady is put off: "I'm from a place where they don't end sentences with a preposition."

    Southern lady smiles, nods her head: "Beg your pardon. Where y'all from, bitch?"


    Hope yours is a fun one!

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    Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    There better be some 'gain' from this

    You may recall my attempts to keep fit with Tae Kwon Do.

    Last night, in the adult class, part of the drill session involved using a hand pad -- think of an 8" diameter, ¾" thick pad stitched to a glove, used for kicking and punching exercises -- held in your left hand, about chest-high (or higher), perpendicular to your face. Your drill partner executes a right-leg round-house kick to the pad. As she returns to stance, you begin your round-house, in the anticipation she will get her pad up to similar position. This repeats 20 times or so, then the pads are switched to the other hands, and the drill continues. While such a move is never used in street-fighting, it makes for an excellent point scored in competition (not that I would know, but that's another story).

    In one of my right-leg kicks, my left-foot decided it was getting bored. Either that, or it didn't like the puddle of my own sweat it stepped in, because as my right foot connected with the pad, my left foot slid out from under me. Down I went, landing on my knees, right elbow, and on my left, pad-cladded hand, roughly at the same time. The sound was deafening, so I am told, probably by the clap of the pad on the hardwood floor. The other 14 teens and adults stopped in their tracks.

    The instructor, a good natured but tough 6th Dan (6th degree Black Belt), came to my side, speaking in both whisper and shouts:

    He: (Chas, are you alright?) Get up! Who said it was rest time?
    (Take it easy) Come on, I gotta see what damage you did to my floor! (Can you move your legs?)

    Meanwhile, the fall knocked the wind out of me. I don't pretend to know the medical science behind it, but if you've never had the wind knocked out of you, it is indeed a weird experience.

    Suddenly, it seems, your diaphragm is out of sync with the rest of your pulmonary system. You try to inhale, but your chest compresses to exhale what little air you have left. Then you rhythmically want to exhale, and suddenly you find yourself sucking an insufficient amount of air. While I try to negotiate my oxygen supply, my head is spinning and I am trying assess whether any of my bones are broken.

    In a few moments, I have enough air to tell him I can move my arms and legs, but I am not getting up just yet.
    He: (to the others) What are you all looking at? There's a drill going on! Lets see some kicking!
    (to me) (Take it easy... you know you falling like that sets a bad example for the low belts)
    In the midst of my pulmonary episode, this predictably causes me to laugh (or at least something that passes for a laugh). In another minute or so I am holding my pad up for my partner, but I decided not to kick for a few minutes. Then we switch hands, and while my left leg is never as high as my right, I was back in the game at about 75%

    This morning, as anyone would have guessed, my knees are bruised... so is probably my right elbow. I was able to crawl out of bed at 4:15, a bit more sore than usual, but I made it. Thank heavens for NaProx...

    There had better be some gain for all this pain.

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    Monday, August 01, 2005

    XM Radio without the investment

    AOL has started to deploy XM Radio content, part of a deal the two companies made in earlier this year, and I certainly have no complaint at all:

    It is still in beta, so it is yet to be determined how many of XM's stations anyone can hear, but it is a good start, even if it lacks the premium ones.

    I've been an AOL user for 14 years now, and I really find little reason to completely abandon it.

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